Thursday, May 28, 2009

Haiku Friday: the second

A week like none known
toddler dancing in the show
pink tutu and tights

baby with giggles
the Binky joke charms us both
offer then snatch back

the ear infection
beat back by amoxicillin
and mango sorbet

did not kill husband
despite all our sleeplessness
we are still married

my glass is half full
has no cracks and no lipstick
but I'd prefer wine

To join in Haiku Friday, go to A Mommy Story and post away.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The doctor your mother warned you about

By the Monday morning of our holiday weekend, wee Hannah was well behind in her food. Hannah's disorder, MCADD, presents a problem only when she goes hungry, and as long as she never burns all her glycogen she will always be fine. When she came home from the hospital, her longest period of fasting was directed to be no longer than three hours. The metabolic specialists gave us a guideline, for each kilogram of weight, Hannah could go one hour between feeds. At nine months of age and now seven kilos, Hannah can go seven hours.

A baby with an ear infection is often fractious and annoyed, and really, why not? Said baby may not want to eat much, or regularly, regardless of mommy's little plan. See how pissed off she looked on the day the ear infection really set it?

Despite this smiling visage, I was beginning to lose it, since I couldn't figure out how to get calories in a resistant infant who actually doesn't really like any solid food yet, and who felt pain swallowing. On Sunday, we got about 60% of her normal milk load down the hatch, and through Sunday night she was at less than a third of her normal intake. I hovered over her, making little contingency plans in my mind, but I had waited until Monday to call her MD, trying to be the mommy who makes it through instead of the mommy who amps everything up to panic levels. However, I sobbed into the phone when the clinic was closed and I got the doctor on call, our doctor's partner. I told him about the disorder, the suspected ear infection, the resistance to feeding, and how I was thinking about taking her to the pediatric ER if she showed any signs of low blood sugar but that if she wasn't crying she was smiling, and that I was confused. He asked me about her solid food preferences, what foods I had tried to feed since she didn't want breast milk, and then, right after he agreed to see her in the closed clinic in 45 minutes to check her ears, he casually asked me "have you given her a few bites of ice cream, or maybe some jello?"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

She sits! She squints! She hates the flash! Grace in Small Things: Eighteen

1. Hannah can sit up.
2. She flops and lands on her back eventually, just like a regular baby!!
3. We put this goal on her physical therapy evaluation, and we met it before the therapist even printed the report to give me.
4. Hannah rocks.
5. My heart is full.

And even sitting won't distract her from how much she doesn't like my camera.

Not as interesting as it sounds

The oldest Gingerling came to me today, handed me a small cheap plastic hula doll about 3 inches high, pointed to her front and said "look Mom, look what I have" and I waited for her description. "Tits!" she said. I stared blankly (I get like that sometimes.) My mind is reeling, and I am wondering just who might have used this word around my three year old, since I have carefully tried not to give names to body parts that others might think rude. Who will I beat up for this transgression? My mild mannered husband? The stepsons, who don't really use many bad words at our house? Her day care? So I ask her, "what do you have, honey?" "Tits" she replies. "They're like candy. Want one, Mommy? Here you go." And she takes an imaginary pinch off the doll, and I use my imagination while I pretend to eat it. And we agree we like pretend candy. And Ita, or Tinta, or Tika, or whatever that doll is called right then goes to bed. Whew. I hope that tomorrow we are back to imaginary M&Ms.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Haiku Friday: the first

My Friday haiku -

Relax and accept
the acupuncturist said
serenity here

It's not just a prayer
for the folks who quit drinking
you too can calm please

Needles kept poking
dim lights and nice fake wave sounds
I did calm right down
The form of haiku
Makes me sound more beautiful
Five seven then five

On wikipedia
Fake encyclopedia
Haiku form’s not set

The Japanese writers
flow their structure with nature
But I can't purge my verbs

For now I am stuck
with predictable drivel
Can't let go of rhyme

F*&^ me I can't stop
that rhythm possesses me
Brain dump in po'try

Didn't I already tell you how I like to write bad poetry? Did I give you adequate warning? It was with great good fortune that I found Christina's site just when I was all full of extra words and whacked out rhythms. This may not cure you of terminal white guy butt, if you have rhythm issues, but it may release some tension, anyhow. Check out the link list over at A Mommy Story, where the haikus are all linked up. Join in if you can, and as always, laugh at me behind my back. I am ashamed to tell you that I would have had more than two poems if I had been faster with making my first link in a post, and copying code to upload the button. TeacherMommy, will this make you forgive me for not doing your meme? Please?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tell it like it is

