It’s like being on vacation

life-size football dudes
running through my living room
can they do laundry?

We have inherited a ridonkulously big TV. I think it's like 42", which I know isn't THAT big, but compared to our old TV is like the face of Mount Rushmore. And it's HD! So now I can stare at the pores on Alec Baldwin's face. And I can count the individual hairs on the heads of Blair and Serena. And I can blush at the tightness of Phil's Amazing Race pants. This is all very exciting.

Thank goodness for broken HDMI inputs and in-laws who want their TV's inputs to be functioning. We don't need no stinkin' HDMI, at least until we get spoiled by the big TV. Then we will have to go out and purposely harm someone else's TV so that we can upgrade.

I think maybe my husband has hollowed out a small area at the base of the TV so that he can live in it like a squirrel. He loves it very much, especially because it doesn't yell at him. Unless it is playing videos of me. Which it does not.

A world record?

advanced for his age
other ways to show off though
that I would prefer

Ike-a-saurus has an ear infection. And buckets of snot. So much choking and gagging. The doctor said tiny babies don't get ear infections. But he double checked and triple checked and sure enough – infected. So I guess THIS baby gets ear infections. Very advanced, this one.

Not much sleeping going on in the Haikuoftheday household.

I have been trying to think up some kind of clever and hilarious post to welcome the holiday season but I am too tired. And with the prospect looming of continued sleeplessness plus some triptophan plus a couple of sips of holiday moonshine – I may fall asleep at the table tomorrow and not wake up for three days.

So before the food coma/total physical collapse happens, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Here's to good food, more sleep, and ears that stop being red.

peter pan

not shelter, protect
it's hard to keep kid a kid
and not go too far

There has been a lot of Santa Claus talk in our house lately. The wee-one is 6 and some rapscallions at school have been spilling the beans about the Santa myth. He is still inclined to believe in the fat old elf, though, and I'm happy about that. In fact, I create outlandish stories and scenarios to egg him on. Maybe that's not great, but I'll be damned if my first grader is going to have to give up on the magic of Santa just yet.

This has me thinking about when I was a kid. I struggled – fought, really – to believe in Santa until I was probably 10 or 11. And at that same age I still played legos everyday and ate ice cream when I came home from school and had special places for my dolls to sleep on my bed. I read Beverly Cleary books until I was made fun of for it in middle school. (Note to the girl who mercilessly made fun of me; the girl who was 12 and reading Stephen King: I am 32 and still reading Beverly Cleary books. I like them. And now I write books like that, too. So poop on you, Katie from Earth Science. You made me doubt myself, which, granted, is a rite of passage in middle school, but still, no need to be a little asshole.)

One day, in the fifth grade, all of the kids were giggling uncontrollably and I had to know why. "Something fell out of the card catalog!" one of the girls laughed (Yes, card catalog, remember those?) "Guess what it was!" she shrieked. I tried and tried to think what could make everyone laugh like that. Fake dog poop? A cheeseburger? Underwear? Nope. "A rubber!" she squealed.

A whuh?

I had no idea what that was or why it would be funny. A rubber what? I remember wondering. And even when it was halfway explained to me what a condom was, I still didn't understand, because I didn't have context.

Was I sheltered? Naive? I don't think so. I was 11! I was still a kid. Very much a kid. And I worry now about my kids. Will they still be children when they're 10,11,12? Will they want to believe in Santa even though they don't anymore? Will they still play dress-up and make-believe and tag and kick ball? Or will they be just as jaded and cynical as everyone else?

I don't know that the world I grew up in was any simpler than the world today. Obviously, technology was different, but as a whole, the world was not less complicated. (double negative!)

I'm just kind of yammering right now, but I think my point is, I don't want my kids to grow up too fast. Who does, really? But then, there's always that little asshole out there, calling your kid a baby for reading certain books or playing certain games or watching certain TV shows… or believing in Santa.

So I say, Quiet down, little assholes!

Do not make my kids ashamed to be kids. And same goes to you, world-at-large. Do not turn them into mini-adults with you-tube blaring phones and cynical hair cuts. I want them to be kids for as long as possible. And then they can go to middle school, have it all tortured out of them, go to high school, look back on it in embarrassed fondness, go to college, decorate their dorm rooms with childhood kitsch, and then finally be adults who are comfortable enough with themselves to be able to enjoy all those childhood things again, without having to camouflage it in irony.

When your kid causes trouble, sometimes people will say "kids will be kids." Well, I hope so. Because I am a kid, and it will suck for my children to be more grown-up than I am.

