March 28, 2011
March 23, 2011
I wish I knew what to say. I don't know if I have anything to say. Let's just...see where this goes.
Things are moving quickly, in the downhill direction. He's in a hospital bed in the living room, unable to breathe unless he stays perfectly still and immobile, utterly wiped out from the fight of the past six months. There is talk of moving to morphine soon. Everyone is scrambling to visit, exchanging helpless text messages about how much this sucks and...and...yeah.
How are you doing?
I don't know. You?
I'm going up to see him on Friday, maybe even Thursday night. I don't know whether to go by myself or try to bring the boys one last time -- if this is, indeed, the one last time -- I don't know how to help, what to do, how to feel except bone-blisteringly, overwhelmingly sad. But it's a sad mixed with happy while I fold onesies and count kicks and kiss my children good-night, like an umbrella I keep forgetting to hold onto.
Is it okay to change the subject? To talk about OB appointments and weight gain and belly shots? How is one supposed to deal with a timeline of birth and death or whichever comes first when it's not part of a montage in a movie, set to music, that skips all the moments in between where you sit on your bed and stare at the wall, thinking about how much this sucks, but also that wow, you really need to put some laundry away?
Because that's where I'm at. And I don't feel like folding shirts.
March 21, 2011
The first thing I did after getting the new-and-so-fucking-not-improved news on Friday was go on an Emotional Etsy Rampage, spilling out the contents of my PayPal account (and gnawing at the edges of Instant Bank Account Tranfers) in exchange for things for the new baby. Wall decals! A custom mobile! Upcycled vintage galvanized storage containers! Bibs! A necklace that I've had in my favorites list for a year but never bought and today is the day! That necklace is mine! Suck it, sadness! Suck on shiny things and die!
I stopped only after Noah brought me the Xbox remote and a long, involved (and HIGHLY EMOTIONAL) story about a giant snake level on the Harry Potter Lego game and he couldn't finish the potion and Hermione is stuck in a corner and keeps getting blowed up by the snake and you need to help me, and I was briefly consumed with resentment that really? Really, Noah? This is the biggest challenge in your little life right now? This is the crisis that's reduced you to tears? A video-game snake? MADE OUT OF VIDEO-GAME LEGOS?
Yes, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I Pain-Olympic'ed my own child. It was a really pround moment in my parenting history.
(I helped him. The snake level WAS pretty hard, and I felt much better after beating it. Haaa, stupid Lego snake.)
(And before anyone hassles me about letting a five-year-old play video games: He can only play after he earns a certain number of stickers on his behavior/chore chart. And also, I CANNOT EVEN REALLY PRETEND TO CARE RIGHT NOW.)
Over the weekend I took Noah to karate, then shared a bagel and orange juice with Ezra. I dragged everyone to IKEA. I assembled random shit from IKEA. I hung clothes and onesies and organized diapers and blankets and then tossed everything back into the center of the room to start over because I just didn't like how inaccessible that basket of baby hats was. Ezra spiked a fever for no real reason at all but I prescribed Motrin and cuddles with me, me, meeeee anyway. I comforted Noah when he left his beloved Actual Real-Life Harry Potter Lego figure at his friend's house, because that was, in fact, a pretty rough tragedy for him, no matter what you compare it to.
And then today I spent the morning in a child pyschologist's waiting room, filling out 400 behaviorial checklists while Noah went through day one of the three-day evaluation for ADD. Or whatever it is. Was. Will be.
It still hasn't sunk in. It. You know. The news. The now, the what's next. I knew -- oh, I KNEW -- we'd reach this point, and for some reason I'd naively thought it would be a relief to put the chemo and the transfusions and the ER visits behind us. I mean, maybe it is. But not really. There's new grief and new mourning and yet he's still here and we're still here and there's karate and swimming lessons and bagels and fevers and evaluations and assessments and onesies to wash and things to hang on the nursery walls. There's life. Whatever it is. Was. And will be.
March 18, 2011
My mom just called. After multiple blood and platelet transfusions this week, my dad's numbers were the lowest they've ever been. Hemoglobin at 6. Platelets at 10.
So no more chemo, for real this time. No more transfusions. No more. He's enrolled in hospice.
The prognosis is two months.
I'm due in two and a half.
So I'm pretty sure I mentioned once or twice or fourteen frillion times that we signed up for a family membership at the YMCA, mostly so we would finally get off our butts and get the boys some swimming lessons.
HOW'S THAT ALL GOING?, asks absolutely no one in the world.
GREAT! LET ME TREAT YOU TO A PAINFULLY DETAILED RUNDOWN, responds boring, self-centered mommyblogger.
