Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Dare You Not To Smile

Who says wind chimes aren't hilarious??

Friday, May 29, 2009

I Cried at Target

I cried at Target today, and I wasn't even at the checkout counter shelling out another $50 for a bag full of crucial items such as Bakugans, fruit snacks and deoderant.

No, this was the good kind of cry. The kind that's stuffed with relief and the joy of endless possibility. And all of this was from a two-word text message sent by my husand.

A little background first: I weaned Sage at two months after I could not eliminate from my diet whatever offending food caused her green, bloody poops. She went on specialized, prescription-only formula until we put her on soy milk at a year. She did fine. But sometimes, after having dairy, she'd break out in a small patch of hives. I assumed some sort of allergy. It hasn't happened in over a year, and she has eaten yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese and the occasional bottle of milk from Subway or McDonald's with no issues since.

Avoiding peanuts and tree nuts was not an issue. Because of Sawyer's severe allergy, we never have any in the house. I study all labels to make sure we don't even eat those products made on shared equipment with nuts (go ahead, look in your pantry. You'll be amazed by how much is made on shared equipment).

Sometimes they can't have a cake at a party if it comes from Costco, since it says on the label it contains nuts, or baked goods at a cookout if I can't interrogate the person who made it to see what's in the cookies or brownies.

I worry every day that something Sawyer will eat will kill him, and I always will worry until they come up with a vaccine. And I'm not being overdramatic. About 1 out of 25 kids have food allergies, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, and the most likely to die from their allergy are those between 15-35 years old.

I didn't know about Sage. I just had her avoid stuff just like Sawyer, which wasn't that hard since we don't have it in our house. We assumed the allergy at her preschool so there were no nut products served for snack.

But I really needed to know. So being the perpetual mother-of-the-year candidate that I am, I finally got off my behind and made an appointment to get her tested for allergies. I should have done it at this time last year, before she started preschool. Just one more thing in my long list of shouldas. Sigh.

Anyway. I recently was tested, so I decided to have Sage see the same doctor. I told David he had to take her. Considering I cried last time Sage has a throat culture (granted, I gave birth the next day, so I might have been a touch hormonal), I didn't think I'd do well with her having to get a prick test - they poke you repeatedly with tiny needles to get the allergens in your skin. And if you're allergic to one or more of the serums, the itch is almost unbearable.

I didn't have high hopes for her behavior. This is the girl who screams when I get within two feet of her head with a hairbrush.

Today was the day. They left, with Sage having no idea what was in store for her. She knew only that she was going to be tested to see if she was allergic to peanuts and she seemed somewhat excited about it.

Turned out, they didn't do the prick test like they did with me. It was some sort of stamp, which caused no pain for her whatsoever. Meanwhile, I passed the time wandering around Target with a sleeping baby.

Waiting for news.

Finally, it came.

Two words.

no peanut

That was it. Two words that will change my little girl's life forever.

So I cried. Right there in front of the bikinis.

A whole new world just opened up for her. She will never have to worry that something she eats could make her sick - or worse. She can go have ice cream after soccer practice with her friends, and not worry about cross-contamination from the peanut fudge ripple. She can go to a restaurant and order what she wants with no fear that an almond might have gotten into her salad.

There will be plenty of things for me to stress out about when she's out on her own. Dying from eating a granola bar won't be one of them.

She proudly informed Sawyer when he got home from school today that she could eat peanuts.

He wasn't happy.

It wasn't malicious, obviously. I told him nothing would change at home. She would not be eating nuts here or anywhere near him, or when she was going to be seeing him. Our lifestyle as a family will remain the same.

There are enough things he can't have. Home should be where nothing is off-limits for him.

"Mommy, I just wish I could eat peanuts," he said.

"So do I. Every day I wish that for you," I told him. I also said they're working on a vaccine, so maybe someday he could eat peanuts without getting really sick. But maybe not.

It's not fair. Not at all. And it really, really sucks. So how do you explain that to a five year-old?

Not that we wish the allergy on anyone, but I'd heard there might be another peanut-allergic child in his kindergarten class next year. That would be good for Sawyer, to help him not feel so alone in this.

Don't get me wrong: he's a happy kid, and he eats plenty of great stuff. I expect him to live a long and happy life. It'd be fantastic if he didn't have the shadow of this allergy following his every step. But we'll deal with it. And hope that we give him the confidence - and the information on how to protect himself - so that he can always feel full.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Harsh Reality

My trainer cancelled on me the other night. He claimed he got caught in traffic. But I think he really was nervous about transforming the blob that I am.

