Babies are Hard on a Body

Prior to having children, the only times I severely injured myself were when I tried to impress the boy I liked at the moment. I broke my arm my senior year in high school because I thought it’d be cool to jump up from my stairs and hang onto my second floor balcony only to fall unceremoniously onto the ground and break my right arm. He was not impressed. I did get a pity kiss on my wrist though, which had swollen to the size of a tennis ball.

My sophomore year at UCLA, I broke my foot because I thought I could jump over a couch but instead I slipped and broke my foot. I tried to brush it off by doing a series of cartwheels immediately after. This guy was a little worried, but when he saw that I was doing cartwheels, assumed I was ok. I knew I broke my foot because my body reacted the same way it did after I broke my arm. Total nausea and a dull, throbbing pain.

I have yet to break a bone in front of Hapa Papa. Whether that means I don’t try to impress him or I don’t really like him, only time will tell.

HOWEVER. Since I’ve had children, my body has become a wreck. So much so that Hapa Papa constantly asks me why my body is so broken. My fellow mommy friends. Am I the only one?

Here then, is a list of my maladies since birthing Cookie Monster:

1) General incontinence. I know this isn’t that rare, but I either have to brace myself or wear a pad when I have a bad cold because all that coughing and sneezing? PEE EVERYWHERE. One time, Cookie Monster saw me put on a pad and he asked what it was. I told him it was a small diaper. He looked at me and shook his head sadly, saying, “Too big, Mama. You’re too big.”

I know, son. I know. It makes me sad, too.

My friend tells me to do my Kegels but I feel like a dirty old man when I do them. She says she does them all the time. At traffic stops. Brushing her teeth. Doing random stuff around the house. She doesn’t leak pee when she laughs. But still, I can’t bring myself to do it.

2) Dislocated patella. One day, I was kneeling down to wipe Cookie Monster’s butt while he was on the potty. Next minute, I was sitting on the ground, screaming in pain, holding my knee. Thankfully, my knee cap popped back in, but it popped back out again later that day. The doctor recommended I not kneel so much. (TWSS!) That was a bit difficult while potty training a toddler and lugging around an infant Gamera.

3) Stress fracture in foot. Right before we were going to head down to Disneyland last year for Cookie Monster’s birthday, my right foot wouldn’t stop hurting. I finally went in and a stress fracture showed up on the X-ray. The doctor said I most likely got it from having back to back pregnancies and breastfeeding since my bones seemed super thin. I had to go back and check to see if it was the foot I broke in college. It wasn’t. Same bone, though.

Too bad I had given away my moon boot so I had to buy another one. 😦 Who would’ve thought I’d need it again?

Then, earlier this year, my foot was hurting again. After a day or two in the moon boot, it got better, but GEEZ.

4) Two pulled muscles in my right rotator cuff. My latest injury. My right shoulder started hurting a few weeks ago and finally, one day, I raised my shoulder and it made a painful click and the pain was gone (momentarily). I think my shoulder had been slightly out of joint for the better part of two weeks. Since then, it’s slipped in and out and has limited my range of motion. The doctor said I pulled two of the muscles in my rotator cuff and now I have to take two Aleve twice a day for a month and do physical therapy 3x a week for a month. If that doesn’t make it better, they may have to consider other options. She said I most likely got it from lifting my kids or sleeping on it wrong.

WTH, body? It’s not like I can stop lifting my children. Nor can I stop sleeping.

I’m not including the pain I had for 18 months at my Cesarean section scar or the fact that I have to roll up my boobs like pantyhose in order to get them to fit into my bra. Nor am I including my stretch marks (at least the ones I can see) or the general poochiness of my belly from being stretched out three times. I consider those to be facts of life and pregnancy and I wouldn’t trade my children for the body I used to have.

Not that I would trade a single child to not pee in my pants, either. But you know, sometimes, dry underwear can sound incredibly appealing after a long day.

