Wednesday, October 31, 2012

National Health Blog Post Month

This past April, I participated in The Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge. I blogged every. single. day. And I really enjoyed it. There were some great prompts that pushed me to write in a way I wasn't used to. And some prompts that challenged me to discuss new things, or process them in a different way. When I received an invitation to participate in National Health Blog Post Month, I decided to give it a try.

So, that's what you have to look forward to (or dread, one of the two) for the month of November. A post every day (fingers crossed!) and often focusing on health issues. Many of the participants have one specific health issue they are passionate about. But you know me well enough to know that I can't focus on one thing for like an entire hour, much less a whole month. So, as usual, I'll hop between topics, with healthy doses of breastfeeding, infertility, childhood development/parenting issues, and adoption thrown in there. Also some completely random crap. 'Cause that's how I roll.

If you're interested in participating in NHBPM yourself, here's where you can go for more information.

Hope you'll visit and enjoy!

Today's Lesson: "That's how I roll" is apparently super out of date slang now. According to my 6yo. And I'm pretty sure he's cooler and more up-to-date on what's cool than I am. I'm just not sure when that happened.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

And then, this happened.

Another short post. Because, well, that's just what I have today.

So, remember how yesterday I was all "the plague was fine and no one else vomited and we're all fine. No worries!". Dude, I mean really. It hadn't been 3 hours since I posted that when baby E vomited again! I'm pretty sure it's Murphy's Law. Or karma. Or some miserable crap like that. Honestly, there had been no vomit at all since that solo incident last week. But this one was just as prolific. I avoided it this time. But the carpet didn't. So we now have two, yes two, vomit-smelling places in our living room. Sigh.

Jessica, I'm trying out your vomit-smell-reducing recipe tomorrow. Will report on its effectiveness. Please, please let it work. Because, seriously, my house smelling like vomit does little to encourage the new sitter to agree to stay for the next month! (more on her another day. Because today, clearly, I should only discuss vomit. Because 2 posts in a row about it are obviously not enough.)

Today's Lesson: Don't tempt fate and say stupid things like "oh, that plague wasn't too bad" or "we're all fine and no one else got sick!" or"there wasn't that much vomit!". Because the plague and sicky gods will show you who's really boss. In a gooey, stinky way. Ugh.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Post Plague

Hey all! This is just a quick post to let you all know that none of us permanently succumbed to last week's plague. It actually was rather short-lived. Also, it did not spread. As in, neither hubby or I contracted any part of the plague. And there was no more puking.  ThankyousweetbabyJesus. Mama hates puking. A lot.

My poor (most favorite seat in the world) chair still smells like vomit though. That makes me sad. However, it seems to be the only causality, and I'll take. Overall, I'd say it was a plague of the tolerable kind.

Things have been super busy around these parts. But, I promise to be back soon (in a day or two) with more posts.

Today's Lesson: Vomit smell is hard to get out of upholstery. You should just avoid introducing the two. It will make your life much easier. And less smelly. For reals.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Plague of Yuckiness

So, last week the snot started freely flowing around here. Except for hubby. He is somehow immune to, like, everything. Apparently teaching in public elementary schools for 13yrs will do that to you.

Anyway, yesterday the kid came home with a letter from school saying pink eye is going around. And, of freaking course, his eyes - BOTH - are guess what color. So we called the pediatrician who was lovely enough to just call in a script.

Then, today, as the day went on, baby E got clingier and needier. And his eyes got pinker (will call the pediatrician tomorrow morning for a script for him. Wonder if she'll be so kind as to call one in for me. You know, since hubby's immune to everything and all. But it seems inevitable that it'll hit me).

And the snot continued to flow. Big time. And the whining was almost at an all time high. I'm not gonna say specifically who all was whining. But it seems fair to say there were certainly a few participants. As in more than 2.  And probably fewer than 4. And at least one of them was female.

So it was determined that both boys would be going to bed early tonight. For everyone's sanity. Which resulted in a borderline meltdown for the big one. And a definite meltdown for the little one. Mostly because said early bedtime was clearly not early enough.

Finally all was calm. The kid was reading books with his Poppa. And baby E was nursing. But then the coughing started. And didn't stop until the entirety of everything E's eaten since afternoon snack were covering me, him, and the living room chair where we nurse.

So then, that's when the screaming started. Baby E was (understandably) traumatized as I believe this may be his first ever vomiting experience. If it isn't I've blocked out the previous instances. And he apparently has, too. At any rate, he was crying/screaming.