Eye doctor redux

gilliam-esque clamps
through with twelve monkeys visits
done with eye doctor

Today was another visit to the dreaded eye doctor. As soon as the doctor took Ike-a-saurus from me, I snatched him back, grabbed the wee-er one, and high-tailed it out of there. We ran down 38th street searching for a bus to take to Anywhere But Here.

Not really.

But that's what I thought about.

Spoons, screaming… all of that happened again. It was really not fun again. Ike scream-cried and kicked this time, even worse than before. Night.Mare.

It's done though. His eyes do not have ROP. They will not have ROP. He might be a little far-sighted and there is a chance he could have a cross-eyed thing that would need to be corrected (that's common with preemies, I'm told). But we're done with the spoons and the doctor's steampunk light-up headset of eyeball torture.

Thank God.

observances

noticing some things
surroundings coming alive
as I open eyes

I won't admit to having a routine yet, but my surroundings are becoming less fuzzy as I acclimate to the lack of sleep.

It took me a week or so, but I noticed that my husband is growing a goatee. His adorableness was increasing day-by-day and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then, last night, while we were talking about bills I showed my propensity to be socially awkward, and to not notice things until waaay late.

HIM: "…and the hospital is going to let us pay a few hundred bucks a month for—–"
ME: "I like your face."
HIM: "Huh?"
ME: "Your face. There's hair on it."
HIM: "Oh, yeah, it's been growing for a week or so. Do you think it's filling in?"
ME: "Like Zorro! I will buy you a mask. Wait. Does Zorro have a goatee?"
HIM: "Can I chase you around?"
ME: "Wearing a Zorro mask? What if he doesn't have a goatee?"
HIM: "Does it matter?"
ME: "What were we talking about again?"

In other news, the wee-er one has discovered "bony." Thanks to the aforementioned hirsute one, there is bologna in the house ("All beef!" it proclaims, so I guess I should stop thinking of it as the landfill of deli meats).

The wee-er one has fallen in love with it. "I want my bony!" she demands. "Where is my bony?" It is reminiscent of the wee one's penchant for calling me Woody when he was around her age. It makes me giggle, which is often unfortunate… like when we're at the pediatrician's office and she asks our doctor if he likes bony, too.

And not to be left out, the wee one stumped me this afternoon when he narrowed his eyes into angry slits and accused me of preventing him from having a molt. "Preventing you from shedding your feathers?" I asked, confused. "Preventing you from losing your scaly skin?"

"No, Mom!" (because he calls me Mom, now) "A molt! A molt! Like Daddy gets!"
This stumped me even more. Does my husband molt? Is molt some first grade street slang for facial hair?
"Like at SONIC, Mom! A molt. A STRAWBERRY MOLT."
Ohhhh. A malt.
"A malt!" I said excitedly. Then I frowned. "Of course you can't have one. I'm not driving anywhere right now."

The fun thing about sleep deprivation is that everything is brought right to the surface. I only mean that partially sarcastically. Everything seems sillier when you're drunk on exhaustion, you know? And it's fun to be silly.

I have to stop writing this now, though, because the wee-er one is eating a dinosaur. It is bony, but not the right kind.

Guess who’s due date is today?

Needed an advent

Little doors counting down days

Dispensing candy

Today Ike-a-saurus is 40 weeks! He's made it to term! 6lbs 5oz, 17 inches. He's still on the midgety side of things, but lord o lord how he's grown!

A recap for those with the 1001 Things That Can Go Wrong With Your Pregnancy bingo cards:

Early march, 2008: WHAT?! PREGNANT?! Call bff in state of shock, catch her on her way to Target, keep her on her phone for 45 minutes while she sits in her car. Go through rapid-cycling stages of denial and acceptance

April, 2008: make it past first trimester only to start bleeding. Everywhere. It stops after a morning. Subchorionic hemorrhage discovered. Partial bedrest of the "don't do anything crazy" variety is imposed.

May, 2008: a hell of a lot more bleeding, trip to ER. Stupid blood clot. Partial bedrest continues.

June, 2008: bleeding never really stops. Baby is fine, though he has a single umbilical artery and we worry about it. Go see a perinatologist, he says all is well, other than the fucking clot (not his exact words).

July, 2008: make it to 20 weeks – July 1st – then, water breaks. Or does it? Go to L&D repeated times, see my doctor repeated times, tests are negative for amniotic fluid, fluid level is OK. And then suddenly it's not. But tests are still negative. WTF? Use highly technical Dixie cup to catch next gush, bring it in to doctor… Positive.

