Friday, January 23, 2009

Oh my cow

I don't know if was the 3-day low-grade fever, or just Brody being himself, but he has combined his favorite expressions "Oh my goodness" and "Holy cow!" to be "Oh my cow!"

Which we encourage him to use.

We went to the pediatrician Tuesday. He said "How long do we have?" and "What does Shriners accept?" We said, "Nine days, and they'll take a temp up to 100 as long as the chest is clear." I love our pediatrician. He gave us antibiotics. Chest and ears were clear.

Brody had temps 99-100 for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. J stayed home Tuesday, then me the next two days. Of course, we are all now sick. Well, I'm about 2 days behind Brody. Jeremy is one day behind me.

Today I feel like a truck ran me over. I'm over the sickest part of the cold, but the exhaustion is kicking in, and work has exploded with activity, and I'm behind on everything at home, at work.

And Brody's glitter cast slipped off this morning. When you don't have a thumb to keep it on, casts come off a lot.

So back to the casting couch (ha!) this afternoon.

As a good friend of mine says, I want sleep for lunch.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

16 Random Things

1. Brody has a cough. He's on so many immune boosting herbs (probiotics, echinacea) that I was inclined to think that it was allergies. Except I have the cough today. Are allergies contagious?

2. Jeremy woke up with a sore throat Sunday morning. I guess he was a little miffed that the very first words out of my mouth after he told me were "Go wash your hands and stop breathing on Brody" instead of, you know, something about how he was feeling or, like, a hug...

3. Really. Brody has not been sick since SEPTEMBER. Now, 10 days before surgery we've been waiting for since May, he gets a cough, while on immune boosting herbs and vitamin and probiotics. Really? Really? My head is about to explode.

4. I'm at work. It's very quiet. I wish I could go to sleep. I have to draft and file something today instead. I hope I don't malpractice.

5. I wish thinking about exercise was the same as doing it.

6. A recent development: bunions. Both big toes. I thought that was for 80 year olds. Not me. Alas. I can only wear Danskos. Yet another thing to blame on my parents (it's hereditary). I think I probably need the surgery, because my toes hurt every day. While the idea of two weeks off my feet seems sort of heavenly, the idea of a scalpel on my toe bone does not.

7. I still haven't written thank you cards for Brody's Christmas gifts. Because I'm, well, lazy.

8. I've been a lawyer for over 11 years. When I think about that, I think I should know a whole hell of a lot more than I do about pretty much everything.

9. Brody peed in the potty for the first time ever yesterday. Jeremy and I gave him a standing ovation.

10. Brody slept in the big boy race car bed for the first time last night. I don't understand how he can look so big in a crib on one day, and so small in a race car bed the next, when the exact same mattress is used.

11. Our crib is from Erik Weihenmayer, the blind man who climbed Mt. Everest a few years ago. My sister knows him and his wife. I told my sister yesterday that we were done with the crib, and did the Weihenmayers want it back? She asked, "Are you going to need it again?" I said no. Which sort of made me want to cry. It's strange how jealous I get when other people have babies. And it pisses me off that when I say Brody is probably our only child, people assume it's because of Brody's medical issues and some fear we have about having another Vacterl child. No, actually, it's because my reproductive immunology treatment is not covered by insurance, and costs a minimum of $1,000 per month of pregnancy, for drugs and treatments. And that doesn't count the $1700 of testing before we even were able to try again, to see what my immune system is up to these days. And since we're still paying off the testing after the 4th miscarriage, and the costs of the successful Brody pregnancy, and some of the eight surgeries Brody had in 2008, we can't afford to put another child in daycare. And all of this precludes the cost of adoption as well.

12. Wow. I didn't realize I was that bitter about that subject. I do still think about the girl I was pregnant with in the spring of 2005. We lost her after seeing a heartbeat. I think, in my deepest heart, that somehow a little girl will come into our lives. I don't know how or when, but I feel it, even though I recognize it may be just wishful thinking. Brody would be such a good big brother though.

13. What's it called when you watch a show you don't normally watch, and then 6-12 months later, you happen to watch the same show, and it's the same damn episode? Does that just happen to me? What is that?

14. If I see another commercial for the Barack Obama coin, I. . . I . . . .

15. I've always wanted to go to a restaurant that had dinner and dancing and those tiny champagne glasses, where the women and men dress up. What happened to those places? We should bring them back.