The kid came running. Hubby - who hates vomit, then again, who doesn't? - screamed at the kid to go back to his bed. The kid had a meltdown of epic proportions. A sobbing, screaming puddle of exhaustion. With red, itchy eyes. And snot.

And there I was, holding a hysterical toddler, covered in vomit, and unable to move. You know, lest the vomit get more on the chair or on the floor. Or the toddler start to vomit more.

Everyone is finally cleaned up and the boys are in bed. Hubby is at school getting lesson plans ready for a sub tomorrow.

And I feel rather nauseous. And have itchy eyes.

Today's Lesson: Don't complain about pink eye. About how nasty it is. Because then you'll get the vomit plague. You know, to remind you that pink eye isn't really all that bad. That it could be worse. Much, much worse. also/ Apparently vomit is traumatizing for everyone.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Sometimes we get glimpses into the most intimate parts of people's lives. And I'm totally not talking about the bedroom kind of intimate. I'm talking about the moments when something happens that profoundly changes who a person is, or their life path. But not the retelling of those moments. Being there, when they are actually happening.

Sometimes these moments are beautiful, inspirational, hopeful. Like seeing a baby come into the world. Or being present when a child is placed in his mother's arms, and a mother is born. The wedding of a couple much in love.

Sometimes they are unbearably sad. Like when a child dies. Or a loved one has become so fuzzy she is no longer able to recognize us. A definitive diagnosis of infertility.

In my personal life, I have been present for a few of these moments. But, as a social worker, I've witnessed many of them. And unfortunately, the majority have been the sad ones.

Recently I was wittiness to parents having to make the decision of whether or not to donate their young daughter's organs. Medically she had been determined to have experienced brain death, which, in our state, means she was legally dead. Their decision was between organ donation (which would mean she was "alive" for an additional 24-36hrs while the necessary testing, etc... was done prior to donation) and not (which would mean the staff would disconnect her from the life support machines relatively quickly).

You all, I don't know how you make this decision as a parent. I'd like to think that I would be able to make something "good" come from my child's death in this way. But I just don't know that I could. Logically and spiritually it makes sense me. Right now. But I'm pretty sure that neither of those would be what would be guiding me in that awful moment. I'm pretty sure that my emotional being would be fully in control. Or out of control. How could I agree to lose another part(s) of my child?

The parents ultimately decided for their own reasons not to donate her organs. Many of the staff were bothered by this. A couple of times someone said something along the line that the parents would regret this decision in the future, their opportunity to help save someone else's life.

But I don't blame them. All they wanted was the life of their daughter to be saved. And, though it was not possible, that doesn't mean that they were emotionally in a place to make this kind of decision.

This day was likely the worst day professionally I've ever had. I don't want to experience one like it ever again. But I know my day pales in comparison to the day those parents had. The days they have had since that day. I desperately hope it is a day that none of us as parents ever has to experience.

Today's Lesson: Sometimes I wonder when I will feel like an "adult", I want to feel like an adult. And then I am witness to a moment such as this, and I do indeed feel like an adult. And then I no longer want to feel like an adult. There are some decisions none of us should ever be forced to make. Adult or not.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fairy House

One of the kid's school projects this year is to make a fairy house. Now, I also have no idea what the learning objectives are with regards to this. I mean, I know they'll be doing some creative writing exercises with it and that there is a book called "Fairy Houses" that they read in class, but that's all I've got. This time I'm okay with it.

So, the first version the kid made with hubby was really cute. Upon first glance, I was impressed. Until I noticed the hot glue and duct tape, that is. Because the directions stated that they were to use  natural materials.  And, you know, hot glue and duct tape and glitter aren't generally naturally occurring substances.

So, momma, the killjoy, had to break the news to the boys that a new fairy house had to be constructed. I'm not sure who was more upset about that - the kid or his Poppa. Actually, I am quite sure. It was the Poppa. Hands down. So the task was delegated to me, as hubby was completely and totally over it by that point.

The kid decided to use the pumpkin he got on his field trip a couple weeks ago as the base for the fairy house. We decided (as our one non-naturally occurring material - what?! It's fine that wasn't in the directions. I'm a girl who only likes to follow rules most of the time) to have a cardboard bottom, on which to sit everything.

We built a stick arbor and covered it with leaves, attaching everything with what are apparently milkweed vines (I've been lax in pulling them up this year in the yard so only just discovered that's what they are). The kid cut the milkweed pods in half and placed them in the pumpkin as little fairy beds. The pumpkin has windows and optional skylights. He's plugged them up at the moment, "in case it rains...the fairies can take them out when they're in the mood for fresh air". 

