Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The cheese stands alone.

When I was in junior high, I had a friend. She was a Mormon and had many brothers and sisters. Five, if I remember correctly, which I probably don't. Her father was a local newscaster. He was robust and cheerful and excessively smiley while reading the reports.

This friend invited me over after school one day, and from her description, they lived the fancy life in a big house. Made sense, her dad was famous. When we got there, though, imagine my surprise when I met her large, braless, angry, shouty, sweaty mother, who laid on the couch for the duration of my visit, screaming at her grubby brood to bring her more diet coke while she watched Wheel of Fortune and bellowed incorrect answers at the screen.

When we went into the kitchen to get a snack before returning to the friend's room (which we had to enter by climbing over every toy owned by the sibling who had the lower bunk), we found nothing in the fridge, possibly because all of the cheese in the house had been grated onto the linoleum. A whole block of mild cheddar in a huge, greasy, crunchy, glistening pile, lying in a defeated heap on the curling floor.

I've never been able to escape that image. I can still see the one working bulb dimly casting its meager light over the filthy countertops and sink filled with cold, scummy water and rusting pans. So, whenever, while making dinner, shredded cheese escapes the grater to lay on the floor, wormlike and shiny, I must vacuum. To leave it there would be the first step down a road which can only end with Pat Sajak.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The best baby, empirically speaking.

I'm an extremely competitive person. I really have to be, as a singer, as there are too many of us who all want the same thing, and competition forces me to improve myself or fail, pretty much. I now find that I'm also incredibly competitive about Viv. What is there to be competitive about, you may wonder, if you have no children of your own. Oh, so very much.

It starts simply, early on. "Is your child letting you sleep?", other parents ask. It seems innocent enough, but what this question really means is, "Does your baby sleep through the night, like mine does/did from the time she emerged, composed and transcendent, from my womb?" Every question is from a mental checklist being ticked off by a parent wondering if her child is ahead or behind. Is another baby still not able to sit up at three months? The parent of the child who sat at 2.5 months knows that her child is better, more special than the slug who still can only lie there and drool.

It gets worse, though, as the baby gets older. Crawling is a huge indicator of a child's ability to win one for the parents. If you chance to meet a parent of a child who is the same age as yours and, by seven or so months, one child can crawl and the other can't, the crawler's parent leaves the room (field, mall, playground, etc) victorious, smug in her knowledge that the other baby, poor thing, will cost his parents thousands in physical therapy but that her child will continue to excel in such a dramatic manner as to leave other parents agape and despairing when they witness the genius of the early crawler's future accomplishments.

I have two friends with children who walked at nine or so months. This troubled me. Viv could pull herself up and cruise (move from furniture to furniture) without our help by about then, but she couldn't walk, dammit. When she finally did take her first solo steps at about ten and a half months, I was jubilant, but also a little disappointed. I mean, yes, how exciting, she took her first steps, and yes, I told everyone and was genuinely happy, but what did this mean? Was she muscularly challenged? Was she not very smart? Was she merely...average? God forbid.

At her one year appointment, I filled out one of the usual developmental questionnaires, but this was the first one where I couldn't answer yes to every question. No, Viv hadn't taken off an article of clothing (other than socks, shoes and hats), she couldn't eat independently with a spoon very well and she couldn't scribble. When the pediatrician reviewed the form, I asked her if it was a problem if Viv couldn't do everything on the checklist. She gave me that look, you know the one. The one that says, "Oh shit, you're going to ask me if there are any flash cards you should be using, aren't you?" I said that Viv couldn't scribble, to which she replied, "I wouldn't give a one year old anything to scribble with, much less expect her to scribble." I asked why it was on the questionnaire, then, and she said that the questions pertained to children up to two. She turned over the paper to read our replies to the questions on the second page, the ones geared towards developmental milestones of two year olds, and she asked me, disbelievingly, if Viv actually had more than four intelligible words she could use in context. I thought about it, and came up with about a dozen words Viv uses on a daily basis. When we (Christian was there, too) started telling the doctor which words Viv could use, she was surprised. She looked at Viv who was looking back at her, and said that she was considerably ahead of the curve.

It was better than any trophy.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

How is it possible?

You cannot be one year old today. You cannot. I remember so very little of the day to day happenings of the last year and I want a do over so I can etch every day in my brain. I've heard from other parents that the first year of their child's life was an equal blur. Too little sleep, too many diapers.

You have no idea how much you have made my life worthwhile, and kept me from going crazy when things became too difficult. After Mom died, you were my little rock, and I'm hoping that you have no recollection of all of the times I held you while I cried.

When I think of last year at this time, and how we were in the hospital with you, staring at you, stunned and in awe, I had no idea if you'd be ours, and even less did I know that you would grow into this astonishing little person who exceeds my expectations every day. You're such a funny girl, you love to laugh, you're so social and you read to yourself. You READ to yourself. God, that's my favorite thing you do right now. You pick up a book and you turn the pages while speaking your own language that sounds like a combination of Turkish and Klingon. And when you get to pages that we read with emphasis or a particular voice, you try to imitate it as closely as you can. ALL THE HIPPOS GO BERSERK! I think that's your favorite, behind Binky.

My sweet, sweet baby girl, I love you so much it frightens me sometimes. I had no idea I could love anyone this intensely, and I hope that you know it, that you know that I would do absolutely anything to make your life happy. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm going to give you everything you could want, because that might make you a brat, but you will have everything you need.

We're talking lately about how to tell you that you're adopted, and we need to start reading about these things, as you're growing up so fast we'll be telling you all about your birth story soon.

I hope you're happy with us. You seem happy, we work so hard to make you happy, as does everyone else around us, because everyone loves you. We will always love you.

Friday, November 20, 2009

One more time.

How many times can you say that you miss your mother and wish more than anything in the world that the last five months were a dream and that you hoped you would soon wake up to one of her patented phone calls where she reminds you that it is, in fact, your mother calling, without everyone completely losing patience and telling you to just get the hell over it?

I have one of her infamous calls on my voicemail still. I apparently can go to Comcast's website and access my messages, and hopefully make an audio capture, but I'm terrified that I'll accidentally delete the message, and I really need to keep it as it's her voice and it's an incredibly long and completely typical Mom monologue about how our Costco membership (in my dad's business' name) is going to expire and that we need to send money if we want to keep it going. It's one of those messages that, if I were in an espionage movie and needed to make a recording of Mom's voice to get me past a security terminal that was coded to her speaking a specific phrase, would win the affections of the leading man, as I think she actually says every word the nuns ever taught her merely to let me know that I could either pay her back the $40 or write a check directly to Costco.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Smell of Evil

So, I know what my kid eats. I know that she eats vegetables and oatmeal and fruit and a little cheese and, occasionally, small amounts of meat. There's nothing mysterious about her food, she's not consuming steak tartare or sashimi, so why does her poop smell like 1,000 festering corpses? Sweet zombie Jesus, I have never smelled a stench like her poop stench. And when her diaper disposal unit is full and has to be emptied? If I could ralph up everything I've ever eaten because of the pervading aroma issuing from that pit of evil, I would. No amount of washing, bleaching or deodorizing makes even a modicum of difference. Post-cleaning, the thing just smells like bleach or soap or lavender and the breath of the Sarlaac.