16. I keep a running list of characters who have three fingers and thumb, like Brody will have one day. I started to do that because I didn't want him to think, when the time came, that it was such a big deal. So far, the characters in Monsters Inc., Sesame Street, the Simpsons, Mickey Mouse... I keep noticing more, but I never write them down.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cast on no. 2

I'm starting with this photo for a few reasons. First, it shows Brody smiling. Second, look at the little GQ leg-cross. He's posing at age 2. Sure, I take 10 photos of him a day, so he has been forced to learn to pose, but still. The leg cross. My boy.

We went back to the ortho for our two-week cast change. Again, we're trying to stretch the soft tissue before surgery January 28. As soon as the cast came off, his hand went from 180 (straight) to around 130 degrees. It was 90 degrees to start with, completely perpendicular to the wrist, so I suppose that is an improvement.

This hand has always been so much tighter and less functional than his left hand though, including the utterly failed straightening/centralization surgery last May.

I'm worried.

I'm worried this upcoming surgery will be another failure, except it's not just the wrist, it's the thumb this time too. Well, the soon-to-be-thumb. I suppose every club hand is different, but the kids I've seen so far have had more like Brody's left hand. I've never seen or heard of fingers that don't bend. He can move his right hand fingers, sort of, but he has nowhere near the grip on the right that he has on his left. And the fingers look different. They curve. They actually look curved. It's the soft tissue doing it. It's not on the x-rays. Great, now I'm rambling.

Back to the appointment. Brody had a purple cast, which he loved dearly. He was fairly terrified of the cast saw (even though we called it a tickle robot- Brody saw through that lie). So once we got the cast off, and Brody insisted on spending 15 minutes with that arm being soaped under running under water (I don't blame him), the PA Kevin decided he could use a softer cast, that won't require a cast saw to remove. The only difference is, the softer cast comes in one color: white.

Enter the glitter.

While the cast was still wet, the PA presents us with a shoebox-size container of 20 different little bottles of glitter. Brody picked his favorites. First, purple. Then, green. It looked quite good. Like Wimbledon. Then, a medium lavender shade. Then, hot pink. The PA said he's never had a kid who picked so many colors. And he's never seen a more sparkly cast. Brody was quite pleased. The PA also put a cast on Brody's baby. And gave me the roll of purple cast material in case (a) Brody wanted the purple cast back, and/or (b) another baby, monkey, elmo, cookie monster needed to be casted too.

After the appointment, in the hall outside, I made Brody pose with Baby for photos. He kept moving though, so I had to keep taking photos. Brody became annoyed. Which is when he finally stood still, and I got a good photo of both Brody and his Baby.

I think he looks like a sullen teenager here. But I still like the photo. We got back to the car, I gave him a box of animal crackers which he ate while I drove him back to school. Then he fell asleep. The guilt was gnawing at me, that he had to go to daycare at all today, especially after the tears from the saw and trauma of it all. He cried when I told him he had to go to school.

I walked with him into school, and decided in my head that I would stay with him for 15-20 minutes before I went back to work. We walked into his class. The teacher was about to read a story. Brody and the other mini-people sat down at the miniature table. Then Brody turns to me and says, "Bye mommy."

I got dismissed by my 2 year old.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


New phrases Brody has picked up recently:

"Whatcha doooooin', mommy?" (my absolute favorite so far)

"Holy cow!"

"Oh my goodness!"

"Holy shit!" (in my defense, I was emptying the diaper pail, and was overwhelmed by the stench when I said this)

"Bite me?" He wants to know if everything is going to bite him. This includes cheese.


Things I've taught him (besides Holy Shit) that he actually seems to like:

Sharpei Brody: I put my hands on the sides of his face, and say "Regular Brody", then I squeeze my hands together to squish his face, and say "Sharpei Brody"; repeat several times. He loves it and asks for it repeatedly.

Squishy hugs: Basically when I ask for a hug, if I ask for a squishy hug, I squeeze him tightly and make a noise like I'm straining I'm hugging him so much. When I ask for a squishy hug, he wraps his arms around my neck, and makes the same noise.