He rescheduled for the next night. So there I was, ready to take my first step in my long journey to get back in shape. Considering the last time I worked out with him I was in my first trimester and fresh off running a marathon, my current condition is quite disturbing.

I've got about 30 pounds to drop. It's going to take awhile.

Not only did I discover just how out of shape I am - my left side is now significantly weaker than my right - but I really realized how much work it's going to take to get anywhere near where I was before.

The worst part was when I was doing biceps curls. I was supposed to put my elbows tight against my body. And I kept knocking against my super-sized muffin top.

It's not a good look, people.

My trainer is a former Olympic athlete. He traines athletes, some at elite levels.

Then there's me.

He claims he's trained people who are worse off. He's a nice guy. And a liar.

I really need to commit myself to a new workout routine. Getting out for runs at 5:30 a.m., like I used to do, is out. I'm either nursing at that time or just getting back to sleep after nursing. So it's going to have to be at night, and frankly, I'm exhausted by 8 o'clock.

David and I talked about getting a treadmill so I can run when the baby is "napping" during the day. It would also be helpful if Xander would actually sleep in his carseat so I could take him for walks. Nothing says cathartic workout than a shrieking child, right?

Anyway, I will periodically update you all on my progress as I'm sure you're enthralled. Wish me luck! And will somebody PLEASE hide the potato chips!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The first time I ever got a pedicure I was already in my 20s. I was visiting my sister, who lived in Minneapolis at the time. We went to her shi-shi spa. The woman who was doing my nails was pregnant, and as she was trimming my cuticles, she looked up at me and said "My water just broke."

Now, being as I'd never had a child, I was sure the baby was going to pop out in the next 2 minutes (then again, that's kinda what happened when my water broke with Sage). But this woman was very calm. She stood up, quietly walked away to tell her boss, and then left.

The staff rushed over to offer us champagne to help us recover from the shock of such an occurence.

I believe it was a few more years before I ventured into another salon. Now, however, pedis are a regular part of my life. And I was very excited when I was pregnant with Sage and learned I was having a girl. Pedis! Shopping! Shoes!

Last weekend I decided I needed a little one-on-one time with her. Xander accompanies us wherever we go. And Sage had been litte Miss Sassy Pants lately, and had been wetting her bed A LOT, so I thought maybe a special outing would set us back on course.

It really is amazing how much a 3 year-old can hurt my feelings. Saturday morning our neighbor, who has three little boys, called to see if we wanted to go to some Boy Scout festival. David said he'd take Sawyer and Xander so that Sage and I could have our special morning together.

Sage started to cry because she wanted to go with the boys. When David pointed out that she was having alone time with Mommy, she shrieked "NO! I want to go with YOU!" and started crying. I think sticking a fork in her eye was more appealing than spending a morning with Mean Old Mommy.

I told her it hurt my heart that she didn't want to go with me. Miraculously, she relented, but only after I chlorformed her.

And she WAS excited when I brought her into the nail salon for the very first time. She didn't even mind that they kept us waiting 40 minutes (the place was packed, and I kinda get that they were taking women ahead of us who would be spending more money than we were, but it still pissed me off. I finally told the manager, "We WILL be next, RIGHT?!?!").

The thing is, I forgot to mention to Sage that she can't touch her nails for awhile after they were done. I mean, I've painted her nails at home and told her that, but it didn't really matter since I wasn't paying for that.

She rubbed off two of her fingers before the woman was finished with her toes. Then, after she was done, I tried to put her flip flops on. I was successful with the first, but with the second, Sage moved her foot and I smeared off the flower on her big toe. In her disappoinment, she stuck her thumb in her mouth - and yep, there went another flower.

Her big green eyes filled with tears and she started to cry. Even I felt bad. I believe my heart of stone might have even developed one teeny crack. The woman who'd done her nails was already working on someone else, but the sight up a little girl crying got the attention of all the customers - and the woman quickly fixed her nails.

Smiles all the way around.

Poor Sage. For the next four hours, she carefully kept her fingers fanned out so she didn't mar her nails.

The lesson? Beauty hurts. Both of us.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Living Proof

I have lived in Southern California for exactly 10 (TEN?!?!) years now, and yet, not once I have a felt a true earthquake - til last night.

