Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tis Only a Flesh Wound

So it turns out that the kid with the newly-loosened tooth was jumping off of a piece of playground equipment when he landed on MG with his face. That makes a lot more sense - she's a head taller than every kid in her class. I couldn't figure out how one of them had gotten her above the ear with his teeth.

Happy Meals and Tylenol have been administered. I gave her a bath to get the last of the blood out of her hair. She and Claire are watching movies and I'm trying to get Jack to take a nap of reasonable duration.

The kid's all right. Still waiting to hear if the doc wants her on antibiotics. I'll bet all the blood washed it out pretty well, though.

Another First

Another parental rite-of-passage - my very first phone call from the school nurse came this morning.

"Hey Amy, it's Chris," (one of our business partners' wives, and she was a postpartum nurse at the hospital when MG was born, too.  Small town).  "Did you know that I'm the school nurse?"

"Noooo... What's going on?" I said, preparing to get in big trouble for sending MG to school sick.  She's had a stuffy nose for days, but no fever, and I don't think it's necessary to keep her home just because she's using her weight in Kleenex every day.

"There was an incident on the playground at recess..."

Now, at this point, I've just gotten out of the shower.  I'm dressed but my hair is dripping wet.  I have no shoes or socks on.  I am very much not camera-ready.  My heart stops.  I toss Jack in his high chair, run for my shoes, asking, "How bad is it?"  Being the calm, collected, rational, reasonable mother that I am, in my imagination they're airlifting her to the nearest children's hospital at this point.  I'm listening for the choppers.

"She's ok, but..." it turns out that she and another kid were running on the playground, and her head (behind her ear) met the kid's mouth (front tooth) with enough force to knock his tooth wobbly and cause an impressive amount of bleeding from my baby's noggin.

Chris doesn't think it'll need a stitch, but she wanted me to call the doctor and see if he wants to treat it - since the injury came from another kid's mouth, and mouths are gross and full of germs and bacteria.

"Oh no, was it his permanent tooth?"  No, it was a baby tooth.  Good.  "Is she ok, do I need to come get her?"  She was crying for me quite a bit at first, but she's ok now and has returned to class.

"Thanks for taking care of her, Chris.  I'll call the doctor."

And I did, and now I'm waiting for them to call back, and waiting for my hair to dry.

There's just never a dull moment around here.

Monday, January 30, 2012


For about eleven seconds today, all of the laundry was done.  I hate it when all the laundry is done, because then I start thinking about all the laundry that I never do.  It's stupid to add to Mt. Laundry when it's piled to the ceiling - you don't strip beds when you have eleven loads of laundry to do.  But when all the normal laundry is clean, you start thinking crazy thoughts about sheets and mattress pads and duvets and coats and dusty curtains and suddenly it dawns on you that you're Sisyphus and you will never be done.  Because in the exceptionally unlikely event that you lost your mind and washed all the slip covers and kids blankets and sleeping bags and stuffed animals and dress up clothes and pillow shams and all the everything fabric in the house*, by the time you were done with that the mountain of everyday laundry would rival Mount Olympus.

Similarly, my kids have barely finished lunch when I start thinking about dinner.  Being a mom is a lot like being a hamster on a wheel - you run all day, but you never really get anywhere.  I can't tell you how many times I've made my grocery list during a meal - because while I was cooking I was in the kitchen noticing all the things that were running low or gone, and when is a better time?  I'll forget by the time I finish my veggies.

I just remembered that the kids left their clothes where they fell when they changed into their PJs.  Better go grab those...

...see what I mean?

Grandmother Diana came down today and we did a little running around.  She has been on vacation, so it was really nice to see her again.  Erin's daughter has pink eye, so Jack and I will be hanging out together tomorrow morning while the girls are at school.  Weird.  Why is pink eye such a big deal?  I know it's really contagious, but it's just pink eye.  It's not really even that uncomfortable.  Sometimes it itches, but it's not like you feel sick when you have it.  It's crummy to have a kid who feels perfectly well, but can't go to school or do anything, so we don't want to catch it.  Hopefully J. will be all better soon, and L. won't catch it!

When we got home from running around I had a letter in the mailbox from the IRS that was entirely in Spanish.  Que?  I don't speak Spanish, but Brandon translated the gist of it for me via text message, and I spent about 20 minutes on hold before Betty White (no, really, that was her name) told me that it was just an automated letter about something I already took care of last year, and that she'd review it and close the case on our 2008 taxes.... Oh, but by the way, your 2009 returns are flagged for audit.


Hold the phone, there, Rose!  "Isn't there some big red button you can push that says 'don't audit these folks, they're really nice***' over there, Ms. White?  Because I'd really like it if you'd push that button right now."  She asked me to hold while she reviewed the case.  "I don't see any red flags.  Don't lose any sleep - this should be dismissed.  They probably won't even contact you."

"Can I get that in writing?"


What was funny is that I was very, very nice to Betty White the entire time we were talking, because I have a policy of not pissing off people who can initiate an audit against me.  So she told me the same information over, and over, and over, and over.  I could tell that she didn't want to end the call with me and go on to her next call which had a high probability of being from some irate taxpayer.

All told, the mysterious Spanish IRS letter took 45 minutes to fix.  Thank goodness Grandmother Diana was here to entertain the troops!

* Actually, now that I think about it, it wasn't that long ago that we had a lice scare and I did wash every inch of fabric in the house that I could fit in my washing machine, with the exception of the curtains because I honestly didn't think of it, so maybe it's not quite as bad as all that.  But I don't need another lice scare to motivate me...  I think we've had enough of that for one lifetime**!

** I've totally tempted fate, now, and we're going to get lice.

** Bring it.  (The audit, that is, not the lice.  Jeez, Louise, please not the lice.)  We've done nothing wrong, we have nothing to hide.  I ain't afraid of no audit****!

