Tag Archives: sickness

The Beauty of Baby Steps

18 Mar

Whine: I got puked on last night. I’ll spare you the chunky details.

Cheese: I got to snuggle a puny-feeling Lil’ Sis for an hour. Which is 59 1/2 more minutes than I usually get her to be still and on my lap. The price we pay for love, right?

I admit that Google Calendar has changed my life. I put all my important dates into it and it sends me a handy email reminder. Things like birthdays and credit card payments don’t sneak up on me quite as often anymore. So pretty much I’m in love and would run off to Tahiti with it in a heartbeat.

Except not so much yesterday. Because Google Calendar apparently does not know that under no circumstances do you ever, ever email a big ol’ pregnant lady to remind her that it’s her due date. Unless you want to die a slow and painful death. It’s a good thing I’m not an intrepid hacker/virus-designer or Google Calendar would have rued the day. Rued the day, I tell you.

And so we’re still here waiting for this kid to arrive. Every week when I go see my doctor, she measures various not-suitable-for-internet-reading things. And after a week of aches and pains and lots of not sleeping, I’ve progressed another centimeter. A measly centimeter.

But then I got to thinking about centimeters and the fact that when you’re in my condition, you only really have to get to ten. I know, I find the math versus the reality of a human baby very disconcerting, and I’ve already done this twice. But in the end, if you’re lucky, ten is your magic number. And very often you don’t go from 1 to 10 in just a few hours. (Although Lil’ Sis did her darndest to set a record — 5 centimeters in less than an hour. I don’t recommend it. Did I mention the two epidurals I had with her??)

No, most often you change a centimeter at a time. And then I thought about how babies grow from teeny tiny cells. One centimeter at a time. And how, like labor, I’m pretty glad they don’t start out at 9 1/2 pounds from the beginning. Imagine lugging that around for 40 (or 41, if you’re really lucky) weeks.  And even once they come out they change in minuscule little increments. Because how would we delicate Mommies stand it if they were in 0-3 month onesies one day and 2T the next? It’s hard enough to pack up the outgrown baby clothes after they’ve had a few months to wear and stain and get pictures taken in them. What if they just went to bed one night little and snuggly and woke up the next morning grown? It would be too much to bear. And a little creepy.

But still, it’s hard to wait for those exciting baby milestones. Giving birth, witnessing first steps (or second, because they always save the first ones for when you’re gone, don’t they?), or going to the park without anyone wetting their pants. Or other, non-baby but equally exciting ones. Paying that last student loan payment,  losing that pesky baby weight, or after five months getting your DIY project of a master bathroom back.

I’m tempted to look at my situation, especially my body and think that nothing is happening. I will be pregnant forever. FOREVER. I’m convinced that I will be the first woman in history to carry a baby in utero for 41 years. Although I could milk the pity I get from waddling around with a belly this big for quite a while. I mean, if I had to.

But deep down I know that change is inevitable and it’s happening right now whether I see it or not. In fact, if I knew how much was changing both in my body and in my kiddos right now, I’d probably freak out.  I bet Big Sis is secretly learning Chinese and Lil’ Sis is training for a triathlon this summer.

There’s beauty in the baby steps. Agonizing, heart(or back)breaking beauty, but beauty nonetheless. The longer I wait and the harder I work on those baby steps, the more I can appreciate that final moment of arrival. The moment I hold that little guy I’ve been growing  and talking to and carrying around without having to strap into a car seat for 10 months will be one of the best of my life, I know it. 

But in the meantime I can slow down a little bit (mostly because I can barely walk anymore) and snuggle my kids as they try to find space on my lap. I can eat one (or two, or three) more spicy meals without having to get up to nurse/rock/change an impatient baby. I can admire the hard work this body of mine is doing, whether I see it or not.

In the end, I’m grateful for the baby steps. For time to let the anticipation build, and to be really proud of finishing something that wasn’t easy. And for time to stop and smell the roses (or Johnson & Johnsons shampoo) on the way. But mostly I’m glad for baby steps because I’m pretty sure that if I had the option to take big giant steps through things I would, and as big of a baby as I am, I’m pretty sure it would kill me.

