So let me break down the last week.
a) NaBloPoMo ended unceremoniously, since I skipped out on the last few days. I didn’t mean to, but being out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday, coupled with my lack of planning and a dash of laziness, made finishing the month out less than desirable. I’m always up for a challenge, but if it starts to interfere with my stress level or my bedtime, I’m out. See also: Why I haven’t posted since.
b) Zoe had major* dental surgery.
c) *10-minute procedure, but very traumatic for all of us who had to look at her.
Last Tuesday, a freak scooter accident sent Zoe sailing into the concrete, face first. I was trailing several feet behind her, so like any other fall, I jogged until I caught up with her in front of our neighbor’s house, assuming she had maybe scraped a knee or something minor. My kids tend to scream bloody murder at paper cuts, so I wasn’t too concerned.
When I got up to her, she sat up, hand covering her face, and screamed, “MAH MOUF!” Her hand moved to the side, and I saw blood everywhere.
I may have freaked out and yelled something along the lines of, “Oh, Jesus!” as I scooped her up and ran her back to our house. We’d been gone a matter of minutes, Christian was still lingering around in a sleepy stupor when I opened the door, handed a bloody-faced daughter to him and said, “DEAL WITH THIS PLEASE I’LL BE RIGHT BACK.” And then I walked Rachel and Claire to school while Claire accused me of only loving Zoe and only taking care of her when she’s hurt. Kids are fun.
When I got back, Zoe was laying on the couch, teary and whimpery. I looked at Christian, like, “Well? How is she?” Up until this point, I hadn’t really taken a good look at her, and I’d hoped that at the worst, she’d split a lip.
He shook his head. “They’re pretty loose in there.”
Now there are a lot of things I can deal with as a parent. I have been pooped on and spit up on. I have a mean vomit radar and can rock the stomach bug care-taking like nobody’s business. But the one thing I cannot handle is bloody, loose teeth, even ones not caused by a run-in with the sidewalk.
One trip to the dentist later, and we learned that she in fact broke her two front teeth in her fall, right above the gum line.
“Mom, have you felt how loose these teeth are in here?” I love our dentist, but our twice yearly visits mean she doesn’t know me very well. Because the answer to that was a very emphatic NO. I hadn’t even gone to great lengths to clean the blood off her lips because GROSS.
Also, mother of the year.
And that is how Zoe ended up having dental surgery at 6:30am on a Friday morning.
The days between the accident and the surgery were sad and filled with all of us trying to figure out what she could eat. The mouth pain itself subsided so that she felt like telling everyone in Costco about her broken teeth and how today the dentist gave her a coin and she got a bouncy ball, but on Friday she’s getting her teeth out and she’s going to get TWO COINS. Thank you, Direct TV sales rep, for humoring her and listening to her plight.
Thursday evening she made sure she went to bed in her favorite penguin jammies, so she could wear them to the dentist in the wee hours of the morning. She took her stuffed owl, Hoot. My nephew sent her a new stuffed tiger to accompany her during the procedure. She named him Soft and told everyone, “My cousin – he’s 10 and a boy – gave this to me to bring to the dentist.”
The anesthesiologist asked her questions about her Thanksgiving while he gave her laughing gas and she slipped under (not something I ever want to watch again if I can help it), and before I could even get settled down in the next room, they were finishing up. Coming around from the anesthesia was a little traumatic, as was having a big wad of gauze stuffed in the gap where her teeth used to be. All morning long she cried that she wanted her teeth back (UGH, right in the mama feels!), but after a Tinker Bell movie marathon and a 2-hour nap, she was begging to jump on the trampoline.
The answer to that was NO.
By Friday night she was completely back to normal. By Sunday I started to get a feeling that she knows exactly how cute she sounds with no front teeth, as she seems to be going to extra lengths to use lots of “s” words.
As a part of the Netflix Stream Team, each month I let you know what I’m watching – or what I want to watch – on Netflix. What should I watch next?
