Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Claustrophobics beware

Every year, my husband's side of the family has a Christmas party. The host changes annually, on a rotating basis. We last hosted in 2001, pre-children. We lucked out with smaller than average crowd that year, and, having no children, we had some extra space to work with. We are up again this year. If you've been to my house, you know it is small. Very small. Say 1250 square feet. This would be ideal if Benny's extended family consisted of, say, three people. In all actuality, the number of attendees will likely be ten times that. Now, when I say 1250 sq. feet, that is not all usable space. Usable space is maybe 700 sq. feet. We were hoping for a warmish December evening, not out of the realm of possibility given recent years' green Christmas trend. We had hoped that we could comfortably put food and drink in the garage, and that maybe we could even light a big bonfire in the backyard for those brave (or drunk) enough to venture out there. Well, we have over a foot on snow on the ground. not exactly ideal bonfire conditions. And the weather prediction for this Saturday is cloudy (really, in winter?) with a high right around freezing and a low of...um...8. Yup, 8. Now nearly everyone who is coming has been here before and should be aware of the minuscule space the party is occupying. We will still utilize the garage, but I'm thinking I should look for extra mittens, and I will be begging my neighbors for their space heater. I am slightly nervous about all of this. And I haven't even gotten into the logistical chaos of trying to clean the house and prepare food with a very curious, very bright, very agile and often sneaky (but oh so adorable) not quite two-year-old on my hands.
I'm sure I will have lots of updates in the coming days.

And if you think you hear faint weeping sounds coming from afar, it is probably me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I don't care if it rains or freezes, 'long as I've got my plastic Jesus

...or

The Modernization of Christmas


In an effort to save my lovely ceramic nativity set from the deadly grip and curious mind of little Helen, I have decided to keep it safe in its box for at least the next couple of Christmas seasons. So instead we got this:


Yes, the folks at Fisher Price have been kind enough to manufacture a nativity set for children, complete with all the pertinent characters in Little People form. There are some more pieces that aren't shown...the other animals are out of the frame, and the wise men are currently MIA, but I'll be looking for them today. Last night I was out with friends, and that, coupled with my nasty cold, rendered me too tired for my usual nativity round-up. We have about eleventy bajillion Little People parts to go with umpteen sets in our house, and most are just thrown into a bin at night. But the nativity needs special care, and, as such, I search each and every night (except last night) for the nativity pieces so that I may lovingly place them back in and around the manger. After all, it's the least I can do for Jesus when he is a guest in my home. Well, the other night, I was able to locate the now MIA wise men, who were seemingly fraternizing with Noah's wife over at the ark, and the donkeys and such were aorund, but Mary, Joseph and Jesus were nowhere to be found. I searched high. I searched low. No Mary. No Joseph. No Jesus. Unwilling to give up, I launch one more search of the living room and find this:

Yes, folks, that's Mary and Jesus riding around in an SUV.


I never did find Joseph that night, but after this, I figured him gone and gave up looking. Deadbeat.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sorry

I've been MIA. I hadn't realized it had been so long and now I'm sick. I could amuse you with the ramblings of a woman whose head is full of snot, but I'm so wiped out I can barely type. Head cold + little Helen = very. very. very. tired. I am counting the seconds until nap time (1853).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The bidding starts at,,,ACK!

It's time for the local public television station to do their annual TV auction. Benny loves this. I mean loves it. He will watch hours upon hours of this. I can watch some of it, but not hours upon hours. Just can't. We've gotten some nice stuff from it though. we got a bitchin bike trailer which cost a shitload of money, relative to our usual cheapness (but a very high resale value) and which Helen hates. Probably because she must wear her helmet when riding in it. Blah. Maybe she'll like it better next year. We also got a gift certificate for a B & B for my mom, and a lovely print for her kitchen. One year Benny got a Segway tour of Springfield Massachusetts which he gave to our niece for her college graduation. She moved away like a week later and I don't think she ever used it. Me, I would have chosen something a bit more practical for her. He did call me in tonight to take a look at one of the items up for auction. It was three tube of caulk and two rolls of duct tape, all bundled in a lovely gift wrap of duct tape. I was consumed with the dishes and forgot to come back and see if anyone had bid on it.

On a totally separate note, Ruthie constantly amuses us with her mispronunciations and word substitutions. I've threatened people who try to correct her because I think it's just so damn cute. Some of the more notable: coca-dots for polka dots, the little fuzzy, many legged things that turn into butterflies are killer-pillars. And most recently, upon spotting a picture of Pinocchio, "Look mom, it's Pokey-nokey." Funny girl.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Twenty years

I had grand plans to blog today and leave you with something profound and insightful to read, as you wipe a tiny tear from the corner of your eye. But today, not only did Helen awaken at 6 a.m., so did Ruthie. Perhaps on a different day of the week I could handle it, but Thursday mornings are tough. I do my NICU thing on Wednesdays, and it makes for along day for me, the last few hours of which are generally somewhat draining emotionally. I need time to unwind when I get home, and invariably end up going to bed late. So here I am, tired, achy and not wanting to do much but curl up on the couch and wait for Survivor to start at 8 p.m.. But alas, dinner must be made, Helen took a very abbreviated nap, so she is here with me instead of dreaming of sugarplums and binkies up in her crib, and Benny has basketball tonight, so I'll be putting the things to bed alone.
I feel though, as if I should not complain. My blog today was supposed to be reflection on where the last twenty year have taken me. I did not pick the number twenty from a random place in my head. This day has great significance. Today I am celebrating twenty years of sobriety. On this day, in 1987, I had hit the low point of my life. It's scary to think what a mess one can make of her life in seventeen years. I was completely confused, terrified, horribly lonely, but I knew I didn't want to be there, and I didn't want to be worse. I was lucky to have certain opportunities placed in front of me, and I was lucky enough to make the most of them. I worked hard, harder than I knew I could. I spent 14 long months doing nothing but figuring out how to change my life. And twenty years later, I have things that never could have been mine before. This is the part where, if I weren't so tired, I might start awing you with the wonders of my life, in a prose so rich as to, again, leave you wiping a tiny tear from the corner of your eye. but I'm too tired, and the words I currently have at my disposal coudn't do it justice. So I'll just show you what I have.
I have this


And I have this



And I have this



And really, what more could I possibly want.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Too Many Fish in the Sea

Let me warn you that if you tell your 20 month old that you are having fish for dinner, she will think that you are having Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers. And boy will she be pissed when she finds out she's wrong.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Thank you...

...to the daylight savings fairy who visited little Helen this morning when she first awoke. It was the time fomerly known as 5:30. But because the clocks went back, it was really 4:30. Helen cannot tell time, so I did not expect her to understand this and resigned myself to getting up with her at 4:30. Yikes. I listened to her cry for a few seconds, and dragged myself out of bed and into the bathroom. By the time I came out of the bathroom (and no, it was not hours, it was mere seconds) she was quiet. I tiptoed back into my room and climbed back into bed. I didn't hear from Helen again until I opened her door to make sure she was alive. That was at 8 a.m., now 7 a.m. Thank you, daylight savings fairy, thank you!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Smart Ass

For the last few holidays, I've been letting Ruthie pick out gifts for certain relatives. This resulted in this get-up for Benny for his birthday, which was the day before Halloween:


In addition to the hilarity of the gifts she picks, it also gets me off the hook. It's hard enough picking out presents for the eleventy bajillion poeple we shop for every Christmas, so I may as well delegate. Plus, it gets her involved and makes it way more fun for her when gift-giving time rolls around.
Last Christmas, when she was 2 1/2, she wanted to get everyone a ball. So Benny got a glow-in-the-dark basketball, Helen ,who was ten months old, got a mini NBA ball, and my mom got a set of pink golf balls. The only exception was my sister, who got monkey-print pajama pants. Everyone was thrilled. This year, Ruthie and I have gotten an early start. Grandma is getting a sorority murder novel, and Aunt Ali is getting a Pirates of the Caribbean wall calendar, (Did I mention that Aunt Ali is 35 and currently in Divinity School?) But so far, the present she picked out for Daddy takes the cake. She originally picked out a book for him that was a trilogy of horror/sci-fi stuff that I knew he would never read, and probably not appreciate all that much, and t was $20. To much for a joke that was only marginally funny. Then she decided he needed a book about lions. This decision was fueled by the lion display in the window of the Asian gift shop in our local mall. Everyone should use this tactic when picking out gifts. We peruse the bookstore, but locating a book specifically about lions was way too much for me and the girls on this particularly exhausting Friday. AS we continued to make our way through the bookstore, we wandered by the games. "Would you like to get Daddy a game, honey?" I inquired. "Yes mommy, I want to get Daddy a game. I want to get him THIS game." And she picks up this:
Now, the price was slightly higher than the sci-fi horror trilogy, but I thought maybe this would get played, and the thought of Benny opening a gift from his sweet little three-year old, only to find this, is priceless. So here we have it. Ruthie's Christmas gift to her Daddy. The game that boasts: "even if you are a "Dumb Ass", you can win!"