David and I had finally gotten the kids to bed just past 8:30. We were in our bed, watching Extreme Home Makeover. Suddenly, our bed started to shake (and not THAT kind of shaking, if you know what I'm saying). David looked at me and said "It's an earthquake." And I looked at him, wondering if I should freak out.

By the time I decided not to, it was over. At some point during the 15 seconds or so that our house shook (it was a 4.7 on the richter scale), I did put a protective hand over the basinette next to our bed that contains our infant son. Apparently, I thought that would protect him from any flying objects, like a television or a dresser.

Xander slept peacefully through it. Sawyer and Sage, however, did not. Sawyer was standing in the hallway saying "I think something happened to my bed." David went to calm him - and to let the dogs in, as they were barking like crazy in the back yard.

I went in to Sage's room, to find her sitting up wide-eyed in bed. "Mommy! Somebody was bouncing on my bed!"

I explained to her that no, no one was bouncing on her bed. It was just this crazy thing where the earth moves and causes things to shake. I asked if she was scared and she said yes, but she seemed placated by my explanation and was soon back to sleep, as was Sawyer.

But today, when Sawyer and I walked to school, we discussed what an earthquake is. I asked him if it scared him, and he said it did.

"I thought it was a monster under my bed and it was shaking it."

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my child, who already has an overactive imagination (check out this link* to see what I mean) finally has living proof: There are, in fact, things that go bump in the night. And a monster under the bed to boot.

*That story is in my friend Jen's awesome magazine, Classic Play, a must-read for all moms out there!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Still Mustard

Xander reached the two-month mark yesterday. Why didn't I blog about it yesterday, then? Maybe it's because he's decided he no longer needs a nap at any point during the day. He instead spent his two-month birthday drinking way too much and barfing all over me - including once when he was still latched on. Yep. That's as icky as it sounds.

So here I am, a day later. He did turn nine weeks today, so at least something happened. Anyway.

The big, huge, momentous thing to report is actually something that didn't happen at all: he did not greet his advanced age the way his sister did, with a flourescent green, bloody poop.

Hers really appeared before this time, but two months is when I had to wean her because I couldn't get her digestive system to calm down.

WARNING: I will now go on to discuss poop. If you don't have kids, especially those with allergies, you will not understand why this is blogworthy, why a mother would investigate the contents of her child's diaper as if it held the meaning of life.

Okay. You've been warned. So I noticed Xander had some poop that was venturing into the dark green variety a couple weeks ago. But now that I'm off dairy, soy and wheat, I've seen a change. Not only is he no longer grunting for hours on end, or having explosive blowouts that can be heard across the street, he's not even pooping that often anymore. And the poop that I see is still that mustardy-yellow color.

I'm hoping this is a good thing. I feel a sense of accomplishment that we've gotten this far nursing. Because he's a high-need kid and, frankly, that's the only way I know how to pacify him at this point.

Hopefully in another month I'll have some more good news. My next project is to figure out how to get him to stop spitting up so much (he's on prevacid, so that should help).

Or, at the very least, aim it better so I'm not getting a lapful of warm, white cheese. 'Cause, really, I love him, but that's just not right.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Back in the day, before kids, before I was "just" a mom, I used to have a job. And that job was as a journalist for newspapers (remember them?).

This Mother's Day, I revisited my roots. I have the front-page story in the Orange Country Register, all about my home birth with Xander. It cracked me up that they chose to put a picture of Xander crying - right on the front page. The photos are different in the internet version, but still cute!

Happy Mother's Day to the hardest working women in the world!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Revenge is a dish best served cold - right from the freezer

The odd thing about David being away is that the volume of my voice increases in direct proportion to how many days he's been gone. Actually, maybe it's by the hour.

Yes, my husband has been gone all week - to Hawaii. He claims it's for business, and he didn't pack his golf clubs, so I guess he's telling the truth. However, sending a picture of the ocean view from his hotel in Waikiki was so not cool, you know?

I'm grumpy. The horrible diet and lack of sleep are not helpful. But a big part of it is because Xander insists on being carried everywhere and all the time. If I dare put him down, he will tell me - at an ear-piercing decibel - that he would like to be picked up. Immediately. If I choose to ignore him, so I can, like, make my other kids dinner, he will continue to shriek.

His redeeming quality, aside from his off-the-charts cuteness, is that he goes down for bed pretty easily. Last night, the kids ate their dinner a little later than usual. I gave them each a nice plate of fish, rice and peas (except Sage didn't want rice so she didn't get any). I made the mistake of leaving the serving bowl of rice on the table, as I was planning on eating it for my dinner.

