Monday, April 30, 2007

What we were doing at 9:45 last night

Yesterday, we celebrated Charlie’s first birthday. Yea! He’s a big boy now. We celebrated by taking him out to breakfast to fuel up for his big party. Family and friends showed up at our house around 2:00 loaded with gifts! He was adorable blowing out his first birthday candle and even held out to open every last gift without passing out from all the excitement.

After the party-goers headed home to rest from all the activity, Charlie and his cousins, Taylor and Morgan, kept on grooving and played with each and every gift. His beautiful and vastly intelligent cousins showed us, I mean him, the ins and outs of all of his loot. And truthfully, I did benefit from their instructions. Around 5:00, Charlie finally settled into a brief nap. Daddy offered to lie down with him and “read;” when I later went to check on them, they were both sawing logs. Unfortunately, the snooze only lasted for about 45 minutes, and Charlie was at it with the toys again!

I tried to get back some routine and fed and bathed the boy. I even put him to bed at a reasonable hour. But around 8:30, thoughts of the super cool playhouse, play farm, ball popper, drum, etc. tempted Charlie out of bed. His wails DEMANDED he get up and play and play and play some more! We ended the evening around 10:00 when the look in his eyes told us that in fact, he was finally ready to go to sleep but would not do so until taken by force. I took him to his room and rocked him for, oh, about 2 seconds and he was off in la-la land dreaming of all the damage he could do tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who came by to celebrate Charlie’s birthday! We are so glad that he has so many wonderful and generous people in his lives. Now, we’ve got to get back to all of those new toys!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Prematurely

On this very day last year is when it all began. Well, it was actually April 29 but the same Saturday before I gave birth to my son nonetheless. In honor of his first birthday (in my eyes, it's a birth weekend), I give you an account of the events that led to his birth.

Friday, April 28, 2006 (approximately 3:00 a.m.)
I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. This had been a typical occurrence over the past few weeks and not that unusual considering I was 34 weeks pregnant. Actually, I was a little surprised the early morning bathroom breaks had not begun sooner. Everyone warned me about them, but fortunately, I only had to deal with them for a few short weeks. They really weren’t so bad; the interruption of sleep was merely a matter of opening my eyes wide enough to avoid stepping on a dog while getting out of bed. In less than a minute I could find my way to the bathroom, take care of business and slip back into sleep. I did tend to have the problem of trying to talk myself out of the need, though. Most mornings, the urge would wake me around 3:00 a.m. I would do everything in my sleep induced state to try to convince myself that I could hold it until my alarm went off. That rarely worked. In fact, I think I was successful at holding off until then on only one occasion.

This particular day was no different from any other. I woke up, thought I could wait, realized I couldn’t, and then got up. When I got back to bed, I noticed a new little trickle. I wondered why that happened when only moments before I had gone to the bathroom. I didn’t give it a second thought, though. I had read about how many pregnant women have these kinds of problems. So, I easily fell back asleep.

Friday, April 28, 2006 (daytime)
Friday was a typical day. I went to work and, as par for the course, it was a completely stressful day and I had to work late. The Professor and I decided to have dinner with his mother at an Ethiopian restaurant. The experience was wonderful, but throughout the entire meal, I felt just completely wiped out and my back was achy. I just blew it off as having a stressful week at work, though. Those feelings were really not out of the ordinary.

When the Professor and I got home that evening, I noticed that my pants were a little damp. Had I wet my pants? I was highly annoyed and remember telling the Professor that I couldn’t believe I was peeing on myself. I quickly changed clothes and went right to bed. Sleep was what I most wanted after a large meal and a difficult work week.

Saturday, April 29, (approximately 5:00 a.m.)
I woke again for my routine trip to the bathroom. I noticed again, while climbing back into bed that there was another little trickle. My concern grew a little this time because, while I had read about stress incontinence, I had also read about the possibility of leaking amniotic fluid. I was a little worried but not worried enough to get out of bed at 5:00 a.m. to look up the information in my copy of What to Expect When You Are Expecting. When I finally did wake up a couple of hours later, I was worried enough and found the information in my book. Of course it said to immediately call my doctor because leaking amniotic fluid could result in infection. Because it was Saturday morning (of course!), I decided to wait until later in the morning. When I finally did get in touch with the nurse on call, she of course told me to immediately go to the hospital because the risk of infection was too great. So, at 10:00 a.m., the Professor and I drove to the hospital, making comments along the way about how we needed to plan our route anyway for when the baby comes. Little did we know, that day would come much sooner than anyone had anticipated.

