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June 2006

Ah, Validation!

This one goes out to ALL the chocolate lovers out there!  Read this great post, chock full of scientific-y goodness, about the benefits of chocolate.  And not just any chocolate... not anti-oxidant-rich dark chocolate, not unprocessed raw cocoa beans...but MILK CHOCOLATE!  You know, that stuff they keep saying is bad?  That's gonna make you fat and break out and GIRLY if you eat it?!?  Yeah! THAT'S good for your brain.

Phoenix, you rock man.  This justifies all those deep instincts I've been acting on at least once a day (at least) for years.  Not that I've ever really been ashamed of my big ol' jar of chocolate treats. 

Now, armed with the latest in scientific research, I know I'm not going to be the only mom telling her kids...

"What?  You have a math test today?  Well then, don't forget your pre-test chocolate bar.  And here, take some Hershey kisses for study hall."

Life is sweet.                - the weirdgirl


Orange Eight, Green Seven

Our house, like many families, looks like it has children living there.  Telltale signs include toys scattered all over the floor, half-masticated lumps of food, grubby fingerprints showing up in the oddest places, and a refrigerator covered in magnets.  (Which is pretty funny considering it was not so long ago Keen would throw a mild fit if I tried to sneak a couple of artistic or decorative-looking magnets onto our fridge.  He swore he would never let our fridge become one of those refrigerators.  Poor guy.) 

Now the dominant magnets on our fridge are those big plastic number magnets (they always seem to be sold out of the ABCs) that are superficially considered “educational toys” (though I think the primary concept they teach is the power of magnetism – and kids can learn that from the X-men movies, right?).  Of course, Chance loves them, he moves them around, flings them off the fridge, and carries them around with him.  Kid heaven.  They cannot resist something grabbable on a flat surface.  (Yes, “grabbable” is a word.)

Then I noticed something weird.  Chance always seemed to have certain magnets he was carrying around.  I started paying closer attention.  He seemed to like certain shapes, and among his regular rotation there were a couple he kept coming back to.  In particular, it was the orange eight and green seven.   

Nah, I thought, those have just got to be in the same place on the fridge when he goes to play with them.  Or I must be putting them back in the same place… or something.  He can’t really be picking out that eight and that seven out of all the numbers, not to mention all the other eights and sevens on the fridge.  Right?  I mean, a favorite toy is one thing, but two favorite number magnets out of twenty?    

So I started running some tests… I moved the green seven and orange eight around to different spots on the fridge, I grouped a bunch of 8s and 7s together, I grouped colors together, and so on.  (Wow, that sounds much worse in print than in my head.  My poor son has been sick even, and I’m playing mind games with him! Oy!)

Keen almost wrecked it all after I told him what I had seen.  The next time Chance approached the fridge Keen started chanting “seven and eight, seven and eight,” like a frickin’ cheerleader!

ME: “Hey. Stop that!”

KEEN: “What?”

ME: “You’re ruining my experiment. I want to see if he’ll keep picking up those two numbers without any influence from us!”

KEEN: “Oh. Sorry.”

ME: “That’s OK. Now go group those 1’s and 3’s together. I need a control group.”

Through all the trials Chance still picked out the orange eight and green seven the majority of the time.  Occasionally, if he couldn’t find one or the other of his favorites he would substitute an eight or a seven with one of a different color.  It was pretty eye-opening.  I didn’t know what it meant, but it was eye-opening.  I was working up the courage to put the orange eight on one side of the fridge and the green seven on another (I had moved them apart previously, but not very far – I’m not a complete bitch, you know) when sadly, all my tests came to an end. 

It seems Uncle Matt coming to visit jinxed the whole experiment.  The orange eight is now missing.  It was last seen as Chance headed towards the living room (and his uncle), the eight clutched in one hand while the green seven was clutched in the other.

We’re not giving up hope for recovery; green seven is lonely.  (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it).         

                 – the weirdgirl


My Other Baby is My Blog

OK, so it’s been a pretty crazy week.  I was intensely preoccupied early in the week (justifiably I think) with Chance being sick and then just as he started to feel better I had to swing into baptism preparation mode.  Yup, that’s right.  He’s getting baptized tomorrow.  (Pictures to come!  I even bought him a little monkey suit… A MONKEY SUIT!… for the occasion, with a little grey vest and tie and black jacket.  I opted to NOT go the white tux or white baptismal gown route (even though my mom offered one up).  I’m sure Chance will thank me later.)

