How to Survive Your First Parental Experience with Stitches

The Incident

I hit the parent jackpot. One beautiful, dainty little girl and one headstrong, full-throttle little boy. Perfect. From the outside it seems like it should be all rainbows and unicorns (with some fart jokes sprinkled in) where everyone is always 100% healthy and happy. But that façade collapsed last week with one phone call.

It was inevitable, the call I received. It was one of the ladies from the after-school program, “Mrs. Benefield, Roman has fallen and hit his head. I wanted to let you know. It’s pretty bad.”

Me, not fully grasping what I’m being told, stupidly ask, “I need to come get him?”

To which she patiently explains, “yes, he has a gash on his head.”

She let me speak to him. He sounded ok. I told him he was my brave little man and I’d be on my way to get him not really knowing what I would see.

Now, let me defend my stupid question by explaining that sometimes we get panicked phone calls that aren’t really emergencies. The ladies that run the after-school program double as the cafeteria workers. They’re super sweet grandmother-types who err on the side of caution. Like if caution were to look at someone and say, “whoa, they’re cautious” it would be describing these women. We’ve had some false alarms. But we’ve also had some situations with Roman that have caused him to have permanent bumps and scars on his forehead. Nothing that has required medical attention aside from my husband (who is a medical professional) putting his skin back together with glue, but still there have been “situations” to give the sweet lunch ladies some credit.

Once I arrived at the school, I walked in to pick him up and saw him sitting on the table with an audience of kids and lunch ladies surrounding him. He had a rag with ice in it against his forehead. He pulled the rag away and immediately my eyes go to the culprit of the drama. The little boy I sent to school perfectly intact now had about a half-inch gash on his forehead above his eye. But, surprisingly, it didn’t seem as bad as the last incident at school that involved the metal part of the door lock going into his head. It wasn’t even bleeding anymore.

Next, I took a picture and sent it to my husband and much to my surprise he told me to take him to urgent care. Like now. He knew it needed stitches. What? I mean, ok. Maybe overreacting a little but he’s the one with a medical degree so…

Roman needs stitches… apparently
The Fix

We pulled into the children’s urgent care and I got him checked in. He and my daughter were running around playing and laughing and- STOP!!!!! His head started to bleed. I grabbed a tissue to wipe away the blood and a clear liquid flowed out of the wound. Ok, stitches, I get it. I totally get it. I will never secretly question my husband’s medical direction ever again. Ever. But for that moment I was just trying not to puke or pass out or provide any indication to my sweet, brave little man that his head was kinda gnarly and he’d need to get stitched up like a teddy bear that fell victim to the family dog.

For Bella’s part, she was the perfect big sister. She was patient and loving and said anything she could think of to help ease his anxiety when he thought he might get a shot or the other dreaded “s” word… STITCHES. Some of her words may have done more damage than help but she was trying so hard to put him at ease.

As a side note, let me just say that taking him to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s urgent care center was the BEST decision. They knew immediately he needed stitches. But instead of saying the “s” word, (which would have flipped him the fuq out) everyone referred to them as “magic thread” that would make his head go back together. I think Bella was intrigued by the possibility of seeing magic thread at work as well. She’d been watching a Netflix show about this very subject of magic with a fairy princess and her pet unicorn sprinkled in so she was pretty sure it was a real thing and played right along, helping to seal the validity in Roman’s mind of the claims of magic being made by these nurses.

The nurse numbed his head with numbing cream and after about 30 minutes we were called back to get the “magic threads”.

A doctor, a nurse, and a medical assistant walk into a bar… just kidding. They all worked on my Roman to sew him back together. The result was beautiful. Five stitches in all. Afterward I asked Roman if he realized he just got stitches. He started to tear up and say that he was scared to get stitches. However, once he understood that it was over and he ALREADY had them, he was proud. The highlight of the situation was this little dialogue:

ME: Roman! You just got stitches, man! Chicks dig men with scars, just sayin’.

Bella: Yeah, Roman! Girls love boys with injuries!

Ever the little momma to her little brother… and he was so brave and proud of his braveness.

Here’s the final result!

All stitched up! Thank God for Dad and his guidance!
So, in conclusion, that was my first (and hopefully last) experience with stitches. Anyone else have a similar experience?

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How to Pivot Your Life Awesome

Pivots. I need one right now. Life is all about the pivot (please tell me you say that word in your brain to the voice of Ross Geller on Friends). How you handle a change in trajectory can determine positive from negative, good from bad, electric chair candidate from hero. But it can mean taking your life from blah to infinitely better.