When we got to the hospital, we checked in. I had to go into an examination room. In fact, it was the same examination room that I had visited in November when fears of a miscarriage brought us there.

The nurses did their routine check and asked me loads of questions. After the exam, they determined that the leaking/trickling was probably just due to stress incontinence – urine leaking out due to the pressure of the baby on my bladder. While I was relieved, I just knew they were wrong. I had previously had an episode of “stress incontinence” and this just wasn’t the same. They also let me go to the bathroom before the exam, allowing me to wipe away any trace of amniotic fluid that might have been on my skin. They instructed me to go home, rest, and drink plenty of fluids. I took their orders but just had a gut feeling that this was something more than a little urine leaking out.

The Professor and I were famished and decided to go to breakfast – eggs, pancakes, biscuits and gravy at the Blue Plate CafĂ© - my last meal for days! After a quick trip to Lowe’s, we headed home. Of course, I felt a little more of a trickle on the way home, but against my better judgment and my instincts, I decided not to worry about it. I rested briefly while at home and then helped the Professor l unload the kitchen closet. Our plans to reconstruct our closet were well under way and I wanted to help! So much for resting.

After completely emptying the closet of its contents, I felt a little wetness again. I was getting annoyed because I was already wearing my third or fourth pair of pants for the day, and being almost 8 months pregnant, I didn’t have that many to spare. I finally went to the bathroom and upon standing up, clear fluid began streaming out of my body. A moment of panic struck, then anger because I knew those nurses were wrong! I called for the Professor and we decided that we definitely had to go back to the hospital.

On the way there, neither of us thought that this meant we were having our baby. We really thought that I would get examined, get an antibiotic and go home. Boy, did we have a different experience!

Saturday, April 29, 2006 (approximately 3:00 p.m.)
We checked back into the hospital and I clearly remember hearing more than one person say, “Mrs. P’s back.” I went back to the same examination room. As before, they made the Professor wait in the waiting room until they got my situation assessed. The same nurses as before performed another examination and determined that yes, my water broke. I heard one of the nurses say, “Yea! That’s great!” The other nurse, however, quickly shut her up and let her know that I was only 34 weeks pregnant. I was not too worried until I heard the seriousness in her voice. Then, she told me that I would not be leaving the hospital until I gave birth. My initial reaction was sheer panic. I was only 34 weeks pregnant! The baby would be 6 weeks early! Would he be okay? What was going to happen? The nurse then proceeded to tell me that the goal was to keep the baby in me as long as possible, so it could be weeks before I even left the hospital. All of this information was being thrown at me while the Professor was still in the waiting room. It was all such a blur and happening so fast, and I was terrified.

Finally, the Professor walked into the room and when I saw him, I burst into tears. I was so scared and worried and the reality of the situation hit me hard when I saw him. The nurses and I told him what was going on, but it was all a little cloudy and in bits and pieces. We still weren’t sure exactly how everything would play out.

The nurse gave me a shot of something that she said would “hurt like hell and make you feel like your heart is going to jump out of your chest.” Apparently, this drug was supposed to suppress labor. While it may have done its job, it also gave me severe heartburn and an extreme case of the shakes. They also strapped on the fetal heart monitor, which I liked because I could hear my baby's heart beating the entire time we were in the hospital before he was born. Under other circumstances, I am not sure I would have wanted to use the monitor, but because the situation was as it was, the monitor was comforting. After a few minutes, they admitted me into a room, gave me yet another one of those wonderful shots and left me to wait for the doctor.

Dr. King finally came to see us and explained that they would give me a steroid to help the baby's lungs develop. The steroid shot had to be given twice over a period of 24 hours and would take 48 for it to have its full effect on his lungs. So, I knew that we would be there at least 48 hours. They also explained that if the shot that gave me the shakes didn’t work, they would have to put me on magnesium, a.k.a. MAG. The nurse explained that while it does a great job at stopping labor, it would make me feel miserable. I kept my fingers crossed that I would not have to endure it. After that, we made calls to friends and family explaining the situation and settled in for the night.

Somewhere in the wee hours of the morning, a nurse crept into the room and explained that the moment had come for the MAG. Not only was it an additional IV to my liquid diet and antibiotic, it also strapped me to the bed – no more getting up to go to the bathroom because it was to make me extremely weak. She offered me a sleeping pill (which I didn’t take) and put an oxygen tube in my nose. Fortunately, I was able to get a little rest.

Sunday, April 30
That morning, I awoke pretty early to nurses poking their heads into the room and adjusting all of the IV bags. I was surprised because I felt pretty good; I felt a little cocky because I thought the ever horrifying MAG didn’t seem to have such a bad effect on me. We spent most of the day talking, sitting with visitors and basically just being in awe that our baby was about to be born.