With all the panic early in the week and then trying to clean the house, and prepare, and baptism review for the godparents (which, somehow, I ended up leading because our priest got stuck at a conference at the last minute…thank goodness all the godparents have been through this ten million times)… I haven’t gotten to any of my blog reads or written a thing.  I had even penciled “blog reading” in my calendar, but still didn’t get to it.  (Yes, I know it’s sad.)

I think I’m starting to go through withdrawal.  Honestly, at the beginning of the week I was still so stressed over the emergency room visit I wasn’t up for much besides brainless TV watching.  But now I’m starting to miss the blog-o-verse.  I have niggling ideas for posts in my head.  I’m starting to wonder what everyone is doing.  I’m starting to PINE!

Alas, now I have GUESTS here (overnight and otherwise).  It’s kind of putting a cramp in my reading and writing, considering that the dining/living/office/guest bedroom are pretty much the same room. 

*sigh*  Be back soon.                – the weirdgirl


On the Mend

Chance is doing a lot better today. His fever is completely gone and he’s eating more.  He never really stopped playing, but it was slower playtime Saturday through yesterday.  Today, he’s still sick but obviously feeling better, as evidenced by his enthusiastic throwing around of everything he can get his little hands on.  Including a big wad of used tissues I had wiped his nose with, tossed right into my fresh, hot cup of tea.  (I think that one was a symbolic gesture.  He really hates to have his nose wiped.) 

We had a follow-up appointment with his pediatrician yesterday (Monday afternoon) and she thought he looked good. We scheduled some additional follow-up just to watch the infections (turns out one of his ears was looking a little inflamed, too). She also answered some questions regarding febrile seizures.  They do not cause brain damage (like other types of seizures can), which was my main concern.  Also, it seems like his chances for developing epilepsy are the same as any child with an extended family member who had epilepsy.  Our doctor said she would be much more concerned if me and Keen had it instead.  As far as I know I’ve never had a seizure, or even a febrile seizure.  Hallucinating from a fever, yes.  I have a distinct memory of being sick and seeing three images of my mother in the room with me, all doing that Pepto Bismo warping body thing (anyone remember that commercial?).   

In any case, I find I am feeling better the more I see him feeling better.  And that’s just about par for the course being a parent, huh?       

For those of you interested, here is some more reading about febrile seizures (though I’m betting most of you have already done a search on this subject):

http://familydoctor.org/066.xml

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/febrile_seizures/detail_febrile_seizures.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/febrile-seizure/DS00346/DSECTION=1

http://www.drgreene.com/21_28.html

And thank you everyone who sent me kind words, warm wishes, and phone calls just to check in.  It really helped.

            - the weirdgirl


I don’t even know how to begin this.  Friday morning Chance woke up sick with what seemed like another cold.  Friday night we ended up in the emergency room. He had a febrile seizure and we were afraid he had meningitis.

He’s OK now but God, this is so hard to write.  I’m still trying to process everything and I feel sick and shaky every time I think about it. 

I had been watching him closely all day because even though he was playing he wasn’t eating at all and was only drinking a little, which is unusual even when he is sick.  His runny nose was clear but he had thrown up once and had diarrhea.  He was coughing quite a bit.  At 4:00 his temperature was 101.1, even though we had given him Tylenol.  At 6:00 his temperature was 102.7.  I called the Advice Nurse which is a hotline my medical group provides.  The nurse I spoke with said that I was giving him too low of a dosage and to try some more Tylenol, and then went over when I needed to be concerned (i.e. temperature of a 105, stiff neck, green mucus, rash, etc.).  Some of these I knew but he wasn’t showing any other symptoms and at this point I’m still thinking that it’s a cold.  I gave him another dose of Tylenol at 7:00.  At 8:00 I checked his temperature again and it was 102.8.  I was thinking that once he got some rest he would start to feel better, and I concentrated on getting more liquids in him before he went to bed. 

I stayed up after he went to bed because I wanted to check on him when he would need another dose, around 11:00.  He often wakes up for a few minutes around that time normally so I’m used to listening for him.  Keen and I also figured we’d be up and down with him most of the night, so Keen had headed to bed to get some rest (we usually break these things up in shifts).

