Friday, January 29, 2010

Not as Simple as it Seems

When I get in my car I have a habit of always reaching around into the back seat to check for murderers (especially at night). I get in, start the engine, back up and do a blind sweep of that area of the back seat where creepy men can squish up and hide. Every so often I think, "Hmmm, now what would I do if there really was a creepy axe murderer guy back there and he grabbed my arm. I'd be so screwed. He'd have my right arm - which is definitely my strong arm, but my left arm would be free, so I could steer with my knees while grabbing for the phone with my left, all the while tugging/fighting with creepy guy. Which reminds me, I should really keep my phone in the center cup holder. There is no way I could get a phone out of my purse with my left arm. I wouldn't be able to reach that far. Well, I could if I twisted more towards the passenger seat, but then I'd probably veer off the road because I wouldn't be able to steer properly with my knees if I was all twisted to the right."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Good News Sharing

"Oh. My. God! Mom! Do you want to hear some really good news?"

Here's where most mommies vying for Mother of the Year turn towards their precious little one, put their caring mommy hands on their child's shoulders, bend over to look directly in their eyes and, in their most excited mommy voices, say, "Yes! Yes, I really do want to hear the good news you are about to share with me. By the way, I feel so privileged and honored that you'd share this good news with me! Do continue."

I, however, answered more like this: "Seriously, Bean? Seriously? I'm IN THE BATHROOM! I have not peed BY MYSELF ONCE in the past FORTEEN YEARS. See that door? I closed it for a reason. I don't want you barging in here unless there's multiple gallons of blood shooting from your body or Cletus has stopped breathing and is turning blue. Now GET OUT!"

And then I was all feeling like well, that was a big mistake, so I yelled "Get back here and bring me some toilet paper!"

Since she did bring me the toilet paper I thought it only right that I listen to her good news.

"Well," she started excitedly. "We did a buns and thighs workout at school today and it was really hard. But, here - feel my buns. Feel my rock hard glutes..." and she actually positioned herself in such a way that the right bun was precariously close to my face which really had no place to go since I was still stranded on the toilet and I had no choice at all but to poke it. I poked her bun. And all I kept thinking was, "there is not one stupid parenting magazine anywhere in the world that details what the appropriate response to this situation is. How the hell am I ever going to win that stupid award?"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The One In Which I Sound Like A Whiney Spoiled American

Isn't there one job out there that I'd be perfect for? You know, "Snarky Columnist Wanted: write about whatever you want. Compensation: Tell us what your bills are and we'll actually pay you more than that so you can have this thing called a Savings Account (they were big in the 80's). Astronomically Awesome Health Insurance is provided free of charge. Apply within."

Monday, January 25, 2010

The One In Which My Child Makes Me Look Like A Fantastic Parent

Dotter has a soft heart. And I'm sure it's entirely due to my parenting skills.

The first evidence of this was when she came running into the living room where I was feeding Cletus. She was sobbing. Tears streaming down her innocent little cheeks, barely able to catch the breath, arms flinging around my neck, squeezing tightly....

"What? What happened? Dotter? What's wrong?"

"Juliet and Justin broke up!"

"What?" (Which was code for: What the heck are you talking about, you freaky little 8-year old.)

"Justin was trying to save Juliet and he couldn't and she didn't get the blood and then she turned old - and her face was so old! - because she's over two thousand years old - and now she Broke. Up. With. Justin!"

It took awhile, but I concluded Justin from Wizards of Waverly Place had been dating a vampire named Juliet. And, while she is over 2,000 years old, that's very young for a vampire. Anyway, when she drinks blood she looks young. When she doesn't she looks old. She could've drank Justin's blood; but she didn't (a la Romeo & Juliet). We didn't see the break-up coming. It's hard.

(Guess I won't be the only one in the family sobbing over elephant documentaries. Take that Jelly Bean, the Compassionless Teen.)

Sunday Dotter decided to do something that four years ago I would have labeled as "Impossible with a Capital I," that is Audition for a Theatre Production. A musical production, no less. We drove over (always with her forehead pressed against that window, like she'd rather be anywhere but in a vehicle. I've gotten so used to her doing that I often forget what it must look like to the average passerby), walked into the audition room and then systematically shut down. Grunts. "Would you like to take your coat off?" "ungh." Oh, the power that sound holds. Holds her captive. But I have learned throughout the years: What comes next? Explain what comes next! She needs to know what to expect!