Friday, November 2, 2007

Semantics

Today is like the day after a nuclear holocaust in our house. We have had Ruthie and Helen out of the house and awake until after nine p.m. each of the last three evenings. Tuesday was Benny's birthday, and we went to dinner. Wednesday, for anyone who lives under a rock and may have missed it, was Halloween, and last night we dragged all four of our exhausted rear ends to a fundraiser for preemies. Good times, but not without a price. The girls are usually in bed around 7:30 or 8:00. Couple later bedtime with activities resulting in exhaustion even when bedtime is adhered to, and you have a very ugly situation. I commented to Benny on the phone this morning that it was going to be long day. I pointed out (mostly to cover my ass when he comes home and the house looks like a tornado hit it) that on days like this he's lucky because he gets to go to work and I have to stay home with the overtired (and right now screaming at maximum volume in my ear) children. He retorted with "No, I have to go to work." Yes, honey, on most days that is true. But today, you GET to go to work.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween reflections

I am shocked every year by the children who come to my door wearing no costume at all. I am always tempted to deny them candy, but I do not want my house/car getting egged/shaving creamed or worse. So I just give them a hard time. One neighborhood kid told me he was a hippie. I told him he looked exactly like he does every other day of the week and that maybe he should put a little effort into it.
We gave out glow sticks this year. We got them last year on clearance (90% off!). They don't go bad, so we saved them to hand out to the kids. They loved them. So much so that a group of neighbor kids came back again. We told them one to a customer and sent them, on their way. They came back again. We told them to beat it. And they came back again...and again. I believe six times in all. Do these children have no clue what manners are? Do they not know how to listen to an adult They also lied to DH and told him they hadn't been to our house before. Hey dopey....you're in the same costime you've had on all night...you live four houses away...we know you! Scram!
My doorbell rang at 2:45 in the afternoon. It was trick-or-treaters. WTF? Um, could you at least wait until LATE afternoon? I sent them away and told them to come back. Now that I think about it, they were the kids who kept coming back. We meant once. To get your ONE treat..SCRAM!
Now, based on one of the aforementioned items, you know that we are all for saving money...we bought our NON-PERISHABLE treats a year ago. Yay for us. Someone else apparently got the same idea as us, a little later. They bought their treats nine months ago. On Valentine's Day. I know this because my daughter had a valentine's Day Tootsie Roll in her bag. Come on people. Be creative and deceptive in your frugality.
We turned off the porch lights a little after eight-thirty. The girls were in bed. We were tired. Porch lights mean don't bother us, right? Nope. The doorbell continued to ring until 9:15.
I think next year I'll hand out basic rules for trick-or-treating.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A little love

This morning, at 8 a.m., as I was desperately attempting to get Helen and Ruthie in he car in their Halloween costumes so we could visit the NICU nurses, get my flu shot, update my parking pass, and be at friend's Halloween part by ten, I hated Halloween. I hated it even more after Helen had a full-blown meltdown in the car on the way to 10 a.m. party. No escape from a screaming, very loud Helen, when you are in a mini-van. None at all. My head splitting, I confessed to another mom, after we got there, that last year I learned to hate Christmas, and now I am learning to hate Halloween. But now, at nearly 4 p.m., as both of my darlings have been asleep for nearly three hours, I LOVE Halloween. I really do. But check in again at 8 p.m. I may have changed my mind again.

Halloween - a time line

9 a.m.
9:30
10 a.m.

10:30

11 a.m.
11:30


12 p.m.
12:30
1 p.m.
1:10

Thursday, October 25, 2007

google eyes

A shout out to Carly here...
Google. Reader. Rocks
Now I can see, with one click, which of the numerous blogs I read has been updated, and I don't have to go through ALL of my bookmarks to check. Carly, you rock.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ain't it Funny?

So, I was pretty clear in my previous post that I will not subject myself to the torture of kid's music in the car, and I want my kids to experience all (okay, most) kinds of music, blah, blah, blah. I will admit to having certain music biases. Most rap music irritates me (the desperate attempts at rhyming often result in lyrics, and I use that term loosely here, that make no sense.). "Hard-core" country isn't my thing, but I can handle the more mainstream stuff. Heavy metal is generally hard to tolerate. But rock, pop, alternative, folk, blues, etc., I' m cool with. I've become pretty attached to my ipod, and the stuff I've collected over the years, so I rarely listen to the radio. Which means I'm probably not the most current when it comes to music selection, particularly pop (I cannot let go of my 80s pop music...ever). If a song gets enough play I might hear it eventually. I have never intentionally listened to a Britney Spears song...I cannot stand her. Some of those other high-profile girls don't so much for me, and I think they're idiots, so I assume I won't like their music. Unfair bias on my part? Sure, I'm human. But I prefer screaming in vicarious heartache with Melissa Etheridge, or listening to the folksy (and again, frequently heartachey) Maura O'Connell over listening to some half-dressed new millennium pop star. (Christina Aguilera was an exception due to her appearance on the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, thus Ruthie's love for Lady Marmalade.)

My x-biking instructor, Denise, loves to make her own playlists/CDs for x-biking purposes. She must have at least a dozen that she's created over the last 6 months. There are 4 or 5 that get more regular use during classes, probably because they have the best beats for motivating us, and generally they're fun to listen to. This one in particular which she's been using for awhile has a song on it that I hadn't heard before but I couldn't get out of my head. It had kind of an island beat to it, and it was really catchy. I wasn't hearing all the lyrics, but I liked it and it was one of those songs that you hear and you just find yourself moving. For a while I've been meaning to Google what I could remember of the lyrics, but I never did. Today I remembered. I Googled "the story of your heart" which was all I could remember, and up pops a link to J Lo lyrics. I clicked on the link and sure enough, there are the lyrics to "Ain't it Funny" and I recognize enough of thm to know that's the song. I browse the itunes store and listen and indeed, that's the voice I hear in x-biking. Holy crap. I like a J. Lo song. Who'd have thought one of those half-dressed new millennium pop stars would actually sing something I'd like? And now here I am, having purchased a J Lo track (gasp) from itunes. And I fully intend to let her funky beat assist me in my housecleaning (good music = successful cleaning). So I will do dishes while dancing and lip-synching "Ain't it Funny". Now ain't that funny?

Indecent Exposure

Is it wrong that my daughter LOVES Barenaked Ladies and can recognize the lead vocalist within seconds when she hears a new (to her) Barenaked Ladies song? She routinely tell me what she'd do if she had a million dollars (she'd buy me a monkey, cuz haven't I always wanted a monkey?) I can justify playing They Might be Giants for her by telling myself that they do a lot of the alphabet songs on Playhouse Disney. But that's not what I'm playing for her. Really, isn't Particle Man just so much more fun than, say, the Captain Feathersword song? I have nothing against the Wiggles, and can more than tolerate them occasionally at home, but when I'm driving, I prefer music that won't make me want to drive my van off a bridge and into the Hudson River. I take gleeful delight in watching my children rock out to songs that sing of prosthetic foreheads and not of happy families and rainbows. Isn't that why I'm sending Ruthie to preschool? To learn those sweet children's songs about butterflies and tea parties? And then she can teach them to her little sister, and I'm off the hook again. Her sister will already know the cool songs, from the car.
Seriously, my parents always played normal music in the car when we were growing up (I hesitate to say "adult music" because that makes it sound as if we listened to audio porn). As a result, I know most of the words to most of ABBA's songs (that would be maternal influence, and admit it, you're a closet ABBA fan...who isn't?). And I have very fond memories of my brother, sister and me, elementary school aged, sitting in the back of our station wagon, taking turns singing the various parts to "Paradise by the Dashboard Light." This was way before the song was played at wedding receptions, proms, etc. This was when we were a little edgy knowing all the lyrics. We didn't know what half of them meant, but we didn't care. I can remember listening to the Doors, Queen, Springsteen (long before he was famous...classic Springsteen...pre-Born in the USA). I dropped out of car rides with my dad when I was a teenager and he became an avid Grateful Dead fan, and, in his excess volume induced deafness, would play the Dead at concert levels in his tiny Jeep Wrangler and blow smoke around the car for 6 plus hours while we drove to our vacation house in Maine. Those were not my favorite times. And while I generally can't stand the nasally whine of Bob Dylan's voice, I did learn to appreciate the nearly unmatchable depth and poetry of his lyrics. (Should I leave out the part where my Dad said "This reminds me of your mother" every time he played "Idiot Wind")
But what I really want is for my children to have a good appreciation for music and lyrics of varying types. When Ruthie requests a girl song, she is as likely to get Christina Aguilera singing Lady Marmalade as she is to get Joan Baez or Melissa Etheridge or Joni Mitchell. Helen isn't vocalizing her music preferences just yet, but I'm sure she will soon. And with enough exposure to They Might Be Giants, maybe they'll know that Istanbul used to be Constantinople. Can't learn that from Barney, now can you?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Question of the Day

Today I am posing a question for all of you out there in blogger world:

Do European babies have extremely tiny heads?

