Sunday, January 30, 2011

The hospital...

So, I haven't blogged in awhile because Sarah ended up in the hospital for a fever, yet again, and I was away from home for about a week. We have been home for a week, but it always takes a week to get Sarah back into her normal routine. I have heard tell from the nurses that this is the case with many parents who call the hospital their "home away from home" as we do. Bottom line, the hospital is sort of a vacuum, an alternate universe where time does not exist. Unless she has a roommate, Sarah can be up at 3 am, eating, and it's perfectly okay because she's not disturbing anyone but me. The nurses find it endearing, because they slept all day. I even find it endearing, because I have learned that when in the hospital, it is best to go back into "newborn mode"...sleep while she sleeps, or forever hold your peace...Then we get home, and it's not so cute when she wants to eat at 3 am, or when she stays awake until midnight when i have to get up at 5 am...

Not that we were getting that much sleep in the hospital. Because of her fevers, Sarah gets her vitals checked every two hours. If she has a fever, she gets Tylenol every four hours. Now, Sarah is so used to this that she can sleep right through it, blood pressure, temperature, even the meds. But me, they have to inform me of everything that's going on, which I appreciate, but it's not doing much for me by way of sleep. Now, most nurses are stealthy as ninjas, come in, do what they have to do, silently and in the dark, and leave without you ever knowing they were there. Some will even change the baby's diaper. This is the best kind of nurse, the kind I thank God for every night in my prayers. Then, Lord bless them, there are the kind of nurses that seem to crash into everything, make as much noise as possible, and wake me up needlessly to tell me unnecessary things. "Mrs. Gomez, I left her medication right there so you can give it to her when she wakes up." Um...yeah...if she doesn't need to take it NOW, why the @#$% are you waking me up? I will wake up LATER, make her take it LATER, and if I have any questions I will call you! Jeez...I don't know whose brilliant idea it was to make the staff play Skip to my Lou, (for some reason, they make the nurses rotate every so often now, so nurses from other floors and departments work in Oncology now) but it was a HORRIBLE idea! These are usually the nurses who wake me up, give me useless information, and enforce stupid rules from other floors onto me.

So, a week of this, and Sarah is happy as a clam because they treat her like a princess and she sleeps whenever she wants, and Momma is ready to kill everyone because I'm missing a week's worth of shuteye. Then, God smiles down on me, and we get to come home! Yay! But Sarah is not so happy because she knows that as soon as we get home, things go back to normal, and that is not good.

So here we are, a week after being home, and only tonight did I get Sarah to go to bed on time and stay in bed. This whole ordeal with getting her to sleep would be HILARIOUS if it wasn't happening to me. It goes a little something like this lately:

8:00 pm-I start warning Sarah that it's almost time for her bath, so it's last call for snacks and playing. She throws a fit, screams "NO!!!!" then throws a Barbie or two across the room, and today, as an added bonus, she threw a chair. Lovely. I make her go to her mad corner, she goes, comes back two seconds later all smiles.

8:15-I tell Sarah it is now time to pick up her toys and get ready for her bath. Again, she screams "NO!!!" throws less toys than before, but still throws at least one, then bursts into tears and cries, "I don't WANT to take a bath!" I ignore her, she gets the hint and begins to pick up her toys, then announces proudly, "I did it, Momma!"

8:20ish-Meds, then we make our way to our room, where she starts playing with the toys in there, while I pull some pajama choices out of the drawer. I ask her which, she ignores me because she is playing with her toys. I give up after asking her three times to come and choose, and pick a pair myself. Sarah comes along, and says, "No, Momma, not that one!" Grrr...

8:25ish-Sarah picks out three or four books she wants me to read, NOW, when she knows story time is after bath and before bed, and I have already told her five times that she gets only one book before bed. She relents without a fight, (thank GOD!) and chooses one book. She picks a towel, makes me put it on my head, and we march in a line toward the bathroom.

8:30-I give Sarah her bath, which takes five minutes for all practical purposes, but thirty minutes while she plays with Creepella and the other mermaids.

9:00 pm-I pull Sarah out of the bath, put her pajamas on, brush her teeth, all the while trying to move fast enough to match the commands she is barking at me like this is Baby Boot Camp. "Put cream on my belly! I need socks! Where's my chupie?!"

9:05-Storytime...I read one book, preferably a short one, and Sarah is content. I finish, announce bedtime, and she insists on another. Not wanting to curb her enthusiasm for literature, I relent and read at least one more book, then end up reading the whole stack she picked out before her bath. Sigh.

9:15 (if I'm lucky)-Sarah finally climbs into bed, I cover her up, give her a hug and a kiss, and make sure she has everything she needs.

9:16 "I have to go potty."