Medical records pull no punches. A careful read of Hannah's records reveals she is white. At various times her skin tone is described as pink, pale, slightly pale, and normal for ethnicity, depending on who wrote the note. A read of my medical records on the fateful day two of Hannah's life, the day she didn't eat enough, describes my breasts as large but with erect nipples. Oh, goody. Now everyone knows. My gas was politely described as "flatus" and they only used one adjective (green) to describe my emesis. If I can hurl far enough to startle a nurse, I think that I should at least get an honorable mention for distance and speed. In the past I have often been surprised to see notes in medical records that refer to topics entirely outside the scope of the exam: "patient denies pain." No, I don't deny the existence of pain when I claim not to have any. You didn't ask about my belief system, so why should I spill the beans? Infant exams are similarly slanted: "patient regards raisin" doesn't actually means the baby looked at fruit, only that she could, and the difference between complete and incomplete fisting is not quite as racy as it sounds. When she was born Hannah had no clicks or clunks (just like a high quality used car)and the nurses uniformly believed that I had no barriers to learning about how to care for my baby (kindly glossing over the overnight IV morphine drip while my husband made me watch a leprechaun movie when I was too high to object and kept insisting that the pot of gold looked like a pizza). So why did it all go so wrongly?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Grace in Small Things Fourteen: pie-oh-my and poo-on-you

1. A few years ago my sister got a joke off an inlaw whereby a person whacks the pointy tip off her dining companion's pie, takes it, shouts "pie oh my," and then eats it, stealing what is obviously the best part of the pie. Over the years, I've stolen a lot of pie with this method, to great joy.
2. My girlfriends and I who used to walk our dogs in the hills modified this to sometimes shout "poo on you" and get the other to take the poo out of the canyon rather than have to drag one's own dog poo about to dispose of, especially in summer. We had a lot of fun with this, too.
3. Today, I asked a coworker to go get money out of my purse, to buy a cup of coffee for me on the coffee run. When I returned to my office I found the rubber dog poo I had borrowed and carried in my purse now on top of my wallet. Poo on you, coffee runner!
4. At least I carried fake rubber dog poo and not real baby poo, as one of my blogger friends did today.
5. I'm now thinking of getting myself some pie!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I need to get a tougher hide, maybe Naugahyde?

OK, motherhood really isn't for the faint of heart. I know I need a tougher skin for some of this shit, and people, I am a litigator. I beat people verbally for a living. I can make you crumple before me. But not now.

Yesterday, a woman I work with somewhat peripherally came to me to ask me what was up with Hannah. As often happens, I cried while telling her that she has a small brain injury, it means mild cerebral palsy, it affects her right side and is called hemiplegia but I am on it and working the kid with physical therapy, occupational therapy, lovin' spoonfuls, and all. She (an overwrought woman on the best of days) seems to be near tears herself and she says (get ready):

Jane: But do you even care?

Me: (stunned silence)

Jane: I mean, don't you love her anyway?

Me: Well obviously I love her, I just want her to get the most out of life she can, and I'm sorry she'll have to work extra hard to get there.

Jane: Oh I see. Well I think everyone, every child, should have an MRI, so you have a baseline.

Seriously, this only improved because someone else showed up in my office, but WTF?? She thinks I don't love my baby because she is broken? She is not broken, bonehead, I just want her to be able to go through life kicking ass and taking names, I want her to suck the marrow from the bones of life, I want her to have the capacity to do any damn thing that strikes (except drugs and underage sex and most of what I did as a teenager, dur) her Hannah fancy. And I don't want her dragging her arm and leg behind her because I didn't have the huevos to make her cry sometimes during physical therapy. So once she is as able as she can be, if she wants to sit about on sofas and read, I get that, because I like that too, but this amount of effort now means broader options of mobility later.

So then later, at the day care, which I adore by the way, the co-director says they are moving the biggest babies up to the next class and Hannah's peers might go up to the fairly mobile baby room, but she assured me no, Hannah would stay with smaller infants. I thanked her kindly and said no, Hannah's PT wants her moving with her age group even if it means an awkwardly walking baby steps on Hannah lying there practicing rolling over, because she needs the cognitive challenge of being treated as her age dictates, not within her range of delay which is at this point about three or four months behind. See what a good mom I am? Bring your kids over so they can step on mine . . . I feel so Darwinian telling the day care to let her get out there and practice survival of the fittest.

But I do believe it is best - she should have every experience I can offer, from grabbing of toys to pushing her body up off the floor, to watching other babies learn to transition from sits to stands. Until I had Claire I never knew how much behavior is a direct reflection of what is observed, and now I am watching how the sum total of how much we know is directly formed by experience. Experiential learning is all the rage in adult education as we recognize now how other methods fail some learners, and it is the basis for the idea I wrote about below in Hope, and it is the basis of Hannah's body training her brain to make some new neural pathways around the old. I keep telling people this would all be so interesting if it was happening to someone else, but since it happens to us it is painfully interesting.

Now that I have wrenched your heart strings and stimulated your essential mommyness, let me close with a couple of photos of Claire, that show you what I want for Hannahkins.

This photo is here to give you a sense of scale, relative to flight potential.

This shows you a little girl who made a kite in art class and took it out for a spin, and gives you an idea of what I want for Hannah.

Remember how I said I would be funny soon?

Here it is: no iron sheets.

HA HA HA! Who in their right minds would iron sheets? Especally kids' sheets? Why is this still a selling point? If I had time to iron bedding I'd probably have my photos in albums. Yeah . . . you're gonna have to work on Saturday.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hope, nothing with feathers

I thank you kindly for not mocking me for dropping the laptop on Mother's Day. I tried to handle it with grace, but nonetheless I didn't laugh all that much. I thought I felt a funny coming on, and I would try to post something to make you snort your coffee out your nose, but I got sidetracked by hope. Go figure!

