Farewell, sweet Newman

months of frustration
turns into gripping sadness
we love you Newman

We put our dog to sleep today. We knew it was coming, it had been for a long time. But it’s still terribly sad. Even with months of constantly being irritated by his funky smell and his bad ears and the billions of dollars we had to spend on raw organic dog food, the sadness is still overwhelming. And even though we all know – even the wee one – that Newman was in pain and that the kindest thing we could do for him was to let him go, it doesn’t stop us from bursting into tears every time we walk past his bed or hear the jingle of his leash being put into the hall closet.

Newman was 11. My husband and I got him from the pound when we were in college. He was our commitment that we would stay together forever. At the time, I don’t think we really looked at it like that, we just wanted to get a dog. But I think deep down inside we knew that buying a dog together was way more serious than even living together. We had a breathing creature who depended on us to survive – both of us. We had to share the costs of buying him and neutering him; we had to decide which vet was best, what medicines to give him when he was sick; we had to choose how he would be trained and what his "rules" would be. In a way, Newman not only trained us to be parents, he trained us to be partners. We learned to give and take, to compromise, to worry, to feel a shared love outside of ourselves.

Of course, taking him down three flights of stairs in the middle of the night, during a freezing rainstorm, in funky town Baltimore, so that he could pee for the millionth time that night wasn’t the most fun thing to do in the world, but we did it because we loved him.

The best part, though, was when we got out of class and off of work. We tossed Newman in the car and he smacked his lips and fretted all the way to the park, but then shot out of the car for leashless fun with a ball and a lake. Those were some of the best afternoons my future husband and I spent. We planned our life together as Newman frolicked with other puppies. While Newman chased his ball into the water and swam back with it we made the decision to move back to Austin and for me to graduate from UT. We talked about getting married and having kids and how in the world we would afford to do anything as an art history major and a painting major.

Newman was with us when we got married. He stayed at my parent’s house during our honeymoon. Then, three years later when the wee one was born, one of our biggest concerns once we saw our new son was getting a blanket from his isolette and having someone bring it home for Newman to sniff.

by the time the wee-er one was born, though, Newman’s health had taken a huge turn. He had constant allergies that couldn’t be fixed with medication. For short periods of time a cocktail of steroids and antibiotics and pain pills would make him feel better, but then a few weeks later he’d be sick again. The vet suggested ablation for his ears – completely sewing them shut. But even then, his allergies wouldn’t be cured. So we put him on a no grain, pure raw meat diet to see if that would help. It didn’t. Then we found out he had a tumor in his belly, and fourteen cysts throughout his body.

So we let him go today. And we’re so, so sad. But we know he’s no longer in pain, so there’s some solace in that.

We love you, Newman.

We miss you dude.

Newman

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I have my fangs in you, baby

misunderstanding
why we don’t talk religion
or word origins

The other day, while I was driving the wee one home from school, he asked me what fangs are. Here’s how the conversation rapidly went down hill…

[me, beginning the conversation genially] "Fangs? You mean like teeth?"

[the wee one, frustration setting in early due to what I call Tired Post School Temper Trouble or TPSTT] "No, FANGS, mommy. The things you have IN people."

[me, trying to stay genial] "Like ‘sink your fangs into’ something? Sometimes people say that when they mean to take a bite out of something."

[the wee one, bubbling over with TPSTT] "NO, MOMMY! Like we learned at school! Fangs. FANGS!"

[me, getting irritated that he’s irritated] "OK. You shouting it at at me over and over? That doesn’t make me understand you any easier, alright?

[the wee one, sighing dramatically] "I’m just talking about fangs. The kind of fangs that purple stands for."

[me] ????

[he continues, as if talking to the most pitiful, dumb creature on the planet] "At school, Mrs. Linda says that purple stands for fangs. And that we have fangs in God."

[me, ding ding ding!] "You mean faith? We have faith in God?"

[the wee one, thrilled I finally understand him, gets excited] "So we’re like vampires for God?"

[me, giving up] "Yes. We’re like vampires for God."

This is what I get for sending him to a quasi-religious preschool.

on the rocks

our war with a rock
just so unnecessary
and quite expensive

Yesterday was one of those days when mama had to get out of the house. The wee one had not stopped talking since the moment he woke up, the wee-er one was fantastically cranky because one of her top teeth was seconds from breaking through the skin, and the dog was a complete spaz because he’d hoovered up some cereal off the floor. (He’s allergic to everything in the world, and thus was having an attack of the Evil Raunchy Brown Ear Funk.)

So we went to the playground.

It was like stressed mama nirvana. There were kids for the wee one to play with, shade trees to keep us from melting, and my friend met us there, with her two kids, and baskets upon baskets of toys and snacks. The day was looking up.