Around 3:00 in the afternoon, when my mom was visiting, I started to feel the ill effects of the MAG. It wasn’t bad, but I noticed a little blurred vision, fatigue and oddly, my speech was a little slurred. It was like I was drunk without the fun of drinking (or the buzz). Again, I thought I was a champ because its effects were only minor! Later that day, however, things started to go downhill. The MAG was awful! I could hardly move my body or speak! It was as if someone was trying to put me in a coma! I couldn’t stand it! I couldn’t even sleep well. It felt as if I had the flu (without the headache and vomiting) but I couldn’t go to sleep. In the middle of the night, I tried to lift my arm and it seemed to weigh 500 pounds! I could hardly even tell when I had to go to the bathroom! I get the point – the way that stuff slows down labor is that it slows down everything in your entire body.

Monday, May 1
Monday morning, I woke up – yet again – to nurses poking at me. I was tired, groggy and inches away from being completely miserable. I hadn’t eaten any food since Saturday’s breakfast, I hadn’t showered since Friday morning, and I was completely wiped out from the MAG. Then, my world changed…

At some point that day, the nurse wheeled us downstairs to get an ultrasound. We were definitely excited about seeing the baby in my belly. They wanted to get a look at him and check the progress of his lungs. When they put the sonogram tool on my belly, we could see our baby! His heartbeat was strong, his lungs looked good, and most importantly, he had his giant foot shoved in his mouth!

Around 8:00 a.m., Dr. Miller, the doctor on call, came into my room. She immediately did a quick exam and began to take care of business. Right away, she ordered that I be taken off the MAG and put on Petossin, a drug that induces labor. Yea! We knew Charlie would be born today! I guess doctor Miller determined that by the time the MAG wore off, the Petossin kicked in, and labor got under way, he would be born around 10:00 p.m., which would be just over the needed 48 hours for the steroid to take effect. I was so happy!

It took a while for the magnesium to wear off, but it didn’t matter. We were going to have our baby today! The Professor and I were just giddy and goofy and excited!

That day, we had lots of visitors – Nana, Papa, Gammy, Tiffany, Taylor, Morgan, and Diana. Even the girls from work came by. The contractions started coming pretty early, but I couldn’t really feel them until around 1:00. The Professor decided to start keeping track of them around 1:30, but they didn’t really hurt until around 3:00. I was also forced to drink some medicine that the nurse said tasted like a REALLY SOUR SweetTart. And she was not kidding! It was sour and tart and just disgusting. I had to even drink it twice.

Between the hours of 1:00 and 3:00, the contractions were almost fun. I would be talking to someone and all of a sudden, I would feel the pressure and breathe through it. And then it was over. They didn’t really hurt much at that time. Around 3:00, the level of discomfort started to change. The contractions got more and more intense, lasted longer and longer, and came closer together. I even started having to moan through some of them, which I swore I would never do. I was at the point of needing to make a decision regarding the epidural. I really wanted to give birth without it, but I also knew that it was only 4:00 and we weren’t expecting the baby to come until at least 10:00. That would have been 6 more hours of pain and I didn’t know if I could handle it. I continued to wait until around 5:00 when the pain starting to intensify even more. I decided to go ahead and get the pain relief because for all I knew, it would just continue to get worse, and to be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. Charlie was early and I was not prepared.

At this time, Dr. Miller came in to check on us. We told her we wanted the epidural; she ordered it and let us know that she was going to Germantown to deliver another baby. She assured us that the trip would be fast because this was the woman’s third child. We all left and felt at ease because no one expected the baby to come for several hours.

The anesthesiologist came to our room around 5:20. She and the nurse had me sit on the side of the bed with my legs hanging off. The Professorl stood by to help support me while the nurse raised the bed about 4 feet in the air. I had a brief moment of distraction where all I could think about was Regan floating in the air off of her bed in The Exorcist . But those thoughts soon left me when they started giving me instructions, “Do not move.” But what if I have a contraction (at this point, they were close to brutal)? “Just breathe through it.” What? You want me to simply breathe through this pain and remain still? “Yes.” So, almost teary-eyed, I hunched over while the Professor held my hand and the anesthesiologist put the long needle into my back. It totally creeped me out, and of course, I had a contraction while all this was going on. Fortunately, the medicine had begun to trickle its tingly way down my back and I was able to get through the contraction without squirming. Did I mention that this completely creeped me out?

Once that debacle was finally over, I was able to lie down again – ahhhh! The warm and the tingly feeling was a relief, but it was still unnerving. While I loved that the pain was reduced, I continued to have mild panic about this thing taped to my back.

