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Good Manners and Kissing Necks

I like to think of myself as someone who has fairly good manners.

I chew with my mouth closed; I will pour other people wine first before finishing the bottle, I always say please and thank you and if I walk into a building and someone is behind me I will hold the door for them. But like with most things, good manners are not always straightforward.

For example, what are the rules when it comes to holding the door?  

  • How far away does the person behind you have to be for you to hold the door for them?
  • Is that distance variable depending on the weather? Surely, it should shrink when it’s too cold or too hot?
  • What are the expectations on the person for whom you are holding the door? Presumably they should pick up their pace right?
  • If they don’t and they are taking too long is it OK if you let go of the door and go in? But, by then that person is even closer so only an a$$** would let go of the door!?
  • Speaking of the person for whom the door is held, what if they want to take a slow stroll on their way to the building? Or their shoes are uncomfortable and can’t walk any faster? It doesn’t matter because there is the expectation that they have to pick up the pace otherwise they are being rude.

Another thing I struggle with is greeting people.  I’m Greek. So where I come from we kiss people on both cheeks for hello and good-bye. But now I live in America. Here people hug. Which is fine. If I see an American I am happy to hug them. The struggle is (…too much?) when I see other Europeans who now live in America. I expect them to kiss… so I go in for a kiss but some appear to be so acclimated that they go for a hug. Everything happens so fast that as they are going for the hug, I am going for a kiss and in the end they hug me while I end up kissing their neck…

I have kissed many necks that way, by accident, because I’m Greek, because I find it hard to let go of my Greek ways. So to all those people whose necks I have kissed I want to say: I didn’t mean anything by it… I was just being polite.

So I wonder, will kissing each-other’s neck become the new way to greet people in the future? If it does, I am here to tell you that it’s one of those things that started by accident, possibly because of clumsiness.

Just like I imagine pop-corn was discovered.

It’s Not Me… it’s You: a Letter to My Children

When my daughter was born six years ago, I sat down and wrote her a letter. A love letter in fact. I talked about how she taught me to love deeply, and unconditionally, and how she was the most precious and amazing gift I could ever ask for.

It’s an amazing feeling when you first become a mother: something about the smell of the new baby, the way they look and feel so perfect sleeping on your shoulder, your out-of-control hormones and the lack of sleep – all these things make you feel like you’re floating (sleep-walking) in some sort of an alternate universe.

The sad thing is that alternate universe soon becomes a reality, and six years and another baby later I am ready to write a different sort of letter:

Dear Children,

Your father and I feel very fortunate you came into our lives. Your smiles and laughter brighten our days and our love for you is so deep and true that it hurts sometimes.

letter pic
You know what else hurts? When you pull my hair when I’m holding you. And when you bite my lips when I ask for a kiss and refuse to let go, when you kick me, or when you throw things directly (and at times deliberately) at my head.

So I am writing this letter as a way to say that you need to give me some space. This has nothing to do with my love for you. Believe me: it’s not me, my dear children, it’s you…

I love you very much and I’m sure you love me too. But perhaps we should start doing some things separately.

Like going to the bathroom. I really don’t need hugs and kisses when I’m in there, and I’ve got the wiping thing down, so no help needed in that area either. Also, I can sort out my own reading material thankyouverymuch – which is not to say that I don’t appreciate flipping through “highlights” magazine or looking for Waldo.

Another thing we can do separately? Sleep. I love your soft cheeks and light snoring in the night.

But dude you kick me! Like all the time! In my side, my stomach and even my face. Also, you sometimes sleep on me. Not by me, or next to me, but actually on me. So when I wake up tired in the morning it is not because stress kept me up all night, worrying about the state of the world, or work, and stuff. No! It was you who kept me up all night. With your kicking and punching and let’s face it, sometimes not so soft snoring.

Traveling with you isn’t so great either. Nor is going to restaurants or shopping. When your father and I seem agitated on the plane or overly apologetic to our servers at restaurants it’s not because of something we did. No, my dear children, it’s you. Nine times out of 10, it’s you!

In closing I would like to reiterate our love for you and commitment to our relationship. We are not looking to make major changes, just need a bit of space.

The important thing to remember is this: It’s not me… it’s you.