There's also a rock garden (on the left side of the pic) with other pods with berries (aka the fairies' food dishes). On the inside of the pumpkin and across the whole bottom of the box are lambs' ear leaves, so the fairies have soft carpet. I believe he's thought of everything. Well, except a rain barrel. I mean, he thought of that, but we couldn't come up with a way to do it. Or, to be more accurate, after 3 hours, I was over it and no longer had the mental energy necessary to continue to help him. And then he was over it, too.

Today's Lesson: Fairies need us to build them homes. Perhaps with this home, the tooth fairy will be more reliable in her visits at our home. Maybe.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Cubicle Chronicles: Chapter Four

Read previous chapters of the Cubicle Chronicles here, here, and here. I keep thinking, surely the fodder for these must come to an end at some point. I have yet to find that point though. So we continue...

(Conversation in process regarding how everyone @ this location always seems to be passing around awful sinus gunk.) Lady 1: I keep expecting to walk in here one morning and see mushrooms sprouting out of the carpet. Lady 2: Oh no, sister. We are the mushrooms. They keep us in the dark and dump shit on us all the time. They cultivate us. We are the mushrooms. (That seems like possibly a valid point.)

Ma'am, do you have any STD's? (pause) Well, yes, ma'am, I did ask if you have any STD's. (pause) Yes, ma'am, I do realize that you're 94 years old. (pause) Is that right, ma'am, you got married when you were 14? (pause) No, ma'am. Pregnancy is not considered an STD. (pause) Yes, even if it happened 18 times. (Um, 18 times?! As much as I'd love to be pregnant, I might be with the old lady on this one.)

Lady 1: Apparently the patient was making passes at the staff at his previous nursing home. Lady 2: Isn't he here for a UTI? Lady 1: Yes. Lady 2 (sarcastically): I've heard UTI's can make you do that. Lady 1: So, they're refusing to take him back there. Lady - loose use of that word - 3 (yells across the room): What room is that man in? I'm a-goin' up there now to get me some action! Then I might just take 'em home with me!  (So, really? I mean, I can't actually think of a response to this. Apparently neither could anyone else as the whole office sat in dead silence for several minutes. Total awkwardness.)

Lady: My kid apparently joined the academic team. I mean, I know my kid. I know all of my kids and it's safe to assume that none of my kids is going to make an academic team based on smarts. They must of just needed bodies in them seats. That and the team must just suck. Bad. Really, I do love my kids, but, and I'm just bein' honest here, they're pretty stupid. (So, do you think that was nature or nurture responsible for that one? Just asking because your use of poor grammar doesn't help me answer that question really.)

(Thanks to speaker phone technology, I was blessed enough to hear both sides of this delightful convo) Lady 1: Amanda, why did you skip school??! A: I didn't! L: I know you did! Why are you lying to me? A: Because I can. L1: Who else is in my house? I don't want nobody in my house! A: Eff you, mother! L1: You think you're so effing bad@ss, but you don't know anything. A: (hang up) (there were 3 more similar rants, then the most fun part started.) L1: Won't nobody help me with her? Lady 2: Have you called the police, or the court? L1: No, I can't do that to my baby. L2: What about one of them psychiatrists? L1: She went 2 times and it didn't do no good! L2: Well, then you gotta call the po-po. L1: But then she'll be mad at me. (several minutes later) L1: It's almost Amanda's birthday. What do you think I should get her? I was thinking an iPhone 5. She has the 4 but says she wants the new one. Also, she lost her iPad. I mean, I think she sold it for drug money. Though she could have gotten that money from doing who knows what with those boys who are always around. But at any rate it's gone so now she needs a new one. (There was so much that is wrong in this convo that I don't know where to start. So let me try to hit the highlights - call the police. Don't buy your kid any new stuff. Drug test her. That seems like a good place to start.)

Today's Lesson: Let's see, here are a few. Pregnancy doesn't officially count as an STD. Don't hit on patients. Don't call your kids stupid. Don't buy your drug-abusing child expensive toys for her to sell for drugs. Oh, and sometimes we apparently are the mushrooms.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Newborn Days

As I've mentioned before, our friends who recently had the new baby join their family also happen to be baby E's sitter. As soon as she told me about the baby, she hastened to say that of course baby E would continue to come as always. And though that certainly would make my life easier, I'm not willing to do it. I know how much she (they all) love baby E, but sometimes your own family needs to come first.

When my boys were born, I continued to work some. It was mostly at home, though sometimes going in to the office with baby in tow. And while this worked for me (for the most part), it was a limited amount of time. Keeping E is a full time deal (well, 4 days/week). And he is a toddler who requires full time attention.

