Thursday, July 31, 2008
And then I look, and sure enough, we're both looking at the sky for a few moments. I say "You're right, sweetie, that's the sky."
He smiles proudly at me. I give him a kiss.
Tonight I had to explain to Brody the difference between a button and butt. It's more difficult than you would think.
I realized tonight, reading Goodnight Moon and Dinosaur Roar! that I still read the words on the page. Not just say them, but actually read them. It strikes me as ridiculous. I mean, there really is no room for interpreting the story with these books. Goodnight nobody, goodnight mush. The pictures are the only thing on the page - at one point a picture of . . . nothing. The page is blank (Goodnight nobody). So I stopped reading and just looked at the pictures with Brody while I told him the story. It was much more enjoyable.
Nearing his second birthday, Brody is sometimes. . . well. . . willful. And sometimes when he doesn't get his way, he has tantrums. Shocking. And tonight, while he was on my lap during one of those tantrums, my person got in the way of his flailing hand, and he hit me.
Brody looked so shocked and horrified that I didn't have the heart to give him a time out. I did stifle laughter.
I said quite sternly, "You hit mommy, Brody. That's not nice." (He yells "not nice!" to the dogs when they lick him or knock him over. 'Not nice' is like a swear word to him - it's the worst condemnation he can utter at this point).
He was silent and looked away.
"Are you sorry?"
"Brody, look at mommy." He does. "You hurt mommy. Hitting is not nice."
I swear he nodded, but that may have been my imagination. We returned to watching the dogs play. Then we cuddled.
I feel more guilty than he does, obviously.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
He died in 1999. We think he was murdered, in New Orleans.
The coroner said he died basically of blunt force trauma to the head. He said it could have been from a fall but he'd never seen a fall that hard. So probably homicide, with robbery as the motive. Never solved. Or really investigated.
When we found out about Gary, he was already on life support. None of us ever got to say goodbye or that we loved him. But we all did, my mom, my sisters and brother, and I.
He was named after Gary Cooper. My dad apparently loved Gary Cooper.
I think about Gary a lot. Sometimes when Brody is in surgery, I imagine Gary and my dad, who died in 1989, in the operating room with Brody, watching over him. And sometimes I can feel them in the room with me, waiting with us.
Anyway, the point of this is not to dwell on Gary's death, but on his life.
Gary saved my life, quite literally. It was the 1970's, and my family had a pinto station wagon. The kind that eventually got recalled. We were all packed into the pinto on the way home from a festival. There was a lot of traffic, and it was bumper to bumper.
I was sleeping in the back of the station wagon, and Gary was in the middle seat.
We got rearended.
Hard enough so that the back hatch popped open, and my little 6 or 7 year old body started careening out the open hatch, into the other car.
Until Gary grabbed me by the collar of my shirt, and prevented me from flying out.
I remember that choking feeling, how strong both forces were, physics pushing me out the back, Gary making me stay in safety.
Gary had to have made that decision in less than a second. If he had hesitated at all . . .
I also remember Gary always wanted me to walk on his back. To crack it. I thought it was very weird, but what the hell - he loved it, so while he would watch those beloved westerns (probably starring his namesake) of his on TV, I'd walk on his back and feel the crunch under my feet.
When I was younger, and lighter, he would lift me upside down and throw me over his shoulder and hang me by my feet. I was terrified and giggling all at once.
Last night, in honor of Gary, I did the same to Brody. Hung him upside down by his legs, then flung him over my shoulder and pretended I was going to drop him. He loved it just as much as I did. I hope Gary was in the room with us.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I picked up Brody from daycare, and decided on the spur of the moment to take him out to dinner.
And there was Red Robin. www.redrobin.com
Now, of course, we haven't always had good luck with restaurants (see Johnny Rockets post in June).
Friday was ridiculously fun.
We were seated at a booth that faced the whole restaurant. Brody in a booster.
Yes, he is a big boy.
Immediately, Brody is mesmerized by the cacophony of sound and distraction. He does also immediately notice that the table right next to us has a tower of onion rings, because he points to it and smiles saying "Whoaaa. . . ummies! Ummies!" Then he noticed other tables were eating too.
Next came the cherished sugar packet sorting. We ordered our food.
As an aside, kids' menus are way better than when I was growing up. Brody ordered the grilled cheese and fries, with a strawberry smoothie.