9:17 (in the bathroom still) "i'm not done yet!" (She has been sitting there doing nothing, wants to chat, read her books, all of which I have denied, then get fed up and try to pull her off the potty.)

9:18-Sarah gives up, we wash up, replace the pull-up she has already peed in (regression in potty training is another lovely side-effect of our hospital stays), and I settle her back in bed.

9:20 "I want chocolate milk."
9:21-After a short argument, I make my way to the kitchen for the @#$% chocolate milk...
9:22-Sarah is quietly drinking her chocolate milk
9:24-"My legs hurt. I need Vick's."
9:30-"My tummy hurts."
9:31-"I have to go potty"
9:40-clean up and back to bed after another fruitless potty attempt.
I could go on, but imagine another THREE HOURS OF THIS, and finally, she drifts off to sleep around midnight. Keep in mind, if I deny her anything she has asked for, she throws a screaming fit, which gets louder the longer I ignore it, but ignoring it seems to be the only way to get it to stop. Being forceful only seems to escalate it. So, needless to say that by midnight, I am EXHAUSTED!!! I think she's worn herself out, too, because tonight she went down without a fight and has stayed asleep the entire time, and it is now 11:30. Success!!! Only took me a week...but now I can't sleep! Hence, the lengthy blog...oh, well...did I mention that she is not only asleep, but in her own bed? I suppose I should be thankful for the little things...and get to bed before she decides to wake up! :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Roid Rage...

Okay, so I know I haven't been holding up my end with the blog this week, partly because I had writer's block, and partly because Miss Bear-a was on steroids this week, which is not fun, at least to those of us in the fray. To an innocent bystander, someone outside looking in, this is probably freakin' hilarious! The steroids are a part of her treatment, and necessary so that she'll grow properly, but it seems unfair on so many levels that once a month I have a little tiny Hulk on my hands...

The best and worst part are the cravings. The steroids make her RAVENOUS, and give her the strangest cravings. Last month, it was spaghetti. The month before that, red pepper hummus and Fritos. Before that, my garlic mashed potatoes. This month, Mac and Cheese from El Pollo Loco. I tried to make her "real" mac and cheese using my handy-dandy Betty Crocker Cookbook from the 70's, and apparently, it "did not taste very good" (although Daddy liked it just fine, so I don't think it was me). So, I spent about $60 buying sides of mac and cheese from the drive through, going about every other day, because, call me crazy, I thought buying FOUR SIDES AT A TIME would last her awhile! Yeah, try two days, at best. This is the way it works. You buy her "flavor of the month", and lots of it. You give it to her three meals a day, because she refuses to eat anything else. By the end of the day, she has a big round belly and she is waddling all over the house and yelling at everyone like a little tiny pregnant person. To an innocent bystander, hilarious! To us, not so much...

Then there are the moodswings. Lovely, lovely moodswings. One minute, she is kissing my face as hard as she can, telling me I am the best mom ever. EVER. The next minute, she is throwing a Bible at my head, because she was tired of holding it.(I am NOT kidding. I half expected her to yell, "I am FILLED with Christ's love!!!" :))

Now here we are, at the end of the week, she is at least five pounds heavier, and she is having trouble walking and breathing. Not good, but the doctors all assure me that it's normal, that it will go away in a few days once the steroids clear her system and she goes back to her normal eating habits. The weight will come off, they assure me. Her face will lose the swollen, puffy look. My little girl will come back. Until next month, when the steroids come around again...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Miss Boots, so grown up...

My baby girl is growing up. This year, I resolved a lot of things for myself, but I also silently resolved some things for Sarah now that she is three: This year, she will give up the "chupie". This year, she will learn to sleep in her own bed, for the entire night. This year, I will train her to go to sleep without being rocked. She will learn to pick up her toys without a tantrum or a fight, or one of us having to go to the "mad corner" (the self-designated time out spot where Sarah goes to pout whenever something doesn't go her way. I think I have the only kid, ever, who puts herself on "time out"). A lot to ask of a three year old, I know, but most of it I believe is not unattainable, and most of it is long overdue.

Like the "chupie". Ah, the "chupie". It doesn't seem all that long ago, on the day that she was born, that I was the one that put the @#$% thing in her mouth in the first place, to quiet her, to get her to sleep just a little longer, and let's face it, in a newborn, chupies are just plain adorable. Not so much in a three year old who just holds it in her mouth all day, like that lady you see with the cigarette that forever dangles off the end of her lip, and she never smokes it. It's just there. Sarah has learned to talk around it, which is both impressive and a concern because a lisping three year old? Adorable. A lisping seven year old? Still adorable...a lisping twelve year old? Not so much...

