Being a Dad…the best role I've ever had.

Archive for the ‘Wife’ Category

Dealing with the meltdown

For the last couple of years, it seemed that Preston’s loss of temper had subsided.  In the past, it would not take much to set him off. Indeed, moving a book from one side of a table to the other would be enough to cause him to meltdown.  Generally, though, when he was like that, it might also mean he was getting sick.  His outbursts were often tied to his health.  I don’t know if that is an Autism trait or not, but it was certainly his.

As he got older, he learned to deal with things a lot better. With coaching from us as well as an intolerance for his outbursts, he has learned to cope with the situations that cause him so much angst.  I say intolerance because he had begun to get somewhat violent.  And, he is a strong child.  The fear of him hurting himself, one of the other kids or even us led us to deal with it a bit more harshly than before.  He knows his outbursts will get him punished, either loss of electronics, no friends coming over to play or some other appropriate form of punishment.  While this may seem over arching for a child with his issues, it has, nonetheless, helped him with boundaries. And, he definitely needs boundaries. More on that in a bit.

He is a second grader now and has matured a great deal.  We thought those tantrums were about done.

They aren’t.

Lately, he has regressed back to the tantrums.

Like today.

My wife signed the family up for the local YMCA.  So, she takes the three year old and Preston. My 18 year old followed later.  While at the Y, Preston and Xander were in the big kids and little kids areas. Xander played and had a good time.  Preston had a good time as well, until…

…he wanted to do the rock climb wall, which was closed.

Oh boy.

Preston misunderstood what my wife had said about it and took her comment as a hard fast promise that he could climb the wall.  The Y, however, said otherwise.  Preston melted down.  This wasn’t just a melt down for a few minutes. Oh no. It went on for quite some time.  She brought him home this way. He refused to get out of the car. She called me to help.

So, I go out to help him. Find out what happened, that sort of thing.

One of the things I learned about him, early on, is that he needs a lot of physical connection while he is this way, either holding him down, hugging him or simply sitting close to him with an arm around him. It’s a reassurance, I think, that he is loved.  He’s never said that, but I think that is what he believes. Any way, I sit on the edge of the car seat and hug him. He almost immediately calms, but not all the way. 

I could not understand him, so I had him calm down some more.  I hugged and had him squeeze my hands.  That usually distracts him and I make a dumb comment about it and he usually laughs.

Not tonight.

So, I resort to Dad and tell him he needed to suck it up and tell me what was wrong.  The way I said that (and not with those words, but something close—and clean) must have struck him as funny because he half smiled, settled down and told me about the wall.

I reassured him that Mommy would not lie and that she did not know that the wall was closed.  And, that sometimes, things he is told are just wrong.  I shared a short story about an experience I had (he seems to like that) and then suggested that we go inside for some good old ice cream. That always makes me feel better. He agreed.  I told him I would not talk about this incident anymore tonight, but we would discuss it again.  He seemed to get better after that.

The thing with Preston and situations like this is that he is quite literal.  If I say ‘I am going to jump down your throat and kick your liver out’ he will sit there and try to figure out how I would really do that. I had to explain that it was just a saying…a joke…nothing serious, because, after all, I am far too big.  He understands that, but the original statement was over his head. But, when his mom said he could do that wall if it were available was interpreted by him as ‘you can do that wall’.  The rest was lost to him.  And that is his biggest problem now:  trying to figure out what he should take as fact and what he can ignore.  He often chooses to ignore and that is just as bad.

A long time ago, we started to set boundaries for him.  No more playing in our bedroom. He has his own PLUS a room downstairs he can play in.  No more using our bathroom in our bedroom: there is one in the hall for him to use.  Things like that.  Why? Well, as he is both literal AND a rule follower, this was the start of his education on how to act socially AND deal with a teacher in school.  Plus, our bedroom is just that: OURS.  It is not his, nor anyone else’s in the house. This also taught him that other bedrooms were also off limits.  It was an adjustment, but came through very well. Unfortunately, he has not quite figured out that there are boundaries outside of our house, but he is close. Very close.

