Tuesday, September 26, 2006

All Kinds of Wrong

THIS... I discovered online at Anthropologie.com. Normally I love their funky, albeit expensive things. But this is just uncalled for.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Letting Them Fall

Before I had a child, I was a serious eye-roller. It seemed that parents were either paranoid about their childrens' safety or completely oblivious to them altogether. Rarely did I see the happy medium, the perfect balance between smothering and ignoring. Either parents were not letting their children do ANYTHING themselves, or they were turning the kids out into the neighborhood, letting them run the streets in preschooler hooligan gangs. Unsupervised at the playgrounds near us, they guard the entrace to every slide like Jack and Roger in Lord of the Flies, and taunt the sweet little children too young to even understand what they were doing, not letting them go down the slide. Little Monsters at age 5, and without a parent in sight.
Then, I had my own. As anyone who has become a parent knows, there is no comparing how you feel about YOUR child to how you feel about everyone else's children, or children in general. I didn't particularly like children before having one. I liked (and loved) a few specific ones, but then I had Hootie. And the Sun Rises and Sets on Her Face. I have kissed and caressed and adored every little part of that sweet face, her edible little fingers and toes, her freckle on her kneecap, the veins you can see through the nearly translucent skin of her eyelids. I thoroughly love and cherish my child.
The first time (out of the hospital) where I saw blood come from my child's body due to an injury, my heart ACHED. It was truly nothing serious - Hootie was sticking her chubby little fingers into her Auntie Cat's mouth, and Auntie Cat was teasing her by nibbling on her fingers. Until she actually BIT her finger totally due to SPAZZING OUT. It barely broke the skin, but there was her blood. Hootie cried and cried for me, I scooped her up and washed her finger and put some ointment and a tiny little bandaid on it while my sister in law dug herself a hole in the living room floor and crawled inside. And every time since, every scrape or cut or big red knot on her head has hitched my heart like it was caught on a fishhook.
As a result, I'm probably classified as a Smotherer. I hate to see those big crocodile tears come out of my precious child's eyes. I am SURE that I help her do far too many things because I am afraid of her falling or hurting herself in some way (like the jungle gym at the park). It took forever before I would push her on the Big Girl Swings more than in about a 10 degree arc. But it has come to my attention that I need to back off and let the child TRY things, else she will never learn the consequences of gravity, learn to compensate for them, and develop her own sense of achievement and independence in the physical world.
So, my first attempt at this was to let her try to climb up the rock-climbing station at a playground at Amy's Ice Cream a few weeks ago. I know she'd never tried such a thing, and I was terrified to see her fall off something like that. But I sat in my rusty lawnchair, about 40 feet away from her, with her father giving me serious props for not hovering behind her in case she fell. She made it about half way up, going slowly and cautiously, but with a pretty decent natural talent with it. And then I heard the panicked little voice, "Mommy, I'm STUCK! I need your help!" My husband tried to stop me, to give her the chance to try and figure it out on her own. But I cannot ignore an honest plea from my child for help. So I went, but instead of scooping her up and putting her on top of where she wanted to go, I just grabbed her waist while she was still on the thing, and guided her up the rest of the steps, telling her where to place her feet and hands, until she made it to the top. And my husband actually did the little eye-roll.
Then last night, we were visiting friends for dinner. It was a delightful, cool evening and we were eating red snapper and grilled chicken outside. These friends have a darling boy 3 months older than Hootie (I'll call him W), and these children are best pals. His back yard has a wooden playscape with 3 swings attached, and the children were playing on the swings. Normally I am alright with swings at this point, especially as W was trying to teach Hootie how to pump her legs to get herself going, rather than constantly calling one of us to come push her. But then, he showed her how he likes to lie on his belly across the floppy rubber seat, and swing that way. This, too, was alright... until W RAN toward the seat and flung himself on it, and swung pretty high in the air. Before it even happened, I saw it in a mind flash, what was about to transpire. Hootie ran toward the swing, but overshot the seat and went flying over it, and onto her face, as it caught her at about the knee. I must have LEVITATED up and over that table, and ran to her. There was the sickening silent pause that always precedes a painful cry, when the wind is knocked out of them and they are taking in a breath to wail. I hate that total lack of sound. I got there to her as she just started her first wail. Her mouth was bloody and I couldn't see what all was going on in there. She cried, "Mommy, Mommy, my FACE hurts! My MOUTH hurts!" but she sat up on her own, so I knew her back wasn't injured. I scooped her up as my husband was saying, "Oh, Trasi, she's FINE" (until he saw all the blood). I got her to the bathroom and got a washcloth wet with some cold water, and wiped away the blood on her lips. I could tell her lip was cut in two places, probably from the upper teeth smashing into it. But it wasn't cut through the lip, thank God. I checked her teeth, and nothing was loose. Tongue wasn't cut either, luckily. All in all, there are now three big scabs on her bottom lip, it is swollen, and a bruise on her chin. It could have been so much worse, but it was bad enough for me to entirely lose my focus for the rest of the night. I hope for her sake, for the sake of me wanting to raise an independent, curious, adventurous child, that I don't stop letting her do things without me hovering over her. But GOD, IT IS HARD NOT TO! She'll just never learn how the world works, unless she's allowed to do at least a LITTLE bit of experimentation with its forces. But I had best steel myself, as I'm sure my heart hasn't seen the HALF of its future angst yet.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Prednisone, the verdict is still out