Love you!

My daily parenting relay race

I never thought I would be using a sports metaphor to describe my life, but alas here I am (never thought I would be using the word alas either but anyway).

I have recently come to the realization that parenting is not all that dissimilar to a relay race (if you discount the perfectly toned bodies of actual relay runners, of-course).

The warm up begins when the baby is born and may last up to a year or even more:

At home:

“Can you hold the baby while I go to the bathroom/take a shower/ take a nap/ eat?”

At a restaurant:

“Baby is crying, want to hold her while I swallow my food without chewing and then we swap?”

On the plane:

“Want to hold the baby during take-off, I’ll hold her while you eat, then you hold her while I eat and I take her back for landing?”

(For those who can’t see symbolism the baby is the baton- you have to get it otherwise the whole relay race metaphor will make absolutely no sense.)

So after the warm-up period of passing the baby to each-other and others (hesitantly in the beginning and desperately eager later on) comes the race.

For me it works a bit like this:

Ready, set,

• Get up at 5am to exercise

• Stop by 6.15am, start preparing kindergartner’s lunch while getting breakfast ready for the kids and have some coffee and breakfast myself.

• Take a quick shower (so quick apparently that I don’t have time to shave my armpits, something that I discovered to my horror during a Barre class surrounded by a lululemon commercial…. Can I still play the feminist card? Surely it’s better than the overwhelmed mom card right?)

But I digress (which is why I could never win an actual relay race…?)

• Get kids up, take them downstairs for breakfast and pass them over to my husband

• Get back upstairs to get dressed, blow-dry hair and do make-up

• Have husband hand over kindergartner back to me to get her dressed and ready for school

• Hand husband clothes for preschooler while I walk kindergartner to the bus stop.

• Say goodbye to kindergartner while the bus-driver is now responsible for handing her over to her school teacher who, in turn, at the end of the day will hand her over to the aftercare teachers before they hand her back to us.

• Go back home where my husband and I decide who will take preschooler to school and who will be doing the afternoon pick-up.

• Take preschooler to daycare and pass him over to his teachers.

• Breathe a sigh of relief because the baton is now in someone else’s hands though you still need to keep moving in preparation for getting it back in eight to ten hours. (even the best and most devoted parents have to admit that there are mornings when they laugh as they speed away thinking “he’s your problem now suckers!”)

• Leave work to pick up baton/kids and go home where you give them dinner, do homework and play with them before baths, bedtime story and sleep. The baton passing here has to be a perfectly choreographed sprint because both runners/parents are acutely aware of the fact that the more efficiently we work together, the closer we are to the finish line.

Because that bottle of wine isn’t going to drink itself.


Returning to work

I got a job.

By that I don’t mean “hey I got a job, you know, cause being a mom is a job”. (I will be keeping that one too, of-course). I mean a paying job, working for “the man” (or is it “the person”).

As of Tuesday morning, I will join the American work-force and contribute to society in more ways than raising two of the world’s most amazing children and possible future Nobel and Pulitzer prize winners (Nobel prize winners don’t need to be potty trained right?)

So as I sit here, enjoying my third glass of wine*, I realize that this is the end of a very important chapter in my life.

So many firsts in the past five years, so many diapers, so many things thrown at my head, so many music and little gym classes, so many healthy, nutritionally balanced meals prepared with love and thrown on the floor in fits of rage. So many hours spent with my kids.

As I look back at my life over the past few years, I can’t help but think of all the things I will miss about being a full-time mom and those that I won’t.

I will miss:

1. Spending a lot of time with my children

2. Being there for first words and first steps and comforting them whenever they get hurt and are upset

3. Cooking for them

4. My long workouts (seriously, I’m going to have to get up before 6am so that I can squeeze in a quick run in the morning!)

5. Midweek hangovers *

6. Living in skinny jeans

7. Living in UGGS in the winter (yes, I know they are ugg-ly but I love them so)

I will not miss:

1. Spending a lot of time with my children

2. Hearing any of the following:

“You’re just a mom?”
o You’re just an a**hole?

“You are doing the most important job in the world”
o Do people use this tone when saying the exact same thing to paediatric oncologists and heart surgeons?