It is interesting to see and understand how his brain processes and acts out situations.  While it can be problematic, such as today’s problems, it is also a very cool thing.  For all of the meltdowns, we have had many, many more great conversations about the stars, science, religion, racing, video games, war and a host of things. Mostly games and science.  The  breadth of his interest can, at times, be very cool.  I often forget how old he is.  He asks better questions than many adults I know.  How freaking cool is that?

Tonight was the first time he’s had a melt down like this since we got his diagnosis. Let me tell you, it was far easier to deal with, knowing WHY he is like this, than it ever was prior to the diagnosis. I felt so much more calmness in talking to him and not once did I lose my composure…something that has happened in the past.  When this used to happen, and we did not know why, it was frustrating.  He’s melted down over something so trivial as not using what he thought was the right door to exit Applebee’s.  Not knowing why he did was frustrating. Not knowing that there was a reason for this and he wasn’t just being stubborn made it very difficult at times to stay focused on calming him down and not resorting to threats about his toys or, worse, losing one’s composure and yelling.

Tonight, I knew why he did this (but, not the trigger) so it was easier to sit there, let him be him and try to calm him with out getting excited myself.  Staying calm certainly helped him to get calm and I was also able to determine that things that used to work, no longer do. 

And that is key.  Watch, regroup and try again.  But, stay calm.  His Mother figured out this out a long time ago, it took me a little longer.  He also seems to react better with me than her.  I don’t know why, it is not anything she is doing wrong. No, she is very caring and very loving, especially when he is that way.  I am a little more gruff.  I don’t know if that is it, may be he needs a little toughness, maybe it is the father figure (his biological father can also get him calm) who knows.  And don’t misunderstand, she does a great job with him.  She knows how to talk to him and can sense when he gets out of sorts. She changes her voice and supermom comes out.  Most of the time, she can fend off a melt down, which is probably why they got fewer and fewer.  Sometimes, though, he just snaps.  Like tonight.

We complement each other, I think. I’ve learned a great deal from her…when not to continue a line of thinking, when, and when not to talk to him about something, what battles to just let go and more.  I’ve taught her that certain things, even with his issues, just cannot be allowed.  The boundaries.  And also that it is OK to NOT blame oneself.

Children like Preston are the way they are because they are different. It does not mean it is your fault as a parent. It is not your fault they scream and throw fits in public. It is no one business, even in a public gym or restaurant. Embarrassing, maybe, but not your fault.

After the outburst tonight, we had ice cream and Preston went on to, happily, do his chores and watch a couple of YouTube videos. It was like nothing had happened.  And, that is the way with him. After these episodes, all is good.  He may have a headache, but he tends to forget that he had even had the meltdown.  Tomorrow, he probably won’t remember.

We will.

We have a diagnosis…followup

I recently wrote about my step son’s autism diagnosis.  I want to expound a bit on that post.  I thought about just editing it, but decided to write a new post, I don’t want to confuse anyone who already read it and I’d like to say more.

Early on, right after my wife had moved in with me, I thought my step son was spoiled and that he got by with a lot.  And, that is true:  my wife will tell you that, yes, he was spoiled and he did get by with a few things. There are reasons for that and I will get into that in a bit.  I also thought ‘well, he isn’t acting that much different than an ‘x’ year old (supply any number for ‘x’.)  Well, yeah, he was.  See, my problem has more to do with MY perception of how a child SHOULD be.  It is different from yours, I am sure.  We tend to compare things with that we know.  For example, I tend to use my first son as a reference, even though I know he was unusual. Unusual in that he was quiet, liked to play on his own, etc.  So, that was my reference point.  Add to that, my mother was a foster parent and she also baby sat children.  So, having been around children my entire life, I thought I knew what I was seeing.  And, yes, some of that behavior was normal and very appropriate for his age. Most, though, was not. And that is what I missed.

Now, when he was younger, he had many, many sensory issues and, as such, was unable to play outside.  The dirt, grass, rain, snow…most things that we would take for granted, he had major problems with…especially sand and snow.  So, since he could not play outside, he was allowed to throw things inside.  Let me tell you, I was appalled the first time I saw it and went off the deep end.  All I could see was my expensive gear getting broken, broken glass everywhere and a lot of money to replace the broken stuff.  Even after the reason he did that was explained to me, I still had (and still do) had issues with throwing balls-or anything-in the house.  Yes, it is still forbidden.  We had to figure out how to get him to play outside and understand that, here, it was not allowed to throw things in the house. 