So I start talking to her. To the average outsider I looked like just another annoying, freaky stage mom, talking down to my child who is totally uninterested, eyes unfocused yet staring at a wall two inches from her face (but who is really craving every single word, like precious, precious oxygen). "I'm going to go get the form we need to fill out - it asks your name and address and if you've been in any shows. Then I'll fill it out and give it back to the director. She'll put them all in a pile and call you up one by one. She'll say your name so you know it's your turn. Usually they start with the older kids first so the younger ones can see what to expect..."

Thank goodness a familiar face came and started chit-chatting with me. Taking my mind off the bundle of nerves on my lap, unable to sit in her own chair. I would tell her quietly in her ear to breathe. She'd forget if I didn't remind her. Just a small rocking. That's all. Back and forth the more and more people that came in. I'd tell her who they were, even though I didn't know. "That lady in the black shirt is the mom to the little girl with the pink dress." For some reason "knowing" who people are in a room helps her.

And soon it was her turn to walk up front. Her face was red. Her eyes scared. She was nervous. Couldn't remember where she went to school. Panicked. And all I thought was, "What kind of mother are you that sits there while your daughter suffers? Grab her! Pick her up and cradle her in your arms and wrap your love around her and tell her that she never, ever has to step out into the scary world again. That she can stay forever safe and sound in her own private world where no one can ever look at her or speak to her or touch her or hurt her or scare her..." But I know that's not true. And she knows it, too. Which is why she asked to come here. She wants to be the kid on stage like all the other kids. She wants to be the one who doesn't obsess over every little detail weeks before an event. She wants to be the kid that goes with the flow, not drowns in it.

And she did it! She endured. She stood in the face of her paralyzing fear and prevailed! She was in a room with strangers and she spoke. And then she sang! She didn't make eye contact, but one step at a time, people.

Driving home I asked her what she thought about the whole audition thing. She said, ""My heart was beating so hard it hurt. I thought it was going to fly out of my chest like a cartoon!"

On top of all that drama we continue to hear about the devastation that continues to blanket Haiti. Dotter insists we can help them all. All we need to do is go over there and invite them to live with us. We can get lots of bunk beds and put them in our dining room and living room and in the basement. And we can share our clothes and our food. And we can take them sledding.  
She left me this, along with her money she has saved up, asking me to mail it:

She's going to be my Little Mission Girl, for sure. God has filled that little girl with more compassion than the average person knows what to do with.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

You are so not going out in public like that!

Today I made Big V get a new pair of shoes.
Sometimes I'm just really, really bossy.
I took photographic proof to share with all my web-buddies for further ridicule.
Sometimes I'm just really, really immature.
(Why, yes, that is a whole roll of duct tape holding his shoe together.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

You Need To Do That NOW?!

I've seen people do all sorts of things while driving. Dangerous things that would feasibly cause them to become distracted:

Eating, drinking, talking on the phone, texting, applying mascara, attempting to get the very last microscopic crumbs into their mouth from the bottom of a bag of chips, reading a book, reading a newspaper, writing out a check...

But never, until now, have I ever turned my head to the right, glanced over at the driver in the lane next to me, and witnessed the tap-tap-tapping of a syringe, followed by the plunging of a needle into the arm holding the steering wheel.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday. Why, yes it is.

I don't do a lot of "from scratch" cooking. Betty Crocker assists on a pretty regular basis, so it is with much pride that I perfected (ok, got lucky) creating a lovely Ham and Bean Stew. It was so good I snagged a helping right away to bring to work today. I even drove ten miles an hour under the speed limit to ensure it wouldn't tip over, lest I lose a morsel. Got of the car, carefully picked up my precious cargo, and 'lo and behold, the forces of nature flung that platic container to my feet so fast I couldn't blink. Pieces of ham and beans flew everywhere; even up the leg of my light tan work pants. (The only pair of decent looking work pants that I can button without passing out from lack of oxygen due to the extreme sucking in of the gut action that must take place with all my other pants.) It looks like I vomitted next to my car. Such is the beginning of a wonderful work week. Gee, I just can't wait to see what Tuesday brings.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mary, Mary, Where you going to?