The onion ring table left after their meal was over. Which I only realized when Brody looked at their table, and asked "Where?" while using the sign for where, his little arm bent in confusion.
The smoothie arrived. Brody smiled. When I asked if I could have some, he said "No." And then looked at me while he moved the smoothie to the far side of him.
Then Brody began to realize he was hungry. I got a little nervous. I had no food with me. He kept pointing to other tables' food piles, saying "ummies" and signing "more" and "please," and telling me to "stay" (that's what I tell him when I get up from the couch to get him some milk, so now he tells it to me when he wants food) (and yes, I do the hand gesture and it is a dog command, but it works).
At the moment right before the meltdown, our lovely waiter arrived bearing all of our food. Brody actually held his arms up and yelled "Yay! Yay!"
Apparently, the kids' grilled cheese is on Texas toast. This did not deter Brody. He ate the whole sandwich, and if the piece he had bitten off was too big, which it often was, he used his free arm (not hand, the forearm part) to shove it back into his mouth.
By the time dinner was over, Brody had gotten accustomed to having a waiter. Every time he appeared, Brody said "More? more?" knowing that the waiter was going to be giving us something else - be it more smoothie, food or crayons.
It was a fantastic date, and we will be back. Screw Johnny Rockets.
Vive la Red Robin!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
We left when he put his head down on my shoulder and said "Nigh, nigh" which means, of course, good night.
As we were walking back to our house in the dark, Brody had this befuddled look on his face. Then he pointed up and looked at me, and said "Sky off."
He hasn't been outside in the dark for months, and not since he has been talking a lot.
Jeremy said, "Yeah, buddy, the sky is off. Time to go night night."
Brody looked at me, and asked, while pointing still to the sky, "On? On?"
I am a very powerful person, but even I couldn't turn the sky on. I said, "No, sweetie, it's night night, so sky off. Sun is night night."
Then he looked up at the sky and said, "bye bye"
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I am an Obama devotee. So this post will probably only appeal to fellow Obama devotees.
Obama just spoke to a crowd of 200,000 in Berlin.
Can you imagine any candidate for any office from another country drawing 200,000 Americans to one of his or her speeches?
Reporters say his 27-minute speech at the gold-topped Victory Column was interrupted by applause at least 30 times, with occasional audience chants of “O-ba-MA!”
Billed as a speech about Transatlantic relations, it turned out to be a manifesto for the planet, with an appeal to “the burdens of global citizenship.” German authorities said the crowd was more than 200,000 — triple Obama's previous record of 70,000 in Portland, Ore.
Can you even imagine Obama as the American president? The possibilities are almost overwhelming.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
So this is called Smile Into the Sun. Cause he is still squinting. But my god, how cute is he?!?!
Daddy and Brody fishing in the pond behind our house. Brody is afraid of grass, so it was a big deal for him to walk up to daddy on the grass. I see many future fishing trips.
Finally, no, Brody did not start boxing lessons. This is what happens to my little man when the Claritin wears off. He was pathetic. But still, on the way home from daycare, even with his eyes almost swollen shut, he managed to point out a bus, a bike and a boat.
Brody steering his car. Please note how he already uses his index fingers as thumbs. I am so proud of him. He literally evolved right before our eyes.
Against his mom and sister.
They called the police.
But the English police didn't arrest him because he had the premiere to go to for The Dark Knight.
Where these photos were taken.
You would never know he was disturbed about anything in these photos. Look at the carefree glint in his eyes.
Also, if you are assaulting your mom (or mum, as they say over there) and sister, that's got to be drug-related, right? My theory is that mom and sis tried to intervene during one of his binges.
So while I was reading some English papers online, there was this other fascinating story about Princess Anne. She is sister to the Queen, I think. Anyway, she wore this hideous yellow and white dress to the Princess Diana/Prince Charles wedding in 1981 (her dress is old enough to drink just like my racquets!) and then to some other "royal" wedding this past weekend, in 2008! The first photo from 1981 and then the one from this weekend:
This is news?
I hate the dress in 1981, but actually, in 2008, it ain't half bad.
The hat is bad both times.
Is 27 years the time limit to wait for legally wearing your old clothes? I wonder if in 6 years, when my racquets are 27 years old, can I use them to play tennis again?
Under this theory, will ripped sweatshirts be coming back into vogue?
You know what we haven't seen in a really long time?