As time went on, though, it became less of an issue as he learned to play outside and, now, he loves it—when he does not want to play video games, this is.

Once I knew WHY he did what did and WHY he ‘got by with it’, I adjusted and adapted.  Rules are rules, even for him.  The key is to figure out how to implement them in a way to accommodate his issues.  So, we started out by allowing it in one large room of the house, where there were no expensive things to break and we limited it to only softer balls. It was also allowed in the hall up to the room.  This worked well.

The sensory thing was a big indicator of a problem.  Most of us have some kind of sensory intolerance, be it loud noises, the feel of a fabric, the texture of a food. We all have experienced this at some point in our lives. For some, though, there’s a multitude of issues and my step son had a bunch.  From food textures (he is the ONLY kid I know who cannot tolerate mashed potatoes, as soon as they touch his tongue, the gag reflex kicks in and…boom!  Out go the potatoes.  He also does not like certain fabrics touching his skin.  Sand used to freak him out.  Anything with a non-smooth texture bothered him.  His socks being ‘twisted’. 

Some of these I understood. The sock thing? Over my head. I just could not fathom that idea that he could feel that or that it felt wrong. I just couldn’t.  I would often just brush it off.  And, let me tell you, that is something you SHOULD NOT DO. Period. NEVER ignore it. NEVER think ‘well, that’s just crap’. Never. Don’t do it.  It means something to those who experience it and should not be dismissed. Ever.  Help them with fixing it.  If it takes a few minutes, deal with the delay yourself, don’t put it on them.  It will just make it worse.  I know first hand.  Little dude, I am so sorry for that.

For children like my step son, there is a time for ‘the lesson’ and a time for just letting them do it their way.  If there are two doors that go to the same place and they pick the right door instead of the one you were going to use, just suck it up and go through the door they want.  That is a small battle you do not need to win.

The battles you DO want to win are the ones that teach them something.  The ones that keep them safe.  The ‘lesson’. 

So, what’s the ‘lesson’?  Well, that’s when they do something they think is the right way, but you know it isn’t.  One that will get them laughed at or scorned later in life in a job, school or other social setting.

And, that’s the key: social setting.  Children like Preston, my step son–my son–lack many social skills, including when to be polite, when to take feelings into account, when to back off.  He’s got the basics down, he knows how to introduce himself and he will participate in things, but he will also tell you if he thinks something is stupid, not thinking about that would affect the others.  That is a foreign concept. And that is where you give ‘the lesson’.  I’m not going to go into much about that for now.  I am going to write about that in another post.

Thinking back, there were many signs I just could not see due to my own preconceptions.  This makes me wonder how many children out there need help but, likely, won’t get it because of someone like me.  Fortunately, Preston has a great support system in my wife, his father, his grandparents, brother and myself.  Recognizing that the melt downs — NOT the other stuff — I realized that, yeah, something was off and, after several years, we finally know why.

What I am trying to say, is that you need to have an open mind and throw out any ideas you have about how children SHOULD be.  It’s tough to do,  and, at times, you will regress back into that comfort zone, but, don’t do it. 

Remember, it is about them, not you.  They need your help more than you need for them to be perfect.

We have a diagnosis

When I remarried, I gained something really cool:  another son.  Now 8, he is one cool little kid.  But, we’ve known for years that something wasn’t quite right about him.  He is not shy, he’ll start playing with any child who will talk to him.  He is friendly enough, and is very smart.  But, he was prone to ‘melting down’ quite a bit, over little things.  If you moved something that he thought should not be moved, it would cause an episode.  If he did not get his way, he melted down.  You get the idea.

Not all of the melt downs were bad, some just involved a lot of crying. Others were physical.  It was a crap shoot.

Oddly enough, he did not always melt down.  Sometimes, he just accepted it and moved on—like a ‘normal’ child may do.  From my point of view, he was just acting like a spoiled child.  See, he had been allowed a lot of freedom, like jumping on furniture or throwing balls in the house, things I did not allow.  But, the melt downs would happen outside the house as well.  Sometimes it was as small as not getting a piece of candy or we walked through a different door than the he wanted.  This made me wonder and I, finally, began to think my wife was right…this was not normal.