Shortly before eleven I heard Chance cough and then immediately start crying.  I walked into the dark room, picked him up from where he was lying, and took him into our living room.  Usually he cuddles into me as soon as I pick him up, but this time he was completely rigid.  He was still very hot but also damp and I remember wondering if he had thrown up again.  As soon as I was in the light I looked into his face.  His eyes were almost squeezed shut but I could see that his eyes were rolled back into his head, his whole head was thrown back and his head and arms were stiff.  I yelled for Keen and he called 911. 

By the time the firemen arrived Chance’s eyes were no longer rolled into his head, but he was still rigid and still crying.  He had cried non-stop from the time he first woke up.  And he looked terrified.  I have never seen him look or act like that.  All I could do was keep talking to him quietly and hold him.  We wrapped him in wet towels to start to bring down the fever and the paramedics arrived shortly afterward.  Because of his extreme stiff head and arms everyone involved mentioned meningitis immediately. 

Neither I nor the firemen speculated on seizure very long because Chance had been crying the entire time.  My older brother is mentally disabled and used to have seizures when he was a child so I’ve seen them before.  I’ve seen other people go through them too.  I’ve never seen a seizure look like what Chance went through. 

By the time we got to the emergency room Chance was starting to lose the stiffness.  The doctor ruled out meningitis but he was obviously fighting an infection. They gave him Motrin and Tylenol and took lots of tests, and we did a lot of waiting.  They finally determined that Chance had the beginnings of pneumonia and had most likely had a febrile seizure. They gave him fluids and antibiotics via IV and then we took him home the next morning.

Febrile seizures occur when a fever goes up too quickly.  It’s not how high the fever is (even at the emergency room his temperature wasn’t higher than 103), but how quickly it rises.  It was probably the combination of the Tylenol wearing off and his fever peaking that caused him to seize.  However, that doesn’t stop me from feeling like hell.  I keep thinking that if I had only had checked on him a few minutes earlier or not given him his blankie I could have prevented it. 

This was only the beginning of his real illness.  His mucus didn’t even turn green until the next day.  I don’t know why this freaks me out more, that he had a seizure at the beginning of an illness, but it does.  I guess because you think that if your child is really sick first you have some warning before something like this happens?  I don’t do very well with seizures, emotionally.  Too many bad memories.  Too many times it hits without any warning, just like this.  Even when you think you’re doing the right things.

I was so scared.  But I kept it together while everything was happening.  You have to do that.  For them.  And I think that’s what pisses me off the most about those parents that just are too wrapped up in their fucking around and fighting and Jerry Springer drama to ever really be present.  Our bodies are so fragile.  And so resilient too.  I know Chance will heal.  But we must, we must stay strong in our hearts and our minds, and be true to ourselves so that we can live fully and be there fully for our kids no matter what happens.  We have to be in every moment utterly.  It’s not about sacrifices or what we buy them or don’t buy them or how we provide the shit we want to give them or even the quantity of time we spend.  We have to give them ourselves.  That’s the most important thing.  It’s about being full human beings.  So that they can grow up secure to be themselves fully, too.

I know this is coming out all garbled.  I didn’t start crying until Chance felt well-enough to start clapping his hand and play in that crappy little emergency room.  He was exhausted and still very scared and yet he was still trying to respond to us for our benefit (at least, that’s what it felt like).  And of course, I’m crying now.  Still trying to process through. 

And because it happened at night, I’m having a hard time sleeping.  I keep going in to feel his forehead while he sleeps.  I try to go to bed but I just lay there.  Listening for him.


New Season, New Routine

With summer and the hot weather finally here (after a very long rainy season) I’ve been trying to hit the park, beach, and outside world more often, more or less successfully (mainly less).  It sounds like such a great idea; not only is the weather great, but you also get the chance to socialize your kid with other park-going children.  As usual there are the every day tasks to get out of the house with a toddler… and then there are the NEW seasonal tasks.  Observe. 

The usual:  pack up small diaper bag (1-2 diapers, a burp rag, wipes), find and refill wipes holder, pack up snacks, pack up water/juice, pull juice out, wipe up drips from putting in cup upside down because kid distracted you by chasing cat, repack juice, change kid’s diaper, get kid dressed appropriately for weather outside, pack up sweatshirt “just in case” weather turns, wrestle with kid to get shoes on, find your own shoes and purse, leave   

Total running time: 20 minutes give or take (depending on how easy the dressing part went)

