Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I Can See Clearly Now

The other morning, I was attempting to put together L.'s lunch for daycare. Because her food allergy put the ever-loving fear in me, I still prepare everything that she is fed. Anyway, so it's 6:30 in the morning and I am trying to cut up some sausage to go with her fake cheese and fruit, and I cannot figure out why I keep dropping things. Strawberry pieces are going hither-thither and yon while bits of sausage keep missing the tupperware container and falling to the floor.

It took me five minutes of food carnage to realize that I had forgotten to put on my glasses and couldn't see what in the world I was doing. I have been blessed with a pretty nasty case of near-sightedness that makes it difficult for me to make out things that are more than 8 inches from my face when un-spectacled. Funny how much I rely on my glasses now. It didn't used to be this way.

I was 18, a senior in high school and getting ready to start college. Part of my preparations required me to undergo a physical that required (among other things) an eye exam. Imagine my and my mother's shock and horror when I flunked the eye exam miserably. The MD who had asked me to read her chart used the rather somber 'legally blind' and 'not sure it can be completely corrected' phrases that had me bawling in the car on the way home that afternoon. (Fortunately for all involved, I didn't learn to drive until after I graduated high school, in case you were getting nervous.)

It turned out the only thing I could barely make out on the eye chart was the 'E' up at the very tippy top, and even that was pretty blurry. Growing up, it never occurred to me that I couldn't see diddly squat compared to most of the rest of the world. I recognized individuals from a distance based on their gait rather than recognizable facial features. Taking notes during class lecture was difficult, but I never realized everybody else was able to read what was on the blackboard. Heck, I couldn't even tell what time it was on the big clock found in every American classroom. That right there should have clued ME in.

As a child, I never could figure out what all the big deal was regarding millions of stars in the sky. I remember asking a teacher why we couldn't see stars anymore. Her reply? 'There's a lot more pollution today.' I can't blame her for not realizing that I simply couldn't see stars at all. My own parents didn't catch on. Although, one spectacular (based on what my folks and siblings said) meteor shower when I was in 7th grade could have clued them in. While everybody else oohed and ahhed over meteor after meteor, I never saw a single one.

No real harm was done. Despite my vision impediment, I was a near straight-A student, and I didn't bother to learn to drive until the summer after I graduated high school. Taking a drama class when you can't see the audience takes out a lot of the panic of standing in front of a room full of people. A visit with an optometrist a couple weeks later and subsequent glasses corrected my vision to slightly better than 20/20.

In a way, 'going blind' for so many years was a benefit for me. I can still recognize people I know well based on how they walk from pretty extreme distances. I have a deep and abiding appreciation for the beauty of the stars at night. I remember vividly the first night I had my glasses. It was one of those rare crystal clear evening in Germany (motto: we have more fog than England), I looked to the sky and saw thousands of twinkling, dancing little lights for the very first time. They were so beautiful, I could have stayed out all night. For weeks, I went around telling everybody who would stay still things such as: 'I can see there are bricks on that house!' 'I can read that road sign!' 'I can tell what kind of tree that is by looking at the leaves!'

It's been a number of years since my little vision problem was discovered and corrected. Most of the time, I take my glasses for granted and forget that seeing what I'm doing is a remarkable thing. However, there are days when I forget to put on the specs, and then I remember.


Monday, April 24, 2006


Five years ago, Mr. W. and I took a trip to upstate New York to wish my great-grandmother a happy 95th birthday. My grandmother, parents, siblings and a whole host of other relatives gathered together to wish Grandma T. a very happy birthday.

I started to get very excited as 2006 rolled around and my great-grandma’s 100th was rapidly approaching. I planned to put together a special ‘Happy 100th' card that included pictures of my little family. I wanted to tell all my friends how great it was to have another centenarian in the family.

Thursday night, my mother deflated my little balloon. Apparently many years ago, Grandma T. saw the need to lie about her age. The family only this year discovered that she was NOT born in 1906. She was actually born in 1905.

I know this is really self-absorbed of me, but I sort of feel robbed. Where’s the chance to make the big hoopla about turning 100? I’m seriously considering pretending like I never heard about the change in birth year.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

S.'s Very Happy, Fun, Fun, Fun Birthday Party

We had S.'s birthday party yesterday, and it was a blast. The weather was perfect, the friends were fun, and all the kids played nicely. We had 19 people at our house for snacks, playing outside and birthday cake (and ice cream!). Well, if you count the two not-yet-born kids, it was 21. I just love being surrounded by pregnant mommies!