Would you think that someone so adorable could produce such a smell?

Nor would I.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

"Lessons learned from surgery" or "Wow, that really sucked."

Mom's memorial was this last weekend, and I had been dreading it since Dad mentioned that he wanted to have it. It was just so soon, so painful, so immediate. Tina likened the emotions rolling with it to the water held back by the little boy with his finger in the dam. I have my finger in the tragedy dam, and I can let out as much grief as I can handle, and then I can plug the dam back up. This service was the dam breaking for me, and, coupled with Dad's insistence that we understand why he wanted to have the service whether or not we wanted to understand, I was flooded. I had also been in charge of editing and timing the slideshow with appropriate music, so I had repeatedly watched Mom grow up, marry and have kids to the point where I couldn't bear it any more. So, I wasn't surprised when I started to feel unwell on Friday, before the drive to Spokane. By Saturday I was mildly nauseated, achy, sneezy and congested. The service itself was actually much better than anticipated and I came out of it feeling slightly improved. No one told me that Mom was in a better place, and the conversations revolved heavily around the babies in the family.

Sunday we drove home and were much delayed by a dust storm and consequent road closure on I-90, necessitating our taking the 2 most of the way. It was a seven and a half hour trip from beginning to end, and was exhausting. I still felt poorly on Monday and thought I had a sinus infection, but meds coupled with food from Shelly made me feel better, and rehearsal was surprisingly enjoyable, so, at the end of it, I felt well enough to go for a drink and some food.

I had one drink with lemonade and vodka and three little cheeseburger sliders, and started to feel abysmal about a half hour later. By the time I got home, I was intensely nauseated and desperately needed to vomit. I tried and tried and tried, but was utterly confounded, as the surgery I had in May to repair my hiatal hernia restructured the lower sphincter in my esophagus as to allow nothing but small amounts of gas to reverse course. Because nothing was moving in either direction, the nausea wouldn't pass and my abdomen became distended with the air I was gasping in. I continued to retch horribly for an hour before allowing Christian to take me to the ER. Thank God they were quick and got me in as soon as I made it out of their bathroom. They immediately gave me Zofran and dilaudid and within moments I stopped trying to barf out my intestines, which I would have welcomed, actually.

We stayed at the hospital for nearly five hours as I was hydrated and medicated and my lab results were returned. Chris was home with the baby, who woke at an uncharacteristically early hour and refused to sleep again until Chris met her unreasonable demands. We relieved him at 5:30 am and slept until she woke again at 9, when Shelly came over to watch her while we slept some more.

While I'm grateful that the surgery has prevented most of the reflux that has dogged my the entirety of my life, I'm not sure that I would recommend the procedure to someone in my situation. Maybe last night is too recent, but Jesus Christ, that was truly horrific. At least I know it worked.

Monday, September 21, 2009

All right, that's it.

I have absolutely had it with the airline industry. First, we're being charged for meals, then to check bags, and now, to receive a credit on an already booked flight that has seen a $30 per ticket fare reduction, we'll be charged between $50 and $75 for each price adjustment. It is utterly absurd to think that issuing a credit would require $50-75 worth of employee time. I don't know how to address this issue other than let the offending airline, VIRGIN AMERICA, know that I am furious.

In this time of enormous economic hardship, those who can fly are usually doing it at the expense of something else in their lives as travel is a luxury. That $60 Virgin could easily give us would go a long way in encouraging us to use them to travel in the future, but I will not use them again. At least the nameless, faceless giant wholesalers online offer credits.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Note to self...

or, I should be smarter than this by now. Don't read other singer's websites, don't read interviews with them, don't read reviews, don't read bios, don't have anything to do with the industry except when it directly pertains to me. When skinny singers start calling fat singers "elephants" and say that audiences will be rendered unable to dream when said fatties are on stage, that's when I know this business is a crock of crap.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy ninth month, poodle!

Oh my heavens, poodle, it's your ninth month birthday today!

It is unfathomable to me how so much time could have passed already. We were looking at pictures of you as a newborn the other day, and you were unimaginably tiny, so skinny and light, we could carry you around constantly without getting at all tired. You're so big now, so incredibly tall. Everyone who meets you asks how old you are and then marvels at your length, but you're still so lanky! All of your pants bag at the waist, but you have the greatest chubby, ham hock thighs in the world.

You still don't have any teeth, however, which makes your smile all the more adorable, drooly and gummy. And you talk now, constantly, sometimes even using real words, although whether or not they're in context is up for debate. You have met all of your milestones early, you've been sitting on your own since April, you've been crawling for six weeks, you're now using furniture to pull yourself up, and you can move from chair to chair in the dining room while standing. EVERYTHING goes in your mouth, thankfully including the things you're supposed to have in there, like food. You love finger food, especially Cheerios. You even are ambidextrous when picking up things to shove in your pie hole.

You're such a smiley baby, too, good-natured and possessed of great equanimity. You love other people and are extremely social, thank God, as I'm constantly passing you off to friends and relatives, all of whom adore you.

I love your crazy Kid n' Play hair, and I'm a little sad that it's filling in on the sides. We bought you your first hair product, which is pretty hilarious. We can't wait, though, until we can put it up in little elastics, making pom-poms all over your wee heid.

Viv, we love you so much. I hope that we show it enough. I'm trying to get in all the kisses and ear noms and squeezes I can, as you'll soon enough not want any of that stuff. You are the greatest thing that has ever happened to us, and we're happier every day than the last that you're our baby.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Friday, August 07, 2009

Meet the new girl.

Meet Gladys, the Gulf Coast box turtle:

At the vet yesterday, while getting Cyril groomed, the subject of box turtles came up, as it usually does with my vet.  It just so happened that the Humane Society had given the clinic a turtle with a shell infection to be treated and then be adopted out, and we have plenty of room. And, as Gus is not a good eater, which has always worried me, adding another turtle to the habitat can trigger competitive eating, so Gladys will be a therapy turtle, as well.  So she's useful, as well as pretty.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009



And pulling herself up:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Some kind of weird poetic justice.

Viv is SO going to be a soprano, and a really high one, at that.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Far away and all alone.

I leave for Montana on Wednesday, and I'll be going alone.  Christian got the week off for Mom's funeral and all the requisite support duties, so he really can't be away again this soon.  Viv will be cared for in a rotation of battling honorary aunts who are all a little resentful that they have to share her.   