I saw the trailer for Twinsters at BlogHer ’15 and have been itching to see it ever since. As a mom to identical twins, the emotional connection Samantha and Anais immediately felt upon just talking to each other (before even meeting in person!) is fascinating. When we live with it every day, it’s easy to take our girls’ relationship for granted. I can only hope that they grow up to love and appreciate each other in the same manner, even though their story is very different.
Iris revolves around two things I am obsessed with, but know hardly anything about: New York City and fashion. I can’t piece together a swanky outfit to save my life, but I love watching documentaries that cover the history and evolution of fashion and its place in our society. at 93 years old, Iris Apfel is still one of New York’s fashion icons. The documentary is a fascinating look into her life and her work.
I was also happy to see a TON of really great movies streaming lately:
Moonrise Kingdom: I haven’t seen this yet, but I am a big Wes Anderson fan (since Bottlerocket – ca-caw!). He’s an acquired taste, but his films are mesmerizing in their artistry.
Silver Linings Playbook: Dysfunctional families, mental health, and a dance competition. This movie has everything a good movie should, although Jennifer Lawrence’s jiggly boobs all throughout the movie make me slightly uncomfortable.
Spanglish: I have always loved this movie. It’s Adam Sandler after Adam Sandler was established as a decent actor, but before he started doing terrible movies like Click and Pixels. Spanglish is sweet and funny and heart wrenching and heart warming.
Love Actually: I have only seen this movie once, but it’s British and adorable, and I love it. I can never go another holiday season without watching it. Well, unless Netflix takes it away.
And for the kids:
Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection: Catch up with Elsa and Anna and Rapunzel and Eugene new animated shorts, and watch a few more like the Legend of John Henry and my girls’ favorite: Feast.
Home: An outcast alien named Oh befriends a human girl and helps her find her mother after his alien people have taken over the planet. Home is adorable, and my girls love it.
Popples: Everything old is new again, as evidenced by Netflix’s new original show, Popples. The girls were thrilled to receive some Popple plush toys in the mail from Netflix, and they immediately latched onto the show. I immediately googled Popples and found one just like I used to have back in the 80s. I had completely forgotten about it!
Your turn! What are you watching?
I get off easy on Thanksgiving. My sister does all the hard work, and I am not responsible for making anything but some place-and-bake chocolate chip cookies and mini pumpkin pies. Unfortunately I don’t keep mini pumpkin pie ingredients at the ready. And my car was in the shop today.
Enter this guy.
Minus the Care Bears t-shirt.
What follows is a detailed account of him at the store, asking me exactly where every single ingredient in the store is. Including bonus footage of insurance mumbo jumbo from him tapping someone in the rear last week.
I love the Facebook memories feature.
I also hate the Facebook memories feature.
It’s fun to scroll through the things I’ve said or posted in the past, especially when it involves chubby babies screaming at each other in an echoing hallway. (If I could figure out how to embed that video here, I would, but that would involve digging up old hard drives, and that’s pushing my laziness.)
But mostly the Facebook memories remind me of a few less-than-stellar things:
- I used to share a lot of senseless content, just for the sake of sharing.
- My old Android phone had a terrible camera (that I probably thought was good at the time. All hail the iPhone 6).
- I used to complain about my kids not napping a LOT.
Also, my kids used to say a lot of hilarious things, like
The other day I was reminded that Thanksgiving fell on November 22, 2012. And I was graced with this in my memories:
This is one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken. Two-year-old Zoe crawled into my Mimi’s lap for some snuggles on this Thanksgiving afternoon, a holiday that my grandmother herself had hosted for years and years, but this year she wasn’t up to it. This year the torch was passed to my sister and my parents, and we’ve had Thanksgiving at their house ever since.
Sometimes I forget that she’s not here anymore. I find myself going about my daily life, hardly giving it a thought. I’m the only family member that lives out of town, and I feel oddly disconnected a lot of the time. Just yesterday I spoke to my mom on the phone, and she asked me if I knew about my dad’s knee surgery.