But, mostly, this isn't about me, or even baby E. Mostly what I want for my dear friend is to have her time with her baby. I want her to be able to snuggle him on the couch all day (if that's what they want). I want her to be able to nap when he does (if she can). I want her to be able to sit still while she's feeding him and marvel at his beautiful eyes (or catch up on FB, whichever). I want him to be her only focus. I want for her to have the time and space to fall in love with him completely, forge that strong bond. I want for her to get into a groove of knowing her baby and him knowing her. I want for her to have the same time that other mothers have.

If she had given birth to this baby, there would be no question about us needing to find at least temporary other care for E. It would be assumed. And while of course she doesn't have the physical recovery part of this whole new baby thing, she does have the rest of it.

And, so, we're the in the market for a short term childcare solution for baby E. A month or two (hopefully). But, if they need longer than that, I'm perfectly happy to give it. My hope is that she will give herself permission to have this time with him, no guilt. Because they both deserve it.

Today's Lesson: Just because you don't give birth to your child doesn't mean you don't deserve, you don't need!!!!, that time in the early days to learn each other, to be with each other, to love each other. Regardless of how a child comes to join a family, time is needed to forge that bond. Congrats, dear friends. Take your time and love that baby boy!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

No, you are not getting a baby sister

The other morning the kid noticed several of tubs of baby clothes and stuff sitting in the living room. He nearly screamed with excitement: "Are we going to have a new baby? Am I going to have my new baby sister today?" Now, nevermind that we haven't talked - at all - about adding a 3rd child to our family. I quickly responded that, no, there would be no baby joining our household anytime soon. He groaned in disappointment, then quickly asked why the clothes were out, seemingly not quite believing me.

I explained to him that our dear friends had been chosen by a mother to adopt a baby who was born the day before, that the kid's bff was (finally!) going to be a big brother. The kid grinned from ear to ear and jumped into the air, pumping his fist, "yes!!! He is going to LOVE being a big brother!!" He then, with a not so pleased look on his face, stopped his rejoicing abruptly and quickly asked if the baby was a girl. I told him it wasn't, and his grin and fists pumps returned.

I can't tell you how thrilled I am for my friends. They are some of the most loving, honest, faithful people I know. They have prayed for a child to be added to their family for so very long. I feel so joyful for them. Their son, the kid's bff, is about a year and half younger than the kid. And he has been praying so hard for a baby brother or sister. I can only imagine how giddy he is right now.

Today's Lesson: Apparently my kid still wants a baby sister. The birth of this baby has only brought this back up. And now he won't stop talking about it. Apparently, we better "get on this getting me a baby sister thing".

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Secret Revealed

You all cracked me up about the secret! I mean, I feel like it might be a letdown to those of you who don't know me irl. Because, truly, it isn't about me or my family. I mean, we're happy about it and it affects us, but it's not our secret. And that really makes no sense, does it?

I feel like I want to string you along for awhile, just to tease you and make you empathize with me about the torture keeping this secret has been. But, lets be honest, I do hate keeping secrets. A lot. And I have wanted nothing more for the last week and a half than to blab it! So I will. Right now.

Our dear friends (also baby E's sitter, and his godparents) have a new son! He was born the beginning of last week, but didn't come home until this week. They didn't tell really anyone until a couple of days ago. I understand why they didn't want to let the proverbial cat out of the bag until baby boy was home. But it kind of complicated my life (oh my word. I sound beyond self-centered right now!).

First, you know, as I may have mentioned before, I suck at keeping secrets, particularly wonderful ones. And it has been killing me to not be able to share this joyous news with everyone (b/c I'm so happy for them) and especially the friends we have in common (b/c I knew how thrilled they would be for them as well). Of course it wasn't my news to share, so I had to zip it.

But also, as Ms M is E's sitter, I knew we needed to make new plans for him at least short-term. We have so many friends in common that I couldn't send out a fb request for childcare suggestions without at least making everyone question what was going on with them. And because baby's come-home date was a little uncertain for awhile, and because hubby was FREAKING OUT that we wouldn't figure something out, my stress level about it was - at moments - a bit out of control.

So, my excitement for them, the general worry that can come with adoption - especially in the very early days - and anxiety about our childcare plan all led to a general focus on only this in my head. You know, making it really difficult to blog about anything else! And, since I couldn't blog about this, an absence of blogging occurred.

So, that's the secret that I've been dying to spill. A new baby has been born. And he is beautiful. His first mother made the gut-wrenching, difficult decision for my friends to parent him. And he is an oh-so-hairy-and-adorable-and-tiny boy who is already loved by so many people.

