Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fault Lines

This morning I read a blog about a person wondering who exactly to vote for in this presidential election. I responded to watch how they respond to the current crisis--character shows up during a crisis.

The second that comment appeared on my screen, I thought about my own character. I like to think I am good person, a positive person, a person who can persevere through the storm and come out smiling. I am the girl who moved to Dallas away from my family for a job; got fired from the job, found another job and watched my department get canned. I kept going. I ended up getting the best job with the best boss ever. Even in motherhood, I faced colic, sleepless nights, going from two incomes to one income to no income for a short time. And I woke up smiling.

Last week, I found a crack, my fault line. It is my San Andreas fault and last week it broke open. I was told I did not secure the best care for my son, I did not seek the needed tests. I failed my wonderful perfect son. I was not a good mother. And I crumbled into the sea of despair. I posted, I cried, I googled every little symptom. I found the most horrible outcomes--I was seeking the most horrible outcomes. Every horrific issue said ealy intervention was key. Dino is four.  I cried more.  The house got messier, the kids were ignored as I stared blankly at a computer screen. My  husband had to take over the kids, the meals on top of his business. 

Then the emotions changed and got uglier. I looked more into the scar on his head. It turned out that if the scar was a sign of brain damage,  it was usually caused by FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME. These teachers thought I was a dunk--I am that mom who shops at Whole Foods, won't let anything with a growth hormone pass my lips during pregnancy--I was livid. I looked deeper. The spot on his head is only considered damaged if it includes a hair collar sign (wild hair at birth around the spot) but Dino was bald. This is why the numerous doctors who have seen him have never been worried and claimed he was in the 80% of cases where the spot was a fluke. I let anger take over the depression. I had no patience. My family lost mommy to psycho nutcase lady. I picked up Dino from the school and did not even look at the teachers. I would have said something I would regret if I truly looked at them. I was filled with hate. I blamed them for making me feel so terrible. And it was ugly.

Character shows in a crisis.

I took a good look in the mirror. My character sucked. I was not handling this right. I would never want my children to respond to something like this. I was lost in this vat of emotion and I forget the things that matter. My husband was just as upset but had to deal with me. I was not there for him and it was not fair. 

I went to church and bible study this weekend for some hope. Ironically, I am reading "Having a Mary Sprit in a Martha World" and our current chapter is "Fault Lines". It's all about the things we ignore and bury. The little things  that can tear us apart. Every word is speaking directly to my heart. I am praying for healing, to stay strong.

I don't know what the neurologist is going to say about Dino. But I know I can handle my response. I will not let the fault lines take over. I will take a deep breath and tackle the situation. I will pray. And the sun will come up tomorrow.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

See the New Widget?

My countdown to Halloween--I snagged it from Amanda :)

Shocked that I would be excited about a holiday that gives kids bags of sugar, fake food coloring, high fructose corn syrup and plain old sugar highs? Well, shhhhh.....it's not really about Halloween.  It is really about a deal I made with my family a few years back. See, I love and I do mean LOVE Christmas--the lights, the spirit, the holiday shows and most importantly the music. I love Christmas music. I dare say I may very well have one of the largest Christmas music collections in the world--I have over 30 CDs and 200 or so songs on the Christmas playlist. 

You name the song, odd are I have it. And I love to listen to it all the year long. My husband and kids--not so much. They prefer to keep Christmas in December. I say 'Bah Hambug' to that. Then one day in April a few years back, my daughters begged me to turn off my John Denver Christmas CD when we got to the school parking lot.

"Please, I will die if anyone hears," began the ever socially aware Miley.

Sarah nodded, "Beside, it's Easter time NOT Christmas."

So rather than letting them jump out of the car, I turned it off in favor of the classical radio station.

Once again my own family, the family I feed, clothe and pick up after began the war against my Christmas music.

"When you hear it all the time, it's not special when Christmas comes," the husband begged.

I looked at my family and knew it was time for a compromise. 

"Christmas music is too good to be limited to once a month, "I mumbled as they again said Christmas music should be played in December and December alone.

"Fine," they said. "Could you wait til after Halloween?"

I sighed. That would give me one full month and the family, "Hmmmm...would you complain on November 1?"

"No," they smiled and and agreement was met.