Update, and for everyone's sake, probably my last, on the recent illness issue. Prednisone is responsible for me having gotten two good nights' sleep in a row, so it has a lot going for it in that arena alone. I am sure the antibiotics have also participated in this goodness.
However, it has made me one irritable bitch. I found myself biting my husband's head off, chewing it, and spitting it out yesterday morning over whether or not when I asked him if he saw the back bathroom light on and would he please not turn it off, did I mean EVER, or just that morning. See, my curling iron is plugged into an outlet that only works when the light is on. Therefore, leaving the light on is imperative if I want my curling iron to function. My husband is a habitual light turner offer, however, only in that room. Which has sparked many an irritated moment for me; just as I am about to go curl my hair, I discover that my curling iron is not in fact hot, due to the light being turned off. So he thought I meant don't EVER turn it off, while I actually meant, please not to turn it off in this instance. And his reply was, "no, I won't do that. It's a fire hazard." You would have thought this was a major issue, given the ire it inspired in me, frustrated with the miscommunication situation. That was my first clue something was amiss with the whole Prednisone thing.
Then later in the day, I was hanging out with Hootie on my own, as dear husband went to the UT/Iowa State football game with some friends. It seemed nearly every little thing that precious child did irritated the crap out of me, and I would feel my blood boil, as though I could just yell right at her at that moment, and I had to stop, count to 10, tell myself to chill out. Take a deep breath. Proceed. That strategy did work, but it confirmed in my mind that it's not JUST me having a bad day, there's really something different from my normal self. That is not something I usually experience unless I have had a seriously bad day, which all things considered, I hadn't had at all.
So I looked it up, and one of the first listed side effects of Prednisone is irritability.
I then proceeded to announce to all of my friends and loved ones that if I bite their heads off, get short with them, act like an idiot or am in some other way not myself over the next 3 days, please forgive me and let me know that I need to do a better job of controlling myself on this drug. At least I am aware of it and can manage myself... My mother laughed her fool head off. Prednisone makes her euphoric but some of the other things she's had to take in her lifetime don't have such a positive effect on her, so she well understands.
And, the quantity of green slime coming from my head has drastically decreased. Yay. But another lovely thing I discovered is that I will likely be on 3 different allergy medications for the rest of my life, every single day, as I am fully and completely allergic to Austin. And my allergist strongly recommends I start taking allergy shots pronto. The last time I was tested, earlier this year, I'm severely allergic to ragweed, marsh elder, cedar (which is the worst), oak, molds, and cats. That covers just about every single time of the year here. Right now, it's ragweed, which will slowly give way just as the cedar count is kicking up in November. It's a good damn thing I like living in Austin, else I would likely move the hell away from this allergy nightmare. The bright side? I am not allergic to my dog.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thank God for Pharmaceuticals