For some other people’s (much deeper) thoughts on beauty, click the button below and follow the rabbit trail. Enjoy.


Crabby Cat

3 Dec

Whine: If you purchase your apple juice by the gallon, be advised that the ‘rule of halves’ will be at play when it spills itself all over your kitchen floor. I’d stick with juice boxes if I were you, three ounces cleans up a lot faster.

Cheese: I just heated some tea using the “beverage” sensor on my microwave. And not because it’s the only button working. My new microwave has LOTS of buttons that work. I’m so excited, I’d even reheat your leftovers.

I met someone new last week. She made her appearance around hour six of our ten-hour trip home from Kansas City. Big Sis, worn out from landing on “Pukey Fever” on our family’s game of Wheel of Misfortune: Virus Edition was conked out in her car seat. Lil’ Sis, however, figured out that by puking twenty minutes into the trip on the way to KC,  Mommy and Daddy would henceforth respond to her every whine and groan, with offers of juice and pacifiers and goldfish and endless renditions of Wheels on the Bus for the remainder of the trip. And in record time. So she commenced whining and groaning. A lot.

Then, she started babble-yelling something new. It took us a few minutes to translate. And then we cracked the code. She was yelling, “Crabby, crabby, crabby, crabby!” Which, if we had been irritated by her constant whining and complaining (but we are loving, long-suffering parents so of course we were not) but if we had  been irritated, would have wiped away every last shred of annoyance.

And then she said, “Crabby cat. MEOW!!!”

And that meow, that snottiest, most irritated meow, full of crankiness and a flair for the dramatic, pretty much said it all.

Sometimes (very rarely, but sometimes) I am a crabby cat. Like when I can’t figure out what to have for lunch because my microwave is broken and I hate sandwiches and my soup pan is dirty. Or when my shoes stick to my kitchen floor because it has been expertly cleaned with apple juice. Or when I’m just about to fall asleep after an exhausting day and I can hear someone in the other room who apparently is not just about to fall asleep and is instead in the crib she outgrew two years ago, waking up her sister.

But I’d like to think that by the time those crabby cat moments end up on this little blog, most of the actual griping and unpleasantness has given way to good humor and amused nonchalance.

On the other hand, I’d hate to come here and post my crabby cat moments, complete with funny anecdotes and rim shots, and leave you with the impression that I am actually that laid back. I’m not. Most of the moments you read about here (especially the ones that involve someone throwing up) are initially met with panic, disgust, rage and irrational crying.  Fortunately for me (and you, too) this blog is not written in real time, so there’s lots of time to get some perspective on the situation. And by perspective I mean a new microwave, a Swiffer Wet Jet and a nap.

Is this Lil' Sis? Or her alter ego Crabby Cat?

Leavin’ on a Jet Plane. Never Again.

26 Oct

Whine: I got myself whipped up into such a cleaning frenzy today that I cleaned the girls’ toy kitchen. Oh yeah, and I pulled a muscle (or two) in my glutes. Now that is some SERIOUS cleaning.

Cheese: Our actual kitchen is still a disaster. Spaghetti and a one-year-old anyone?


Well, I foolishly promised a post today. And technically, it is still Monday, even on the east coast (barely). But I wanted to share my latest travel adventure with you, as my own personal Aesop’s Fable. You know, the made up stories that show how the character with the tragic flaw inevitably meets his/her doom because of it? Yeah, like that. Only this is my real life and not a made up cautionary tale.