I am sure that Charlie sensed my anxiety because after the anesthesiologist left us to relax, things took a sudden turn. While the pain of the contractions was not as severe, the intensity of them was even more so! For a brief moment (and I mean BRIEF), I just thought that this was what contractions were supposed to feel like with an epidural. But then, I had the most uncompromising urge to push. It had a force with which I could not contend. The Professor called the nurse, who immediately came in and did another exam. 8 centimeters dilated. The last exam measured around 5 or 6, which is why Dr. Miller felt comfortable leaving to deliver another baby. When the nurse announced “8 centimeters”, she immediately said, “we need to get Dr. Miller back here.” Meanwhile, I still felt like I had to push. It wasn’t just a mild pressure, either. It was a gigantic force – Charlie was ready to be born and was not going to sit idly by any longer. That’s when things got difficult.

First of all, Dr. Miller was somewhere between our hospital and Germantown in 5:00 traffic. There was also a lot of construction going on around the hospital which made driving around there a nightmare no matter what time of day. I was so afraid it would take her a long time to get back. Were they really going to make me wait until she got there? Wasn’t there another doctor who could deliver my child
? Are they serious????
Dr. Miller finally arrived. It was sometime between 5:30 and 6:30. At this point in the experience, time was a little fuzzy and insignificant. It was amazing how swiftly everyone was in preparing for Charlie's birth. Nurses helped Dr. Miller sweep on her scrubs, gloves and masks. Nurses prepped the area with her tools and all we had to do was wait for the NICU nurses to arrive, and then we were ready. And we waited. And he was coming regardless. Finally, what was probably only moments but seemed like forever, the NICU nurses and doctor arrived, and it was time to push. FINALLY! Dr. Miller gave me the go ahead, but I didn’t know what to do. She asked if I had taken a childbirth class. “No,” I said, “I am scheduled to take one next weekend.” Aha. The best laid plans....

Dr. Miller quickly gave me her 10 second rendition of childbirth instructions and we were off! But wait, she said to push when I have a contraction? The group got geared up to count me through my first push, and I had to meekly interrupt their enthusiasm. I wasn’t having a contraction at the moment. Everyone exhaled calmly with a hint of exasperation. And then, at last, the contraction came and we were well on our way to welcoming Charlie into the world.

The first time I pushed, I was a bit shocked that he didn’t just pop right out. Just moments before I was in agony to keep from pushing and now, I was having a little trouble. I pushed for ten seconds, took a breath, and pushed for ten more. I took another breath and pushed another ten seconds and then took a little break to wait for the next contraction. The next contraction came, and I pushed again, took a breath, pushed, took a breath, pushed, and rested again.

Everyone was cheering me on. The Professor was to my right, Nana to my left, and Gammy on the sidelines. I swear, I think everyone was trying to push for me. I was tired from all the medication and laying in bed for three days, plus, I had never done this before. I lay there in the hospital with only 6 pushes behind me. I was beginning to worry that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Finally, another contraction came and I pushed. It really felt like he was not budging, but Dr. Miller cheered me on and swore to me that we were “almost there.” I don’t know how I did it, but for the next push (#8), I dug deep and decided that I did not want to be pushing until midnight. I was already feeling the exhaustion and losing my confidence. At that moment, I decided that I was going to give birth right then. I didn’t want to put it off any longer. All I needed to do was focus and push with all my might. I was determined. And with that push, he came out! It was Monday, May 1, 2006, 6:43 p.m.

When they first put him in my arms, I was in a daze. He was so cute and puffy, and I honestly couldn’t believe that he were actually in my arms. I kissed his tiny little head and hand and held him close for just a moment. I cried a little, too. They passed him to the Professor, and Nana even tried to grab his toe.

He weighed 4 pounds and 5 ounces. He was 17 inches long. When they took his footprints, I cracked up because his feet looked huge! He looked just like the Professor from his eyebrows, to his fingers, to his big toe. It was incredibly awesome to see him in the flesh.

Because he were pre-mature, though, they had to whisk him off to the NICU to make sure all his parts were working properly. Everyone said that he would be fine - “he’s just small.” They took him upstairs and got me prepared to move to another room.