The new:  realize that you forgot sunscreen, take shoes off kid and undress, apply sunscreen all over, change diaper again (already an accident!), think about a hat for the kid, try to find hat, pack hat, decide to bring swim trunks for fountains, pack swimmer’s diapers, (while kid is chasing cat think about putting child in the swimmer’s diapers now “just in case”, headache begins, drop whole idea of swimmer’s diapers), decide to pack extra clothes “just in case”, repack everything into large diaper bag, try to find a blanket for park that you don’t mind getting dirty, realize blanket is already dirty from two previous days at park, take it anyway, realize it’s taken you so long to get everything together that you might as well feed kid before you leave, feed child, think about bug spray, hope child will move too fast for bugs to land, wrestle shoes onto kid, find your own shoes and purse, haul everything out to car, leave   

Total running time: an additional hour, plus

The end: Get to the park.  Set out blanket in half-shady spot.  Kid runs around like crazy.  Sun beats down.  Realize you’ve forgotten water for yourself, though child is sufficiently hydrated.  Not that it matters because kid gets totally pooped out by heat within 45 minutes.  Despite slathering on sunscreen, kid’s ears turn pink within 20 minutes.  Haul him into the shade for remaining time.  Kid runs around like crazy, then collapses onto blanket with a glazed look.  Pack everything up and go home.  Since child fell asleep in car, take a long, sunburnt nap (guess who forgot to put on sunscreen?).  Resolve to spend more time in backyard.

Summer came on so suddenly this year it was like being mugged.  I’m sure this process will become more streamlined soon, but for now I envy the folks who have a park within a short walking distance to their house.   

               – the weirdgirl


The Search is On

UPDATE - We got some great selections and here is an updated list.  I'm going to try to check out a couple of these and I'll post later with some results.  If any of you also find some favorable places to shop, I'd love to hear about it.  The list so far:

JC Penny

Edie Bauer

Casual Corner

CJ Banks - www.cjbanks.com

J Jill - I was pleased to see in their catalog that many of shorts listed a "6 inch inseam"!

Macy's - both store brands and their designer labels

J Crew

LL Bean

Target - I did find some OK shorts, Cherokee brand, but they WERE looking pretty matronly (they'll do when you're desperate - even Keen was making faces at these shorts)

Other alternatives:

Skirts in general

Old Navy/Gap men's section - (On a similar note, I've also used Target's mens/boys section in the past to find shorts)

James Perse skirts - I checked these out online and I have to say they look pretty yummy, pricey but yummy

I hope everyone else (at least the girls) finds this list as helpful as I do.  Thanks everyone for your feedback!          - the weirdgirl

Following up from the last post* (my kvetching about not finding suitable shorts – yes, it’s life-altering topics here at the weirdgirl’s house) there were a couple of great suggestions in the comments that I am going to check out.  Namely, places to find shorts that aren’t cut at hootchie length or down to the knee, and summer alternatives to shorts.  Here were the suggestions:

JC Penny

Casual Corner

Eddie Bauer

Skirts in general (for me I need to find ones my son can’t yank off my bum)

So I gots me an idea.  I would LOVE to hear about the places you all shop and/or have found clothes that actually fit women’s bodies well (without making you look frumpy OR skanky).  Because you all know how much I love lists, I’ll post all the suggestions/places you’ve found to be great for REAL WOMEN.  Heck, knowing how much I love to shop I’ll probably run product testing on your suggestions as well.  (I’ll be checking out Mervyn’s selection tomorrow.)  And if any of you out there know of or run a website with clothing for REAL WOMEN, I’d love to hear about those, too.

OK?  Let’s call this the Great Clothing Search.  And… go!            

                  - the weirdgirl

*Yes, I know this is kind of a cop out post but allergies are kicking my butt and I’ve got a headache that could birth Athena.  Plus, I am still a little irritated about the hootchie shorts thing.  (Hootchie skirts on the other hand, perfectly acceptable, especially for adult-only dinners out.)


Need… Better… Clothing!!!

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret… being a mom doesn’t always let a girl keep up on the bikini waxes like she used to (Grover would be so ashamed).  You know, when you maintained everything quite regularly, did the trims, made that appointment or bought a new home kit every six weeks (well, at least in the summer).  That was before.  Before the sleep deprivation, before the multiple-sized-clothing wardrobe, and before the mothering (i.e. taking care of everyone else besides yourself).  Not to mention before some of the adverse side effects of pregnancy kicked in (i.e. stretch marks, varicose veins, hormonally-induced hair growth, stop me when it’s TMI).  I think most of us moms will acknowledge that the grooming in general can get a little sparse.  That doesn’t mean we don’t groom, but certain areas get a bit neglected.  (I’d argue “quality over quantity” except that doesn’t really work for… um… hair removal.)   