****  While it is technically true that we've done nothing wrong and we have nothing to hide, I AM afraid of an audit (and lice) just because it sounds like a big, scary pain in the neck (so is lice), so even though I'm giving off all kinds of false bravado here, Betty White, please don't audit me (or give my kids lice)*****.

***** Which would you rather endure?  An IRS audit or head lice?

Sunday, January 29, 2012


I'm going to have to be cryptic, because some secrets aren't mine to spill on the 'net.

I was surprised today by a call from a dear friend.  I thought she was very far away, but it turns out she was about an hour away!  I actually got to spend some of the afternoon with her.  It was the last thing I expected to do today, and I wish it had been under nicer circumstances for her, but gosh it was great to see her again.  I hope to spend a lot of time with her this week, before she returns to the place I thought she was when she called me.

Cryptic enough?

And the other surprise came at the same time that I was with my friend, someone I love very much called to tell me that she's pregnant!  Again, not my news to spill, but SO exciting!  Yay babies!!!

Was your weekend full of wonderful surprises?

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I made these brown sugar banana bread pancakes that I found on Pinterest for breakfast.  Oh my!  I added an egg and a bunch of milk, but I think it was because my bananas were smaller and/or less ripe than the ones the blogger who wrote the recipe used.  Plus, I like a thinner pancake batter.  The flavor was amazing.  This is my new favorite way to use up overripe bananas.

I'll tell you what, I've made quite a few recipes from Pinterest already - the pancakes, these baked s'mores - awesome!, this fruit salsa (which my sister Saundra actually pointed me to pre-Pinterest, but someone else pinned it the other day so I repinned it), this bread, this amazing and super easy chicken... and they've all been pretty darn spectacular.  The only disappointing one was this punch, and it wasn't bad, it just wasn't as life-altering as advertised.  I had high expectations.  I don't think I'll ever need to buy a cooking magazine or a cookbook again.  I probably ought to make a board for Recipes I've Made so I can keep track of the ones I've tried.  (While you're clicking through, follow me and I'll follow you back!)

BJ and I actually went on a date today, thanks to Grandpa Bob who watched the kiddos!  We went and saw Red Tails, which was pretty good, although some of the dialogue was cheesy.  The dog fighting scenes were awesome.  I stubbornly refuse to wear my glasses unless I'm absolutely forced to do so, which resulted in a headache.  It went away somewhat when I put them on, and some more when I took ibuprofen after we got home.  The popcorn was excellent.  Always the best part of any movie!

Then Grandpa took us out for dinner.  We were going to go to Olive Garden, but the wait was an hour (!!) so we went to Cracker Barrel instead.  They had that fireplace cranked up to "incinerate."  I think that's how they keep people from staying too long.  Heavy food and high temperatures - it's a miracle all those old people don't just fall asleep!  The girls braved the heat to play checkers while we waited for the bill.

Claire's class's behavior control program involves "jewels" - those polished glass doodads that you find at craft stores and that people use for flower arrangements.  The kids earn a certain number per day with their behavior.  Well, on Monday the class didn't earn any jewels, and Claire was devastated, so I told her I'd get some jewels and give her opportunities to earn them at home.  I finally got to Michael's on Friday, and this jewel thing has been working for me ever since.  It's amazing what kids will do for a little piece of glass.  If they earn all the jewels (I only bought one bag), we'll take them to Chuck E. Cheese.  They're highly motivated.  Anyway, they each earned a jewel while Grandpa was here, and before we left for dinner, I gave them the opportunity to go "double or nothing" - if they were good at dinner, instead of getting two jewels each (one for being good for Grandpa and one for being good at dinner) they could each earn four.  Grandpa and Daddy were a little horrified that I was teaching gambling, but it's a life skill!  Both of the girls kept all four of their jewels at dinner.  Jack will earn jewels for sleeping through the night.  Hell, at this point I would buy Jack actual jewels if he would sleep through the night.

Speaking of Jack, he's getting quite proficient at this whole walking thing.  I think he just wanted to wait until he was good at it before he did it in front of everyone.  That kid's practically running already.  He'll probably do the same with talking - he won't say a word for another year, and then he'll spew forth with, "Mother, dear, would you please give me another cookie?" or something.

Hope you're having a great weekend, wherever you are, and that you kept all your jewels!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Works for Me!

My wonderful cleaning lady has been out of town for a couple of weeks, and she just called and said that she can't come tomorrow either. I have to wait until MONDAY! Quelle horror! (#FirstWorldProblems) Fortunately, in her absence, I've learned that if you clean just one thing with Pine Sol (full strength), people who come in your house will say, "Wow! It's so clean in here!" even when it's obviously the opposite of clean. So if you come in my house and you're magically transported to a mental pine forest, you'll know what's up. I'm willing to give away my secret, because I really think this is a trick that any working mother of small children needs. In fact, I think I should give up this rocket science thing and work on a Pine Sol scented potpourri. I could make a fortune. I may start wearing it as perfume. Then I'll give the illusion of cleanliness wherever I go. It will be yet another valuable service I provide...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why I Don't Watch Daytime TV

I turned on Dr. Phil yesterday while Mary Grace was at school and I was home with Jack and Claire.  I don't know why.  I almost never watch television.  I wasn't even really paying attention to it, and I couldn't tell you what the topic was.  I just wanted some noise, I guess.

Anyway, so Dr. Phil throws to a commercial for this:

...and Claire, who was sitting at the kitchen table coloring and wasn't even supposed to be paying attention said, "You should get some of that Mommy."

"What?"  I asked.

"For your eyes," she said, as she pointed to the area below her own eyes.  Where the bags under my eyes have grown their own bags.