The same is true for the co-sleeping. All my fault, and something Mike and I both gave in to just to get a little shut eye, which was cute and snuggly with a newborn, not so much when she's three and tall and used to sleeping like the letter H. Love her little feet, but they're not quite as adorable digging into the small of my back at 3 am. So, yeah, Big Girl Bed.

How is my little girl coping? I'd have to say, surprisingly well. The first night, she screamed her head off, and refused to go to bed because I refused to rock her, and my mother thought we were murdering her. The second night, she sat in the bed but rested her head on my shoulder until she started to doze. Tonight, she did the same, and now she is sleeping like, well, a baby! It may not last, but eventually, she will catch on. If it means I get to hold my baby a little while longer before she's gone, one more hug, one more kiss, one more, "I love you , Mom. Happy New Year (she has trouble getting over holidays)." Well, who can argue with that? 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

St. Jude...

I was channel surfing in a rare quiet moment this evening, and I happened upon an infomercial for St. Jude's Childrens Hospitals. I knew what it would be about. I knew I would probably cry. Why I feel the need to watch things like that whenever I happen across them, I don't know. Maybe I find it cathartic, like I have an excuse to cry. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment. Either way, I'm watching this, getting invested in these kids' stories, some Sarah's age, some younger, some older, and in case after case, these kids don't make it. This one little boy's family is having his fifth birthday party without him, with a cake and everything, and then they release balloons for him. This is where I lose it. I feel this heavy weight pressing on my chest, the tears that have been dancing on the brink of my tear ducts spill over, and I feel a panic attack coming on. Why? This isn't my kid. The only thing I know about this kid is what was squished into a minute and a half on the infomercial. This isn't my kid. But it could be. It very easily could be.

Rest assured, I did not have a panic attack (I was able to stop it before it fully started) but for a split second, I felt myself falling. I literally felt like I was sinking, or falling off a cliff, or riding a roller coaster. I felt like I might scream, or explode, or throw up, all at the same time. I only felt that way for a second or two before I stopped myself, but then I found myself thinking, "I was standing at the edge of the abyss, that black hole that is what it feels like to lose your child." I don't know if I would be able to handle that feeling for real, if I can't handle the thought of it now that I still have her, and her prognosis is good. Lets hope I never have to find out. 

Book Choices...

So, I got away for a bit the other day, cashing in one of the coupons for free babysitting my mom gave me for Christmas, and decided to hit Borders on the way home, since I couldn't find anything suitable online. Well, the pickings were slim, being after Christmas and all, but they had a well-stocked Bargain Bin. So, long story short, I bought two books I've never heard of, but that sounded interesting, and a V.C. Andrews called Daughter Of Darkness, which fits into the cheesy vampire novel and cheesy romance category, and is yet surprisingly neither. The approach is interesting. It is about a male vampire who adopts little girls in their infancy and raises them, with the help of a strict housekeeper, who is alluded to be a witch of some sort, and then the elder sister trains the younger one after her to lure men back to the house for the father to prey upon. Lorelei, the main character, (LOVE that name, but I don't know if I could get away with that name...Lorelei Gomez? Pretty heavy for a little girl...) seems to be doing great, until she falls in love with the first guy she's supposed to be luring in. Pretty interesting, and a nice escape. I am halfway through.

The other two books I found are If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, about a girl who dies and has to choose between moving on in the afterlife or staying behind to look after her loved ones, and Wit's End, by Karen Joy Fowler, the author of The Jane Austen Book Club, about a woman who visits the home of her writer godmother and discovers that one of her godmother's characters, a murderer, is named after her father. Is it fact or fiction?

So, yeah, those are my choices. I think they are good ones, and it did me good to be digging through the bargain bin, reading blurbs on the back covers, and discovering some fabulous reads. I will let you know soon if it was worth the hour I spent!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Online book shopping in 2011...

It all began with a gift card. Mya was given a gift card as an afterthought by her aunt, who hadn't had a chance to use it. "You can use this, right?" her aunt said to her, and Mya being Mya, she shook her head no with her classic deer in the headlights look as if she were being handed a gift card for Victoria's Secret instead of Borders. I probably should have worried more that my kid has no use for a Borders gift card, but I was more than happy when she decided to hand it over to me, and I would rather use it myself than force her to use it on a book she'll never read just so I can feel like I'm a good parent.

So in a quiet moment, being unable to sleep thanks to Ms. Boots' new erratic sleep schedule, I decided to do a little online book shopping, since I am out of books and am rereading the Twilight saga for the twelfth time. I read them every Christmas now, they have become my Wuthering Heights. While I love re-reading them, I would much rather be spending what precious little reading time I do have digesting new information, so I decided to poke around the Borders website.