I haven’t always handled the pivot well. Maybe I’ve watched too much Snapped? Too much 20/20? Nah. Whatever the reason, I resist change. But I’ve learned that sometimes change is the nudge I need to get to a better vantage point for life. A higher plateau from which to shoot my arrows at the people who nee observe life.

My parents’ divorce, the tragedy that almost cost my dad his life and forever changed the way he exists in this world, my own divorce, getting out of my hometown, rising above rumors and reputations, financial struggles, juggling a career, a new marriage, and a sick baby, unexpectedly renovating a house, blending a family… I’ve experienced all of those things. Struggles are everyone’s constant. They are always around the corner lurking like the uncle that none of the kids are allowed to be alone with (there’s one in every family, right?)

“Uncle Gene is the BEST! He gave me candy!”

(Slaps the candy away)“Nope, Uncle Gene is a weirdo. Stay away from Uncle Gene.”

But struggles aren’t life’s somehow personified way of kicking you down. They’re just life. Mostly for me, self-inflicted. I can admit that. But so what?

Pivot.

It’s scary. I know. The pivot is change. It’s unknown. Sometimes the struggle is more comfortable than the change. At least you know what to expect with the struggle. But I promise it’s worth it.

If you’re unhappy right now with life, look for the opportunities for change. If you can’t find the opportunities, find someone who has the outcome you’re looking for and do what they’ve done. Talk to people. Research. There’s always a way. Successful people aren’t special. They haven’t been chosen to be successful by life where life’s like, “Oh, yeah, don’t mess with Becky. She has good hair so leave her alone.” They’re successful because they’ve used an opportunity to better themselves. Successful people aren’t entitled and they know that. They get shat done for themselves in spite of the struggles. No excuses.

One thing I’ve noticed is that many of my life changes have happened because I felt like I had no choice. Looking back, I always had choices. But it seems like in those situations, when I throw my hands up and let Jesus take the wheel, a la Carrie Underwood, that’s when the pivots happen.

Don’t let Uncle Gene get the better of you. Kick him in the groin and run away. And if you pass your cousin about to eat his candy, smack it out of little Johnny’s hand on your way out the door. And know you’ll be ok.

When have you changed your own trajectory for the better?  Let me know in the comments.  You may just help someone make their own!

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Absurd Things I Think About When Getting a Massage

Things I Think About When Getting a Massage

A few days ago, a co-worker won one of those “drop your business card in the fishbowl and you could win lunch for your whole office” things (I know, I thought the same thing! People DO actually win those, I guess!). She was so generous and made sure that all of us had to opportunity to enjoy the delicious pizza along with TWENTY-MINUTE CHAIR MASSAGES!!!! What?! Sign. Me. Up.

When it was my turn I walked into the same conference room that normally houses mundane and verbose meetings. However, for my twenty-minute chair massage it was a heavenly oasis in the middle of the desert where no relaxation is found. Quiet music, dimmed lights… if not for the meeting table, white board, and executive meeting chairs I would have never known it was the same room. I walked around all of those horrible reminders to find my massage chair, said hello to my new favorite best friend masseuse and sat down. For the next twenty minutes I had an internal dialogue with myself that I realize in hindsight may not be normal, but then again, I can’t be the only one. So if you find yourself with the following thoughts during your next massage, know you aren’t alone:

  1. “Oh, that’s nice… wait, did I just make a porn noise?”
  2. “OUCH! IT HURTS SO GOOD!!!! That’s what she said.”
  3. “OMG I think she’s crushing my larynx. Is that what that is? I don’t really know where my larynx is. I’m gonna die not knowing how. What do I tell Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse when they ask me why I’m dead? Can’t. Breathe. Boutta pass out.”
  4. “She’s close to pushing my face through this face hole! Can that happen? I think we’re about to find out! What would she do?! OMG that would be hil-arious. Could I get workers’ comp? I wonder if I could get a free week off of work. Kind of like in college if you got hit by a bus you get an auto 4.0 GPA. Would I get a free one of these in the future for my trouble? I could deal with that. Would the fire department have to come? I bet that’s happened before.”
  5. “That music. I wonder if my kids would immediately go to sleep if I played it at home. I need to ask what music that is so I cannnnn zzzzzz”
  6. {Wakes up abruptly} “Did I just fart or was that the chair?? OMG please tell me it was the chair. Ugh, not the chair.”
  7. “HOW WAS THAT 20 MINUTES?! I WANT A RECOUNT!”
  8. Really, how am I supposed to be productive after that? I can’t work under these conditions.