I haven't been away for a job since my only other Montana gig singing Messiah, but that was to the ever charming Billings, the land of it's-eight-o'clock-where-did-everyone-go?  This time, I'll be staying with a host family, which I haven't done since I spent that semester in London my junior year of college.  I'm hoping I won't have to chat or mingle or be chipper and chummy too much.  My conversation would just be so stunning:  

Them:  How are you?
Me:  Really terrible.  I'm devastated by the loss of my mother and I'm away from my husband and child and life means nothing away from them and the world will suckuntilthedayIdie.
Them:  Oh.  Um, well, your room is down the hall.

I hope they have laundry facilities I can use.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I still don't know how we're all going to do this, live without Mom.  Nights are the worst.  I keep expecting to see her walk by in her flowered cotton shorts, trying to tidy up before going to bed.  Seeing her grave filled and her name on a little plate at the head of it was shocking, terrible.  

Every night I think of her and the long future ahead for all of us before we can see her again, if there is such a thing as heaven.  I miss everything, the flip flop of her shoes, the hairclips on all the tables, the smell of her hand cream, her tubes of pink and coral lipstick in the bathroom drawer.  I miss her saying the rosary in the morning and checking on the baby at night.  I miss her pancake mix with the thousand different types of whole grain and her fondness for chocolate cake and pumpkin pie.  I miss the way she loved the grandkids, how she truly cared about their opinions, how she could soothe any hurt or worry by rocking them in her chair.  She always said she wished I had a rocking chair at my house, other than the tiny one from the upstairs guest room.  She wanted to rock Viv to sleep at night whenever she visited.  

Life will be returning to "normal" soon, which is when this will get even harder, I think.  Dad asked me today when he thinks we'll all hit the ground, and I said I thought it would happen when everyone had gone home, back to their lives.  I have to go home next week to get ready for Montana, my aunts and uncles all have their jobs and kids and grandkids of their own.  Our grief will become something we have to bear without putting the burden on others.  

Dad gave me an article today about how most people have very little patience with the grieving process of others, how the five stages should be on a timeline with a quick end.  All I can think of is how I don't think I'll ever get to acceptance, because that would mean that Mom is truly gone.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The hard part.

I don't know if I should have stayed so long with Mom after she had passed yesterday.  I didn't want to leave her alone, but she stopped looking like herself after a while, and I stopped being able to play the "she's going to wake up" game.  

The problem is, I keep expecting her to walk around the corner from the kitchen to the living room, looking exactly as she always has, in her flowered cotton shorts and yellow t-shirt, with the two silver clips in her hair to keep it from curling.  I keep looking for the yellow handbag, but Kyan wanted it to remember her by.  I keep waiting for her voice to call to us from the kitchen, asking us if we want food.  She just can't be gone.  

It was too fast, too unpredictable, the way she went.  How could she have had pneumonia badly enough to end her life?  How could they not have known?  We have a thousand what ifs and whys and none of them will bring her back.  I'm angry at her for not bothering the nurses more if she wasn't feeling well, but she hated to be a bother.  I'm angry at the doctors for not giving her prophylactic antibiotics, just in case something like this happened.  I'm angry that we were robbed of Mom, when we expected at least a few more years, or at least Thanksgiving and Christmas in Seattle while she was there for the marrow transplant.  I didn't expect that I'd be back in Mom's house, five days after I left, but without her here.

This is HER house.  There isn't a room in this place that she didn't decorate.  She bought every piece of furniture at estate sales or garage sales or local shops where she could find a good sale. That makes this place sound shabby, which it isn't.  It's pretty and comfortable and elegant, except for the livingroom carpet, which she wouldn't get rid of.  I hate that carpet.  

Why isn't she here?  Why isn't she home to see her grandkids, or at least at the hospital where the kids could see her on Skype.  Why isn't she still alive?  It makes no sense, which, I realize, is something that everyone says when something like this happens, but now it means something to me.  She was FINE.  I spoke with Mom twice on Thursday, once on our usual morning call and once on Skype, when I was feeding Viv.  She liked to be part of our daily lives and watching Viv eat is pretty funny, besides.  She even posted to her Caring Bridge website that night, not ten hours before she went to the ICU.  

Mom didn't want to die.  She wasn't ready, she wanted to watch her grandkids grow up.  She was supposed to live to 100, surrounded by great-grandbabies.  When she fell unconscious, she must have been pissed, in that corner of her mind where she was still aware of what was happening.  I'll bet she was thinking, "No, not yet!  I need to do so much more, be with my family, it's not time." And oh man, would she have been furious that we all halted our lives to be here.  She hated it when we interrupted our routine for her.  

What's my Dad going to do without her?  How do you make your life again when the person you spent the last 43 years with is gone?  How do you sleep in your bed when the last time you slept there, your wife was with you?  

She can't be gone.  It's not possible.  Too many people loved her, depended on her.  She was too young, too healthy, even with the cancer, too concerned with antioxidants and working out, too active to die.  How is it possible that she's never going to visit us again, that she'll never sit on our couch and say how much she loved to visit us, and how our house is so cozy.  How will Viv not wake up to Grandma holding a bottle, waiting for her?  How is it possible that Viv won't know her Grandma Judy?  

It was too fast.  Too unfair.  I didn't get to say goodbye, I didn't get to hold her hand while she died.  I love my mother, she was my hero.  She was my savior, in a very real sense.  No one else could have cared for me the way she did when I was small and sick.  I have such memories of her holding me, walking through the house in the middle of the night because I was too sick to stay asleep, and she would let me hold the crystal bell my aunt Barb brought back from Germany.  It was special and made me feel like I was being given a treat.  She would carry me outside to see if there were any crocuses, after the long winter.  I know she was over protective, but I honestly didn't care.  I was so safe with Mom.  

I'm now thinking awful things, like tonight at church.  I saw all of the extremely elderly ladies and I though, "What makes them so special that they're here and Mom isn't?  She was the best of all of them."  I feel truly wretched for these thoughts, but that doesn't make them go away.  Mom should have gotten a pass, a dispensation, an indulgence. She was too kind, too loving, too giving.  Why was that taken away from us and the world?  She should have been exempt.  

I don't want to hear that she's in a better place. She's not.  This is the better place, where her grandkids are, where we are.  This house is the better place.  Her rocking chair is the best place, where she held almost all of our kids, rocking them to get to sleep.  She got to hold Andre in her hospital room, so she got to rock him there.  She needed to be able to hold him until he slept here, where she belonged.

I don't want to be planning her funeral, but I have to.  We all do.  I don't want to think about caskets and flowers and fucking food.  I want to think about her next reaction to a new outfit of Viv's, to how much weight Andre has gained, to Jayden's t-ball game outcome, to a Kyanism or to one of Declan's new words.  I want to be able to give her the video I take of Viv almost crawling, just to hear Mom's reaction.  Her reactions were always the best.  My cousin Amy always said that you called Mom or one of her sisters if you wanted a good, satisfying reaction to news, good or bad.  I want to be sitting on the downstairs couch with, watching "A New Leaf" again, hearing her exclaim about the poor condition of my feet.  But I don't want to be here without her.  