"No," I said, (I did not say, "No, smartass," though I wanted to) "I need your brother and your sister to sleep."

This, my friends, is why I almost never turn on daytime TV.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Normal's Just a Town in Illinois

Bloodwork = normal.

He FINALLY did the reflux cough in front of the doctor, and the doctor was unimpressed.  "He could just be clearing his throat.  My youngest does something like that, too."

There were no indications that he has any kind of food allergy, either, so there's no point in further testing down that direction.  He said it wouldn't hurt him if we wanted to try him on an elimination diet, but we're going to try to stick with one thing at a time.

We're going to try Prevacid, once he gets over this cold.  If it helps, then he's probably got reflux or gastritis or something acid going on, and the Prevacid should work better than the Zantac did.  If it doesn't work, we'll just ... I don't know.

Maybe I've got Munchhausen's by proxy or something.  I feel like I've flogged the baby for nothing.  I feel like a crazy person.  How can something sound so painful to me, and not sound painful to the doctor?  How can my perception of his sleep situation be so different from BJ's?

I am so grateful that he's healthy and that his bloodwork was normal and that he's growing.  Don't get me wrong - I've never wanted him to be sick.  But I've wanted answers.  WHY does he cough like that?  We may just not know until he's old enough to tell us.  Does it hurt?  We may not know that, either.  It sounds like it hurts, but what do I know?  If there is something wrong, it's well hidden.

I need to make supper.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

For Whymommy

Sending love and praying for your comfort. Holding your sons close to my heart. You have been so brave.

It's Gonna Be a Long Day

Friday night we tried to put Jack to bed at his usual 7.  He slept for a few minutes, then woke up.  This went on, and on, and on.  He finally fell asleep sometime around 10 pm.  After that he woke up around 4, BJ rocked him for at least an hour, and he woke up for the day around 8 am.

Bear in mind that our recollections are really fuzzy, because we're extremely sleep deprived.

His naps were good yesterday, but late, so we felt ok going over to Karen's for dinner even though he'd be going to bed late.  When he wakes up two hours later from his afternoon nap, it makes sense that he'll go to bed two hours later than usual, right?  He wouldn't have been ready to go back to bed at 7 if he got up around 4:30 or 5 pm.

So we got home around 9 pm.  We commenced bedtime and he went to sleep within ten minutes, then woke up.  I nursed him and nursed him and nursed him.  Then at 10:20 he was just screwing around, completely not interested in sleeping, climbing the walls, etc.  The BJ rocked him until 11:30.  He slept until 3:30, then we were variously up with him until 5 am.  I spent a lot of time on the couch with him, trying to keep him upright.  By 5 I was getting seriously angry, so BJ took him.  He fell asleep for BJ when he took over at that time, but BJ rocked him for an hour to be sure he was really out.  He woke up at 7:45 this morning.  I'm going to take him and try to put him down for nap right now (10 am) but he doesn't seem tired at all.

If this was just "spoiled" behavior, bringing him into our bed would make him go to sleep, right?  Presumably that's what he wants.  But if we do, he just climbs the walls, climbs over us to try to get to the lights on the power strip, or to the remotes, or tries to crawl off the bed, or shrieks to try to find his sisters, or whatever.

There is no way that he is getting enough sleep.  I'm starting to wonder if the reason why he's not walking yet (he has taken a step or two, but the girls were both really walking by 13 months) or talking much (mama, dada, rara, hey/hi, that's it) is because he's not getting enough sleep to synthesize what he's learned during the day.  He did not do this when he was on the Zantac.  The rest of the week (10 days? I can't remember) since we took him off of it has been pretty much the same - it takes FOREVER to get him to sleep.  If we don't rock him forever, he wakes right back up as soon as he hits the mattress.  He'll sleep for 5 hours or so, maybe 6, but once he wakes up it takes forever to get him back to sleep.  His naps are disrupted too.

Sleepiness is not a side effect of Zantac, either.  It's not like it's Benadryl and you'd expect him to be tired after taking it.

I am so angry that he's off his medicine.  I'm trying to decide if I should put him back on it (we still have some) or if I should wait and make an appointment to go talk to the doctor on Monday (they should have the bloodwork back by then, and I can probably get the last stool sample today).  I should probably wait, so that being back on it doesn't screw up the stool sample that I still need to get.

I just don't know what to do, but this is not working.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Kelly Wins

Kelly reminded me to post today. She wins. I don't know what the prize is. I'll have to think of something.

The last two nights, Jack has had a cold and has stayed awake until at least ten pm in spite of our best efforts. As I write this, it's 10:25 and he is still awake. BJ is rocking him. Shouldn't he be MORE tired if he's sick? His sleep has gotten so much worse off of the Zantac. OMG. Poor BJ has been getting up with him a ton.

We had a fun time at Karen's tonight with her family and most of our friend Tammy's family. BJ and Karen took the big kids sledding this afternoon and I stayed home with the babies. It was a good day. Now if only Jack could sleep...

Sorry, nothing funny or profound tonight. What did you do today, gentle readers?

Friday, January 20, 2012


I talk to a lot of moms, and I read a lot of mom blogs, and I've realized something over the past few months.  All of us who have young children are fighting the same battles.

We all feel like our spouses (note the gender neutral) could do more something.  We all feel like we're stretched too thin.  We all feel that "caregiver fatigue" that I talked about the other day sometimes.  We're all not quite sure how we're ever going to get through everything we have to do in the next week/day/hour.  All of us are past the "just starting out" phase, but not quite to the "financially secure" phase, so one unexpected emergency can set us back - sometimes way back - and that's scary.  Some of us are dealing with the big homewreckers - addiction, adultery, abuse.  Some of us are dealing with serious stuff that pushes us to our limits - our spouse's or our own depression, conflicts over finances, lack of intimacy in our marriages, serious conflicts in parenting style, or an illness in our family (whether self, spouse, or child).  Some of us are dealing with our aging parents, already, and the "sandwich generation" things that our parents have complained about - where your small kids really need you and your parents really need you and you have no time for yourself.