And now the air is a little cooler and fall is here at least in theory. Christmas catalogs are arriving in the mail and I admit I have slipped and played the holiday genre playlist from time to time--I told my children I was merely looking for some Halloween music. Halloween is a holiday, right?! I even tried to explain how spooky the words were--chestnuts roasting over a hot fire while a man named Jack bit your nose.

There was no fooling them and the Christmas music has been banned until Halloween. So now I wait for the day of witches and nasty teeth rotting candy (not that my kids eat that--they gladly give it all away, really. How? That my friends is a post for another day, promise.)

But I just might sneak in one song from that cute Michael Buble Christmas CD when not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

So yesterday just plan sucked

Be warned--this post is going to contain an unusual amount of rambling, and this comes from someone who always rambles.

I am dealing with more junk from Dino's special ed program. As you might remember, Dino goes to a special ed preschool with the public school program for speech and gross motor issues three days a week and a private school two days a week.

We had what I thought was a quick meeting. I thought it would be the typical quick parent conference. Dino is great at this, we love his little smile, work a bit on this, he's a joy, he has trouble here, blah, blah, blah. Not quite. I walked in thinking I have a little boy who is a bit delayed thanks to minor low muscle tone issue (as I have been told by doctor after doctor, expert, after expert). I left the room scared my son has a serious problem with his brain and needing an MRI now.

So yeah, not feeling too great.

The meeting started off OK. Not many positives but pretty much things I knew. He can't balance on one foot, he doesn't alternate feet on steps, he only plays with the three other children (all girls--two of which are 'peer' models--ie advanced for their ages) for short amounts of time. And he isn't holding his pencil right. I was not too concerned. I know this. I work with him at home.  He didn't walk until 24 months, I know many physical things are going to require more practice and effort. I smiled and jointed done notes--we'd do more climbing, work on walking in straight lines, writing correctly with stubby crayons. He was going to be fine.

And then the physical and occupational teachers walk in. My world crumbled very quickly.

They began stressing how bad he is at jumping, not jumping with feet together,  not jumping over objects, not hopping around on one foot, using his feet to kick off his shoes. I mentioned his doctor said he would be a good year behind for a while because of the low muscle tone and as long as he was improving (and oh my goodness--can I brag--he has amazed me with his improvements, willingness to try; the boy is night and day from a year ago), he was not concerned.

"Oh he's over a year behind," the teacher begins.

I purse my lips and look at her.

She continues, "What does his neurologist say?"

"He never saw a...."

"He's never been seen by a neurologist?" her tone is almost scolding. "Do you mean he has never had an MRI?"

"The thing on his head is just a birth defect, "I said. 

Dino was born with some skin missing on the top of his head that showed his skull. I have discussed this with his doctors at birth, the doctors at the hospital, his old ped, his new ped and anyone who listen. ALL of them assured me he was OK and this rare condition just happens from time to time.

"Well, "she says. "If it were my child, I would have had an MRI done."

The other teacher is quickly nodding her head and I want to sink in my chair and die.

"I mean. There could be something very wrong and we need to know."

"Does it seem like something is very wrong with him? No one has ever said this. His other preschool says he is great and just like the other kids. He does well in his Sunday school class too."

"Really?" she looks shocked. "But did your other kids act like this?"

"Not to this degree but Sarah and Spanky were late walkers," I really want to cry right now.

"Well, we need the MRI. We need to know what is wrong."

"You don't think it's his muscles?"


And that was pretty much it. I went over to the other side of the room to get the kids and asked Spanky to stop throwing the play food. Dino started to pick it up. And then the teachers were calling Dino "Spanky" again and again. I don't know if they were just thinking of how I was just speaking to Spanky and since I said his name if they just got mixed up. Or did they just not remember Dino's name. The boy they just said had serious problems.

I left and scheduled an appointment with a neurologist.

Fast forward to today I have cried enough tears to fill a small lake. I have thrown up. I have balled up on the sofa. I did not sleep. 

I always thought I was there for my kids. Could it really be possible that my gut feeling that Dino is really OK but just needs a bit more, well a lot more pushing is wrong. Did I make a big mistake not demanding more tests when he was little? What have I done?

And then I think back to those teachers. Maybe it is just my defenses but I did not feel they truly cared for Dino. I have been around a lot of teachers and I know when there is compassion. I did not feel that from this school. I have never felt that from this school. Am I allowing this school to label him and do him more harm than good?