I have now been plied with a new 10-day series of antibiotics, and a 5-day series of 40mg Prednisone. This is the first time I have been on Prednisone, and I must say, it makes one a bit lightheaded, fuzzy, and slow. I know it can have weird effects on different people - depression, euphoria, lots of energy or weakness, increased appetite and weight gain (though unfortunately, not the opposite, sigh), but I'm only on a short dose of it to get my congestion under control while the antibiotics kick in. I'm praying for a good night's sleep tonight with the help of my friend Afrin, which the doc said I could use for another day or two, until the Prednisone does kick in (12-24 hours after the dose). Other than being exhausted, I had a pretty decent day, and now am ready to hit the sack. Wish me luck.


So, basically I have been awake this morning since about 3:30 a.m. Why would that be? Oh, let me see. Perhaps it was because I CAN'T FRIGGING BREATHE.
Aside... I have sinus issues. I know it makes me a whining, pitiful wanker to go on about physical ailments. But this is my blog, so I shall write about it.
So anyway, my child contracted whatever it was before our trip, and she's (for the most part) back to good health. Minor coughing remains, as a slow trickle of clear fluid eeps down her throat on its way out of her system. Me, however, I'm a bloody mess.
I think I have now achieved the highest level of congestion I have ever achieved in my lifetime. BOTH nostrils are so completely clogged, I cannot breathe even a mere whiff of air through either one of them. Unless, UNLESS I am STANDING UP. Then, one will open enough to actually breathe out of it. As you can well imagine, that doesn't make for some easy sleeping! Maybe in college, while on one of my various trips in Europe by train, I could have slept standing up. NOT SO, post-pregnancy, at age 36. Try as I might, I cannot sleep with my mouth open. It becomes incredibly dry, my tongue sticks to my teeth, my lips get crusty, and inexplicably my mouth falls shut. Just when it does this, my body realizes it now has absolutely no orifice through which to draw in oxygen, and it freaks the hell out. My eyes slam open as I gasp for air, and then I get up, trying to blow the sorry excuse that is my nose. I have gone through two boxes of Kleenex in a short 2 1/2 days, and my nose is red and raw. You'd think that since I can get some stuff out of my nose that the congestion would clear up? Ah, not so lucky am I. I have a complete pharmacy at my disposal (sans antibiotics, sadly) to deal with my congestion, but NONE of the options have even touched my congestion. Not Sudafed, not Tavist D, not Tylenol Sinus and Severe Congestion, not Allerest.... I am forbidden by my allergist from using Afrin any further, as I already abused the 3-day rule on how long I can spray it up my nose, and it doesn't last more than about 2 hours anymore anyway.
So, I have been upright, pacing, walking outside, drinking water, trying to use my neti pot to clear things out (unsuccessfully, as no liquid can make its way through my ridiculous nose at this juncture), reading my favorite blogs' archives, trying to go back to bed, only to be thrown back into the vicious cycle of trying fruitlessly to breathe.
I am actually going to the allergist today, I have had this appointment since about 10 days ago, when I was away. I thought at the time, "no way will I still be sick 10 days from now". Thank God I kept the appointment, as I am now sicker than I was 10 days ago. I'm at 2 1/2 weeks of constant sickness now, and I think I'll go in with my harekare knife poised and ready to shove into my belly if my doctor cannot give me SOMEthing to relieve this infernal sinus infection.
I am now done ranting about my physical ailments. Carry on.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I love this child.