I was grateful when the nurse came to take out the epidural. I really think (in hindsight) that I would have been fine without it. Everyone gathered up my belongings and the nurse wheeled me upstairs to a room just down the hall from the NICU. On the way to my room, I got to see my new baby. They wheeled me into the NICU with the Professor . I looked at his tiny little body and was in awe. I admit it was a little scary but everyone did their best to assure me that everything would be okay. I kissed my son and pet him and told him they I love him and headed back toward my room.
The Professor played host and took Nana and Gammy in to see Charlie. Tiffany stayed with me. At that point, everything hit me. I realized that I was full of worry about my baby and I was terrified that something bad would happen, and I started to cry. He was so tiny! He looked so fragile! Finally, the distraction of food came and the exhaustion set in. Everyone left, and the Professor and I slept.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006
The next morning, we woke early so we could see Charlie as quickly as possible. I took a steaming hot shower and I think it was the best shower I have ever taken. The Professor and I have gone days while camping without taking a shower, and it usually feels pretty gross. But being in the hospital for 3 shower-less days felt even more disgusting, especially after giving birth. So, we showered and walked down the hall to see our son.

In order to get access to him, we had to call into the NICU and let them know we were there. Outside the unit, we had to scrub in as if we were going into surgery. The giant sinks were operated by our feet and we had to wash our hands and arms with a new sterile, soapy, scrubbing sponge each time were to enter the NICU. Each washing session lasted at least 3 minutes (it was timed). Then we had to don scrubs and call again to be let into the unit.

The large room was warm and dimly lit. Tiny and sick babies lay all around in 4 foot tall cribs that were heated under warming lamps and connected to all sorts of monitors. Charlie was in the back of the room, cozily sleeping with monitors taped to his chest and around his foot. He had an IV of antibiotics strapped to his hand. His hands and feet were blue and purple from where the nurses tried to get the IV in. He must have fought like hell to keep them from sticking him. He had a piece of fleece over his head to help keep him warm and sooth him, and he had his tiny little leg flopped over the side of the U-shaped support. He was my precious baby – tiny and in the hospital connected to all of these contraptions. It was overwhelming and heartbreaking.

The Professor and I got to hold and attempt to feed him. The goal was to get him eating on his own as soon as possible and fatten him up enough to take him home. If, in fact he did not eat on his own, the nurse informed us that they would have put a tube in his nose and pour the milk in that way. To my horror, I desperately prayed for him to suck down his milk quickly and with little effort! Unfortunately, sometime during the day, Charlie was not cooperating (he kept falling asleep), and the nurse strapped on the tube. I was saddened that he was going to have to endure that kind of feeding. I’ve gotten water up my nose before – it’s not comfortable! Once the nurse turned her back to get some of my breast milk (I was pumping into bottles throughout the day and night), Charlie swiftly put his long lean hand to his face, screamed and yanked the tube out of his nose. I laughed and could not help but feel proud that he might be as stubborn and willful as I am. We continued to feed Charlie via the bottle, and they never had to put the tube in his nose again.

Over the next week of monitored feedings and cuddling, pumping at the hospital, driving back an forth to the hospital, the Professor and I desperately asked when he would be ready to go home. And finally, on the following Monday, just one week after he was born six weeks early, we were given permission. We were overjoyed!

Now that we've had Charlie in our lives for over a year, I honestly can't remember what things were like without him. He is truly special and unique and I love him more than anything in the world.

Happy Birthday Weekend, Charlie!

Thursday, April 26, 2007


I worked late last night because of an event we had at the school. And boy am I tired. Driving home at almost 10:00, I got flashbacks of working in my high stress long hours job, and I wondered how I was ever capable of getting out of bed each morning. I guess I just got accustomed to working late hours regularly, and that might explain why I used to be a complete bitch most of the time. My routine existed of schlepping myself out of bed each morning, getting ready for work (tossing on whatever clothes were comfortable because after a while I stopped caring), heading to the office, project managing proposals for the entire day (hardly ever taking lunch break), coming home any time between 7:00 and midnight (sometimes even later), flopping on the couch, tossing back a few drinks to ease the pain, going to bed to do it all over again. Yes, that lifestyle made me a completely enraged depressed bitch.

So last night, while driving home and remembering the not so good old days, I was grateful to know that this particular evening was a one time only gig. It was a special event to introduce a wonderful new archive to the public and get feedback on how our team can make it even better. It was fun, inspiring, and overall, a nice experience. But, the fact that I HAD to be there did put a bit of a damper on things.

Not only did I work a 13 hour day, but because of the long work day, I only got to see my baby for about 15 minutes at 7:30 yesterday morning. It was hard not getting to see him in the evening and kiss and hug him and ask him about his day. I did not get to assist with his bath or cuddle him in those final moments before he fell asleep. I also missed what the Professor described as a landmark occasion, when C-Dog Baby drained a sippy cup of juice and water for the first time ever. He usually just slurps a little and looks at us as if to say, “Look! I took a sip!” But yesterday, the Professor reported that he tilted the little cup back and sucked it dry. For the first time. And I missed it.

