Mornings with two 2 year old’s.

Every week day morning I am home with the boys. Just as every evening my wife is home with them. I like to complain that mornings are worse because we are on a time crunch to get out the door. But really any time with twin two year olds is a total shit show.

So just snippets from this morning. From the hours of 7 AM when they wake up through 9 AM when we walk out the door.

Me- holding 4 shirts- Jackson needs options. Declan is already dressed standing next to me. Jackson is about five feet away having a meltdown because I took off his pajama shirt and he doesn’t want to put on a new shirt. Me- “This one?” holding up each shirt individually, Jackson with tears, “No!” “No!” Declan- grabs a shirt “Jacky dis one, Jacky dis one,” Proceeds to run after Jackson with a shirt in his hand. Jackson cries and screams and runs away from Declan. I’m still holding up the other three shirts telling Declan to stop chasing Jackson. “Declan, baby, thank-you, Mama’s got this,” I might as well be talking to air, because they are still screaming running in circles with Declan holding up the damn shirt. Then they stop running and screaming both end up in my lap. Then Jackson is pulling at Declan’s shirt, and Declan babbles at him, and they somehow communicate to me that Jackson needs Declan’s shirt and Declan needs the shirt in his hand. I don’t know how honestly, because they don’t speak in sentences. It’s like some weird twin language that I understand sometimes. So I unbutton and take off Declan’s shirt. Put it on Jackson. Put the other shirt on Declan.

This is all after we have established that “Mommy work” (I’m Mama) “Mommy work.” Instead of “Hi Mama,” Every morning it’s “Good morning babies,” “Mommy work?” “Yes Mommy’s at work.” Then one of them might cry or we might be okay and move onto getting dressed.

At the table for breakfast- “Wa wa Mama” “You want water?” “yes.” “please?” “pwees”. I get their two little cups, fill them up, give them each a cup, the look at the cups (they are exactly the same), then they have this whole conversation between each other, sounds like “Jacky,” “Decy, wa wa,” “Jacky, wa wa, No, Mama, pwees.” Then they hand each other their cups to switch them. Then they sit back and sip them. Apparently I gave them the wrong cups. But like seriously. Exactly the same.

Still at the table- “Ca” “Ca” “Rara Rara No!” “Ca Ca”. “Damnit, Rajha get down, guys the black one is Maddy the white one is Raja, not Cat and Rajha.” They scream “Ca” at Maddy, and “Rara” at Rajha every time one of the cats jumps on the table where they aren’t supposed to be. Every morning. Damn cats.

While we eat breakfast I always turn on some music. I have a playlist mixed of my music and kids music. Finally a Mama song comes on. “Mama no, Moana, Moana,” “Yeah but guys this is Pink, Pink is like one of the best artists…” “Mama Moana, Moana, pwees.” Me muttering under my breath that I can’t even listen to one damn Pink song with my coffee as I fast forward to a Moana song.

Inevitably at some point…Jackson screams, “PEE PEE” “PEE PEE” “PEE PEE” and wherever he is has a total shit fit and runs into the family room and lays on the ground to change his diaper. Yes. He knows when he pees, he holds his pee, and no he won’t get on the damn toilet. We are trying. So he goes and lays down, and he waits for me to come change him. And I gotta be honest. Sometimes I forget. So I’m cleaning up the kitchen, packing their diaper bag, brushing my teeth (I literally have toothbrushes, toothpaste, and deodorant in the bathrooms upstairs and downstairs and the kitchen), then I realize I haven’t seen the blonde one for awhile…”Jack-man?” “Mama pee pee.” Fuck. Right. Then I’m like how long has he been laying there? And feeling like the worst mother ever run over to change him and I find him patiently laying on the floor playing with some toy or something with a full diaper.

Getting out the door.

Herding cats. Well herding the boys and yelling at the cats as they try and sneak out the door. Then the boys start yelling at the cats and we have the same discussion. The black cat is Maddy not Cat.

Yesterday I was putting Declan’s coat on, we had already done his shoes and socks, and Jackson who always runs away, actually got within grabbing distance of me. So I grabbed him, pinned him under my legs, finished zipping up Declan’s coat with a writhing screaming Jackson trying to escape. Then I had to lay on him to get his socks and shoes on, while I’m laying on him Declan’s bring Jackson’s coat over and laying it on Jackson’s face saying “Coooooat Jack-y, coooooooat Jack-y”. I get the shoes on. I grab the coat off the even more pissed Jackson, thank Declan, and then while wrestling Jackson into his coat the car alarm goes off. I look up and Declan’s holding my keys looking guilty, clearly having pushed the panic alarm. I pin Jackson down again, Declan comes and gives me the keys, and when I finally get the coat on the car alarm off and stand up, those two cups of coffee hit me, and I’m like if I pee I lose all momentum and we never get out the door, if I don’t pee….well it may come out anyway thank you twin pregnancy.

I rush them out the door, into the garage, one in each car seat. Each with their own car toys. God forbid it’s the wrong car toy. Each with a snack. And then I thank God for remote control car starters as I open the garage, start the car, lock it, run back inside and pee before we head out for the day.

