Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Omniscient Vision

There's a lot of criticism of mommy bloggers violating their children's privacy.  I keep my kids' names untyped, & thus hopefully un-Googleable, and haven't posted any nekkid hiney shots so should they eventually make their way here, I hope they won't have too much to protest about.  [Also, as the New Year approaches and I'm reflexively forced to reflect, I'm left with the disturbing feeling that what I've mostly done here lately is whine, writing very little about the little creatures that keep mommy so busy, but that's a different post.]  But if the #1 rule is no skin shots, then what's the consensus on internal organs?  Honey bear, if you're mad at me in 20 years for sharing with the world what your ribs look like then, I will totally pay for your therapy.  'Cause mommy finds these jpegs to be a thing of wonder and joy.

My girl had her AAI xrays done about 2 months ago (oh jeez, has it really been 2 months?!).  The one radiologist said that bit was fine but wasn't sure about something else, so my pediatrician arranged for a second read at the Children's Hospital.  Except no one wanted to just mail it over or, god forbid, use Al Gore's nifty new technology and send it out into the vast unending blackness of cyberspace.  To be fair, I still get old school film Xrays at work all the time so it's entirely possible no one realized that Hospital#1 has gone digital but there were nonetheless shenanigans in getting the aptly named anti-climatically compact disc from Hospital#1 to Hospital#2.  Mission FINALLY accomplished today. 

But not before burning myself a copy. 
In the shot above you can see the wires used after her heart surgery to close her chest.  You can see the plates of her skull and I think the outlines of her cerebellum and some molars lurking under her gumline.  You can also see the hand bones of the tech who was holding her still and in the shot below there is clearly silent screaming at the indignity of it all.

And if I were a believer, I'd look at that burst of white in the middle of my girl's chest and see God himself.  God, science, and Gore-tex. They cut open her heart, fashioned a working pump out of what was in effect a water balloon, and then held the whole business together with those little wires.  Amazing.


[Note to my new BIL:  If you have perchance made friends with anyone in the neuroradiology department and all that scientific curiosity makes you wonder what the first radiologist saw, say, at C1, then it would supremely easy for me to email you the jpegs.  In the name of science, of course.  Not because I'm paranoid enough to want a THIRD opinion.]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Yorkshire Pudding 12, Me 0

Oh, Popovers. Scourge
of Christmas dinner.  Thou hast
bested me again. 
They look pretty here but I had to cut them out with a knife.  Two or three hundred years ago they didn't have non-stick pans and, until now, I have refused to admit the necessity thereof.  They also didn't have Dawn dishsoap though - maybe I should try letting my muffin tins "season"?  (Who wants to come over for blueberry muffins now?)  Making these well is on my bucket list.  Ambitious gal, am I. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Good Tidings

So.  Christmas!  Yup.
Can I get an Amen?

Scar from the Great Hearth Battle of Twenty-Eleven above her right eye.

Mardi Gras beads from Target dollar bins for the stocking:  $1
Toddler joy:  Priceless

Disney PJs. 

Oh, that face!  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No Good, Very Bad Weeks

Twenty years from now when I have a savings account and a 10 minute commute, when I'm a regular at the yoga class around the corner and am a magic size 6, when I read 5 books a week and run 4 marathons a year, and when I know both the librarian and the ticket guy at the art house theater by first name, I will think upon these times fondly, with not a little wistfulness, and I will miss my cuddly, sticky-kiss-giving little people.

This very long post exists for sole purpose of reminding my future self to shove all that wistfulness into the diaper genie.

Monday: Got to to work late, go immediately into a 2 hour meeting, return to my desk to find my phone lit up like a Vegas slot machine.  Have to leave to pick up the girl for Pink Eye, Round II.

But not to worry.  Following the Weekend of 400 Cookies my house is trashed.  You couldn't take more than a step in any direction without jumping over or sliding around something.  Often a sticky something.  Or a toe-stubbing something, hidden under the clean (?) dirty(?) laundry (hard to tell as it swirled together). This is an excellent opportunity to clean.

Also, I chatted with my new boss about my schedule & flex time and she waved me off with an eye roll.  Let her know if I don't plan on showing up so she knows I'm not dead in a ditch but otherwise we're good.  *phew!*

Except my girl & I walk in and eeewwww.  One of the dogs had gotten sick. Naturally on the one tiny bit of carpet downstairs, not the other 90% of floor with easily cleaned wood floors.  I put the girl down for a nap, clean up, and... well, I then clearly deserved a break.