What might prompt me to pose this question? I am glad you asked.

My sister recently moved from Manhattan. I am proud of her and happy for her that she has decided to return to graduate school, and that she was worthy of acceptance at one of the finest Ivy League institutes (go Bulldogs!). However, this will likely have a negative impact on my daughters' wardrobes. My sister would often shop for birthday and Christmas gifts at little boutiques in the city, and the result would be oh so adorable, and very unique, little outfits. When Helen turned one this past winter, my sister purchased a little denim dress for her. Drop waist with a little denim ruffle , and a unique embroidered and appliqu├ęd (or for my friend Lola...decoupage) design. The tag read, among other things, U.S. 18 mos., so my initial instinct was to put it aside till fall. My children, having been born prematurely, are never the size they should be according to their chronological ages. they are closer to the size for their adjusted age, which is calculated according to their due dates. So, despite the fact that we were celebrating Helen's first birthday, she was, for all intents and purposes, particularly dressing, much more like a 9 1/2 month old. But on whim one day, I thought I'd try it on her and ooh and ahh over how outrageously adorable she looked, and maybe I'd get lucky and it wouldn't be too big. This was not to be. You see I could not get the dress over her head. There were two double snap openings on either side of the neck, and even unsnapped, the neck was not nearly big enough. Being denim, the dress had little to no give in the fabric. I labored tirelessly, while Helen screamed. I had to be particularly careful of the hemangioma on the side of her head. Too much force could cause it to break and bleed profusely, which would mean the dress would be ruined and the baby would need to be brought to the hospital. Since I had no desire to scrub blood out of the dress and likely the carpet, I navigated around the birthmark, and finally got the dress on. Instead of the vision of cuteness I had anticipated, I had a wailing, tear-stained, runny nosed little girl on my hands. And man was she pissed. She eventually calmed down and obliged me by looking cute for the remainder of the day. That evening, it took two of us to get the dress off of her. The undressing of the big-headed American baby also involved lots of screaming. The cute little European boutique dress was put away until we could find a reasonable solution for using it without inflicting torture on Big Head Helen. Actually, the dress was hung on the back of Helen's bedroom door, and I looked at it nearly daily, wondering just how to make use oft his adorable yet ill-sized garment. The other day, while examining it for some sort of invisible catch that would render it a breeze to put on, I discovered that there was actually room on both sides for the opening to be further widened, and the dress would look no different. Woo hoo! I proceeded to very, very carefully make the cuts, and Benny and I examined the newly enlarged head opening. We agreed that there was no way her head was bigger than that opening. The next morning, I excitedly told Helen, who couldn't have cared less, that we would be putting on her cute little boutique dress. Fool. The head opening still would not accommodate Helen's head. Or at least, when you couple the tight fit with the fact that Helen is much more mobile than she was during the previous attempt (which, did I mention, was eight months ago?...surely her head hasn't grown AT ALL!) So after a few minutes of me tugging, and Helen shrieking and running away with a dress half over her big head, I gave up. But the dress is still in the living room where I can lament over the fact that Helen was only able to wear it once, and I could obsess over new ways to make it fit. As I am not a seamstress, I can only surmise that any modifications I make might involve my glue gun and staples (and decoupage). Helen being the dangerous child, staples aren't the best idea. So instead I pass it by, and I longingly caress it ,and I wonder, do European babies have extremely tiny heads? Or are the Europeans simply mocking us. because thre size tag also says EUR 9-12 months. Are there babies bigger and better at such younger ages? Or is it routine to torture your baby while dressing her in Europe?
At least I was able to get a picture of Helen in her cute little European boutique dress. She doesn't look so hot. her eyes are squinty, likely a result of the long struggle to get the dress over her head, or perhaps a flinching in anticipation of Mommy trying to squeeze her head through some other opening on some other dress. But the dress looks damn cute.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Strange days indeed

Today is October 16th. Ruthie started school. Preschool, but it's school. When we picked her up after school, the teacher told us she cried If you know Ruthie, this is kinda surprising. Ruthie is pretty social, and couldn't wait to start school. She didn't want to talk about it initially, but eventually she told us that she missed us. My poor little pumpkin. But she says she can't wait to go back.
Also surprising is that today I did not cry. I had some good reasons to cry, and anticipation of it made me well up, but when today rolled around, I did not cry. Why would I have cried? Well, for starters, today was the exact day, five years ago, that Benny and I found out our first little baby-to-be, whose heartbeat had been seen on an ultrasound just two weeks prior, was no more. That teeny weeny heart had stopped. It was one of the most devastating experiences of my life, and the beginning of a year that was the lower than I knew I could go. I spent a good portion of that year thinking I would never be a mother. Despairing really. I don't think I dwell on it, but I do remember this date every year (coincidentally, for all you Catholics, also the feast day of St. Gerard, patron saint of expectant mothers). So I expected to be welling over with tears of gratitude. For that, and for the fact that I was looking at Ruthie, and remembering her first weeks. After her birth, for a few days at least, I wasn't sure she would live. Then ,when it looked like her survival was almost a guarantee, I wondered if she would be "okay". I knew what preemies were up against. I'd done my research. I knew it would be along time before we knew if she would have any physical issues, and even longer probably before we knew if she'd have cognitive ones, or social ones. For all we can tell, Ruthie has dodged a big bullet. Here she is, going to school with a bunch of other three-year olds, and looking and acting no different. She amazes me. And really, I know it's a matter of luck. Really, really really good luck. I did think about that today. And I thought about the times when I thought I'd never be a mom. And I looked back at my two little girls sitting in their matching car seats in the back of our car, and I remembered all the things I thought I'd remember. But I guess, unconsciously, I decided today was best lived in the moment. Getting here wasn't necessarily easy, so I'll enjoy it while I can.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Inertia Project

I followed through on my inertia experiment yesterday, and instead of trying to take a nap, I kept myself busy. It had the intended result of keeping me from becoming a total bitch (don't ask me why further sleep deprivation would improve my mood... just trust me when I tell you that if I'd gotten, say, 45 minutes of sleep and then been awoken by a child, it would not have been pretty.) And I got some more purees made and a batch of chocolate brownies baked. These brownies were supposed to be "to die for," spinach puree and all. They aren't. They are gross. The only one who likes them is the baby, which is fine becasue she is the one most in need of veggies in her diet. Ruthie actually told Benny, after tasting one, that in fact, it was NOT a brownie. But I digress.

My day was not without its share of unintended consequences of my sleep deprivation.

  • While making breakfast for the girls (scrambled eggs with cauliflower puree hidden in it), I accidentally mixed the ingredients in with what were supposed to be the discarded egg yolks. This required a rescue effort involving scooping said ingredients out in as much quantity as possible without getting the egg yolk. Yah, right.
  • I managed to get the girls dressed in some cute Halloween attire for our MOMS club Halloween craft activity, and got them there, sippy cups in hand...and two different color shoes on my feet...yay. At least they were the same style of shoe, and they were black and brown, not green and red or anything.
  • And the culmination of my day occurred at 9:30 p.m. approximately 17 hours after my wake up call, after finishing up my volunteer duties at the NICU. I locked the keys in the van...with the engine running...in the hospital parking garage (yeah, Triple A guy, I'm on Level 1 in the AMC garage...yeah, the one that faces the hospital...I'm in that bump-out thingy...it might be visitor parking. Which vehicle is it? It's the silver van...that's running...with no one in it...) Excellent. No cell phone...locked in the car. No wallet...locked in the car. Thankfully AAA was able to find me and rescue me in about 25 minutes.
Inertia project complete.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Inertia