I'll bet that every single person reading can relate to a lot of the above.  I promise I'm not breaking one friend's confidence, here.  These observations are the aggregate of a hundred conversations I've had and a thousand blog posts I've read.  We're ALL going through it, and a lot of us are going through a lot of it at once.

I know, for me, that when I think about everything at once, it's easy to get seriously overwhelmed.  When I find myself doing that, I have to consciously stop and remind myself that I can only do one thing at a time, and I only have to get through one minute at a time.

We all have that image in our mind of the perfect mom, and someone we know in real life who seems to be her.  Her house is clean and her bank account is balanced and in the black.  Her husband is gorgeous and successful, maybe she has her own successful career, maybe not.  She's gorgeous.  Her kids are always dressed in matching clothes, and they never have snot or spit up or yesterday's lunch in their hair.  I promise you, though, you're comparing your every-day to her best-foot-forward.  What you see isn't her true reality, not all the time.  Underneath it all she is every bit as overwhelmed as you are, as I am, because we ALL are.  (I think half the reason Pinterest is so popular is because it's selling the best-foot-forward.  Pinterest speaks directly to our wish to be the mom with the perfect house and the perfectly organized kid's craft station that gets used daily for wholesome, educational, creative play, and the adorable professional looking cupcakes for the party and the perfectly balanced and delicious meal made from scratch using whole, natural, locally grown ingredients and and AND.... Pinterest promises that we can be that girl, if only we have the right set of instructions).

I think it's going to get a lot easier once all the kids are in school full time.  Not only will they be better able to take care of their own basic needs, by then, but they'll also be out of the house more and we'll have more time for ourselves (unless you homeschool, in which case, good luck! I hope you have a good babysitter on speed dial!).  I've been told that we're building the foundation now, as parents-of-toddlers, that will inform how our experiences as parents-of-teenagers turn out.  (So build wisely!)  The challenges will change, but at least they'll be able to wipe their own butts and noses by then.

As for our marriages, I think we need to remember that this (whatever this is) isn't forever.  It won't always be this hard.  We'll have room and time to breathe again.  Soon.  In the meantime, it's important for all of us to remember why we got married in the first place.  Make a list of the things that you loved about your spouse when you were engaged, and tape it to the visor on your car.  Look at it at every stoplight.  Of course you shouldn't put up with a situation that is unsafe for you or your kids, but if the thing putting your marriage in jeopardy is in any way temporary or fixable, you owe it to yourself and your family to try to fix it or ride it out.  I've talked to divorced friends, too, and it is not something you want to do unless it is completely unavoidable.  Divorce comes with its own set of really serious problems - you're just trading one for the other.  My best advice is to try to be the kind of person that you would want to be married to, and to remember that almost everything can be temporary.

In the meantime, keep your sense of humor and your perspective, cut yourself and your spouse some slack, lean on your friends and your family (and be supportive of them, too, when you can), and hold on.  It gets better.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Wikimedia Commons

Mary Grace:  What's that?

Daddy:  That's a VHS tape.  I need to take it to the office and see what's on it.

Mary Grace:  What button do you press to turn it on?

It's amazing how all it takes is one question from your kids to make you feel really old.

Monday, January 16, 2012


So we had to get Jack's blood drawn this afternoon.  Six vials.  Oh my hell.

I took along a sucker, something he's never had, to try to distract him.  Didn't work at all.  He threw it across the room.

I told the woman at the desk that we would wait longer in order to have the most experienced person do his blood draw.  The people who came out to get us were younger than me.  They were giving each other instructions (as in, "I hold it here and pinch it there...") "You HAVE done this before, right?" I asked.

"Lots of times."

"On someone this small?"

"We do kids all the time."

Oh, really?

Because the woman dug around in his little elbow pit with the needle as he screamed any my eyes teared, and she never did find the vein.

Wikimedia Commons
"You only get three tries before we leave.  That's one."

Really, I would have left after two.

"Is there another site that would be easier?" I asked.

"We're only allowed to draw from their arms here."


"I'm going to go get someone..."

"Yes.  Please."

The other woman, older and more experienced, got it on the first try, thank goodness, but they hadn't gotten out a second syringe, and they needed so many vials, and it took three of us to hold him down, and they had to call someone over to change the syringe while the needle hung out of my baby's arm, while leaning over one of the people who was helping us hold him, and he screamed and he screamed...

And I sang, "I am brave brave brave, I am brave.  I am not afraid, I am brave," over and over, because it's what my mom used to sing to me.  I realized, then, that she wasn't reminding us to be brave when she sang, she was reminding herself.

Then it was over, and I nursed him and cried, and on the way home I called BJ and said, "Are you sure it's worth putting him through all of this?  Are we sure that it's this bad?" and he is, so we'll keep searching for an answer.

But damn, I hope the answer is in one of those vials.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Didn't Forget

It's hard to remember to blog on weekends. Went to Grammaland. Shopped with Mimi then went to my meal co-op. Meal co-op rocks. Got a ton of great food for my family. Agreed to go on a weekend getaway with my aunt and cousin, even though I'm hopeless at scrapbooking. Maybe their talent will rub off on me. If not, at least I get to chill for a couple days with people who love to snuggle Jack. Listened to a bunch of great podcasts while driving. Do you know The History Chicks? Excellent podcast! Will link when I get to a real computer, but their website is http://www.thehistorychicks.com - features women, but male history buffs will also enjoy it!