Travelling alone with my two small children (and the one inside of me who always seems to be throwing some sort of party–or temper tantrum–I’m not sure) seemed a like a daunting task even to me, the often over-optimistic one (see? my tragic flaw). But when the siren song of my alma mater, Wheaton College, called me back for a ten-year reunion, I couldn’t resist. Being on campus with almost all of my old roommates and reliving the glory days of our hysterical lameness was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

So I packed up our bags, weighed them on the scale to make sure we made the weight cut off (we didn’t), took some junk out, weighed them again and rushed us all to the airport. And actually it wasn’t so bad. They let me cut in the security line and Big Sis was the model helper throughout the whole take-your-baby’s-shoes-off-because-she-might-be-a-terrorist thing. We got on both our flights with relative ease and arrived with our chariot (aka Katie and Eric) awaiting us at baggage claim. It was so uneventful I even had the foolish nerve to say, “See, that wasn’t so bad.”

Famous last words.

Our time in Wheaton was lovely. Except for the part Chloe where started puking and infecting everyone’s kids with some weird virus. But, you know, kids puke, you move on. I got to see some of my old professors (who remembered me, or more accurately, my penchant for dramatic breakdowns.) I got to show Sophie the campus and try to counteract some of the constant Baylor/TCU indoctrination that goes on around here. And mostly I got to hang out with my friends, people who have known me since I had a perm and tight-rolled my jeans and still like me. We mostly just sat around and talked over really delicious Chicago-style pizza. Life. Theology. Books. Movies. Old Times. New Laughs. It was a good fabulous weekend.

Until the trip home.

I should’ve known it would be a disaster because we were on time to the airport. That was the last good thing that happened that day. Our initial flight was delayed an hour. Which, of course, meant that we would miss our connecting flight. After getting off the first flight (from the very last row, thank you very much) we “ran” (me with a loaded stroller and Big Sis wandering aimlessly staring up at the ceiling) to the opposite end of another terminal and caught another connecting flight just in time. The plane for that flight was tiny and apparently tiny planes shake and shudder every time a bird flies by. There were lots of birds flying by that day. I thought we were going down for sure. Although my lunch certainly was not. Finally, having narrowly escaped death in a tin can, we arrive to find Mr. Dad. But no luggage. Of course.

But at least the end was in sight. Right? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

No, Mr. Dad, in a rare show of airheadedness (that’s my department, Mr!) had locked his keys in the car. We spent another FOUR HOURS at the airport. Two of which were spent with Mr. Dad trying to open it himself, ala Man vs. Machine. I imagined him out there trying to wrestle it into submission. But we apparently found the one thing he can’t fix, so we waited another two hours for the locksmith. Meanwhile certain children were having intestinal issues (tiny planes, anyone?) and the ariport Chili’s was out of corndogs. I mean, can you believe our luck??

After a twelve-hour travel day, we made it home and into our beds. It took me a week to recover from the trip. So like any good character in a cautionary tale, I can say: lesson learned. Period.  And next time my buddies beckon with offers of deep-dish pizza and a trip back to old times, I am definitely going to say that I can’t go.


Oh, who am I kidding, I would do it all again tomorrow, wouldn’t I? Make that lesson unlearned. I’ll save the fables for Aesop.

Plane ride to Chicago

Flight to Chicago, pre-misery. Well, mostly.

Quick! Somebody call the Waaaaambulance!

12 Sep

Whine: Just got my bill(s) for last month’s trip to the ER. If I’d known how much it was going to cost, I would’ve shoved a straw full of salt water into my arm myself. Then gone out and bought a new dining room set. Seriously.

Cheese: In 27 or 28 or 29 (hopefully not 29) weeks I get to have a baby. Yay!  After all the trouble this one’s put me through, s/he better be one good baby. (Oh yeah, I’m gonna milk this rough trimester for the rest of this kid’s life, believe you me.)


Before we left on vacation in July, I was suspicious, but there was no proof. 

I spent the vacation eating whatever I darn well pleased and not throwing it up. I jetskied and waterskied. I imbibed large quantities of lake water (which, incidentally, coincided with the waterskiing) and Diet Coke. I pranced around the lakefront in my tankini with my flat(ish) tummy, like someone who is definitely not host to a teeny-tiny alien.

Then we came home.

I kid you not, on the car ride home from the airport, things began churning and burbling in my stomach. Things that ought not be churning and burbling. And, finally a day’s worth of Diet Coke paid off and I had my proof.