Yeah. Here is what was available in New Releases (since it has been almost two years since I have darkened the door of a bookstore, I have no idea what is good to read these days): cookbooks, a vast array of Stephenie Meyer knockoffs trying to ride the coattails of the Twilight phenomenon, cheesy romance novels, and self-help books (for losing weight, gaining love, and seducing vampires...okay I made that last one up, but I'm not far off...if you don't believe me, have a look yourself!)

This is what people are writing now. This is what people are writing now because this is what people are reading now. This is what is important in 2011. Money, sex, food, and the latest craze. It makes kind of sad and nauseous all at the same time that if I want to read some good fiction, I have to turn to what someone wrote a hundred years ago. Now I'm all for romance novels, the novel I am currently writing would probably fall into that category, but I would like to think that I am giving it some substance. I want a book that I can curl up with and fall into, and I found none of that. After 9 pages of browsing, I finally gave up and decided that if I want to find a book worth reading, I need to dig deeper. I need to actually go to the bookstore and commune with the books to find one (or a few) that speak to me. Maybe I can get away with it if I take Sarah early enough...I am now on a mission, I shall let you know what I find!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The year so far...

Okay, so far, two days into the year, I have already broken every resolution I have made. I realized that a big part of this is not only that I have to start holding myself accountable, but that I have to stop making excuses and stop allowing other people to influence me. Somewhere along the line, I became complacent just to avoid an argument, and I am not sure when that happened, and while I do a lot less arguing, and I seem to be happier, I have lost a big part of myself along the way.

By now, I am sure you are wondering what I'm talking about: I shall explain, using my day as an example. This morning, after no sleep because Miss Boots decided to stay awake all night,  I got up and got ready to take Sarah to her physical therapy appointment. Today was supposed to be day one of the diet, when my husband comes home with a bag full of McDonald's. Problem #1: My husband is not always supportive, most of the time not because he doesn't want to be, but because he truly does not understand what he does. Problem #2: I have become complacent in order to avoid a fight. I am tired. Physically, mentally and emotionally drained, and I just have no fight left in me. Eff it has become my mantra. So, rather than hurt my husband's feelings by making him feel bad when he has tried to do something spontaneous, and save me the trouble of feeding the baby before we have to go, I eat the burger and fries. This is not enough. He continues to try to foist the other cheeseburger on me (this time, I refuse.) I accuse him of trying to sabotage me on purpose, and he laughs. So, I have already broken my resolution to eat  better, but I have every intention of doing better tomorrow, now that I have figured out my problem (s).

Then, I come home, and I have about three different ideas for this blog running around in my head, and I am excited. Really excited. That's the thing. I am always thinking about the writing, it's finding the time to do the actual writing that's the problem. My husband and my mother have decided that I am only "allowed" to write the blog after the baby goes to bed When my dear friend, Kathie, the other half of the New Year's Resolution Committee, sent me a gently prodding text message asking if I had blogged today (probably knowing full well that I had not), and I informed her of this, she told me to let them both know that I was not twelve. I knew this. I know I should tell them both I'll write when I damn well please, that my daughter is well taken care of, that I am a good mother and that taking some time for myself, be it five minutes at a time in the middle of the day is not a crime. I know this. But saying so would start a war, a war I am simply too tired to fight anymore. So I agree. Then I get rebellious, because neither my mother or my husband is home, and I I type paragraph after paragraph of nonsense while my daughter plays happily on my lap with my keys, her pacifier, a small flyer, and a pen. She is happy just to be on my lap, and I am happy to be writing, and to be near my daughter at the same time. So why do I feel like the people who love me most would be happier if I were sitting on my ass watching tv while my daughter plays with her dollhouse than us being just as we are now?

I know I have painted my most cherished of loved ones with a pretty harsh brush, but they are not all bad. My husband, God love him, means well and just plain doesn't know any better. He was trying to do a good thing and help me out, and he just plain forgot I was supposed to start my diet today. He was raised by wolves. Almost quite literally. He doesn't get a pass, but I need to remember that and work around it, especially when it comes to what I want and need to do for myself.

I told my mother that I realized that I reward myself with food because it is the only "luxury" I am afforded these days, and she said I should reward myself at the end of the day with some writing instead. The very people who sometimes stand in my way also give me a huge leg up a lot of the time.

As for Sarah's education, we read three different books three different times, and she is playing on her own, a valuable skill, and using her imagination, also a valuable skill. She's not reading War and Peace, but she doesn't need to. She can open a book about the nativity and spin a beautiful tale about Princess Aurora on a purple horse riding towards a tower that sparkles. Not bad for a three year old.

So, I screwed up the New Year's Resolutions so far. There is always tomorrow, and I can start afresh then. "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it...yet..." Maybe having "Eff it" as a philosophy is not always a bad thing...