Monthly Archives: October 2010

This Is Why I’m Not a Doctor

On Wednesday night, Marissa came home from practice holding her hand and wailing something about how, “I hurt my haaaaand, and (sniff, sniff) Carl doesn’t caaaaare!”
I looked at the offending hand.  (Ok, I briefly glanced at the hand, because I’ll admit, my tired butt was already laying in bed.)  I concurred with Jason’s decision to give her baby aspirin and an ice pack, and I let her crawl into bed with me for a while.
Problem solved.
Until the next morning, when she woke up with a hideously oversized hand that was approximately the color of an eggplant.  (That’s purple, for any of you who may be wondering.)  I’ll let you in on a little secret.  Evidently (sigh & mom-style eye roll), it’s not cool to gasp and say, “Oh, my God!  Your hand looks like a giant purple marshmallow!”  (Or so I’ve heard.)
Actually, I didn’t say that to her until a while later, because our sitter is the one who called me with the news that, indeed, there was something wrong with Marissa’s hand.
So, mommy called the doctor, and the doctor said…
“Holy cow!  That thing looks like a sausage!”  (Which is also something else that should not be mentioned to the kid sporting the new sausage finger.)
That same kid is now sporting a splint that runs from her palm to the tip of her finger, because it’s broken in two places.  Two.  Places.
I need to interject here and mention that I’m not a cold-hearted mom, and had I known the finger was actually broken the night before, I would have…well, I would have done something.  I don’t know exactly what, but something better than a baby aspirin and an ice pack.  (Maybe a shot of rum?  I dunno.)
But you have to understand, and I can explain, and all that jazz.  If you look back a few posts, you’ll notice that I’ve recently been dealing with the other daughter, who has either contracted every illness and ailment known to man or is the biggest hypochondriac I’ve ever heard of.  So I’ve been deflecting things like, “I might have heart problems” and “My whole foot is broken” and “I can’t breathe right” and “OMG!  Is that a growth on my ear?!?!”
So when I heard, “My finger hurts,” I sort of deflected it and decided it was probably ok unless it got escalated to a level that Micaela might have chosen, something like a cholera outbreak for example.
And now, we find out that the kid evidently shoved the bone through the growth plate in her hand.  I’m not sure where exactly that plate is, but anything involving bones and “shoving” and “growth plate” does not sound in the least bit pleasant to me.  Needless to say, I’m sensing a lot of specialists in our future.  And I’m also sensing medical bills out the wazoo…I know, I know, I’m no psychic, but I think those people have developed enough of a pattern for me to predict that they will soon request my first-born child as payment.
And dang, shoved it through the growth plate?  Could the doctor not warn me he’s about to say something that gross and maybe hand me a barf bag or something?  That’s gotta hurt.  I should’ve given the kid the rum.