Today is shaping up to be a long day. A very very long day.
You see, yesterday, I excitedly purchased myself a copy of Jessica Seinfeld's (why do I want to keep calling her Jessica Simpson??) new cookbook, Deceptively Delicious. I spent the evening making several fruit and veggie purees to hide in my daughters' food. I finished the night later than expected and tired, but went to bed happy. At approximately 04:45 hours, Helen awoke. Consequently, so did I. I tried to ignore her in the hopes she would return to sleep. She didn't. I got up and rocked her. She fell asleep in my arms, and the second I put her in her crib, she awoke. I let her cry a little longer. I brought her downstairs and laid her on me while we watched yesterday's Oprah (thank you, TiVo!). Finally, at about 6:15, realizing she was hopelessly exhausted and so was I, I returned her to her crib. She tricked me. She would cry for about 10 seconds. Stop. Remain quiet for about 2 minutes...just long enough for me to think she was asleep. Then she's start again and cry for about ten seconds. Stop...you get the picture. So, while I returned to bed, I did not return to sleep and I have essentially been up since 4:45. Groan...this is the night I volunteer at the NICU. Therefore, after spending the day with a tired toddler and a generally food preschooler who cannot always be cajoled into a nap, I will pass my husband in the doorway when he comes home, and venture to the hospital. I spent my first hour awake (well, it was really my third hour awake, but my first after failed attempts at more sleep) scheming ways to exhaust my preschooler so she would nap. And trying to figure out just exactly when I should put Helen down for a nap. It's precarious. Too early and she won't sleep when Ruthie does (might). Too late and she will be overtired and will cut her nap short by an hour or more, resulting in an even more tired toddler. I also mulled over the many, many things I have to do, like make more purees, and try baking chocolate spinach brownies. And then I remembered inertia. Good old inertia. Remember it from Science class? An object in motion remains in motion..blah, blah, blah. Today, I am going to test this. I already know that it is often damn near impossible to get off the couch when i am exhausted and have collapsed there momentarily. Or longer. Sop instead, I will not allow myself to stop. i will keep moving today. And a the end of the day, I will have many more things crossed off my to do list. And maybe, just maybe, it will be better than scheming and plotting to sneak in a nap. I don't know how caffeine plays a part in this whole intertia thing, but I'm not against trying it out. And at the very least, when I arrive home from the NICU, I will be so freaking exhausted, that I will collapse into a deep, deep (deep) slumber. And knowing that tomorrow is Benny's day to get up with Helen and the roosters will make it that much sweeter.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

One Hundred and One Ways to Ki** Yourself

This is a project my younger daughter is working on. I am convinced she awakens each morning, and her first thought is "How can I k*ll myself today?" Ruthie may have been offered this same mission, but she apparently declined. Helen accepted with enthusiasm and a work ethic that makes a mother proud...and terrified.
I beleive the first time I determined she had a death wish was many months ago in the grocery store. At the time, she was about 14 months old, which, when you adjust her for her prematurity (something we preemies parents must do until about age 2 1/2), put her at just under a year. Ruthie is an easy kid to keep track of most of the time. She doesn't run away, and doesn't hide under displays. Her worst offense is that sometimes she gets distracted and doesn't follow me when I move, and then panics when she realizes I'm not right next to her. But her shrieks of terror make it easy to realize she's lost sight of me, and we are reunited quickly. So this particular day, Ruthie walked and Helen was riding in the seat of the shopping cart. When we finished our shopping and reached the checkout line, Ruthie walked to the bagging area while I swiped my credit card. "Ma'am, your daughter," came a voice from behind me. I glanced over at Ruthie ,who was standing just where she had been, doing nothing wrong. I assumed the voice was not addressing me. Again, "Ma'am, your daughter." I turned around and the woman pointed to my cart (which was, I might add, right next to me). I turned to find Helen poised halfway out of the cart and halfway onto the conveyor belt. From about mid thigh down, she was still making contact with the seat or side of the cart. But from the waist up, Helen was on the conveyor belt, ready for a ride. One move of the belt (which fortunately had stopped because our groceries were done being rung up), or one slip of the cart's wheels and Helen would have hit the supermarket floor, no doubt catching the cart or any other odd object on he way. I grabbed her, placed her back in the seat and realized that I had neglected to buckle her into the seat. I always buckle her into her seat. I must have been distracted. And Helen, being the observant child, waiting for mommy to slip up, seized the opportunity. And, Helen was off and running, well on her way to complete her mission. I think my life expectancy was shortened by a few years that day.
Helen's other discoveries in the quest include:

  • Plunging headfirst into a large tub of ice water while at a neighbor's cookout
  • Attempting to scale the butcher block cart in our kitchen using the towel rods and shelves on the side
  • Using the bar on the back of the high chair as a makeshift trapeze
  • And her most recent, attempting to walk up to her nose into the pool at our gym. The pool is zero-entry, like a beach, so Helen can easily walk around in there. She keeps going in until she is nearly submerged and one of us grabs her. Sometimes she flails and screams and winds up falling under anyway. Mmm...nothing like a big gulp of chlorine water to quench your thirst.
I could probably tell you more, but it's gotten deathly quiet, and I'm sure she's back at work...gotta run!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Homophone

I am tired of referring to my daughters as Thing 1 and Thing 2. It doesn't flow. So I will henceforth refer to them by their middle names. Maybe someday my cyber-paranoia will dissipate and I can refer to them by the beautiful names I bestowed upon them at birth. But for now, their middle names, given for beloved family members, will do quite well. So, the-child-formerly-known-as-Thing-1, the older one, will be Ruth, or actually, Ruthie...it's cuter. And Thing 2 is now Helen.
So, anyway, Ruthie starts preschool in about ten days. the teacher we met last year has since retired. She had an uncommon name, somewhat difficult for little kids to pronounce, so she was referred to as Mrs. K. All spring and summer we have been talking about Mrs. K. I call the preschool with a question in early September and am informed that Mrs. K retired. I am given the name of the new teacher, which I guess I didn't catch, and I speak to her briefly. Seems perfectly pleasant. A couple of weeks later, we get our confirmation letter with the official school start date, and the name at the bottom catches my eye, and as the voice in my head reads it, it catches my ear as well. Her name is Mrs. Seaman. Close your eyes, say her name, and you will know. I am cursed with a gutter brain, as is my husband. So why, for the love of God, does our kid get a preschool teacher whose name is a homophone for male ejaculate? Is this my punishment for teaching her the words penis and vagina? It isn't enough that Ruthie randomly bursts out with unprovoked phrases such as "I have a vagina...Daddy doesn't." Now she will add semen to her vocabulary. Or Seaman. Please, God, please, let them call her Mrs. S!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Updates

For those who have read my recent entries and care (which is probably no one):

The crab stuffed flounder left much to be desired
Twenty ounce apples are clearly making up in size for what they lack in taste
I never got to the deli for my subs and Linden's butter crunch cookies. I have errands to run soon...I must schedule an emergency stop there!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Food, glorious food!

Everyone has their vices, agreed? I don't drink...I gave that up nearly 20 years ago. I don't smoke, or do recreational drugs. I don't gamble, I don't play video games. Sometimes shopping is an issue, but I have two adorable (I think) little girls...who wouldn't want to dress them up? And a lot of my friends are impressed with my ability to hunt down a fantastic bargain. But my real vice is food. I love me my food! I love food fests, I love good restaurants, I love snacks. I will try almost anything. I have been known to get cravings that can only be satiated by the food I'm drooling over. And sometimes I'll find something I like and eat so much of it, I start to not like it. Whatever, there's plenty more out there to love.
This weekend proved to be a banner weekend for foods, old and new. It began on Friday night. Some of my college friends and I attended an event sponsored by our alma mater. We paid $20 for a cruise up and down the Hudson River. I knew $20 wouldn't get me anything fancy...maybe a few hors d'oeuvres, finger foods, snacks. I raced around like maniac just before the boat boarded. I had to meet my husband to transfer the kids to him, so he could get them to a pool party, which was earlier than the time I needed to be at the boat. I decided that my time alone was best spent running errands. It is so much easier to get in and out of a store when you don't have two children in car seats to buckle and unbuckle, a toddler to strap into a cart, and a preschooler who wants to walk through the store, generally at a much slower pace than I'd prefer. I accomplished my errands, but not after adding an extra stop and a couple of traffic jams. I made it to the boat just in time, and boarded with my friends. We had tickets for free drinks (not all that valuable to a non-drinker) but there was no food. Not a crumb. Anywhere. And because this was a boat ride, we were stuck for the whole 3 plus hours. Without food. I'd had no dinner. ACK! Anyway, afterwards we decided we needed to eat, and a friend directed us to a fantastic pizza place, not all too far from my house. The chicken marsala pizza was highly recommended, so I had a slice of that and a slice of deep dish shrimp marsala. Let me tell you, this pizza (both kinds) was to die for! Having grown up just outside of Manhattan, I can be pretty critical when it comes to pizza. Let me tell you, this pizza was heaven!! I though about it all weekend unintl I finally decided on Sun. night that we were getting whole chicken marsala pie for dinner. Sheer bliss, with enough leftover for a few lunches! It's not as greasy as NYC pizza, but it makes up for it with the ricotta cheese, mozarella, mushroom, chicken mixture they spread over the crust prior to baking. Heaven...pure pizza heaven.
Saturday, after our x-biking class, my husband and I decided to divide and conquer. Hed run errand with the big kid, I'd take the little one home for a nap. I detoured to a deli that is even close to my house than the pizzeria, and ordered what was surely a tasty and huge sub. Yum. My only regret was not seeing Tiger sauce listed on the condiment list until it was too late. But never fear, I'm stopping there tonight to pick up dinner for a friend and me before our volunteer shift at the hospital. But the sub wasn't even the best of it. As I stood waiting for my order, I spotted, right in front of my face, a display of Linden cookies. Linden cookies, if they are chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin or peanut butter, don't inspire much excitement from me; it is specifically Linden's Butter Crunch cookies. I haven't had these cookies in years. And since moving upstate almost twenty years ago, have rarely seen them. I think maybe once in a run-down convenience store in the ghetto, and they turned out to be stale. But there folks, in the really-good-deli-only-a-mile-from-my-house, were three-pack after three-pack of Linden's Butter Crunch cookies.
Usually it takes chocolate to get me that excited. But not this day. I will not tell you how many I bought, or how many I ate (which is actually the same number as what I bought). But rest assured, it was worth all those years of waiting. And it was a really, really good weekend.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Misnomer




