August 30, 2006

I promised kazoo...

I don't know what's funnier: the way she flips the kazoo around in order to most effectively wring song out of it, how redneck I sound, or how she suddenly remembers that she must EAT!

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August 29, 2006

I have all these thoughts about Katrina swirling through my brain, but I haven't written much of it down until now, so I'm not promising much eloquence. I did want to get it posted tonight, though, so I'll give it a shot. And I recognize that this blog has been a bit of a downer lately and I promise that after this post there will be much hilarity and blowing of kazoos. But for now....

I'm mourning for Katrina's victims, those of too much water and complacency and not enough compassion or forethought. Those trying to re-make some kind of life out of what can be scrounged from the mud or FEMA, and those spread out all over the country wondering how to get back or how to settle into not going back, never going back.

September 11th is still very immediate for me. I can call up that morning and the days and weeks that followed intact at any time. I changed that day, lost and gained a lot of faith and naivete. While I was not directly affected by Katrina, I know better than to think that those people are not me, could just as easily been me. I sat and listened to people here, fellow Southerners and Americans, judge the Katrina victims for their color, their choices, their poverty, acting like the whole thing was a bad made-for-TV movie that went on too long, disturbing regular programming. I am beyond any kind of disappointment in this administration, my expectations were never high to begin with; I was still shocked at how quickly things fell apart at every level, how we seemed to fail as a Government, a Society, a People. But I know that there were and are a lot of everyday heroes down there. Thank god for them. Because every official safety net that I still somehow assumed to be real washed away so quickly. I'll never believe that way again, but I don't know that I know what to do with what I've unlearned.

See, I'm rambling....I should have put this together better. Here, do this instead of listening to me: go here and if you have time, read from the beginning of Siege's blog. I knew of this guy's work when I was in New York. He's an amazing photographer and storyteller with deep roots in New Orleans. His words and pictures are plain and true and he really draws a lot of strength from the people pulling together to help each other down there. Each day I hope to become more like them.

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August 28, 2006

Olivia woke up with a fever yesterday morning and got worse and worse as the day wore on. I knew that something was wrong; she felt like a baked brick, but our thermometer said 97. Marc thought that she might have spent too much time outside Saturday and might be feeling the effects of the heat. I gave her Tylenol twice, but she didn't improve and spent the whole day in our laps, eating and drinking little and playing quietly. By evening, when she was curled against my chest panting, I knew that what we were doing was not enough. Marc ran down the street and got another thermometer. 102 degrees. We had no idea how long it had been that high. By the time we got to the ER, it was up to 104.1. We hadn't been giving her enough Tylenol and our thermometer was broken. They gave her more medication, took blood and a urine sample with a catheter, all while she screamed, cried huge tears, and tried desperately to get away. I was having terrible thoughts about horrible illnesses. We know several families with children who have been very sick over the last few years. For a few panicked minutes with O limp against my chest under those bright hospital lights, listening to the ebb and flow of voices in the hallway, hoping that the doctor would come in soon, I had just the slightest inkling of the abyss those families face, the huge, gnawing fear that something was happening to my child, something bad, and there was nothing I could do.

Even with my mind running away like this, the bigger part of me felt like it had to be just some kind of virus she had picked up, surely something that she would easily fight off. And eventually, the bigger dose of Tylenol kicked in and she started to drink some water, ask for rice cakes and point out all the shoes in the ER. We knew she felt better. It was so delicious to see her smile again after not having seen it all day. Her white blood cell count was normal, her temp was down to 101, and they had ruled out a bladder infection. They sent us home with directions to continue treating the fever, watch for other symptoms, and call about the rest of the cultures. She has kept a slight fever all day today and slept horribly last night. She still isn't eating much and is clingy, but is obviously improving. Hopefully, tomorrow she will be back to her old self again. Tonight, I'll sleep better and feel grateful to be home with her, but I'll be thinking about the families who are still in hospitals with their little ones.


August 24, 2006

Happy anniversary, Marc. I told you this morning that these have been the best four years of my life. Good times are better and hard times are easier with you here. You are one of the most grounded, trustworthy people I have ever met and I feel so grateful to be your wife, your friend, and the mother of your child. I love you, sweetheart.

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August 20, 2006

In response to this by Her Bad Mother. Her post on not knowing how to write about her child's physical beauty and her love and response to that beauty is as touching and eloquent as anything I could ever hope to say. I do feel like I have something to add to the discussion...

