She Runs A Good Race

mothering is a marathon

Moms’ Night Out Junkie

I’m a group-y kind of girl. I always have been.  No, not that kind.

I love the village of my girlfriends that I get to live in from time to time.  Were it not for my girlfriends or fellow mom friends, I would not be as validated, or as encouraged, as I need to be.  In fact, you probably would not want to be around me.  Because my true girlfriends challenge me to be the best me, at the same time they accept and love me as I am…a flawed mother just trying to do the darn best I can.

And I must say—I have a fantastic-keeper-of-a-husband, but husbands are not girlfriends, and they are not meant to be.  It’s just not fair to expect that from them.  They are, well, different from us. (I may get in trouble for saying that…)

Women need women. Mothers need other mothers.  The friendship of fellow women and fellow moms, the camaraderie, and the i-get-you-and-you-get-me-ness is absolutely priceless.  There is a warm, friendly feeling when we girls commune and gab, gab, gab, uninterrupted by children screaming in the background, like when on a phone-call with a friend.  We feel understood and we offer validation to one another.  Not to judge or compare or criticize.  We do that enough to ourselves don’t we?

ESPECIALLY in the special needs game that I am in.

And in the same vein, couples need couples in their corner.  Families need other families.  I say this, again, especially as parents of children with special needs. We just “get” that all families with special needs kids have gone through some excruciating journey.  Without having to say much, there’s an instant bond, as “we’re fellow survivors.”   Like being in a foreign country and running into someone from our hometown, and there’s this huge moment of comfort and identity all wrapped together.

Although each of our journeys may be a little different, or a LOT different, there is a bond of compassion and empathy.  We all understand the cycles of grief, of blow-your-mind frustrations and stresses.  And oh, the victories in achieving milestones…how they mean so much, vastly more than in our “typical” children sometimes. (And we don’t want to admit it, but we feel it inside.)

I am eternally grateful for my two special needs moms groups—one within the PWS community and one within my school district.  Neither one is formal.  There are no dues required.  No rules.  Anyone is welcome.  We don’t have to ACCOMPLISH anything.  We schedule a dinner out periodically at a very yummy restaurant (this part required) and just be.  Together.  “Moms’ Night Out.”  (This goes for my “regular girlfriend moms” and “non-mom girlfriends” as well, by the way. You know who you are and how I treasure you so so so much!)

And maybe these nights out feel so good because they are nights OFF.  A break from the intensity, the demands, the needs, the food schedules, the questions, and the nighttime growth hormone shots.

We share laughs sometimes till our drinks come out our noses…then we share tear jerking stories till you know what comes out of same noses.   Venting, sharing, encouraging each other along.  We snort and make snarky comments…about the thousands of questions our children are ALWAYS asking.    We have drinks and delicious entrees.  I learn and grow so much from the other women and their savvy in getting what their child needs, through the school or the regional center.  I am inspired anew to be more calm, calm, CALM, and patient in my hectic hamster-wheel life.

Every time I drive away from a “Moms’ Night Out,” I relish in the feeling that I am not alone.  We are not alone.



Lice Lice, Baby

It happened. A new motherhood-rite-of-passage.

You hope, hope, hope, it never will and then it does.  Kate and I  got lice.  Ewwwww….just say it.  (Are you scratching your head yet?)

Kate had been scratching her head for a week or so, and I was faithfully checking her hair and scalp.  AND NOT FINDING A THING.

Then, the morning we were set to leave for a lovely nearby resort, I had the silly notion to check her again.  I found LIVE LICE on her head! Double ewwwww!!  In a New York minute, I pulled out the NIX and started in on her.  Tears.  Hers. Mine.

Then I called the pediatrician for additional help.  A nurse said to put mayonnaise on her with a shower cap and have her sit in the sun for 20 minutes. That would do it!

My husband and I went into high gear.  I mean HIGH GEAR.  We stripped Kate’s room down, put her mattress on the driveway, threw out her pillow, and bagged every toy, stuffed animal (does she need so many?), and dolls.  All bedding and towels (even clean ones) in the house became Mount Kilamanjaro of laundry in my kitchen.   All pillows, decorative pillows, and sofa cushions were bagged and put in the sun.  Sofa and carpets vacuumed.  My adrenaline was pumping and I had mixed feelings of anger, disappointment, and a just-get-it-done attitude.

I “googled” Hair Fairies and found the “Hair Angels” in our area. The Hair Angels come to you!!  I knew it’d be costly, but who else could come and check us and treat us? How was I to know if I really got all of it out Kate’s hair? Who would check me?

Chris and the boys left for the resort, and would return for the home appointment.  Kate and I did laundry and played cards while we waited for our “angel” to arrive.  And waited.  And did more laundry.  I let Kate eat junk food and watch tv. Whenever.  I just let THAT all go.  The poor girl would burst into tears spontaneously, as she thought we would never get to “the fancy resort.”

At last, Zigi (her real name) arrived! She checked Chris and the boys first and they were clear to return to Paradise.  Kate and I—well not so much. She found lice on me, too. Not much, but does that mean you itch less and are grossed out ANY LESS?  One egg or one live louse is all you need to get it.  The Hair Angel went through every single strand of hair with her metal comb.  As she poked and pulled I asked a bazillion questions and took furious notes.

Here are a few magical things I learned:

1).  Lice cannot live beyond 24 hours without human contact. (THANK GOD we were going to Terranea overnight.  If anything was in the house, it’d be dead when we got back.)

2).  Lice can hold their breath for 3 hours.

3).  Washing doesn’t kill them.  It’s the hot dryer (for at least 20 minutes) that kills them and the eggs.

4).  Chemicals you buy to “kill” don’t penetrate the lice eggs, also called nits.  Its the tedious, laborious combing out that rids you of it all.

5). Mint spray is an effective repellant for every day use.  (You can purchase from the Hair Angel Company.) Tea tree oil or peppermint oil also help to repel, but a little smelly and greasy.

6). Lice love and cling to clean hair.  So don’t wash your kids hair every day.

7).  You get lice or you don’t get lice, when exposed to it.  Not for any other reason.

8).  Lice cling to the hair shaft when you are in a swimming pool.  (So swimming at the resort would not endanger other kids or people in the pool.)

9).  Once you have been treated, you MUST check your hair with the metal comb for 7 days, sometimes 14 days, to make sure you don’t get re-infested.

10).  Every morning during the same time period, you must put your bed pillow and linens in the hot dryer for 20 minutes to kill anything that may possibly be there.  (Being Paranoid Polly that I am, I did it for 30 minutes.)

The Hair Angel was worth every penny ($226), to be assured of being completely free of any lice or eggs in our hair.  Thankfully Kate and I don’t have thick, long hair either, or we could have spent double or triple that amount.

I had lice dreams for a week in between flip-flopping around all night.  I was still itchy-twitchy and fearful it was not gone.  I was following all the rules and being crazy consistent with cleaning. (Even more than what’s normal for me.)  I still feared we had it.

But when Zigi came back a week later to give us all our get-out-of-jail pass, I was ecstatic!  I was relieved that life could be normal again!  I told Zigi, “You must be so fulfilled knowing you TRULY help people all day long.” She just smiled sweetly.

I hope I never, ever see her again.  And I mean that in the nicest of ways.