Regardless, he will see the neurologist and if that comes out OK, we will go to Shriners to see what could be happening. I do not want to feel like I have not done everything. But one thing I won't do, I won't label Dino. Even if something is very wrong, I will not label my wonderful, sweet, caring son. In my mind, he is and always will be perfect.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just speechless

Or should I say 'typeless'. I have written about 4 different posts and I hate all of them. Every. single. one.

Am I burnt out? Bored with blogging? I don't know. Maybe I just need a nap.

Have you ever had a day when you just had nothing interesting to say/post?

Friday, September 19, 2008

11 years ago I wouldn't have cared because it didn't exist

My oh so favorite Panini grill/griddle broke yesterday. I am near a panic attack without the thing. How will I make french toast (uh, how about the stove?), grill chicken (the barbecue maybe?) or make those yummy paninis? I am very close to running out to Williams Sonoma and getting a new one but come on--my money goes to that crazy habit of eating right now. So it got me thinking, I did fine a few years ago without it. I can handle it for a few months, December 25 being my limit (read between those lines husband dear). 11 years ago I don't think I even knew what a panini was.

It's funny how we can get so addicted to some new toy that we cannot even imagine living without it. Perfect example, my iPhone. Even when they first came out, my first thought was who needs all that stuff in their pocket? My Razor cell phone is just fine. And then I got my iPhone and I was in love--it turned out the person who needs all that stuff in her pocket is me. 

When Spanky threw my iPhone in the pool, waiting for that thing to dry was the longest 24 hours of my life. I felt lost not knowing what the weather would be like in five days or listening to my tunes. If someone handed me a CD for music, I'd be looking for the next guy that was going to hit me on the head and drag me to his cave. Yeah, CDs are that prehistoric now. But 11 years ago, CDs were the thing--so much cooler than cassette tapes (ever heard of those?).

And then there's TiVo. Good grief, what did we do before TiVo--watch TV when it was on with the commercials. Oh goodness no! I cannot stand watching live TV anymore. Life is too short to wait for that next scene during commercials. But 11 years ago, I did because I did not know any better. I wonder how I managed to live back then.

11 years ago, I would plan my day for myself. I would decide if I wanted to blow my entire paycheck on a pair of shoes or pay off a bill. Then I got married. And I truly cared for someone else more than me. I suddenly had a whole other person that made me a complete person.  11 years ago I thought I was happy but now I know better. Thanks you, Mike, my wonderful incredible amazing husband, I know what it is to live life to its fullest. And I could never imagine going back to 11 years ago.

Happy Anniversary Sweetie! I love you more today that 11 years ago! Thanks for all the joy you bring!

Quick correction to a previous post--it has been almost 11 years (not 12) since I have been nursing and/or pregnant. Hard to get pregnant on your honeymoon a year before your wedding ;)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My sister--the hurricane victim ;)

Before Ike hit Texas, I got lots of calls from concerned relatives. No, it's not coming to Dallas I would say. Remember Katrina and Gustsav, we didn't get one drop of rain. My well meaning cousin in Florida warned me Ike was different. It would still have force when it hit Dallas; I needed to be prepared to hang out in my closet with batteries and a flashlight.

I ended up giving in and buying some water and batteries. I even cleared a small area in my closet for our family of 6. I watched the news on Friday night as Ike neared the Texas coast. I started to get worried.

The next morning I went to my 7 am spin class. The sky was cloudy and there was a slight wind. Could it really hit Dallas? And then it rained. Not a downpour, not a gush. A lovely all-day gentle rain. The kind of rain that calls for a nice cup of tea and a Lifetime movie (or at the very least a Disney Channel Original movie). There was no wind, no lightning. Just the soft rain.

And the next morning the sun shone brightly. Even better, Ike left us with an amazing parting gift. A cold front that brought weather a San Diego resident would envy.

Sunday night my sister calls.

"I'm a hurricane victim, "she starts.

"What--you are in Ohio--Cleveland!"

"We've lost tree branches, Lizzy almost blew away in the wind. And we've been without power for hours."

"So you can't see the Browns game?" my priorities come through.

"No. Is it good?"

I look at the TV and notice goal posts waving and rain pouring on the field. It looked ugly (and not just the weather).

