Blood tells all…

Okay, so in this case, blood tells nothing. Monkey’s bloodwork has come back just fine!! Nothing scary, that can be discovered in a blood scan, is going on with my baby. Of course, she is still tired and has an occasional fever, but for now my mommy alarm is satisfied enough to give her another relaxed week at home with plenty of healthy food and sleep to see if the problem corrects itself.

If not, we will be back in the doc’s office, smiling inanely and saying, something is still not right, fix it please.

I am relieved.

Blessed be to all of you, enjoy your remaining holiday moments.

M

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Singing mermaids…

Merry Christmas!!

Well, Santa came through folks! After me spending hours searching for the one thing Monkey had asked for, a singing Ariel Barbie, I got her an Ariel Barbie she could sing to, and hoped she would be happy with the substitution.

And she was!! Especially since her Uncle Jack and Aunt Letitia came through with the singing Ariel Barbie I had been unable to get! So Monkey got two Ariel dolls, and is thrilled with both.

She also got a lovely Barbie Mermaid from Aunt Sandi and Uncle Gary, a super fort structure currently shaped into a boat, racing cones, a bat and baseball, tennis set, two gorgeous dresses, etc.

She is a happy kid.

She, in her new pink and black poofy gown from Nama and Da, is currently braving the waves in her new ship with her mermaid friends.

Thank you all for helping make it possible!!

We love you!!

Happy holidays to all!!

Nothing new to report on the Monkey front, still waiting for results. She seemed a little better yesterday, but is still quite tired. Thank you all for your love, we will be thinking of you over christmas!!

M

A week between posts, an ear infection, and scary fatigue…

Well it’s been a week between posts because I have been struck down with an ear infection and have been attempting to listen to and empower my inner voice.

Monkey has been tired for over two weeks. Not just tired, but sleeping after school when left to her own devices, going to bed early at night, and then looking as though she hasn’t slept in a week. She is manic when she is awake, and starts getting dark circles under her eyes and yawning before 3:00. She has complained to her teacher about tummy aches and generally not feeling well for days on end. She has become a regular at the nurse’s office, but is always sent back to class, because no one can find anything wrong with her.

I have been trying to let her rest, have been making sure she eats well, and have been experiencing a growing sense of disquiet for the past two weeks. Yesterday I finally reached the point when I couldn’t chalk it up to stress or lack of sleep. I finally took her to the doctor. He was nice, he listened. He didn’t put on the patient face most doctor’s get when a mom walks into their office and says “something isn’t right with my child.” He heard me, and examined her, and told me to treat her with cold medicine and come back after Christmas if she wasn’t better for blood work. It sounded very sensible and logical. It made perfect sense in the light of day. But last night, when I checked on her, and saw her pale little face, dark circles present even in sleep, it was the dumbest plan in the world.

I called again today. I walked into his office and begged him not to make me wait until Christmas was over to test her blood. I told him I was willing to be the mom who over-reacted, the mom who was wrong, as long as I wasn’t the mom who spent every night for the next week wondering if something was really, really wrong. The mom who spent Christmas trying to quiet the voice that trots out all the scary reasons for her fatigue, instead of the likely ones.

Let’s face it, when the voice in your head starts sounding alarm bells, it’s not because she might be anemic or have mono, it’s because a tiny little voice reminds you that fatigue can be an indication of cancer, lukemia, and other life ending dieseases that you do not want to spend the holiday season rationalizing away.

I spent last night crying because something was wrong with my baby. Something was out of place. Something wasn’t right. She was not okay. I have no idea what it is. It could be as simple as the flu, but it wasn’t the flu that had me peeking in on her over and over again. It was fear.

Luckily, the doctor treated me for it. He took her blood today, and promised me to check her for everything scary. I was so grateful, I almost cried.

Liar Liar…

Lying rears its ugly head…

Okay, so I am a little psycho about lying and secrets. After working with children who were sexually abused, it is easy to worry about those magic phrases of horror “don’t tell anyone” and “It’ll be our little secret.” I have worked very hard with Monkey trying to get her to understand that we don’t keep secrets from mommy and daddy, and we don’t lie. (I understand that she will get to a point in her development when she will need to do both those things, but by then she will be old enough to know that she needs to tell me if anything abusive is going on.)