So yeah. To all my co-workers. This is why I’m freaking beat before work even starts.

Yes I love them and thank God they are cute and they give me amazing hugs. And tonight Jackson banged heads with me accidentally, and he rubbed my head with his little hand and said “I sorry Mama, boo boo,” and he kissed my head. It’s those moments that make me forget just this morning I had him pinned between my legs to get his socks on…to bed now only to wake for another adventure…

Fat to Skinny to Fat to Curvey and How Society Treated Me at Every Size.

This is a disclaimer that what follows is my own individual experience and I don’t think should be made as a gross generalization to society at large. I do not hate men, and I do not think all men are horrible. Quite the opposite. But I will write to my own experience and you can take it for what it’s worth.

I was overweight in college intermittently. Especially in my Junior year I was at my biggest. Then I got very sick, and actually that kick-started a major weight loss period for me. I started running, and I dropped from a size 16 to a size 10 over time. I felt great. I had a lot of muscle, and I was more confident than I had ever been. My blood pressure was ridiculously low and overall I was the picture of health. I honestly don’t know what my actual weight was because I’m not into numbers. I know I dropped inches around my waist and thighs and shoulders. I know I fit into clothes and felt comfortable in clothing I would not have worn had I been overweight.

Flashback to being a size 16. I’d be out at bars with my friends in college, because that’s what we did. My friends at the time were very thin and attractive. So I was kind of the fat friend. I never got hit on, and I remember a couple times actually walking by guys and one of them just looking at me and saying “Fat ____” insert whatever horrible word you can think of. I don’t know why people would do that, specifically men. But they did. I never really let it bother me, because they were usually drunk or whatever, and I just didn’t care that much. But there are girls and women who do care and who are hurt by these interactions and it just fucking blows that our society judges women by the size and shape that we are. Especially our young and vulnerable women.

Flash forward, I lose all the weight, look great, and suddenly I’m receiving male attention. And every time a guy asks me out or buys me a drink I just can’t help but think, “Would you have even noticed me a year ago? Or would you have called me fat to my face and walked away?” I had this horrible mind block because where were these guys when I was four pant sizes up? I’m still the same person size 16 or size 10. But apparently not to young men. I remember this guy wanted to go to the beach, and at first I was horrified because I’d have to wear a swimsuit. Then I was like oh yeah, I got this. But would I have ever been asked out for a date to the beach when I was overweight?

Also remember this was eleven years ago when I was 22. I do think since then society in general has made strides toward being more accepting of people at every size. I read Seventeen magazine- don’t ask- it gets sent to our house specifically to my butch lesbian wife every month I don’t know why, we don’t have a subscription, but it shows up and I’m like why not? Anyway, there are always articles about self esteem and young women of color and ads with overweight women doing yoga poses for Nike and stuff. So I do feel we are making strides.

Flash forward eight years though. I get pregnant with twins. C-section. Breastfeeding. Two years of feeling and being fat again. I had so many flashbacks to my teens and early twenties before I lost the weight. I tried so hard not to hate myself because this body had brought two beautiful lives into the world. And my wife loves me no matter what size I am. So do my sons. And my cats. Honestly it was easier to be accepting of my body size at that time because I felt I had a valid excuse. Then the more I thought about it the more I’m like why do I need an excuse to be okay with how my body looks?

Flash forward. I started working out. I use the elliptical, do weight circuits, and Denise Austin exercise videos. Yes she is beyond cheerful and annoying, the polar opposite of me, but her video’s work. Most recently in the past two months I’ve been doing hot yoga twice a week. This week I did it three times! Progress. Hot yoga is an intense yoga class in 95 degree heat with 45% humidity. With 12 bodies in there it can get up to 99 degrees. I literally want to die. But I also have sweat off a lot of body fat. I’m dropping weight like crazy and I feel amazing. My clothes are fitting again, and those muscles I used to have are coming back to life. Enter the last two weeks a few men have hit on me while at work and just out and about. Honestly I didn’t even realize male attention was missing for the last two years until I dropped weight and started getting hit on again. I was like wow. What the fuck?!

Literally my own journey of fat to not fat to fat to not fat has pointed out to me how warped our society is. How men in our society value thin women. I have only been shown male attention when I am thin. And like I said in the beginning, I’m not wanting to make gross generalizations about all men. Because that’s really not fair as my sample size is very low compared with the number of men in our world. There are also probably many overweight women who still get hit on. This is just my own personal experience.

Now could it be that I am just happier because I feel so much better and attract people to me because I am happier? If I was a bubbly person I’d say yes. But I’m not. My baseline somewhat cantankerous personality has not changed at all with my weight and my wife can attest to that.

Then I’m thinking how can we raise our sons to not EVER be this way? I mean physical attraction is absolutely a part of every relationship and there has to be chemistry and attraction. But why and how are we grooming our children to think that attraction can only be to skinny?

I’m also not a proponent of people being unhealthy. Morbid obesity and obesity in general leads to heart disease, diabetes, etc. but I wasn’t morbidly obese, I was out of shape and recovering my body from carrying twins. And some one can be a size 14 or 16 and still be healthy depending on their lifestyle.