"We might not get power for days," she continues.

"That sucks," what else do you say?

And now days later, my dad in Cleveland  is cleaning the backyard filled with branches, and I am hearing about just how crappy the situation is in Ohio thanks to a hurricane, a tropical hurricane.

Oh and it's still sunny, 73, and perfect in Dallas. As much as I hate to admit it, this just might  be further proof God is in indeed a Cowboys fan (the Monday night game was perfect after all).

Please keep the residents in Texas' gulf coast in your prayers. It is still horrible and many may not come back home for a month. And if you can, click here to help. It is really a mess on the Texas coast.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I have a history of taking off my shirt

For almost the past twelve years, give or take a month, I have been pregnant, nursing or both.
It all started when I saw two lines on a cheap pregnancy test exactly three weeks after my honeymoon. It's true--we did more than ride around a bus with old people on Europe during those three weeks.

And almost ten months later when Miley was born, I nursed and I nursed more. I never even got my period back and then I was once again staring at two lines. And then a little over nine months later, Sarah was born and she nursed and she nursed. And surprise, I had, when she was 27 months old, a period. I felt a tad normal again and then less than a month later, two lines. Exactly 9 1/2 months later, Dino was born and he nursed and he nursed. But by 18 months, not as much--he actually preferred food over the boob. And again surprise, I got my period. I mentioned to the husband it was time for his big V. He did nothing and yes, less than a month later I was staring at two lines. Nine months later, Spanky was born and I got my tubes tied. And Spanky, like his brother and sisters refused all bottles and nursed. And  nursed some more. And for his second birthday, he nursed. 

Now Spanky is two and his very favorite thing to do is nurse. Anytime. Anywhere. And it's starting to get a little annoying. I want to wean, at least drop the constant night nursing I though we had finished but no, we still are. The problem--I weaned my others by getting pregnant and my milk drying out. I will not get pregnant to wean him no matter how tempting it seems at 3 am. 

So I am wondering how did you wean your baby? Did you go cold turkey or gradual? How long was the process? I know I need to start the process now or he will need to choose a college close to home!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Aerobics Instructor has a Streak of Satan

I tried a new class at my gym yesterday--barbell  strength. I am not new to lifting weights, but I am more into the hand weights and body bar. I did not even know how to load up the bar bell.

So I ask the instructor for help loading up the bar. She walks over with me to the bars and plates and begins pulling out the largest weights and placing them on the bar. She says just one on each side is a great starting point. She shows me how to lock them in place. And then hands me several smaller plates so I can load up on larger muscle exercises.

Now usually, I glance around the room and see what everyone else is doing but honestly I was so caught up in making sure I had my step, hand weights, bar and plates that I did not even notice.

Once the class began, the instructor said to get out the bar bell and we begin to do step ups. She continues stating "We might as well start with our bar bell since the goal is to use the bar bell for the entire class."

Without thinking I put the  bar bell on the middle of my shoulders and start to do step ups. And it's hard. It is only the first 5 minutes of class and  I. am. struggling. What type of wimp am I?

And then I finally glance around the room. Out of the 30 some people in the class, about 6 are  like me, struggling with a big ol' weighted bar bell. The rest are smiling and stepping up and down with a body bar (a weighted bar that is usually at the most 15 pounds). Every bone in my body wants to switch but I don't want to look like a wuss and the instructor was so kind to fix my bar for me.

The class continues and I follow my supposed sweet instructor's advice. She even comments to my fellow classmates taking the easy route "I know you didn't wake up at 5 am to look good. You came to work so add the weight."

The advice makes sense and I struggle to fatigue with each and every exercise. set.  and. movement. I make it through the class and although a tad sore, I am pleased with my work.

24 hours later, I am not so pleased. My walk is much like those of a much older generation. Reaching for the bowls in the cabinet is a task too painful to even consider. Walking the kids to their classrooms this morning is a scary thought. And going to my five am spin class? Unthinkable.

So today I have a choice. I can tell my friend I am meeting for breakfast and coffee the reason I am walking and grimacing with each step that I 1. took a weight class I was ill prepared for and need to spend more time at the the gym or 2. I took a weight class at the gym and the instructor was a crazed psychco path who wanted to bring pain to each and every student.

