Sunday, April 30, 2006

Yeah, But What About ....?

I thought I'd take today to follow up on some issues I've discussed in recent (and maybe not-so-recent) entries. Don't want to leave y'all hangin' about how things have worked out for us. So here goes...

Regarding my headaches - my doctor said Mylanta - oh, wait a minute. No he didn't. Sorry about that.

No, my doctor actually said they sound like stress headaches. He gave me a few options but we settled on a one-week perscription for steroids. That should take care of them for good. Uhhh... okay. He also set me up to see a headache specialist in a month's time. This will just help him monitor me so we can tell if the headaches ever do become an ACM problem. Fine.

But I didn't fill the perscription - yet. I really haven't had a headache since my appointment a couple weeks ago. Figures. I'll keep the headache specialist appointment though. And I'll fill the perscription if I ever need to. For now - I'm good.

Regarding Sweetie's bedtime issues and middle-of-the-night visits - she's all set. We haven't even practiced the sticker-reward system for over a month now. One day after about a week of no 3 a.m. visits I went to present her with her reward sticker. She said, "No! I don't want a sticker! I got out of bed!", which was true to a point - she got out of bed, as usual, right after being tucked in the night before. So I guess she figured she didn't deserve a sticker (we hadn't been that strict though - as long as she only did her 1-time-out-of-bed-at-bedtime thing, she earned her reward in our eyes). Anyway, she didn't want a sticker then and we haven't offered her stickers since. Yet she continues to stay in bed all night - and she continues to get out one time only at bedtime (although within the last week or so she's had several instances of staying put from the get-go).

On the rare occasion that she does get out of bed in the middle of the night, she usually walks herself to the poposan chair in the room next to her's and cries for her teddy - that she left in her bed. Daddy walks her back to bed, hands her teddy and she's good for the rest of the night. Cool.

She's even typically asking to go to bed about 1/2 hour to 1 hour earlier than usual! Fine with us! As long as she doesn't get up super early in the morning because of it. Which she's not. So these issues have all worked out well for everyone.

I never heard from Charlotte - the commentor I was trying to search for a couple weeks back. So, if you're still out there, I'd love to hear from you. Email me through my sidebar link. Hope to talk to you soon. (I did, however, hear from one or two other readers after posting that entry. It was very nice to hear from them and email back and forth a bit. Thanks for writing!).

Regarding our vacation plans - I need to make a correction. You probably realized this already, but Over the Hedge is not in theaters yet. It won't be until May 19th. So I guess this isn't an option even if we had the money. But it looks like we'll definitely be going to the Portsmouth Children's Museum and a petting zoo at the very least. Oh yeah, and out to dinner one or two times too. That will be fun.

And, no, my awesome trio of shoes hasn't arrived yet. But I got word that they've all been shipped. So hopefully tomorrow. I can't wait!

I still can't update you on my exciting secret future writing project. But I will, I promise. I should be hearing more about that sometime in May. When I hear, you all will hear. I swear.

Well - I think that's about it for now. Anything I've missed? If I forgot to wrap up any other issue that you're dying to know about, email me and I'll let you know how things worked out. If you even care that much.

Awwwwww. You do care? That's so sweet. Thanks so much! Love you guys! :)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #5

Okay, so I'm posting this just a wee bit early. But, hey, I've got a busy weekend ahead of me. We're hosting a family brunch on Sunday and our house is a sty. Saturday will be spent cleaning, dusting, and vacuuming. There'll be no time for writing. Anyway, most of you won't even see this 'til tomorrow morning at this point. It's late! You should be in bed! Me, I'm just settling down with a nice glass of Reisling wine and getting comfy in front of my computer. I'm allowed - I had a rough day. Oh, and I'M ON VACATION!!!!! :)

Now, getting on with the whole Sweetie Saturday-ness of the situation... Her latest thing is figuring out all she can about time. Mostly referring to the calendar - the days of the week and months. At this point she basically has "this day" and "Saturday" down pat. Meaning, if it's not "this day" then it must be Saturday.

I bumped my head on the wall, Daddy. She informed him as he carried her downstairs this morning.

Yes you did.

Yeah, but not this day. I bumped my head on Saturday. (Actually, I think it was last Sunday or Monday. But not in Sweetie's world).

I'm sure our being on vacation now will not help her solidify any further understanding of her days of the week. No, It's Tuesday (or Thursday) - a school day, for her next week. Oh well.