“No,” I said, and with the maturity of a teenager, I followed up with, “No one tells me anything.” I knew my dad was planning on having his [second] knee replacement surgery, but as far as updates and plans, I am usually left out of the loop.
Living apart from so many physical reminders of my childhood aids in the forgetting. Once in a while though, I’ll be struck by something that reminds me of her so painfully, I can hardly breathe. Once it was a song playing in an episode of Friday Night Lights, something that was the exact type of music my grandparents would have playing on their stereo on a lazy Sunday post-church afternoon. Most times it’s a glimpse of a white-haired elderly woman in the grocery store. I bite my lip during the rest of my shopping and return to my car to cry with more force than I ever did on the day I found out she had passed, or even at her funeral. I’m struck dumbfounded at the idea that I will never see her again in this life.
Claire was having a rough night a few weeks ago. We sat on the couch together while she cried about getting disciplined and cried at feeling unloved, then cried because she missed her Mimi.
“Oh, honey, I miss her too,” I said. “I really do. But we’ll see her again some day.”
I picked up a new pair of running shoes today. I left my old pair in North Carolina – the pair that took me through my first half marathon, the Cap10K, and then a terrible post-injury 10k last spring.
So since June I’ve had thoughts about going to the gym – no shoes – or going for a walk – no shoes – or maybe even going for a little jog – NO SHOES. I’ve had vague plans to train for the 3M Half Marathon with friends, my comeback race after the last terrible comeback race that ended up being less of a comeback and more of a miserable experience. So I needed some damn shoes.
I’d tried ordering a pair online, resulting in terrible blisters, even though they were supposedly the same shoe I’d had before, just the latest model. I returned them and put off the act of shoe shopping once again.
Maybe a smarter or more efficient person would just take herself out to the store to get new shoes, but a) I try to reserve every precious minute the girls are in school to get work done, b) I am not taking three kids with me to pick out running shoes, and c) I was planning on training for the 3M Half Marathon coming up in January, so I couldn’t just pluck a pair of pretty shoes off the shelf. I over-pronate when I run, so fit was important to me.
But today I realized that my poor tootsies weren’t going to survive through many more cold fronts without proper footwear. I have a lot of slip ons – flats, TOMS, Bobs that alternate as shoes and slippers, and the Texas favorite – flip flops. But sometimes you just need an actual shoe to keep your feet warm. And to exercise in and stuff.
Anyway, I ended up with the ASICS GEL-Exalt 2 (affiliate link) because it was nice looking, felt good, and wasn’t terribly expensive. They’re mid-level shoes.
I was okay with these being mid-level shoes because I am not, in fact, going to run the 3M Half Marathon.
I’m not sad to say that my woefully short long distance running career is most likely over. Okay, maybe I’m a little sad to say that. In order to run the 3M, I’d have to start training at the beginning of November, and that’s with no cushion in the training schedule. We all know it’s too late for that by now.
In mid-September I started a strength training regiment. I immediately hurt my back again. And although it ended up being muscular and not my old disc issue, it scared the crap out of me. Debilitating and soul-crushing back pain will do that to you.
It hit me then that while I want to find ways to take care of myself and stay fit, pushing my body to the extreme is not worth it to me anymore. I spent almost a year recovering from my last disc herniation. Mild pain still springs up from time to time, but I’m not willing to risk injury and putting myself through that painful experience again, even if I do have the tools to work through it. This strength training routine was not by any means pushing my body to the extreme, and that’s what freaked me out.
I’ll head out to the course to cheer on my friends and meet them at the finish line. And I’ll try not to be insanely jealous as I watch them train and accomplish this awesome goal (it’s my friend’s comeback race as well, after having a baby and, oh, almost DYING from an infection post-surgery).
But most importantly, I am at peace with this decision. For now.
What could be more fun than sitting out in the freezing cold (50 degree!) with gale force winds to watch your daughter’s last soccer game of the season? Sitting out in the freezing cold (50 degree! We Texans aren’t built for this) with gale force winds to watch your daughter’s soccer game while you have an achy body and a head cold and feel like you want to curl up on the sidelines and die.