Today we went apple picking. Last week some of my friends had organized a little trip, but the orchard they were going to only had Macintosh for picking. I have nothing against Macs, but I really wanted to hold out for Honeycrisp and Macouns. I knew there was one orchard about 30 minutes from here that grows both (many orchards don't grow either). This week, another group of MOM friends organized another trip to this particular orchard. I had some reservations. First, I felt really crappy earlier in the week. Second, my 19 month old is quick and sometimes very sneaky. I was having serious anxiety just thinking about her sprinting off silently in the middle of an orchard. Hubby and I had talked of going later in the month, and I almost waited for him. But when I realized that we had nothing to do today, and that Honeycrisps were ready, I decided to go for it. I'm really glad I did. Nor only were there lots of Honeycrisps to be had, but Thing 2 was surprisingly well-behaved. She spent most of her time picking up apples off the ground til her arms were full (she's little, so this was only about four or five apples), then trying to walk and toppling over. Thing 1 was pretty good at choosing apples. I could, however, do without the blood-curdling screams when she couldn't get her bag to open.
On the way out, I noticed the marker for the Twenty-ounce apples. They looked so big and enticing, so I pulled over, jumped out and grabbed five of the biggest and best-looking I could find. Yummy! We paid for our apples, bought some cider and some donuts and visited the horses, the playland, and then headed home (but not after meeting another little girl with the same name as Thing 2...this almost never happens. Her name was the 405th most popular name the year she was born.). After wrangling the girls and all of our stuff into the house, I gave them a drink, changed Thing 2 and put her to bed. I then proceeded to remove my Twenty-ounce apples form the bag, and marvel at their size in comparison to my Honeycrisps. (I'll admit, I haven't tasted them, so I don't know how they fare in a taste test). I excitedly took out my food scale and proceeded to weigh my TWENTY-OUNCE apples, sure I might have one of the fabled pound and a half apples. I am sorry to tell you that, of five Twenty-ounce apples, not a one weighs more than 10 ounces, and that is just one. I'm glad they're sold by weight and not by apple, or I'd be crying rip-off.
That said, we will definitely return there in a few weeks for our beloved Macouns. I love apple season!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ages 3 and up

Or so it says on the toy...a large wipe off activity book. The book included an attached storage bag for the four dry erase markers and 30 + small magnets it boasts as its accessories. Any red flags yet? But the bag won't open. So resourcelful mom puts pieces in a Ziploc bag, which we seem to have now lost. We are on clothing item number 3 that has been marred by dry erase markers. Sadly, each of these items had been worn no more then twice prior. The book/toy claims it makes a great floor mat. I am anxious to meet the 3 year old who can successfully use this as a floor mat without smearing their clothes with black dry erase ink. Or their limbs. Or their mother's limbs. So what started out as an activity to keep the three-year old busy while mom with a head cold rested a bit on the couch (one year old is...asleep...yay!) turned into a mini laundry session complete with crying three year old and mother rinsing clothes in nearly scalding water. Who, I ask you, makes these age restrictions? They do not have a three year old at home. It should read: For use by ages 3 and up wearing black clothing only.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dinner Me Date

I've always been intrigued by those dinner places cropping up everywhere. you know, where you go put together a set number of meals and then go home and fill your freezer with your nearly prepared meals, and then, oner night, you pull one out and voila, a little oven time and you have a lovely gourmet meal! I knew that it would never be a reality for me. My husband is pretty (very) frugal, and the math on those didn't quite work out in my favor. That is until my neighbor arranged a "party" if sorts. She could invite up to fifteen friends to come to one of these places, and for free, we'd get a tour and make a small (half-sized) meal. Enough for 2-3 people. For free. No obligation. No money. Free. Yup. Too good to be true!
Indeed, I checked out the menu and selected some lovely crab-stuffed flounder. And tonight, a group of eight of us met there, got the spiel from the owner and were set free to make our previously chosen meal. Andie, of aerobics fame, and I both chose the flounder, so were were able to hang out at the same station and assemble ingredients in bags, slap on a set of directions, package it all up, and now it sits in my freezer. I'm saving it for a night when my husband and I can enjoy a lovely meal sans children. If we can both stave off our hunger til about 8 p.m., when the babes are asleep. We can actually pretend we are on a date. Woo hoo! Too good to be true? I'll let you know!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Time to Play...How Did Visitors Get Here!

The following searches resulted in visits to my blog:

  • shorts and pantyhose photo outside
  • gymboree bucks rules
  • gymboree exercise steps
  • skis in 1900

and, as predicted:

  • mom blows me

Happy National Chocolate Milkshake Day

My husband informed me, upon his arrival home from work, that it was National Chocolate Milkshake Day. This would not have made much of an impact except that he wanted to go out for chocolate milkshakes in honor of the holiday, and figured we could just eat dinner out, too. Now there's a holiday worth celebrating! National Mommy Doesn't Need to Worry About Dinner Day! I had figured I would make ravioli (not homemade, but not canned...we were having the frozen kind...but I'd cook it first.) I normally would have tried to at least get the water boiling before hubby came home. But my kids woke up simultaneously, and cranky! So we were just sitting on the couch snuggling when Daddy came home.
Thing 2 is at a pretty insane age. She spends most of her time finding new ways to end her life prematurely, or at least nearly injure herself grievously. She is adorable, and hilarious, but dangerous and exhausting. Mealtime with her is never fun. In the end, dinner was mediocre, shakes pretty good, but Mommy happy and no dishes!

Been awhile

Yesterday was a truly crappy day for me and Thing 1 on many fronts. I realize we will have ongoing issues and never-ending clashes if I don't take a new approach, so my parenting books specific to "How not to Throttle your Children" have been resurrected from the bookshelf.
But before I beat myself up completely on my poor handling of situations yesterday, I will give myself a pat on the back for doing something right lately. My last, long ago post, was regarding the my 3 year old's acquisition of eyeglasses. She got 'em, and despite my initial despondency (will anyone ever see how beautiful her eyes are anymore?), she wore 'em. I dragged her around to the neighbors so she could show them her new glasses, and she was so proud. I abandoned my contacts for awhile and wore my glasses, which thrilled her to no end ("Look Mommy, we match!") and I sent pictures to the relatives. I made sure she was happy to wear them. An the first couple of nights when she tried to take them off after dinner, I put them right back on her. Today, we went for her follow-up and the eye doctor is thrilled. Our eyewear vigilance has resulted in an improvement in her vision. WOOT! She still needs her glasses, and a patch is still a possibility down the road, bur for now, no patch. Just keep doing what we're doing. And you know what...she looks cute. And you can still see her beautiful baby blues.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Glasses

My three year old got glasses yesterday. Why is is that I think everyone else's kid looks adorable in glasses, but my own needs them and I go home and cry? I shouldn't be surprised, and I guess I'm not, really. The poor kid had two strikes against her. She was born 12 weeks premature, and even if she didn't have that issue, she has a mother (that would be me) with a host of eye problems. I let her assist in the picking out of the glasses and I must say she does look adorable. But it's going to take some getting used to for all of us. She likes them and proudly showed them off to the neighbors last night. I had hoped it was temporary, but the doc thinks she'll have them until she's at least ten.
I'm going to the NICU tonight and I'm sure I'll leave with things a bit more in perspective. For a preemie, she's escaped relatively unscathed so far, and this issue is probably more genetic than preemie related. If past experience is any indicator, I'll leave th NICU less worried about the glasses and with a renewed gratitude for the blessings I have. Yes, indeed, though I never thought it would b the case, I do need reminding about how lucky I am. I always know it, though it sometimes lurks way far in the back of my head and I need something to give it a little push to the front. When it comes to the girls, my NICU visits seem to do the trick.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Fitness follies