Sorry this sounds like a telegram, I'm on my phone, nursing Jack, and my typing arm is going numb.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Back Up the Crazy Truck

The doctor called tonight and we spoke for a long time about Jack and what's going on.  I guess my head flew off before the nurse could explain that we weren't done looking for an answer, and that the behavioral thing is just one possibility.  Whoops.

I felt like a kid being called to the principal's office, honestly.  I'm also embarrassed that I've been insisting for so long that it's reflux and that, apparently, I've been wrong.  But it's something.  Just tonight, when BJ was getting Jack ready for bed, he started doing the cough again - the one that looks like this:

That video is almost a year old.  It's different now that he's bigger.  It also happens long after he has eaten, now, and not right after a feeding the way it used to.  My phone is charging and tonight if he starts doing the back-arching-coughing-screaming thing, I'll be ready.  He hasn't had any medicine, and he ate a bunch of junk for dinner (we went to another basketball game), so it'll probably happen.

Anyway, we're going to do some blood tests to look for H. Pylori and inflammation and Celiac's disease  and a bunch of other stuff that I didn't write down.  He said it might be irritable bowel or inflammatory bowel or ulcers or gastritis or any number of things, but the next step is blood work and stool samples (kind of, I actually get to personally smear poop on a card three times - fun! - to check for blood), so we'll do that.

He said he'd like to get an x-ray of Jack when the behavior I describe is actually happening.  I've thought about that and unless we spend a few nights in the hospital, I don't see how we could make that happen, because it doesn't happen every night.  It happened the night we fed him pizza for dinner, so we might be able to recreate the right conditions to get it to happen on cue.  But even if we were to throw him in the car when it happens (at 2 am!) by the time we got to the hospital it would be better, because he'd be upright in the carseat for the 20 minute trip, and hospitals don't move very quickly so he'd be upright while we waited for someone to take the x-ray, etc.  And since keeping him upright helps, by the time we could reasonably get an actual x-ray at 2 am, it would be over.

He said he'd be happy to refer us to pediatric gastroenterology, but that they'd want to order the same blood work, so we might as well do it here.  But if it continues, and if we can't find a reason, then going to Riley is not out of the realm of possibilities.

I'm glad he doesn't have reflux, I really am.  But I'm so frustrated that there's something wrong and I don't know how to fix it.  Is there any worse frustration than knowing that something is wrong with your child and not being able to fix it?  The responsibility of caring for the kids medically is starting to wear on me.  It's a lot to just take care of one body - now I have to take care of five (I'll let you guys guess whether I'm including BJ or Penny in that number).  It's a lot.  It's a lot to remember, it's a lot to keep track of, it's a lot of responsibility, it's just a lot.

It'll get easier as they get bigger and are better able to tell me what's going on.  But right now I just want to give this responsibility away for a little while, to not have to worry about all the well-baby visits and sick baby visits and the shots and the vitamins and the weights and the heights and the percentiles and the medicine doses and the allergies and the everything.  It's too much.

I also learned today that I would profoundly suck at being a doctor, so I can stop regretting that I didn't go to medical school.  I suck at dealing with people and I have no patience for them.  I also do very poorly on little sleep, and they like to make doctors stay up all night in medical school.  Maybe I would've been a good pathologist, since their patients rarely complain, but otherwise I can let that "coulda shoulda woulda" go.  That's a relief.

The best good news is that even though something is causing him pain, and it's happening fairly regularly, he is growing and thriving and it doesn't seem to be impacting his development or making him sickly.  Clinically, according to the doctor, Jack looks great.  (But that doesn't mean that we're going to stop trying to figure out what's hurting him, so, yeah... I can put my head back on).

I'm trying to look at the bright side, and not to get any more discouraged...  Thank you for all of your kind comments here and on Facebook and email.  I'm going to suggest the adenoid possibility, specifically, when we get the labs back, since two different people mentioned that.

Diagnosis: Spoiled

I am so angry.

I knew going in that this test wouldn't show what the problem actually is.  We feed Jack dinner at 6 or 6:30, and his symptoms show up at 1 or 2 in the morning.  So, exactly how will a test that takes pictures of his esophagus while he's drinking barium show what happens 7 hours later?  It won't, but I'm a good sport so I agreed.

The radiologist said that it showed "a little" reflux.  I asked her if we could wait a while and take more pictures, because the problem happens so long after he eats, but she said that the barium wouldn't show up more than a few minutes later.

So the nurse from our doctor's office called today and said, "You should quit the Zantac, and continue to give low-dose milk of magnesia for symptoms, but the doctor thinks this is probably behavioral and that he'll outgrow it with age and gentle sleep training..."

And my head flew off.

"My baby is NOT spoiled!" I said.  "The doctor has known me for 8 years, and he knows both of my daughters, and NONE of my kids are spoiled.  I am a good mother, and I can tell the difference between a baby who doesn't want to go to sleep and a baby who is in pain.  My baby is in pain, and this has been going on for over a year, and if it's not reflux then why does positioning help?  Why does milk of magnesia help?  If it's not reflux then it's SOMETHING and it's dismissive and insulting to say it's behavioral."

Of course, in the middle of all this my phone dropped, so the nurse thought I hung up on her.  Thanks, AT&T!

God, it's so FRUSTRATING to go to the doctor and say, "it's getting worse, help my son!" and have them say, "it's all fixed, your baby just doesn't want to sleep."  I KNOW that he wants to sleep.  He lays down and tries, but it hurts him.  I can tell that he's trying.  The night before the test I ended up sitting up with him on the couch for an hour, after he'd been awake for an hour already, until he fell asleep, because laying down hurt him.

So we have an appointment (and they insisted that I bring BJ with me, apparently he has a reputation for being the calm, rational parent) on Monday morning.