After a bit of drama with my grandma, she decided to come in from out of town for the weekend with her nurse and my mother. It was great seeing her, and she really enjoyed playing with L. and spending a little time with S. I absolutely love that she finally let her hair go white. She dyed it various shades of blonde for decades, and honestly, I think the silver her hair has turned is so much prettier than any of that fake blonde.

We have a swingset-fort-slide combo monstrosity in our back yard, and while the kids were going berserk over that, I got to sit on the sidelines and just watch the kiddos play. We need to invite people over more often. I love the chaos of a backyard full of kids.

I was rather proud of S.'s birthday cake. It was chocolate and non-dairy and still very good. We went with a horse theme, so I went with white icing covered in green sprinkles and a plastic horse stuck in the center. I found the neatest birthday candles. You know those glow sticks where you bend, snap and shake and they glow for several hours? We had those, then the actual candles were stuck in the top and lit. One of the kids at the party was very impressed and even asked me where I found them.

All in all, it was a fun time, but I still can't believe my little girl is already 4.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Hippity Hoppity

S. and L. both sitting still and being pleasant at the same time:


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Happy Birthday S!

Miss S. turned 4 on Monday, April 17 (even though the SSA and the state of Texas think her birthday is the 16th, but that's a whole nother post highlighting my laziness and our hospital's poor record-keeping). I can hardly believe 4 years has passed since I became a mother. When Mr. W. and I started this project, I thought I had a pretty good handle on the whole parenting thing, and then S. was born.

Upon her birth, I transformed from being a confident, self-reliant professional woman into a blathering mess of hormones. I cried at the thought of leaving her at daycare. I cried at the thought of NOT leaving her at daycare. I wailed through her entire first bath, which, incidentally, is a big part of the reason Mr. W. does 99% of the girls' baths. I finally programmed my mother's phone number into speed dial. I began comparing all babies to mine frantically hoping that this little bundle of joy was normal. When she was slow to meet a milestone, I worried. When she was quick to meet a mileston, I worried. It was an amazing trial by fire, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

S. is a fabulous kid. She is showing signs of maturity and compassion that I thought may never materialize as we waded through the terrible twos only to be greeted with the even worse threes. Her imagination blows me away. She is in a constant state of playing pretend. Her latest story is that she is a hamster mommy and has a hamster baby in her tummy. Just yesterday, she announced she was a friendly alligator . Her sense of curiosity is dizzying. Even though her 'Why' questions sometimes drive me nutty, I just love that she is exploring her world.

I love you S., and I pray that you continue to grow in mind, body and spirit!


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Of Mice and Men and End of Quarter

I apologise for the lack of posting lately. Unfortunately, the job that helps pay the bills is keeping me very, very, very, very busy right now. I'm a financial analyst, so quarter end is usually pretty frantic. This year, just to add more spice to the mix, I've been given the problem, er, I mean privilege, yeah, privilege, of implementing a new quarterly incentive schedule. Of course, it really helps that I was informed of this ... privilege earlier this week.

Nothing like last minute planning. I guess since I am a procrastinator, I have no business complaining about working for procrastinators. Ah, well, at least I've got some good job security going.


Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

Saturday, the Wheezer family plus Mr. W.'s sister and parents participated in the 1 mile walk for our local Race for the Cure. This was my first year to participate, but it certainly will not be my last. Mr. W.'s mother is a breast cancer survivor, and we intend to continue supporting her and the many, many others like her.

There was an estimated 10,000 people walking/running, and it was quite a sight to behold. As we strolled our 1 mile visiting with one another, I was surprised by how I felt during the walk. It's probably hormonally related, but I was very nearly weepy thinking how the same bit of biology that brought sustenance and comfort to my children could wind up taking me away from them forever. It felt sort of circle-of-life like, and I found myself very grateful to still have my mother-in-law (who is a kind and generous angel of mercy and who I should feature on the blog from time to time).

I do not have any close blood relatives who have suffered from breast cancer (one of my great grandmothers died of it when she was 98), but really, it can strike any one. My mother in law had no family history, but still went in for her annual mammograms. She was very fortunate that her cancer was caught while it was still very, very small. The biopsy removed the entire tumor. She went through a number of rounds of radiation and is now on an anti-cancer drug. Thanks to her mammogram, she did not wind up needing radical surgery and/or chemo treatments.

So, ladies in honor of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and my fabulous mother in law, I present 'Get Your Mammies Grammed'

For years and years they told me,
Be careful of your breasts.
Don't ever squeeze or bruise them.
And give them monthly tests.

So I heeded all their warnings,
And protected them by law.
Guarded them very carefully,
And I always wore my bra.

After 30 years of astute care,
My gyno, Dr. Pruitt,
Said I should get a Mammogram
"O.K," I said, "let's do it."