As he grew older, the melt downs diminished. He started school and, at first, everything seemed to be OK.

They weren’t. We were noticing things like his inability to listen to others.  His lack of empathy.  A growing self-awareness and self-centeredness.  He was, at times, not very grateful at receiving gifts. 

Then, the melt downs returned.  In second grade, he had to be removed from his class (a fact that we did not know until much later) because of a melt down.  He came home one day, all out of sorts, because a sign had been left up that told the class they were going outside when, in fact, weather did not allow it. 

These were all signs that he has a problem, but doctors did not want to label him.

Well, after a lot of grief and perseverance, we finally have a diagnosis: Autism.  Fortunately, it is of the type that he will be able to function and have a somewhat normal life, but will need a lot of help. 

Help from my wife and I, help from his father and his wife, the school, families and friends.  He is a great kid and I am hopeful that he will learn to deal with his issues, but, more importantly, we, as his parents, learn to deal with them so we can teach and help him. He is one awesome little boy.

Life goes on

1988.  I was working two jobs, one at a company that made the front end gear for pocket paging systems and a part time job at a local video store (remember them?) I was content, for a change.  I was making a little money, had an automobile and … not much else.  Later in the summer, I was laid off from my full time job (who buys paging equipment anyway?) and went full time at the video store. In management.  Which, for me, was kind of funny.

My first assignment was at a store in Colonial Heights. It was a very busy store and a challenging position. Second Assistant Manager.  Oh boy. I was a MANAGER! I was there for a few months and was transferred to a store in Richmond’s west end. This store, as I was told, was a mess.  I was to help straighten it out.  I was promoted to ASSISTANT MANAGER too.  A plus, since it meant a raise.

Well, my first day at the store was uneventful except for my introduction to one of the staff.  A perky and young person, she was very friendly and seemed to get along with everyone.  I was smitten.  Toward the end of her shift, she asks if she can leave a little early. Jokingly, I look at my watch and said ‘yeah, I suppose so!’.  She gave me an odd look, thanked me and left.

After a few months, I was completely taken with this person and gathered up enough courage to ask her out. She turned me down. Not once, but several times.  One day, though, she said sure.  Now, today, I probably would have gotten into trouble for asking a subordinate out, but it was a different time then. 

That first date? Well, it was terrible. We saw the movie ‘Ghost’ and both had had bad days.  We did agree, however, to try it again.  That second date was way better, though I could not tell you what we did or where we went.  I’m sure it was dinner and something, but I forget.  That first date, though? I still remember it.  Unfortunately, nothing remains today of that date.  The restaurant is history. The movie theater is now a Kroger. The cars we had? Both are gone. 

We went on to more dates and I eventually married her.  We bought a house, which is now someone else’s home.  We had a child, who is now graduating high school and is no longer my ‘little’ buddy. 

June 7, 2015 marks the fifth anniversary of Jo Ellen’s passing.  And, while I do miss her, I know that she is no longer in the bad spot that trapped her  for the last two years of her life.  That life is gone, but the happier memories remain.  As I go through boxes that have lay dormant for four years now, I find pictures, yearbooks and other mementos from that part of my life. I am happy to find them and I realize that life, my life, has gone on.

And, so too is my desire to write about it. This will, likely, be the last time I write about that part of my life. I have another wonderful wife, two more wonderful kids and look forward to making more memories with them. 

Jo Ellen’s death was devastating for me, my family and our friends.  It was unexpected and seemingly out of nowhere.  One day she is in the hospital for muscular problems and, then…the ICU and she’s gone.  I will never forget the lifeless stare or having to tell my then 12 years old son he has lost his mother.  It is seared in my memory forever.  The decisions I had to make that day will haunt me as well.  But, there is a bright side.  She is no longer in pain. She is no longer suffering the deep depression she had fallen into and she is at peace. 

After five years, my life is completely different. While I do miss her, I have gone forward with life.  I have married another wonderful woman who has accepted my son as hers and given me another biological son and a really cool step-son.  Jo Ellen would approve, she always told me I needed to remarry if something ever happened to her because Chase needed a Mom and I needed someone who could tell me where my socks were and what day it was.  She was right.