“What do you do all day?”
o Drink, watch soaps and read cosmo. Oh, and take selfies, loads and loads of them. Not bad right?


“Isn’t it boring being home with the kids all day?
o Sometimes yes, I imagine it’s the same for you when you’re not flying off to save the world?

“I could never do what you do, I need to work.”
o ……..

3. People thinking I can only discuss topics surrounding child rearing. Dude I’m more informed now about current affairs than ever before! Are you forgetting that I have nothing to do all day?

4. People assuming that I watch “Desperate Housewives of XXXX”

5. Being called a desperate housewife

So, as I am getting ready to re-enter the work-force, I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can still walk in heels and that I remember what appropriate office banter is.

I know that I will miss my babies, more than they will miss me, and promise to treat all full-time moms with respect and never call them lucky, privileged or bored. Even the ones in uniform.

Everything is about to change but the one thing that won’t is that I will, of-course, continue to whine over wine.

*Michael David wines have been a great friend to me lately.

The road trip


People laughed when we told them we were driving from Chicago to South Carolina for our summer vacation.

“Your kids can stay in the car for that many hours?” they said.

“We’ll be fine,” we said, “we are going to take our time to get there, have a couple of overnight stops. It will be an adventure.”

And an adventure it was. (There’s a lot of yelling and throwing in adventures right?)

Besides, as Constantinos Kavafis, one of the greatest poets of my people, said: it’s not Ithaca but the journey to Ithaca that matters. (Especially if Ithaca is a beach in South Carolina- if you ask me!)

We had it all figured out:

– We planned to drive about 6 to 7 hours the first two days leaving us only 2 to 3 hours on the last day.

– Our route was pre-mapped with enough stops for bathroom and play breaks and we were staying at hotels with a pool so the kids could have some fun after spending most of the day strapped in their car seats.

– We had enough snacks for 3 hour stretches within reach of both children and emergency snacks (lollipops and candy) in the front.

– We went on an itunes shopping spree the night before, buying them all the shows they love, ensuring hours of entertainment.

– We got each of them Bluetooth headphones so they could watch their shows without annoying each-other and most importantly us.

So on Saturday morning, and only one hour behind schedule ,we got into our car and headed south. The music was good, the kids were watching their iPads; we were excited and optimistic about the future.

One hour later….

– The boy tried and dismissed all of the snacks.

– Took his headphones off and threw them on the floor at least seven times.

– Was tired of watching his iPad.

– And we were stuck in traffic on the Interstate just outside of Chicago.

I started to think that maybe this was a mistake, a 16 hour long mistake, each way….

the road trip
But then something wonderful happened. The boy fell asleep… for two hours. And like many children before him he was re-set after the nap.

The trip got better. He had his moments of “frustration” and my daughter did ask “how many more minutes until we get there?” more than just a couple of times.

Sure, there were times when we wished that, like a taxi, our car had a divider so that we could open a little window, quickly throw some snacks at the kids and close it to get back to some adult conversation. But we enjoyed the time together anyway. The route was beautiful for the most part and Satellite radio kept us entertained.

It was also an educational experience for all of us:

– We saw the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee and drove through an Indian Reservation.

– On our way back we spent some time in Savannah and explored the beautiful southern city, admired the Spanish moss trees that line every street and visited a beautiful historic cemetery with haunting statues.

– We learned that bugs have not evolved enough to stay off the high-way and my windshield at times looked like the site of a massacre.

– My daughter finally learned the right words to the song “Milkshake,” by Kelis, and no longer says “my milkshake is bad but it’s better than yours.”

– We discovered the song “Lonely women make good lovers” on one of the many (you guessed it) country stations that SiriusXM has to offer.

– We ate fried pickles, which taste just like regular pickles only they are really bad for you.

– Turns out my husband can say things like “don’t make me stop this car” and keep a straight face.

So would we do it again? Ask again in six to eight months.

Of lice and curls

There are some things that are considered “rites of passage” when raising kids. For example, the other day I sent the kids to play in the basement and my son came upstairs with full make-up on because his older sister decided to “style” him.

This is not uncommon and a lot of friends say they have experienced similar scenarios. In fact, I remember doing this to at least one of my brothers and according to my mother-in-law my sister-in-law did to my husband. Sorry babe- if anyone doubts your manhood I refer them to: husbands, the cars they drive and the balls they carry.

