Monday, June 30, 2008


A Journey through time........

Happy Birthday Sabrina-Bo-Bina! Thank you for making me your Mom!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Toughest Job I'll Ever Love

Tomorrow I will celebrate seven years on the job.

Seven years ago on June 30th at approximately 4:43 am, my life was forever altered and I earned my new title of "Mom".

Even now, recalling that day brings a whirl of emotions and feelings, albeit muted and gentled by time. That rush of joy and overwhelming love? Not so much, unless you count being ecstatic that I no longer had to listen to the incessant chanting of pushpushpushpushpushpushPUSH!" in my ear. Okay lady! I get it! Not that I have much choice in the matter if I want to dislodge this bowling ball.

No, I remember different emotions from that first day. The exhaustion is self-explanatory. As for the pain, that mostly involved stitches in a place that nobody wants to contemplate a needle approaching, EVER. The confusion was to be expected considering I had been awake and performing incredible acts of athleticism for over 24 hours.

The fear is something most Moms are afraid to admit to. They're afraid to admit that at some point in those first few days and weeks the thought "What if I've made a mistake?" may cross their mind. Because it's decidedly un-Mom-like to admit to anything other than joy and overwhelming love.

Don't misunderstand me, I felt those things too. Just a little farther down on the list. Considering I had just made the biggest change my life would ever experience, I think that's pretty normal.

A very wise woman that I credit with helping me to survive early motherhood (although my sanity may have suffered a few dents and bruises) once told me "The best thing about your first week with a newborn is that neither one of you will remember it." At the time I didn't believe that could possibly be true. Turns out she was right. While I do remember that week, it's more of a memory of perception and sensation. The details however escape me. And that's probably a blessing. And why the human race didn't die out shortly after the arrival of the first offspring.

Sabrina and I will always have a special bond because she taught me how to be a Mom. She taught me it's okay to be afraid. It's okay to not know quite how to work this thing called Motherhood. It's all okay. Because the only way you can figure it out is on the job training. And she trained me well.

She trained me so well that I was able to feel immediate joy and overwhelming love for my newborn babies of the future. Even if I was still just a little afraid.

I'm still learning and they're still teaching.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Amusement Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

We bought a new pool. Before you get excited and invite yourselves over for the pool party - it's more of an oversized kiddie pool. It's one of those ones that you blow up the rim and fill it up with water.

Since it's basically just a glorified rubber bowl filled with water, it is important to make sure that it is on level ground. We didn't believe that the first year we had one.

Learn from our mistake. Rubber bowls full of water? They ROLL. Our cup runneth over. And the neighbors will not be amused.

So this time Dave is digging out the ground in an effort to make it as level as possible. Jamie has been "helping".

Today while Dave was bent over digging Jamie poured a handful of sand down his shirt collar.

Because he was bored.

I'm just happy I'm not his only victim.

I Can Always Use An Extra Hand

In my experience, babies want to be held. Toddlers also want to be held. And big kids like to hold your hand. Well, okay, maybe they don't like it - but generally they still need it.

I have three children and two hands. This creates a fundamental deficit of hands.

When Meredith was born something had to be done about this and I re-discovered the world of Babywearing, whereby you can carry your baby with the help of a sling, wrap or an Asian style baby carrier.

I say RE-discover as I had tried a sling when Sabrina was born and we both hated it. Little did I know that A) there were better slings out there than the kind Wal-Mart sells and B) I'm not a sling girl. I liked the comfy coziness of a wrap carrier with a newborn, and now that Meredith is older, the supportiveness and comfort of a Mei Tai.

But to arrive at those conclusions I had to go through a lot of different carriers and persevere. I had no choice. I was out of hands.

If you would like to enter a contest at (and I receive absolutely no gain from this contest other than an entry for myself) to win the ultimate "stash" of baby carriers, click below to find out more.

But in the meantime if you figure out how to grow some extra hands, let me know.

Win the Essential Babywearing Stash from Along for the Ride (one Beco Butterfly, one Hotsling baby pouch, one BabyHawk Mei Tai, one Zolowear Ring Sling, and one Gypsy Mama Wrap)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Romance Is Not Dead In Our House (But It's Seriously Injured)

Upon catching me browsing the Tiffany & Co. website, Sabrina says, "Are you having an Anniversary or something?"