So I ask you this: If a good portion of female age-bearing consumers actually HAS children, why, oh WHY are there NO mom friendly shorts available?  (And please, nobody point out that I can find plenty of baggy, pleated, above-the-waist monstrosities in the Newport catalog, aka “mom” jeans.  That’s just not the look I want to sport, thank you.)  Why am I bringing this up?  Because summer came on quick out here and I realized that not only did I not have hot-weather clothes for Chance, but that everything that fit me last summer doesn’t fit anymore (and the clothes from the summer before that? Forget about it).  So we went shopping.

All I really want is a pair of jean shorts that are neither at the knee (I’m not a Puritan for god sakes) or have a three inch inseam (i.e. an inseam appropriate for my one-year-old son’s shorts).  Is it too much to ask for a pair of shorts that aren’t cut too low (or too high) in the waist and come down mid-leg?  I mean, really, it’s not that hard.  I would even be happy with the teeny bopper shorts if they could just add on a few more inches to the inseam. I really, really, really don’t want to NEED a bikini wax every time I put on a pair of shorts.  Or to keep my legs crossed all the time.  Or to never bend over.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the bikini wax, best grooming invention ever (trust me, try one and you’ll love it – it only hurts a little), but I just don’t always have that kind of time.

And just ‘cause I’m a mom doesn’t mean I want to wear only capris (with a matching sweater set, hat, and flip flops – coordinating garden gloves also available) all the time. Sorry, but some states in the US of A are HOT in the summer! Too damn hot for much else besides shorts.  Neither do I want to wear only loose floral dresses.  Or boxy jumpers.  And if anyone mentions skirts with a toddler I’m gonna roll on the floor laughing.  It seems like everything comes down to two options: boxy, shapeless clothes, also known as the “I give up” category, or the clothes-cut-just-like-the-teenager’s, only in bigger sizes.

 

I’m thinking we need a whole new line of women’s clothing.  A line for moms’ that aren’t “mom clothes”.  Clothing that not only flatters our new shapes after childbirth (and that means seaming, people) but a line that remembers that we can’t always visit the spa for a “clean-up” every time we want to lounge out in the sun.  This line could also carry tank tops that actually cover your bra straps (or at least sell bras that don’t so obviously look like bras, maybe).  Other criteria for this miracle line of clothing: affordable, stylish, stain resistant, stores not blaring generic techno-esque R&B beats (what is that stuff? the new muzak?). Catalog would be great because who wants to shop with the kids anyways?  (However, given the several-size-changes we go through after pregnancy their return policy would need to be very flexible.)  I’m pretty sure we could get Stacy and Clinton to fully endorse this line (as long as we had appropriate footwear, of course).

And if the fashion industry cries, all “boohoo, we’re losing style to practicality”… well, fine. Here’s another idea: you wanna keep your short shorts?  Then you better introduce full service in the stores.  I’m talking an aesthetician with the hot wax waiting with every purchase of shorts.   

            - the weirdgirl


To All Moms

As part of Kara's Mother's Day tribute, here is my contribution.  Button_2                                                      From a mom, to all moms, everywhere.   

At the Toy Store 

The manic rush and push to finish chores,

those errands (never ending); tempers stretch

to breaking, sun cooks afternoon too long

and mothers wait for meltdowns. Then a roar

and stomp of Frankenstein feet, all spitfire,

all gloried heat, but soon diminished, set

to right (such comfort found in mommy’s might).

The youngest only reach for spinning dust and laugh.

Us mothers watching mothers, share a nod,

a look and all is understood.  Life changed

at first uncertain knowing – fanning dreams   

and haunting visions, banning fears of old.

The question, “do I dare to eat a peach?” was moot.

For now, how do we bear to let them reach?

How do we loose young ones from safe embrace?

(And how not?) Our greatest fears and pride unfold.

And through the worst of tantrums, there is still

no sweeter sound than their cries, no fires

brighter than their eyes – our little dragons, all.

(Yet we more fierce to defend.)  By them

we learned the truth: all joy is twinned with wings

of pain (and none more worth the love we’ve gained).

With every child birthed, double lives are found:

First the babe brought forth, then we ourselves are born.

                                             

                                                 - with love, the weirdgirl