A few weeks ago, I encountered a new “rite of passage” as a parent:

My daughter came home with lice.

Similar to a tragedy, I dealt with it in four distinct stages:

1. Denial:
There must be a reason she’s scratching her head so much. Maybe the heat? She’s sweating? Maybe she has a rash? Dandruff?

2. Anger:
Seriously? Lice!? Who gave her lice? I need a name and I will hunt them down with a fine toothed comb!

3. Depression:
Why? Why? Why do these things always happen to me?

4. Acceptance:
Google: “my child has lice” and learn all there is to know about the subject. (gotta love webMD). Then I go to the drugstore for shampoo and sprays and a special comb and get to work.

5. Itching:
Can anyone ever utter the word lice and not immediately start to itch all over? Pavlov’s bell had nothing on the word “lice” (and people say I never use my Psychology degree!)

So I put all the stuffed animals and throw pillows in plastic bags and put them away. (Lice cannot survive more than 24 hours away from the human scalp). I vacuumed everything, twice, and was prepared for the daily laundry of her sheets, clothes and towels.

But all this was, of-course, nothing compared to the main task at hand: To kill the lice.

The instructions were simple. All I had to do was put the lotion in her hair and then comb through to get rid of all those itchy bugs. Simple enough.

Armed with a fine toothed comb I was ready for the challenge:

“It’s on you bi*&es! I am taking you down!”

For two nights both the girl and I spent over an hour in her bathroom combing through her long curly hair. By day three I thought we were done.

I called her school to inform them of our infestation and they suggested that I bring her in. They would check her and if she was clear she could stay. She was not. They found a nit in her hair and sent us away.

Talk about the walk of shame!

So I then cycled through the stages of anger and depression again which were now followed by desperation: “this will never end! We will all get it and we will be the lice family: friendless and itchy.”

But then someone reminded me that I now live in America: The land of outsourcing (and the free of-course). Cue the music…

The land that invented dog-walkers, house-sitters, life-coaches and most importantly lice salons! God bless America. (I hope non-American readers can see the sarcasm here and American ones don’t see too much of it.)

The one near us is appropriately called Nit-pickers. At $90 per hour it was by no means cheap but it was so worth it. They just combed through her hair over and over again until they got rid of every louse and every nit that was hiding in there.

The professional nit-picker said that it was just a mild infestation and if I combed through her hair for another three days she should be lice and nit free. And she was. (Professional nit-picker …. So many possible jokes… so little time/limited word-count …for years I’ve just been an amateur nit-picker?)

Thankfully no-one else in the family got infested and we can now look back at it (and not laugh or even smile of-course) as a rite of passage.

But because this is not one I want to experience again I will be dipping my kids in tea tree oil before they go to school for the rest of their lives. (tip: lice don’t like the smell)

Now my head itches.

How to ruin a bridal shower

Take your young kids to it.

The end.

Really. That is all you have to do.

Sure, this is the way to ruin many events. In fact, the title of this short story could change to:

How to ruin a five course meal,


How to ruin your city vacation,


How to ruin your honeymoon,


How to ruin a heist.

But my most recent experience was at a bridal shower. So here is that story:

A few weeks ago I decided to take the kids to Philadelphia to visit my cousins. Before booking our flights, I checked if the dates worked for them. They said yes.

Unfortunately, for all involved, they hadn’t realised that they had a bridal shower to attend that same weekend. But they said:

“Bring your kids! We’re bringing ours. It’s fine, really. It will be fairly casual”

The house of the parents of the bride, who were hosting the event, was about 30 minutes from my cousin’s house. So, of-course, my two and half year old fell asleep five minutes before we got there.

Parents of toddlers know what this means. What do you do? Do you wake the beast or let him sleep hoping that he will wake up refreshed and happy. It’s like the other “Sophie’s choice”.

I went for door number two. So, as my cousin took her kids and my five-year-old daughter in, I sat in the car while the little man slept. I read the newspapers and checked facebook (how awesome are smartphones by the way? Imagine waiting or breastfeeding without one? Oh the horror!) and after about an hour I thought he should be rested enough. So I woke him up.

