Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sometimes I get stuck

reading livejournal archives for hours. It's like when you get out an old photo album and then you end up looking at all of them. Anyway, here is something from when Mina was 3 1/2 or so...

I was trying to get the pen ink flowing so I thought I'd write down conversations I was having with Mina. It was during the height of her "pretend play with letters" phase.

HILARY: I want to write a story, Mina.
MINA: About E!
HILARY: What is E like?"
MINA: A flower.
HILARY: What does E like to do?
MINA: The E wants to talk, mama.
HILARY: What does E want to say?
HILARY: What's a bummer?
MINA: Leta's a bummer...no, how 'bout E's a bummer, mama."
HILARY: Is E sad?
MINA: Or E happy?
HILARY: What is E happy about?...(no response)...What does E LOVE?
MINA: The flower...
HILARY: What else?
MINA: Pickle. E likes to talk to pickle.
HILARY: E likes to talk to the pickle? What about?
MINA: E talks of POWER, mama.
I want some more peanut butter please, mama.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Cullen goes to the doctor

I should re-name this blog "Our Health" since all I ever talk about is going to the doctor and kids getting sick.


He was perfectly happy until he had to take off his jacket, and then he started with the kicking, screaming and crying. I held him against the wall to get his height, and managed to catch his weight in the split second before he ran off of the scale. He went crazy when the nurse was trying to get his head circumference and there was no way he was going to let her anywhere near him with the stethoscope.

He wasn't any better for Dr. Dude. "What happened? We used to be buds!" he said when Cullen was hiding behind a book yelling, "NO!"


He's a big kid. Off the charts for height and 95th percentile for weight? Something like that. A big, healthy kid.

Just have to work on the attitude.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I'm saying, "Let's have this baby!"

Two days old

Today Cullen is TWO YEARS OLD! So of course, we must travel back in time to the day he was born. (Labor story, possible TMI)

The night before, I was determined to have a baby, even though my regular doctor ("Dr. Awesome") was out of town and the resident "Dr. Dude" would be delivering my baby...

I had a funny feeling in my toe that conditions were right and with the proper encouragement we could have that baby. Jason and I had twinkles in our eyes as we laid down to bed that night. I woke up in the wee hours with a sort of quiet crampy, icky feeling. It was quiet enough that I wasn't sure. I laid there for a short while, riding out some more icky cramps, feeling a bit sick.

Finally at around... Oh, I don't know, 4am? (Should have written this when all the details were fresh!) I got out of bed to see if I could time any of it. I don't remember timing anything though, I just remember having one that I definitely for sure felt was a labor pain. I was posting in my livejournal when that happened. I knew then that it was time to call Laura.

"NO... NOT YET..."
"Okay... See you soon..."

That's about how it went I think. I think it was after I called Laura that I woke up Jason and we got ready to go. I was mostly ready. Anything we were doing to be ready at that point was extra. I was feeling okay. I remember having one or two big contractions in the kitchen before getting in the car, and was mostly okay in the car which was one of my big worries. The car can be a terrible place for pain. I vaguely recall listening to the Cure which is a GREAT place for pain. ;)

I think it was maybe 5:30am when we got to the hospital. I spent some time in triage, getting checked out. I was just starting to have some pretty bad contractions, but some were okay. It was kind of inconsistent and I was surprised when they said I was 7ish cm dilated. I thought I would be maybe five, or worse, that it was false labor.

Still, it took about three hours to get to ten. I was in a hospital gown, on all fours on my birthing bed with my bare butt in the air when the doctor arrived. That is a story that, I'm proud to say, made my friend actually spit out her coffee. I should maybe point out that at the time I sort of... well I felt a little funny about Dr. Dude, because he's the same age as my peer group, and I don't know, I didn't get the "doctor" vibe from him? So here's this young dude who isn't my husband being greeted by my bare butt in the air...

Of course, it only gets worse from there. Suffice to say... I got over it.

Anyway, I remember he kept checking and telling me, "There's just that last bit of lip yet..." As if I could do anything about it. I suppose he was telling me so I knew not to start pushing yet.