Noah is doing well. I was nervous that we'd waited too long for swimming lessons, but now I'm glad we waited until he was past his fears of the water and a bit more coordinated with that whole vestibular system thing or whatever, because he LOVES swimming. He's much braver about getting water on his head and face and you know, not clinging to our necks in fight-or-flight terror. He can at least do a pretty decent dog-paddle on his own and do something vaguely approaching proper swimming form with a little assistance. Between swimming and karate, he's packed on a good two pounds of solid muscle in just two months.
Ezra is...well, EZRA. In what I'm beginning to sense is going to be the theme of this child's life, he has already -- in the span of three classes and a handful of recreational swims on the weekends -- completely leveled out of the under-three swimming class, skill-wise. He doesn't want to be bobbed around in the water by me while we squirt water on his head with bath toy froggies and sing the Wheels on the Bus, he wants to SWIM. He wants to do the arms-over-head "rocket ship" move that he sees Noah do before jumping in, he wants to use a kickboard and paddle the length of the pool, and dammit woman, I'm just going to climb out of the pool, walk around to the other side and jump the hell in, WHEREVER YOU ARE NOT, if you continue to thwart me with this baby-swim-class nonsense.
Last night we got out of the pool to dry off, and after I retrieved his towel I turned around and saw that he'd promptly dashed back, jumped in the pool and was about halfway down a lap lane while looking over his shoulder at me like, YEAH? AND? (He was still, thankfully, wearing his little float-y backpack.)
I see a lot of private lessons in our future. Either that, or a string of fake IDs.
Meanwhile, I signed up for a prenatal water aerobics class. I am the only person currently signed up for this particular prenatal water aerobics class. Which...is weird. The instructor is a 65-year-old woman who has been teaching swimming at the Y for 30-plus years now, and the solo sessions just include SO MUCH SMALL TALK, and there's no buffer zone of other people, and so I feel expected to chat and be all perkily personable the whole time we're doing semi-ridiculous things involving pool noodles, and I'm not talking small talk like the weather. No more than 10 minutes into my very first class I learned all about the restraining order she currently has against her husband of 40+ plus years and how her current class schedule interferes with her domestic violence support group meetings, OH MY GOD WHAT DO YOU EVEN SAY TO THAT.
Other things I've learned include:
1) Horseback riding gives you very strong inner thighs.
2) Her last baby was a surprise because she got drunk one Christmas.
3) But she has always suspected that her no-good husband liked to poke holes in the condoms or something, so WHO KNOWS.
Plus, you know, we're both in bathing suits. It just makes everything so much more awkward. One time I think she moved in like she was going to hug me before class and while I usually self-identify as a total hugger (just ask anyone who's met me at BlogHer), I learned that this is NOT THE CASE when we're talking poolside hugs and my winter-white thighs are hanging out, because I will kind of jump back and squeak helplessly at you instead.
(I should also mention that there's a specific mix CD she brings for the prenatal class. The first song is the theme from Titantic.)
But honestly, I'm about five minutes and one more anecdote about The Christmas She Got Drunk And Knocked Up away from declaring her the most awesome person on the entire planet. Plus it's a pretty decent workout. So.
Let's wrap this up with some Friday Beefcake:
March 17, 2011
No, not THAT one. That one's still an unspeakable pile of horror and disorganization and missing crib screws. I meant this one:
When we first moved from the city to the 'burbs we were pretty much incapable of keeping anything green alive (except for one hand-me-down decade-old jade plant), and in fact saw the tiny yard we have here as a plus: LESS FOLIAGE TO MURDER.
We moved in. The jade plant promptly caught some disease and died. But we bought some herbs and stuck 'em in a planter out back. And then a tomato plant. Then peppers and zucchini and cauliflower and strawberries and onions and kale and butternut squash and beets and parsnips and leeks and homemade baby food and now it's a big production involving self-watering containers and concrete wire supports and composting and newspaper seedling pots and big ugly greenhouse light in our kitchen and I'm pouting because I don't have a deep enough pot to grow sweet potatoes in.
We have no immediate plans to move, though every time a single-family house goes up for sale in our neighborhood Jason and I play a game of imaginary landscaping and discuss just how big of a garden we could have, and what the light and soil situation is probably like, and oooh, look at that porch! We could enclose that and have a greenhouse! We could do containers AND a real-live soil-patch grown-up garden! Maybe I would keep some chickens! PLUS, THINK OF ALL THE SWEET POTATOES.
The mortgage calculations always kill the daydreaming. It's okay though. I still think last year's garden was pretty good for a couple of formerly death-thumbed city noobs...