Somber Occasion

We had just left for our little road trip.  In fact, we really hadn’t made it out of Kansas City yet when we got the call, the dreaded call of doom and despair.
Nothing could have prepared us for the shocking news we received.  Hot Mama Llama had been called home to the big fish bowl in the sky.
Let me remind you all how Hot Mama Llama got her name.  You see, two years ago, for her birthday, Micaela desperately wanted a llama.  Yes, a real, live, beastly, hairy thing.  I’m not really sure where she was planning on putting this llama, as I’m fairly certain that our neighborhood association frowns upon that sort of thing.  But she wanted a llama nonetheless.
And guess who told her she could have one?  Yep, my dad.  PawPaw.  I’m not sure whether he was having hallucinations or if he was maybe snorting his Excedrin through a straw or something, but something he said made my kid believe that, indeed, he was going to get her a llama for her birthday.
A quick conference with the grandparents made me the official birthday dream killer, but I was satisfied that I would not need to build a llama hut (or whatever they sleep in) in the back yard.  However, when the big day rolled around, everyone was worried that Micaela might be disappointed in the fact that there was no llama waiting for her in the back yard.  Never mind the fact that she would have an entire table full of gifts—she wanted a llama.  And there was to be no llama.
Hence came the idea to substitute something in place of the llama.  Enter Hot Mama Llama, a lovely and much smaller pet with a considerably lower maintenance requirement.  You see, Hot Mama Llama was the prettiest beta fish in the pet store, and Micaela’s grandparents picked this little fish out just for her.  I think they were secretly hoping she would not realize the absence of the llama that might have been.
Oh, but she did notice.  She was very happy with her little fish however, and in honor of the imaginary llama that my dad—who was evidently HIGH—had promised her, she named it Hot Mama Llama.  (I’m pretty sure the fish was a boy, but who am I to say?)
Hot Mama Llama lived a happy two years in suburban bliss before succumbing to old age.
Ok, actually I think I need to confess something here, but don’t tell Micaela.  You see, we have had this very recent issue with those really annoying small gnats that like to swarm around fruit and stuff, and we have this apple tree in our front yard where those pesky little things seem to congregate.  And sometimes the little things flit right into the house and I SO do not do bugs.  Not any kind of bugs.  Not even the little harmless gnat thingies.  So Jason, in his infinite dad wisdom thought we should set off a bug bomb or something in the house.
He swore to me that the package just said to cover fish tanks, which he did.  But a day after the bomb, Hot Mama Llama was a floater.  I think Jason is a murderer, but again, don’t tell Micaela.
(Ok, seriously, I never thought one of my longest blog entries would be about a fish.  Thus is the exciting life I live.)
Anyway, so Jason and I left for our little one-night roadie, and before we even got out of town, we got the call.  The fish was belly-up.  And MaMaw, not knowing what to do with a perfectly dead fish, decided that the best place for it would be in our freezer.
Um, yep.  I would have probably gone with toilet, but she went with freezer.  She tossed the little guy in a Ziploc and put him on ice to await our return the next day.  So if you end up visiting our house in the near future and the ice tastes a little funny, no worries, it’s probably just a little lingering Hot Mama Llama flavoring.  (Can anyone say EWWW?)  I’m just glad a cat or chinchilla didn’t die, because I am NOT going to come home to one of those in my freezer!
Later, on the phone, Micaela told me, “Mom, we have to have a funeral.”
Yeah, I was totally thinking that.  (Um…not.)
But I was like, “Ok, kid, we’ll bury the frozen fish when we get home.”
And she was ok with that, but she did add, “You have to dress up.”
Yup, I’m gonna get right on that.  Right after I clean the freezer.

The Trade-Off

As I’m sitting here at work (with not a lot to do), I’m trying to talk myself out of ice cream.  I really, really want it.  And when I really want ice cream, no one better stand between me and the closest Sheridan’s.
And that’s what prompted this entry.  I have come up with a list of reasons why I’m not going to go to Sheridan’s today. (Oh, and if someone can give me a healthy food that’s anywhere near as delicious as one of their peanut butter malts, then I will be your slave forever.)
I’m pretty new at this whole clean(er) eating and exercise thing.  And boy, oh boy, do I have a long way to go!  But in just four short months, here is what CrossFit has done for me:
My headaches are not entirely gone, but compared to the shooting migraines I had every single day, I’ll take a smallish headache here and there.  No more migraine meds, and very minimal use of Excedrin.  (I’m pretty sure that for a while there, I single-handedly kept the makers of that particular aspirin product in business.)
Asthma, be gone!  Ok, well not exactly gone per se, BUT aside from the minor weather-change issues, I have not had to use my inhaler for a long, long time.  Before CrossFit, I was using my inhaler about…hmmm…oh yeah, a gazillion times a day.
Cankles are banished.  If you’re not familiar with the term cankles, they can unglamorously be described as the part of your body where calf and ankle should become two separate body parts…but when the excess body fat sort of blends into one thing, they become ‘cankles.’
I can jump.  And not just when a spider crawls out from under something that I happen to be standing by.  I mean, I can jump—when I want, for however long I want.  I’m not quite to the you-say-jump, I-say-how-high thing, because I’m pretty sure I’d scrape the flesh right off my leg if I tried anything higher than 16” right now.  But for me, that’s HUGE progress.  I started off sort of doing this little hop-but-not-really thing onto a 25 lb. plate, which is about as thick as a pancake.  And I’ve progressed.  And I’ll jump higher next week than I do this week.
My ankles don’t hurt.  And my knees don’t hurt.  After that first full-blown workout (which I still think was a total set-up, because it was running, running, and more running), I was in so much pain that I was pretty sure the doctor would have to amputate both legs above the knee.  Oh, the ibuprofen and the throbbing.  And did I mention the ibuprofen?  But now they don’t hurt.  Even when Chandra tells me we’re running farther than I’ve ever run before.
I’ve learned that a rope is made for jumping.  Previously, I thought that funny little rope with the handle-thingies on the ends was for tying up the sides of my kids’ fake tent in the living room.  Not any more.  Now when I swing that sucker, I can jump over it.  Ok, I occasionally still whip my legs and leave welts, and I’m still determined to one day (before I die) get a double-under, but I can jump over the darned thing now.  (Which is WAY better than Day 1, when I sort of looked like a really sad and uncoordinated baboon trying to skip rope.)
Diminishing Bingo Flap.  You know that underarm area that sort of flaps in the breeze when really old women wave their Bingo card in the air?  Yeah, that.  Well, it’s still there, but it’s gradually being replaced by muscles that will one day be used to heft my chin to the bar in a real, live pull-up.  I have learned that this is one area you do not want to let go, because it’s dreadfully painful to whip it back into shape.
If these reasons are not enough, here are a few more.  Smaller pants.  Smaller shirts.  Playing more with my kids.  Having more energy.  Feeling younger.  Feeling more confident.  Being around for my family.  New friendships.  Mental fortitude.  Believing in myself.  Feeling healthy.
As far as nutrition and exercise, I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m on the road, and CrossFit is helping me get there.  Thanks to everyone who pushes and inspires and believes in me every single day!
CrossFit Lee’s Summit.  That’s my gym.  And that’s why I’m not going to Sheridan’s today.