I will make it a policy not to talk about work here, but in the course of a conversation I had with another lawyer today, I came upon an idea that I can't let go of. After some discussion of poverty, and substandard living conditions, and related items of good cheer, my friend told me something she learned from a local juvenile court judge. Now, this judge is often controversial because he yells a lot, and doesn't mollycoddle much, but no one would assert that he doesn't care for the kids he sees in his court. This judge has recognized that some things about the kids he sees can't be changed but he tries to find what can be helped along. The kids who come from the "poor" side of town might never have crossed the divider that separates our east from west, and will certainly have never actually seen the university, where it sits on the hill above the city. This judge realized that telling kids over and over to go to the university and get an education was always going to plant in their minds only an idea, one with no tangible meaning at all. So he takes groups of kids to the university so they can see it, and be on the campus, and enter a building and see classes in session. And once those kids had been there, then there would be one less obstacle to going back.

I was taken aback by this idea: I see exhortations in people's offices, in print, and online to make goals, reminding us that those without goals don't go, but I'd never thought about how adding tangibility to those goals would have so much more meaning. Hope floats, or flies on feathers maybe, but hope goes further on the bus, even if it is a rolling asylum.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Grace in small things - Ten with a twist

1. My laptop still works even after I dropped it down the stairs and the disk drive popped open and then bent itself in a most alarming and unfixible way. It looks like a flag twisting in the wind, attracting attention to my ineptitude and general oafishness. But I can still blog!

2. I have wireless internet so disk drives mean nothing to me!! Ha!

3. More with the fresh corn, heavy butter, and sea salt.

4. The baby loves me and doesn't know I am oafish.

5. I have never dropped my baby.

I didn't post this picture on Grace in Small Things where I am being, well, grateful, but here, in the interest of your entertainment, I give you proof of my oafishness (she writes having just spilled breast milk all over her kitchen counter preparing a bottle - deftly!).

If this sort of reminds you of the email jokes about the dumb blonde who couldn't make the cupholder on her computer work, please, just don't say anything. I am a redhead. Real or not, I am a redhead.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Eight, and the daily tilapia

1. Hannah can sit for minutes at a time before she topples and squeals
2. She still has those nice knees
3. When her day care ladies told me that "tilapia" was "very good for Hannah, every day, is very good" I wondered why they thought she should eat fish every day, then I realized they were saying "therapy" which in Spanish sounds something like "tilapia"
4. We collectively howled with laughter in Spanish and English when I explained my surprise
5. and it makes an awesome story

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I carry it with me and I keep walking

Mothers get a lot - a lot of bliss and a lot of woe, and hopefully some homemade cards and sticky kisses.

So many women are posting on their blogs and online sources lately about their sorrows. Bloggers great and small are exploring their grief and sharing that experience with the blogosphere. Our online friends have shared with us their losses that are so very great, such as Heather Spohr writing about finding her way in a world without her Maddie Moo, or TeacherMommy's family members facing cancer in a family that has already faced huge loss.

I have been grieving, grieving the loss of my daughter's potential for perfect motor skills, and the uphill battle we will face in every new physical action she will take. I have been sad, and angry and sad again. I have been sad when I should be happy, and panicked when I should be merely sad. The twin demons of guilt and self doubt have plagued me. Every time I end a physical therapy session and wonder if we've done enough at that time I know I will question my abilities every day. And I cry, for my beautiful girl who will have to work so hard. I know my grief is not the biggest I might be required have to handle, but I wanted my daughter to be well, to do well, to roll and sit and crawl and walk with normal efforts instead of extraordinary efforts, and to be a person who didn't have cerebral palsy. This grief is mine, even if I didn't want it to be.

I didn't want to have to do it, I don't want to still, but I will. I will be the brave little toaster. This is what mothers do. Shoulder to the wheel, nose to the grindstone, taking steps when crawling seems too big, mothers walk on, because in between those battles great and small are the greatest joys of her life: the touch of the baby's hand on her face, the joy in seeing her little one laugh, watching the child learn to negotiate the world around him.

Universe, I accept your challenge, and challenge you. Like all these moms who rally in the face of the pain they are dealt, I throw down the gauntlet. Next time you deal out damage you may get a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Happy Mother's Day. Universe, you have been served.

Grace in Small Things #7

1. My day care. Oh, thank Nathan and all that is holy for my day care.
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, again
3. Quesadillas made with leftover carne asada - sorry Italy, even Mambo Italiano can't save mediocre lasagne when compared with good carne asada
4. The joy of a joke between women when no baggage pops up and the laughing just blows right through you
5. The sun still shines

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Grace in Small Things #6 seis -sei

1. Rosemary Clooney doing Mambo Italiano
2. Lasagne for supper even if it isn't homemade
3. I can love Italy now that Cinco de Mayo has passed, and I am done eating carne asada tacos for this week
4. Setting a goal to be more tech savvy with my blogging - maybe I'll one day know how to make the hyper-link do-dah for the above You Tube vid
5. Spring