Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That Little Boy Stole A Big Piece of My Heart

In the recently discovered files of pictures, I found this priceless triptych:

Elijah was between 5 and 7 days old, living in the NICU, and about to meet his sister:

Supergirl was only twenty months old at that time. Closer to one and a half, than to two. She had already endured a six week separation from her attachment parenting, hospital bound mother, so he was like the frosting - when he was born, maybe Mama could come home too!! She adored him from the beginning, and was gentle, gentle, very gentle with him:

These were precious days in the way that diamonds are precious - beautiful, but someone always dies for it.

Funny thing is, I've always loathed diamonds, while I've always loved babies.

Happy Birthday Tiny Boy

Elijah Brooklyn
3-31-03 - 5-11-04

We miss you so much.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Three Year Old Thinks He's Howard Hughes

Bubbles is very independent. Forced by apraxia, and motivated by his marvelous personality, he will help himself before he asks for help, such as: bring a box of cereal to me if he wants some, and run back out of the room to get a bowl if he forgot one.

So far, we are a potty training FAIL. He refuses to use the potty, runs from the potty in horror, denies having pooped despite green vapors filling the room, refuses even gummy treats in exchange for a mere moment on the toilet.
Yesterday, he peed on his shoes. Well, through his pants (I told him he wasn't wearing a diaper!) and onto his shoes.
And I wiped off his shoes and put them in the sun to dry. Later, the shoes were nowhere to be found. Missing shoes.
"Where are your shoes?" We asked Bubbles.
"I gonna pay trains!" He would answer.
"Bubbles, go find your shoes!"
"I want a cookie!"

This went on all day. We would ask him for the shoes, and he would change the subject and look innocent. We searched the yard, the house, the garage, the bike baskets, everything we could think of, because Bubbles will only wear this pair of shoes or rainboots, and today was too hot for the latter.
No shoes.

Tonight, I put him in the bath and started cleaning up in the living room, adjacent to the bathroom. I heard him rummaging through his bath toy basket, and he began playing. Dh walked in the bathroom a moment later and found Bubbles with his leather shoes submerged, happily scrubbing away.
"Shoe bath!" He announced.

Oh my holy hell. The boy hid his shoes under the toys in the bath toy basket, waiting for a secret opportunity in which to wash them.

What does one make of a child who refuses to use a toilet, but is afraid that his parents will not properly wash the pee off of his shoes?

We Picked Up Some Chicks...

We have four new additions to the family, and they are only three days old:

Allow me to introduce you to Tiny (re-named Lucky after the heat lamp fell on her and almost broiled her and she survived). (Do not, for the love of your children's fragile emotions, let your husband duct tape a heat source to the roof of a chicken house)

I named this one Nugget. (Supergirl would not let me name them: Pie, Soup, Dumpling, and Nugget....so this was our compromise)...

This one is Peeps:

And this is Snuggles, aka Amanda, since Supergirl found out that they were hatched on her cousin Amanda's birthday re-named now to be Scout, because I just couldn't call a chicken by the name of my niece, and also because she is the one always jumping out of the box and checking things out for her girls.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Do not read this if the words 'dead baby cake' offend you...

The Bloggess, well-known by everyone for being one who, err.....turns on.....many things (like light switches!) and people (and sheep, and puppies), has turned me on to this video site.

And just in time too.

Let me point out, that while Jenny's movie is funny, it took her four and one half days to complete.

Whereas my movie took only seven minutes.

Dead Baby Cake

So, I have to write this. I am also going to remind a certain someone that she is not being made fun of here, rather, has given me some comedic relief material in a dry period.

I was having a 'chat' with my innernet friend and one of the things I love about this particular innernet friend, is her dark humor and ability to climb into my brain from across the country. This time of year is, plainly, DARK for me. To cope with this season, I have often resorted to what some might call inappropriate humor.

So, I happen to mention to innernet friend (IFriend) that someone had suggested that I celebrate Elijah's birthday by making a cake and having a little birthday party.
Did that suggestion make me mad?, that someone had wanted to know.
No, I said, certainly not mad! I had definitely heard of people doing that....it just wasn't.....for me.
Of course I couldn't get it out of my head, and morbidly kept imagining just how that would take shape, this birthday party for my dead child. I suppressed some inappropriate giggles from some friends who I know are challenged by my annual bout with morbid humor....but of course I can't be kept down. I am a VIRGO.