Without her.  That's going to be the rest of our lives.  Without Mom.  It's going to suck.

I want my mommy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Slowly and quickly.

Each day seems to drag on as we wait for Mom's cytogenetic test results.  They determine how the doctors rate prognosis, which seems awfully callous.  If we didn't know about chromosomal abnormalities pointing towards poor outcome, would we view the cancer any differently?  Is it just for the insurance companies so they know what to allow for treatment and what to deny?  Is it to give us a realistic notion of Mom's chances or is it only to help target treatment?  As Tina keeps saying, Mom isn't a statistic, and she's doing very well so far, so maybe the cytology will have little impact on her actual outcome, but what does knowing you have a genetic tendency that makes your cancer less responsive to treatment do to your morale, which is a key factor in treatment success and recovery?  

1 in 10 to 20 adults with ALL have a chromosomal abnormality called Ph1 that can indicated a poor response to chemo.  If Mom has Ph1, then she may not qualify for a marrow transplant, which is usually the best bet for remission.  I feel tense and angry that the test is taking as long as it is to be completed, as it seems to be all we can think about.  However, Rigoletto is next month, and that's seeming to approach all too rapidly, as I'm not memorized yet.  Thank God I'm only in three scenes, although even they seem impossibly dense right now.  Frigging Verdi.  It couldn't have been Handel, could it?  

So, we wait and play with the babies and chew our nails and cook meals and do laundry and edge lawns (Marianne, you tireless badass) and go to sleep each night wondering what news we'll wake to in the morning.  Every night we just pray for the best and cry a little as we wonder if it will be the worst.  

Friday, June 19, 2009

A bit of good news.

The cancer is not in Mom's spine.  She started chemo today and it was a bit rough, but she's been feeling fine since it ended.  I'll be Twittering updates as well as posting them to Mom's Caring Bridge website, https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/judyblewett.  

Last night, Kyan, my godson and second oldest nephew, was lying in Mom and Dad's bed watching Snow White.  Mark asked him if he liked doing so and he said, "Yes, when I'm here I feel like she's with me."  Sniff.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Every worst case scenario.

Mom does not have the type of leukemia we were hoping for.  She has ALL, the most common type of childhood leukemia, but a rarer type for adults, and one that is harder to treat.  Mom had to have a lumbar puncture to determine if there are cancer cells in the central nervous system.  When the puncture was performed, chemo drugs were injected into the spinal cord, just in case.  She will begin chemo on Friday, which will initially take a month, and then she'll have maintenance chemo and then stem cell transplants in Seattle.  And she will not rent an apartment to save me bother, despite her protestations.  

This is going to be a long, sucky road.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Why can't the good be left alone?

Why must there always be bad to temper the good?   I hate having my pessimism validated.  You all know the good, here's the shit stack:  Mom has leukemia.  

I cannot even write it without wanting to throw up.  She was admitted to the hospital Monday as she had gone to the doctor to have her lightheadedness, shortness of breath and fatigue analyzed, and her hemoglobin was so low that they admitted her for a transfusion.  She had her marrow biopsied today, so we'll know the type tomorrow, and the DNA typing will be done next week.  She'll come home for two days starting tomorrow afternoon, and then will be in the hospital for a month for chemo.

This is a woman who has eaten a healthier diet than an army of vegan hippies, who takes vitamins of varying degrees of strangeness, who works out, who does everything right, and this still happened.  She is the epicenter of the universe to the grandkids, and they won't be able to see her for four weeks.  There is no shit like cancer shit.    

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Follow Up

When an infant has a UTI, there's a concern that an abnormality of the kidneys, urethra or ureter could be causing reflux of urine, leading to repeat infections.  When Viv was diagnosed with the UTI last week, the pediatrician at Children's and our own pediatrician both recommended an ultrasound and voiding cystourethrogram to evaluate the health of Viv's kidneys, bladder and involved anatomy.  So, yesterday, we took her back to Children's to have both done.  I am again grateful that we are lucky enough to live in Seattle.  Children's staff members all seem to have excellent senses of humor.

The ultrasound was easy, Viv was perfect and laid still with nary a fuss for the 10 minutes it took to capture pictures of her TEENY TINY ORGANS.  We saw her wee little uterus, which was a little odd.  I felt like I was invading her privacy.  Christian thought her kidneys looked like a baboon's face.  The ultrasound technician had never heard that one before.  No, literally.  She guessed that Christian was an artist, as she said that artists and engineers always see bizarre images in the ultrasound.

The VC was less pleasant.  Viv had to be catheterized, have dye injected via the cath into her bladder and then be x-rayed voiding.  She was incredibly calm, though, and didn't flinch or fuss when the nurse inserted the cath, which was remarkable.  The nurses were impressed that we had thought to bring Viv's favorite toys, as, apparently, most parents don't think of it.  Oh, and everyone said she was just beautiful and called in other staff and faculty to see her.  She's the prettiest baby ever.

Anyway, both tests showed that everything was functioning normally, and that she doesn't need to be on prophylactic antibiotics, thankfully.  We're relieved, for us and for her.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

That first trip is the scariest.

Until this week, I felt very lucky that Viv has been so healthy, especially as she wasn't breastfed, and without clostrum, she may as well be thrown into a pig wallow in Mexico for all the immune system she has. She had a mild case of croup that cleared up on its own, requiring only occasional treatments with albuterol delivered via nebulizer and her demeanor never really changed during that short illness.

She woke up Sunday, however, with a fever and seemed listless and out of sorts.  We called the doctor that night, but she was out of town, so we spoke with the consulting nurse at Children's.  She told us to just keep an eye on her, especially as she had no other symptoms, but she vomited twice that night and couldn't sleep, and was running a higher fever the next day, which was, of course, a holiday.  Another call to the consulting nurse, another keep an eye out.  We made an appointment for Tuesday, and my lovely pediatrician examined her and took a urine sample, which looked suspicious.  Her fever was 102.5 by then, and she vomited up the Tylenol we tried to give her to take down the fever, all over me, the doctor, the floor and her own clothes.  However, by then, the fever had climbed to an alarming 104. 3.  She was so hot it was difficult to hold her, so we tried to cool her using cold washcloths.  The doctor's office was out of fever reducing suppositories so the pediatrician actually ran to the pharmacy for us.  It was quite above and beyond.

However, by the time she returned, Viv was not improved, so she called Children's and they asked that we bring the poodle over.  A slightly tense drive during which I was convinced that Viv was not, in fact, sleeping, but was in a coma, and we were in the ER, but I couldn't have felt more low rent, as I hadn't anticipated the barf episode, and had no change of clothes.  So, I carried in my sick baby, swaddled only in a diaper and an industrial towel from the doctor's office.  However, the suppository had, blessedly, started to work and she began to improve.  They did give her a teeny, tiny hospital gown, which was actually quite fetching, but then Shelly arrived with actual clothes.