Why yes in fact we are. It will be Mommy and Daddy's Ten Year Anniversary this July.

"Yeah but that means Daddy should buy you that jewelry."

Yes but if we wait for that Mommy won't get any jewelry.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Don't Own A Shoe Large Enough

I took the kids to the Pittsburgh Zoo yesterday. Surprisingly it was a very pleasant day. This is surprising because there are three of them and only one of me. Calculate the math. I'll be the first to say I don't know anything about betting or odds but three to one just doesn't sound like a good deal no matter how you look at it.

Despite being outnumbered the day proceeded in an orderly fashion. No wildlife was harmed, my children were not captured and caged by the staff, and most importantly I did not require the services of an insane asylum by the end of the day. Tomorrow is another day, but I'll accept my blessings as they are bestowed upon me.

Since they were so very well behaved I promised them they could each pick something out at the gift shop before we left. Because Sabrina is her mother's daughter, she chose a large lollipop. I chose a super-sized coffee mug (I need all the help I can get in the mornings), and since Meredith was being held captive, I interpreted her "Ennnh! Eennnh! EEEnnnh!" to mean, "Please choose a nice pink T-shirt for me," as opposed to "Put me down so I can wreak havoc" as she intended.

Within 1 minute Jamie zeroed in on the one item in the whole gift shop guaranteed to make his mother cringe. No amount of persuasion or bribery would sway him. Meet Harry (or perhaps Hairy?).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

It Doesn't Even Require Studying

A certain person who shall remain nameless had a "procedure" about a year and a half ago. Said procedure was to prevent us from becoming a 6, 7, or 8 person family. Because another person around here tends to become pregnant alarmingly easily. Case in point: Jamie. We don't even remember doing anything that involved birds OR bees that month.

Immaculate Conception? Probably not. If Jamie develops any Christ-like tendencies we'll let you know. Pretty sure you're safe on that score.

There is a test that is supposed to be done to ensure that this procedure was successful. One at 6 months post-procedure and again at 12 months. Mr. Nameless feels the second one is unnecessary and resents my repeated "suggestions" that he should complete this test.

This test just seems like a good idea to me. Especially after my period arrived 5 days late last month. Five days of white-knuckles. I also now own absolutely no discernible fingernails and have single-handedly boosted the dividends for the stockholders at E.P. T.

Does this test involve needles you ask? No. Surely then it must involve pain or discomfort? Squashing of body parts? No, not at all.

I on the other hand have endured 3 and 1/3 pregnancies. All of which involved fairly extensive tests. These tests were, at best, undignified and invasive, and at worst downright painful and involved needles, scalpels and blood. Not to mention that whole 24 hour session at the end whereby I attempted to do what amounts to pushing a watermelon through a flute.

And they put stitches in my WHAT?

But he doesn't want to have to submit to a test that involves an actual ORGASM. How much less painful can a test get?

If I have to push anymore watermelons he won't need a surgical procedure. I'm pretty sure I can fix it with the kitchen shears.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Like Tequila and Sleeping Pills Without The Hangover

I've been a little under the weather lately. We'll blame it on a water bottle although it would be more fair to lay the blame directly where it belongs which is my occasional bursts of magnificent stupidity.

I like to drink water and more specifically I like to drink it from a water bottle. I even have a personal preference for Deer Park sports bottles.

Before you label me as some sort of water-centric nutjob (which I may be but let me plead my case first), I have reasons for this preference. I have small children. Small children that also like water. They like it on the carpet. They like it on the dog. They have even been known to pour it on the couch, and until it dries that's just no fun for anyone.

The sports bottle design slows down the release of water just long enough for me to rescue the dog if I'm quick enough.

Not that she couldn't use the bath.

Therefore I tend to covet these Deer Park water bottles and I will re-use them as long as I deem sanitary and until Jamie figures out that they make a fun crackly noise when he stomps on them.

So I was emptying the back of the van after a trip to Target and spotted an empty Deer Park sports bottle. I took it into the house and rinsed it out and proceeded to drink from it the rest of the day. I figure several strains of various water-borne parasites and bacterium were thrilled to find they had discovered a new, and far more habitable host than the empty water bottle that had previously been baking in the sun in my van for God knows how long.