Freak out.

See perinatologist. He recommends termination. He says I will get septic, the baby won't properly develop lungs. If I make it another two weeks – which he assures me there's less than a 10% chance of – I could be putting my life at risk and selfishly gestating a baby that will die in or out of my womb.

Go on complete bed rest at home.

Freak out. A lot. A lot a lot.

Decide that doctor has a not great bedside manner. Decide not to get septic or terminate.

Sit in bed and cry.

Worry a lot.

Take shitloads of abx and tocolytics.

Cry.

Watch beverly hills 90210.

Cry, but this time because brenda wore those awful suspenders.

Start bleeding again, along with gushing amniotic fluid, go to hospital at 23 weeks, 6 days.
Admitted for the duration of the pregnancy.

August, 2008: complete bed rest in hospital. Baby is transverse breech, but doing pretty well.
Contractions start big time.
Lots of terbutaline shots, steroid shots, one shot of stadol on a bad day, shots shots shots.

36 days of shots later… Isaac is born! 28 weeks, 2 days gestation. He is 2lbs 5oz and 12 inches long. He is tiny. Really, really tiny. But he's only on the ventilator for 24 hours. Only on CPAP another 24. Then it's nasal canula all the way.

His lungs DID grow.

He DID get born.

September, 2008: NICU nicu NICU. Bradys, desats, apneas, PICC line, learning how to eat, how to poop… how to be a mommy in two places at once

October, 2008: more learning to eat and poop. So much driving back and forth to the NICU. So much pumping.

10/20: he comes home at exactly 8 weeks old, 36 weeks gestation.

November, 2008: we learn how to be a family again.

Today is his due date. Today is when everything was supposed to start. Instead, it all ends and THEN it starts. Today he is officially a newborn. Today I am not supposed to be pregnant.

Today.

I never thought it would come.

40 weeks.

Today.

It's here. At last.

Things that have been ruined

associative
memories can be too much
lurking in shadows

I'm learning that there are things that have been completely ruined by my hospital stay and the NICU visits. When I see them, taste them, hear them, smell them, read them, play them, I am transported back to a place I don't want to be. It's kind of a shame, especially with the music and the snacks and the books.

I keep thinking if I take time away from this stuff then maybe I can come back to it anew, but really, I think that's a backwards approach. Taking time away from it is only going to make the associative memories stronger. They become kind of latent – like a smell that suddenly reminds you of your grandmother 10 years after she's been gone, or the chorus of a song reminding you of the day you watched your boyfriend make-out with someone else when he thought you weren't looking. You forget about those memories and then WHAP they smack you in the face one day when you're driving down the street, or walking through a farmer's market, or shopping at Target.

If I fight the latency, then maybe I can reclaim the stuff I want to – used to – like. But that's a lot of work. Trying to desensitize yourself to painful memories just to enjoy a record seems a little bit crazy. On the other hand, being smacked across the face with a sudden time travel back to hospital bedrest is no fun either.

For now, I guess, I have to take a break from these things. Maybe one day I will be ready to wallow in the memories they bring back (and by wallow, I mean let them get to me until they don't anymore – like whatsherface in The Abyss having to drown so that she can survive).

  • Pregnant women (it is excruciating for me to see them, hear about them, talk to them, read about them or otherwise acknowledge they exist. They make me scared and sad and nervous and protective – a strange and uncomfortable variety of emotions)
  • Vampire Weekend (listened to in the car on the way to and from the NICU to keep my spirits up)
  • Clif Bars (eaten in the car on the way to and from the NICU to keep my blood sugar up)
  • Cetaphil face soap (the liquid kind – used to quickly wash my face when I finally got showering "privileges" in the hospital)
  • The Closer (watched on the nights I had AFIs [amniotic fluid measurements] and the night I went into labor for real)
  • I am Legend (the book – a great book that was the perfect metaphor for being trapped in the hospital)
  • Aurora Feint (a game on my iphone that I played during the 20 minutes breaks between terbutaline shots on the bad nights in the hospital)
  • Pretty much all of my t-shirts (worn on bedrest at home and in the hospital)

Those are just the main ones. The REALLY scary ones are those that I can't think of, that sneak up out of nowhere. That's when you find yourself crying at Target and not knowing why.