Sweetie is also asking lots of questions about what month it is - but I don't think she even really understands what she's trying to ask.

Is it mumphs, Mommy?

Well, this is the month of April, Sweetie. Soon it will be May. Lots happens in May. Papa Dave's birthday is in May and my birthday too!

First Papa Dave's birthday and then your birthday is in May?

That's right!


And tonight at the grocery store she asked about June.

Is it June mumph, Mommy?

No, not yet. June is the month after May. Now it's the month of April, then May, then June.


I'm not sure why her fascination with days and months has recently kicked into high gear. She must be learning about it at school. In fact I tried to encourage her to ask Miss Kathleen about the months. Takes the pressure off me a bit.

Do you know how hard it is to come up with a simple, understandable-to-a-3-year-old answer to the question, What is mumph, Mommy?

I'll tell ya - it's deceptively difficult! Especially when she hasn't yet grasped a deep understanding of any day of the week besides Saturday.

Not this day, anyway. Maybe (next) Saturday.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lofty Dreams, Little Wallet

We're on vacation next week. Woo hoo! We're not going away for the week or anything, but if I had my druthers we would do all of the following and more:

Go to the Portsmouth Children's Museum

Go to the MFA

Go to The Butterfly Place

Go mini golfing

Go see Over the Hedge

Go visit friends in Keene

Go out to breakfast at least once

Go out to dinner at least once

Oh yeah, and give a good, solid effort to potty training.

Alas, my druthers are nowhere to be found and, what's more, they've taken all my money with them. No, that's not true. I actually don't have any money for my druthers to pilfer. That's probably the real reason they high-tailed it the heck away from me - no cash=no fun.

Oh, but what's this I have here in my wallet? Ah, two free movie passes. Cool! Oh, no - Over the Hedge is a brand new movie. They don't take passes on new movies. Anyone for Ice Age 2? Naw - don't think so. We missed the original, so I'm sure we wouldn't be able to follow the complex story line in the new one.

But maybe there's hope for the MFA. After all, our library offers free day passes. Not sure if Sweetie's entrance fee would be included, but at the most all we'd have to pay for is her. And travel (Gas for the car. Parking? Or take the T? Probably). Plus, it is a ton of walking - both getting to the museum from the T station and then touring around inside. Don't know if I'm up for that so much. But I do want to expose Sweetie as early as possible to the wonders of the visual arts. Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions.

Ahhh. Just looked more closely at the Children's Museum. Only $6 a pop. Now that's certainly manageable! And Sweetie will love it! I've been wanting to take her to a children's museum. Yah - this one might just work out okay. Cool.

Hey, look! The Butterfly Place is only $8.50 each for Hubby and I and $6.00 for Sweetie. That's pretty good too. But will Sweetie be freaked out by all the butterflies fluttering about or will she love 'em? Not real sure. And not real willing to pay $23 for a freakout session. Plus gas.

Mini golf - that could work. I don't know the exact cost for this outing, but it can't be that much. But of course we'd have to get ice cream afterward. And is a 3- year old really ready to play mini golf? I'm sure she'd love it - but I'm also sure she nowhere near has the coordination and patience to play with any skill. Not that that's what it's all about really. Could be fun. Or dangerous (Anyone for a good whack upside the shins with a golf club? Anyone?)

Add in the trip to Keene and the desired meals out and the select reasonably priced activities add up to one big expense. Plus gas.

Potty training might just win out after all. Boy, doesn't that sound fun.

On a side, but related note - I just bought myself 3 of the cutest pairs of shoes ever! And do I feel guilty about spending the money? Well, yeah. A little. But I'm trying like crazy not to. After all, as I touched upon in an entry not too far back, buying shoes for myself is quite the chore. I can only wear flats and they ideally should have some sort of strap/upper portion to secure my foot in my brace. Oh, and they have to not be ugly. Downright cute and trendy is much preferred, actually, but I know that's asking a lot. But such is the way I've bought shoes my whole life. Go to Payless and choose one of the only two pairs of shoes that could possibly work for me. Fun.

Well, not this time, baby! I finally decided to take my search on-line. Only on-line, I figured, would my shoe-world become a pearl-laden oyster. And boy, was I right! I found adorable shoes in my size and preferred color (see above links), if not my preferred price range. Oh well, two out of three ain't bad. I cannot wait until they arrive. Yay!

I never buy myself anything. Honest. I hate spending money on myself. Really. Everyone else deserves the world. I'll buy it for them! But me? No, my reward is seeing their happy reactions to and satisfaction with said world. That'll do.