It’s funny how you think your body should just work and not break down but hey, entropy! It is surreal. It’s not like I’m a pitcher throwing 100+mph fastballs. I’m just doing stuff that I think my body should be able to do on a regular basis. I’m young. In reasonable shape. (I call it lumpy. It’s a valid shape!!) Please tell me I am not an anomaly!

Also, if I keep getting injured and have to have parts replaced, am I eventually going to become the Bionic Woman? That might be worth it.

Things I Will Do to My Kids When I Am Old

I can’t wait until I’m old and my kids have to take care of me. Then, I will exact my revenge for all the shit they did to me when they were babies. Here is a non-all-inclusive list:

1) Drop something and tell them, “I can’t get it! You pick up for me.”

2) Lose something, take a cursory look around even though the lost item is right in front of my face and say, “I can’t see it anywhere!”

3) Request certain foods to eat then summarily reject them all without taking a bite with the reason, “I don’t like it. It don’t taste good!”

4) Weep inconsolably every time they leave me.

5) Demand they leave the door open when going to the bathroom. Walk in while they’re taking a dump and ask them to get something for me.

6) Wait until their hands are completely full, trying to get something done, and talking on the phone. Then I will demand at the top of my lungs they cook me nuggets/get ice cream/turn on the TV/wipe me because I pooped my pants.

7) Throw all their stuff on the floor.

8) Smush my face as close as possible to theirs, talk loudly and with much spittle, giving them pink eye for the umpteenth time.

9) Force them to lay in bed with me until I fall asleep.

10) Ask, “Why?” in both Chinese and English after every single statement they make.

11) Cry for an hour straight in the car and stop inexplicably only to start up again after they just start to relax.

12) Request they do something and if they say, “No.” I will throw myself to the floor, screaming, flailing, and weeping. Bonus points if I do this in public.

I can’t wait.

Of course, as annoying as these things are, all too soon this time will pass and I will tear up wistfully, dreaming of the times when my kids were still small and thought I was the center of the universe. Until then, bedtime sometimes can’t come soon enough!

What can’t you wait to do?

Why Are We So Afraid to Grow Old?

After all, people do know that the alternative to growing old is to die young, right? Personally, I’d prefer OLD, OLD, OLD to DEAD, DEAD, DEAD any day of the week.

Now, of course, most people don’t object to being alive – it’s a host of old-related problems that we’re worried about: health, money, our physical attributes and abilities deteriorating, mental acuity fading, etc. No one wants to be SICK and old or FRAIL and old, or what have you. However, in general, I don’t think anyone wants to be sick or frail at any age – it’s just that we associate these infirmities mostly with the elderly.

It might also be that I’m not really old yet. I’m turning thirty-five in a few weeks and then, I will be able to run for any office in the US. (Thanks, parents, for having the foresight to have me in the US! Sorry to everyone else should I ever go temporarily insane and run for public office.) Plus, I’m in a new age demographic! Go, me! My thirties have been awesome so far, so I don’t really expect the latter half of this decade to be any different. Nor do I expect any of the upcoming decades to be so bad, either.

It’s weird to be at an age you distinctly recall your parents being. It’s also weird being at an age where ten years ago, I would’ve considered middle-aged! (I certainly don’t consider myself middle-aged. After all, who wants to die at 70? Middle-aged should be 45-50, right? We’re all gonna live til we’re 100!)

But you know what’s not weird? Being older than I was before.

I pity people who mock me or tease me about being “old” (because they are young, foolish, and have LITTLE TO NO INDEPENDENT INCOME). I LOVE being the age that I am. What did I know when I was a teenager? Or when I was in my twenties? (Come to think of it, I will likely look back in a few years and think, “What did I know when I was in my thirties? I was such a baby!”)

When I think back to myself in my late teens and early twenties, all I want to do is go back in time and punch myself in the throat. Why? Because I was such an asshat. So full of self-righteous indignation, trembling in my sincerity to “do good” but having no means or skills with which to do anything, and thinking that being young, smart, and full of potential was enough. That “passion” was more important than money or stability or pretty much, anything.