Colossal FAIL

There are lots of things I can do well.  Ok, at least I tell myself I can do some things well, but who knows?  Maybe I have only been fooling myself for all these years.
For example, I’m pretty sure I’m a good sock matcher.  I feel like I have a high success rate in that particular arena of life, and honestly, that gives me some sort of weird satisfaction.
And I will also brag about my ability to cut along a line with a pair of scissors.  Do you know how many people actually have trouble doing this?  Well, do you?  It’s a lot.  Believe me, there are grown adults who cut paper like they have been stricken with a case of palsy while traveling aboard a turbulence-fraught airplane.  I am a good cutter, yet another thing to add to my resume of life skills.
And let’s not forget my ability to nap.  Oh yeah, I’m the best there is at that, so don’t even mess with me.  I can nap on a train, on a plane, in a house, with a mouse (ok, well that might freak me out a little, but you get the idea).
My point is that I have hit a stumbling block.  And looking back at my track record, I realize this is not a one-time-thing kind of stumbling block.  It’s more like the man-I-screw-this-up-every-time stumbling block.  Which is really getting frustrating.
Here’s the deal.  I can’t seem to potty train anything.  ANY-THING.  If it breathes, I can guarantee you that it will, at some point in its lifespan, pee on my carpet.
There, I feel better.  The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?
As I smelled the eau de urine scent emanating from Jadon this morning, I started thinking back, and dang it, I have not been able to successfully coax any living creature into peeing in an appropriate spot on a consistent basis.  (Except for me…I mean, I’m pretty good at handling that for myself.  I just can’t get others to see the benefit of, say, USING A FREAKING TOILET.)
First there was Jacob.  And he was easy.  He wet in his underwear one time, decided it was nasty, and he never did it again.  Woo Hoo!  Mission accomplished.  Oh wait, except for the fact that they did that at his daycare, so I can’t really take the credit.
Then came Micaela.  Woo boy, that girl was stubborn.  Hid behind a curtain to poop well past her second birthday.
Then Marissa.  Well, she was the baby (at the time), and I was perfectly content to just keep buying diapers for her for the next several years.  But once again, daycare convinced her that going to the potty would be better.
Now there are the boys.  And for the love of all that is holy, they are almost 3.5 years old!  We are going to outgrow Pull-Ups and graduate to Depends soon, and believe me, those are expensive—I’ve looked.  There are signs that they really should be wearing big-boy underwear, too, like the fact that Jadon will actually ask for a new diaper and the fact that he can change his pull-up and his brother’s without needing help.
So what do I have to do to get them to stop waking up in a cesspool of their own pee every day?  Sigh.  I’m going to go cut paper now.  Because I’m good at that.

