Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I believe in Latin, they call it "errata"

Anyway, I bought a new bathing suit at Costco because I hadn't gotten a new one (that wasn't maternity) in a while. It's nice. I bought a suit without trying it on first. It's a tankini with a modest brief bottom. I'm thinking of getting my first ever bikini wax. Good idea or Epic Fail? Opinions welcome. Did I mention that the Mirena is making me less estrogen-rich so I have extra hair? Please factor this in to your decision both on a grooming and pain front.

Bobo had his hearing test. The good news is: He's not completely deaf. The neutral news: It's really hard to test an uncooperative 17-month old. The bad news: There might be some hearing loss but it's inconclusive at this time. M-CHAT next Friday.

In other Bobo news: he said "ITE" which I am pretty sure meant (dome) light. So, he speaks. I think. Probably. It must be more than a coincidence.

In Chuckles news:
Last weekend, Chuckles sat on my lap (while I was trying to work) and dictated an email to the Easter Bunny which I dutifully recorded here and saved as a DRAFT. Here I am providing it to you in its entirety.


Dear Easter Bunny,

I have been very good since Christmas. I promise to keep my underpants dry and put all of my pee in the toilet. I will not wait until some drops of pee come out first before I go. ALL of my pee will go in the potty.

I would like

Sentinel Prime
Or any other Transformers you think I would like, Easter Bunny.
I would also like some candy since I have been good.

I want you to know that I love you, Easter Bunny. My brother has been good and he should get something too.


Chuckles Jay Long-Suffering

Chuckles just started to read last weekend and now no one is safe. Every sign, every billboard, every time I say c-a-n-d-y or c-o-o-k-i-e is now subjected to phonics and me being caught. Must become better person, pronto!

Have I mentioned that Bobo is really smart? I think in all my talk about his various and sundry routine medical issues, I have not captured his essence enough. He is really bright. And not in the my-child-is-a-genius sense, but in the totally objective opinion of outside observers like his grandparents and doctors. OK, so maybe his grandparents aren't he most impartial observers.

Anyway, three quick stories to illustrate my point.
My sister-in-law and her almost-one-year old were over. She was feeding her son and Bobo watermelon chunks. Bobo was wandering around and periodically grazing. My nephew was in the high chair. He swung his head from side-to-side and she asked him if he was all done. Bobo came over, got the tupperware lid, put it on the tupperware (on the table over his head), walked over to the fridge, opened the door (with help), put it on the shelf, slid it back while doing that adorable toddler crouching thing, then closed the refrigerator door. All done, indeed.

The other day, Bobo was in his high chair and looking out our kitchen window toward our backyard. As soon as he was let down, he walked to the front door, got his shoes and sat on the steps to be shoed. Shoes were placed on his feet by bewildered parents. He then stood by the door. Patiently waiting. The door was opened and he went outside. He proceeded to walk around the house to the backyard and pointed at the baby swing on the swingset. Boy wanted to go swinging. So, for the M-CHAT question about whether you child is able to communicate his desires, I think I'll answer "yes".

During his hearing test, one of the audiologists sat in the booth with him trying to get him to look forward so they could gauge whether he turned his head toward the sounds at his sides as opposed to just looking around. At one point, she put an elephant puppet on her hand. He is the first child in their combined experience to lift the puppet up to find the audiologist's hand. Of course, he was more interested in the missing hand than in the noise that just came out of speaker-left.

Friday, March 26, 2010

This Loss is Your Gain

I was over at Julia's Blog trying to post a comment about a drunken escapade, but the comment functionality wasn't working, so I've copied my comment here. Their loss is your gain.

I was about 4 months pregnant with my first when we had to fly to DC for the wedding of one of dummy dope's friends. He was an usher in the wedding. Our rental car was missing and they assigned us a minivan that I had to drive out to Tysons Corners without a map.

Anyway, after the wedding came the reception as was the custom in my day. They had an amazing open bar at the reception (of which I could not partake). The lot of them got drunk and as the designated driver, I was in charge of getting our group back to the hotel.

I got them in to the parking garage which was supposed to close 15 minutes after the end of the reception. One woman who was having her first night out wihtout the baby evening started laughing at midnight and didn't shut up for an hour.
One enebriated woman started laughing at woman #1 and then couldn't stop. It was hilarity solidarity.