Until I saw the wee-er one swishing something suspicious around in her mouth. I squished her little cheeks together to see what I could see and GULP, she swallowed. Then she cried. I quickly surmised she’d been eating rocks (that playground pea gravel is such a pain in the ass) and that I was mother of the year for giving her little puffs to eat when she could easily get distracted and grab a rock instead.

So she was crying – I guessed probably because the rock was big and it hurt as it went down her throat. Then she kind of coughed and burped and rocket-barfed her lunch along with quite a few rocks. Awesome. (Side note: before you’re a mom you never, ever think there could be a situation when you would not only stick your hand INTO a barfing mouth, but that you would sift through the barf afterward. But you do it. And you don’t even think about it.)

There was barf all over me, the wee-er-one, my friend’s blanket, and the playground. The wee-er one was still howling and that’s when I started to get really concerned. How many rocks did she actually eat? Did they all come out? If they didn’t, would they just come out in her diaper? So I called the doctor.

After talking with the nurse, she consulted the doctor, and they agreed we should take the wee-er one up to the Children’s ER for some high-res x-rays to make sure she hadn’t aspirated any rocks. Rocks in tummy = not so bad. Rocks in lungs = huge big freak out.

By this point, though, she had calmed down and was acting fine. She wasn’t coughing or crying or hacking or anything, so I hesitated to bring her to the ER with all of it’s germs, for us to sit there for hours while we waited to be charged a gamillion dollars to be told all was OK. I mean kids eat rocks everyday, right? Right?

I called the nurse back and asked to speak with the doctor so we could eliminate the literal telephone game we’d been playing. The doctor called me back and we had a lively (and friendly) conversation about semantics, and what exactly I meant when I said "cough" and in the end we decided to not take her to the ER but to wait until morning to see how she was. Apparently, with aspirated things in little babies it can take a week or so for symptoms to show up. Awesome, again.

This morning, I wake up and the first thing I hear is the wee-er one coughing. Then sneezing, then hiccuping, then coughing again. Now, she’s had a cold for the past week or so, and she’s been coughing every now and then to loosen up the gunk in her chest. But this morning I totally freaked when I heard the cough, so off to the doctor we went.

First, though? First I dumped out the wee one’s shoes so that I could bring along some of that pesky pea gravel. The doc asked if I had any handy, and lo, it was the first time I was glad to hear the wee one complaining about the rocks in his shoes. So I baggied the rocks, dropped the wee one off at school, and headed to the docs.

Once there, we got to be the subject of a fun experiment called, "What Are Playground Rocks Made Of And Will They Show Up On An X-Ray?" To answer the question, the doctor taped a couple of rocks to the wee-er one’s shoulder, alongside a paper clip (as a baseline) so that we could see what we were looking for in the x-ray.

The wee-er one was not pleased. Not only could she NOT eat the rocks taped to her shoulder, she wasn’t even allowed to try and eat them because I had to hold her arms still for the x-ray. The other x-ray tech held her legs still and sweet jeebus, she wailed like we had just told her Vernoica Mars has been canceled (it hasn’t been has it?).

Of course, the smallest rock that was taped to her didn’t show up. But the bigger ones did, and it was quickly surmised that none of those were in her lungs or belly. We were jubilant about our lack of F.B.s (foreign bodies, as referred to by doctor people).

We still don’t know about any tiny ones that may be in there, but the doc (and I) are pretty confidant that she didn’t inhale any and that her coughing is cold related. But we’re keeping an eye on her. And when she’s twenty and sneezes out a pebble that breaks her boyfriend’s favorite shot glass, we’ll have a hilarious end to our tale.

In the meantime, I’m going to invent a baby muzzle, have a drink and reflect on how pleased I am that all of these doctor’s visits are happening mere days after switching to our non-copay, high deductible health insurance. Sigh.

Rocks: 0
Kari: 1 (sort of)

and a partridge in a pear tree…

you wily microbes
our road runner is pink goo
she is after you

So. Here’s last week by the numbers:

3 out of 4 ears infected.
All sinuses infected.
2 out of 4 EYES infected.
3 jugs of pink gooey medicine.
1 jug of pink gooey medicine spilled on the floor.
Pretty much 1/2 of another jug of pink gooey medicine spilled on various shirts, shorts, underpants, onesies, pillows, sheets and carpets.
Maybe 3 nights with actual sleep.
5 blowout diapers on day 2 of the meds
1 $12 box of acidophiles packets
0 acidophiles packets used once as it was deemed yogurt and cheese were most likely the culprits of the blowout diapers
1 supremely snotty and cranky mama (who thankfully? got infected after everyone else).