I sat on the side of the bed for most contractions, with my feet on the ground, leaning into Jason, and breathing in his t-shirt. My husband always smells good. I don't know what it is. When I smell his skin I am instantly calm. During the postpartum dark days I frequently took little "smell Jason" breaks. This probably sounds insane. Anyway, it's true, so now you all know my secret to happiness--huffing Jason's pheromones.

It was about 8:30 when Dr. Dude gave me the go ahead to start pushing. I wasn't in a good position for pushing. I was just a smidge too reclined. I was past the point of being uh... verbal though, so nothing was done about this. I felt a little powerless at this point but kept pushing anyway. Dr. Dude started applying some pressure on the perineum and telling me to push "right here"... It wasn't long after that! At 9:11am on this day one year ago, our baby boy was born!

I had one stitch and Cullen was perfectly healthy.

I had so much fun that evening with Stephanie, Laima, Laura and Tim sitting around (while I was a bit doped up) thinking of baby names and laughing. I'll always remember that. I was so glad to have them there, passing the time, sharing hearty laughter.

Cullen, my sweet baby boy... You're no longer a baby, but deep in the throes of toddlerhood. You are my most stubborn child. You are a stereotypical boy, drawn to balls, trucks, trains... When we give you a doll you throw it as hard as you can. You plow other kids over and steal their toys, and are always wrestling with your sisters. You only recently stopped hating baths. Sometimes when we scold you or you don't like what's going on, you close your eyes and wrinkle your nose... You frown... I think you are trying to cry. It's hilarious. Especially when you open one eye a little, then close it again...

Right now you're wearing an oven mitt and carrying an etch-a-sketch around. Those two things seem to go together...

Kid, I have to admit, I'm head over heals in love with you. You brighten each and every day of our lives. I'm so excited (and a little scared) to watch you grow into a big boy!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Mina goes to the dentist!

Mina had a cleaning today. Those of you with AS kids probably know what a big deal this is. I mean, it's a big deal anyway, kind of, but a much bigger deal for a kid with sensory defensiveness. There is a long list of things about an appointment like this that could go horribly wrong. She might not want to get in the chair. She might freak out when the chair raises/goes back. She might cry about the light. She might be scared of the television. She might hate the music. She might not open her mouth. She might not bite down on the bite-wings. She might not want to separate from me during x-rays. She might not want to go to the bathroom and have an accident.

I know, I know, it sounds crazy. I sound crazy. But these are all things that would have bothered her at one time, and today I'm happy to report that she seems to have outgrown all of it--or at least has established trust with the staff at the dentist office.

It was fine. She did great and she wasn't scared at all. She even went to the x-ray room without me. Wow.

And guess what else. NO CAVITIES!

Dr. Tony said he just couldn't believe that tooth she pulled out was still there. He said he wouldn't believe it if he didn't see it with his own eyes. The hygienist asked, "You remember that?" and he said, "How could I forget?"

He called Mina "Princess" (he does this to all the little girls) and she didn't even yell, "I'm not a princess!" She has matured to a simple eyeroll. Love it.

He thinks she might have some crowding issues and need to see an orthodontist down the road... We'll see. I seem to remember dentists saying that about me when I was a kid and my teeth are Just Fine.


I think we should celebrate no cavities with root beer floats, don't you?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


When my friend posted something about how her stylist never remembers her, it made me feel pretty grateful for having a stylist I love.

I feel that my life is better because of it. When I lived in Appleton I really liked the boy who did my hair, and I was really bummed when I moved to Madison because I kept trying people out and just not feeling the love. Pretty soon I was snipping away at my own hair and looking like a crazy person.

Then I started going to Lowen and everything got better!

I wish for everyone I care about--that they could have two important people in their corner--A good stylist and a good doctor. I'm pretty sure these are both equally good for my health.

When I go to the salon, I am taking care of myself by seeking help. When I go to the clinic, I am doing the same. I don't want to do either if I don't feel comfortable with who I am getting help from.