One guy wandered off of the elevator in the parking garage and onto a level where the lights were off. THe doors closed before we could get him back in the elevator and by the time we got back down there he had wandered quite a distance away and perilously close to the edge. All the while the giggle twins were laughing.

My husband wanted to find the minivan but couldn't figure out where it was and which key worked (fortunately none of them since I had confiscated the keys). I eventually got all of them in the mini-van. None of them were sober enough to figure out how to flip-n-fold the seats to get to the third row, so the skinniest of them (who were not necessarily the most sober) decided to go over the top of the middle row seat. And the giggle twins just kept laughing.

At this point I had been awake for 20 hours and was experiencing a wee bit of pregnancy narcolepsy. I have no idea how many people were in the minivan (8, maybe) and I'm driving in DC without a map but it's OK because one of the groomsmen tells me he know the way back to the hotel. Well, he's leaning up against this tiny little minivan window trying to figure out whether he could vomit through a straw and get it out the window. (answer: no)

I got them all back. I left giggle twin #1 in her dress in the bath tub of her hotel room with her husband fixated on finding the ice machine so he could make high ball cocktails.

Giggle twin #2 was left without her dress in her bed with the garbage can at bedside just in case. Her husband was on the bathroom floor.

My husband was trying to help husband #1 find ice but not for high balls. He wanted an Old Fashioned. A brrrrraaaaaandy Old Fashioned.

And the guy with the straw couldn't remember his room number so I had to take him and his wife to the front desk to get a new key for them.

The next morning at the free breakfast buffet, I was happily having my revenge as I kept offering people greasy bacon with orange juice, biscuits and gravy, drippy chunks of watermelon, etc. I haven't laughed that much in years.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Obesity Epidemic

Mr. Long-Suffering and I took the kids to an indoor waterpark last weekend. It was a lot of fun. There was a swim up bar for the parents and fun stuff for the kids too, I guess.

Before we went, I did a mini-fashion show and asked Mr. Long-Suffering to help me pick out one of my bathing suits. I wanted to wear one that made me look like I was the mother of only one child. I think I succeeded. (That reminds me of an Apu quote from the Simpsons "Oh Squishy Lady, you have not had eight babies.") Most of the moms were wearing suits with a little skirt or shorts and the tankini was quite popular. I wore a tankini with shorts. There was one mom who wore her coverup right into the water and took it off only when she was most of the way in, then when she was done swimming, covered up immediately. It was a shame too because if I had had her body, I'd be showing it off all the time. I'd be washing the car in teh driveway in cut-offs, and gardening in a tank top. She looked good. Dang good. She was wearing a legit bikini and had no unsightly bumps, a flat tummy, and nicely rounded, perky you-know-whats. Show it off, Lady! Be proud!

I'm always amazed by how many people have tatoos. And how many women have large tatoos across their lower backs. Wow. It had to be at least half of the adults in there. Maybe it's a generational thing. I only know two people my age who have tatoos so maybe it's just a not-my-friends kind of thing. Not complaining, just surprised. (Full disclosure, I don't like pain, so a tatoo is probably not in my future...ditto additional piercings beyong the one hole per ear I currently have.)

The kids ran and swam so much that they didn't even notice the time change and slept something like 14 hours on Sunday night. It's my new theory on surviving the Spring Ahead: total exhaustion.

There was also an indoor amusement park (complete with carnies). So, Chip got a chance to go on the Tilt-A-Whirl. He wasn't such a fan of that. I had a good time. Bobo rode the carousel.

Speaking of carousels, The Hollies were inducted into the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame. (They had a song called "On a Carousel" in addition to the song "Carrie Anne" after which I was named by my hippie teenage parents. I've always had a soft spot for The Hollies.)

Speaking of Bobo, I have scheduled his next two encounters with the medical professionals. He gets a hearing test in about two weeks and then two weeks after that, he gets the M-CHAT with his pediatrician. I did the M-CHAT online and had Mr. Long-Suffering do it too (complete with follow up interview questions). You either have to fail three regular questions or any one critical question. When I did it, Bobo failed on four regular questions. When Mr. Long-Suffering did it, he failed Bobo on three regular questions.