A good computer virus. Remember a while back, there were some amazing viruses out there that caused complete havoc in the workplace? My theory was and remains that McAffee and other virus protection software vendors were secretly funding the virus creators, because what better way to increase your own business? Imagine an umbrella manufacturer in control of the rain.
Yesterday I was thinking - we haven't had a good virus scare in a really long time.
Prediction: We will soon.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Not only are my tennis racquets old enough to drink, they are well on their way to sleeping with all the wrong people, as folks do in their 20's.
So, because I don't want to be laughed at that hard by the other tennis players, I've got to get new racquets.
Or at least ones made in this century. Any recommendations?
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Tiny Town is a miniature "town" through which a train runs. Little kids think it's the coolest. Here Steve is explaining to Brody about the buildings. . . .
Of course, there is also a playground. . .
For Sunday brunch we all went to Country Road cafe. Country Road is so good that you have to wait. . .
and wait . . .
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Sentence is a weird word when you really look at it.
Anyway, Brody said his first two-word sentence that he created himself (as opposed to sit down, uh-oh, etc). It was. . . ."Dada car! Dada car!" He saw daddy's car from down the block as we were driving home tonight. He was so excited and happy to see Jeremy's car.
Also, someone taught Brody the word "mine." Tonight he took my sunglasses away from me, and I asked for them back. As he walked away gripping and drooling on my sunglasses, he looked back over his shoulder at me and said "Mine."
We did not teach him that.
Finally, Brody says "baa bye" in the saddest, littlest, cutest voice. Like he is really sad to be saying bye bye. He says, "baaaaa bye." And he says it over and over and to every living and not-living thing.
Tonight he has said "baaaaa bye" to the daycare, 7-11, his dogs, his daddy, the high chair when I was lifting him out, the house when we all went for a walk to the park, the tree when we were passing it in the park, the lake, the goose, the neighbor, the little animal toys he plays with in the tub while I lifted him out, his sippy cup, his toothbrush, and the dogs again. And we're not prompting him to say it. It's his own mind at work.
Monday night we followed Jeremy home from my sister's house. Brody could see that we were following Jeremy's car. Brody said "Baaaaa bye" to Jeremy and/or his car over 25 times on the way home.
That's all for now. Baaa bye.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
My sister swiped her neighbor's, and so while my mom was here this weekend, I jumped on a trampoline. As did Brody. Well, he preferred to sit while someone else made it bouncy.
I don't remember the last time I was on a trampoline, but I'm pretty sure Ronald Reagan was president. I wonder if Ronald Reagan ever thought his Vice President's idiot son would ever be president.
But I digress.
Tonight, Jeremy, Brody and I had a belly flop/back flop contest on our bed.
However, I got the most giggles from Brody when I jumped into the air first, and then flopped onto the bed, instead of just falling over onto the bed.
My thoughts over the last two days:
Someone should market lemonade that has caffeine in it. Not the still lemonade but the carbonated lemonade. I may just crumble some excedrin into my next bottle and see how it tastes.
Also, instead of water with vitamins, or coconut or other flavoring, I think there should be Ibuprofen water, or Excedrin water. Is someone working on this? I think it would sell a lot. If they can make lollipops with morphine in them, I think they can figure this out.
Also, when I go out to my favorite Indian restaurant (Namaste) for the buffet lunch on a self-indulgent whim (this is one of my favorite activities I have pledged to do more of), I think that restaurant should clear out all children so I can read my book in peace.
Also, I think if you ever go to a buffet restaurant, especially one at which I am dining, you should not be able to have your 4 children cut into line in front of me on the buffet and take the last naan bread. Because even if the waiter will refill the naan soon, it still makes me angry.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Not just my husband. Everyone. Family. Friends. Even strangers. I hate doing what other people want me to do.
On the other hand, I love doing what I want to do. I find that I even enjoy chores if it's something I want to do, versus something that has to be done for the sake of the house, the lawn, the dogs, whatever.
I feel like I've given up a lot of my power in letting my desire to please others rule a lot of the time. God, I sound self-helpish. Please don't let me be a cliche.
It's odd because from 2004 until 2006, I was on an absolute quest to have a baby, a baby that I wanted and that pretty much every doctor told me I would not have. I had a singular, tunnel vision kind of outlook on the matter, and I left no stone unturned. I said to hell with everyone who doubted me, and I did what I wanted.
And succeeded. Rather well, in fact.