After a four hour wait, during which they took a urine sample via catheter (which I hope to never, ever have to do to her again), the urinary tract infection was confirmed and we were sent home after a primary antibiotic dosing.  I just got a call that it is an E. coli infection, the most common of the childhood urinary tract diseases.  The next morning, she was hugely improved, her normal, happy self.  Now we just have to take her back to Children's for a screening ultrasound to examine her ureter for defects.

I am curious as to why she didn't sleep last night and why she had worked herself into a frenzy before bedtime.  Barfy McSpewy couldn't keep down her antibiotic until the second go, so she was grumpy until we finally got her to sleep around 10:30.   Once she was asleep, though, I kept prodding her to make sure she didn't have a concussion, because, you see, she fell off the bed yesterday.  I set her in the MIDDLE of a pile of laundry, surrounded by bedding and clothes, and I didn't even know she could roll over the way she did. Why do children always celebrate milestones with grievous personal injury?  And why do things always happen so quickly when one has merely turned one's back to grab a blanket?  Anyway, she was, and is, fine, but I was terribly afraid that she was going to bleed on the brain, so I kept checking her eyes and pupils.  Right now I'm just letting her sleep.  Poor kid deserves it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

So it's come to this.

When we brought Viv home, we were so panicked and desperate that we purchased our equipment willy nilly with nary a thought to ease of use or any similar considerations.  We bought our stroller and car seat as a set, and I knew they were very safe, but I had no idea they were so damn chintzy and awkward.  I've come to despise the very sight of our horrid, bulky, cheaply made stroller whose parts fall off with a visceral passion.  It's incredibly heavy, I can't lift it with one hand, it's difficult to open and close and it's so large that it occupies the entire space of the trunk and I cannot navigate store aisles without knocking over displays in a comical, sitcomish fashion.

Still, I had no idea that, in a post from several years ago in which I cruelly made fun of parents and their strollers, I would jinx myself into becoming the worst of them.  We bought a Bugaboo today.  More specifically, a Bugaboo Bee, one of the most expensive and pretentious strollers available on the market.  Well, in the top five of pretentious strollers, after Stokke, Inglesina and Orbit Baby, and above Quinny and Phil and Teds, although not by much.  However, we did get the stroller secondhand from Craigslist for a really excellent price, and it had been used a very limited amount of times.  It's the smallest and lightest weight Bugaboo, and folds with one hand and fits behind the front seat of the car.  It is a thing of beauty and genius and I adore it.  Too much.  It's embarrassing.  I still will never get a luxury SUV, though, despite that seeming to be the next link in the fancy pants chain of events.  My Toyota is good enough for this family.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oh come ON.

Last Friday, I finally had my Nissen fundoplication.  I spent the night in the hospital and came home Saturday.  I was catheterized during the procedure as I was under general anesthetic, and developed a bladder infection by Sunday morning.  It's disturbing to urinate blood, even when you're half expecting it.

After calling the clinic which houses my surgeon and his residents and fellows and being ordered by the nurse to bring my sorry sad self down within a half hour, I was driven down my Mom, gave them a sample and waited two hours in uncomfortable chairs in the waiting room only to have the initial orders given to me on the phone contradicted by the front desk staff, who told me that, despite the initial assurance that I would be squeezed in by 10:30 am, my appointment with the resident was not, in fact, until noon. This was at 11:30, and I just couldn't wait anymore.  

After waiting three hours at home, I called the office, received a call back at 4:30 and was told my sample was full of unfortunate substances and a prescription had been called in for me.  But what did they call in?  Not your average, run of the mill Sulfa drug, no.  They called in anthrax-busting Cipro.  What the hell was in my pee?  

As I can't swallow pills yet, I took the first pill in ground form and hoped for few if any of the myriad of terrifying side effects listed in the pharmacy handout.  When I awoke this morning, my throat felt full and sore, and upon investigation, I saw the normally pink roof of my mouth covered with white patches from candida.  The ground pills wiped all of the good bacteria out of mouth and now I'm reduced to gargling tea tree oil twice a day, because the three types of ground pills I'm taking in addition to the antibiotic aren't foul enough.  However, the narcotic pain pills are giving me fun dreams, even though they're keeping me from knitting as I can't focus my eyes.  I'll take it where I can get it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Time, you deceiver.

Five months old, Viv is five months old today, and is celebrating by coughing her lungs up from a bronchial virus.  Can she be this big?  She weighs 15.8 pounds, according to the doctor's scale, still spot on at the 75th percentile, but lanky.  She has a long, skinny midsection and all of her pants, while too big in the waist, are already too short.  Her twiggy arms are utterly unlike her pleasantly hamhocky thighs.  She also has really big feet.  Can it be that she'll be tall?

This kid, this little peanut has completely reordered the way I think about life, and even though it's going by way too fast, the changes she undergoes every day are so exciting that I eagerly await each new coordinated hand eye movement.  She smiles every time she sees me, even if I've only been out of the room for a second.  Every morning, she wakes up happy, thrilled to bits to be seeing us again.   I wondered, before bringing her home, how to spend time with her.  What would we do?  Now, the days seem to fly.  I chew on her ears and cheeks constantly, and the bald patch on the back of her head is more bald because I rest my cheek against it.  She likes to play by herself already, which I hope is a good sign for her future intellect.  She's teething and so droolier than a hungry basset hound, and she's eating real food, so the mess is substantial.  She goes through five bibs a day at least.  She's sitting up almost entirely on her own and she can roll partially over in both directions.  She's an utter genius and I love her so much I have to close my eyes and remember to breathe.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Manometry twice, fix once.

I had debated whether or not to repeat the worst one of the battery of tests I underwent in September of 2007 to determine if I was a candidate to have my hiatal hernia repaired, as that horrible test showed the first time that my esophagus had so little motility that I could only have the hernia partially repaired.  This did not make me happy.

Before I scheduled the partial, I wanted to meet with the surgeon to see if there was any way I could have the full, and he recommend the repeat manometry to check if the motility had improved. He thought the improvement unlikely, but as it had been a year and a half and a really, really wanted the full repair, I redid the test.  It was as wretched as I remembered, full of gagging and nose pain, but it turned out to be worth every discomfort as it showed that my motility had improved to the point where I can have the full repair.  This means no more stomach drugs, no more reflux, no more pain, and that makes me very, very happy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sad, lonely Fritz.

Fritz is destined to be alone, I think.  Poor little Pierre was lost to us today.  He never was quite himself after the beak injury, and he wasn't terribly hale to begin with.  Christian found him on the floor of his cage today, emaciated and very weak.  I tried to feed him with a needleless syringe, and he ate for a while, but gave up after filling his crop.  His little heart and kidneys were most likely too weak.  