I plan to spend the rest of the time between now and then trying to figure out what could look like reflux and act like reflux, but be something else - something that happens 6 or 7 hours after eating, when his stomach is empty.  Something that would cause him to arch his back and cough, cry, and try to crawl away from the pain.

Any ideas?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I Actually Feed Them Occasionally

Mary Grace and Claire wanted to go out and play in the snow, so we spent 15 minutes getting coats, snow pants, boots, hats, gloves, etc., and off they went.  Twelve seconds later they wanted to walk to the other end of the block to see if the neighbor girls could play.  "That's fine," I said, "But you should play OUTSIDE."  The neighbor girls' mom is pregnant, and she doesn't need to adopt my kids every afternoon.  She should be resting.  She should be sending her kids down here.

I put Jack down for his nap, and then looked for the kids, after about 15 minutes.  Not in the yard.  I went upstairs to look out the windows that look up and down the street.  No kids.  I called the pregnant neighbor.  No answer.  Called my dad.

"Are the girls down there?"


He offered to go looking for them, but I said I would call back if I needed him to - that I was pretty sure they were scamming snacks from the pregnant neighbor.  He laughed and said, "Yeah, they do that here, too."

I walked outside (with no coat, because I'm stupid) and looked.  No girls.  I went back in and called the neighbor's other number.  Finally got through, and they're there.  "They just came in, asking for cocoa."

(from The Guardian)
"Those twerps!  I swear I feed them!  You don't have to make them anything.  Send the filthy little beggars home!"

"No, no, it's fine, I don't mind."

"Are you sure, I'm so sorry!" etc.

I'm working on a very longwinded lecture about not begging food from the neighbors, which will be delivered with feeling when they get home.

Do your kids act like starving street urchins, too, or is it just mine?

Snowy Day

It's snowing, so we're staying in today.  2/3 of my kids are still in their pajamas - Jack went to the procedure at the hospital in his, and Claire's pre-school had pajama and pancake day.  We're watching the Princess Bride again.  Claire and Jack are playing Yahtzee!  We have chocolate chip cookies.  I might make bread later, just to make the house cozy.  Or maybe pretzels, that would be fun.  Maybe we'll make pretzels while Jack naps.

"Is this a kissing book?"
If BJ were here it would be perfect.


That moment of doubt I had earlier about Jack's reflux? It's over. It's 2:30 and we've been up for at least an hour. I'm sitting on the recliner so I can keep him upright and maybe rest if he ever goes back to sleep. Good times.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tomorrow's Appointment

Well, tomorrow morning Grandpa Bob and I are taking Jack for his barium esophagram.  I'm trying not to worry too much about it, even though we couldn't give him his Zantac tonight before bed, and even though he can't have anything to eat or drink after midnight.  We'll get through it.  I'm prepared for this to be a very long night, though.

What really sucks is that BJ was up all night (literally) the last two nights, working, so if Jack wakes up in the night, I'm going to have to get up with him.  If I get up with him, he's going to want to nurse, but I'm not allowed to nurse him, and he's not going to understand that.  I can't give him a bottle, instead, which he'll sometimes accept, either.  Nothing.  

If it gets unbearable, I'm going to take him for a ride in the car.  It's probably a good idea to stay off the roads in Indiana tonight.

I'm also afraid that the test is going to show that he doesn't have reflux.  He has been quite a bit better the last couple of days (of course, of course) and after all this fighting with the doctor, it'll be really embarrassing if the test comes back negative.  Of course it would be better for everyone if he's healthy - if it's all behavioral and not physical, if he doesn't need the medicine anymore.  That would be good.  I'll just have to focus on that and not on being embarrassed, I guess, even though it'll sting if I've been wrong all this time.

Oh well, it's too late now.  Hopefully we'll have results back tomorrow afternoon.

I wasn't kidding about the dancing

One of these days I'll remember to hold the phone horizontally instead of vertically.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mortality and Immortality

I am getting very good at scamming dinner out of my friends, since BJ has been working late the last couple of nights.  Last night we had dinner with Karen and Jim and their kids at their house, and tonight Monica and Craig and their kids brought pizza over for the kids and me.

Speaking of the kids, Jack is getting molars, and he's really not being very nice right now.  I've said it before but it bears repeating - children should not be allowed to get teeth until they can say, "Mother, may I please have some Tylenol?"

Speaking of medicine, we're reading Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Mary Grace is a lot more into it than she was last time.  We just got to the part (spoilers!) where her naughty cousin gets stung by a bunch of bees, and we talked about how they didn't have Benadryl or Tylenol back then - all they could do was pack the kid in mud, wrap him in a sheet, and put him to bed with some willow bark tea.  We agreed that we're grateful for medicine.  I wondered if maybe they didn't wrap him in that sheet to keep him from scratching more than anything.

Speaking of the distant past, online genealogy is crazy.  I was just reading about my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather (no kidding) Ephraim Minor.  It seems that a lot of people can claim him.  He and his kids and their kids all had a bunch of kids.  But there's something very creepy about reading those names from the 1600s, and the dates of birth and death, the dates of their marriages and their childrens' births (and often deaths) and having no story to fill in the rest of the years.  A lot of stuff must have happened to Ephraim between his birth in 1642 and his death in 1724.  He lived a whole life - 82 years!  But all I know is that he moved around a lot.  I can't find many satisfying details about him, and even fewer about his wife, or his parents, or his children, and it makes me sad.  That whole life boils down to a name and a bunch of dates.

It makes me think about my great^9 grandchildren, and whether or not they'll find these words, 350 years from now, and what they'll think of me.  The thought of that makes me dizzy.  Will my name sound as old as Ephraim's sounds to me?  Will 2012 seem so distant?  Will there be anything left to remember me by, other than a bunch of dates and names of places where I lived?