So, I had to share with IFriend.

me: so, the idea was that i would have a party for him make a cake, get the children involved, have a birthday party.!!!!!
IFriend: WHAT! MAD?
me: oh no i am not mad
IFriend: a CAKE?
me: i have heard some people do that
IFriend: I would freak out making a cake
me: just NOT FOR ME
can you imagine?
IFriend: no, I honestly can't
IFriend: it's macabre - I mean, you know, not that there's anything WRONG with it, but...not something I would do
me: there's the issue of putting the baby inside the cake, or just what to write on it...
i mean...okay....happy 6th birthday elijah....no that's not right....happy 1st birthday AGAIN elijah....no still not right.....ummmm....happy birthday in heaven my little angel?
IFriend: pukes - personally I would just fall the fuck apart making the thing and hate the whole process
me: has to maintain sense of humor right now
IFriend: yeah
me: a cake. yeah, i mean a lasagna maybe...but a CAKE? heh
IFriend: like "we're HAPPY our kid is dead"
me: i KNOW
IFriend: "see look, a CAKE"
IFriend: keels over... lord
me: that isn't right either - you see the problem.
IFriend: yes - I mean, what to WRITE on it alone is a blog entry...
me: oooo - and we could SING TO HIS ASHES OF COURSE!
IFriend: put a party hat on the urn
me: that would rock, but....who blows out the candles?
IFriend: just take it outside and wait for the wind to blow the candle out...and be like "look kids, your brother made a wish!"
kids are gullible, they'd totally buy it

End of Conversation Advice:

IFriend: I think doing some kind of non-deadbaby-activity would be much better than making it a Deadbaby Day...too tempting to wallow that way.

Indeed. Thank you, IFriend. You know who you are.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

There is nothing poetic about dead baby anniversaries


You would think that I would just get it by now, not have any expectation, and reduce potential for being pissed.
But no, here we still are for some reason, and I'm pissed.

I ask for nothing, or so very little. Yet I am wrung out.

For just a few days out of the year, just a few predictable days, I only wish (not even ask) that he could think of someone but himself. To have the kindness to set aside some resources and time to weather the storm with me. To not pretend to maintain his well honed water treading yet try and drown me should I come swimming by.

There is so much wrong, not the least being that the glue that adheres us to one another is made of a dead baby. A dead baby who won't have another birthday on March 31st.

But instead of my wish, what I get is illusion, oppression, and a person who walks into a room to rip a childrens rainbow off the wall just because it is there.

I swim alone, because I can't risk drowning. And I close my eyes, because I can't watch.

I know this is incredibly depressing. Maybe after reading this you will forgive me for the Happy Dead Baby Cake post which is in my head and surely to worm its way out.

Friday, March 20, 2009

This Drama is Brought to You by My Girlie Bits

Let's just start with some simple facts today. You can put them together in a story however you wish.

  • This time of year is always, in some form, anxiety-provoking for Gwendomama. This is in contrast to me the rest of the time; though some would consider me high-strung, there isn't too much that rattles me to the core. Other than this time of year sometimes, I guess.
  • I almost always put off going to the doctor for anything, unless it is for my children, and this is compounded by my high pain threshold.
  • I do not have a companion who shows his concern for me through outward gestures. Or emotional displays of support. Left to my own devices, I am capable of taking a weak moment and turning it into impending doom.
  • I do have a companion who believes that all illness and pain is caused by stress and/or weakness.
  • I have spent the past three weeks worrying about my symptoms, which are the exact same symptoms of ovarian cancer. Oh DAMN YOU, Dr. Google! In case you didn't know, ovarian cancer is known as a 'silent killer' because of its vague symptoms.
  • It has been four months since I had a period. Oh shuddup, who wouldn't feel like they were having a secret vacation (for the first two....)?
  • No, I am not pregnant. I know how to pee on a stick.
  • I was told I would have to wait over a month for an appointment at Women's Health Center, where the cost would be minimal. (Cooter card)
  • Of course my symptoms became worse. Waiting is not my strength. But, not being a wussy, I did recognize that I was having real pain. On my freaking ovaries. And it wasn't going away by my sheer will alone.
  • I read too many pieces of misinformation about non-cancerous ovarian cysts not causing any pain or symptoms.
  • I convinced myself that I could only have one thing: Terminal Cancer.
  • Who the fuck isn't afraid of that? But I cried myself awake each insomnia-filled night with pain and the impending doom that would befall my children. Surely Supergirl's childhood didn't deserve to include the loss both a brother and mother?
  • When I completely break down, I will then sometimes ask for a favor.
  • I asked Ob-Gyn friend (from other office in other town) to HELP me PLEASE because I could not wait another 2 weeks for the appointment which would be covered.
  • She, being about 62% saintly, offered to squeeze me in (past billing) on a busy day to monkey wand me and check it all out.
  • I freaked out some more, having convinced myself that I have cancer, and sure that I am about to find out some horrible prognosis.
  • Maybe if I would spend some more time reading the blogs of PEOPLE I KNOW and less time reading DR. GOOGLE I would have had an easier time....
  • The BOS proved herself to be a great friend yet again, by not only driving three hours (each way!) to accompany me to my monkey wand appointment, but also by asking Ob-Gyn friend distracting questions such as, "So, I was wondering....how do you spell pus-y? I mean it can't be p-u-s-s-y, because that just isn't right." ...so I wouldn't concentrate so much on the condom-covered camera getting all friendly with my ovaries.
  • My parts look almost good but not quite.
  • My ovaries appear to be the host to some cysts who are ornery and causing me grief and pain.
  • Apparently, non-cancerous cysts CAN cause pain.
  • I think anything foreign on my ovaries sounds painful.
  • We do not know for sure that everything is okay.
  • I need another, higher-resolution ultrasound (hopefully the tech won't ask me to umm....'put it in myself' because in that case I may just bring dh) (awkward).
  • BUT the cysts appeared (on the low-res ultrasound) to be simple, which is better than complex.
  • This does not necessarily explain the hormonal imbalance, but the battery of blood tests ordered yesterday should help shed some light on that mystery.
  • Hormone therapy and/ or laparascopy if the cysts are benign.
  • So much to look forward to.....
  • I think I need an annual springtime prescription to Ativan.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Leapfrog Ball Dance in Action