It's not so crazy really. They apparently stem from the same roots... I just read this interesting article about barbers and surgeons...
Specialization of professions is a relatively new invention. Back then, barbers were also dentists and surgeons, versatile performers of tooth extraction and enemas, bloodletting and wound surgery.
And as a bonus, a bit about Sweeny Todd:
A Spot of Trivia

If barbers had once been popular for being administers of therapeutic medicine, they were certainly made unpopular by the appearance of Sweeney Todd. Sweeney Todd (a.k.a. the Demon Barber) was a character from a 19th century horror flick, made popular by Stephen Sondheim’s musical, a razor-wielding barber who killed his customers for cash and turned them into meat pies. He first appeared in 1846 as a secondary character in a short story called ‘The String of Pearls: A Romance” (by Thomas Prest) that was published in The People’s Periodical. A hack playwright by the name of George Dibdin Pitt, who commonly filched other people’s stories, dramatized the story for the stage as “The String of Pearls: The Fiend on Fleet Street”, and advertised it as “founded on fact”. This play debuted at London’s Hoxton Theatre on March 1, 1847, and ever since then people have been speculating as to whether Sweeney Todd had really existed, or if he was simply an fictional bogeyman invented to sate the appetite of the morbid Victorian imagination.

Did Sweeney Todd really exist? Up until recently, nobody knew. A number of daily newspapers at the time had reported real-life horror stories that bore certain similarity to the ghastly tale of Sweeney Todd. (Stories of fainting ladies aside, the Victorian community had an enormous – and morbid – appetite for all things ghastly. Shocking tales of crime like this would have been spread through word of mouth like wildfire… although they were also probably embellished along the way) Also, many horror tales in the 19th century – ‘penny dreadfuls’ – were actually fictionalized accounts of real stories. And it was known that Thomas Prest, who first wrote about Sweeney Todd, had the habit of scouring newspapers for story ideas. However, these were just written off by most as a story to scare bad children and to thrill audiences.

All of this changed when British author Peter Haining recently revealed, through painstaking research, that there was once a psycopathic barber named Sweeney Todd who lived in the 19th century and who did actually murder his customers for money, although his tale is somewhat less exciting than Stephen Sondheim's famous musical. Unlike the Sondheim/Prest dramatized character, Sweeney Todd was simply an amoral, bitter man who was not adverse to killing for money. (The Victorians would have been disappointed) To know more, click here.

Man or myth, one thing is for sure - the tale of Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber, is not likely to be forgotten anytime soon. As Anna Pavord of the London Observer wrote in 1979,

“Sweeney Todd will never die. We all need bogeymen and he was bogier than most.”

You're welcome. Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I AM AWESOME. And other random stuff from this week.

Two weeks ago I made my whiteboard with a ridiculous amount of tasks on sticky notes all over it. I gave myself two weeks to complete these tasks. Well, folks, I'm happy to report that today my whiteboard was EMPTY! I finished things I've been trying to do for MANY MONTHS. And it wasn't all that hard! I just had to do one thing at a time--and if I got interrupted, I didn't have to waste any time trying to think of what I was doing.

Let's say I have five minutes. I look for something I can easily do in five minutes. Maybe Cullen is sleeping--I look for something that is more involved but can be done quietly. If there are children around, I look for something I can do with them or around them... You get the idea. It worked out beautifully.

Leta was even sick last week, and I was sick over the weekend.

Yes, I was. I got sick. It happens sometimes. I was so sick on Saturday--it was as bad as my pregnancy with Cullen before I started taking the miracle drug Zofran. The nausea, the incessant vomiting, the dehydration, the backache. Horrible.

Jason was such an angel and he really saved my hide the next day at Mina's birthday party. I was recovering, but still feeling weak and not ready to eat anything. Jason brought everything in (to the YMCA where we had the birthday party), set it up, chased Cullen around for two hours while the kids swam and bounced and I did the easy stuff--sitting and gabbing with the other moms. He dished up food, blew up punching balloons, and was basically my hero. Thank you Jason.