P.S. If you're curious and also a dirty hippie lamesauce, I wrote a little about container gardening and composting over at AlphaMom, along with recommended books and such that helped us get started and not kill the majority of everything we planted.
P.P.S. And while I'm self-pimping and all, here's a Top Chef recap. It's about food! Super relevant to everything I've been saying today, shut up.
March 15, 2011
Okay, okay, one last thing about the stupid belt test before I promise to shut up about it:
Instructor: Okay guys, this is your first belt test, so it's okay if you're feeling a little nervous about it. Does anyone here feel a little scared?
Amy: (to self) ME! MEEEE! MEEEEEEEOMG.
Noah: (out loud, to entire room of students and parents) I'm not scared! I'm Harry Potter, and I'm brave!
HEY LOOK WHAT I CAN DO THIS IS PRETTY COOL TOO RIGHT WHATEVER KARATE.
Noah very generously gave Ezra his white belt to wear around the house, and even pieced his broken board back together so his brother could pretend to kick and punch it in half to his little jealous heart's content.
(Ezra would probably like me to document that 1) he already has near-perfect form on his front kick and is working very hard on the round house, 2) he only ever, ever kicks cookbooks. Which totally deserve it, frankly.)
My doctor's office called yesterday and left a message asking me to call them back, and I was seized with terror that oh shit, I probably failed my glucose test. Time for moar sugar drank partay!
But no, that was all fine. Another damn UTI. And another vote of confidence in the medical establishment, since I had to call the office back two times to inform them that the doctor had prescribed an antibiotic that I am deathly allergic to. Nope, can't take that one. Try again please. Nope, not that one either.
(Jeez, if only there was some kind of ACCESSIBLE RECORD OF MY ALLERGIES AND/OR OTHER PERTINENT HEALTH INFORMATION WRITTEN DOWN SOMEWHERE. Like on a health history form! On a chart! In a folder! Or hell, how about a fucking Post-It, maybe.)
(Prescription number three seems to be okay, since I've taken two pills and not yet died of hives. But you know I goddamn Googled that shit before I took any of it. What the HELL.)
I am 28 weeks along now. Third trimester. Things are getting real and slightly more uncomfortable and full of involuntary grunts and sighs and oh my God I can't get my shoes on oooffffs.
I have sorted through and organized three drawers, one closet and eaten an entire basketball:
(Don't laugh at my headscarf. That's my Organizin' Scarf, and it gets shit done, people.)
March 14, 2011
(He passed the belt test, is what I'm saying.)
(AND THE KVELLING HAS YET TO CEASE.)
March 11, 2011
Noah has his first karate belt test tomorrow.
A "formality," really, since white and gold belts are still grouped together, skill-wise, in the same class. A "confidence booster," according to the instructor who called me and twisted my arm up out my gut instinct that Noah probably isn't ready and convinced me to turn in the test form (AND OH RIGHT THE $40 FEE) anyway.
"Eight to 10 classes" is all it typically takes to move from a white belt to gold. Noah's attended 12. Every other white belt is taking the test, and the next opportunity to move up isn't until three months from now. Okay! Okay. Fine.
And then: "Hmm, I dunno" from a different instructor on Monday, when I told him Noah was signed up. The attention issues, the inability to focus or look instructors in the eye, the non-stop wiggling and bouncing, all of it could, in fact, pose a little bit of a problem. He can do all the required moves at home, and one-on-one with an instructor when we've requested a bit of extra help. But the belt test isn't at home, or one-on-one, or even really, about the karate moves themselves. The first belt test is about self-control in the class setting.
"Sometimes a belt is something you grow into," the instructor helpfully went on. In other words, no, he's not really ready, but you know, maybe we can toss the poor kid a golden-colored bone and then hope it all sorts itself out with a few more classes.
Noah is so, so excited about the possibility of a new belt.
I am ready to throw the hell up.
Once upon a time, I'm sure I had an Opinion about kids and sports and everybody getting medals just for showing up. About parents wigging out because their preshus spechul snowflakes weren't automatically rewarded with success and straight-A's. About anyone who had a laundry list of "he can't help it" style excuses for their kid's less-than-awesome behavior (none of which had anything to do with their own parenting, oh noooo). About anyone who tried to shelter their children from the concept of failure of any kind.
Maybe I still do, to a certain degree, but right now: Oh please, please, please don't let my baby's little heart get broken tomorrow.
March 09, 2011
7:59 am. Stumble downstairs, open fridge, confront today's nemesis: EASYDEX 50 Oral Glucose Tolerance Beverage, Orange Flavor. Ooh, variety!