Bubbles LOVES phonics, and the word has gotten out.
So, even though Leapfrog has yet to lobby Apraxia-Boy as their poster child, my peeps know what my little guy likes.

So a Big Thank You, to MamaDeb, who re-appropriated this awesome alphabet/phonics 'discovery ball' from her garage to us.

Obviously, a big hit with Cowboy Bubbles today:

(updated to add the awesome dance finale, which UTube somehow cut off...)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Parenting: Instilling Responsibility, Despite AIG

Supergirl has been getting herself into some time-outs lately that have not seemed to do any good. She spends the entire time hurling blame at us for putting her there, rather than taking responsibility for making a poor choice and moving forward. She ends up in time-out for an hour, sometimes resulting in flat-out lack of privileges (grounding) for the rest of the day.
This makes everyone miserable, but I am steadfast in my goal to teach her accountability. I asked her teacher for some help with this, and she gave me a great worksheet to use. I used this model to create a time-out journal for her, so now when she is in time-out, she can stop shouting and write. I printed out several sheets and they are waiting patiently in a binder for the next appearance of SuperSassygirl:

I was asked to have a time-out because I chose to:

I feel ___________________ because:

I am going to make better choices by doing the following. These THREE things will help me problem solve in the future:

I have read and discussed this with ____________, and I am proud of her for taking responsibility!

_____________________ (my signature)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Kangaroo Ninja Attack Alert

Oh my.

Things have gone from bad to worse for the infamous rumors which depict Australia as a 'highly dangerous place', with the recent (entirely unprovoked!) kangaroo attack in Garran, a suburb of the capital city of Australia, Canberra.

"My initial thought when I was half awake was: it's a lunatic ninja coming through the window," Beat Ettlin told the national AAP news agency.

Oh my holy nightmares and wildest dreams rolled into one crazy and lovely rugelach!!
Nobody died. (lovely!!)

**********(heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.......ninja kangaroos!)****************

The Mamas Rockband Challenge

Okay, if you go to a rather shady shabby looking thrift store to look for some very unlikely child sized ski pants, just because it is the only thrift store near your job (which is not near your home), and you just happen to be there with your kickass friend and you both just happen to see some guys unloading their truck a brand new ROCKBAND SE set come in.............

And they offer it to you for....oh..let's say a really amazing deal....and you and your friend are truly rather trusting and immediately think 'WOW! What a great deal!'...and it is, after all...a freaking store....do not think any further or hurt your little brain doing so.

Dude.... get it.

Because, when you take that baby home and plug it all in, you could lose yourself in an oblivion of sheer devotion+insanity+dormant rocker gene just really enjoy an hour more than you thought was possible.

You have not lived until you have heard your 7 yr old sing the Blue Oyster Cut lyrics to 'Don't Fear the Reaper'.

'.............Romeo and Juliet, are together in eternity...'

If we could just get that damn practice mode to work so it wouldn't keep calling us FAILures.

That rocker bitch friend is totally the next target for mama's night out*. I think we will need the second guitar, or there may be some scrabbling, eh?

*(you know who you are)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Apraxia in Action

Apraxia update on Bubbles over here today.

He rocks.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Another Photo Documentary (of DANGER)

We lit one of these:

In here:

And it was very hot. Too hot. Something was wrong. The pipe was glowing. It shot an ember out the side onto a highly contentious and flammable object.

The stove pipe is beyond old, and yes, we rent. It looked pretty bad.

But then it turned out to be worse than I thought. Really bad.

Dude, this is what my finger did.

The house did not burn down, but this is pretty much how I spent the day when I was not having a panic attack.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

If You Still Think I Am Genteel In Any Way....Avert Your Eyes.