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Yesterday I got out of my mother's car at the airport amidst a little Pacific Northwest drizzle and a healthy dose of "I'm gonna miss you" sadness. I had spent the last two weeks visiting, and nearly the entire time someone was sick. First, Hootie and I arrived with some upper respiratory funk (sinus infection? cold? flu?) and promptly got on antibiotics. Evidently we either caught a heinous strain of whatever it was, or it's viral, because the antibiotics didn't even touch it, and we're still hanging on to a bit of post nasal drip/cough. Then my poor sweet nephew Zakky caught something that started to resemble what we had (thick, green glop oozing from the nasal orifice and a pretty decent fever) but rapidly morphed into an ear infection and double pink eye on top of the nasty green slime. My sister caught something akin to all of this, with a sore throat and ear, and my new baby nephew Sam caught his first sickness at 5 months, including the pink eye and a wicked cough. Fate spared my mom the bacterial/viral heebyjeebies, but lashed out and gave her the achy/shaky/chills/nausea flu instead, for the last 5 days of our trip. I mean, really, WTF? We were all seriously bummed out that not once did we get together to barbeque and drink rum and cokes in the delightful Indian summer weather, not once did I even set foot into anything besides WalMart and Target, much less my favorite antique stores, and aside from doing a little shrubbery rearranging in my mom's yard, did very few of my typical helpful daughter chores. We did a lot of sitting around staring at each other, saying, "this sucks." Wanting to rent movies but going to bed at 8 pm. Avoiding the infectious pink eye and spraying Lysol or Clorox water on everything in sight. Of course, having a nice dose of Mom and sister time is worth it even if we're sick, but it still sucks to have had such high hopes for a visit, and have them fall soooo short of what we had wanted to achieve together.
With this weighing on our hearts, knowing I won't see my mom for another few months, I got out of the car and took the bags from the trunk. My usually stoic mother gave Hootie and me lots of extra hugs and kisses goodbye, and at the very end, started to cry. In years past, I was the crier, starting the gradual fattening of my eyelids and stuffing of my nose before we even left the driveway. My mother would always stoicly pat my leg, or hold my hand, and chatter on about something or other while I cried. But the last year or so, I have been able to keep busy with the toddler and avoid my own personal crying. BUT, not if my mother cries first. Which she did. GAH!
Seeing all this, my charming little BARELY 3 year old daughter comes over to me and says, "Mommy, don't cry! I know you will miss Moosie (what she calls my mother), but you always have ME!" Yep, if that ain't something to cheer up about, I don't know what is.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Fashion Disaster

So, I have been away in another part of the country for a few weeks, and it takes leaving one's home sometimes to discover what all is going on in the world. And one big discovery I have come upon while away is that, not terribly surprising sequentially, the 80's followed the 70's. Now I am not really talking about how the 1970's and 1980's went in order just as a fun fact. I'm talking about fashion. We have had a nice, long run of the 70's in the fashion arena, with the bell-bottoms-renamed-flares, hip-huggers-renamed-ultra-low-rise, the wide collared, embroidered tops that go by the style name of "BOHO". All that takes a certain kind of individual to wear it well, and I'm not exactly one of them. But, I have truly taken a stab at it, and have gotten a bit used to it. I can do the wide legged pants, as they truly do make the legs look thinner and longer. I can hang with at least a below-the-waist pant, and I really love embroidered anything. Just as I'm becoming fashion-savvy, I read in the newspaper that we're standing at the front edge of a new era. The 80's are coming back, and WORSE than EVER. When I was in the 80's, I was a teenager. This was my very OWN era. But even I do not want to see leggings and leg-warmers return to the fashion scene. It's just NOT RIGHT, people. Leg warmers are for DANCERS, who live in ALASKA. They are not for girls in Texas to don over their leggings! Let's just pray that stirrup pants do NOT come back in style (ew!), and that sweatshirts maintain their collars, such that they do not need to be ripped and off the shoulder a la Flashdance. And tapered-leg pants? Hello? I see what Stacey on TLC's "What Not to Wear" has been saying all along, about tapered leg pants. They truly do look like you put a rubber band at the ankle and filled them with mashed potatoes. And polo shirts worn double, two different colors with the collars standing straight up, that is just hot, not to mention stupid. I only hope the mullet and mall bangs don't make a frightening revival as well. I think if this is truly the next fashion era, I want to go to sleep and wake up again in about 10 years. However, with Hootie in my life, I'm compelled to stay awake and make sure she doesn't get sucked into the vortex that was the 80's.