Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Common Wedgie

Wedgies, have been a particularly special part of my life. When I was young, it was my older brothers more pestilent choice in provoking my sister and I to never want to wear underwear for fear of our daily wedgie.
We three were on most occasions a team, but when it came to showing our love, we were always experimenting on how annoying we had to be to make the other siblings go nuts. I remembered a few occasions walking down memory lane, feeling a bit nostalgic as my in-laws and I were discussing what the German word for "wedgie" was.

I believe that God made us all special and unique in our own way. Although, it is quite possible that God made my brother a little bit more unique than the rest of us. He always came up with, what he though were brilliant ideas, of how to antagonize his sisters, leaving us both baffled at the fact he so cleverly convinced us he was in the right.
My dog Abby, was at the time my best friend during my awkward and lonely days of being a home schooled elementary student. She could do me no wrong, and as far as I was concerned, she held my heart in her paws. My brother knew my loving affection for my dog Abby, and of coarse used it against me in any which way he could. I remember numerous times being pinned up against the wall, starring into the hands of my brother holding a wet and tightly wrung kitchen towel, after the dishes were wiped dry, and put away. I would try to escape, but his craftiness proved otherwise. There I was, holding my precious Abby in my arms, while my brother awaited his opportunity. Thoughtfully, he would first ask who it was that wanted the actual whipping. "Do you want Abby to get it tonight, or is it gonna be you, sister? Make a wise decision." Looking back I am amazed at the pure satisfaction I would get upon pleasing my brother. If he was happy, then everyone was. I didn't hesitate to answer in a whimpering frown, "I'll get the whipping brother." He would never hurt me past a dull welt, and all of his fun was kept within bordered realms of normal brotherly love. In fact, I am grateful for those fond memories. It certainly gives me something to talk about when a story is needed. One other noteworthy event involved me holding a thick magazine against a wall with my head, until my mother came home from the grocery store. It usually lasted a good hour, and if I let fall, that meant me having to tell my mother what I did wrong that day. Throwing something heavy, like a paper weight, at my brothers head would normally be what I had to admit to.

Just to let you know my brother is a wonderful person, and only teased us because we were his sisters. He is in fact one of the most amazing people I have ever met. I love you brother.

My in-laws and I continued laughing at what had just happened, vacationing in the beautiful Colorado mountain range. They are all German of coarse, and it often makes for extremely funny conversations, especially when a translation is lost. It was one of my many strange questions of what a certain word meant that had caused this hysterical event. My curiosity had come upon the word wedgie. "What does that mean in German?" I has asked my brother in-law, Dave. He replied "Ars frisst hosen, which means, ass eats pants."

Now, as this is both hilarious and important information, what made it so funny was the way he said it. In his matter of fact German accent he couldn't understand what was so funny that caused the entire table, my family, to roar with laughter. I thought my dad was going to end up on the ground. Ass eats pants, not only gives you an amazing visual of the meaning of the word wedgie, it also sounds amazing and makes you want to tell the whole world what the literal translation of the word wedgie is in German.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"Me want bread"