So what happened? I'm not sure. Well, aside from the obvious - I had a baby. Perhaps I was just tired from navigating such uncharted waters and I got tired. Having a baby will alter every breath of your day when the kid is healthy, let alone when he is not. There is a lot that I do to please him. But it's different - I do that because I want to. Last night I made him laugh so hard he pooped. Without a diaper on. I thought it was fantastic. Not that I wanted him to poop without a diaper, but you get the idea. It is not a chore to make Brody laugh so hard he has to stop so he can catch his breath.
I think a lot of it was caused by adjusting to life with not only a new child, but a child who has a lot of medical issues. I ignored my career, my health, my finances, myself, and my friendships. If it wasn't for book club, there were some months I did not go out at all or do much for myself in any way.
It's not like I was being told I couldn't do anything by anyone. But I definitely. . . got away from myself. I forgot myself. I forgot about things I really like to do. But at the same time I refused to do things I hated doing even if a rational adult would do them. Instead of being a sparkly ocean liner joyfully traversing the wide open waves with abandon, I became the ill-used raft that went with the currents and hoped I didn't drown in the next storm. I was psychically paralyzed staring at my new life, new child, new challenges and unable to move. So I didn't do much at all really. Hence the shambles became.
So now I am going to remember myself more.
I really like the things I used to do. And how I felt doing them. It's an extraordinarily peaceful yet exhilirating feeling to come back into yourself.
We are not talking earth-saving activities here.
But we might be talking Christine-saving activities.
Updates to follow.
Friday, July 11, 2008
When we do let him, this is what happens.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Started to read it to Brody. Never made it past the 4th page.
Because on that page, we learn about the old fish, and the new fish, which is a baby fish in a stroller. We also learn about a fish in a car.
The layout of the pages are that the new fish in the stroller and the fish in the car are on the same page.
This was our conversation:
Brody: (pointing to stroller) Boat.
Me: No, honey, that's a stroller.
Brody: Boat (pointing to stroller)
Me: Okay, yes. Boat.
Brody: Car (pointing to car)
Me: Yes (turning the page)
Brody: (turning back the page and pointing to stroller) Boat.
Me: Yes, yes that's a boat. Very good.
Brody: (pointing to car) Boat.
Me: Yes, that's a boat too. They are both boats.
Brody: Both boats! Both boats!
Me: Yes, both boats.
silence while Brody contemplates the stroller.
Brody: Car! (pointing to stroller, that he just insisted was a boat)
Me: Ok, yes, that is a car.
Brody: (pointing to car) Car!
Me: Yes, that is a car.
Brody's attention shifted back to the stroller.
Brody: (pointing to stroller) Boat!
Then he decided he was too tired to read further. As was I.
The docs tried again today and the extubation did not work.
So if anyone is reading this, please send some prayers and positive thoughts to Elias. http://mycarouselofprogress.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Brody pooped while in the bathtub.
Not even a mother's love can find anything good in that.
Except maybe that at least I was not in the tub with him when he did it.
Maybe the universe has got my back after all.
Monday, July 7, 2008
So, there's that.
Also, it occurs to me that a true friend will talk to you, saying anything just to fill the airtime, while you weep in a public bathroom.
I always seem to be tongue tied in that situation, when I'mthe consoling friend. It's one of the reasons I love Jessica Fletcher - yeah, I'm working in a Murder, She Wrote plug here - because she always knows just what to say, whether she walks in on a married couple fighting or the tail end of a tryst.
Me? I never know what to say. I was so impressed that at one point I was able to sort of step back and marvel at how they are able to just keep talking, quietly, fiercely, consoling, comforting, advising, in a steady stream of words that flowed seamlessly. I wonder if they outline before they do it, or if they have talking points like politicians who comment after a debate.
Friday, July 4, 2008
Potato chips, tortilla chips,
focaccia bread, and cheese.
More bread, more cheese.
I'm not sure if it's the fact that he is sitting in a car cart,
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
It occurred to me at approximately 2:30am Sunday June 29 that I am not nearly as together as I think I am. I think I have discovered my coping mechanism and it is called faking it.
When Brody was born we were in a state of shock. Which really doesn't describe it. We were flattened.
But then somehow Brody lived, and so we lived, and then we came home, and I got on anti-anxiety meds and still worried every single hour about his kidney, his hands, his life, his throat, his skull. . .