We'll miss his little fuzzy butt terribly.

Friday, April 10, 2009

They're actually implanting a microchip with that syringe.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist.  I don't believe that there's an Area 51 UFO coverup, I think that JFK was shot by one wacky guy, I think that Elvis is long dead and I don't think that Beatles' albums played backwards relay a secret message.  I believe in science, and that, to be accepted as fact, any scientific findings must have consistently repeatable study results.  And, if the author of a non-repeatable study admits that his results were falsified, the conclusions of that study should be deemed void.  

It shocked me when I learned that Wakefield's single, small sample sized study caused an estimated 12% drop in the vaccination rate among children.  Hundreds of thousands of parents believed the anecdotal evidence of one physician (and their countless friends who repeated the findings of the study as fact) above the adamant assurances of most of the rest of the medical community, and thousands of children were put at risk because of (repeatedly disproven) fears about mercury-based preservatives in vaccines.  It was believed that the medical profession was lying to parents about the true risks of these vaccinations, and that the government was in league.  

There is so much irony in this controversy.  Seemingly, those who quickly jumped on the anti-vaccine bandwagon didn't bother to do even the most rudimentary search to reveal that no mercury-based preservatives have been used in regular childhood vaccines in eight years (and most for much longer), or that multiple similar studies were unable to confirm or even approximate Wakefield's findings.  Parents who believed they were protecting their children from the risks of developing autism hung on word of mouth tales of seemingly normal children who, after their first or second round of vaccinations, suddenly developed symptoms pertaining to the autism spectrum.  They didn't bother to read that these symptoms emerge in vaccinated and unvaccinated children alike at the age where social skills are emerging and difficulties with those social skills become evident, which is at the same age where some vaccines are recommended.  The link between the two is coincidental, not causal.  

I see the desperate need to blame as being the driving force behind these controversies.  An imperfect child must have been damaged, as the genes of the parents couldn't possibly be the culprit.  The diagnosis of autism must be crushing to parents, but especially those who have placed all of their hopes on the future of their child.  Again and again I've seen in parents my age the same desire to have children who are the fulfillment of their lifelong quest to matter, children who are the answer to the unsatisfying career, or the tarnished dream to change the world.   Children who must be raised in the most progressive, the most correct, the most expensive way, because then, and only then, will the parent feel as though they have succeeded.  And what would a disability do to those parents?  Would it mean they have failed?  That they chose poorly for their child?  

Viv has been vaccinated.  She was vaccinated because I couldn't find even one shred of evidence, in all my reading of the scientific journals, that vaccines cause anything more than a mild fever in almost all children.  There are, of course, rare instances of life-threatening reactions to vaccines, usually because of an allergy to an ingredient, but these instances are so few and far between that I could only find a few single case studies detailing them.  

Children with suppressed immunity cannot be vaccinated, because live virus strains can fatally infect their defenseless systems.  Therefore, to keep infections such as measles from coming into contact with children who cannot fight them their own, our child, like other healthy children, has been given the vaccine to create herd immunity.  

We will continue to vaccinate our daughter.  I believe it is our responsibility to protect our children as well as the children who cannot protect themselves.  

Mark, I'm expecting to hear from you about this one.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Viv had her four month appointment today, and she was again deemed perfect.  Even the ARNP said that she has an ideally shaped face.  So, professionals have confirmed her to be so, to no one's surprise.   I mean, look at this face!

She is now 14.5 pounds, which is the 75th percentile and she is 25.25 inches long with a head circumference of 42 centimeters, both of which are in the 80-90th percentile.  Her muscular development is ahead of the curve and her sleeping habits (so far) are exceptional.  I'm so proud!  

If only these tricks were part of my audition package.

I've often thought I was born in the wrong era.  I wanted to be born in the 20s to allow me to be in my 20s in the 40s, so I could be a big band singer.  In my elaborate fantasy, Christian is a trumpeter in the band and we meet and fall in sparkly, lyrical love set to fantastic dance routines in sound stages made up to look like Paris.  However, if being a singer in the 40s would mean competing with the Ross Sisters, I would have been screwed.  I can't compete with that. 

Who are these women and why have most of us never heard of them until now?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It was the shrimp, wasn't it?

God, let's have a little chat. I gave up two things for lent: buying yarn and eating fast food. I've been incredibly devoted to that first promise, which has been surprisingly difficult. I've mentioned before how yarn is my soul's warm blanket on a cold, cold night, and not picking up a beautiful skein here are there has been utter torture. The skeins I already have are not shielding me from the bitter cold of the recession. However, not spending any money on anything, much less yarn, has been another kind of balm for my worry, so I'm at least glad for that. Oh, and everything I've knitted in the past month has been with yarn from my stash, so there.

So really, fast food was a secondary promise. I only gave it up to save us some money and calories. I don't eat it all that often, really, it's mainly a convenience thing, so when Christian brought home Ivar's shrimp and fries last night, I gladly ate the meal. It was already paid for, so throwing it away would have been wasteful, it was Friday, so no meat, and I've been sick for over a week with a sinus infection, as stated in my most recent post, so I haven't had a lot of energy to cook. So why the disproportionate punishment, oh white haired One?

That first call to the bathroom at 1 am started out blandly enough, I thought I just had a little distress from the fried food. Happens sometimes. I have tempermental bowels. But then, the violent one two to the gut, wrenching my stomach out through my belly button and wringing out the contents in front of my eyes, not one, not two, not even three but five or six times, until there was nothing left but tears in my eyes? And then, the next bout at 3, so brutal that the force of it lifted me to my tiptoes, gasping and choking. But that wasn't enough! At 5 I was so grateful to have a bathroom small enough where I could sit on the toilet and reach the tub that I could have kissed the porcelain if it hadn't been visited once before, and not by a kiss.

And now, unable to even keep water down, so wrung out and exhausted that even typing this is an effort that will render me useless for hours, wondering when it will end. And all because of that shrimp. I get it. You made your point.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Warm now, please.

In three weeks, I will be here:

Right now, I'm cold, I've been sick for over a week and I have a messy house littered with hampers of laundry.  At least it's clean laundry.  That way, if I fall asleep under it, I won't wake up smelly.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

They help her self-confidence.