We have been living in the U.S. for about 8 months now, and as I reminisce on the past couple years I can now look at it objectively and see it for what it really was. Among many different experiences I had in Germany, I would consider my language schooling to be the most noteworthy when it comes to giving you a little picture of what my days consisted of. Irritated, would be a word to describe just how I felt when I could not, on a day to day basis have the ability to express exactly what is was that I wanted. I found it difficult to say how much, and what type of bread I would like, or trying to explain that I wanted flat water with ice was as though I was trying to convince the waitress that I was indeed a hippopotumus. Even telling the clerk how much I liked here hair took considerate preparation, and any chance of spontaneous conversation was ended with a nervous laugh and a feeling of incompetence. I found myself settling for much less than what I actually wanted, afraid of revealing my inadequate German vocabulary. I would often resign with a nod yes to the chicken liver, instead of the actual breast meat, later throwing it out because the American recipes for chicken liver pleasantly disguised its taste with deep fat frying. A nod yes, or no had become my first language, and before I knew it my audacity for speaking without fear of sounding stupid had later turned me into an insecure head nodder. Otherwise I sounded like this. "Yes, I want these bread." or "I want milk in me." It was months later when my frustration required me to have Christoph make the phone call I was persistently avoiding. Not only could I not order the right chicken meat, I was certainly incapable of calling a German school and retaining necessary information for starting a course.
My first day of German class brought me back to my first day of high school, after being home schooled for most of my life. I remember walking in my biology class as the "new" student, and as it was a particularly small school in the first place I felt even more singled out. I was at first known as the shy ice skater, as ice skating had been my sport of choice for the past 5 years, but later got demoted to just the shy girl, after I quit my vigorous sport. I then tried a series of other sports, later settling with soccer. Cheer leading always looked attractive to me, but the year I envied the popular senior girls, was not the year I joined the cheer leading team. The following year I tried out and made the team. But, since all of the previous years squad consisted of seniors, our team then consisted of four girls, a teacher who had a peculiar admiration for the song, "Eye of the Tiger," and an embarrassing light show we performed to that exact song. I've never hated myself more than the moment our teacher had us swinging our light sticks to the beat, and still expected us to be accepted among our fellow students after that shindig. It was awful to say the least. Not that we were bad cheerleaders, but only that the choice of dances and songs were a bit outdated.

I walked in to the emotionless classroom, where the name for our teacher was written on the white board. Mr. Andreas was only one of our three teachers we had in the three months I was there. I have described him in a previous blog, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. You can read that blog if you would like a visual. You could tell he was a narscisist, pleasured by the fact that he probably knew more than all of us combined. At least he thought so. It is quite possible the only thing he knew more than us was the German language. I heard him talking in a low voice to his mother one day, when my German had exceedingly progressed, and it seemed as though he wanted schnitzel for dinner instead of soup. I assumed from that conversation he was living with his mother, after a heartbreaking divorce that left him sad and alone. He implied this occurrence one day in class while on one of his hour long discussions about himself. I could not help feel for him, as people like that usually attempt disguise their insecurities with a facade of egotism. I was most likely the only person in our class to find him amusing. Amir, seated next to me seemed to hate his guts, and rolled his eyes every time Andreas went on another tangent of how knowledgeable he was. This usually occurred every ten minutes, and by the end of class we had accomplished barely any worksheets and were sent home with two hours worth of homework. I didn't mind though. He was better than the two other teachers, one of which voice was comparable to Ben Stein, the "Dry Eyes" commercial guy. He left me feeling depressed and in need of a nap. Andreas, spoke with such passion that it left you wanting to better learn German, just so you could know what it was he was saying in such a life or death manner. It later turned out that he mostly spoke of politics, or how the German culture is far greater than any other culture in the world. I thought it funny how comfortable he felt saying this as our classroom consisted of possibly twenty different cultures.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hold on to your coasters

If I were still a baby, I think Elliott could be my best friend. What am I saying? He is my BFF in a totally normal and healthy way. His father is also my best friend as well as my best friend Jesie Steffes. They all have different roles as best friends of coarse. Elliott is first and foremost my son which is how it should be. What I'm trying to say is that he is the most chill human I have ever encountered. He watches me do my hair and put on my makeup, staring at me with such perplexity in his eyes. He is perhaps thinking, "Wow, woman are categorically fraudulent." He is pretty smart, so I'm sure those would be his exact words. Watching me work out is another adventure all in itself. I can do a pretty mean roundhouse kick to the jugular, if there ever was a jugular to kick. He silently gawks at me as if an eagle was watching her prey, but instead of the prey being food the prey is the best shindig you have ever seen. I can feel his perfectly round eyes on the back of my head. When I look at him, demonstrating my newly improved pilates move, he sends a smile my way and then immediately returns to his perplexed and concentrated look. It's as though he is trying to make his limbs move the same way in his head, but the physical aspect just doesn't work yet.

Today he was laying on the ground beside me as I was cutting paper with my legs, metaphorically speaking of coarse, and as I looked over, he imitated my exact moves. I think his daddy should take him to do more manly things like squishing worms or eating dirt. Our daily routine is usually consistent, as schedules are the best thing for baby's. It's important for him to know just when to expect me to break out in song and music while stares dreamily up at his home made mobile I fashioned for him out origami cranes. I couldn't have asked for a better audience to my daily life routines. I'm sorry other best friends, but I don't think you could bare sitting through my 45 minute kick boxing routine, and be absolutely amazed by it as he is. I always wonder what is going through his head, and am eagerly awaiting the day he can tell me.