So I'm upstairs nursing Xander and watching the season finale of Millionaire Matchmaker (omg I LOVE Patti Stanger!) when Sawyer yells "Mommy! Come see what Sage did!"

I did not like the sound of this, but I was trapped in my room with a baby attached to me. I finally make it down there. Ugh. It was like a freakin' wedding had just taken place in the dining room. There was rice everywhere. EV-ERY-WHERE. Peas, too.

And Sage, who'd apparently helped herself to the rice? She had the gall to sit there grinning at me. When I finally got my head to stop rotating, I told them they would be finishing ALL the rice on their plates and that they'd be getting NO DESSERT.

I probably would've been more angry if I didn't have two dogs that would soon be let in to clean up the mess. But still.

As a spot on passive-aggressive form of revenge, I took my nice carton of blueberry cranberry sorbet out of the freezer and proceded to eat it in front of them. Oh yes I did. And wouldn't you know it? Two bites in and the kids were all over me, asking for some.

Instead, I savored every sweet bite. I deserved it.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

8 weeks

Xander had his 8 week appointment this week. I had some concerns, mainly his prolific spitting up (including the bit of bright green I saw when he spit up all over my friend's shirt) and his continued fussiness.

The good news is he's gaining weight. He is now above average in both height and weight (he's 12 lbs., 2 oz.) which is great. But I can't help attributing all his issues to allergy - like the constant fussiness, the rash on his chest, back and arms, and did I mention the spit up?

I knew he was supposed to get his first vaccines. We passed on hepatitis B when he was born because, and I know I'm going out on a limb here, I'm pretty sure he's not going to be using intravenous (or is it intervenous?) drugs or having unprotected sex any time soon. But we were due to get Dtap, rotavirus, polio, pneumococcal conjugate, prevnar and hib (the latter three being some kind of meningitis thing, I think).

Vaccination is a touchy, touchy issue. Now these are just my own opinions, but I'm not convinced vaccinations cause autism, but possibly trigger them in a child who is predispositioned. I also am a little hostile about people who choose not to vaccinate their kids, because they're relying on the rest of us to get OUR kids vaccinated to keep their kids safe.

Still, Xander is just so, well, little. And it seemed like an awful lot of crap to be putting in a tiny baby. Especially one who is clearly in some sort of discomfort. After much hemming and hawing, I decided to get the pneumococcal one and rota (since rota is oral. The pediatrician was very surprised to hear my first two kids were not vaccination for rota and never had it.).

He ended up waking up the next day with a fever and has been fussy since, but that's kinda him. We also switched him to prevacid from xantac to see if that helps him.

I also have given up wheat and soy to go along with the dairy I'd already eliminated from my diet when he was born. The good news is this justifies my eating my body weight in Lay's potato chips. The bad news is that's about all I'm eating since pretty much everything has wheat, soy or dairy in it.

I know it will all be worth it if I can continue nursing Xander and if he feels better. But man it makes me cranky. I worry about every bite I consume, wondering if it will cause my little guy pain.

I have been through this before with the first two kids. I was hoping the third time would be a charm. Every child is supposed to be different, right? It doesn't seem that way with my three. Which is very sad. And frustrating.

Thankfully Xander does has his moments where he is calm. And then he smiles at me, his grin lighting his face and crinkling his eyes.

It's worth it, I remind myself. It's worth it.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Put in on your wish list

Freud maybe wasn't really thinking along these lines when he was rhapsodizing about how, really, all us women want a penis of our own. Why am I mentioning this?

For the past week or so, Sage has been wetting her bed at night. The other night she went THREE times in her bed, including about 10 minutes after she fell asleep. This is after she goes potty before we tuck her in.

I'm not sure what is going on. I'm pondering the idea of it being some sort of regression, which is common among the former baby when there's a new baby in town. I've asked her if anything hurts, in case she has some sort of infection.

She says she's fine. So this morning, after she wet the bed last night (and by the way, we try to make her wear a pull-up but she responds with an ear-shattering scream following by ripping it off and throwing it across th room), I asked her again why she kept peeing in her bed.

"Mommy? When I'm five, I'll have a penis, and then I won't tinkle in my bed anymore."

Give me credit - I kept a straight face for 3.7 seconds. Apparently, the reason her older brother doesn't pee in his bed is because of his equipment! Duh!
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