Now I know that such an event is not a monumental occasion. It’s not like he said his first coherent word or took his first step. But I hate that I missed it just the same. It is a moment in his life, a first, that will never happen again. This brings me to an even bigger sadness/regret/whatever you want to call it – I wonder what other special firsts I am missing while I sit in front of a computer all day in an office with horrible air circulation wishing I was somewhere else.

C-Dog Baby spends most of his time awake with people I hardly even know. I feel like they may possibly even understand my child more than I do because they spend almost every one of his conscious moments watching him, witnessing those small events that probably do not even seem all that special in their eyes. Each day when I pick him up from daycare, they say, “He did so well today!” “He’s making a lot of progress.” “He had a really good day.” Now, I know they mean well and want to report that he’s happy and well cared for. But what I really want to know is what made his day a good day? What happened to elicit a report of good progress? I know I can ask for details, but really, these women, like me, just want to get out of there and get home to their own families. And, when I actually do take the time to prod for details, I get very vague responses. In essence, it really doesn’t matter what the response might be anyway because all I really want is to be the witness of progress at each and every moment.

See what being tired does to me?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bowl Food

Ever since I allowed carbs to come back into my life (when I was pregnant), I have been in search of the perfect pasta bowl. I have scoured stores like William Sonoma, Macy’s, and Target, to name a few. Nothing I found was just right. This one’s too big, this one’s too small, this one’s not deep enough, this one is just a salad bowl. I finally gave up my search around the holiday season and left my hunt to a mere passing inquiry while in some of these stores for other necessary purchases. Until finally, I found my perfect bowl. It is the perfect size and shape and only cost $5. Finally! Patience has it’s rewards!

Since I bought a set of these bowls a week ago, I have eaten out of a bowl no less than 4 times. Thus, my realization that I love eating food out of a bowl. Salad, soup, the beef bourguignon I made last weekend for the Sullivans, rice dishes, pasta, etc. Bowl food is my favorite kind of meal. The Professor will gladly slop a pile of spaghetti and meatballs or lay out a nice green salad on his flat plate. I, however, can’t stand eating salad off a plate. How do you amply coat the leaves in dressing without being able to toss the salad in its own bowl? And pasta? No, it just doesn’t work. In fact, I have even changed my mind about a dinner choice because I didn’t have the proper bowl from which to eat. Until now. I’m in bowl heaven. Target - $4.99 – white – made in China.

This brings me to a conversation with The Professor about this little oddity of mine. I told him how happy I am to have perfect bowl livelihood and that I hope he does not think I’m weird…

“Weird? You’ve been a little OCD about it. But I’ve known about that side of you all along.”

“Well, I just love food from a bowl.”

“Like a dog?”

“No, just regular human food from a bowl. A dog doesn’t use a fork or a spoon. Duh.”

“But, you can’t eat steak from a bowl.”

“You can if it is chopped up and resting on a bed of mashed potatoes. Mmmmm...buttery mashed potatoes.”

“But, if you put steak in a bowl, where are all the juices going to go? Are you just going to eat your steak in a pool of steak juice?”

“Yum. And yes, it’s practically the same dilemma with steak on a plate.”

“We should invent a plate that has a juice drainage system – a colander plate if you will. That way, the juices would drain off, and your bloody steak doesn’t have to bathe in it.”

“Like a George Forman Grill.”

Now who’s weird?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Look at Me!

Over the weekend, Charlie truly showed some triumphant new skills over his lack of understanding over the sippy cup. He had his aha! moment and ran with it. Before, he would just gum and chew and the plastic nub on the cup. Now he sucks with a vengeance with sound affects and all. The process goes like this: 1. Mom sets the cup in front of him and explains what is actually in it. 2. Charlie stares down the cup as if a kitty about to pounce on his prey. 3. Charlie picks up the cup with a look in his eye that says, “Now I’ve got you, you deliciously cool beverage that used to be beyond my comprehension. I will drink you now!” 4. With the nub of the cup in his mouth, Charlie tilts his head back, raises the cup up, and swigs the juice/water/milk fervently. While gulping down the delectable beverage, he expresses his pleasure of the conquest with long bouts of, “Mmmmmm, Mmmmmmmmm, Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.”