There's a lady that lives on the opposite end of the block from us. I'll call her "Mary" because her name just happens to be Mary. So Mary has this dog. A little, yipping-mutt type. It's an old dog, more wide than it is long, and it doesn't walk very well. Mary drags her little dog down her driveway, into the street, and walks up the block to our driveway. She continues dragging the dog up our drive like she's going to come to the door and ring the doorbell except she hangs a sharp left at the siding, drags the mutt a few feet into our front yard and hovers outside our dining room window until the mutt makes his deposit. Mary does not pick the deposit up. Ever.

This irritates me. And I've asked Mary not to use our yard. Mary explained she has to because the dog is blind. I expressed to Mary that perhaps instead of dragging the blind dog into our yard she could pick someone else's yard to drag the blind dog into because this really isn't working for us.

Now it's a fun game to bust Mary. Sometimes she thinks we're not home because the garage door is closed hiding our cars. So right when she relaxes into hover mode under the window I snap open the blinds, tap on the glass, smile real big and wave excitedly like she's my bestest friend ever and I am so glad she stopped by to say hi. She never waves back, but she does practically sprint back to the road, dragging the dog behind her.

And in case you think I'm making this up.... meet Mary:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

And S-T-R-E-T-C-H!

Today was another Physical Therapy day for Cletus. I think he's got a crush on Miss Heather. She walks in and he's all smiley and giggly and showing off, "Look at me and my strong monstrous arms! Check it out - my head is raised a full 70˚ - Oh, yeah, baby!" Except moments before he was all, "Why do I have to get dressed. Can't I just sleep? Give me back that pacifier. Gawd, mom, you're so annoying." Miss Heather, completely buying into his flirting, was all "What a strong boy you are!" and I swear he made an I-Told-You-She-Thinks-I'm-Special face at me (but maybe I'm just hyper sensitive to contorted faces since I'm so used to the Bean making a multitude of faces to communicate various degrees of displeasure and resentment towards me).

We learned some new "passive stretching," which to the average outsider looks like we're barely able to hold back some sort of animalistic desire to snap his little neck. I think we'll save those stretches for inside the privacy of our own home. When the blinds are drawn. And the lights are off. And we're in the basement. And we have a really good attorney on retainer.

Cletus had his 4-month check-up this morning as well. (Of course he has a full social calendar; he's my son!) The nurse weighed him: 14 pounds. And measured him: 27 inches. The Big V looked at the little graph on the computer screen, taking all the data in: 50th percentile for weight, 95th percentile for height... arms crossed he nodded his head once, "Basketball" and with that announcement the course of Cletus's future training was set.

The doc came in, checked out his limbs, his head, looked at his ears. Twice. Eyes, mouth, hips. Anything that could be looked in was. Anything that could be moved was. She liked his progress and I relaxed. But as she stepped out of the room V panicked, "Is she pregnant? Did you see her stomach? I think she's pregnant!" Uh, yeah, she was also pregnant when we were here a couple weeks ago, and a couple weeks before that... in fact, she's been pregnant since the first day we brought Cletus in here. "I thought she was just big boned. But she's pregnant!" Our doctor is a blessing we don't take lightly. V relaxed only after assuring him Cletus would not require any sort of medical attention throughout the duration of the doc's maternity leave. (I'll worry later about how to keep that promise.)

And so began the my-baby-is-naked-where-is-the-nurse-with-the-immunizations waiting period. To pass the time V played with the plastic safari animals, marveling at how God made giraffes with long necks because He knew they would be vegetarians and would therefore need to eat the leaves at the tops of trees and wondering who would win in a fight between a lion and a tiger (he thinks tigers because they're smarter) and just when I thought it couldn't get any worse V says, "Did you know lions never cheat on their wives but Tigers do." Oy!

Cletus, with nothing else to do but continue staring at the blood pressure cuff on the wall, decided to poop. A lot. And it stunk. Bad. Which gave me the opportunity to quit listening to Comedy Bob over there and focus on the diaper.

The nurse came in. Gave the shots. Cletus screamed. V teared up. And we left.

We get in the car and we're driving home and I say, "Ugh! This diaper stinks!" And V was like, "Did he poop again?!" "No," I explained. "It's the one from the office." And V was all "GROSS! You're carrying around a poopy diaper? What is WRONG with you? Why didn't you THROW THAT AWAY?!"