8:00 am. DRINK.
8:01 am. You know, the orange version isn't half bad.
8:02 am. It tastes exactly like the orange drink McDonald's used to serve at birthday parties.
8:03 am. Does McDonald's still sell that orange drink?
8:04 am. Does McDonald's still do birthday parties?
8:05 am. Because hell, I feel guilty enough copping to the occasional drive-thru order of chicken nuggets and chocolate milk, I can't imagine sending out invites to a McDonald's-themed birthday party, which in this neck of the yuppie/hippie woods might as well read COME PARTY WITH SATAN! CELEBRATE CHILDHOOD OBESITY WITH THE SILENT TEARS OF UNETHICALLY RAISED BEEF. ALSO, THERE'S DIABETES IN THE GOODIE BAGS.
8:06 am. Aw, the drink's all gone. It was kind of yummy.
8:10 am. And I feel still feel fine, actually.
8:11 am. Question: If I'm a yuppie and a hippie, would you call that yippie? Or a huppie?
8:20 am. Still feel fine.
8:21 am. Clearly, I have developed immunity to the glucose drink.
8:22 am. I EVEN FOUND MY SHOES IN THE VERY FIRST PLACE I LOOKED.
8:22.3439890 am. THEY WERE ALREADY ON MY FEET.
8:23 am. WHY AM I THINKING IN CAPS-LOCK?
8:27 am. Vaguest sense of intestinal foreboding.
8:30 am. Side effect warning on bottle mentions possibility of "nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fainting."
8:31 am. Just like McDonald's! RIMSHOT.
8:35 am. Digestive tract up and officially revokes glucose drink immunity status. Jesus Christ.
8:40 am. Cat sympathy-vomits all over the bed.
8:50 am. In car, driving under the influence of sugar, thanks to husband's job that wouldn't let him get the morning off and now he has to miss an ultrasound and that really sucks and
8:52 am. HEY SELF, SEE THAT CAR STOPPED AT THE RED LIGHT? THAT ALSO MEANS YOU SHOULD APPLY YOUR OWN BRAKES IN A TIMELY FASHION AND
8:53 am. Hey look! When I slammed on the brakes a lipgloss rolled out from under the seat! I've been looking for that one for ages!
8:57 am. Arrive at doctor's office.
9:00 am. Two pregnancies ago, I took the glucose drink right here on this very couch for the first time and then passed out cold 20 minutes later. Jason said I even drooled a little bit.
9:02 am. Fucking Angry Birds, man.
9:04 am. Scale time. I've gained three pounds, for a measly total of seven.
9:05 am. Nurse marks my weight gain in my chart, scowls a little. "Bitch," she thinks, probably, as I have decided that the sugar pulsing through my system has made me telepathic.
9:06 am. I refrain from making a joke about managing to leave a good one or two pounds behind in my bathroom that morning, thanks to the glucose drink.
9:07 am. Good thing, because she's the one with the needle.
9:15 am. Blood test complete. Am moved into ultrasound exam room, which is plastered top to bottom with Lady Period-Product-Centric Posters Featuring the Metaphorical Freedom of White Linen Pants.
9:23 am. The wallpaper in this room is so ugly that I think I might love it.
9:25 am. Ultrasound reveals that everything is still fine. Baby has flipped over, is still in possession of the necessary parts and organs and boy genitalia, is measuring close to three pounds already and on-track to not fit into any of the newborn clothes I purchased this time because I DIDN'T PURCHASE ANY NEWBORN CLOTHES LAST TIME, what with Noah being 10 pounds and not fitting into any of the newborn clothes I had, and then Ezra was a smallish little peanut and now this one is going to be another giant and it's all because I dared to get attached to all those little stripe-y onesies with the squirrels on them, isn't it?
9:40 am. All done. Back in two weeks.
2:40 pm. Seriously, does McDonald's still sell that orange stuff? Because I feel like my blood sugar is dropping for the first time since Monday and I could really use a fix. I mean, just 'cause it's tasty. I don't have a problem or anything.
2:43 pm. I CAN STOP TAKING GLUCOSE TESTS WHENEVER I WANT, YOU GUYS.
EPILOGUE, PART II
2:44 pm. No. McDonald's has replaced the original Orange Drink with "Hi-C Orange Lavaburst." which offers the lofty promise of "refreshingly delicious orange taste." Orange taste! The color, not the fruit, I imagine. Dream big, Hi-C!
EPILOGUE, PART III
2:48 pm. Orange Drink has a Facebook page. Just FYI.