One by one medical issues were addressed. And instead of having regular and complete mental breakdowns, I . . . didn't.
I think I regret that now. Because I think I should have been having lots and lots of breakdowns. And it wasn't as if my impulse was to not have breakdowns, it was that I had to keep it together. Keep it together, keep it together, keep it together. I demanded that I focus on the good things.
But you know what happened?
Bad things. Bad things because I was spending too much time trying to clamp down my instincts which were screaming at me to . . . to . . . have complete, utter, total breakdowns, really.
I was like a Stepford wife. Which would make my husband (and mother) laugh, because I wasn't perfect. The house wasn't perfect, my marriage became almost unbearably imperfect. But I pretended to be perfect to everyone. And maybe nobody was fooled, except for me, but maybe I was the only one who needed to be fooled and that is why the coping mechanism I chose worked for 22 months.
Here I am, 22 months later, and . . . everything is a shambles. I won't detail the details. The only things not a shambles are my marriage (which was in shambles 12 months ago) and Brody. I let everything slip into shambles but him. Dear god I hope that's not a delusion too. I don't think it is.
Do you know, the other day I was talking to one of Brody's teachers at daycare, and she was asking me about my pregnancy with Brody, and if we knew about his issues prenatally. I told her no, and she was shocked, (it's always, "How could they have missed everything on the ultrasound? To which I replied, "Exactly") and she said, "He is so happy, at everything we do." And I guess I must have given her a glazed over smile that understood her meaning to be complete fakery, and she then touched my arm, caught my gaze and said "No, really. Out of all the kids, he is the happiest one. No matter what we are doing, he is the most happy, the most excited, and has the most fun." Like she knew I didn't believe her and it was crucial for her to make me believe her.
Which it might have been.
So Brody is not a shambles, right?
But really, I have to recommend complete breakdowns to anyone dealing with a sick child, or other traumatic life event. Because I think if I had just allowed myself to have them, I would be able to sleep better now, and I would have saved myself almost 2 years of faking, which wasn't fooling anyone but myself.
And, really, only hurt myself. Because faking that you are keeping it together takes an inordinate amount of energy. And I do not have that kind of energy (or time).
In light of the new fiscal year, I am resolving to stop running away from my problems (and the universe sure as hell knows what those are) and confronting them instead. If nothing else, they will be surprised to see something other than my back and maybe that will be just enough shock to get them to resolve in my favor.
The news on Brody:
Brody can remove the splints by himself. And does so, approximately 10 times each day.
Tonight we were in the grocery store, buying Carnation instant breakfast (more on that later) and as Brody was sitting in the cart, a man walked by.
This was not any man; this was a man who looked like he had been in prison at one time (maybe more than once): picture a tall man with longish unstyled hair surrounding an unkempt goatee, which topped numerous arm tattoos and a harley davidson wife-beater, dirty jeans and boots. And an expression on his face that can only be described as . . . grim.
He sauntered past our cart, with Brody fascinated by him. The man was looking down the aisle. And just as he was almost past our cart, Brody said in his soft, sweet voice,
Which rather amazingly stopped this man dead in his tracks. His eyebrows furled and he looked at Brody (and even more amazingly did not look at me at all) and, somewhat at a loss for what to do, the man said to Brody after a millisecond hesitation,
And then he picked up where he left off and walked out the store.
It was my favorite moment of the day.
Now for bad news. . . Brody is also still not that interested in eating non milk food, despite having splints and not casts, and even with the splints off.
At which point I remembered a swallow study done oh . . . 6 months ago. . . in which they said he had acid reflux (GERD). I forgot, I think, because at the time they said that it probably didn't bother Brody because his esophagus was so narrow, the reflux was not reaching the esophagus.
Then we had surgery in March, in between our surgeries in February and April, to dilate the esophagus.
But now Brody is not so interested in eating.
And I cannot bring myself to wean him off the bottle, because frankly I think he gets most of his calories from the whole milk.
Thanks to my new friends at the Vacterl network, I bought some Carnation instant breakfast mix and now add it to his milk. Do you know how much that stuff is? $6.29 for 8 measly packets. That is criminal.
My other super-fine friend said that if I can get Brody's ped to prescribe Pediasure for weight gain, then our insurance has to pay for it.
So I have to make an appointment with our ped, and then probably get re-referred to the GI doc for eating issues and more appointments.
Just when we thought things would calm down. . .