Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Outing

Okay... I know you're all dying to know what happened at the library. Sorry I took so long to get back here. There was work (not fun) and taking Alex to the pool (lots of fun) and then some more work (again, not fun). But! I'm back now and since I can hear you calling for the details of our library excursion I will not make you wait any longer.

We got to the library right as story time was starting. This means that I did not have a chance to locate any of the other moms from the group I was meeting. This made me a bit anxious. As I may have mentioned, I am not good with strangers. We sat and listened to three books that the library lady picked for us (a very interesting lady, with a face painting of Elmo and clothes that seemed to have been acquired at a bohemian flea market... not that I can judge; I run around in jeans and T-shirts all day, so when did I become the fashion police) (wow, was that the longest parenthetical ever?) There were two books about potty training (a little advanced for Alex, but he listened politely) and one about Elmo, who is evidently not the brightest bear in the woods trying to get back to Sesame Street. He lives there, right. So shouldn't he know his address? Maybe get a cab or something?

After the books most of the group broke up (There were about 25 moms and kids there). I gathered up our stuff (bottle and Gerber puffs) and then stood around awkwardly, trying to figure out how to approach the few women remaining. One of them finally took pity on me and introduced herself. After that the kids all played for a little while, climbing up and down the steps and trying to eat various things off the carpet.

Alex picks up dead bug using his close to perfection pincer grasp (damn you developmental milestones!)
Mommy: eeeewwwww! Give me that. icky icky
Alex: Wahhhh!
Alex then notices bright yellow tape on floor and all is forgiven.

After some stilted conversation (again with the not being good with strangers) and much admiring of everyone's little ones we headed out to Chik-fil-A. For those of you not in the south, this is a fast food place that serves... wait for it... chicken. Nothing but chicken in it's various boneless forms. Chicken sandwiches, chicken wraps, chicken soup, chicken nuggets. I'm surprised the desserts aren't made of chicken. We had a filling lunch, made a little less awkward by the need for me to supervise Alex's meal and then everyone headed to the play area. Alex was a little young for this, so it mostly consisted of me keeping him from eating everyone's shoes while making more small talk.

All in all it was not as bad as I expected. But, I don't think that I'll be going back. Maybe to story time, but probably not to lunch again. I'm just so bad with new people and to be honest, these women were a little too strongly about the religion for me. I mean, that's great if it works for them, but I just haven't figured out what its all about and having it that strongly in my face was a little off-putting.

So to sum up, we were not banned from the library, Alex did not throw a tantrum about his socks and the ladies were nice, just not for me.

Maybe next time I'll just take him to the mall for some retail therapy quality time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

An Outing!

Alex and I are going to the library tomorrow (well, later today). This will be his first "social" outing and I'm nervous about how its going to go. He's been out in public, of course, but tomorrow is a trip to attend story time and lunch with a mom's group that I found in our area. I've never met any of these women and my anxiety is rearing it's ugly head.

Its very hard for me to be social and meet new people. I always worry that they won't like me (I know, how middle school could I get?) and that I'll do or say something stupid or offensive. Not that I'm naturally stupid or that I normally offend people, but to say that I have butterflies in my stomach at the thought of introducing myself to a bunch of strangers is an understatement. It feels more like a herd of elephants churning up everything.

My fears for my own social success are now compounded by worries over Alex. What if they don't like him? What if he steals some other kid's toy and won't give it back. What if he pitches and fit and all the other mothers give me "that look". You know the one... it says "Thank God that's not my kid." I know that Alex is sweet and smart and adorable. He makes me smile and laugh and everyday I am amazed at the things that he can do and how fast he's growing. But...

What if he cries in the library... I mean, seriously, in the library! That's the quiet place, right? At least that's what was drilled into me when I was a child. Will all the other patrons hate me? My overactive imagination is now picturing us being banned for life due to the fact that I made Alex wear socks (which he hates) and that he got angry and ruined the story for all the other happy, quiet children. Help! This is crazy talk!

Okay... deep breaths.

I'm gonna go have a glass of wine and get a grip. The trip will not be a disaster. Alex will not hate me for forcing him to wear socks and the other mothers will like us.


Thursday, May 14, 2009


Alex is into so many things these days. He crawls like a pro and its scary how fast he can get into things that we would rather he not. Like the bathroom trash or the power cord to my laptop (which is evidently extremely tasty, as he whines with disappointment whenever I pull him away from it). He has some favorites that aren't so dangerous, and here they are, in no particular order.
  • Lil' Crunchies Zesty Tomato flavor - yes the box says for toddlers, but they're exactly the same as the ones for younger babies, just a much better flavor. He would gladly eat nothing but these all day if I let him.
  • Moose A. Moose from Noggin - this is the little guy that shows up in between programs. He plays games and sings songs. Every time he shows up on the screen Alex squeals with laughter and grins. When he goes away Alex loses interest in the TV again. He is definitely getting a Moose doll for his birthday.
  • Anything that Mommy wants to throw away that makes an interesting sound. He currently has an empty water bottle and an empty formula can (with the scoop inside) in his play yard. He squishes the bottle to make a crunching noise and bangs the can on the hardwood floor, thus producing a two-tone effect as the metal rim of the can pings and the scoop inside bangs around. (and also making little bitty dents in the floor, don't tell our landlord.
  • Yellow milk jugs with red caps. The milk that we normally buy looks like this. Whenever he spots one he wants it more than anything else in sight. He spent about 30 minutes on Mother's Day gnawing on the cap of an empty jug and banging it on the table.
  • Spinach and Carrots baby food. We're working on getting him to eat more "big boy" food, but he does not want to give this one up. He once went through 2 jars in a sitting!
  • Music - he falls asleep to it, it calms him when he's upset, it stops a tantrum in it's tracks. I hope that he never outgrows this love.
  • Windows - We have floor to ceiling windows in our living room. Alex loves to stand with his face pressed up against the window and just stare at everything outside. Also, the curtains are fun to play with.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I am not a religious person. I never have been. Even in high school, when I went to church 3 times a week I was really just playing at it. I had friends who went, so I went along for the ride.