There is the answer that is the truth and the one that helps the ego as sore as my calves. I don't like to be sore and perhaps I myself have the streak of satan ;)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Lone Star Tradition

The other night Mike and I were blessed with the chance to go on a real date--no kids for five hours--dinner and a movie. I don't think we've done both together for at least five years!

For dinner, we went to a local Tex Mex spot and enjoyed the frozen margarhettias--I even had one and half--something I almost never do since I am still nursing Spanky. I figured I should be OK if I kept munching on the stuffed jalepenos and Hatch chili quesadillas.

Anyway, next to us was a table of two middle aged couples plus a much older couple--my guess, one of the younger person's parents. The waiter stood on their bench and announced to the entire restaurant it was the older woman's birthday, her 21st birthday.

Me, being a bit happy on tequilla myself mentioned that everyone who turns 21 should have a shot of tequlia.

My ever social husband Mike turns to the birthday 'girl' and asks if she would like to do a shot. The entire table explodes in laughter and birthday girl looks directly at Mike and says "Sure".

Mike calls over the waiter and tells him what he'd like to do. A true salesman, the waiter asks if we want the good tequila since it is her '21st' birthday after all.

"Absolutely," says Mike. "1800 Cuervo."

The waiter disappears and quickly returns with a shot, mentioning to Mike and everyone else that when she got sick, Mike would have to clean it up.

The birthday girl is handed her shot of 1800, a lime and a salt shaker. The entire place is now in a trance watching her. The room is silent. 

Her daughter (or maybe daughter-in-law) softly explains how to take a shot. 

Lick, slam, suck.

The rest of the table pulls out cell phones to capture the moment on digital film.

The birthday girl looks worried.

"You know, " Mike leans over to her. "You only want to take a sip and then share it with the table. That's what you do."

She suddenly looks at ease, licks the salt on her wrist, takes a small sip and shoves the lime in her puckered mouth. The restaurant explodes in cheers. The 1800 is passed down and enjoyed by the rest of the table--the anchor man at the end finishing off the remaining 3/4.

The table cannot stop laughing and begin to discuss how to put the moment on Youtube or at least somewhere in cyberspace. The daughter (or maybe daughter-in-law) is worried her siblings will never let mom visit Texas again. 

They are having the an amazing time.

Mike and I check our watches and realize we are late for our date with The Dark Night at the movie theater across the way.

The birthday girl stops us and thanks us. She confesses she just turned 83. And she was having a great night. We wish her a happy birthday and disappear in the crowd, giddy with the joy we brought to a complete table of strangers for the cost of a shot of 1800. It was one of those random acts of kindness I hope we can repeat again and again. Maybe not in the form of alcohol but somehow, somewhere for someone.

And I have to admit I plan on googling 'old woman doing a tequila shot' to see if it ever made it to the net :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Just call me a Communist

Here's the deal. I hate Labor Day. For those not living under the stars and stripes, Labor Day is an American holiday to celebrate the American worker. So yeah, we are celebrating the fact that we do indeed work in the country with, what else,  a day off of work. Unlike those other countries like China and Germany that sit on their butts all day doing nothing I suppose.

Growing up Labor Day meant the end of summer--the beginning of school, last cook out of the summer and the beginning of crisp, cool nights. Now school starts before Labor Day. The new clothes are usually more 'summer wear'; no one is donning the 'fall' type purple jackets or moss green long sleeved tees on the first day anymore. And the start of school is the real end of summer--ask a kid.

But that is not my biggest issue. My issue is the fact that we work so hard to get kids on the 'back to school' schedule and then 'surprise!' it's a long weekend and you can sleep in like it's summer...again. And then you get to fight to get back into the early night/early morning sleep routine. Cranky kids and an extra day home. Oh joy!

Now if we could go back to starting school after Labor Day, I'd have no problem with the holiday. There would be real symbolism. I'd enjoy the end of summer feel it would bring. But when Labor Day is after summer has been history for a week or so--well this day is just a plain ol' pain in the butt. 

So yeah--I hate this American holiday even if it was originally created to celebrate the American Unions--tell me to go to Russia. Oh and by the way, I think baseball is boring and I make my apple pies with Fuji apples and sliced ginger. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I never did drugs...

Nope, never did the drug thing but I am pretty sure if I ever did, it would be like this:

And now I have a head ache...