Though I have to say, even with all of this, so much good has come out of The Saga. Obviously, there's Ike-a-saurus. But then there's also this deep, deep appreciation of my home and being able to see and hug and yell at anyone whenever I want. There is the satisfaction of being able to pick up my baby without having to ask someone if it's OK first. There's the wonderful freedom to go anywhere, at anytime, and buy milkshakes for myself and the kids. There are the closer relationships and the Things That Hadn't Been Said that were said between me and others – both good and bad. There's a lot of stuff I'm thankful for. Even when I fuss about silly things, I am still deeply grateful. So I guess sacrificing a few songs and books and snacks for the sake of sanity is OK.

At least for now.

It’s an ax-ee-net

bad butter fingers
conspire to maim innocents
ruin self-esteem

It is hard for us to get going in the mornings. I'm running on no sleep, and when I wake up I'm usually well behind on my pumping schedule, Ike-a-saurus is starving, the wee-er one is starving, I am desperate for a shower to wake me up, etc. (Thank goodness my husband gets the wee one off to school!)

So when we have to actually get out of the house, things get pretty frantic, pretty quickly.

This morning, we had a well check for the wee-er one at 9:30. When I made the appointment I thought that seemed plenty late in the morning – past rush hour, even.

Ha

Ha

Ha

Just by the skin of our teeth we managed to be in the garage trying to get in the car at 9:04. We live 20 minutes from the doctor – in no traffic. It was going to be close.

That was when I dropped my water bottle on Ike's face. Mm-hmm. A full bottle of good ol' Ozarka, WHACK, square between the eyes.

He was in his car seat, which I had set on the garage floor while I was getting the wee-er one in the car. As I juggled her and the diaper bag and my other bag (which I hesitate to call a purse – it's more of a diaper bag appendix), the water bottle slipped from my hand and made a sickening thwap sound. At first I thought we got really lucky and it had just hit the side of the carseat. There was that millisecond of silence that happens right after something bad has occurred. That one millisecond where you think everything might be OK. Everything is silent, the world stops, and you think, whew, what I fear just happened maybe didn't happen.

But then Ike-a-saurus screwed up his face into a purple ball of sheer WTF. And then he screamed. Oh, how he screamed.

You know when you go to a restaurant like the Cracker Barrel and there are those games on the table? Games meant to challenge your mind, take up a lot of time, frustrate you, and ultimately get tossed through an open window? Can you remove the washer from this bent up railroad spike? No? Too bad for you! And it's still another 30 minutes until your grits arrive! Sucker! Well, the people who invented those games also invented the straps on Ike-a-saurus' car seat. It takes like 20 minutes and an engineering degree to get him strapped in. Then it takes another 20 minutes and a reverse engineering degree to get him out. And you don't get rewarded with a bowl of grits when you're done.

So he was screaming, and I had to rustle around in my brain to find my Car Seat Reverse Engineering Degree to unstrap him so that I could then rustle up my mama MD to check him for signs of blunt trauma and/or brain damage. Of course, while I am doing this, the wee-er one is taking off her shoes and her pants and eating raisins off the floor of the car.

I finally got her strapped in, deemed Ike possibly undamaged, spent 20 minutes getting him strapped back into his torture device car seat and we were finally driving down the street.

That was when we were met with the longest line of traffic I have ever seen. People were driving across the blowing two-foot tall chaff in the wide highway median to get away from this traffic beast. I thought about it, but then had visions of being ticketed while a tow truck driver asked why my baby's forehead has a water bottle shaped bruise on it.

So we sat in traffic. I choked back tears of "WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO BE SO HARD" and called my superstar friend to see if she could use her mad skillz to find out what the fuck was going on. All traffic reports said everything was clear. Of course they did. She consoled me. We hung up. I called the doctor's office to tell them we were going to be ridiculously late.

Finally, we made it. The doctor gave a free looksee at Ike's face and proclaimed all was well. (At least you didn't drop him head first on concrete, he said laughing. The day isn't over yet, I replied cheerfully.) He poked at the wee-er one, said she is a bit skinny for her age, and then he was off. One MMR and Hep A shot later, we were back in the car. This time, the wee-er one was screaming her head off.

After tylenol, motrin, an ice pack, a bribe of any baby doll she wants, a Frosty, some french fries, uninterrupted Elmo watching, and a nap, she is feeling much better. Me? I am tired.

"It's an ax-ee-net," the wee-er one says now, pointing at the red mark on Ike-a-saurus' head.
"A what?" I ask.
"An ax-ee-net on his head. Wif da water."
"Yes," I agree. "It was an accident."
"It fweeks me out," she confirms.
"It freaks me out, too," I say.

This whole day. Freaking me out.