We'd gone to my niece's birthday dinner right after the cookie party and I was too exhausted to talk to anyone so started flipping thru her sister's copy of The Hunger Games and I was hooked.  For the record, I don't usually read Young Adult fiction, but this was sort of Handmaid's Tale + The Lottery + Gladiator.  The lead girl kicked butt and I don't get to read much anymore so... not sure what happened to the rest of Monday.

Though I did put the turkey in.  We had Thanksgiving at Matt's mom's house and while she did send us home with some leftovers, we missed the whole baking-a-turkey/holiday smells/turkey sandwiches, turkey casserole, omg STILL more turkey/gluttony factor.  I think I could totally do this SAHM thing - I read a book AND I made a healthy dinner.  I rock!

Tuesday: The girl's still banned from daycare & Matt's CEO was in town and asked my rockstar husband to fly around Missouri with him.  Matt's CEO trumps my voicemail.  So Day 2, at home.  Not a problem, I still have the second Hunger Games book and I really haven't done much with the house yet...

Except when feeding the girl lunch (turkey! why do you ask?) I turned for a second - IT WAS JUST A SECOND - and the sneaky mutt who I trustingly took into my loving home from the outside-in-the-middle-of-winter shelter grabbed the gallon sized bag of carefully sliced turkey, all 14#, less bones, less one dinner of it, and then that damn dog had the good sense to take it into a different room where I wouldn't notice him eating himself into a night outside in the backyard alone.

Then Tuesday afternoon the fireplace mantel... (is the mantel only the thing above the fireplace?  The ER staff looked confused.  We have brick seat-thingy at shin & toddler-forehead banging height too.)  Oops!  Guess I gave away THAT plot twist already?  Hmm.

Anyway, the brick seat-thingy and my daughter's forehead had an altercation and my daughter lost.  Massive hole in her forehead gushing pints & pints of blood*.  Tuesday was supposed to be PJ today so no shower, no grown up clothes.  I briefly consider it but decide a good mother would NOT stop to take a shower before going to the ER for stitches.  Though I did change into jeans.
*[Pints might be overstating it a tad. It's about a 2cm gash.]

In the car I shift from a zen-like "It's unfortunate my daughter needs stitches but such is childhood", to a high pitched, red-light running (really!), weaving through traffic at 80mph PANIC because she falls asleep in the car, I can't wake her up, and all I can see is her brain swelling up and... well... yeah.

Later I realize I had the heat in the car cranked to full max and she was wearing a winter coat.  If anything, she was at risk for heat stroke.  Nevermind mommy's crazy driving.  That would be diagnosable PTSD right there folks.  Come on up & get a good look.

The ER staff is great, except the insipid med student who is annoying, but I ignore him because I'm busy discussing sedation methods with the ER doctor (Yay, special needs moms rock!... except for the whole 'letting my daughter climb on the fireplace' thing. I suck).  My girl wasn't letting anyone look at her forehead, much less neatly apply tiny, tiny stitches.  I told them she had enough going on, she didn't need a third eye scarred into her face.  They said they weren't comfortable intubating her (WTF?!?!)... I clarify I didn't think she needed to be put UNDER, I was thinking Versed.  I didn't want her remembering scary doctors holding her down since this is neither her first nor last rodeo.  Also to avoid the whole 'panicky thrashing because people are trying to smother you while waving a big needle above your eye' issue.  The ER doctor believes this to be a brilliant and insightful solution and asks why I didn't go to medical school.

I might be exaggerating again.

Naturally, there's another bigger emergency that comes in so the Versed is wearing off by the time they come back around so she ends up panicking and thrashing ANYWAY.  Then, on the last stitch, the ER doctor goes, "Oops".


Doctors are not supposed to say "Oops".  It's a rule.  Like gravity.  By way of explanation she said they nicked a vein and there would be a worse bruise there than otherwise so in the grand scheme of things not a big "oops" but dammit I'm her mother and you are NOT inspiring confidence in me.  I resolve to find a better ER next time.

Because, oh yes, there will assuredly be a next time.

Wednesday:  Good thing I'd already planned to take this day off.  The girl needs some snuggle time and the xxxx dog still has to go out every 5 minutes post-turkey-theft.  I think evil thoughts about leaving chocolate & raisins out for his next foray onto my countertops.  Also, you know what's not fun?  Putting eye drops for the aforementioned Pink Eye, on a girl whose eyes are... extra specially hard to open AND whose forehead is held together by string.