And I'm back to blogging. But that's not the exciting part ;)

Today's Lesson: It is a huge relief to share a secret.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I'm sitting in the living room, on the phone. Baby E is in the kitchen. Doing heaven knows what. I can hear him and am physically less than 10ft away. I just can't actually see him.

I hear him drag a kitchen chair across the floor, from the table towards the kitchen counters. Lord knows what's up there. I can't get up and go in there because I need the computer for the convo I'm having and the stupid thing won't work unless plugged in continuously. I can't tell you what that convo was about. You know, because of whole SECRET thing.

Anyway, I hear him giggling and chattering away to himself. There's no telling what he's found. I hear his bare feet hit the wood floor. At least he's no longer in danger of falling 4ft from the top of the counter to the hard floor. Of course I assumed he had climbed on top of the counters. You know. Because that's what he does when left unattended.

The chair scrapes back across the floor to the table. Slap, slap, slap go his bare feet. Screeeeeeech goes the chair. I see him climb up into the chair and sit down nicely with his hands in his lap. He's put a banana on the table. Apparently he was hungry. I'm thrilled that's all he got off the counter. Well, I hope that's all he got off the counter.

He bows his head. Babbles a bunch. Then clearly says, "Aaaaaaaaamen". And eats his banana.

I feel all proud that my barely two year old was able to get his own snack and knew to take it to the table to eat. Really, that's better than the 6yo sometimes does. Also, I'm loving our sitter/dear friend for teaching him to say "amen" before eating. I'm reminded that he had to learn it there, because we've been horrible about praying before meals the last few months.

I finish up the phone call. Baby E has finished up his snack. Oh yes. He also wiped his hands and face with one of the cloth napkins on the table. Such a big boy.

I head in to the kitchen. He ate half the banana. I'm impressed he was able to peel it himself. But he sure did. I walk further in to the kitchen. And see a banana on the floor. And then another. I pick the first up. It has a bite mark. As in a piece of the peel is missing - and no where to be found. I sigh. Then pick up the other banana. It has 2 bites out of it.

I sit the bananas on the counter. There are 2 bananas there that also have bite marks. One is also half eaten. Apparently he did have a whole banana for his snack. That ought to hold him for quite a while.

E comes running in to the room, laughing hysterically about who knows what. He runs full force towards me with his arms flung wide open, his face holds the most joyous smile. I can do nothing but grin at him in return and open my arms to welcome him. He wriggles like a happy puppy. I call him puppy sometimes. It's like his body holds too much joy and just can't contain it all.

How I love this little creature. Banana smeared hands, hair, face and all.

And, this week, we shall have banana bread for breakfast. Lots of banana bread.

Today's Lesson: A toddler's digestive tract is not particularly equipped to digest banana peels. They'll look remarkably the same on the way out as they did on the way in. Apparently.

Monday, October 8, 2012


You know how sometimes you have A. Lot. To. Say. But you can't say any of it because it involves someone else's secret. And, you know, you can't out them. But you can't discuss what's going on in your head because it makes no sense without the reference to the secret which cannot be named. And this secret, it's huge. HUGE. And awesome. Oh so damn awesome. And totally not yours to share. But you're afraid if you keep talking, you are totally going to spill the beans. Because you are horrible at keeping secrets. Horrible. Seriously. And then you wonder why anyone ever trusts you with them. Because, really.

So, yeah. That's where I am. And why I've been quiet. Also, things have been ridiculously crazy busy at work so I haven't had time to pee or eat, much less read or blog myself. Hoping this will change in the next couple of days. Pleasebabyjesus.

Today's Lesson: Sometimes you have so much to say that it's hard to say anything. Secrets complicate so much.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Spelling Test

Momma: Hey Bug, how was your spelling test.
Kid: It was fine.
M: Did you try your hardest?
K: Yes, I did. I did all the words.
M: Oh yeah? Were some of them kind of challenging, or was it super easy?
K: It was fine. I hope I got them all right.
M: Well, I'm proud of you for trying your best and studying them so hard the last couple of days.
K: Yeah, I just hope I didn't get an F. I mean, I don't know what an F is. But I still hope I don't get one.
M: I'm sure you won't get an F, kiddo.
K: Wait, does F mean fabulous?
M: Uh, no.
K: Oh. Okay then. No F for me.
M: Good plan, kid.

Today's Lesson: Oh wait - if F does mean fabulous, then that would explain the F's I got on my spelling tests in 6th grade. I'm certain that is what F means now. Why did I not think of that in 6th grade when I had to tell my mom about my F's. Oh, wait. Did I ever tell her about those? Mom, ignore this whole lesson.