Happily, most of this was over by last Thursday. I still feel like I’m recovering from it, though. Not from the snot and more snot – I’m recovering from the stress of taking two sick kids to the doctor at once. Uh, that sucks. Especially when one of the sick kids feels OK enough to crawl all over the floor of the sick kid waiting room, basically bathing himself in exotic and disgusting germs. *shiver* However, we did get the Star Wars exam room, and that was thrilling for everyone (including me) because it is just chockful with fun things to look at, so we spent out time waiting for the doc discussing Jango Fett’s spaceship and not giant q-tips being stabbed down your throat. Hooray for that.

In other news, the wee one’s birthday is right around the corner. We have it narrowed down to three birthday party themes:

1) Star Wars (shocking, I know)
2) Pirates (but not Johnny Depp pirates. I won’t let him watch those movies, so we’re more into the Playmobil pirates who smile and look kind of high)
3) Mythbusters (where all the kids can wear berets and mustaches and I can be a graying and not quite so buxom Kari and we can conduct experiments with mentos and Coke)

3 seems like the most fun to me, but it’s not my party, so I guess I’m going to end up crying into my Star Wars cup as I concoct a Slave II birthday cake. But, dude, how fun would a Mythbusters birthday be? Ah, well, my birthday is in September. Get your mustaches ready.

sleepy time play list

what do babies like
hugs and kisses, teddy bears
obnoxious music

I’m sure there are many, many, many other mamas out there with babies who eschew the nap. The wee-er one, who has pretty much outgrown her swing, though we use it anyway, will only nap in said swing. And she will only nap in said swing if certain music is playing. I know we’ve talked about her love for Rob Zombie. And I know I’ve discussed weaning her off of the death metal and onto something a little more appropriate – like SexyBack. I have to say, though, Rob Zombie is still a favorite around here.

I thought it’d be fun to share one of the wee-ER one’s newer sleeping playlists, so that maybe some other mama with a tiny tiny who refuses sleep will discover the magic of inappropriate music and its secret lullaby properties.

Here you go. And remember – much of this music is chosen for its annoying properties (though I won’t lie – I love it all. Well, most of it. Well, some of it.)

Now THAT’S What I Call A Sleeping Baby 1:

Dragula – Rob Zombie
This Love – Maroon 5
Le Disko – Shiny Toy Guns
Dancing with Myself – The Donnas
SexyBack – Justin Timberlake
Rehab – Amy Winehouse
Living Dead Girl – Rob Zombie
Head Like a Hole – NIN (though this one starts off slow and is not a favorite of the wee-ER one)
Islands in the Stream – duet with Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers
Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash
Origin of Species – Chris Smithers
It’s My Life – Gwen Stefani
Sinnerman – Nina Simone
Supernova Goes Pop – Powerman 5000
Milkshake – Kelis
Vertigo – U2
MotherMother – Tracy Bonham
Spin the Black Circle – Pearl Jam
Little Boxes – Malvina Reynolds
Satan Lend Me a Dollar – Hill of Beans
Get Your Freak On – Missy Elliot
Tamacun – Rodrigo y Gabriela

nappy-handed girl

mmm absorbant gel
delicate pampers bouquet
freshens breath and floor

Sorry about the title. Is it tacky? I was going to go with My Chemical Lovey but that seemed lame. Not that this title isn’t also lame, but, well… oh whatever. Enough of this stupid argument. Self? Both titles suck.

OK. So the wee-er one has found a lovey. Up to this point she hasn’t been interested in pacifiers or blankets or bears or baby dolls. The wee one never had a lovey, either, so I figured my boobs would continue to be the loveies for everyone in the family and that would be that.

Well.

The wee-er one has chosen her lovey. It is a diaper. Pampers to be exact. She would prefer it hefty and wet, I insist on dry and clean. She grabs a diaper, smiles like it is Jesus risen, and happily crawls away with it, stopping every now and then to gnaw on it or otherwise attempt to leech out the chemicals and gels and other horrifying things that should not be in her mouth.

I’m not sure what to do about this. On the one hand, I realize this isn’t optimal and I should find a relacement. On the other hand, a diaper as lovey is very easy to replace as it gets dirty or lost. Also, as she crawls around with it, it does a decent job of picking up dog hair and keeping my floor clean-ish.

Again, the battle is between what’s best for the baby, and what enables the lazy mom to remain lazy. These decisions are so difficult.

historically, it’s a shitty week

death and taxes joke
not really joke anymore
prophetic statement

This Virginia Tech thing seems almost predictable in its timing. Do you realize that the destruction (via suicide bomber) of the US Embassy in Lebanon, the Branch Davidian Waco siege disaster, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Columbine killings all happened on April 18th, 19th, 19th, and 20th, respectively. Now we have this on the 16th. And Lincoln was assassinated on the 14th.

Not to mention taxes being due on the 15th.

Fucking shitty week for Americans, folks. Stay inside.