That doesn't mean he has autism, but it probably means he'll be referred for either additional testing or additional services or testing. At this point, I just want him to get some speech therapy, start talking, and move past this. In talking with SarcastiCarrie's resident Pharmacist Banjo, she mentioned that I did not talk until about 2 years. My own mother (whose birthday is today...shout out!) confirmed this. He's quite interactive and makes excellent eye contact, so really, it's just the Silent Bob aspect that has all of us concerned. We're making an effort to ask him to point at what he wants and to point at things and tell him what they are. I guess we should have been doing this all along, but he's a second child and well, I guess I was just a little lazy. So, the laziness is over and the proper parenting has begun.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Did I Kick Him in the Gut?

I have a new saying: "Another Day, Another Co-Pay"

But on to something else....

The other morning, as I was driving the kids to school the topic of who goes to what school came up and who goes to Big School and preschool and whatnot. Anyway, Mr. Long-Suffering went to pre-school in the church where he and I married. He told this story to Chuckles who thought that was pretty neat.

And not to be outdone, I mentioned that I, too, went to pre-school in a church (probably the last time I ever regularly was in a church). And further to that, I mentioned that it was the church in which my parents were married. You know, Mimi and Grandpa. But, uh oh. Mimi and Grandpa aren't married to eachother (anymore for like 25 years). Mimi is married to Papa and Grandpa is married to Grannie.

Well, then Chuckles asked a series of rapid fire questions about how those people could be my parents (which he has known for a long time) and were married but aren't married and I think he was going to cry right there in the car. So, I quickly got my act together and said that mommy and daddy love eachother very much and we're staying married and we love you (and your brother), and Mimi and Grandpa both love me and love you very much and will always love you (and buy you presents and play with you). And you also get extra people to love you like Grannie and Papa.

And then I said what divorce was and just matter-of-factly started naming people we know who are divorced or whose parents are divorced (and every time I followed it up with how much everyone loves each other).

Whew. I'm exhausted.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Set the Scene

Imagine this: dinner at my house this evening. There is something that looks an awful lot like honey coming out of Bobo's ear. We'd heard there could be some drainage, but when it looks like your child's brain is melting and dripping out of his ear, well, let's just say a little discharge does not seem perfectly normal.

So, I ask Mr. Long-Suffering whether it is OK for me to call the pediatrician because it's Monday and I know our pediatrician is on-call. (I have now officially memorized the call schedule and duty's really quite sad. Some people learn baseball statistics, some people could name everyone who walked the red carpet last night at the Oscars, and I can cite which foreign-born pediatrician is working for a living on a Monday night (and every 4th weekend)). Mr. Long-Suffering said it wasn't necessary as we were warned about the possibility of some discharge, but agreed that a phone call could not hurt.

The call went something like this:

Karen: Pediatrics, this is Karen.
SarcastiCarrie: Hi Karen. My son is a patient of Dr. So-and-so. He had ear tubes put in on Wednesday by Dr. Ancient Southerner. He's still on omnicef from his last infection and he has discharge coming from one of his ears.
Karen: How many days since he started on the antibiotics?
SarcastiCarrie: 8.
Karen: When's his follow up with the ENT?
SarcastiCarrie: Thursday.
Karen: Did the ENT give him drops?
SarcastiCarrie: No.
Karen: I know you didn't say, but this is Bobo's mom, right?
SarcastiCarrie (flattered): Yes.
Karen: OK, we're phoning in a script for those ear drops right now. Regular pharmacy?
SarcastiCarrie: Yep. Thanks.

For the record, this is the first time they have ever prescribed anything over the phone, but sometimes in the office, I have them call the script in to the pharmacy instead of giving me a paper so that it will be ready by the time I drive over there (with a sick, feverish child in tow).

Never a dull moment.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

What's For Dinner?

It's been a long time since I've told the blogosphere what I'm cooking and eating.

Tonight I made lasagna for the adults and whole wheat penne with meat sauce (and parmesan cheese sprinkled liberally by the children) for the children. The adults had Menage a Trois red wine from Costco and salad from a bag with artichoke hearts and a two vinegars dressing. The kids got milk (skim for the older, 2% for the medium, and soy for the littles). The kids got Very Cherry Mixed Fruit instead of salad. I know the cherries have color added, I know. But everyone in the entire world loves maraschine cherries. Everyone. It is the law. No one got garlic bread because it wasn't getting done so I clicked the broiler on "just for a second". Well, about 90 seconds later (really, just a minute and a half), the smoke detector went off. I set it on the railing of the back porch for the duration.