I can't help myself.

Sharing this story is a sure sign that I've lost all remaining shreds of decency.
But let's just stop pretending shall we?

California Unified Nether Temple Society

The BOS was extolling the virtues of the California Womens Health program, how great the doctors she saw were, blahblablah. Which reminded me that I am way overdue for a girlybits exam. Not to mention the girlybits have been causing me some insomnia-inducing, cancerfearing shuddering terrified thoughts concern. So, to share in her new love of stirrup visits for a mere $15, the BOS began her campaign to get me to the cooter doc.

"Dude. They give you a card. A card that you can use just for your cooter! A cooter card!"
"Oooh wow....do they swipe it?"
"They surely do!"
"Oh! So that would make it like a credit cunt?"

So forgive me, dear Marisol, the very nice receptionist from the Womens Health Center, for giggling during our phone conversation when you told me today that I qualified for 'the card'. And that it would cover all my reproductive organ goodies. Because I really was working hard to suppress the nervous gutwrenching fears question that was begging to be answered: And where are you going to swipe that card?

I warned you.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Parenting Lessons: In Progress

Yesterday was a challenge to my parenting expertise stamina.
Supergirl was awful. Sassy, insolent, unrepentant.
She spent the afternoon in time-outs which were extended before they were served.
I wanted to smack her around a bit, but we don't do that.

Finally, by dinnertime, she would just not stop antagonizing her three year old brother. This, as she knows, is a button-pusher for me every time, as I would never have allowed any other seven year old bully to treat her that way when she was three.

I demanded she come downstairs to help me with dinner.
"I don't want to make dinner!" she whined.
"Wash your hands!" I snapped back at her.
Did I care? Did I care at all what she wanted? No, I certainly did not.

I handed her a bowl of eggs.
"Stir!" I commanded, adding melted butter to her eggs.
She pretended to stir very angrily, then became interested in the process of mixing yolks into whites.
"What are we making?" she finally asked.
"Matzoh balls for soup," I replied, beginning to soften, "Will you please cut the carrots?"
"YES!" she said, more brightly now.

Fifteen minutes later, we pulled the matzoh out of the fridge.
"Can I make the balls myself?" she asked.
"Oh, okay." I pretended to relent.

"I miss the times when you used to help me with dinner all the time." I remarked.
"Well, I could do that again...."
"I would really like that."

Thirty minutes later, we were eating steaming, salty, doughy delicious matzoh ball soup.
"Honey, I am so glad you are going to help me in the kitchen again. Dinner always tastes better when you help make it."
"Oh Mama, thank you! I love you! I'm sorry I was bratty today!"

Not a trace of bitterness remained by bedtime.

Supergirl, you are my Superstar.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Five Years Later; Nothing Poignant in Repetition

[Cross-posted here.]

Today marks the first day of the fifth year of grief season*. I would call it 'grief month', but when your kid dies just five weeks after their (only) birthday, all of those important anniversaries like birthday and deathday run together, and calling it 'grief season' seems a bit more accurate.

I realized it was coming last week - it is a thought then it becomes a distant flickering light and then with a pop and crackle it explodes in front of me.
I am a veteran now.

Part of the pain this year is in the number. Well, there is truthfully always pain in the numbers; the numbers represent what never was, what never will be. Each birthday becomes the number of years he has been gone plus one, the age he was when he left us. Each birthday is a reminder of the age he will always be; a widening gap and stark contrast to the age he should be.

Five years.

There is fear in that number - a fear it is so far away - it makes Elijah farther away too. There is fear in saying that number aloud. Fear in the anticipation of how it will be received. Fear that you will expect too much from me, fear that you will quietly judge me: the mother who still grieves her child so deeply. Five years later.
Five years later and still so much is ragged and torn since he left. Five years later and the wound returns to be examined and the edges painfully lifted. Peeking into the same swirling abyss, searching each year for some previously unrevealed meaning. Something to make sense out of it. Still searching.

How does one make sense out of death? How does one ever make sense out of connecting the following thoughts: Oh shit that bronchodilator treatment didn't work...Oh that sound he is making isn't good....We need to get him to the ER, call the pediatrician....OH MY GOD HE IS NOT BREATHING.

Sure, I got rid of the living room rug upon which I administered CPR to my son for forty minutes.
That helped a little.
But even with the rug gone, the ghosts are still there. Not his ghosts so much as the ghosts of that evening, the ghosts of our absolute worst fears being realized, and the ghosts of failure.

Baby's breath is so intoxicating, so very unique, that a flower was named after it.

His last breath hangs in my home like the ghost it is, not the elixir it was.

*Grief Season: the period of time lasting from the weeks leading up to March 31st (Elijah's birthday) through but not limited to May 11th (Elijah's last breath), always including Mother's Day.