Until now. A girl's gotta have shoes, right? It's a necessity. My current shoes are all at least 1 1/2 years old or more. It's time.

Plus - if my druthers ever find their way back to me, I'm going to need a good pair of walking shoes to get me comfortably through all my lofty vacation plans.

I hafta walk - can't afford the gas.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Mama Monday #10

Theme: Wild

Wild curls. Unruly curls. Beautiful curls.

Try as I might, Sweetie's hair remains a wild beast unwilling to be tamed. I comb and style and spray with detangler, but the results only last minutes. And Lord help me if Sweetie is watching in the mirror as I try to manage the mess. I want my curls back! she demands when the comb flattens the top curls a bit too much for her liking.

I love my curly hair. she said just yesterday.

I know you do. So do I. Lots of people love your curls.

Yeah. Papa Dave loves my curly hair too!

Yep, he sure does.

Who knows how long her love for her wild, crazy curls will stay. I know I was not a big fan of my own when I was younger. Long, stick-straight, shiny hair - that's what I longed for. But that was not to be. The grass is always greener....

Oh, and as for that Sesame Street Band-Aid on her forehead? My wild child earned that one, as well as a few more, this past weekend. Jumping off cushions, running around screaming Nature! like Melman the Giraffe, and just plain being clumsy.

Curl detangler and Band-Aids - definite necessities when wildness runs rampant through your home.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

My Blogiversary - A Year In Review

This weekend marks my one year Blogiversary. I can hardly believe it! It seems like only yesterday when I purchased my You Can Do It book and thought, "Hmmm - my own website. That sounds cool - yeah, I think I'll do it!".

When I reflect on my past year I realize all the wonderful things that have come my way via my blog. I've written a special article for the MA Spina Bifida Association newsletter last summer. I've published an article in the London-based DPPi Journal. And, starting last August, I've written a monthly parenting column for the e-zine Audacity Magazine. Wow!

But wait, there's more! Just within this past month I've been granted my very first paid writing gig! And it's one that fits me so incredibly well and I'm so very excited about. My position as a Go-To Mom for Club Mom will allow me to gain so much more exposure as a disabled mom raising a healthy child. Giving me an opportunity to broaden my audience that much more, hopefully providing a helpful resource for other disabled moms and moms-to-be concerning the challenges they face in their own lives.

I even have one more very exciting writing opportunity on the horizon that I'm totally thrilled about - but I'm not at liberty to discuss this one much quite yet. Rest assured, as soon as I'm given the green light (and all things hopefully fall neatly into place) I'll be shouting from the rooftops about this awesome new adventure!

Yes, many wonderful writing opportunities have come my way over the last year. That makes me extremely happy - I can finally call myself a true writer! Having parenting, disability issues and my beautiful little girl as the subject matter of much of my writing is the icing on the cake - I'm writing about things I'm truly, whole-heartedly passionate about. Yay for me! As one of my friends noted, I'm living the American Dream.

I also must acknowledge, once again, all the wonderful people I've made contact with through my blog. All the interesting, courageous, brilliant women who have written to me, sharing their own stories of triumphs and setbacks. Telling me how happy they were to find my blog. I'm thrilled and humbled that I've been able to make a difference in the lives of so many people. Not big differences, mind you. But at least maybe I've brought the difference of a little more friendship and a little more hope into my readers' lives. What more could I ask?

Thanks to everyone for making my blog what it is today. It's been an awesome year! Here's to the future. I can't wait to see what comes of it! Join me for the ride, won't you?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #4

Netflix movie of the day: A Daddy movie choice: Man on the Train.

Unfortunately, there's not much in the way of Sweetie Saturday Sayings today. A pretty dry week. Just a couple cute things to keep you going...

The other day we arrived home from work and Nana's house. Sweetie began her evening by playing quietly with her Fisher Price barn while her Daddy and I got dinner ready. But soon she was coming in to the kitchen saying, Something is crawling in my hair! Daddy looked and - yep - it was a tick.

Tick extraction promptly took place (some major tugging, hair pulling and crying sadly included) and all was right with the world. Daddy sealed the deal that "the tick will never bother you again." by taking a flame to it.

The next day we told Nana about the whole ordeal, and we finished by asking Sweetie to tell how Daddy got rid of the offending tick.

Daddy fired the tick.

Well, yeah, I guess he did.