WRONG! Sometimes I think I’m an amateur. Honestly.

The shower “theme” was “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” We were about to turn it into “Dinner for Schmucks.”

The champagne was blue, the food excellent and the servers attentive.

The boy was cranky and whiney and hungry and insisted on sitting on my lap the whole time. (I can’t resist the predictable joke here that there was more whine coming out of the boy’s mouth than wine going into mine).

So, I sat at a table and gave him endless amounts of bread while holding the table-cloth hoping that he wouldn’t pull on it. To do this, of-course, I had to keep putting my blue champagne down, which meant that the attentive servers assumed I was finished and they would take it away. Couldn’t they see the pain in my eyes and my desperate attempts to numb it?

blue champs
After the boy was done whining and throwing crumbs everywhere someone suggested that all the kids go to the basement where they could play.

A few minutes went by so I thought I would check on them. I find the boy playing with a model Porsche car. Note that the father of the bride is a car collector. Both actual cars: Ferrari, i8, Bentley, Aston Martin, Porsche, to name just a few as well as model cars. In a moment of panic I checked with him that it’s OK and he said yes of-course. OK then, I thought to myself, maybe this won’t be too bad. The boy will play with the car, we will eat some cake, and be on our way with most of our dignity intact.

Again, what am I? an amateur?

So we went up for cake. The cake, a beautiful fondant cake shaped like a Tiffany’s box was sitting proudly on a table surrounded by chocolates and other delicious deserts. All the kids, of-course, were admiring this appetising attraction.

As the kids were playing, my daughter tried to reach for something and fell flat on the beautiful cake. The beautiful “breakfast at Tiffany’s” cake now looked more like “murder at Tiffany’s” with an outline of a 5-year-old girl’s body on it.

I wondered if perhaps it was time to go. I should have taken the hint when everyone kept telling me, “it’s OK if you want to leave, really”
They cut and served the cake, which was still delicious, and I thought OK- not bad. If anything this would make an amusing anecdote in a few days. And then the boy walked up to me.

He broke the model car. The model Porsche, which the father of the bride had apparently owned for 22 years was now broken.

It was definitely time to go.

I apologised for the cake and the car and the crumbs on the kitchen floor that could probably feed all the pigeons on Trafalgar square and suggested to my cousin that perhaps it’s time to leave.

But it was time to open the presents.

My cousin sat centre stage next to the beautiful bride to be, helping her open the presents. The children, all six of them, joined the “ceremony.”
My son quickly hopped on a revolving chair as all the kids took turns spinning him around while he was grabbing anything within reach. Crystal on coffee tables, ladies’ long hair… you name it. If he could reach it, he grabbed it.

I signal my cousin that it’s really time to go (I think most people there agreed- tip: eye rolling is usually a good indicator). I grabbed my son’s leg as he was trying to make a getaway and dragged him across the floor all the way to the front door. I thin k we may have left one of his shoes there and we definitely left some of our dignity. What is more, our presence there did more to promote birth control and or abstinence than any sex-ed class ever could.

No-one was having any babies for a while after that. In fact, I think people even used condoms when sexting… just to be on the safe side.

We got into the car and sped away as if we are escaping a bank robbery or a great heist (if bank robbers ever use a minivan as their escape car). As we looked at the clock we realised that we had been there for an hour and a half.

What felt like the longest afternoon of my life, lasted less than “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” the movie.

My top ten mommy confessions

I have a confession to make.

Actually, I have a few confessions to make, but this is not the time or the place for all of them.

Sure, not many people read this blog. But sometimes (or EVERY time when it comes to confessions) it is not so much the size of the audience that matters but its members.

But I digress.

My confessions here are all mom related.

It’s true, most of the time moms float around, yoga-pant-clad, in some sort of love-induced ecstasy.

But there are those rare moments when we have some not so positive thoughts and do some not so positive things. And that’s what makes us human.

Confession number 1: I am a stage mom of sorts

I like to give my almost three year old spicy or really sour foods so that I can see his facial expressions. I often do it more than once because the first time I wasn’t quick enough with the camera.

pickle (2)

Confession number 2: I dream of imagination play…

On days when both kids are home with me I like to play family with them. In this scenario (or should I say fantasy) I am the baby and as the parents they are trying to get me to sleep. I do it because I can lie down, close my eyes and even sleep for a few minutes while getting full credit for playing with them.