Charlie also achieved a victory over Mommy this weekend – his first chocolate chip cookie. While I generally do not want to give my not yet toddler child sugar, I could not refuse his pleading eyes when I popped one of those luscious chocolaty beasts into my mouth. My validation for caving is based on the fact that he is my child, and being my child makes him literally a cookie monster when it comes to homemade chocolate chip cookies. There is just no avoiding the inevitable. So, Charlie had his first chocolate chip cookie. I dare say he was in heaven.
Speaking of looking at me, check out my new blog. Because Charlie’s site is/should be devoted to his wonderful adorable self, I began C-Dog Mama to reflect more on what is going on in my world, including but not limited to Charlie

The Professor

Last night, while The Professor and I were sleepily discussing the events of our day, I let him know about the new blog.

“So, you’re not going to refer to me by name are you? Can’t I have some sort of pseudonum?”

“Sure,” I say. “What do you want me to call you?”

“I don’t know. Richard, Bradley? Just something other than my name.”

“How about The Professor? Or The Doctor? Or Daddy-O? Oooohhh…I know, The Dude! You know, like The Big Lebowski?”

“I do NOT want to be called The Dude.”

“Fine, then you’re The Professor, like in Gilligan’s Island.”


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Please Don't Eat the Daisies

An honest display of the curiosities of a child

Friday, April 13, 2007

On Speaking

I decided to create a blog site away from the regular musings about my beautiful son. I have noticed lately that, while I am not a frequet poster, many of the posts that are on his/my site feature too many of my thoughts - rants, angers, woes, etc. So, I decided to keep that site nice and cute and clean for my family and create this one just fur mich. I originally wanted to call it F-Bombs (surprisingly the URL was even available) but decided against it for reasons that I can't explain. It just felt wrong - just like I didn't feel comfortable sporting an "F The President" sticker on my car even though I desperately wanted to publicly voice my opinion in that very way.

F-Bombs... I find myself using them more and more these days. Maybe it's the frustration I have with my job. Maybe it's then tension of being a new parent. Maybe it's because we are BROKE all the time. Maybe it's because I feel fat. Who knows? They just keep a-comin'. I try to censor myself, but it doesn't seem to work when it is not necessary for me to be on good behavior. My kid doesn't understand these words - yet. It just feels so good to say F-it and F-ing and F-off. Saying these words, while I know sounds immature and crude, is just such a sweet release of tension, anger, exhaustion, and frustration. It feels soooo good the way the phrases fling out of my mouth lashing at whatever is in my midst. I know I will have to change my ways and break the habit eventually. I am just not quite ready to cut myself loose from these glorious phrases. It's like smoking. You know it's bad for you, it stinks, it turns your teeth a putrid color of dingy yellow, yet it is one of the most difficult habits to kick. And it is oh so luscious when you’re not feeling guilty about it.

So, F-bombs will probably remain a shameful part of my repertoire, like drinking too much wine, eating too much food, being too annoyed by happy people, and yes, smoking on occasion.

This awareness of characteristics about myself that I just can’t kick brings me to one of my most annoying qualities that I see slyly popping up over and over and over again in recent months. In my attempt to appear smart, a quick wit, eloquent, and well, just plain normal, I find myself FREQUENTLY jumbling my words in ways that make me feel like a complete idiot. This has become a routine occurrence in my life. And I’m not talking just the random mixing up of the first letters of words or mispronunciation of three syllable thesaurus words. I’m talking Idiotese. Mispronunciation, wrong verb tense, hell – wrong word, long unintentional pauses in speech, forgetfulness about what I am saying, and a complete inability to make a point altogether. Sheeeesh! Is this a remnant of a hormonal imbalance from giving birth? Is this a sign that I am becoming communicatively weak by not having an asininely stressful and busy job to keep me on my toes? Or is it a sign that I am letting my brain go to mush from too much reality TV consumption? What the hell is happening here?

The only resolution I can demise is preoccupation. My mind is constantly filled with things I would rather be doing when I have to have somewhat intelligent conversations with people that I think need to be impressed for whatever reason. Pitiful.

Fuck it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Chocolate Feet

Charlie’s recovery from his surgery was miraculous! By Saturday morning, he acted as if it never happened. His incisions are healing nicely and the redness around the two incisions is completely gone. What a robust little boy we have!

Amidst recovery this weekend, we also celebrated Neal’s 35th birthday. To celebrate, Neal and I went out for dinner and a movie while Gammy enchanted Charlie for a few hours. I think they may have had as much if not more fun than Neal and I did.

Sunday, we spent most of the day being lazy, enjoying the weather at the zoo, and stuffing ourselves with birthday treats.
The zoo was packed full of families! I have never seen it so crowded. While there, we particularly enjoyed watching the 3 tiger cubs nap and play. They just recently had their first birthdays in March.