And I've pretty much spent the last two days trying to evacuate ALL of them from my body. Often.

To add insult to injury I woke up yesterday with my right eye swollen shut from what can only be presumed some sort of bite. Probably a spider. Because I hate the little bastards and they know it. It was probably revenge for my attempt at genocide and he felt he was doing his part to avenge thousands of his brethren.

It's been a long time since I had to take Benadryl for any reason. Parenthood and Benadryl don't mix and I found out why yesterday.

I did at least take the precaution of putting Meredith to bed first, but I surrendered myself to the couch and have only vague memories of older children asking "Mommy can I do this? Mommy can I eat this? Mommy do you mind if we play this?"

The result being that my house looked like it had survived an invading army and the spoils of war were left strewn across the battlefield that was my kitchen and living room.

On a positive note, I had a very nice nap for the first time in years.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's A Bit Inconvenient For Us Too

I read this article in Newsweek online this morning - click here to read it.

The article itself didn't alarm me. I thought it was a heartfelt first-person account of a Mom learning that her child has a potentially life-threatening allergy and exploring how it feels to live that in the real world.

No what alarmed me, nay, made me literally sick with fear, complete with sweaty hands, nausea and dizzy head, were the comments that followed it. I find it hard to believe that so many people, some of them parents themselves, can take a blithe and callous approach to someone else's child's risk of death.

Because they find it inconvenient to not send peanut butter and jelly to school. Because they don't want to have to choose a nut-free treat to send to school. Because by GOD it's their RIGHT to send an Almond Joy candy bar to all the children in little Billy's class on Halloween. And peanuts on an airplane are practically an institution. For someone to tell me I cannot have my little plastic bag containing 8 peanuts is just un-American!

Did I mention Jamie is allergic to nuts?

When most people hear the word allergy they think of Claritin commercials. You know, itchy watery eyes, sneezing. Yeah it's miserable but hell it's not like you'll DIE from it.

Jamie can die from eating a nut. He can die from eating a piece of a nut. He can die if someone stored nuts in a container and then later used it to store chocolate chips and he eats one of those cross-contaminated chocolate chips.

I have heard of cases where people can have a life threatening reaction to someone eating nuts in the same room. We have not had this happen to us luckily, but if someone tells me their child can die from it I will believe them.

Because I have watched an anaphylactic reaction firsthand in my own precious child.

Anaphylaxis. Now THERE is a big scary word. When you say allergy nobody takes you seriously, so maybe we need to change the term "peanut/tree nut allergy" (or whatever food it is you or your child is allergic to) to "My child has ANAPHYLAXIS to nuts." Maybe it would make people take it seriously. Or at least not equate it with hay fever.

For the educated individual that stated that my child is far more likely to die from a swimming pool and that we "paranoid" parents don't demand everyone fills in their swimming pool - I would like to point out that while yes, statistically more children die every year in swimming pool drownings than they do from allergic reactions to food, nobody EVER throws a swimming pool in front of my child unexpectedly.

My child can unexpectedly, and probably will, encounter a tree nut in his food. That's right. It's not an if, it's a when. And it's even possible that I will do it myself. I can read every label for ingredients but I can never ever know with absolute certainty that I can trust food manufacturers every single time. Hell we can't even keep salmonella from our tomatoes and e. coli from our spinach and hepatitis from our green onions.

Who's gonna get excited if a factory worker drops a cashew or two in that cookie mix?

Anyone who may still think I am exaggerating, let me try and give you a first hand account of what I watched my son go through upon eating a bite, one bite, of a 1 inch big piece of chocolate containing one cashew.

After 5 minutes he told me he didn't feel so good. His father took him up to lie down, but he was so obviously distressed and unwell, after 5 minutes he brought him downstairs. By this time he was starting to drool and just looked sick. I'd never actually seen someone turn grey before, but Jamie was. And seconds later I noticed hives popping up on his forehead. Upon calling the pediatrician we were told to give him a teaspoon of Benadryl (which I later found out will do nothing, nada, zip to reverse an anaphylactic reaction) and call an ambulance, but he couldn't swallow the Benadryl because his throat and mouth had already begun to swell shut. In the 10 excruciatingly long minutes it took for the ambulance to arrive, he began to vomit everywhere, choking and gasping, his eyes swelled shut and his face assumed grotesque proportions.