Is there a doctor in the house?

Ok.  I have tried aspirin.  I have tried doctors.  I have tried Web M.D.  I have even tried the whole apple-a-day thing.  Everything.  I can’t seem to find a cure for the mystery illness that plagues my daughter.
So I’m opening this up for outside help.  At first we thought, Hmmmm, maybe the flu.  Or maybe allergies.
Then we moved on to, Well, maybe it’s legionnaire’s disease or the mumps or something equally as life-altering.  Maybe even (gasp!) the plague!
Nope, not these either.  In fact, I’m pretty sure we’ve come up with a diagnosis all on our own.  This illness is a tricky one, too.  It makes her feel dizzy and short of breath and gasp-y.  And it makes her tired and itchy, and sometimes it makes her big toe become inflamed.  It also tends to make her cough and have muscle aches, accompanied by headaches and either nausea or unabated hunger.
All of these symptoms have led us to the following diagnosis:
It is a rare and devastating disease, often striking when levels of homework are at an all-time high or when trampoline practice becomes very demanding.  It can also rear its ugly head when household chores need to be done or when her pets need to be taken care of.
It’s a funny disease, too, because one minute (like when she’s texting or hanging out with friends) she can be totally fine.  And then, BAM!—the next minute (usually when asked to do something that totally, like, inconveniences her) she begins to biologically disintegrate into a writhing mess of illnesses that just dare any doctor to attempt a diagnosis.
Short of calling her bluff and packing a daily backpack full of unnecessary items such as a defibrillator, inhalers, ventilator, feeding tube, and vials of anti-venom, I’m not sure what will get her to stop her self-imposed medical meltdowns.  At this point, I’m pretty sure the girl could come to me holding her own severed hand, and I would have a very hard time believing anything was actually wrong with her.  It’s that bad.
Yesterday she spent nearly an entire day in the school nurse’s office, and finally the nurse told her something to the effect of, “You know, you are going to have to be straight with me.  I really don’t know whether you have asthma or a heart condition or allergies or mad cow disease.”  (Ok, I don’t think she said the part about mad cow disease, but I’m pretty sure that’s only because Micaela hasn’t thought to add that to her list yet.
I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the girl is either a) a very, very sick girl, possibly in need of round-the-clock medical care or b) crazy as a loon.  I’m leaning toward Option B.


There has been an uprising in my house, and I’m mainly writing this because, at this very moment, I fear for my own safety.  Marissa has fixed a squinty-eyed glare on me for the past couple of days, and I can tell that suspicion and uncertainty are at an all-time high.
I have tried to temper the situation by explaining.  I have tried cajoling.  I have tried bribery, but to date, nothing works.
I fear she is starting to suspect that there are changes coming on the horizon, changes that will affect her immediate way of life.  As is to be expected, this suspicion is coupled with anxiety and a caginess that can only make me think she is looking for any possible escape.
I have begun tip-toeing around the kitchen, in the hopes that she doesn’t hear me and then come looking to see what I’ll be cooking for dinner.  The quieter I can be, the more time I have to prepare myself for her look of astonishment at yet Something. Else. That. Is. Green!  Ewwww!  Seriously, Mom, are we going to eat like this forever now?
The Paleo way of life seems to have a couple of our family members firmly in its grip, but as for the rest of the family, I fear a hostile coup will be necessary.  I have determined that I must be sneakier in my efforts to camouflage vegetables and do away with grains.
For now, I am going back to my recipe planning and plotting to alter the taste buds of an entire family that, to date, has been dependent on food groups such as DingDongs, Ice Cream, and potato chips.  (Don’t even ask me what this food pyramid looks like!)
As for the level of tension surrounding the group of hold-outs (we’ll call them The Insurgents for now), it is mounting.  I fear that the next plate of vegetables will bring about something akin to Marshall Law in our household.
I am off to battle for another day in my quest to health-ify my family.  (Oh yeah, and also, if you have any ideas for making mashed cauliflower look like mac & cheese, I would love to hear them!)
Also, if you don’t hear from me regularly, please check on me—because it’s entirely possible that I will be outnumbered and locked in the basement so that the rest of the family can go on an Oreo bender.