Oh, and the comment I made to her that first day and the odd look? Well, I found out, years later, that she thought I was an ogre! She did not realize I was just having some fun. I’m glad she, eventually, realized that.

The most difficult thing I had to tell my son

Being a Dad is something I cherish. It encompasses many, many terrific moments and some not so terrific moments.  We don’t like having to discipline our children or watch them fail, but that is part of being a parent and part of the growing process. Perhaps, however, there is one thing that a parent does not ever want to do…that a child should never have to go through, yet many will.

And so, three years ago, I had to do just that.

My wife had been in the hospital for nearly a month for some kind of muscular problem that was causing her to lose mobility.  For a short time, things looked better. She was undergoing therapy and was receiving treatment.  Everyday, I would take Chase to school and go to the hospital to stay with my wife.  Some days, I would go into the office before heading to the hospital. Eventually, I took a leave from work and just went to the hospital.  Chase would come to see his mother, most days, after school.  However, as the time wore on, he stopped wanting to spend time at the hospital and I don’t blame him. By that point, she was heavily medicated and not always lucid. Even so, we all remained optimistic, including the one doctor who was really digging in and searching for her problem.

One day, I went into the office for a few hours. While there, I got one of those feelings that told me I had to leave. I told my supervisor that I needed to leave and then I went to the hospital. Upon arriving there, I went to her room and she was gone—no sign that she was in the room, ever.  Panicked, I went to find a nurse, who, very tersely, informed me that she was in ICU. She had aspirated in her sleep and developed pneumonia.  Her immune system was already ripped to shreds, so this did not help.

A couple of days later, I took Chase to see his mom.  It was a good visit, but a short one. He could not handle seeing her with tubes in her and nearly unintelligible. So, I took him home and went back for a few hours. 

That Monday, I was feeling pretty good about her prognosis and was thinking the worst was behind us. I took Chase to school and proceeded to the hospital. On the way, however, the doctor called me and said that she had taken a turn for the worse and that I should go to the waiting area first. He would meet me there.  Well, he didn’t but another doctor did. He was not sure about what was going on, and walked with me to her ICU room. She had experienced something like a stroke and it blew out her pupils. I knew at that point, this was very serious. While waiting for the other doctor, a friend dropped by.  It was that point the doctor came in and told us that my wife would not likely make it into the evening.

Needless to say, this was quite a shock. The first think I though of was Chase. How in the world am I going to tell my twelve year old son that he is about to lose his mother?  The drive from the hospital to the school was one of the longest drives in my entire life and one I never want to make under those circumstances ever again.

Arriving at the school, I goto the attendance office and tell the lady what was going on. She sent someone to get him.  As soon as he saw me, I could tell his heart just sank.  I walked him, quietly, out of the building. Once outside, I knelt down and just told him. Told him that his mother would not likely make it through the day.

The drive to the hospital was quiet, with an occasional ‘are you ok?’ coming from one of us.  Friends and family had gathered at the hospital by the time we got there.

Chase did not want to go into her room, which I quite understood.  I stayed with him for a bit and then went back to her room.

At some point, I had to make the decision to not continue any attempt to prolong her life. Doing so would, likely, cause more harm than good and that she would have no quality of life. I could not bear that. She lasted several hours after they stopped the drugs. 

“What am I going to do with Chase? How am I going to handle him?” were the first things that came to me when the doctor pronounced her dead.  I, yet again, had to go tell my son that something bad has happened to his mother.

He knew, as soon as walked into the waiting room. He was so brave, more so than I was.  We hugged for what probably seemed like an eternity to him. I took him back to say his goodbye to her once they had cleaned her up and removed the tubes.  We all cleared the room for him.  He spent a few minutes with her and then wanted to leave.

His school had advised me that his grades were high enough that he would not have to come back (there was only a couple of weeks left) but he may want to come the last day to say bye to his school mates and partake in the picnic.  He actually wanted to go back after only a few days.

We palled around those first few days after her death. I realized just how much about my son I did not know. That really bothered me and still does.  He was way more stronger than I was…he was my rock.