So obviously he knows nothing about the Mom Code, which clearly states in Article 3, Section 12, "Disposal of poopy diapers shall only be at your own private residence, dumpsters located a minimum 50' from any building or structure, or in garbage cans located at truck stops along major highways. Only." I cannot believe he expected me to throw a stinky diaper in the trash can in the exam room at the doctor's office! Can you imagine being the next patient? He has so much to learn.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What a Nut

I've eaten no less than 8,614 cinnamon almonds from Trader Joe's today. The label reads "an irresistible snack" and they weren't kidding. Aside from looking like a cow chewing cud because I'm constantly trying to get wedged almond pieces out of my back molars, I'm finding I enjoy this snack. (8,614 is a lot of almonds, people. This produces a lot of wedage. And, yes, I made that word up.) It also leaves me wondering why I would never consider purchasing said almonds myself. Throw it on the counter, I'll eat them all day long. Pick it up off the shelf and pay for it myself? Um, not so much. I'm not sure if that means I'm lazy or cheap.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Time to Buy

I'm thinking it's about time I purchase some snow boots and maybe an ice/snow scraper. Then again, I haven't owned boots since middle school and if it wasn't for iTunes organizing their siege of the music world I'd have a few CD cases to run through. (Like you haven't ever used a CD case to scrape the ice from your windshield. Like I'm the only one who has ever done that. Right.) (iTunes... you know, because everyone downloads now and nobody purchases actual CDs. That's why you can only get Barbara Streisand's Greatest Hits and Disney Now at WalMart.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

These are the Memories

Such a special moment, cuddling with Dotter, watching really bad acting - some movie about a thirteen year old boy that finds out he's a mermaid. Uh, mer-Man... and Dotter looks over, sweetly pats my stomach and says, "you still look pregnant mom" before turning her attention back to Gill Boy.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Turtle Collar

My baby has a Turtle Collar. Not really, but that's what I thought was said. It's actually called "Torticollis," which also reminds me of tortellini, but this has nothing to do with cooking.

Cletus the Used-to-be-Fetus is almost four months old. He was born with a perfectly round head. Everyone said so. Everyone. The doctor that delivered him, the nurses that checked on him, the dietary technician that brought me my gourmet I-never-want-to-leave-this-hospital-ever food. His head was like a perfectly formed grapefruit! That is, assuming grapefruits are round when perfectly formed. I'll have to look that up. Anyway, you get my point.

Big V noticed the bulging first. As Cletus grew his head just seemed, off. I passed it off as the crazy cowlics in his hair made his head seem a bit off kilter. V mentioned he only looks to one side, but that was because he likes to look at his mommy. Then V noticed there was a bump forming over one eyebrow. Boy, was V picky! But then I noticed the limp left arm. It never really moved. His little legs and right arm would be flailing around as Cletus giggled and cooed and worked himself up into a storm... but that left arm just laid at his side, kindof cockeyed. Even laying there it just looked, off.

Walking into the doctor's office was sort of a shock. The nurse noticed right away. Then the doctor. Well, I guess we weren't being the overprotective, wussy parents who brought their kid in for nothing. That afternoon we were brought upstairs for x-rays which would show that (thankfully) the bones in his skull weren't fusing together too soon, ruling out a much more serious condition called craniosynostosis. But there was still that arm... and that now misshapen head, with one ear bigger than the other, lower than the other.

So here's where we are today: Cletus the Used-to-be-Fetus is now in training!

We had our first Physical Therapy evaluation, met our wonderful Physical Therapist, Miss Heather, who comes to our home and works with us and Cletus. Big V was taught how to do some of the stretches (which kindof looks like torture) and we've been instructed to do them several times throughout the day. Cletus is officially diagnosed as having a 33% delay - what that means to me is that at nearly 4 months he's only doing what a 2 month old is doing. He's got some catching up to do!

One thing we learned is that he has a very common condition called Infant Torticollis, or "wry neck." The muscles on one side of his neck are really tight and need to be loosened, massaged, and used. That explains the tilted head, favoring the one side, lack of tracking anything past the midline to the left,the weakened left arm... we've also discovered the little guy has minimal thumb movement on his left hand. Another hurdle.

The positional plagiocephaly (goofy shaped head) will be readdressed at his 4 month appointment in ten days. The physical therapist says sometimes the strengthening of muscles and increased activity will automatically aid in bringing an infant's pliable head back into focus, but we'll still keep on it.

The One in which I take my Father for his Covid Vaccine

I got a voicemail the other day from the hospital saying ‘since you’re the contact on record we just want you to know your Dad can get a Cov...