I thought with the departure of Brolivia, the fitness follies would be over. No siree. The instructor that replaced her kicked butt, but quit soon after starting. I don't need instructors to entertain me though. The other members are quite enough .
Recently, we were waiting for the exercise room to be unlocked and the instructor to arrive. It was, at that point, just me and another person, a middle aged woman with frizzy reddish hair and a tremendous amount of makeup caked on her face. The woman looked familiar to me. I was pretty sure where I knew her from, but didn't say anything. I was too distracted by her attire. This was an advanced step class (truly advanced, not Brolivia advanced). The woman was wearing a lovely skirt and jacket ensemble. The skirt was ankle length with a couple of slits, and the jacket was a matching short sleeve thing. They were rayon or some other non-giving fabric. I thought maybe she was just lurking and wasn't going to actually take the class, but no, she was telling me how she had company coming and wanted to get this class in beforehand and yada yada yada. Okay. Fortunately, once we were in the room, she removed aforementioned outfit to reveal sorts and a t-shirt. I was slightly disappointed as I had hoped I would have an amusing class today. She positioned her step right in front of me, in the front row, near the mirror. No biggee. I like the middle row. But because she was right in from of me, I caught frequent glimpses of her in the mirror,and, despite the removal of her outfit, she didn't disappoint. While doping the step routine, she was checking herself out in the mirror, puckering her lips and furrowing her brow in a "come hither" kind of way. Hmmm. I tend to look my worst when exercising and make zero effort to improve anything, but not this chick. She was in a full-on attempt to seduce herself while huffing an puffing and stepping away. I was sooooo glad Andie wasn't there today because I would have been unable to contain myself. And the kicker...it turns out a. she was one of my college professors and b.) she lives next door to Andie. Excellent.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Birthing a Bicycle

This post was actually written a month or so ago, just before the stone brought my blogging to a screeching halt. I hadn't had a chance to edit it, and actually forgot about completely until today. So, while it's not new news, it's definitely earth-shattering and, I am sure, highly relevant to the lives of all my readers (both of you!)


This morning I gave birth to a bicycle. At least, that's how I felt at several points during the spinning class I took this morning. I will be more specific since I've already made an as out of myself once today (that I'm aware of). After the class, in the locker room, several of the women who had attended were discussing the class and its intensity and how much the saddle hurt. And I piped up with "I don't think it hurt that much when I gave birth." I realize that made it sound as if bicycling were akin to labor and delivery of babies. That wasn't exactly what I meant. I meant that, post-childbirth, my hoo-ha wasn't nearly as sore as it felt while spinning away on the stationary bike. I should point out that I'm only referring to the birth of my second child. When Thing 1 was born, despite her minuscule, barely over 2 1/2 lb. size, there were stitches, surgery, catheters involved, and it didn't feel good...at all. But with Thing 2, despite her being a pound bigger, I felt fine as soon as I was allowed out of bed. Pregnancy wreaks havoc on my poor old body. Childbirth, well, that I can do alright. The L & D nurse told me, just after delivering thing 2, that I was made for birthing babies. Course, that can evoke images of a portly woman squatting in the fields to deliver her tenth child, then packing new baby in a sling and continuing her field work. I ain't that kinda woman.

Farewell, Brolivia

Brolivia, of Pony Up aerobics fame, is leaving us. So long choo-choo arms, so long braided eighties sweatband, so long spandex shorts with pantyhose beneath. How will we go on? How will we ever master the rodeo clown move? Who will remind us to cross our weights. Who will check to make sure our shoes are double-knotted? Who will tell us exactly where we can and cannot put or water bottles? This must be what it's like to finish first grade and move on to second. Rest assured, we are getting a new instructor. But will she have the same capacity to make us fee like six-year olds? Brolivia has apparently had a "schedule change." And if we stalk her and meet her outside of the rec center, we can find out just where she's taking her reverse basic and Y-step. But it has to be outside of the facility. Cuz the rec center might be bugged.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Stone be gone

As of Tuesday mid-morning, I am, truly, stone-free. And pain-free. Woo-hoo!!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Like a rolling stone...

...except this one is stuck.
My absence of the last few weeks has been due in large part to the kidney stone that has lodged itself in a place it shouldn't be. After waiting a couple of weeks, and getting false information from the supposed doctor at the ER, it has been determined that the best course of action is to remove this sucker. So, on Tuesday, I will be knocked out, and a tube/scope will be sent up my body through a normally exit-only location. The stone will be caught in some kind of basket mechanism and removed, and hopefully, in a day or to, I will be fine. My husband thinks we should just have our neighbor, who is a master at the claw machine, remove it for me. With my ever-decreasing confidence in the medical field, I may just consider that option. Would I also get a prize? And would it only cost 50 cents? And seriously, if it were between him and the ER doc I saw last week, I'd go for Mike. My ER visit last week was my second in nine days. It was a different ER from the first, because I swore I'd never go back to the first hospital, and my urologist's office is in the second hospital. Great! I was the only non gang member under the age of 80 in this particular ER. After a two hour wait to be taken back, I was placed in a broken bed with no blanket. I had to lay flat on my back covered with just a thin sheet, and when I say this hospital was drafty, I am not kidding. After having my bp and temp taken, I was left alone for an hour. Finally, a doc arrives and send me off to be x-rayed. She returns to tell me that the stone is no longer visible, so I must have passed it. (Likely during my three-hour wait to be seen.) I go home. My pain level is decreased, but I am not pain-free.
I make an appointment with the urologist for a follow-up. On the way I pick up copies of the EXACT x-ray the ER doc looked at. My urologist takes a peek and tells me that indeed, my stone is still there. Confused, I relay the ER doc's declaration that I am stone free. Nope. Urologist takes me to view the x-rays and says, there it is, plain as day, in the same exact spot as before. He actually has the first set of x-rays as well, and the stone is actually more visible in the x-ray where there is no stone. I guess the ER doc missed the class on reading x-rays. I fear for those with life-threatening injuries and ailments. And someone should really do something about med student absenteeism.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Birthing a bicycle

This morning I gave birth to a bicycle. At least, that's how I felt at several points during the spinning class I took this morning. I will be more specific since I've already made an ass out of myself once today (that I'm aware of). After the class, in the locker room, several of the women who had attended were discussing the class and its intensity and how much the saddle hurt. And I piped up with "I don;t think it hurt that much when I gave birth." I realize that made it sound as if bicycling were akin to labor and delivery of babies. That wasn't exactly what I meant. I meant that, post-childbirth, my hoo-ha wasn't nearly as sore as it felt while spinning away on the stationary bike. I should point out that I'm only referring to the birth of my second child. When Thing 1 was born, despite her minuscule, barely over 2 1/2 lb. size, there were stitches, surgery, catheters involved, and it didn't feel good...at all. But with Thing 2, despite her being a pound bigger, I felt fine as soon as I was allowed out of bed. Pregnancy wreaks havoc on my poor old body. Childbirth, well, that I can do alright. The L & D nurse told me, just after delivering thing 2, that I was made for birthing babies. Course, that can evoke images of a portly woman squatting in the fields to deliver her tenth child, then packing new baby in a sling and continuing her field work. I ain't that kinda woman.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Pondering

I have decided that this blog isn't the best place for my ponderings on being a preemie mom. I have copied the post below and used t to begin a new blog. Visit me there!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Happy Birthday Baby Girl


Today is the anniversary of the day that I became a Mommy. Three years ago, I gave birth to my first child, a daughter. We had waited for this day for what seemed like forever, but it was sooner than we had thought, sooner than we had hoped, sooner than we had wanted. Our daughter’s due date was May 26th. This day was 82 days too soon. At 28 weeks 2 days gestation, she was a good size at 2 lbs. 12 oz. She was a mere 14 ½ inches long. I had to take the word of my husband and my mother when they told me how beautiful and perfect she was. At this exact hour, 10:55 p.m., she was just over 19 hours old, and I still hadn’t seen her. Well, I guess one could argue that that may not be entirely true. As she was wheeled out of the delivery room in her little incubator, I was allowed to take a peek. The doctors were still attempting to deliver the placenta, and I was in a Stadol induced haze. I saw mostly blanket, with a little bit of pink. I assume that was her face, but from a few feet away, it was nothing recognizable to me. Our daughter was here, and then she was gone. I heard her cry, a teeny tiny wisp of a cry, before they took her away. I exhaled, for just a moment. I remember asking the nurse just as she emerged if she had chubby cheeks. They must have thought I was crazy. “No, honey, she doesn’t have chubby anything.” And off my little bundle went.

Off I went in another direction, to the operating room to have a D & C. I couldn’t keep my daughter in, but I couldn’t get the placenta out.