Elliott has many toys that people have so generously donated, or mommy has impulsively bought thinking. "If I were a baby I would love this." It turns out Elliott is more so a dedicated fan of household appliances. His apparatus of choice, coasters. As a wedding gift Christoph and I received MoMa coasters from a friend. They are totally hip, and of coarse they would be if my son were to admire them. They come in all different colors, and as I am partly responsible for Elliott's developmental progress I find it my responsibility as I hand him a coaster to tell him what color it is. In my opinion he favors red, which could very well be the case knowing that children see red as their first color. His second household entertainment choice would probably be the carpet. He would fondle our ugly burber carpet all day long if it meant not having to listen to me do another horrible rendition of "Falling Slowly."

As I sit back and look at my life, it's hard not to think to myself, 'How do I deserve this?' How do I deserve to see my husband holding our son, making him laugh, getting spit up or pooped on? It's so amazing to see who Christoph becomes while holding a miniature version of himself. It makes my heart turn into a thousand butterflies and float away. He is an AMAZING dad, and better yet an amazing husband. I am so blessed to have him. Sometimes you forget how good you really have it. Then you put your little one to bed, hand him his red coaster after a long day of carpet frisking, and couldn't picture life any more perfect.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Charlottes web

In our new neighborhood it is not uncommon to see elderly women doing things you would normally not see elderly women doing. Why, just today I saw quite an eyeful previous to pulling into our driveway. Upon first glance, I was almost certain that when this particular car conveying two people drove past I would see a pair of long haired hippies who were imaginably married on 4/20, listening to toker tunes like Bob Marley or Tom Petty, using words like "far out" or "uhhh?" They continued to drive by in their half painted maroon 1980's Subaru, with two much less than expensive mountain bikes tied to the rear and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were indeed not hippies. Two elderly woman, most likely breaching their 80's with pink visers, suncheaters that were big enough to shade their entire face, fluffy white hair, cigarettes in hand, and husbands perhaps napping in their graves. Such is our neighborhood when finding an older woman with no partner. The sad thing is you never see it the other way around. Men are always the first to go. My explanation for seeing these diamonds in the rough, usually in pairs, riding motorcycles, scooters, or anything that could shorten their lifespan, is simply that they have lived their lives and are now free to do whatever they want while they can. How else would you explain such a thing? I think it's great. It brightens my day and I'm sure the rush of wind struggling to make its way through their teased cotton white hair, mounting a Harley, brightens theirs as well. I pulled into my driveway pondering what I just saw and continued to imagine what they had come from doing. My strange awareness envisioned them dodging trees on a treacherous biking path, drinking from a camelbak filled with mountain dew, an ipod headphone in one ear, the other left naked to hear if Mildred is still following close. I love my neighborhood.

The other day...well it really wasn't the other day more like a couple of weeks ago, but the other day sound much less complicated. The other day we were stopped at a gas station before headed up to the mountains to meet up with Christoph's family. Like usual, Christoph was filling up the gas tank and recording how good our mileage was this time around. It has never really changed from time to time, but he still insists upon checking and telling me every time. "19.8 miles to the gallon! Much better than last time!" I had recalled that last time was 19.1 mpg. In the back seat slept our precious little Elliott, exhausted from the hardships of eating, pooping, and laughing. I looked back at him to see if Christoph's leaving and shutting the door had awakened him. Placed ever so spidery above his head was a perfect little spider, spinning her web and was centimeters away from landing her spidery appendages on my sweet sleeping child. My face turned from a satisfied smile to a horrifying scowl. How dare this spider. If I wouldn't have though Elliott was in Immediate danger, I would have snapped a picture because it was absolutely perfect. A sleeping child with a nasty looking spider about to land on their head. Unfortunately though, I crushed that spider in between my fingers as fast as I could, dismissing all my spidery fears. Poor Charlotte.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Poor little sausage links