I have a shameful addiction, even more embarrassing than my love for Duran Duran and Easy Cheese.  I cannot stop watching pageant shows on WE and TLC.  Exploitative parents?  Check.   Unrealistic expectations?  Yep.  Enormous pressure placed on tiny shoulders?  Of course.  Women who wish they were still young enough to compete so they force their daughters to dress in matching outfits so they can compete together?  Don't you ever doubt it.  Tragic, inbred families who have one lone beautiful child they hope will save them (and their gene pool) from poverty/obscurity/institutionalization?  Yes, oui and da.  Fathers who watch blandly as their wives/sisters/mothers/grandmothers turn their children into hateful, vain, selfish, spoiled, greedy, arrogant little bitches?  You betcha.  Mothers who spend an entire month's salary on one beaded dress that makes her daughter look like a cowgirl stripper from the 50s, but keep the expense from the husband?  What he doesn't know won't hurt him.  Telling the world that no expense (nails, hair, tanning, clothing) is too great as long as it makes the little girl happy?  Paging Suze Orman.  Hiring a pageant coach/hairdresser/choreographer for a two-year-old  because only the most artificial child with the biggest hair is allowed to win?  Sing out, Louise.  Teaching the next generation that the only thing in the world that matters, aside from getting married before you get fat, is being pretty?  Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the vainest of them all?  All-encompassing fury boiling in my innards, so hot and violent that you can hear the enamel being ground from my teeth three counties over?  Just ask Farmer Bob in Snohomish.  He made a complaint about the noise.  

I'm so deeply ashamed that I now know the what flippers are and that the Grand Supreme title is for the contestant with the highest overall score.  Now where's my shoe so I can beat some sense into these parents?

Friday, March 20, 2009

The constant struggle.

Christian and I have already started talking about schools for Viv.  I went to Catholic school, he went to a free school in Seattle and then public grade school and high school in Bellingham.  I believe the education I received at private school put me ahead academically of my peer group in public school, and, as I spent a year and a half at a public junior high and was years ahead of my classmates in math and English, I had a good basis of comparison upon which to make that judgment.  

We agree so far that Viv should attend a private high school such as Blanchette, as their academic, extra curricular and sports activities are exceptional, and by that age, she'll be able to form her own judgments regarding the things she's taught, and we'll have had ample opportunity to instill in her the values we find important. 

However, grade school has become a bone of contention.  I want Viv to have the greatest opportunities for academic success, but I'm just not sure I can send Viv to a school that teaches the things the Church taught me while I was growing up.  I don't want Viv to think that gay people are sinners and that their love is less than that of straight people and that they can change if they choose.  I don't want her to be taught that condom use will exacerbate the AIDS pandemic in Africa.  This pope is supposed to be God's representative on earth?  I find the current pope to be a reprehensible, arrogant and spiteful old man, and refuse to pay money to any organization who takes his orders as handed down from God, and am deeply ashamed that the administrators of the Church have chosen to continue to cloister themselves from the needs of their flock.

These issues chafe on a painful and long-worrying problem I've been wrangling with since I was a teenager.  My objections to the Catholic Church and its dogma make it extraordinarily hard for me to remain a member.  I've stayed because I've always believed that the Church is defined by its members and not its leaders, much as America wasn't defined by George Bush when he was in office.  However, Catholics lack the ability to make their dissatisfaction heard by voting their appointees out of office.  We are beholden to the entrenched, conservative bigots who continue to appoint individuals who forward their agenda, and those who disagree are marginalized.  I have remained a Catholic because of individuals like our parish priest, a devout, kind, welcoming, intelligent and compassionate man, but a man who is on the verge of retirement.  Who will the Church appoint in his place?  Surely not another one such as him, the man who founded the gay ministry at our parish and who jeopardized his own position by viewing it not as a career in need of advancement, but as a means to do what was right.  The direction will likely be one of revisionism, a reversal of all that I value in my congregation.  I've also always believed that change can only come from within, but if those within continue to try and downplay the importance of progress, love and tolerance and instead push the doctrine of exclusionism, judgmentalism and all of those things I find so contrary to Christ's teachings, I cannot see how those who wish for change will find a willing ear.  

I'm often surprised at how heart-wrenching I find this conflict.  I was raised Catholic, yes, but that's not why I feel a strong attachment to it. It's the fact that the Church has survived in spite of itself, in spite of the terrible deeds and injustices and greed and baseness.  It has survived because members believe in something far, far greater than themselves, and they only find that greatness in each others presence, in the sharing of that sense of love and wonder, in the ability to more as a group than as an individual.  Whether we believe that Christ was human or divine, he was a really, really great guy who came to us to forge a new relationship with God and with each other.  So much beauty has come of that message that, even though the worst kind of ugliness has resulted from it as well, I'm not willing to give up the quest to find the means to have the former without the latter, to keep the beautiful rituals that bring comfort and hope and community without having those rituals take the place of enacting real good.  Attending Mass on Sunday doesn't free one from applying the lessons of that service to the rest of the week.  Giving money to help Catholic Charities doesn't mean that you can conveniently forget that charity starts at home, or at work, or at school.  We understand the Mass, we feel that it gives us a sense of continuity with our forebears, we can go anywhere in the world and know what is being said, even if it's in a language we don't speak.  I would be loathe to give that up, I would hate to not hear the music I so adore in a context I value, but I'll do it.  I'll do it because I don't want my daughter to have a hypocrite as a mother.  

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The cheeks are legally ours.

Since we brought Viv home, I've tried not to think about the steps we would have to take before she would legally be our daughter. I knew that if I let myself dwell on the post placement report, the additional fees, the paperwork and the final court date, I wouldn't be able to just enjoy the first few months of Viv's life, her life as our girl. Because I had so vigorously pushed down the painful what ifs that would pop into my head when people asked us questions about such things as whether the birth parents could change their minds and take her back, I had avoided thinking about the court date as it would arouse similar anxieties.

So, March 2nd's seemingly instantaneous arrival surprised me almost as much as the springlike weather that accompanied it. I had knitted Viv her berry tart hat and planned our outfits and made arrangements with those who wanted to come to the courthouse with us, but I didn't think about what the actual event would be like, or if it would make us feel any different, which is why I was so surprised to find that, upon arriving in the courtroom to meet the judge, I was actually shaking with excitement. When Judge Fair (so auspicious) signed our papers, I would have cried had I not been smiling like I was in a toothpaste commercial. I felt not just relieved, but elated, proud, indescribably grateful and bucolically happy, which I can't really say is an emotion I've ever felt before. On my wedding day, at the moment where we were told that we were married, I was happy but dazed, like the event was happening to someone else. I had planned for so long that it seemed like it would never arrive, and when it did, all I could think was, "Oh, thank God, we can go eat now."

Because I had planned for nothing and halted myself from even imagining what the event would be like, I had absolutely no expectations for the final court date. It was more different that I could have imagined from even the fragment of thought I had given it in the few minutes we were waiting for our time. It was so quick! We answered a few questions, the judge signed the papers and then held Viv while praising her sweetness, we took pictures, Christian posed with Viv in the witness box, we had lunch, and went home.

I'm now exceedingly glad that I didn't run the day in my head a million times, as I think it would have lessened the perfection of the way it really happened.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Just seen on the license plate frame of a Volvo, of all things, "I'm a bitch, I'm just not your's."