Lastly, I served up one two-layer heart-shaped funfetti cake with funfetti frosting and a giant 9 with 9 candles and one two-layer round yellow cake with new 'homemade' chocolate frosting recipe frosting and a 58th on it with one candle. There was much singing (for my nine-year old sister and my 58-year old father) and one Zhu-Zhu pet in a gift bag.

Then, my other sister sat down at the table to do her homework. I dazzled her with my knowledge of SOH CAH TOA and arcsines and arctangents and cosecants. My brain hurt when I was done, but I remembered enough that I am pretty sure I will be able to help my own kids with their homework when the time comes. I also smacked my brother in the head when he made the crack about how he'd help our sister with her homework since he had taken geometry in the last forty (or fourteen) years. Little pipsqueak.

All in all, it was a perfect family evening.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Fifty-Eight and Ice

I'd been on edge for a couple of days. Anxious. Fidgety. Jittery. Nervous. Stressed. Tight. Taught. I felt like I was chewing ice. Clenching my jaw. Clenching my fists.

It was a new feeling for me. I didn't feel despair. It was more like ALERT. Red Alert. All hands on deck. Prepare phaser banks. Standby. Engage.

Bobo had his whilrwind of a surgery on Wednesday, and I had an important work presentation to give on Thursday. I was given one week to prepare the presentation and hand-outs. During that week, we had the ENT consult, got new windows, had the myringotomy, and registered Chip for kindergarten. I had no free minutes. I ended up presenting for over 2.5 hours. It was grueling.

Then this morning, it was all over. I woke up calm. Cool. Collected. Patient. Relaxed. I hadn't realized just how unnerved I'd been until it was gone. The physical relief was palpable.


Chuckles turned 58-months old today. He's obsessed with numbers, in a good way. He is constantly asking things like, "When I am 34 like you, how old will Bobo be? How old will you be? How old will Daddy be? How old is Bobo now? How old am I? How many months old is Grandma?" Whoah...that's a tricky question, boy. Seven-hundred something something. Don't let grandma hear that kind of stuff.


Bobo was quite the trooper through the surgery. He got to bring his blankies in with him (both of them because when the first nurse tried to put his blankie in the patient's belongings bag, he gave her a big lip and sad eyes, and she caved). The word from the nurses is that he was all smiles and friendly until they stole his binky to put the mask over his mouth for the gas. When he woke up, he was not too happy about the whole thing (and he wanted all of us to know it), but by today, you'd never even know anything happened to him.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Great Day

We're all home. We're all fine. The ear tubes are in. The bilateral myringotomoy with tympanostomy tube insertion was successful. Bobo did fare a little poorly with the coming out of the anesthesia. Kids get belligerent and combative and confused. He's fine now. He slept his hangover off for 2 hours in my arms while I channel flipped among The View, The Price is Right, Today, and Oprah. And Mr. Long-Suffering fed me French Toast while I held Bobo. It was kind of sweet.

Chip is at school. He gets double treats today because two grandparents (Mimi and Papa) dropped him off together. They were at our house at 6:08 am.

Today truly is a great day (and later, I register Chip for kindergarten).

Monday, March 01, 2010

Why am I so glad the Olympics are Over? So BOB COSTAS will finally just STOP TALKING. Stop Talking, I mean it. Just stop.

Hear No Evil: Chuckles

Speak No Evil: Bobo

See No Evil: Mama

Do No Evil: Google

I’ve been working on this post for almost two weeks now. I just don’t know how to write it and not sound superficial and bitchy.

As you know, Chuckles was diagnosed with a slight hearing loss due to his chronic and recurrent ear infections. Bobo, on the other hand, has not yet been diagnosed with the hearing loss. He needs to get ear tubes first. Basically, they are pretty sure he can’t hear (much). He doesn’t really turn his head to look at you when you talk, and he doesn’t talk himself. This means he can’t hear and hasn’t learned how to talk because he can’t hear you and can’t imitate what he can’t hear. But, a lack of language acquisitioin can also indicate possible autism spectrum disorder. We have a plan.
Consult with ENT next Friday
Ear tubes, if deemed necessary
Hearing test, regardless of ear tubes
possible re-evaluation on ear tubes if there is hearing loss
speech-language pathology exam
autism screening M-CHAT
Bobo has some risk factors for autism spectrum disorder. He is a boy with digestive and sensory issues who was breech at birth, with a highly educated mother, and whose parents are both in occupations of a highly analytical nature who are socially awkward and dislike people, in general. There is also a pretty strong family propensity for the disorder in the current generation.