Getting a massage is so relaxing for me. But obviously not so relaxing that my crazy mind shuts off for me. How bout you? Any absurdities run through your mind during a massage? Please tell me I’m not the only one.

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How to Workout with Kids

For those of you who have kids and want to start a fitness journey, or for those of you who just wonder how moms juggle family, work, obligations, AND stay in shape, me too. I’m curious, too. Since I became a mom almost 9 years ago, I think I’ve tried to get back in shape more times than my 5 year old has asked me for gum this afternoon (that’s, like, a LOT of times). You wanna know how many times I’ve been successful? Um… once. But it didn’t last long.

Over Christmas this year I decided I was going to do it again. But for real this time. Each year my office closes between Christmas and New Year so it was the perfect time. I’d be home. I’d cleanse my diet. I’d restart my body. Trick it to think it doesn’t want that massive piece of chocolate cake from the grocery store, like I trick my kids to think that Chick-Fil-A doesn’t sell ice cream on the week days. It’d be so super easy. I even have everything I need at home in the form of workout DVDs. Bam.

Day one was AWE-SUM. It was great. My kids are obviously now old enough for me to reason with.

“Kids, I’m going to be in the basement for 20 minutes to workout. Everyone has snacks and drinks, everyone is good, right?”
“Yes, Mommy! We’re good!”
“OK! I’m going to close the door so that the dogs don’t come down but if you need me, you can come get me, OK?”
“OH KAAAAY!”
“But if you come downstairs, please don’t let the dogs down.”

Y’all, hand to Heaven I got 20 minutes with my Piyo DVD. It was so refreshing and I felt so alive. I was all,

“I got this. This time tomorrow I’ll be down to my fighting weight. Just to make sure I’ll have a smoothie for my after-snack snack.”

The next day was fairly similar.   Got ma fit-nass on (please read that as “own” for dramatic effect). BAM! But… It didn’t last long. Pretty soon, I was getting maaaybe 10 minutes in before Pandora opened her shatty box of cray-zee, Roman opened the basement door to demand I help him put on my gold pants (because he thinks they make him look like Slash), and our 50-lb lab, Georgia, came FLYYYYYYY-ing down the stairs and tackled me while I was attempting to perfect my push-ups which meant I was at the perfect height on the floor for my Chihuahua, Lola, to lick me up the nose. Yes, UP the nose. Her tongue is so long and slender that it actually fits UP MY NOSE.

Then Roman wanted to play the drums for me while I worked out. But I couldn’t hear the lovely Chalene Johnson! I asked him to play quietly but then he started crying because Guns n Roses doesn’t play the drums quietly! So that finished that day. Subsequent attempts were even worse… so I finally gave up. And by “finally” I mean by the third day.

“Oh, I know!” I naively thought to myself, “I’ll sign up for the special I saw on Facebook for the Krav Maga combat fitness classes! Three classes for $20. Done. I’m so gonna rock this. If I pay for it I’ll totally do it cuz I don’t wanna waste money!”

I took the first class on the last Wednesday before going back to work. Class started at 6. I had to wait for my hubs to get home from work to relieve me from my parenting duties so I was runnin’ a little late! Sue me! Weeeell, they very well may. Someone from the studio called me to make sure I was coming. I got there at 6:05. Intense. “Something tells me we’re not in LA Fitness anymore.”

I was the only person in the class who had never done it before. Everyone in the class… EVERYONE had on shirts and pants with the studio logo on it. I busted up in there in a hot pink sports bra, yoga shirt, and bright running tights. Like, have you ever gone to a costume party only to realize you need to stop at the store on the way so you’re walking through Target dressed like a giant poo emoji? Yeah. That was me.

And I was totally lost. Like a female pro bowler trying to be a Lakers Cheerleader. Lost like that. I loved it but felt totally lost. It was a great workout. But I knew that once work started back I wouldn’t be able to make those classes without, at best, being 10 minutes late. The schedule just didn’t match mine.

I realized something over the break. I’ve been going about this “all-or-nothing” for so long… it’s not fair. Not fair to me. So I’m going to do my best. Some days my best might mean I eat 1300 healthy calories and a refuse that break-room cupcake. Some days I may kill those 1300 calories by breakfast. Oops. But it’s about being more aware of my choices and creating realistic expectations for myself.

Do I want my abs to come back to me? Yes. Do I want to take care of myself? Yes. But I also know that with the kids’ schedules, my schedule, and my husband’s schedule, sometimes it’s all I can do to get them in bed before I fall asleep in the hallway on the way back to my room. Step by step, choice by choice, I’ll get where I need to be.

What do you do to take care of yourself?

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