I had developed preeclampsia a few days before her birth, and as a precaution, was put on magnesium sulfate after delivery to ward off any post-childbirth seizures. Mag is a horrible drug. You feel as if you will spontaneously combust, and your muscles feel like they are melting. You are not allowed to eat for fear you will choke and aspirate your food, and you must remain in bed. My baby had been taken to the NICU, a floor above me, and I was stuck in a recovery room. My husband, my mother, even my friend and her daughter, all saw my tiny baby while I lay a floor below. The NICU sent down some blurry Polaroids. Looking back now, I can see how terrible the pictures are. In a digital world, they were almost primitive, but they were like gold to me. I propped them up on the bedside table and stared. It was the closest I was going to get to my own daughter for now. When I finally saw her, she would be nearly 24 hours old. It was the middle of the night and I could barely stand on my own two feet. My husband wheeled me up to the NICU and helped me into Nursery 3, where our little baby was. I stared at my child, hooked up to a ventilator, with intravenous lines in her umbilical stump and monitor leads stuck everywhere. Her diaper was laying under her, open but unfastened. She was no longer in a cozy little incubator. She lay in an open bed, a warmer a few feet above her little body keeping her from getting cold. Machines were beeping and hissing. The nurse told me what they were doing for her and how she was faring. I’m not sure I heard any of it. At that moment, I was unable to let any of the delicacy of her situation overshadow the joy I felt looking at her. Maybe it was the drugs, but I like to think it was a mother's love.

After a relatively brief visit, my husband brought me back to my room, and he went home, both of us exhausted. I quickly fell asleep, only to be awakened an hour or so later by a nurse, who informed me I would be moving across the floor. Off I went, into a new room and a new bed, my baby's pictures still with me. Sleep did not return easily. My mind had begun its race, winning out over my exhausted body. I stared into the dim light above my bed and recalled my visit to my newborn daughter's bedside. Suddenly, the euphoria had worn off. I realized she was in a grave situation. The next couple of days were critical, and even then, if she’d made it through, she wouldn’t be out of the woods. I surrendered and the tears fell. I lay in my hospital bed, on the day I became a mother, shaking and sobbing, trying not to make a sound. I was all alone. I was terrified. And all I could do was cry.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

What is this world...

...coming to???

These were taking up two shelves in the freezer at the grocery store...TWO SHELVES????

The real question is whether or not voter turnout will exceed that of the last presidential election.

Now when they had the election for the new M & M color eons ago...that was a worthy election.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How to Cross-Country Ski without Skis

Saturday afternoon, Dorothy picked up Lola, Astrid and me in her husband's truck and we met Starr and Cookie for a trek to the lake for some cross-country skiing.
It's been years since I cross-country skied. Definitely before Thing 1 was conceived, so it was early 2003 , probably. Ski pants...waaay too tight. But I refuse to buy more, even as I stuff another Oreo into my face. I wasn't sure where all of my gear was, even. Gloves and hat...found...appropriate underclothing...found, in the form of old running tights with holes and a too small thermal undershirt. Who the hell cares?! I'm going out!!! No kids!!!! Ski boots, found...I trip over them in the basement every once in a while, so that was easy. Skis and poles...hmmm. Darling hubby, in his eternal efficiency (or attempts at such) has stored them in the basement rafters. After moving a large pile of crap and balancing on a chair, I free skis and poles from the bondage of the rafters. Put them on porch so as not to forget. Lola meets me here...Dorothy picks us up. As we skip to the truck (okay we weren't skipping, but our glee at being out sans children was pretty evident nonetheless) We meet the others and make the trek to the lake, about a half hour away. Woo-hoo!! We unload the truck...skis for Lola, skis for Dorothy, skis for Astrid...no skis for me. They are on the porch...at home...a half hour away. I am tempted to drive all the way back home (even though neither of the vehicles at the lake are mine) and retrieve skis. But that's ridiculous. They'll be done by then. I envision myself sitting on the gate of the truck in my ski boots, drying my tears as I watch the others ski into the distance, when Astrid pulls out a pair of snowshoes and saves the day. I have never snowshoed before, but it beats being the only attendee at my pity party, and it means I can accompany the x-country ski group. Yipee!! So off we go, me with my tennis racket feet and them with their skis (Star with her vintage skis, circa 1900, which Dorothy was required to repair in the middle of the woods when the bindings burst off) .
The snowshoeing was fun, and I must say my fears of falling and bursting open my skin-tight ski pants while peeing on myself (again the lack if Kegels haunts me) were dispelled. Apparently I became too relaxed, because, despite no skis, I fell twice. Once I was walking sideways on a slope. Understandable. The other time I was talking to Dorothy and swore I caught sight of a handicapped sign on a tree in the middle of the woods. Intrigued, I turned only to discover it was merely a blue and white trail marker, but stepped on my own snowshoe in the process and fell, much to Dorothy's amusement.
Apres ski, we proceeded to a lovely English tavern ( we are located in rural upstate New York.) There is something very wrong with that. The menu was a virtual contradiction of itself, offering such authentic fare as the Middlesex sandwich, intermingled with Steak-umms and Dynabites. My dining companions felt that Dynabites were in order, and we were served a smallish plate festooned with about 8 or 10 Dynabites and a small cup of Ranch dressing. I jokingly dared Cookie to drink the Ranch dressing, and tempted her with the reward of a crisp dollar bill. She declined, but counter offered, telling me she would give me five bucks to down said dressing. Ah, Cookie, ye have only known me a short time. Were Andie with us, she'd have warned you. After dramatic pauses for prep time, perhaps invoking images of an Olympic diver on the platform readying herself, I ceremoniously drank the dressing, all at once, shot-style. And Cookie promptly paid up. Good thing, as I was short on cash (see entry regarding wallet loss).
The novelty of being out without children had yet to wear off, and after Dynabites and dinner, we proceeded to a diner for dessert. Yummy. We amused the waitress with obnoxious and inappropriate comments about things. And finally, as all good things must, our evening came to an end. I can't wait to do it again, but this time with my skis!!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Holy crap!

So I lost my wallet...a story for another day. Someone found it and was kind enough to call me and tell me. I went to the projects, where she lives, to pick it up. The woman, who seemed very nice, was admiring (well, maybe she was just commenting, but I like to think she was admiring) my girls. She then somewhat casually stated, " I'm a mom of fifteen." It took me a second. I wasn't sure if she said "I'm a mom of fifteen" or "I was a mom at fifteen." Either one would be a bit of a shocker, but I realized, when she called several of them downstairs (how the hell big is this duplex??) and then proceeded to pull out pictures of the others, that she meant "a mom of fifteen." No twins, triplets or otherwise. I commented "Wow, so you've been pregnant fifteen times." "No, I've been pregnant twenty times." (which I guess is to be expected given miscarriage rates.) When she told me how old her oldest was, I realized she may have also been a "mom at fifteen." Either she missed some vital lessons in biology, or she is a glutton for punishment.
Everything was in my wallet except for the $30 in cash. I don't know if she took it or not, but hell, if she did, she probably needs it more than I do.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Pony up...

..more fun at the fitness center folks!
This morning, my friend Andie and I went to the fitness center for their advanced step aerobics class. Andie has been to this class before. I have had every intention of going, but have been thwarted by sick children, sick self, birthday parties, out-of-town trips, etc. But finally, I made it! And let me tell, you, this was more than just a fitness class. This was, yet again, entertainment combined with fitness.
The instructor of this class apparently takes this whole thing very seriously. Dare I say too seriously?? When I arrive, a few minutes early, there are several other attendees already there, including said friend Andie. She directs me to the closet where the steps and weights are. I grab three pound weights because they are a nice bright green color and color is the most important factor in deciding which weights to use, is it not? Next time I might try purple.
The instructor is fiddling with her Britney Spears headgear, which appears to be attached to an Olivia Newton John Physical-style headband. I am green with envy as I wonder if I can get one for my karaoke machine. It would so free me up to include my more intricate dance moves. But I digress. When Britney/Olivia (or shall we call her Brolivia?) spots me, she approaches, clipboard in hand and asks me if I've been to this class before. I tell her no, and she inquires if I've been to any step class before. I reply that I have, and she says "Okay, cuz you know this is an advanced step class. I won't be going over the moves." I nod and smile, assuring her that I'm aware of that. She thrusts her clipboard in my hand and waits for me to sign it. I assume it is merely a sing-in sheet and oblige her. Ah, not so, but I don't know that until later.
Andie and I are directly in the path between Brolivia's step and the sound system, so we are ripe for reminders about the apparent many rules this class has, and hoe we are breaking them. Brolivia breezes by "weights crossed girls." Yes, all weights must be crossed in from of your step when not in use. Does it look more lady-like? Whatever. The other newcomer, who apparently has not attended step class before ever, anywhere, is escorted to the front of the room so she can follow along more closely. I am spared. Just as Andie begins to inform me of all said rules, the music begins and we are instructed to march it out. We spend the next hour doing cross-overs, ponies, crunches, bicep curls and countless other moves, none of which are explained to me, but, amazingly, I catch on and appear to be in no worse shape than the others. I must say, I truly did enjoy the selection of 70s music that accompanied the instruction, most notably "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" and an inspiring Donna Summer medley.
Intermittently we stop aerobicizing and do heart rates...everyone counts then shuts out numbers. One sixty, one seventy. I'd love to scream out "three!" but I don't want Brolivia to kick me out. About halfway through the class, we change gears from a toning/sculpting/ step routine to strictly step. We are instructed to put our weights away, and then Brolivia circles the perimeter of the room, instructing everyone to remove all remaining mats, water bottles, clothing items, keys, (dust bunnies, imaginary friends) and any other item that could be a tripping hazard, from the floor. Balance all personal affects on the barre...mmm..safe place with all the bouncing going on. Now the real fun begins...ponies and cha-chas and over and under and around the step, wind and unwind and thigh lifts times three and hip extenders to the corner and everything else abound. The real advanced part has started. And ends after seven minutes. Cool down...WTF???
Heart rates everyone. Apparently, if yours is above 30 you can't go home. I don't know how long we counted for, so that could be 30 beats a second, a minute, an hour. Who the hell knows. I'm at thirty, so I just pass. No heartrate hostage session with Brolivia for me today.
We thank Brolivia and leave, and Andie and I discuss the true level of this class...definitely not advanced...intermediate on a tough day. But we broke a sweat, and that's what we had hoped for. Better than nothing.
As we're leaving the building, Andie informs me that the paper I signed was not simply a sing-in. This is apparently a franchised class, and I have signed indicating that I will not be copying their moves/classes, etc. I think if I did I might be subject to fines. Dammit. My black market aerobics video fortune is not to be. But what about the rules? Are they franchised?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ah-choo