BAH!! Get off my lawn, you stupid kid! It’s easy to have the luxury of such thinking when your parents subsidize your educational and living expenses.

Don’t get me wrong. I think passion is important. Doing good, also, important. But you know what? Money is a lot more important than I ever realized. (This will be a post for another day, but truly, only a person who was coddled, spoiled, rich and wealthy and super-privileged such as myself would ever think that money was NOT important.) Stability and practicality – also vital!

Ok, I suppose I’m being rather harsh with my younger self. After all, if I didn’t go through what I did, I wouldn’t be the Me that I am today. (Which is awesome.) And if anything had changed – likely, I would not be married to Hapa Papa with my awesome kids. I’d have a different set of awesome kids, perhaps – but just thinking about that and how time travel would affect my current timeline and perhaps erase my current beautiful life and children nearly reduces me to tears so it’s just as well that time travel is impossible (that we know of for NOW – dun dun dun!!!) because nothing’s sadder than a huge, pregnant lady crying about fictional things that are currently not possible and as of yet, have not happened – and if it did, WOULD NEVER KNOW.

Sorry. Tangent.

What was this post supposed to be about? Right. Growing OLD.

Truthfully, I suspect that I will always think that the age at which I am currently is the norm and not OLD. Surely, that is a moniker reserved for OTHER people. Not people such as myself! And when I am truly, actually old (like 70 or 80 or 90+), then really, the problem will be that everyone else is simply far too YOUNG.

Also, from here on out, I declare that we use the “er” method that Hapa Papa often employs to get out of trouble. Instead of telling me I’m “stupid,” he says, I’m getting “stupider.” Good thing I find this hilarious so he usually skirts out of trouble this way. So, really, we’re not all getting old. We’re getting older – which is totally and absolutely fact without judgment or baggage.

Anyhow, I meant this post to actually celebrate being older. I don’t know how I diverged into ranting. (Though truth be told, is anyone surprised that I started ranting?) So, in no particular order, not all-inclusive, (and obviously, YMMV since not everyone is me, nor in my privileged state), why I love getting older:

– Greater purchasing power
– Being more sure of myself, who I am, and what I am doing
– Wisdom (accumulated through lots of failure)
– Not being afraid to speak my mind (still working on this, but for the most part, pretty good)
– Savings
– Security
– Stability (in both life circumstances as well as emotional maturity)
– Freedom from following fads and trends
– Long time friends
– Making new friends
– Pursuing things that actually interest me vs. pursuing things that I think should interest me
– COSTCO (I thought I liked Costco when I was younger, but truly, now that I’m older, it is MY FAVORITE PLACE TO BE BESIDES MY OWN HOME)
– Freedom to stay at home
– Freedom to NOT drink (being constantly pregnant and breastfeeding also helps)
– Watching my friends grow into who they are
– Realizing that I can watch most things without consequence (I don’t really ever have to think about ratings or whatever as long as my kids aren’t involved)
– Actually enjoying being informed (vs glorying in my total ignorance and being proud of that fact when I was younger)
– Not driving around for hours just to find free parking
– Being able to afford luxuries such as concert tickets, massages, pedicures, etc without thinking overly much about it
– Being in a good place (emotionally, financially, and physically) to raise children
– Minivans are awesome and it’s ok
– Not having to ask permission (but often, having to ask for forgiveness – I guess humility is good, too)
– Learning to let things go and be more flexible
– Freedom to be a curmudgeon and blame it on age

I’m sure there are scads more in benefits, but even while making the list, I realize that I presume a lot about aging – that it brings more financial security and freedom. Obviously, that is not the case for many people (or even most people). So clearly, my list reflects that bias. Since I have no adequate response for that, I will just leave you with my favorite line from Fried Green Tomatoes. “Face it, girls, I’m older and I have more insurance.”