Which is why my mind is in complete panic mode tonight.

My story begins several weeks ago when Devon and I were driving back from Lowe’s with Monkey. We were laughing about something and she said “If you two don’t stop laughing, I’m gonna kick your ass.” I would love to say I was shocked but it was too funny for me to anything but snicker uncontrollably. When Devon and I had regained control, I asked Monkey where she had heard it. She got really quiet and said “I don’t want to tell you.”

hmmm….

That phrase began the worst night we had had in a long while. It took four hours, a grounding, loss of tv for a week, and loss of computer for a week for her to tell me where she had heard it. So my little plan of teaching my daughter not to keep secrets from me or lie to me had seemingly backfired. We had another long talk about how important it is for her to tell me the truth. We talked about trust and safety. We held firm to the consequences and continue to express the importance of truth and openess in our family.

So tonight she calmly asks me if she can say “what the fuck?”. I answered no of course and then asked where she had heard it. Sigh.

“I made it up.”

She was in her room in minutes with the directions that she would not leave her room until she told me where she heard it and had stopped lying to me. She spent twenty minutes screaming “I made it up mommy, I promise” before I walked in to her room and told her to look me in the eye and tell me the truth. She calmed down, looked me in the eye, and said “I made it up mommy, I promise.”

(At this point, I had a slight problem. The first thing she asked me after I asked her where she heard it was “Are you going to call their mommy and daddy and tell them I told?” I told her I didn’t know if I was going to call them but she still needed to tell me who said it. That’s when she claimed to have made it up.)

Why would she ask if I was going to tell someone’s parents if she made it up? I ask her after being bold faced lied to.

She says “I would really like an answer to that question.”

I tell her “I am sure you would, but you can’t keep secrets, even if I am going to call their mommy and daddy and tell them, so please stop lying to me.”

So she screams “I am not lying to you, I made it up!!”

At this point I want to bang my head against a wall until I can no longer feel pain. Instead, I tell her “fine, I will not call their parents, who said it.”

She responds “someone at school” and later gives me a name.

Now the problem is, she has been lying to me over and over and over again for the past half hour, she has begged me to believe the lie, has promised me she is telling the truth, has acted offended that I would doubt her veracity, has looked me in the eye and lied to me. I tell her, you are still grounded in your room, because you lied to me. Why did you lie?

“I wanted to be a good friend.”

SO we had a long talk about how lying to mommy and keeping secrets does not make you a good friend, and friends who ask you to keep secrets are not good friends. We talked again about safety and truthfulness and trust.

What in the world am I going to do if she keeps flat out refusing to tell me when other people have done something wrong? How could I have worked this hard to insure her safety, only to have completely screwed it up?

Help!!

Washing cats…

Washing cats is wholesome family fun!!

A couple of weeks ago, almost a month now I suppose, we rescued a small cat from the swamp by Monkey’s school. She has adjusted to her life here rather well, she snuggles with us, visits downstairs even when the dogs are around, and is good at reminding us of our responsibilities. We have been waiting for her to adjust before we gave her a bath. Well today was the day!!!

Bathing cats is a lot like trying to juggle Slinky’s. They generally dislike being wet, and will fight fiercely to avoid it. However, there are certain holds I have developed over the years that will allow me to keep them from running away covered in pet shampoo, and will also prevent them from scratching the hell out me. (The most successful one involves placing a hand on each side of the cat, thumbs over the shoulder blades, first two fingers under chest, last two under the belly.)

I held poor trusting Hazel in the sink while Lee ran the sprayer over her. She never uttered a sound. She stretched into every permutation possible in her attempts to get out of my grasp, she beseeched us with wide pleading eyes, but she did not complain. We washed all the remaining loose fur from her little body and wrapped her in a towel. The she and I had a discussion about the purpose of the towel. I tried to show her that it was a tool intended to assist her in drying off, but she was only interested in fleeing the foreign device. She is currently upstairs, mostly damp, attending to her injured vanity.

We usually do kitty baths a couple times a year, with a special soap that assists in damping down the allergens they produce. Since many of our friends have cat allergies, and Monkey has asthma, this seems a good way to keep all our furry friends, and our human ones.

Soon, it will be the kitten’s turn. But not today. One cat bath at a time! Hazel has already forgiven us, she is purring away and using her persuasive powers to try to get me to bring her more wet catfood.