I don’t know what the answer is. But I know this is a problem. I’ve experienced it first hand.

By the way I’m also married to a woman so when men hit on me I’m like dude. Go away.

I work in psychiatry so I by nature am always analyzing human behavior. I just find it puzzling that when I drop pant sizes I all the sudden become more interesting. Our society is very attraction based and it’s so pervasive and sometimes overt but sometimes so subtle that we are not even aware of it. I wouldn’t be had I not gone through this yo-yo with my body weight over the last decade plus.

At the end of the day what I do for my body I do for myself, for my health, for me to feel good about me. I could give two shits what others think about me. But I see clients on the regular who do not have that resilience and who are overcome with intrusive thoughts about what others are thinking about them. I think part of the solution is kindness, compassion, and empathy, and looking beyond body size and shape to the person. No matter what size I am some people just don’t like me. I’m okay with that. No matter what size some people are though, they are still amazing people that we as a society are destroying one fat joke at a time. Remember when Oprah’s weight would yo-yo and it would be all over the news?

They focused on her weight instead of her being this ground-breaking amazingly intelligent Woman of Color kicking ass and taking names. After any celebrity gives birth it’s how long did it take them to lose the baby weight? Not- she is beautiful and just went through this trauma to her body, and has a beautiful baby. Roseanne- I hate that she likes #45 however I am obsessed with her show. Two main characters who were overweight and it didn’t matter. Ground-breaking. We need more Roseanne’s and Oprah’s and Maya Angelou’s, and women who are intelligent and beautiful and who are loved and admired at any size. We also need our society to be more open to this concept for the future of all our young girls.

Violence Against Nurses

So I’ve been MIA for a little bit. I’ve been dealing with a lot personally and professionally. Professionally it’s brought up a lot of memories from when I worked in the emergency department as a staff nurse. Warning- this blog post has nothing to do with me being a lesbian mom- it’s a memory and commentary on violence toward women and the state of our health care system. Seeing our current administration downplay and ignore the #Metoo movement pisses me off. Feeling scared and vulnerable also pisses me off. So I’m going to tell a story as to why we need to have discussions around violence.

I had been working at the ED for over six years, almost seven. It was a crazy night, I was in triage. We had a lot of psychiatric patients in the ED, which is NOT the place for them, but there is no place for them, so there you go.

We had a lot of medical emergencies, and then they panic alarm went off. We use that to alert security and staff that we need bodies with the psychiatric patients because some one is escalating. There always has to be a nurse in triage. So my partner went to the back to check it out, security guards ran by, the rest of the nurses were in a medical emergency. I was in the middle of a triage assessment when I heard screaming. Not patient’s, but staff. Lots of screaming.

I followed the screams and rounded the corner and saw a pretty gruesome scene. Two nurses had been physically and violently assaulted by a patient. There was blood, clumps of hair, and what would turn out to be permanent injuries. There were about six security guards holding the patient who was still fighting. There was blood running down the faces of at least three of guards. The nurses who were attacked were screaming and crying, and in shock and I dragged them into a closet because all the patients in the ED could see them. It’s all very open. There was a doctor with them who also went into the closet. It was a big closet. I remember I grabbed gauze and held it over the blood on the guard’s faces because it was pouring into their eyes.

This was as bad as it sounds. No charges were pressed against the patient even though both nurses tried, because of a variety of reasons the police would not do it. It was quite possibly the worst part about the whole experience. They had permanent injuries and they would never obtain justice. It’s also sad because who wants to press charges against a psychiatric patient? No one. But in that moment, when I had known all of those staff members for over six years, and we were friends and we had each other’s back, to see them hurt was fucking awful. It was painful, and made us all feel pissed and vulnerable and scared.

I had to go back to work the next day. I don’t know how I did it, but I did. And when I got to the doors two nurses were standing there. They had been there the night before too. They couldn’t go in. None of us wanted to. We all wanted to walk away, erase that memory. Erase the fear. We all didn’t even say anything, at some point though one of us badged open the doors and we all silently filed in for our shift. We didn’t need to speak.

The part about going back after seeing something horrific is that today it could be us.

The week of my wedding, a couple years earlier, I got kicked in the ribs by a patient. I was bending over to pick up something on the floor and they just kicked me. I had a bruise on my ribs about 4 inches in diameter while my family tied me into my corseted dress.

I was no stranger to the violence of working in the ED, and it’s something that when you are there you have to kind of put out of your head otherwise it would just break you.

I don’t know what the solution to this problem is. But I know it’s a problem. I also know hospitals don’t like to talk about it, and they don’t like to take responsibility for it, and management likes to minimize it and it falls to the RNs on the front lines walking in every day not knowing if they are going to leave with a black eye or worse.

If you know a nurse thank them. Because you cannot possibly imagine the shit they see and face on a daily basis.

If you are a nurse. Keep fighting. We need rights, we need protection, and we will get none of it if we let these things keep happening with no recourse.

Thank-you to the state of CT who passed legislation making it a felony to assault a healthcare worker in the line of duty. Don’t be scared to utilize it.