Jack has accumulated about seven pounds of dust on his pants in the 3 minutes we've been here!

Monday, January 9, 2012


Dear Jack,

Your namesake, John Paul, loved music, and he loved to dance.  Swing dancing was his thing.  And whenever the band U2 came on the radio, he would crank it up and sing like no one was listening.

Last night we went out for dinner, and when a U2 song came on you danced in your high chair.

I hope you always remember that you learned to dance before you could walk.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Christmas Decorations Are Still Up Because....

My Christmas decorations are still up for one reason.


Good grief, it's like a neverending magazine.  I've pinned (and actually tried) several recipes, ideas for crafts with the kids (which I'll get around to as soon as I'm done on Pinterest... Oh, is it bedtime already?  Maybe tomorrow...), inspiration for my sister's baby shower, ideas for the forever house...  It just never stops.

You can follow my boards by clicking here.  Why Gordo77?  Because some other Amy with my last name used my email address to sign up for Pinterest with her Facebook account, so it was connected to my Gmail but her Facebook, and when I finally sorted it all out I contacted her, but she had no idea what I was talking about so I just hijacked her Pinterest account (it WAS my email address after all).  I wonder if she's the person getting all of my email when people forget to include my middle initial.


Here are some of my favorite pins:

This bread, which didn't work as well as I'd hoped, but it was still a fun experiment.

This chicken, which is SUPER easy and delicious - even the kids liked it!

This project, which would be super cute with all of our hands, and maybe Penny's paw:

...so follow me and join the fun!

Easy like Sunday Morning

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I Willy Wonka'd the Dog

One should not get a puppy when one has small children.  It's just a stupid idea.  Small children have small toys, and puppies eat EVERYTHING.  Small children run, and puppies chase.  Small children have delicate skin and they completely freak out when they bleed, puppies nip.  Small children dump bowls of water, puppies need drinks.  Small children eat dog food.  I could go on and on...

A couple months ago I posted on Facebook that I liked Penny a lot better when she had a rawhide, and everyone told me that rawhide was terrible for dogs.  I felt badly.  And yet every time I've walked past those Busy Bones in the pet store, I've missed the three hours of peace and harmony they provided.

No more.  Behold!

If this is going to make Penny sick, please don't tell me. Ignorance is bliss, and peace and quiet. 

This is what the dog has looked like for the past half an hour:

"Oh, yum yum yum yum yum!"
Jack just crawled over and half laid on her.  She just went right on trying to get the treat out of the back side of the thing - she paid no attention to the baby at all.  It's like crack for dogs.

So what is it?  On one side it's like an everlasting Gobstopper, but instead of candy, it's chicken flavored (there are lots of flavors to choose, I'm afraid Barbecue might stain the carpet, though).  On the other side you can tuck treats in so that the dog has to really work at it to get them out.  It's the best thing ever!  I'm done with this post and she's still trying to get the treat out.  One treat has lasted 45 minutes.  I love this thing.

Some of the reviews are negative - I think people might have gotten toys that were too small for their dogs.  Even though Penny's less than 30 pounds, I got her the large size (she's still growing) and she has not been able to take the everlasting treat out of the center.  As with any toy, you have to supervise your dog with this until you know she's safe.

Your dog wants one.  I got mine at Pet Supplies Plus, but like everything they're cheaper at Amazon.

From time to time I like to share a product that I've found that has made my life easier or better in some way.  I'm not getting paid for my opinion, but the link is (obviously) an Amazon Associate's link, so I might make a few cents if you click through and buy something.  

Friday, January 6, 2012

Indiana High School Basketball

One of BJ's cousins is playing near our house tonight. The kids are into it, but they cheer no matter which team scores. BJ is explaining traveling right now. The girls are more interested in the cheerleaders.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I can tell most people are back to work today, because my Google Reader and Facebook are a lot busier than they were a week ago.

I need to put out an APB for all the people who know us IRL.  We can't find Mary Grace's hot pink sparkly back pack.  If you have seen it, and the Very Important Communication Folder that is in it (which may or may not have dog teeth marks in it), please send it back to me.

Speaking of Penny, Jack is sitting next to me eating dog treats.  Awesome.  I am an excellent mother.  Apparently babies can't tell it's not bacon.  Fixed that.  Moving right along...

Have I told you about the food co-ops I'm in?  I'm in one in Grammaland and one here.  Basically, you make 6 or 7 batches (depending on the number of participants) of a meal, then freeze them, then get together and swap so that you end up going home with 6 or 7 (or 12 or 14 because the Grammaland group does two entrees!) different things.  It's AWESOME.  I'm cooking for both of mine this weekend.  I have to buy a LOT of chicken, but it'll be worth it.  Which grocery store has the best deal on chicken this week?

Anyway, last time I got a Shepherd's Pie, and I've taken it out to thaw three times, and three times someone has called and offered to take us out for dinner.  It's kind of magical.  Well, I got it out today, but so far no one has called.  Bummer.  I guess it wore off.  However, it's 5:30 and the damn thing is still frozen in the middle, despite being partially thawed and baked for an hour and 15 minutes (so far) at 350, so there's a very good chance that we'll end up going out for dinner, anyway.


The parts of it that are actually cooking smell great, though, so there's that.  It might be delicious tomorrow.

What else is new?  Blogging every day is hard.  I'm just not this interesting, y'all.  I just threw the kids out because they were climbing the walls.  "Go see if Grandpa's home and invite him over for dinner!"

"What are we having?"

"Shepherd's pie!"

"PIE for DINNER?"  Oh boy are they going to be disappointed when it's not a sweet pie.  Ha!

I am all done with winter and ready for spring now.  I had to give the dog a sponge bath because she came in covered with dirt and mud.  She did not approve.