"Stand up here real close" she said,
(She got my boob in line),"
And tell me when it hurts," she said, "Ah yes!
Right there, that's fine."

She stepped upon a pedal,
I could not believe my eyes!
A plastic plate came slamming down,
My hooter's in a vise!

My skin was stretched and mangled,
From underneath my chin!
My poor boob was being squashed,
To Swedish Pancake thin.

Excruciating pain I felt,
Within it's vise-like grip.
A prisoner in this vicious thing,
My poor defenseless tit!

"Take a deep breath" she said to me,
Who does she think she's kidding?!?
My chest is mashed in her machine,
And woozy I am getting.

"There, that's good," I heard her say,
(The room was slowly swaying.)"
Now, let's have a go at the other one."
Have mercy, I was praying.

It squeezed me from both up and down,
It squeezed me from both sides.
I'll bet SHE'S never had this done,
To HER tender little hide.

Next time that they make me do this,
I will request a blindfold.
I have no wish to see again,
My knockers getting steam rolled.

If I had no problem when I came in,
I surely have one now.
If there had been a cyst in there,
It would have gone "ker-pow!"

This machine was created by a man,
Of this, I have no doubt.
I'd like to stick his balls in there,
And see how THEY come out!

--Author Unknown

Friday, April 07, 2006

Whatever you do, don't get S. mad

S.'s imagination has been working overtime recently. Instead of always claiming to be a little blue horse, now she's a snake, a ground hog, a butterfly, etc. I'm enjoying her branching out and get a lot of entertainment in her stories about how she's now a giraffe and has a baby giraffe and on and on.

Last night, Mr. W. was working very hard to brush S.'s teeth. S. resisted strenuously until she pulled out the ultimate threat card. I was getting L. settled down to sleep when I heard the following:

Mr. W.: S. it is time to brush your teeth.

S.: NO!

Mr. W.: S., I am going to brush your teeth now. Open.

S.: NO!

Mr. W.: S., it is time to get ready for bed. Open your mouth now.

S.: I'm a skunk!

Mr. W.: I need to brush your teeth!

S.: I'm a skunk and I'm going to spray you! See, I sprayed you and now you're all stinky.

It was really hard not to laugh so I wouldn't disturb L. Ah, well, at least she's not calling people names.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

It's Probably Over (and Probably for the Best)

L. seems to be following the same pattern S. did when she weaned. The past couple of nights, she resisted nursing just before bedtime. This morning she did not want to nurse, and then this evening she absolutely refused (screamed until I caved and gave her a bottle of soy milk).

I'm not ready for this part of my life to be over. Mr. W. and my mom have both been pro-weaning since the whole dairy allergy thing came up. In my head, I know that it is probably time to let go. My heart is just not ready for that uniquely special bonding ritual to be finished...forever.

L. is most likely our last child, and each of her milestones is bittersweet. I am happy she is growing and maturing. I am sad that each step takes us further and further away from our baby days.

If I am honest with myself, nursing is also a matter of ego. It is (was?) the one thing I can do for my child that no one else can or ever will be able to do for her. That's pretty heady stuff for a working mom who spends many days working and missing her children terribly.

So, if L. refuses to nurse tomorrow morning. That's it. The end. Finis. I almost hate to go to bed tonight because that brings me so much closer to judgment day.


04/06 note: She refused to nurse again this morning, so I guess it really is over. Off to look at baby pictures and mourn the end of something very special.

Is it Just Me?

So, I just received one of those new US $10 bills. It's got all the neato water mark, funky color-changing, etc. security features.

I can understand that the bill is supposed to look 'yellowed' as in old and yellowed as in the 230 year old Declaration of Independence. But, is it just me, or is the new bill exactly the same color as old dog-pee snow? Just wondering.


How Incredibly Thoughtful!

So, at dropoff this morning, L.'s regular teacher, Mrs. C., asked about Easter candy. They put together little baskets for each of the kiddoes in the class, and Mrs. C. wanted to make sure she got stuff that Lillie could have. I thought that was just incredibly sweet of her to think of this.

Of course, I don't plan to give L. any candy this year, but still, I am touched by Mrs. C.'s consideration.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I Shot the Orange, But I did not Shoot the Kiwi Fruit

So last night, Mr. W. and I finally had five minutes to perform our little Epi-Pen experiment.

First, I laid out pen, orange, box all neatly arranged on a blue surgical towel (thanks to my sister in law for keeping us stocked with those towels, they're fabulous).

I removed the epi-pen from its cylinder and popped off the little grey protective cap (the cap is crucial since it keeps the thing from firing off prematurely.