That’s some mom commitment there.
Also, if you could see the number of typos I had in that first paragraph, you would understand, and maybe you would bring me some soup. I love soup.
Anyway. Pity party aside, Zoe played a kick ass last game. It’s her third season, so she’s really starting to get the hang of it.
Season 1: Excitement! This is new! Then apathy! Curl up in Mommy’s lap and take a nap!
Season 2: Less excitement! More apathy! Pick those weeds! Kick that dirt!
Season 3: I am starting to understand how this game works! I have friends on this team! Soccer rules!
So parents, hold steady. As long as they are willing, they’ll pick it up. (This does not include Rachel and Claire, who were very clearly NOT WILLING.)
We already can’t wait for next season. We’ll be moving up to the 6-year-old age group, I think (aka big kids who play with goalies and such). I AM GOING TO HAVE A 6-YEAR-OLD.
Zoe was all about the defense today. We don’t play with goalies at this age, but every chance she got, she moved down field to protect that goal from the blasted red team.
I judge people who speed through school zones.
I don’t cut through parking lots.
I pace circles around my living room whenever I’m talking on the phone. It helps me concentrate on the conversation.
I spent my formative years (4th grade through high school, pretty much) attending dog shows with my parents. I participated in Junior Showmanship for a few of those years.
I can’t drive a stick shift and have no desire to learn.
I love candy corn.
I will kill just about any plant you send my way.
One of my extreme and unusual talents is parallel parking.
I’m also really good at inserting duvets into duvet covers, so I honestly don’t know what all the fuss is about.
Working retail in high school and college made me super anal about folding t-shirts.
I can’t stand tea. Why tea when you can coffee?
I never brush my hair.
Using a computer mouse is pretty much the only thing I can do with my right hand.
I do not understand the appeal of country music or bath robes.
Fun facts about you?
Claire started with a nasty cough on Monday, the kind of cough that gives you pause to think, “Should I actually send this child to school with a cough like that?” But then you see she has no fever and after shoveling down an egg, a bowl of chocolate Cheerios, and a banana (and still asking for more), you tell yourself she’s fine! Really. Kids cough. It’s what they do. If there is a crowd of kids and one of them isn’t hacking up phlegm, then you probably live in a better neighborhood than I do. Just kidding! Coughing knows no class distinction.
Anyhoo, the cough has been consistent, but it hasn’t kept her down at all, until Tuesday night, when it actually kept her UP. She wandered into my room at 3-something in the morning, crawled into bed with me, and proceeded to toss and turn and toss and turn (awesome) and squish me up against Christian (who was snoring, so double awesome).
Sidebar: One of the things that has really become obvious since we realized Claire is a sensory seeker is the fact that she has a really hard time getting settled and she often claims that her bed isn’t comfortable. In the past I would have brushed this off as a lame excuse, but after learning more about sensory issues, I realize that the poor girl just really must have a hard time getting comfortable sometimes.
I eventually took her back to bed, but she got up again at 5:22 and came to lay with me. I remember the time because that’s exactly 8 minutes before my blasted alarm goes off.
Homegirl needed to get some rest, so I took my pillow to the couch so my alarm and subsequent 3-4 snoozes wouldn’t keep her awake. Only she followed me, sniffling and coughing, because she just had to lay with me. Cozy mom problems. So we crawled back into my bed, where she told me her voice didn’t work, and then she tossed and turned and tossed and turned, while my alarm went off every 9 minutes and I kicked Christian every 6 minutes to get him to stop the damn snoring. If I hadn’t been so fucking tired, I would’ve just gotten up long ago to avoid all the annoyances.
Deciding let someone stay home from school because they “don’t feel good” is one of my least favorite calls to make. I am terrible with instincts, so if there’s no fever or vomiting or massive head wounds, I say go to school. But this time I figured no voice + nasty cough + the strep notification that was sent home last week = good enough to stay home.