In the 16 months since O's birth, I have yet to fully wrap my mind around the physical experience that I had bringing her into the world. It was a Journey and was unlike anything I could have imagined it to be. I still don't have the words to express what it meant to me, all that I thought or felt when it was happening. There truly were moments when I felt like a portal, THE portal, like my body was being used for some greater purpose, THE greater purpose. When O was finally here, with her tiny body and big eyes, her silky dark hair and pursed lips, when everything was OK with her and she was in our arms, she felt like magic, the reward at the end of that epic journey. Her physicality was delicious and as perfect as anything I had ever known. Before she became real to me as a person, my child, my daughter, she was a physical manifestation of all that her father and I had hoped for and wondered about during our wait for her. And I felt so physically attached to her, knew her so intimately, it was like seeing a part of myself from a vantage point that I had never had before. I was aware and thankful for my body, her body, bodies in general in a new way.

As she has gotten older, O has shown herself to be very much her own child. She is affectionate and loving, likes to be held and was not so long ago still nursing, so our physical contact is abiding and rewarding and deep, but she has also begun to seperate from me in new ways. She pushes away or asks for me to put her down so that she can explore. I revel in this, her learning how to use her body, move herself through her world. I am touched by the scrapes and bruises she gets from tumbling. No longer a symbol of creation or new life, she is a child now, moving further from the womb and breast every day. I know that the time when I am allowed to nurture her physically, tend to and protect her body, knowing it better than she herself does, is short. I try to memorize her smell, the shape of her jaw or how her hand feels in mine. It's impossible.

HBM writes about the fear of being misinterpreted, the fear that her words about the sensuality of her child and their relationship will be sexualized. And god knows that many people would be quick to do so. Mothers, and even more so fathers, are treading delicate ground in talking about their feelings about their children's bodies. But one of the things that is most powerful and awe-inspiring about the way that I feel about O and our physical relationship is that it is such a passion, such a need to reach and touch and be and feel, but it is pure in a way that no other physical relationship I have ever had has been. It is not tied up with any kind of agenda, no politics, no fear of rejection. It just is, primal and perfect.

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August 19, 2006

And just like that Olivia became a toddler. I think that I actually witnessed the moment when walking became her go-to mode of going to. For a couple of weeks, walking was a novelty, a toy, but she soon grew tired of Momma walking so slooooowww when she held my fingers, so off she went without me. Now, she wants nothing more than to put on her shoes, head out the door, and go go GO. (Today at my mom's she had her little plastic keys and was trying to "unlock" the door and escape.) Unfortunately, this house is not well set up for outside play. The park is nearby, but O really just wants to go up and down, up and down the skull crackin' stairs, or trot down the leg breakin' drive way.

While the yard at our new house is not that big, there is a cute little park in back that is bascially an extension of our back yard. Wait....what's that? Our new house? Yes, that's right. We are buying a house. But things haven't quite been finalized and I don't want to jinx anything. So that's all I have to say about that. More later!

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August 11, 2006

In lieu of an actual post, this is a word cloud made by scanning our blog for words already posted.


August 09, 2006

Sometimes You Feel Like a Bad Parent, Sometimes You Don't

I have to admit that the whole nut allergy thing has failed to pierce my consciousness in any real way. I don't know why. I am aware that a lot of children suffer from allergies...I suffered from allergies. I know that some kids get very sick from eating nuts, some even die. I have seen the patches and stickers that parents put on clothing and backpacks warning people that nuts can make their kids really ill. But I never thought that O might be one of these kids.

I worry about a lot. I worry about how much I have worried since O's birth. If there is a catastrophe to be imagined I have done so. Some of the most heavily rotating bad dreams involve accidentally smashing her pumpkin head into something and driving into a large body of water with her strapped into the carseat. Kidnappings and leaving her to fry in the hot car are also up there. Unlikely? God, I hope. But of all the things that I have thought might pose a danger, I guess I missed one of the most obvious.