Confession number 3: Your laughter can get on my nerves

The sound of children’s laughter, you know the one that someone should bottle, label it happiness and sell around the world? Well, there are times when it sounds like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Confession number 4: My children are my “get-out-of-jail-free” card

“I’m so sad we can’t come to XX, but you know how the little one gets when he doesn’t nap”

“Oh, the little one is getting cranky, so sad we won’t get to watch your wedding video, again!”

“I’m so sorry officer! Was I speeding? My kids were screaming in the back and I guess I got a little bit distracted”

Side- bar confession: My cleavage used to be my “get-out-of-jail” card when I would get pulled-over. I figured the kids owe me since they are the ones who ruined it.

Confession number 5: Punishments have an upside

There are nights when my favourite punishment to the kids for misbehaving is “no bedtime story”. Sometimes I almost wish they misbehave so I can get out of having to read to them.

Confession number 6: It’s mine, and I don’t have to share!

I will often hide in the pantry so I can indulge on a piece of chocolate. I do this not because I feel my children will judge me for eating it (I have friends who do that!) but because I want to enjoy it without having to share it with them.

Confession number 7: Daylight savings time = Personal time sucker

As much as I love the summer I hate that it gets dark so late because it makes “shifting” the bedtime routine an hour earlier much more difficult. It’s so much easier to trick them in the winter when it gets dark at 4pm.

Confession number 8: I hate crafts

I think that play-doh is boring. Crafts are boring. Kids’ museums are boring. I have both envy and disdain for those mothers who flutter about sprinkling glitter and planning crafts.

Admitting that doesn’t make me a bad mom. The fact that I find these activities boring and still do them with my kids makes me an awesome mom! How’s that for unconditional love?

Confession number 9: I’m better than my 5 year old!

I have been in more than one argument with my five year-old about how to organise her kitchen. It gives me great joy and a sense of satisfaction when I organise it in a way that makes sense. i.e. ice-cream in the freezer, fruits and vegetables in the fridge, pizza in the oven.

My satisfaction is, of-course, quickly followed by a sense of overwhelming sadness about my life.

fridge cropped

Confession number 10: I have passive-aggressive tendencies

My daughter has beautiful long, curly hair that gets very tangled when wet. Brushing it after she’s been torturing me during her bath makes me smile a little.

Trusting our instincts

My almost three-year-old son was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis about a year and a half ago. It is an auto-immune disease that causes inflammation in his joints and if not treated could damage them permanently.

When my son turned one, just when he started walking I noticed that whenever I tried to put on his left shoe he would cry. To be fair, my son cried a lot. He was a “colicky” baby and is still a “colicky” toddler. I pointed it out to my husband who said he hadn’t noticed it and that the baby cried a lot in general.

A few months after he started walking I noticed that he was still falling a lot. Also, his walk was not as stable as other kids his age. I pointed it out to his paediatrician who said he seemed fine and that a lot of kids take longer to “stabilise”. I also contacted his physical therapist who treated him for torticollis when he was a baby. She too said some kids are just clumsy and it takes them longer to walk without falling.

I was reassured, but still something didn’t feel right.

Not long after we started noticing that he was walking on his left heel occasionally but not consistently. We could stretch his ankle and there were times that he would walk “normally” but the heel walking was hard to miss. In addition we started noticing that his ankle was now swollen.

Because his heel walking wasn’t consistent we took a video of him so we could show the doctor and went back to the paediatrician. This time they sent us for blood tests right away because the Dr suspected arthritis. He also went for X-rays. Both came back normal.

Next, we were referred to an Orthopaedic surgeon who also suspected arthritis and asked that we try to make an appointment with a paediatric rheumatologist. There are not many of them and the waiting period was going to be three to four months.

Within two weeks of seeing the Orthopaedic surgeon my son’s knee started getting stuck. He was 18 months old at this point and he could not bend his right knee. We went for an MRI, which for a child that small means general anaesthetic. It was a scary experience for all of us. The MRI showed that he had inflammation in his two joints they looked at.