My girl & I later visit her new fancy specialty dentist which is a full hour drive away.  But the staff there was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  The girl had a cotillion of hygienists trying to make her giggle and say, "Aaahhh".  They were charming and doting and I felt not an iota of pity or weirdness from them.  The dentist confirmed she is trying to grind her teeth down to nubs but doesn't think she needs caps yet and, best of all, finds her teeth to be sparkly clean (Because I am an awesome mom!) so no need to coordinate ENT-DDS sedation.  The best-est part was that he determines all this with the fastest exam in the history of dentistry THEN gives her a stuffed frog and a polaroid of the two of us, "My first visit to the dentist with Mom".  This guy would be well worth a TWO hour drive.  I marvel at our good fortune.  I also congratulate myself for going with Versed last night since she is not overly freaked out by MORE people in white coats poking at her.

We then go to our new SLP whose evaluation states my daughter has Downs' Syndrome.  I am slightly horrified.  But I sit quietly in the lobby for an hour reading trashy gossip magazines while listening to the liveliest most effective speech therapy session in 3 years and am mollified.  Then I'm completely charmed when she says that the girl's attention had started to flag at the end and how would I like to do half hour sessions?  At half the price.  Yes please sir, and I will deliver your halved check with wine and roses and cheesecake.  I again marvel at our good fortune.

Matt left on a trip in the middle of the day and I later remember it's going to freeze that night and Matt hasn't turned off the water for the hose yet.  Despite several requests.  This has nothing to do with traditional gender roles. This has everything to do with the night my parents left me alone with a babysitter who fell asleep on the couch leaving me awake to watch a movie about swarms of tarantulas eating people.  There are some BIG spiders in Missouri, people, and the water pipe lever is in the spider infested, web-festooned rafters in our basement.  I make him stay on the phone with me after he tells me where the levers are just so I can yell at him as the webs wrap around my wrist...

This is, by far, the WORST part of my week.

Thursday: This day may have been worse or completely ordinary but I have no recollection of it.

Friday:  I realize no one has checked with the day care or the school bus to make sure my daughter has someplace to go and some method to arrive there.  (And by "no one" I mean Matt, who is usually off on Fridays but who is still off enjoying seafood & solitude in Boston).  Many frantic phone calls to people who haven't had their morning coffee yet.  They are surprisingly flexible.  I am horrified this didn't occur to me earlier and feel, once again, we are holding this life of ours together with scotch tape and spit.

Saturday: Matt returns. He brings me a cookie. All is forgiven.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In Which I Insult Everyone I Know - But Offer Cookies in Apology

Sooo.... Yesterday's post about the minivan was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek but I kinda left off the funny and since I know almost no one, online or in real life, who DOESN'T own a minivan I should probably explain that although I've mocked and railed against them as an unpleasant side effect of the otherwise joyful life of suburban parent-hood (see also:  chucky cheese, barney), it only takes one soccer season to be convinced of their necessity, and of the evil genius that is Detroit's lure of spacious 7-passenger seating.  We would totally buy a minivan if we could but our cars (*knock on wood*) are running fine right now and replacing running vehicles isn't exactly in the budget.  Though I stand strong against the built in back seat DVR. 

[At least until they offer to throw in the headsets for free]

Anywhoodle, we held our annual cookie party last Sunday.  The first year, it was just the cousins, the year after I included the neighbors, and in 2010 I invited the soccer team (with absolutely no notice).  This year I finally took the plunge and invited the boy's class.  His ENTIRE class. So we rented the sub-division's clubhouse because a dozen kids + bright green frosting + a metric ton of sprinkles?  My house is never really really clean, but I draw the line at frosting on the ceiling.  This year I also sent real invitations with more than 48 hours notice.  Yay, me!

...Side note about RSVP-ing.  I am sometimes guilty of the Last Minute RSVP.  I was even guilty once (twice?) of the unintentional(!) but ignoble Ignoring of the Invite.  Matt also gently reminded me that tonight was Uncle Mike's party for which I also didn't formally send my regrets though it was 1500 miles away and I kinda assumed it was a courtesy invite only.  I will state, formally & for the record, that Karma is a bitch and I had it coming.  Because less than half the class responded, leaving me to fret over how many cookies were needed.  Leaving me to jump down into a rabbit warren of funky math:   how many cookies per child? (3? 5? 15?)  How many will they eat versus want to bring home, decorated?  How many siblings will show up?  How many cookies will the parents eat?  How many families will RSVP with less than 12 hours to go? (answer:  2)  How many appearances will be a complete surprise? (maybe 2?  4?  I never got a final kid-count).  How many cookies will the dogs eat when I have my back turned?  (See tomorrow's post about the turkey.  If you adopt one of my dogs, I will also send you a gross of complimentary gingerbread men!).  And, most important, how many cookies do those recipes really make?  Because when the sugar cookie recipe and the gingerbread cookie recipe both start with the same 2.5 cups of flour, there is no logical explanation as to why one makes 74 cookies and the other only 25.  And whatever else goes wrong (because something assuredly will), for the love of all that is Good and Sacred, we CANNOT run out of cookies. 