O has been eating organic almond and peanut butter for some time now. She loves them both and they are major players in her diet. It didn't occur to me to worry about feeding them to her and she has had no problem with either. Yesterday, I gave her a new granola for breakfast, something gingery that I mixed in with our usual stuff. At noon, when I was changing her diaper, I found a big, raised ring around her belly button and angry red patches under her arms and up and down her back. She had spots on her legs and her ears were turning reddish purple. Marc and I took one look at her and took her to the ER. Hives. The doctor asked two questions: "Any new foods?" and "Were there nuts in it?" Yes and yes. The granola had little pieces of cashews. I noticed this, but gave it no thought. I always mix her granola with yogurt, making it pretty soft and chewy. I hadn't even worried about them as a choking hazard. The doctor didn't say much, but I felt like this was something I should have known better than to have done.

We gave her benadryl at the hospital and at home before bed and today she is fine. I don't know what this means beyond the fact that she is off the granola and needs to be tested for allergies. I guess that I have some research to do. And something else to add to my list of things to worry about.

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August 08, 2006

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Bad Haircut Day Three - The Acceptance

OK, she's still cute. It actually seems to be righting itself a bit, when not combed out as seen above.

In other news, Marc got his face cut on in a major way yesterday. They took out a dime-sized piece of his cheek, only to discover that there were cancer cells at the perimeter and they would need to take more. So, back they went and now it's a nickel-sized hole. We were both a little shocked; we had been thinking this would be like the biopsy. It doesn't matter as long as they got it all.

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Good thing O learned "boo-boo" last week.

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August 06, 2006

Marc cut Olivia's hair today. Enough said.

OK, maybe it should be enough, but I couldn't leave it alone and I have had plenty to say about it all day. WHAT THE HELL WAS HE THINKING? It looks like it was styled by a blind monkey. Her hair is very curly and grows quickly (thank god.) When the curls get long and heavy, they straighten out and just hang in her face. I have had to trim it several times already and each time Marc has complained, though he would not have even known if I hadn't pointed it out.

We got the scissors out at breakfast while she was sitting in her high chair. I know...gross...we trimmed her nails, too. Hey, she was sitting still - I had to take advantage. Anyway, Marc and I had a detailed conversation about how one would trim her hair, if one were to do such a thing. A tiny snip here where it is heavy...a little cut right here made by measuring against the section made with the tiny snip, etc. I go to the bathroom and swear to god, when I open the door, they are standing right there and Marc was looking very pleased with himself. And Olivia? She looks like....oh god, I don't even know. He combed her bangs down into her face and then just cut straight across the middle of her forehead. It looks like Lego clip-on hair. "I think it looks sort of Bettie Page like," Marc said. OK, even if this were true, is this what we want for our 15 month-old? I couldn't even look at her. I feel badly for my reaction now, but I was shocked. Her hair was so cute; five minutes later, she was well on her way to a mullet.

So after about 10 minutes of raving quietly with a smile plastered on my face, so that she wouldn't see that Momma was freakin' out, I...what, you thought I was going to say that I calmed down? No, I combed her hair out with my fingers and saw that not only it is cut across the forehead, but the cut is uneven and makes a little point right in the middle. It's not so much that he cut her hair badly as it is that we had just talked about how to cut her hair well.

Oh well, he was trying to help. I'm not going to try and fix it with the scissors. We'll just pull it over with a barrette. It will grow. Anyway, maybe it was better to go ahead and get that first bad haircut out of the way instead of waiting until a few days before her second grade class picture.

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August 01, 2006

Less time-biding, more post writing

So much has been going on here, but I can't seem to get anything written about any of it. I hope that we haven't permanently lost the attention of all four of our loyal readers.

In the last two weeks, Marc has:
- Applied for his temporary license
- Taken his boards
- Received a contingent offer on a job
- Had a biopsy done on a mole on his face.

In the last two weeks, I have:
- Wrung my hands and mumbled to myself
- Made lists
- Started and deleted 11 blog entries.

Everything that we have been working for seems close enough to finally materialize, but far enough away to be a mirage. I am afraid to breath.

O is blissfully unaware of all the pieces we are trying to wrestle together. I think she is just happy to have Mommy and Daddy both at home to play with all day. And half the night. I think the walking has her all amped up. She's been waking at midnight and acting a fool for the last couple of nights. We played hard today; hopefully, she'll sleep the sleep.

Anyway, if you are out there reading, send us good thoughts (and sorry again, for the scarcity of words recently.)

This one goes out to O's biggest fan...she's apparently got a Rocky Horror Picture Show style routine going for the video we posted the other day. Maybe this one will give her some new material.

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