Perhaps the worst part of her death was the timing…Chase’s birthday was two weeks after she died.  What in the world would I do to at least make his birthday somewhat normal? Well, I followed through with plans that we were making prior to her hospitalization. I took him and his cousin to a Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg. It would be the first of many things I wanted to do to keep him busy.  

Right or wrong, I did everything I could to keep both us from thinking too much about the that May and June.  We took a few short trips to amusement parks in Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina. Those weekend trips were a lot of fun and the time we would spend together in the evenings, when I would get home from work were awesome. 

I worried that he had not grieved very much but was assured that he would, in time. He has, but I still question whether I did the right things or not. There is rule book for something like and people handle death in many different ways. Chase has so many people who care and love him and the outpouring of support that we both got was overwhelming. Most of that support was for him, as it should be. I cannot thank enough, all of the people who stepped up to keep him busy while I worked during that summer.

It has been three years now since I had to tell my son that he lost his mother.  In that time, we grew close and then seem to drift apart a bit. I think that is normal in father-son relationships, once the son is a teenager.

Chase may or may not realize it, but I love him very much and having to deliver two pieces of news like that were the most difficult things I ever had to do. Something I hope I never have to repeat.

Ever.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg…not putting its breast foot forward (here’s a hint…they need women in charge)

One of the benefits of being a Dad is that you are not the Mama. In my case, I don’t breast feed my 12 week old son. For me, that’s a bonus.  For my wife, however, it is both a blessing and a curse. However, before I go on, let me say that is a beautiful thing to witness: that closeness of mother and child. A symbiotic relationship that, until recently, I never fully appreciated.

My late wife was unable to breast feed and it always angered me the attitude that many took toward her for not doing so.

Fast forward fifteen years and my current wife is breast feeding our infant. I totally get why mother’s want to do so: that is a very strong bond and something that is just wonderful to witness. Overall, it’s such a natural and lovely thing…until you go out.

While April has yet to encounter any prejudice or been told to stop, you can see how uncomfortable and just how ill-equipped many places are to handle such things. Places that purport to be family and child friendly. Like a theme park. Busch Gardens Williamsburg, to be specific.

I had recalled seeing several ‘nursing stations’ in the past, but never paid much attention to them. Well, we recently went to Busch Gardens Williamsburg-it is, after all, our favorite amusement/theme park. Big, beautiful, good food and very family friendly.

Except for the nursing stations. 

Elmo land, Sesame Woods or what ever they call the newest kids section is one area where, one would think, there would be nice, accommodating nursing areas. Wrong. They have ONE, little, tiny room with a stool.That’s it. If there’s more than one child who needs feeding, well…mom just has to whip it out and let the child eat.

And that is precisely what happened. 

April was lucky and got the room.  I  am standing outside, waiting. This tall, somewhat thin woman walks up with her infant. Knocks, realizes the room is occupied and turns around and sits on the carrier that she was pushing her child in. Next thing I know, the child is feeding. The woman is sitting there, just smiling and feeding her kid. She did it so fast, I did not realize what she had done.  The woman obviously knew how to discreetly feed her kid. Thing is, she should not have had to do that. (As it turns out, she was a lactation specialist…she and April spoke for a few minutes.)

Now, the other theme park in the Richmond area, Kings Dominion-which, really, is second rate to Busch Gardens-has a really nice BUILDING devoted to the little ones with nearly half of the building devoted to breast feeding Mom’s. It is a decently sized building. A large play area, staffed desk, diaper changing areas, microwave and bottle warmers are available and…five rooms to breast feed. Comfy chairs too.  The difference in the parks, I’m sure, is that there were likely women involved in the Kings Dominion area and men for Busch Gardens. (In fact, we did speak with an employee who suggested that it was, in fact, all men who were in charge.) It is almost enough to me ashamed to be a dude.

However, at least BGW does have them. Most public places do not.  Now, I’m not advocating a law that would require it, however I would think that many business with the room would at least have a small area where a Mom could take care of such things and not make others uncomfortable.

And, I have to wonder, what’s the uncomfortable business about anyway? Most woman can ‘whip it out’ in such a manner that you: don’t see anything and baby just looks like it is using a pacifier (which, I suppose, a nipple is anyway.) I can’t believe I ever worried about it or felt uncomfortable.

