Tag Archives: kids


Back when I was younger, I always listened to what “they” said.

“Don’t wear orange,” they said.

But I like orange, I thought.

“Pretty girls don’t wear orange,” they said. “Pretty girls wear pink and lavender.”

So I wore pink.

I like pink, I told myself.

“You don’t want to be a writer,” they said.

But I like to write, I thought. It’s part of who I am.

“Writers are weird. Nice girls aren’t weird.”

So I decided to study other people’s writing instead.

It’s okay, I thought. I love language, so this works, too.

“You want to be scientist,” they said. “Smart people are scientists.”

So I got a degree in a field where I could both study language and be considered a scientist.

I did what they said. I abided by their rules. I kept trying to be who they thought I should be.

And then, one day, something changed. I had children.

What “they” said still mattered. Until I realized I didn’t want my children to listen to them like I had. I didn’t want my babies to be constrained by what others thought they should be. And that I didn’t want to be like them.

I’m a writer, I thought. So I wrote. I started writing a romance novel.

“When are you going to write something someone will actually read? No one will read that,” they said.

I kept writing my romance novel, because I liked it.

“You’ll never get published,” they said. “Don’t do it anymore.”

I kept writing my novel. I submitted. Got rejected. Submitted some more.

In less than a year, I got published.

“Well, no one will ever read it.”

Meh. Some people have read my books and most people haven’t.

So I’ll keep trying.

I’m a teacher, I thought. And I’m good at it. So I started thinking of myself as more of a teacher and less as a scientist. And I discovered I never needed to feel bad about doing what I love and what I’m good at. I don’t need to be ashamed that I’m not working in a hospital anymore; I can say, “I work at an elementary school with children with autism,” and be proud of that.

What they say shouldn’t have mattered, but it did. It shaped who I became, until I took me back. Until I realized that I can wear any color I want. Until I realized I could do what I loved and be proud of it. Until I realized that everything that makes me a writer–the wild imagination, the penchant for daydreaming, and sure, the quirkiness–had always been there, and would remain there even if I never put a single word on paper.

I don’t want the kids to listen to them. I don’t want them to give up on their dreams because of what they  say, because the great and powerful they say a lot of things that are, simply put, shit.

As long as the kids aren’t hurting anyone, then whatever they decide to be will be just fine by me (I do put caveats on the dreams and aspirations, because well, there’s Dexter and Breaking Bad. Some dreams and aspirations I just can’t get behind). I don’t care what the kids do, so long as they’re doing what they love, with people they love who love them back. I hope  they don’t forget to chase their dreams. I hope they know that today’s failure is just a temporary set back. I hope they know that the only real failure is in not trying at all.

So today, the kids and I wore orange.


Fun With the Phlebotomist

So, today Chewey had his first blood draw.

God bless him. (For those of you who are teachers, you will recognize this statement for what it is)

Now, don’t get me wrong, I adore my son. He’s funny and smart and cute. He’s also, sometimes, a pain in the ass.

Today we went to the pediatrician, and he needed to have some lab work done. Now, I’ve been fighting a migraine for two days, so maybe I’m not in the happiest of moods. Light is too bright, people are too loud, my head hurts, and I’m running a fine line between starving and nauseous.

So, now that that’s been established, suffice it to say, I am not in the best mood.

Neither is the boy. (Or the girl. But more on that later)

So, after a series of mishaps, I finally got Chewey to the phlebotomist. He was actually okay with this entire process. Surprisingly okay. Given how he flipped out over simply having numbing cream placed on his arms, I should have recognized this for what it was…

The calm before the storm.

(Also, Chewey complained loudly and often that the cream “burned like fire.” Bad mom that I am, I said, “Little dude, your arm is numb. It can’t be burning.” More on that later)

Anyway, once we were called back, Chewey got up in the chair. The phlebotomist, who can find my veins with ease (no small feat, that), then had him get down so he could sit in my lap.

Chewey broke out in a sweat and started crying.

Then howling.

Then screaming like he was being attacked with an axe. I started to wonder when the two cops I saw outside were going to come in and search the place for a victim.

“No! You can’t have my blood!” he wailed. He punctuated this with a blood curdling scream. “I still need it!”

“Chewey,” I said softly (meaning, I shouted this into his ear, trying to make him hear me over the sound of his wailing). “If you do this, I’ll take you out for ice cream!”

“Really?” he asked. Then: “Ow! You’re killing me!”

Phlebotomist: “I’m standing over here. I didn’t even touch you.”

Chewey: “Oh.” Then: “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”

Now, Chewey was being tested for allergies, and, as the phlebotomist had me peel off the tape holding the numbing agent in place, we discovered the first one: adhesives.

You know that arm I told him couldn’t hurt because it had a numbing agent on it? Yeah, totally swollen with hives less than a half hour later. Poor little dude. I felt bad. I’m allergic to adhesives, too. My arm swells up like that, too.

It really does hurt. Wretched Mommy.

In any case, needless to say, this did nothing for Chewey’s mood.

He started screaming bloody murder. As the phlebotomist approached, he shrieked, “Get away from me, you bloodthirsty villains!”

I couldn’t help it. I laughed. I mean, how many times have you wanted to call a phlebotomist a bloodthirsty villain? Also, if I didn’t laugh, I would’ve started drinking, and all the hooch is at my house. Super inconvenient, that.

Eventually, the phlebotomist got the blood drawn (thank the Lord), and we were allowed to leave. Chewey was still yowling.

As we were walking into the waiting room, the place went silent. it was almost like doing the walk of shame after a significant wardrobe malfunction. Almost.

Anyway, as we were closing in on the door and my escape to freedom, I heard someone say, “So, we’re going for ice cream, are we?”

I laughed. “Sure,” I said. “Right after his dad comes home.”

**Chewey did get his ice cream, though I wasn’t entirely sure he deserved it, given the screaming. But then, he’s six, and he admitted he was scared, and he doesn’t do well in managing his anxiety. In all, a good time was had by all.**

***But you know what could have made it better? Jeremy Renner. There, I said it. If the phlebotomist had looked like Jeremy Renner, played the piano, and professed his undying affection for me, perhaps I may have enjoyed my time at the lab. Alas, despite my very vivid imagination, even I couldn’t make a forty year old female phlebotomist into Jeremy Renner. Can’t blame a girl for trying, though.***