Oh, back to me being awesome. It's come to my attention that I have a little problem with letting little setbacks bring me way way WAY down. I don't feel that way about life, generally, I think I take things in stride, keep my chin up in the face of adversity, etc. However, when it comes to my own productivity I really have a distorted self image sometimes, and once I fall below a certain line, forget it, I'm going to be down there for weeks. Anyway, the whiteboard helps me with this, too.

And now I will shut up about the whiteboard.

Good night.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Seven Years Ago Today... (some old, some new...)

Can you believe this chubster? I thought we were getting a newborn!

I get a little choked up every single time I look at this black and white picture. The day Mina was born, I realized there was so much about life that I knew nothing about. So much that this little baby had to teach me.

September 30th, 2002... In the evening my sister-in-law-to-be Laney called because she was procrastinating practicing the violin. I remember telling her nonchalantly that I would be in labor that night.

I was sort of disappointed as we climbed into bed and nothing was happening.

I fell asleep watching Conan O'Brian... and woke up at 12:30 am, October 1st (Mina's due date!) having a VERY strong contraction! My water broke when I went to the bathroom. It was CONSTANT gushing, I remember sort of laughing and fumbling around trying to do something about that.

I woke Jason around 1 am and he suggested we try to sleep some more, which is what they tell you to do in Lamaze. I laid down to have another violent contraction. I told him there was no way I could sleep and that we should get ready. My contractions were coming full force. Jason started timing them--3 minutes apart. He called the doctor, my mom and dad and started getting the car packed up, while I was on all fours just trying to hold the baby in.

The drive to the hospital seemed to take forever. We got there at 2. I went into the emergency room doors and fell to my hands and knees, having contractions, breathing, sweating, my pants falling down... I remember imagining that my pain was going out through my fingertips and into the ground. It was the most surreal thing... Jason came in after me and they wheeled me up to the maternity ward.

They checked my cervix--8 cm they said. The doctor was called and he got there very fast. They strapped a heart monitor to my belly and the baby's heart rate was dropping, so I had to lay on my side while they gave me oxygen and it came back up. It wasn't long before I was at 10 cm dilated. I pushed through a few contractions and out she came, at 3:27 am, a very plump, hairy, healthy girl. Jason was crying and I was so relieved. She was 8 lb. 13 1/2 oz and was 21 1/4 in. long. It was a Tuesday morning. I had a frozen diaper in my disposable panties and a new little person in my arms. We stayed until Thursday morning. I had one stitch.


I just can't say it any better than I said it last year:
Mina, you are a very strange kid and I love you for it. You are curious and sensitive, thoughtful, creative... You are endlessly fascinating and beautiful. I wish that every moment of your life could be happy and I get sad when you are sad. I hope we can make you strong without making you tough, make you wise without making you jaded. I hope we can teach you to behave without traumatizing you. I hope we can teach you to create without stifling you. I hope we can give you wings that will take you far. You think being a kid is scary--it's nothing compared to being a parent hoping and praying for their child.

Thankfully, I suspect that you need our help a lot less than we think you do. You're already strong. You're already wise beyond your years. You know things before we have a chance to teach you, and you are already so much more creative than I could ever be. We just have to try, try, try not to crush your wings.


This year you aren't sick on your birthday! You're at school enjoying the cupcakes I brought in for the class! You get to have a birthday party with your classmates, and your grandma is even here. I hope that makes up for the lousy day you had last year a little.

This year you are so much more confident than I've seen you in a long time. I love how proud you are of being a big kid, showing your sister the ropes. You say things like, "Think of how that ant must feel..." You can read chapter books! This is such an exciting time for me to be your mom! This year the ophthalmologist said our efforts were likely to be futile--that there was little to no hope for your lazy eye. We didn't give up and your eyesight is improving dramatically! This year the dentist said he didn't believe you would be able to keep the permanent tooth you pulled out, but you were very good and careful and it stuck! You're the kid who beats the odds.

I'm so proud of you and I hope you always know how much your mom, dad, siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and everyone who is lucky enough to know you LOVE you. Keep on being awesome.