If you could think of the most uncomfortable situation you could be in I'm sure this would be one of them. Think of your self doused in Vaseline or some kind of sticky ointment to relieve a persistent itch, then forced to wear cotton clothing firmly mushing against your moist skin, repeated three times a day just so you can stop from scratching yourself inside out. My poor unfortunate little Elliott has to go through this ritual, fighting it to all ends. The culprit, eczema. From the time he was two weeks old I have not only been struggling to fit the puzzle pieces of an extremely arduous puzzle together, but also came to the conclusion that doctors are indeed idiots especially those with inordinately large fingers. It turns out nurses are in fact the smarter and more nurturing species. Traditionally not being one to generalize I would normally follow this sentence with "Not all doctors of coarse," but I just don't feel like it. I have reason for my doubts in the higher spectrum of the medical world, clearly pertaining to my own personal experiences. I am sorry if you are reading this and are either a doctor or know someone who is, but I'm sure whomever you are or whomever you know are quite splendid and are not in any way what I am about to describe.
I will tell you the facts and you can take from it what you will, but it's almost certain that many mothers in my situation would feel or have felt the exact same way.

It was his six week birthday and Elliott's morbid looking umbilical cord had finally fallen off after much anticipation, and catching Christoph pulling a tad bit too strong on the unyielding piece of mom that just did not want to come off. Christoph enjoys pulling scabs off, and this was I'm sure the biggest one he had ever encountered. Given the okay to give him his first fully emerged bath and use soap, I reached for my Johnson and Johnson baby hair and body wash. On most children this is of coarse would have been fine, but Elliott is allergic to everything. As I was not yet aware of this information I generously and joyously lathered his little sausage links making sure I cleaned every tiny fold of his perfect skin. Shortly following his bath I observed swollen red bumps covering his entire body and I was forced to make an appointment with his pediatrician. Our original pediatrician was not available for such a short notice visit, which I was happy about. I did not trust her for reasons I will not say, but I was excited to see what our other options were. To my dismay it seems as though there are no other options other than an array of dismal doctors who would rather be eating. When he walked through the door he did not even look at us before he said, "It's blah blah blah blah blah," as if I new the rash he was referring to in his complicated doctors choice of words. Apparently he had talked to the nurse beforehand and knew just from talking to her exactly what he was dealing with. Annoyed with his know it all dominating tone and fat fingers I of coarse had questions, but found myself forgetting them as fast as he disproved them. I could have used the restroom, left without washing my hands and still would have taken a considerably longer time than our doctors visit that day. Left with no answers and a tube of trimilicone, a potent steroid I was left to believe that the rash would eventually just "go away." So I hoped for just that, trusting he knew what he was talking about. Wanting to relieve my poor son of such an uncomfortable situation and being naive of what exactly steroids can do, I later found out from none other than google, and not our pediatrician, that for such a little baby this can be harmful. Not lethal of coarse, but only that his skin could resemble a cow hide, permanently, among other strange things. You can understand my frustration at this point, I'm sure.

Following this event, and noticing that nothing helped his skin during the two weeks off of steroid cream, I sought out to find another pediatrician. I had by this point on my own persistent research, while also asking friends with similar situations, revealed that he indeed had eczema and that it is very likely the cause of an allergic reaction to food, detergents, soap, etc. I guess that out ruled our first pediatricians suggestion that this rash was normal and it was just a coincidence that it had appeared first after his soapy bath. I changed everything. Detergents, soaps, watched what I ate, did not wear perfume. I was dedicated. Still I was at a loss. Getting a recommendation for yet another pediatrician, I felt as though this would be it. Thinking he would at least listen to my suggestions as a mother, I was yet again utterly disappointed. He told me that eczema is nothing more than a cause and effect of the weather here in Colorado. I almost punched him in the face. Not only did I know more on the subject than this doctor, but I found it exceedingly rude how sure he was about his facts, and bypassed my knowledge as a mother. He was a nice person, but you could also be the worst hairstylist in the world and still be a nice person. That wouldn't get you a nice haircut.

Five months later I have finally found some things that keep Elliott's eczema at bay. Unfortunately these findings did not come from our list of pediatricians, but from other mothers, nurses and google. So, thank you for that. I am dreading our next pediatrician visit, knowing that the duration of the stay I will not take one word as truth. Regrettably it is that way.