Now, even if "your's" was a word, it would mean, "your is," which is still just as incorrect as the contractive form. And this wasn't an email with an accidental apostrophe, it was an object whose production required foresight and special ordering, but apparently no proofreader. The driver of that car certainly isn't the English language's bitch.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Watch out, bottom feeders and scavengers, I'm coming for you.

I can eat shrimp! I tried it again (after having briefly tried it in September), and nothing, not an itch, not a swell, not a hive. I haven't eaten any since that fateful night all those years ago, where an ill-advised trip to an indoor circus ended with an ER visit for one of the worst, scariest asthma attacks in history. The negative associations with that evening led me to avoid shellfish, a beloved food group, for the past 15 years. Shrimp and pasta, shrimp salad sandwiches, barbecued shrimp, fried shrimp, garlic and butter shrimp, OH MY GOD, I can eat at Pike Place Market again! All restaurants serving seafood are no longer off limits to me. Oh, the glory. The deliciousness. The high calorie many-leggedness. So, so happy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Stupid, stupid interwebs.

I hate the intertubes.  When I started going to therapy for anxiety, my therapist told me to never, ever do internet research on subjects upon which I had fixated.  Don't keep carting the coals to Newcastle, as it were.  However, when I went online yesterday to look up dosages of tylenol for Viv post-immunization as the bottle only listed doses for babies over 12 months, I wasn't intending to read anything about the immunization controversy, and, in fact, deliberately avoided any website with even the barest mention of autism.  We had already discussed the concerns surrounding vaccinating Viv and had decided to go with the shots as the risks of contracting the illnesses to be immunized against were greater than the risks associated with triggering autism.  In addition, I wasn't able to find any peer-reviewed research published in a reputable journal (using PubMed) that found a plausible link between the two.  

And then, AND THEN, I found website after website claiming an elevated risk of SIDS after one particular immunization.  How could this be possible?  How did I miss this new subject specially engineered to keep me up at night, necessitating me to check Viv's breathing every time I jerked awake from an unwelcome doze, during which I had panic dreams of horrible outcomes?  So, I went to PubMed again, and there were a few case studies of infant deaths that could possibly be associated with this vaccine.  So now I'll be utterly paranoid for the next two months, convinced that any fussiness in our usually placid baby is a sign of impending doom. OK, the next five years.  Let's be realistic.  

Of course, every individual website claiming this link uses the exact same copy and even calls asthma "a condition not unlike SIDS."  That's a head-scratcher.  Still, I'm now very worried.

Monday, February 02, 2009


When Viv was born, she weighed 6.2 pounds, was 19 inches in length and had a head circumference of 13 inches.

At today's doctor's appointment, she weighed a whopping 12.1 pounds, measured at 24.5 inches her head is a planetoid at 17 inches around.  She's at the 90th percentile for head and length and 80th percentile for her weight.  And here I thought she was so little.   Of course, all the babies I know top out at the 100th percentile at around their 6th hour, so maybe the scale should be slightly altered.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Now that's tired.

I got to the show today, and put on my makeup before getting changed into my costume.  Wait, I have to start earlier. Viv and I spent the last few days in Spokane rehearsing and visiting loved ones, and we flew back today. Viv decided that, last night, she no longer needed sleep and neither did I, but at 8 am, when we had to get up to catch our flight, she suddenly decided that sleep was all she ever wanted and that I was a wretch for making her do such an absurd thing as, you know, wake.  

Once home, I couldn't take a nap as Viv was fussy with Christian and I could hear her wails through the bedroom door.  The birds also decided that my return home and subsequent laydown meant that it was the best time EVER to imitate every sound they've ever heard in their lives, ever.  Ever.  I slept not a whit, especially when Christian brought a sleeping Viv in to her bassinet so he could go to Target and then she woke up and wanted nothing but to be held on my chest so she could drool copiously into my cleavage.

Back to the show.  I had put on my makeup and done my pincurls and went to the rack to get my dress.  I pulled it off the hanger, stepped into it and turned around to have the dresser zip me up.  When I reached into my bodice to lift up my boobs so it would be easier to zip (I like my bodices tight), I noticed that I could see my feet between the boning and my bra.  Wow, and the dress was zipped up already?  Yep, I hadn't even noticed.  Huh.  I glanced at my sleeve and noticed buttons.  Huh. That's odd, I thought my dress had ties on the sleeves.  It wasn't my dress.  Huh.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Revelations of SAHM

As Christian is now back at work, I am an official stay-at-home-mother, something that I would have believed impossible and inadvisable when in my 20s.  I have made a few discoveries that will shock or surprise absolutely no one.   Here they are:

1.  A baby will only sleep when held, either while on the chest, allowing one to type awkwardly, or actually in the arms, allowing nothing to be accomplished at all.

2.  The house will never be clean again, at least not clean as it was before the arrival of the baby.  All activities directed towards furthering cleanliness will be interrupted so many times as to render said activities futile.  

3.  Laundry will reach proportions heretofore unseen outside of a correctional institution, and no matter how much is washed, the rate at which clothing is soiled is so rapid that the amount needing to be washed will never be smaller than the amount washed.

4.  Daytime TV commercials are appalling crap, unlike nighttime commercials, which are merely crap.  I don't want to buy Xenadrine, nor do I need to learn how to sell things on Ebay.  I don't have scrap gold to sell and I don't really need AARP-approved life insurance.

5.  I cannot ever find a phone, as all phones are buried deep under burp cloths and onesies.  See #3.  Consequently, when the phone rings, the house gets messier and the clean laundry again becomes soiled when the clean clothes on the bed are shoveled onto the floor allowing me to unearth the handset.

6.  The second I decide that it is safe to eat because the baby is sleeping, she will awake, ravenous for time, food and my soul, all three of which are hers for the taking. 

7.  The Golden Girls are awesome at 1 pm or 1 am, the two times at which they are on.

8.  Birds understand when they have become second fiddle and they don't like it.  There will be regressive screaming.  Spending extra scratching time with them while the baby is sleeping will make them love you again, and that is important.  I need Cyril's love in my life.  It's uncomplicated and pure.  And fluffy.

9.  Friends really prove their love and devotion by endlessly and cheerfully babysitting while I'm away at tedious rehearsals and performances.

10.  Time only has meaning as it applies to others.  Nowhere to be today?  9 am or 2 pm, makes no difference to me.  Pediatrician's appointment or a show?  Time is my enemy, as punctuality, beloved and unwavering punctuality, becomes a hardship rather than a virtue.  

11.  Very little knitting gets accomplished.  Very, very little.

12.  Real baby smiles hit you like a white hot spear of transcendental love.  

13.  My latent cheeseball tendencies are no longer latent.  

14.  Getting sleep is almost worse than not getting sleep.  Once the body has realized that sleep is an elusive luxury, getting a full dose of that luxury reminds you why alcoholics can't just have one drink.  

15.  Nothing will ever matter as much to me as how many chins my child has.  Four?  We win.