Once in awhile, someone will get it and actually talk about it. I recall, recently, an older waitress noticed and just started talking to April about it. It was like it was something that happened all of the time (I don’t think it is in that particular place) and it was as if she knew my wife for years. That was the first time they ever saw each other. 

Males are the worst at hiding it. Some will act like nothing is going on and make sure they direct their attention at me while others will discreetly stare or, at least, appear to look my wife in the eye. I know they are angling for a glimpse…horn dogs.

I have to admit…when she first started, I was very aware and a little embarrassed. I got over it quickly. I don’t care where she feeds Xander now.  It is a natural and wonderful thing.  People just need to get over it.

Seriously.

She was just pregnant and not crazy

Last June, I started to think that, perhaps, my marriage might have a serious issue. See, my wife was having a difficult time and, seemingly, I was a part of that problem. It was like I could do nothing right. She was constantly criticizing herself and me as well. My 15 year old also could do nothing right.  April and myself seemed to be growing apart.

For the life of me, I could not figure out what was going on with her and what the hell I had done wrong.  Things were at the point where I thought the last hope we may have had was a weekend alone, to re-connect with each other. Or, at the very least, find out what was going on.  She liked the idea and we decided to take a week end jaunt to the Norfolk, Virginia area. There is lots to do down there and it was not a long drive.

So, we made plans. Booked a room at a Hilton and made our plans.  For once, everything seemed fine.  We had a long talk the night we booked that room and decided that no, our marriage was not in jeopardy but, perhaps, we did have some issues.

Well, several days go by and, once again, she’s out of sorts. Chase and I were the devil.

During this period, she was still having some residual issues from her gall bladder surgery the previous fall.  So, her doctor had scheduled an endoscopy. 

In the months prior to this, we had been actively trying to get pregnant. We had no luck.  Test after test (and, boy, did CVS love us for that) proved negative. Was it me? Was it her? Turns out, it wasn’t.

So, we sort of just stopped trying. That’s when things went downhill. Or, so it seemed.

Well, the night before the endoscopy, April decides to take one last test.  She grabbed the test and headed for the bathroom. I’m in the bedroom, probably perusing Facebook or some techie-geeky site. 

Suddenly, I hear…’Honey, I’m pregnant! I’m not crazy!’

Naturally, I go running into the bathroom and there she was, standing over the toilet, hands shaking, tears coming from her eyes.  “I’m not crazy! I’m not!” I hugged her for what seemed like forever.  It was only a minute, but it seemed like longer. Not that that was a bad thing. Hugging my half naked wife is always a good thing. Of course, it’s better when she is completely naked.

So, we stood there, looking at the test. Yep, there were two lines. No mistaking it. 

“I need to try another test!”

“but, sweetie, this one was positive and we have no more.”

“Go get another one!”

So, I sped off to CVS to buy not one, but two more tests…just to be sure, mind you.

I get back and she takes another. Sure enough, two lines.  She was not crazy. Not that I thought that, mind you.

Of course, they would not do the endoscopy because she might be pregnant. Her pregnancy was not ‘official’ yet, but would be shortly.

Those three words-“I’m not crazy” did more for us than anything.  It was the hormones being out of whack that made things the way they had become. Seemingly, overnight, everything was great.  Well, about as great as it can get with a hormonal pregnant woman.

The following nine months were pretty good for us. I think we grew closer and, as the idea of bringing another little one into the world sank in, I knew it was going to be quite a ride from then on out.  I absolutely loved taking care of her, trying to pamper her as much as I could. Oh, as with any man, I made mistakes, said things I should not have, but, in the end, it was all good.  Things turned around, we were closer than ever, regained our intimacy and had a good time.

And that weekend trip, we still went. And even though Norfolk turned out to be such a bust, we still enjoyed being with each other. Speculating about our upcoming addition to the family, talking about Chase and Preston and wondering how they would respond to our new addition. 

In the end, we decided Chase would be fine with the baby, as he is a mature teen and able to cope with change. Preston, well, he was an unknown.

Admittedly, I had the occasional thought along the lines of “what the hell are you thinking? Are you f’ing crazy? You turned in the diapers years ago, mister!” But, they were just fleeting.  Really, they were.

Really.

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