As if I needed it. My stomach began waging war with any and all food substances I had the gall to introduce. “What?!? A popsicle?!? How dare she?!? Get it out, troops, and I mean NOW!!!” 

So next thing I know I’m in a hospital bed in the local ER, just begging someone, anyone to hit me over the head with a heavy object. Instead they pumped a couple of liters of salty water into me and gave me more of the Zofran that I’d already been taking that CLEARLY WASN’T WORKING SINCE I WAS IN THE HOSPITAL FOR VOMIT-INDUCED DEHYDRAYTION. Then, finally, some beautiful, glorious nurse gave the doctor what for and got me some phenergan. That stuff was so good I lost my ability to speak and move my limbs independently, but hey, I wasn’t throwing up anymore, so what did I care?

A few days later, I found myself curled up in a ball on the floor of my entryway. Apparently my ex-medicine, The Evil Zofran, causes certain parts of your body (i.e., intestines, etc) to stop working properly, and so I had quite the stomach ache. The pain could only be compared to what it must feel like to have a very large giraffe elbowing you in the abdomen. I couldn’t move, but found solace in the fact that I had left some beach towels on the floor nearby, so that when I threw up from the searing pain, it ended up in the towel and not on my floor. Although my kitchen floor was not so fortunate.

For a week or two after that, I functioned more like a zombie than a Mommy. My daily activities consisted of moving from the bed to the couch and back to the bed again. I “ate” chicken broth and popsicles, which miraculously began to stay down, thanks to my new BFF phenergan (take that, stupid Zofran).

And finally, little bits of normalcy began to return. I began bathing, again, for example. And standing upright. And eating foods that required chewing. I was (and still am) not quite fully-functional. Episodes of Making Dinner! and Washing Clothes! around here are celebrated for the rarities they are. But eating food and showering and acknowledging the existence of my children are definite improvements over my previous condition.

But before you all start composing messages of deepest sympathy, and drafting me as the  first pick in your Fantasy Crisis League, I want to put all this into a little bit of perspective. As much as (or mostly) for myself as for you.

I have never been more sick in my life. Or more cared for.

Who took me to the ER? My mom. Who took my kids while I was grossly overpaying for unnecessary medications in said ER? My mother-in-law. Who dragged my drugged, semi-lifeless body home from the ER? My husband. (Whose fault this is anyway. Am I right, ladies?)

Who came to my rescue when I was writhing in pools of my own, well, nevermind…? Who cleaned up after me? Dragged my sorry carcass to the bathtub? Stopped me from giving up halfway to the potty when I said “I can’t go any further, I’ll just pee on the floor.”? (Thanks again for that one!) My sister-in-law and superstar in a crisis, Rachelle, who always seems to be around when I am at most humiliatingly worst and still likes me.

Who took everything all in stride? Never complained about the lack of eggs and bread and clean underwear? Who assumed role of father and mother? Who let me disappear into my bed every evening at 7pm? Who encouraged me that I wasn’t, in fact, losing my mind and that I would eventually feel human again? Mr. Dad, of course. Although you’d expect at least a little sympathy from him, since I’m the one doing all the work of growing this kid. 

Who made dinners, fielded sobbing phone calls, washed my clothes, watched my kids, said lots of prayers, bought groceries, sent encouraging cards/texts/FB messages and CLEANED MY KITCHEN?? You, my friends, you did.

And that gift, the gift of true friends who stick around when all you have to offer is vomit and stories about vomit, that is one I’ll never regret receiving. Ever. Even if it means stumbling through a few months of unshowered oblivion. You mean that much to me. Shoot, now I’m crying. Better call the waaaaambulance. Again.

At Least I’ve Got Good Benefits

2 Apr

Whine: Two children. Six weeks. Five ear infections. Eighty doses of antibiotics. One bottle of kiddie Motrin. One bottle of something else. . . . (I mean Sprite, for goodness sake. What kind of mother do you think I am?)