We finally made it to see the rheumatologist. By then my son’s knee was “stuck” and would not straighten and he was almost exclusively walking on his left heel.

The rheumatologist said he had inflammation in both knees, both ankles, his wrists and some of his toes. We were devastated. She ordered a battery of blood tests. Watching my little toddler cry as they are trying to get eight vials of blood out of his little tiny arm was heart-breaking.

The rheumatologist prescribed a strong anti-inflammatory for the next month. It didn’t work. We saw her once a month. It was during one of the early visits that she said that he would need a steroid injection in his knee to try to manage some of the inflammation and help it get “un-stuck”. This meant more general anaesthetic for my little man.

After about two months on the anti-inflammatory, it was clear it wasn’t working. It was time to move on to a “biologic” drug she said. She prescribed ‘Humira’, which is a shot that we have to give him every other week. The concern with this drug was that it could suppress his immune system making it more difficult for his body to fight infections.

It has now been over a year. He still takes the shots but we have seen a huge improvement. He can run, climb stairs and jump, and he is a happy little boy. We also haven’t noticed him getting sick more often than other kids his age, though we have to remain vigilant of infections. Our hope is that in a few months we can start weaning him off the medication.

I am relieved to see him happy and healthy. I feel lucky to live near a major city with a good children’s hospital. We are also very lucky because we can give him ‘ Humira’, an expensive medication that a lot of insurance companies won’t cover.

As mothers we notice things before anyone else does. We know our children better than we know ourselves yet somehow we are willing to let other “consultants” tell us we are wrong, overreacting or overthinking things. I know that I was more confident to defend my instincts when I worked in communications than I am now that I am a mother 24/7. Though I will often say that I “do this for a living” so I know a thing or two.

If this experience with my son has taught me anything it’s that we should trust our instincts. If we think there’s something wrong with our babies we need to be pushy and demanding until we figure out what is happening. And if we’re wrong, and they’re fine, then no-one will be happier than us.

Husbands, the cars they drive and the balls they carry

Shortly after my husband turned 40 he traded in his fancy car for an even fancier, and more importantly, faster car.

porsche (2)
The irony of it all did not escape me, of-course, and for a while I was waiting for him to trade me in for a 25-year-old blond. He hasn’t, YET.

Of-course those who know my husband will say that he probably wouldn’t trade me in for a 25-year-old blond. He would trade me in for a 25-year-old brunette.

But that’s a topic for another time.

He loves his car. It is a beautiful Porsche Panamera Turbo and it is very fast. It can go from 0 to 60mph in less than four seconds.

I know this because he talks about cars incessantly. And as a testament to how good a wife I am (how do you make a coughing sound with text?), I listen.

I know more about cars than I care to. I can identify a Porsche S at first glance, love the idea of a Tesla, though I don’t like the look of it much and think it’s too expensive, and I will often comment on the fabulous way a Carrera 4S seems to glide on the road.

So, of-course, as the owner of a fancy fast car, my husband exhibits a lot of the behaviours we all see and hate. For example, he parks at the very far end of a parking lot, often takes up two spaces and refuses to let the kids eat certain snacks in the car.

He also likes to “intimidate” drivers on the highway. He will tailgate a slow driver in the fast lane, which in highway language translates into “get out of my way!”

He says most people will oblige. They see the Porsche behind them and they know what to do.

There is, however, one category of drivers who will not: men in minivans.

Men in minivans will happily drive at their car’s maximum speed of 60 mph, in the passing lane, and will not move over.

I think I know why:

These men have given up a lot. They have given up their dignity, their self-respect and let’s face it some of their manhood for convenience and practicality.

All this sacrifice so they can drive around in a box on wheels that can fit bicycles, scooters, skateboards, balls (by that I mean mainly baseballs, footballs and soccer balls) and many many children sitting in the back watching DVDs and snacking on sticky foods and drinks.

They see my husband and they say “screw you Porsche! I’ve given up my balls! I am not giving up my lane. This spot, in this lane, in this moment in front of your fancy fast car is all I have left. So you can go around me or suck it up. Cause I ain’t going nowhere!”

That’s my theory at least. And I’m sticking to it.