Twenty minutes total.

And next time (and allergists assure me there will be a next time) it will happen faster and be more severe.

Now tell me you can watch that and still insist your child needs his peanut and nut containing candies, cookies and snacks at school. And you go ahead and whine to me about how terribly inconvenienced you feel about making your child a ham sandwich as opposed to peanut butter and jelly.

Just don't expect me to listen.

For more information on food allergies please visit and support:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


It's like a headscratcher, except not.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What Were YOU Thinking?

A couple of weeks ago I had to go to Sabrina's school to give her allergy medication I had forgotten to administer before she caught the bus. Meredith and Jamie of course accompanied me.

While we waited in the nurse's office as the nurse went to fetch Sabrina from her classroom, one of Sabrina's teachers walked in. She commented how much Sabrina and Meredith looked like me.

Now humor me, I'm going to digress a moment here, but I promise you this relates.

Recently Jamie has become very aware of certain......differences between boys and girls. He likes to talk about these differences with us often. I understand this is normal and it helps him to comprehend these differences by talking about them. But even more amusing is that he has begun to notice, and expound upon, the differences between adult and child anatomy. He finds it particularly fascinating that grown-ups have hair in different places than he does.

But returning to the story at hand.

This same teacher then turned to Jamie and said, "You don't look as much like your Mommy. You must look like your Daddy."

To which Jamie replied, "No. My Daddy has hair on his........."

(Oh dear God do you think it would help if I used some sort of diversionary tactic to distract her????)


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Spectacle Debacle

You may have noticed that Jamie wears glasses. He's worn them since he was 18 months old (thank you Dad for passing on that particular gene). And since he was 18 months old we have gotten them from the same little privately owned shop on Main Street in a little old town called Munhall. They were the only place kind enough to take the trouble to find and order glasses small enough to fit an 18 month old boy. The major national chains didn't carry anything that small and basically told me I was S.O.L. One exceptionally helpful clerk told me I should try to find a pediatric ophthalmologist. When I asked her if she knew of any in the area she responded "How should I know? Try the yellow pages."

I'm guessing she's a customer service rep for a cell phone company nowadays.

He gets a new prescription about every 6 months. At $200 a pop this adds up. So now that he's four I thought I might have better luck, and find a better price with one of the national chains. As we were preparing to leave for vacation the next day, I selected Lenscrafters. Because I didn't have enough abuse from them yet and besides they could have glasses ready "in about an hour."

They still didn't have a stellar collection of eyeglasses for someone of Jamie's size. The only slightly more helpful clerk on this visit informed me that they really only carry them for kids from about 1st Grade up as that's when most children get their first pair of glasses. Because before then what the hell do they really need to see for?

But as luck would have it, Jamie found one pair that actually fit, and they just happened to be Spiderman glasses. I think that kid must have some sort of (Spidey) sense that allows him to zone in on any possible Spiderman merchandise in a 5 mile radius.

The Spiderman glasses are going to be $185, so not an exceptional savings over my usual place. But hey, I can get them today so fine yes, we'll take them. They fuss with them and measure and do whatever it is they do to make eyeglasses fit. He then informs me that Oh these glasses? These glasses have to be ordered. We'll have them ready for you in about 10 days. At which point I was prepared to walk but Jamie wanted THOSE glasses.

Fast forward to exactly 1 month and 2 days later when Jamie takes a header off the top step of our front stoop scratching the lenses so badly he can no longer see out of them. No problem. Kids do this all the time. We've never had any problem simply getting the lenses replaced at our old place. They guarantee kids' lenses.

So does Lenscrafters. They cover 75% of the purchase price, so no problem Ma'am we'll order those new lenses for you. That'll be $71.25.

Wait a minute. I'm really bad at math, but even I can figure out that $71.25 is more than 25% of $185. Turns out that "75%" they cover is off the "full retail value". You know - the one that nobody actually pays.

As I'm complaining and grumbling to the bored clerk that "my old place doesn't charge anything and we won't be coming back here," even I know how ridiculous I sound and that she just wishes she could tell me to shut up she just works there and really doesn't even like the damn job.

It almost made me long for her predecessor just so I could have a satisfying argument rather than my one-sided tirade against the evils of Lenscrafters.