I spent this morning at work sending out W2s and 1099-MISCs and being so grateful that the law that would have required us to submit 1099s for every company we did business with we did business with went away, because that would have been an overwhelming amount of paperwork for us - and we're a very small business!

Jack skipped his morning nap, took his afternoon nap, and now he's super fussy.  He's also mad that he didn't get to go to Grandpa's.  Maybe this summer I'll be able to put him in the wagon for the girls and point them all in the right direction!

Happy birthday to my brother's intended, Sara!

That's all that's new here. What's new with you?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Back to School

I used to judge parents who looked forward to school starting.  "What's the matter with them?" I would think.  "Why don't they want to be with their own kids?"

Oh my God, people I judged, I am so sorry.

I love my kids.  The idea of them being away from me breaks my heart.  But it was with great joy that I sent Mary Grace to school this morning, and I will send Claire back next week with even more joy.

We need structure.  I never thought I was the kind of person who needed structure, but I do.  These endless pajama days of doing nothing and watching TV and playing with toys were fun, at first, but one can only do that so long before, seriously, everyone needs to go back to school and work or we're gonna strangle each other.

What's it like in your house?  Do you dread the back to school day or celebrate it?  And does anyone have any suggestions for how I'm going to stay sane this summer?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A day late

The button is from Jack's birthday - it says 'birthday boy.' Claire says Grandpa is 18, and Mom and Dad are 55.

Reflux Redux

Barium.  This would constipate you, too.  (Wikimedia Commons)
Well I've kept this resolution for three days, so that's a new record!  Most of my resolutions have lasted about 20 minutes.  Go me!

I need to call the doctor's office and schedule a barium esophagram for Jack.  He's too old to still have reflux, and the Zantac is no longer therapeutic (he has outgrown the maximum dose) so the doctor wants to verify that it's reflux (it's so obviously reflux) and see if he needs surgery (!!!!!).  So step one is this esophagram, where they'll probably have to put a tube into his stomach to get him to drink the barium, then they'll x-ray him to see how high it goes up his esophagus, then he'll be constipated for several days as it works its way out of his system!  Fun!!  They originally scheduled it for December 22, but when I found out that he'd feel poorly for a couple of days afterwards, I postponed it.  No sense in making him sick over Christmas.

But Christmas, and my excuses, are over now.

Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing?  I'm thinking that maybe we should skip the barium thing and go straight to a scope to visualize the damage, especially since I'm so absolutely positive that he (still) has reflux.  Thoughts?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bonus Post!

July 4, 2011
I'm such an overachiever with this resolution stuff! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUMPA!!!!!

Digital Picture Management

Today's project is a doozy.

Being married to a geek has its privileges.  One of them is that our home computer network is every bit as professional as most business networks.  We have an obscene number of computers in this house (3 desktops, one laptop, plus BJ's laptop and assorted portable devices - iPads, etc.).  The largest computer backs up to Carbonite.  The lesser computers do not.

Back in the good old days, before Cloud Computing, we had a harddrive failure.  If it hadn't been for the fact that I had uploaded all of our pictures to Shutterfly, we would have lost everything from Mary Grace's first year.  So I take digital photo management pretty seriously.

When I plug my camera or my phone into my computer, the pictures are saved by the date of the upload (which I hate) onto my computer, and backed up to my Picasa Web Albums with the same file structure (hate) so that I can use them her on the blog, etc.

Today's project is to wrestle them all into a sensible file structure (January 2011, February 2011, etc. with subfolders of major events - vacations, holidays, etc. within those folders) and copy them onto the main computer so that they'll be backed up into Carbonite, and, like Han Solo, preserved for all eternity, or until Princess Leia shows up.

This is not a small project.  I have 5 gigs of pictures on my laptop.

As soon as my iPad (to which I'm also copying my photos, as an experiment, because I've never used it for that before) is finished syncing, I'm going to plug in a real mouse (because doing this project on a touch pad will drive me insane) and have at it.  I expect it to take at least a week.  Like matching socks, I know I'll be really glad I did it once it's done, but I'm dreading the investment of time it'll take.

How do you manage your digital pictures?  What kind of back up are you using?  (You are using a back up, of course, right?  Hard drive recovery costs thousands of dollars, and isn't always possible!)  What iPad and iPhone apps do you use to help you?  Is there a software that will batch remove red-eye from all my pictures?  Oh my goodness, there's a lot of red eye.  If I were really committed I'd edit the photos as I copy them over, but that would take months.  I'll just do it as I use them.  Do you keep every photo, or only the good ones?

Help me Internet, and maybe I won't have to do this again in another year!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

You Say You Want a Resolution?

Well, coming in at the very last minute, here, but I'm going to try to be a better blogger in 2012 (God, that still sounds like the future, doesn't it?  Remember when 2000 seemed so far off?  Now it does, again, but in the opposite direction!  So weird).  I'm going to try to blog daily in 2012.  They won't be tomes, sometimes you might just get pictures, but I'm hoping to get back to this ol' blog.

Why?  Well, honestly, it's not about the ad revenue, although that's nice.  It's not about the comments, even though I love them.  The main reason that I want to be a better blogger is that I have a horrendous memory, especially when I'm not getting good sleep, and if I hope to remember anything about my kids' childhoods in 10 or 20 years minutes, I'd better write it down.

2012 is going to be a big year for our family.  My brother and my cousin are both getting married in July.  My sister and brother-in-law are having a baby (it's a GIRL!) in May.  Claire will turn 5 and start Kindergarten.  Mary Grace will start 1st grade in the fall.  Jack will learn to walk, talk, and do about a thousand other things.

It's going to be a good year.  It will be a year worth remembering.  I hope you'll join us.

Happy New Year!