Cheese: SPRING! It’s here. In Texas, these are the BEST DAYS ALL YEAR. I had almost forgotten there was a whole ‘nother world out there. Filled with non-television-ways to entertain my children. Too bad it’ll be over by May 1st and we’ll have to head back inside lest we all melt directly into the sidewalk. But that’s ok, because today IT’S SPRING. Which is why I took my kids to the movies and sat inside today.


As a SAHM (isn’t that a sassy way to say stay-at-home-mom? I don’t really think so either, I’m just too lazy to type it out) I often get asked The Question. It used to bother me when someone asked me. Mostly because I would look back on my day and have absolutely nothing to show for it. I’d have no idea where those twelve hours of my life had gone. It both confused and terrified me to wonder what had happened to that day in my life. But, alas, after doing this for almost four years, I have found my answer. If someone asked me today, I think the conversation would go something like this:


Innocent Questioner: (trying very hard not to offend but still very curious) So, what is it exactly that you DO all day?


Me: We go to the doctor.


IQ: No, really. I mean, I think I’d just go crazy being at home all day.


Me: Yeah, me, too. Good thing I’m never at home and I’m always AT THE DOCTOR.

Or on the way to the doctor. Or on the way from the doctor to the pharmacy. Or sitting up in the middle of the night taking someone’s temperature and wondering how early I can call the doctor. Or sitting at home within arm’s reach of my phone waiting for the doctor to call to tell me when I can come in and see the doctor.


IQ: (looking baffled and not sure s/he believes me) Oh.


I’ve been told (and I’m sure this is correct) that this stage, too, will pass. I’m sure it will. Only to be succeeded by the  drive-them-to-school-and-sports-and-music-practice-and-the-orthodontist-and-because-they-forgot-their-lunch phase. Where are we on developing those alternate fuels, anyway? I’m going to be broke.

But don’t worry, I hear that they eventually get their own drivers’ lisences. Then they drive themselves places. (Still on your dime, of course). But at least then we can finally sit at home and enter the oh-my-gosh-she-hasn’t-called-where-is-she-is-she-in-a-ditch phase, which I’ve heard is the phase that actually never ends, even when they’re 65. 

This mothering gig is never going to end, is it? Oh well, at least I have good benefits:

Show Me Those Baby Blues

Show Me Those Baby Blues


You Too With the Baby Blues?

You Too With the Baby Blues?

Have You Ever?

9 Jan

Whine: I must confess, I’ve been avoiding my little blog. I have so many things whirlilng around in my mind, Funny! Amusing! Alarming! things. And I guess I decided that if I couldn’t write them all, I wouldn’t write anything. Not to mention that our house has been  Grand Central Station for every virus in the world for the last few weeks, so I’ve been up to my ears in well, you don’t want to know. But I’m here now, and I must say that I’ve missed you all.

Cheese: Just sitting on the couch, listening to the tumble tumble of the dryer, watching basketball and savoring my Christmas candy (Hot Tamales) and Diet Coke.


Today we’re going to play a little game I like to call “Have You Ever?” mainly because I’m trying to give you a snapshot of what you’ve been missing, but also because I’m hoping someone else out there has done at least one of these things so that I don’t feel like such a weirdo.


Have you ever. . .

. . . had to sort your shoes into two piles: barfed-on and not-barfed-on? Why did she run into my closet and then vomit??


. . . put yourself in the “line of fire” so to speak, so that your baby didn’t vomit all over your carpet? What?!? I had just gotten it cleaned.


. . . tucked your child in bed wearing the clothes they’ve been wearing all day, then gotten them up the next day and left them in the same clothes? Yeah, I’m that kind of mom. The lazy efficient kind.


. . . discovered that since you’re going to have to discipline your little one, you’d better stop cracking up first?  Sometimes even their naughtiest moments are adorable. Especially if they happen to be clad in their red footie pajamas at the time of the offense. Everything is cuter in red footie pajamas. Except cockroaches. Even footie pajamas can’t make a cockroach cute.


. . . eaten just one Hot Tamale? Me neither.