Woo-hoo...someone found my blog through a search for "sneeze bladder."
Do you think I'm what they were looking for?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hey Carly

I was eating a chocolate covered strawberry tonight and the chocolate all fell off in pieces onto my shirt. My darling hubby reached over, picked some off, and ate it. Twice.

Asian tourists

Just a disclaimer...this blog will never, ever be politically correct. Consider yourself warned.

Yesterday, it was about a zillion degrees below zero and some friends and I decided to meet at the New York State Museum to walk with our strollers and then give the kids a chance to play. There is a great discovery area for children and then a fantastic carousel that you can ride for free. They "suggest" a donation, but we're all stay-at-home moms...we're poor. The parking by the museum is rough on a good day and apparently Tuesday is a busy day there. We had all circled the museum numerous times to find a spot. I got a great spot and then pumped almost all of the quarters I stole from my husband's dresser into the meter, giving me nearly three hours to enjoy some exercise, some playtime and some lunch. Two of the other moms had found one hour spots, so they probably pumped the same number of quarters into heir meters and they'd need to run out hourly to move their cars. Another poor mom marveled at the great spot she found a the top of the hill. She was crushed when we told her it was a tow-away zone. We were discussing our options (stay...walk somewhere else) and wondering exactly what made the museum so popular on a Tuesday, when then mother of all frights appeared....a bus load of Asian tourists . I have been to enough tourist destinations, and seen enough bus loads of Asian tourists descend. I have never wanted to leave a location so quickly. I could not get my poor toddler buckled into the safety of her stroller fast enough. The tourists began rushing the lobby, cameras in hand, shoving anyone and anything out of their way. My maternal instinct reared up as if we were being chased by a grizzly. I feared my two small daughters would be caught in the stampede, their little lives compromised for a photo opp in from of the info desk (better take a picture in front of the poster of the carousel, before we head to the real one three flights up). I lost 2 1/2 hours of meter time. Small price to pay for my life.
I had a recent experience in Gymboree (the kids clothing store) with an Asian woman...maybe a tourist, maybe not, but definitely a transplant. I was scouring the clearance rack, since I can only afford Gymboree clothes on clearance (see above reference to free carousel). The local Gymboree has a small store and an even smaller clearance rack, but they manage to cram things on it pretty good. I was holding my baby, who was probably nine months old at the time, and this woman came barreling around the rack, whipping stuff off of it. She scared the living daylights out if me, and when she nearly impaled my daughter with a plastic hanger, I high-tailed it out of there. Asian tourists scare me. They move in swarms at lightning speed and plow down anyone in their path.
There must be a lot of nightclub fires in China.

The only experience worse was when my husband and I hiked up Cadillac Mountain in Maine. We had opted to hike rather than drive because we thought would appreciate the view better. Respectable, eh? We set out, up the mountain, passing judgment on all of the carloads of people who were driving up there; trudging our elitist selves up the mountain; gloating about how much better the view would be for us. We arrived at the top, basked momentarily in the amazing view that we had so righteously earned, and turned in time to witness the disembarking of a bus load of Canadian teenagers. Lunch bags in hand.

"Take your cat...

...and leave my sweater."

That has got to be the most asinine song lyric ever.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Kegels please

So Carly and I, after our volunteer stint tonight, decide to go out. We go to the mall so I can exchange some things, and we hit Pizzeria Uno. Yummy pizza skins and dessert. I'm wondering if they get commission based on the urine output of their customers, because I never asked for a refill, but I think I drank four diet Cokes. We leave Unos to shop some more, and realize, as we're abut to leave, that not using the Unos restroom was a stupid move. A discussion of the state of a womans bladder post-childbirth ensues. We marvel at the dread we feel when faced with the urge to sneeze. I also remarked that my fitness class required jumping jacks the other day, and it was pretty scary for me. Carly mentions Kegels. Now, I know what Kegels are. But seriously, when would I remember to do them? When I think of toning my muscles, I think, gee, my stomach needs work, wow, my arms are getting flabby, I could stand to work out my legs, butt, etc., some more. I do not think, gee, I think I'll work out my vagina today. I'm not saying it wouldn't help, but hell, I can't see it. It's not flaunting its poor state at me every time I look in the mirror. Outta sight, outta mind I guess. Anyone out there who remembers to give the ole who-ha a workout, I commend you. And I congratulate your partner on finding such good fortune. Perhaps I should suggest a Kegels class be added to the class offering list at the fitness center I recently joined. Bring your own equipment. I would definitely have to make that suggestion anonymously.
Now Carly thinks that a vibrator would do just fine for serving the same purpose with added bonuses. I tell you Carly, I googled Kegel +orgasm today and found no evidence that they have the same benefit, only that doing the one (Kegels) can help improve the other (orgasm). Sorry, hon. Did you keep your receipt?

Today is my younger daughter's first birthday. Happy Birthday, Thing 2! I'm not sure I'm allowed to blame you anymore for the pathetic state of my body. You're off the hook baby girl.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

procreation required

Check this out:

I-957 would require married couples to have kids


Gotta love our country. Initiatives that are never meant to pass.
This could spark some highly interesting debates. I wonder if it will accomplish what it's intended to accomplish.

By our three-year anniversary, we had experienced a miscarriage and were about 12 weeks pregnant with our first daughter. Would that have counted or would our marriage have been annulled and me forced into single parenthood??
If you are conceived during pregnancy, but actually born outside the confines of marriage, does that mean you are still a bastard?
So many things to think about.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Someday...

I am the world's worst typist. Not for lack of training. I did take a typing course in high school, at my mother's insistence. But I seem to be unable to get my hands and my brain to move at similar speeds. I also blame my somewhat small hands. I know exactly where all the letters are on the keyboard...I just can't seem to get it right. So one of these days, I am going to write, then post without spell-checking. Just to amuse myself.

Mom blows me...

...all the time

Yes, the little boy in the locker room at the rec center actually said this. Now, I knew he was looking at the hair dryer my daughter was dragging around the locker room bench, but I can't promise you the people in the next aisle did.
So hubby convinces me to go to the rec center for their "Get Fit Before You Sit" pre-SuperBowl workout. I was more than a bit apprehensive (apparently the promise of end-zone dancing and best cheer didn't send up as many red flags for hubby as it did for me) and reserved the right to leave if it was lame. We dropped the girls off in the baby sitting room and rushed into our sneakers (no outside shoes allowed in the gym) and in we went. We were greeted by the backs of about 30 people in street clothes, including coats, who weren't moving at all. Quite motivating. We worked our way farther in, just a little, to find a somewhat older woman wearing a pink Giants t-shirt (new team colors for 07-08?) and sporting her Britney Spears headgear so she could instruct the handful of middle-aged women and the 20 or so tweens in cheerleader uniforms. Oh, and the one lone thirty-something guy. We left. But wanting to workout anyway, we went up to the track, which is conveniently elevated over the periphery of the gym, so as to provide a birds-eye view of the "workout" we had just left. We were just in time to observe the "bubble wrap stomp" as we walked briskly around the track. We also got a nice show when the "run fast enough to keep this paper plastered against your chest" portion of the workout took place. I remarked to hubby that this was the perfect workout. Entertainment at the expense of unknowing others while we burn calories.

Hey Carly, think I'll get any hits from the title of this post??