In Public

Yesterday, Marissa told me how glad she is that we are able to do more things as a family lately.  I asked her what she meant, and she said, “Well, you know, now that Jadon and Jordan are acting better and getting older, we can actually take them in public to go do things.”
Ok, I’ll admit I had this fear of taking them in public, but only because I was worried that one of them would run out into traffic while the other one distracted me by wiping boogers on the car window.  Or because I was worried I’d be THAT mom with the screaming kid in Target, and I know I would totally give in and give the kid chocolate (or whatever else he was wanting) just to shut him up.  And then I’d be judged.  And found guilty of bribery and giving into the whims of 3-year-olds.  I was worried I’d end up at the cash register with absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of what items might actually be in my cart—or for that matter, how they even came to be there.
I like peace.  Peace and quiet and books and naps and taking walks in silence.  And quiet.  Have I mentioned quiet?
And when we all go out together, it’s anything but peaceful and quiet.  It’s more like a traveling circus, complete with jugglers, lion tamers, and sticky cotton candy.  And we all pile into the little clown car and see how far we’ll make it before someone pees their pants.
So, I’ll admit, I have avoided any sort of public outing that did not involve a) buying ice cream and playing at the McDonald’s Playplace or b) finding a deserted park somewhere where my heathens could roll in the dirt and throw leaves without disturbing the general well-being of everyone around us.
Evidently the 8-year-old has picked up on this pattern, astute little bugger that she is.  And now the gig is up.  I take them one time—one measly time—for a day of pumpkin-patch fun, and now a whole new world has opened up to her.  A world where people actually leave their houses in groups of more than two people at a time.
And what am I to do with this newly-enlightened kid?  Dang it, now I’m going to have to take them all to the grocery store next time I go.  And before you judge me, you just try to explain to the free-cookie lady in the bakery that, yes, you do in fact have a gazillion children and you’re not just trying to scam cookies.
And then there are places like the movies (gawd, I’m breaking out in hives just thinking about that adventure) and restaurants that don’t ask if you want to super-size anything.  I’m seeing the possibilities open up before me, and I’m afraid.  Very afraid.  Public, here we come!

Holy Cwap!

Ok, this is WAY better than some phrases that Jadon may have (hypothetically speaking, of course) heard or been exposed to.  Not that I would ever say anything worse than ‘Holy Cwap!’ because I wouldn’t.  Ever.
Jason is constantly reminding me that there are little ears present and also that the little people attached to those little ears like to repeat things—usually at the most awkward times.  This particular instance wasn’t so bad, because we were locked away in the privacy of our own home when Jadon noticed the utility folks digging up our back yard.  And he really had about the same reaction that I did—Holy Cwap!  In fact, I’m pretty sure this is my new favorite expression, complete with the Elmer Fudd/toddler-esque pronunciation.
I really wanted to laugh.  And I was laughing on the inside, believe me.  But as soon as I even looked like I might crack a smile and acknowledge (gasp!) the irrefutable cuteness of the moment, Jason gave me the death glare, you know, the look that says, ‘Don’t you dare encourage this.’  So I held my amusement in until I was about to burst.  (I’m pretty sure there are some probable health concerns that might come about from suppressing my amusement in such a way, and I hope that one day, when my spleen bursts from the pressure, that Jason feels very, very guilty.)
Anyway, like I was saying, this one wasn’t bad at all.  Not nearly as bad as the time that Micaela, having just completed a study of black history in school, marched up to the first African-American man she saw in Target and commenced the “I have a dream…” speech.  That…now THAT was bad.
Or the time, when I was little, that I announced to the entire church that I had “sheep shit on my shoes.”  I keep hearing that was bad.  In fact, 38 years later (give or take), I keep being reminded of my irreverent and unholy church behavior.  (I sort of find it funny.  Well, ok, hilarious actually, but I’m afraid to tell my mom that.)  And to give myself credit, I had just come from my grandma’s farm, and I more than likely was telling the truth about what I had stepped in.
So my point is that, HOLY CWAP, it could be WAY worse!  And darn it, it WAS funny.  Ha Ha—so there, Jason, I’m laughing, and I’m probably encouraging his behavior.  But you gotta admit, ‘cwap’ is just a funny word.