Squish me, mommy: When he was on the changing table one night, I pretended to put all of my body weight on top of him. I did it to make him laugh while we were putting on pajamas. Then he started saying "squish me, mommy, squish me." I remembered what I did the night before, and now it's a thing we do. He giggles loudly.

Where da peepee: Another nighttime ritual. When the diaper is off, and he's laying down, he closes his legs, and says in a deep voice with a furrowed brow: "Where da peepee?" Then he opens is legs and says in a high voice "Dere da peepee!" It never fails to make me laugh.

Eskimo kiss: He does it so hard that it hurts my nose. And he wants to do it all the time.


Things that make him laugh uncontrollably that I, frankly, just don't get:

Playdoh poopoo: We play playdoh. He asks me to make a snowman. I do - 3 balls of playdoh. He takes it, squishes them together, and holds it on the palm of his hand saying "poo poo!" and can't stop laughing.

Splash: There's a book we read, I think it's Biscuit and his Big Friend, and one point on the page, the puppy falls into the water, and I read "Splash." He laughs so hard he can hardly breathe.

Stinky feet: Every time he takes socks off, he says "Stinky feet, stinky feet" and literally doubles over laughing.


The games he plays:

I fall down: When he's particularly happy, he likes to play a game in which he runs back and forth across the room, and then he does a slow-motion fall to the ground. It's very dramatic, and almost graceful. Then he says, "I fall down, mommy."

Hammer on the head: He was playing with a toy hammer last night. He said, "Hammer on the head, mommy." Then I watched as he hit himself in the head with the hammer. "Why are you hitting your head with the hammer, Brody?" "Make noise, mommy."

Time out dinosaur: I gave him a time out over the weekend because he intentionally hit my shin with his cast. The whole rest of the day, and the next, he put his his stuffed dinosaur into timeouts for the same thing. "Hit cast knee. Time out, didosor." Over. And over.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another death....

My cousin Stefan. My mother's nephew. Age 45.

Married with two young children. Didn't smoke or drink.

Came home from work yesterday, said he felt dizzy, then collapsed dead.

My mom is flying to Germany Wednesday for the funeral.

Stefan is my uncle Hansi's only child.

When I talked to my sister about it, I expressed more concern over Hansi losing his only child. My sister expressed more concern about Stefan's widow, facing life with no husband and two young children.

I knew something was wrong when I saw "Mom mobile" on my phone's caller ID, calling me at 10am on a Monday.

I never get used to hearing my mom cry.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The weekend in photos. . . .

Brody, after his haircut, watching the carousel. You talk about the attention span of a 2 year old. . . you want the 2 year old to pay attention? Put a merry go round in the mall, and that 2 year old will sit mesmerized for 20 minutes while stuffing handfuls of Kix cereal into his mouth.

The 2 year old also won't even notice when you try to take a photo of how spectacularly stretchy the first and second fingers are.
Oh, and that was only as far as my index and middle fingers could stretch. Brody could have stretched farther (further?) And that position actually sort of hurt my hand, and Brody doesn't even care.

Brody studying Daddy's drawing technique at a restaurant where you get to draw with crayons on the table cloth.

Three generations.
I think Jeremy's expression says it all.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Ooopeez is what Brody says when he drops something.

So when I got the new template, in addition to the annoying orange banner at the top, all of my links to the blogs I read got deleted. Ooopeez.

So now I have to recreate. If I've ever commented on your blog, please post your link to your blog in the comments section.

Thank you.

Edited to add: Also, please add any links to your favorite blogs, or blogs you think I should be reading.

Caption this photo

For some reason, this photo makes me smile. It's Brody, obviously, with his "older" girlfriend, Gemma, age 4. They're at the Children's Museum.

If anyone's around today, post a caption for the photo. My entry is below....

"Who, us? No, we haven't seen your credit card. We don't even know how to get on"

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Moments from the last two days

Things I want to remember after knowing the news about Dante....

J crying with me about Dante. J, who I've only ever seen cry about Brody, wiping away a tear as he read Dante's dad's update this morning.

J constantly asking me if I'm okay, by email, text, and spooning me in bed.

Trying to have a "moment" with Brody this morning, still sort of crying, and him telling me to hug his cookie monster instead and talking, incessantly, about the dogs, completely ignoring my tears and my "moment."