Charlie also got to experience Ben and Jerry’s for the first time. In a bad parent move, we decided to feed our ice-cream cravings at 7:45 that evening. We kept our fingers crossed that he wouldn’t completely crumple just as we got our scoops of that luxurious creamy goodness. Then, we remembered that we have one of the most chilled out kids on the planet. Charlie was too tired to for neatness, thus, the chocolate smeared on his face, neck and feet.

Monday, April 2, 2007


In my mind, surgery is never something to take lightly. Whether one goes under the knife for a life saving procedure or for a cosmetic augmentation, surgery is still surgery. The patient is placed under anesthesia and a surgeon works magic by making incisions in the body. I hate the thought of ever having to undergo surgery. I was extremely grateful that I was not required to have a c-section when giving birth because of my fear and ill feelings about surgery. I have thought about a possible breast reduction down the road but hesitate because I do not want to have surgery if it is not necessary. It scares me immensely.

When my pediatrician told me that my not yet one year old son, Charlie, would most likely need surgery, let’s just say that I did not take the news lightly. I tried to put my fears aside and focus on the positives. Having the surgery and determining the cause of his “missing testicle” could have a positive impact on Charlie’s life. Not having the surgery could leave a messy problem unsolved that would only need resolving later. Not having the surgery might also increase his chances of getting testicular cancer later in life. Thus, we opted to go with the pediatrician’s advice and allow someone to cut into my precious son.

The days prior to Charlie’s procedure were filled with apprehension on my part. While I felt right about our decision to move forward with the operation, I couldn’t help but think of the worst possible scenarios. Now, I’m not usually the kind of person who always jumps to the most horrible conclusion for such events, but with my kid, my baby, I couldn’t zap these thoughts from my head. I had visions of the doctor coming out of the operating room with a long and sad face, ready to tell me the bad news. My biggest fear was that Charlie would have a negative reaction to the anesthesia that would affect him for the rest of his life.

And now for my rant…Last Tuesday, just 3 days before Charlie’s surgery, I received a call from the urologist’s office stating that my insurance will not cover his surgery if we had it at the already scheduled location. They told me that I would need to reschedule it for another location, which would require us to wait 2 months AND would be during the time that Neal would be out of town. Again, they call with this information only 3 days before his scheduled surgery. Not feeling satisfied with this information, and in a fit of anger, I called the insurance company. I got the same response that I had gotten from the doctor’s office. The gist was that we would be covered at Baptist and at LeBonheur Downtown but NOT at LeBonheur East. Does this make sense to anyone? Well, it did not make a bit a sense to me. So, while waiting not so patiently on the phone with my insurance company, I began to cry in frustration. I tearfully and plainly told to customer service representative that I was mad. I was mad that I was given this information only 3 days before my son, MY BABY’s, surgery. I was mad because the stupid policy did not make sense. I was mad that I had to wait on hold for 5 minutes only to accidentally get hung up on, requiring me to call back and wait on hold again. I was mad. Period.

Finally, the CSR decided to get her manager involved. Apparently, when checking to see if an insurance company covers procedures at certain locations, they use the office's tax i.d. So, when the urologist’s office gave the 2 tax i.d.s that they use, the person at the insurance company only checked one. The wrong one. When she checked with her manager, who told her to check the other i.d. #, it was determined that in fact, I could keep my appointment at LeBonheur East and that it would be covered. So, the moral to this part of the story? When it comes to insurance companies, don’t take anything at face value.

We went through with Charlie’s surgery as originally scheduled. The mystery of his missing testicle was solved once the doctors were able to take a look at him from the inside. A hernia. A hernia! A small hernia in his abdomen left the perfect little opening for his testicle to retract into. They pulled his little testicle into place, repaired, the hernia, and voila – done. It was painful to watch him wake up from the anesthesia. He was in such a state of confusion and discomfort. The poor thing was dizzy and crying; his lips were even a little purple because his crying led to a slight lack of oxygen. He finally fell back asleep in my arms. We took home and babied him for the rest of the day. It took all of Friday for the effects of the medication to wear off, but on Saturday, he was back to his usual self, runny nose and all.

Watching my baby be whisked off to surgery was one of the most difficult things I have had to go through since leaving him in the NICU after his early arrival. I don’t think he has any clue what he went through on Friday, and I am grateful for it. He will probably look back on these pictures and feel proud because he was so brave. I’m certainly proud of his bravery. And grateful that this is behind us.

This is how we distracted Charlie since he was not allowed to eat or drink anything prior to surgery. It surprisingly worked!

Charlie was very curious about this little contraption.

Laid back (this is still prior to the surgery sans meds).