Some of these risk factors seem a little dubious to me, though. Really? I mean firstborns are 1.8 times more likely to have autism. Isn’t it possible that parents who had an autistic child first chose not to have a second child thus depriving the pool of possible second (or even third) children with autism? For example, in our family, there is one third child with autism (last child) and one first child with autism (also the last child). And there are two first children with no autism and two second children about whom the jury is still out. So, we have one in four first children with it, and one for one third children. But if we look at “last” children, we have 2 out of 4.

Children with autism are more than twice as likely to have been breech. Well, OK. That could be true. I’ll assume it is. Bobo was breech. He was breech because of placental issues, so I suppose it is possible that poor blood flow during pregnancy can relate to autism later on. I’ll buy that, but it seems like the better thing to look at would be placental issues instead of breech presentation. And yes, I get that breech presentation may be the proxy for placental issues and that the relationship is correlative not causative, but it doesn’t even seem like a worthwhile thing to publish at this point.

Age at first childbirth and level of education attained are strongly correlated, so I would believe that my education level has less to do with autism than the fact that I delayed having children until I was done with school, and hence, older.

Let’s assume that certain personality traits are heritable. Given that, it would make sense that two people who are highly analytical classifiers would have children with similar tendencies. Mr. Long-Suffering and I are terribly resistant to change, engineers, ruthlessly analytical, logical, and repetitive. We are Bo-ring. It would make sense that we have children who are like this but moreso (since our kids have two parents like this instead of one or none).

Anyway, the closer I pay attention to Bobo, the more I think he’s unable to hear and not affected by Asperger’s though. Poor kid. Meet with ENT on Friday.

Also, during the Day of Not Terribly Reassuring Encounters with Medical Professionals, I had an ultrasound to ensure my Mirena is in position. The answer is “probably”. It wasn’t really visible because apparently my uterus wasn’t where it is supposed to be (also, plenty of cysts on my ovaries and endometriosis visible on ultrasound…plus the missing uterus). I’m still waiting on the radiologist’s official report on this, but it ought to be a good read.

Instant Update: Because it’s taking me so very long to write this: The Mirena is going. It’s getting pulled, and I am going back on The Pill. I’m going to wait out another cycle and see whether the acne comes back, but the hair that is growing along my jawline is not my friend, so I need some estrogen. STAT.

Instant Update Two: We had the appointment with the 70-year old ENT. Bobo is getting ear tubes. On Wednesday. They had a cancellation. The Wednesday surgery patient is getting a kidney transplant and so she’s cancelling whatever ENT-related surgery she had. So, congrats to her and her new kidney, and congrats to Bobo who gets tubes.

Instant Update Three: Bobo was at Urgent Care yesterday as is his custom (at 9:58 am, per my theory) for an ear infection and pink eye. Wednesday is still surgery though, and all the infections should end then. Man, I hope they do. They will still operate with the infection, and the doctor specifically mentioned what to do in this case. So, we’re doing that. Why the ENT didn’t just prescribe antibiotics while we were there for Bobo to take until the surgery, I don’t know. That would have been the prudent thing to do since he had a subacute infection on Friday which turned acute on Sunday. But maybe kids who need tubes are always subacute. I don’t know. But I do know who gave Small the pinkeye….Thanks to Katie’s mom for sending her to school with crusty stuff on her eyes which she assures us is not pinkeye. Yeah, right.

Instant Update Four: So, when the hospital called to give us the run-down for Wednesday (he goes in at 6:30 and bring a bottle so he can have clear liquids (which they will supply) afterward since they don’t supply bottles or sippy cups), I asked if he needed to wear anything special. The answer is NO because he will be wearing an itty bitty teeny tiny hospital gown. And that’s the thing that made me cry at my desk.

Instant Update Five: Happy Casimir Pulaski day. He died so you could have light traffic.

Instant Update Six: So, with the tube surgery on Wednesday, I haven’t spent nearly enough time freaking out about how I also am registering Chip for big school kindergarten on Wednesday. OMG, my first baby!
My first baby is going to kindergarten, and I have to prove residency. That ought to be fun. I’m sure I’ll end up having to produce my marriage license at some point because, MY HEAVENS, your names are different and where does the boy live and with which parent?