I was determined to have everything done early, like a responsible adult, and planned to make all the dough Friday night, so it could be nice & chilled for rolling & cutting on Saturday.  Sadly, these were the only photos I took.  I was, at the time, highly amused by the 25 pound bag of flour we bought -

It's better if you have a little perspective -  

Oh, HELLO, much better.
If I told you my Thanksgiving Day cranberry mojito story, I relay the following at risk of sounding like a total boozer, but I swear I only had one glass of wine.  Turns out the cookbook's typeface is really small and/or my eyes are getting really bad, because it wasn't till the 4th batch that I noticed it was 1.5 cups of sugar, not butter.  Which you'd think I would have caught, but nooo.... I had actually even said something to Matt about the egregious amounts of butter the (expletive) cookies took and best have a glass of red wine eat some oatmeal to counteract all that potential cholesterol.  He laughed.  I made 3 more batches. Awesome. 

Anyway, even after dumping my first attempts, I was still in the zone, had a production line set up, and my mother in law's fancy new mixmaster running.  I think I ended up making 7-8 batches each, of sugar AND gingerbread? Craziness.  I spent Saturday (after a yummy breakfast with RK) listening to old This American Life episodes and cutting out stars and trees and little people.  I did this ALL DAY but it was weirdly relaxing - roll, cut, 8 minutes in the oven, repeat.  Apparently there's a little bit of Martha Stewart in me somewhere - *shush* don't tell anyone.  Tragically, I took no more photos, though by the time I was finished I was surrounded by feet of cookies.  We ended up with about 10 kids from the boy's class, plus a bunch of other friends, and still sent gallon-sized plastic bags of extra cookies home with people so methinks I might've over-baked a tad, but all in all, a success.  The end.

(Except not.) 
PS:  I had joked that I would've been insulted by the lack of RSVPs but I've never even met most of the parents so they couldn't possibly not like me (yet).  That pendulum then swung to the other extreme when a good half of the parents dropped their kids off at the party and ran.  Nice to meet you!  Sure, I'll watch your child even though you've never met me and I could be a screaming harridan (and never mind there are 15 other kids here and chances of me noticing your one kid slipping out the door and into the street are minimal).  Glad you trust me.  I realize we'll get to that point eventually, and there are lots of parents I know with whom I'd leave my kid at a party but the key concept there is that I KNOW them.  I might be over-protective and crazy, but it seems 6 is too young for Random People to watch?  I'll also acknowledge I used to watch Law & Order: SVU which left me a leetle bit paranoid.  Also, we had grown-up drinks which not enough people stayed to make a dent in, leaving me with a case of... oh wait, that's not a problem.  Carry on. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sparkly lights for Gigi

Our Gigi lost her brother this last Sunday. Less than a month after losing her sister. Lest we all forget how very short and fragile our time on this planet it. We love you Gigi.

And since there's no way to transition from that to kvetching about my week, or extolling the joys of making 400 cookies last weekend, I'll just toss out a snippet, so maybe Gigi will smile.

The boy, yesterday morning:  Maybe when we have more money we can get one of those big cars that play movies?
Me:  You mean a minivan with a DVD player?  (me, silently gagging)
Him:  Yes!  So I can watch Home Alone when we drive.  Or maybe just Spongebob on shorter trips.
Me:  Probably not, honey (It is critical for your emotional and social development to stare out the window and be bored out of your mind daydream, just like I did as a child.  Besides, listening to Spongebob while driving will drive your mommy completely insane.) 

The boy, last night:  You know what would be cool?
Me:  What?
Him:  If our house had one of those giant balls with lights that sparkle and it could spin around on our roof.
Me:  You mean a giant disco ball?  On our roof? 
Him:  Yes, that!
Me:  That is an excellent idea, buddy (And WAY more likely to happen than the minivan with DVD).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Disney, III

My mother in law asked us to take a family picture while we were at Disney so she could use it in her Christmas cards this year.  This is why that was a terrible idea.  (Sorry, D.)