Plus there was that time I decided to listen to her plight of a sore throat and stomach ache and let her stay home (sick!), only to be made a sucker and take her to school after I found her running circles around the living room with Zoe (not sick!), only then to receive a note home that one of her classmates was diagnosed with strep and the common symptoms were a) sore throat and b) stomach ache. We went straight to the doctor and came home with one strep diagnosis.
So if she was going to stay home today, we were going in for a strep test.
It was negative.
She was playing on the trampoline by the afternoon.
And running up and down the street after her bath in the evening.
So not so much a sick day as a “I got to stay home and draw and watch TV and play Dad’s iPad all day” day. With bonus chocolate sandwich for lunch.
I don’t regret keeping her home. The cough was super nasty. But I don’t often get this kind of one-on-one time with my girls, and if this is one way I can get it, then so be it.
A version of this was originally published on November 17, 2011.
I remember standing in my hospital gown at Claire’s bedside at 3 days old, staring at her tiny then 2 lb 12 oz body all curled up on her tummy with her bottom in the air, swimming in a preemie diaper. I remember the nurse telling me she wasn’t digesting her food, she was still losing weight, and she wasn’t sure if the doctors were going to try and insert her PICC line a third time to get her more nourishment. She was so tiny they couldn’t get it placed right, and no PICC line meant that they’d just have to keep finding new places to insert IVs in her tiny veins.
I bawled by her bed, another nurse trying to console me. I returned to my room and bawled some more. And I prayed like I’ve never prayed before.
The next day she turned a corner. She was digesting her food, even if it was only 2-3 mLs.
It wasn’t long before the neonatologist started referring to them as boring. And boring was good.
I watch this video now and all I see is a fetus. I living, breathing fetus who came out of the womb way too early. I see a woman who had no idea how to be a mom to these two preemies. If I seem distant in the video, it’s because a) I had no idea how to feel, holding this tiny thing against my body, and b) I was afraid to move a muscle.
Seven and a half years later, I look at my happy, healthy, smart, playful, and insane former featherweights and marvel at the progress they’ve made. I’m so thankful for the hard work and dedication of the doctors, nurses, volunteers, and more who all made that possible. And I’m so thankful for the love and support we received from friends and family when we needed them most.
Today we celebrate World Prematurity Day for all of the tiny heroes out there, both in our homes and in our hearts.
So this happened:
In case you’ve been living under a rock, or if you’re just not from Texas, Wendy Davis is a Democratic politician who is best known for her 11-hour filibuster (this article, and the accompanying videos sprinkled throughout, is very much worth the read) in June 2013, where she attempted to block a senate bill that included more restrictive abortion regulations for the state of Texas. The filibuster was successful in delaying the passage of the bill beyond midnight, which ended the legislative session.
I didn’t watch the filibuster (no live TV, waaahhhh), but I did follow it closely on Twitter. I went to bed feeling triumphant, almost as if I had been there in the capitol building myself.
I woke the next morning and found out that the bill had somehow passed.
What followed was a debacle of deception, where there was talk of changing timestamps on legal documents in order to get the bill passed during the session. The bill was declared dead (yay!), but then-governor Rick Perry called a special second session (booooo!).
For the first time, a political decision brought me to tears as I looked at my three girls that summer morning, sitting on the couch watching Netflix in their pajamas.
I believe in the work that Davis does to empower women, not just so they can have access to healthcare, but to be their best selves, despite their obstacles and roadblocks. Davis’s own story is a rags to riches one, and I don’t mean just financially. Her story is one for the teen mothers, the single mothers, the mothers working full time and attending night classes, the mothers supporting their own daughters through various hardships, trying to find their way through this life that sometimes doesn’t seem at all fair to women.
I don’t talk politics much here, or in real life, for that matter. But one thing I will always, always support is the right for my daughters to choose what to do with their bodies and their lives. It doesn’t mean I will always agree with them. But it does mean that I will make sure they receive the information they need to make an educated decision. And I will always support their right to ultimately make that decision on their own.