Hazel’s damp head seeking scratches:

Hazel sporting her squeaky clean coat

New traditions that will not die…

I was feeling pretty desperate to have some holiday cheer this year. I was missing the myriad of family traditions I have enjoyed throughout my life. Mom and I shopping for inexpensive gift bags and wrapping paper in all the little crappy discount stores we can find. Standing outside in the cold with Dad as he hangs the outdoor lights. Helping Mom or Dad lug the tree up from the basement amid much grunting and occasional profanity. Untangling boxes of lights, searching for ornaments, etc. I was anxious to start this year out with new traditions, ones that would somehow replace the old ones.

Here’s the tricky thing about traditions, you should never, never, try and create them. Whenever you do, they fall apart. For two weeks we have been planning on taking Monkey to a lovely tree place and getting our tree. I imagined a lovely cold winter’s day with the three of us sipping hot apple cider and strolling through row after row of trees until we found the perfect one. It would be tall, even, and surrounded by a halo of sunlight. Angels would sing as the tree emerged from the others surrounding it. Obviously, my expectations were a little high.

This morning we began our new tradition with breakfast at a nice new diner we found by my office. It was a pleasant meal, with yummy food and good conversation, but like most adult oriented events, Monkey got a little squirrelly in the end. We stopped by the neighboring dollar store, in an attempt to share in Mom’s and my christmas tradition, and found amazing deals on gift bags (sorry Mom, these blow to hell any deals we have ever found before!). However, the store held more allure than it should have and sucked us in for longer than we expected. Monkey had a bad case of the “gimmes” and the gift bag choosing was punctuated by many “oh my god you have to see this!” and “can I have this” comments. Even Lee was sucked in to the power of a store labeled “Everything 99 cents or less” and picked out some storage stuff for the basement and some Vonage Orange dishtowels. (It was the air Mom, you know what that canned air can do to a person!)

Finally, we were on our way to the tree event!! Of course, we had to stop at Lowe’s because my co-worker had suggested we get our tree there, and while there we had to buy stuff to repair the fence out back. Sigh.

Finally, we really were on our way to picking out our tree. We went to this little place called Dearborn Farms. They had rows of trees, live trees, poinsettia’s, and a grocery store. Lee commented that we were trying to buy our tree at Marczyk’s, a Denver store known for it’s good food, and exorbitant prices. Monkey wanted every single tree we saw. Here she is with one of the smallest she wanted to get…

We were trying to decide between a live tree, that might end up dead after we inadvertently neglected it for a while, or an already dead tree. This was the beginning of the end for our new family tradition. Before I knew it we were standing in the freezing cold, Monkey was madly racing around with a balloon, Lee and I were arguing over whether or not we should get a tree, and I was beginning to feel the beautiful dream of our new tradition slipping away. Hell, it was speeding away in a tacky gas-guzzling Hummer. The only scrap of the dream left was the cup of hot apple cider clutched tightly in my freezing wind-chapped hand.

We gave up on the tree, we came home, and I cried about all the christmas traditions I am missing this year.

Then I lugged down into the basement and unearthed last year’s fake tree. There was some cursing. I found the ornaments. Lee put up a fence. Then Lee dragged the tree out of the basement.I baked fresh cinnamon rolls and proceeded to drop their freshly frosted stickiness all over the kitchen floor. I made cinnamon toast and apple cider tea and we hooked up the lights.

We hung ornaments and giggled about the slightly off center nature of our tree. Monkey started taking pictures when she wearied of hanging ornaments.


We took some of Monkey’s tiny ornaments and attached bows to them. We used the rest of the bows to make the tree look a little old fashioned. We had a great time decorating our little, crooked, plastic tree. When we were finished with all the ornaments, it was time for Monkey to place the star of the top of the tree. Of course, the star is made of heavy copper metal, and weighs a ton, and the top is very weak, so we had to engineer the top in such a way that it could hold the star. After a little while, we managed to get it to stay.

Finally we had a lovely tree, and a happy family tradition complete with cursing, inconvenience, laughter and love. My lesson, don’t try and replace old family traditions with manufactured ones. If you’re lucky, you can stumble across new traditions, but the best ones aren’t created, they just naturally occur.

Love to all my old traditions! I miss you!