Losing my breath when I read that Dante's mom got there only 3 or 4 breaths before Dante's last one, to hold one of his hands, with Dante's dad holding his other hand, and Dante's dad touching his wife's leg, "to complete the circle."

Wanting to constantly email with my friends who I've only known online, because of IVillage, about Dante, what his parents are going through, what we are going through, how grateful we are, how terrifying being a parent is at all times, even when your child is healthy, because Dante's story could be anyone's story at any time, how much we've all cried and held our children closer this week, and this year, because of Dante.

Having one friend who lives in Denver, L, email me after the Dante news, asking me how I was, because she had a lump in her throat and she wasn't nearly as invested as me. Having another friend call me, A, that friend dealing with her own struggles around children, just so we could sit on the phone together. Then having one of my co-workers, a guy in his 50's who I didn't really know until he started reading Brody's carepage last year, just come into my office at work, sit down, with tears in his eyes, and want to talk about Dante. And then asking after Brody, making sure he was ok.

Going to the Old Spaghetti Factory last night with J and Brody, and the rest of Denver it seemed, to celebrate the prices from 40 years ago. We toasted Dante with a milk, a beer and a Sprite, but at the mention of Dante's name, Brody put his hands together to pray. Watching Brody "eat" spaghetti, with J and I laughing at him, both taking photos of him, and internalizing how truly blessed and fortunate we are.

Driving home from the OSF, me explaining to Brody that mommy wasn't leaving, but daddy was dropping me off so I could get my car, then mommy was going home, daddy was going home, and Brody was going home. Brody responding "I yike dat, mommy, I yike dat."

Thinking Brody is the master of understatement.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mes amis sont belles

It is the friends you can all up at four a.m. that matter.
~Marlene Dietrich

I had my own belated birthday party Saturday night. Some friends I had not seen in months, some I had seen the day before. One I have known since first grade. Eight women and me.

Whether it was the warm glow of tequila or something else, I realized two things: each of them have something in them that I admire, deeply, but feel I can never achieve for myself. And I could call on any of them at 4 am and they'd answer. Most of them I have called and they have answered.

I was going to write about perspective and how much I've gained in 2008, and how it's okay for friendships to change and drift, but really, when I looked around the table, I just felt lucky for each of them. Really, I'd be lucky for any of them. And not just because they drove in the beginning of a snow storm to buy me margaritas.

Do you ever have people in your life whose words you remember, or whose actions trump all others? Like once they say or do these things, no matter what happens, they are part of your clan, your tribe, for life? One of the women at the party, C, she told me in the dark days following Brody's birth, when we didn't know if he would even live or not, that she had seen Brody, and he was moving his arms and his legs, and crying and strong. And I clung to those words for weeks while we waited for the testing to come back.

Another one, L, was one of the first ones besides J in front of whom I was able to give voice to my darkest fears: Brody's kidney not working. I remember she walked over to me, crouched in front of me while I cried, and put her hand on my arm. And it was exactly what I needed.

Another one, A, sat in the waiting room of the NICU with my mother in law. I haven't written much about my mother in law, but let's just say at times - particularly where Brody is concerned - there is a lot to write. And she sat there, and brought J and I distractions and food, and occupied my MIL so I didn't have to deal with her.

And each of those women on Saturday had saved me in more ways than I know. And this quote explains why:

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

And so, while one of my resolutions really is to grow out my hair, which these friends mocked appropriately, another one is to be a better friend to these women who have carried me these last years.

Until next year

J took down the Christmas tree when Brody wasn't looking.

Brody saw it when it was back in the box, waiting to be taken to storage in the basement.

He cried while trying to take the tree out of the box.

I don't think I've ever been more sad to see a tree go back to storage.

I actually considered keeping it up year round, but that would be ridiculous.


Friday, January 2, 2009

We got the best one.

Since getting the cast on, Brody insists on wearing any shirt, even short sleeved shirts and pajama tops, entirely rolled up, so that you can see the entire cast (which ends above his elbow). The shirt can't even touch the top of the cast a little bit or he gets upset.

I figured out why this morning.

It's because, as he says, "Pretty, mommy. Pretty purple cast." Then he pats the cast.

It's during moments like this, as I realize yet again how extraordinary Brody is, that I feel like the universe played favorites when it gave us Brody.