Since my son was born I have been questioning, more and more, what all this stuff called life is about. Is there a reason for us being here? Is there someone up there watching out for us and guiding us?

Christians say that God has a plan for everyone and that He never gives you more than you can handle. There are times when these thoughts seem comforting. When it feels cozy and safe to know that all the pain that I experience is part of something larger. These feelings have intensified and deepened since Alex was born.

Alex was born 7 weeks early, on June 29, 2008. I have diabetes and although my blood sugar was well controlled it seems that it still caused problems. My placenta was failing and Alex wasn't getting the blood supply that he needed. My amniotic fluid was disappearing. The doctor doesn't know why, but that combined with the placental insufficiency caused Alex to stop growing at about 29 weeks gestation. I was on every other week visits because of my diabetes and as soon as the problem was discovered (about 30 1/2 weeks) I was put on bedrest at home. I rested for 4 days and my amniotic fluid came back up, the blood flow seemed stable. So, I was allowed to return to work on light duty. No lifting, no standing, no walking except to go to the bathroom. If it couldn't be done at a desk, I wasn't allowed to do it. After 3 days of light duty I returned to the doctor. My amniotic fluid was almost gone. My placenta had further deteriorated. The blood from the umbilical cord was no longer providing sufficient blood flow to Alex's organs. His body was shunting blood to his brain, a last ditch effort that the body makes to protect the most important organ. I was immediately admitted to the hospital.

Once in the maternity ward, more than 7 weeks before my son was supposed to arrive, I was hooked up to an IV and almost immediately given a steroid shot for Alex's lungs. The IV was for hydration, to try and restore my amniotic fluid. I was confined to bed for most of the day, with continuous monitoring of Alex's heartbeat and my own heartbeat and respiration. I was allowed to get up for 15 minutes a day, including bathroom breaks. I spent three nights in the hospital, receiving IV fluids and being monitored. My doctor was not optimistic about my chances of carrying to term at this point, but he wanted to keep me pregnant for as long as possible.

On my second day I received a second steroid shot (its a 2 shot series) and several visitors: my OB, the hospital's neonatologist and the hospital chaplain. The hospital that I was in is a Catholic hospital. They have nuns and offer mass. A chaplain visits all the rooms, and is available for counseling at almost any time of the day. I was uncomfortable with the conversation at the time, and relieved when a phone call interrupted it.

Looking back I wish that I had taken the chaplain up on her offer of support and assistance. Since Alex's birth (on the 4th day of my hospital stay, 33 weeks gestation exactly) I have marveled so many times at the miracle that he is. All of the things that the neonatologist and the NICU staff braced us for never came to pass. He wasn't on a ventilator (he never even needed supplemental oxygen). He started feeds through his NG tube as soon as I was able to pump for him (3 ml at his first feed, the little pig). He didn't have any of the typical preemie problems. No brain bleeds, no ROP (a condition of the eye that often affect preemies), no heart problems, no digestive issues, no breathing issues except for one episode when he was trying to breastfeed, a very stressful time for both of us due to the fact that his mouth was smaller than my nipple. He would open as wide as he could, but it just wouldn't fit.

Looking back on that time, and all the months in between make me question my place in this world. Makes me wonder if there is someone up there that has something in mind for my family. Would the universe have given me such a perfect child if there wasn't some purpose to it?

Friday, May 1, 2009


Is it sad that I'm addicted to television? Jym and I watch so many shows that we don't actually have enough space on our DVR for all of them. At the beginning of the fall season we have to prioritize what we really want to watch and then weed out any of the shows that we think will be canceled. Sadly, we are not very good at this. For example, we were convinced that Lost was a stupid idea and that it would never make it through the first season. HA! That'll teach us!

So, there is a point to this random thought. One of the best shows of all time is about to be canceled! The show is funny, well written, captivating in fact, and it provides me with a relaxing hour every week after Alex has gone to bed.

You're intrigued, aren't you? You want to know about this ideal of television dramedy. I can practically see you itching to Google it so you too can join the cult fan club. “Tell us,” you cry, “what is this wonderful program called?” The show in question is Chuck. "How could NBC possibly cancel such a paragon of perfection," you gasp with horror. (Too much drama? Let me know if I’m pushing it.)

I don't know if anyone is actually reading any of these posts, but if you are then we have to do something! Call, write, send a pigeon (or whatever method of communication is your personal favorite). Let NBC know that we love this show. Let them know that we can't live without this show! Let them know that the devastation to our lives will be insurmountable! (Did I go too far there?)

Thank you. I will now return to my addiction. Castle is playing on the DVR.