Then it was time to 'shoot the orange.' I carefully lined up the pen over the orange with my left hand while trying to snap a photo with my right hand. Note: This is a really good way to have an accident, and I highly recommend having a designated photographer when performing these kinds of experiments.

Note the damp spot on the towel to the right of the orange on the photo below. When I jabbed the pen at the orange, the needle popped out with a pretty strong pop, and the orange rolled a bit. Not a big deal since it was just an orange, but this would be pretty alarming if L were needing the meds that dripped out because I was clumsy. Also note the slight bend in the needle. I think this was also due to the orange roll. Oddly enough, I was kind of glad to see the bend. It showed that the needle was not going to break off very easily.

This next photo shows my attempt to put the pen back in the protective case. The needle poked a hole right through very easily. Mr. W. later bent the needle on something so that we could put the spent pen back in its case. We plan to take the spent pens to our doctor's office for proper disposal.

Below is a side-by-side cmparison between the spent epi-pen and the unused pen. Again, note the bend in the needle. We are taking the other pen to daycare, and the director is planning to do a demonstration during their next staff meeting.

Overall, I was surprised by how easily the needle 'popped' and administered the medication. I can also understand how people accidentally inject themselves. It does not seem to take much pressure to cause the needle to release and the medication to dispense. The epi-pen directions specify that you need to jab the pen firmly into the upper outer thigh, and I'm curious to try again and really watch how much pressure it takes to actually cause the pen to release. Next time, I'll be taking the pictures and let Mr. W. do the jabbing. I suspect the firm jab is to keep the needle's release from knocking the pen away from the patient, thus causing the medication to spill out like when my orange rolled.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Why I Hate Higglytown Heroes

An essay by an annoyed parent.

Playhouse Disney has a relatively new concoction out called ‘Higglytown Heroes.’ It’s all about these four kids and their (nanny, babysitter, chaperone?) squirrel. The kids (and squirrel) learn all about the community heroes all around them. Heroes include firefighters, police officers, playground monitors, waiters, garbage truck drivers, etc. It’s not a bad premise and works to teach kids to appreciate the many community workers that make our society run well. S. loves it, and I find it mostly tolerable with one giant exception.

The show’s big gimmick (besides a talking nanny, babysitter, chaperone? squirrel) is that the town, people and animals are all nesting dolls. They are constantly splitting in half with other characters, animals, objects popping in and out of their innards. This combined with the fact that their arms are constantly appearing and disappearing weirds me out a bit. However, I own a few sets of Russian nesting dolls that S. loves to play with and can look past that bit of weirdness.

The next bit of irritation goes to Disney’s inability to put together a children’s show that doesn’t involve regular bouts of bursting into song about whatever random activity happens to be going on. The most annoying song involves extreme repetition of ‘Raking up all the beautiful leaves, ‘ and I would give a great deal to be able to go back in time and NEVER HAVE HEARD THAT SONG EVER, EVER, EVER. Since the kids’ singing voices are significantly less nerve-grinding as Barney’s, I can usually get past the incessant singing.

I can even look past the kids always referring to Mr. Kip’s Dad or Mrs. Police Woman or Mr. Truck Driver or Miss Playground Monitor or Pizza Guy or Mr. Whatever-job-is-highlighted-in-today's-episode. I mean really, doesn’t anybody have a name on this show besides the four kids and the (nanny, babysitter, chaperone?) squirrel? The (nanny, babysitter, chaperone?) squirrel as the primary source of childcare is weird as well.

No, the big thing I can’t stand in this show is the biggest kid’s aunt and uncle. Eube lives with his aunt and uncle who raise parrots. They constantly finish each other’s sentences and speak with the most astonishingly atrociously horrid fake southern accents it has been my displeasure to hear (and I have heard a lot, hey Hollywood, can’t you hire the occasional REAL southerner once in awhile?). Any time Aunt Mellie and Uncle Lemmo come on, I want to do violence to my tv. It’s awful.

I’ve grown accustomed to non-southerners thinking that I’m a little ‘slow’ because I happen to speak a little slowly. When I was in high school, I learned that bigotry is NOT limited to issues of race and religion. One of my teachers was from the northern US and absolutely despised me and the other southerner in his class (a really sweet girl from Alabama). We bore the brunt of his prejudice and bullying, but it has left me perhaps a trifle sensitive to portrayals of southerners (like the way many New Englanders behaved following the 2004 election, which I won’t get into here).

All that to say, that I cannot abide it when nutty southern characters aren’t even given the dignity of a decent accent. Hey, Disney! find somebody with a real southern accent, please? Pretty please? Pretty, pretty, pretty please?