At school the other morning my hubby and I stuck around a few minutes to make sure Sweetie was all set. Sweetie showed us her favorite play things - the pretend food and kitchen set up. She also showed us the pretend "ice cream cone". But you know what it really was? A fake Tamaki hand roll.

We proceeded to tell her about the fish, rice and other components making up the roll. She agreed - it was sushi - sushi ice cream. She continued holding it like a cone, pretending to lick up the yummy treat.


Okay, this last one is only hearsay because I wasn't present to hear what was actually said. But my mom said that, as Sweetie took a quick bath at her house the other day, Sweetie was happily, heartily singing to herself about "Avocados!" and "Mushrooms!".

It wouldn't surprise me if a few other produce items were tossed into her musical salad as well. What a nut!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Too Much? Too Little? Just Right!

Edited to add the following thoughts on the blogs I link to: I LOVE the Daring Adults/Parents and Raising Special Kids blogs I link to (in fact - I love ALL the blogs I have listed on my sidebar)! These bloggers get it right in my book - a little of this, a little of that - lots of information on all sorts of relevant topics: disability, parenting, and life in general. You guys rule!


Some comments on my on-going search to find other disabled individuals who keep blogs.

All in all, I'm saddened to see so few disabled bloggers out there. There are some, but not as many as I would have first imagined.

Of those I've found, many of the sites seem to be more along the lines of self-developed web pages than true, "fancied-up" blogs. Nothing too pretty, and some downright boring looking. But that's okay - looks don't matter as much as content. Then again, the look of a blog is useful when getting readers to want to stop on your site, browse around, stay awhile, and come back for more.

As for content, I've seen the two extremes. People who "rant" only on issues relating to the disability culture...

...And those who hardly ever mention their disability at all. In fact, unless you have a long history with the blog(ger) in question, the average reader may never even realize they're reading the blog of a disabled person.

I personally don't like the "all disability all the time" blogs. I just don't think someone's disability needs to be thrust in your face every single day whether it really relates to a given issue or not. Yes, disabled people have a tougher time in society in general than the able bodied person. And there's lots there that can make a disabled person angry - about society, their health, their challenges, and life in general. But there is so much more to life to look at too. Take a look at the beauty life can offer and not just the "woe is me" stuff you've got going on for yourself.

Then again, if someone is disabled in anyway, it sure would be nice to know that bit of information. Not because it matters, really. Because it doesn't. But just because it's a unique side to your story that can add some color and flavor to your everyday life stories. Let your readers know what challenges you need to overcome during your day. Let us know your life isn't all sunshine and roses all the time - or even how you strive to make your life rosy despite the physical and/or mental challenges life has presented to you. Your readers wll be interested to know.

What I hope I'm doing here on my own site is achieving a happy balance between the two extremes. I try not to talk too too much about my disability - letting you, my faithful readers, know that I'm just your average mom like any other out there. I love my daughter and get frustrated with her just as much as any other parent out there relates to their own kid(s).

But at the same time, I want you to know what I'm going through. The challenges I face, the feelings and frustrations I grapple with as a disabled mom - as a disabled person. Hopefully other disabled adults and parents reading my blog will be able to relate to what I'm going through and feel not so very alone in the world. My site, after all, is called Spina Bifida Moms. And my whole point in keeping this blog is for other disabled parents to find me and perhaps feel comforted and connected to someone much like themselves.

So - if you sometimes feel like I haven't held up my end of the deal because I haven't specifically mentioned my spina bifida lately - well, you've missed my point. I want to show my connection to the general population and the average parent. First and foremost I am a parent, regardless of what my physical challenges are. And that's what I write about.

But - if you feel that I sometimes play the disability card a bit too much - well, you've missed my point too. I want to mention my challenges, fears and setbacks (as well as achievements) concerning my physical disability. Especially with how these issues relate to my raising my healthy, active daughter. That, simply put, is why I set up this blog in the first place. To make it known to the world that disabled parents are out here, and we're doing great! Raising happy, healthy, wonderful children. I love telling my story, hearing from other disabled parents (or disabled adults considering parenthood) and simply connecting with others whom can relate to me and whom I can relate to myself.

Telling the good, the bad and the ugly of my life as a parent who happens to be disabled. That's what I want to do and what I feel I've been successful at doing with this blog. Hopefully I'm telling my story in an interesting, fun and informative way that EVERYONE can find worthwhile.

That's how I write. That's why I write. Hopefully I've hit the mark just right.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Where Are You?

Hi There. This is a special entry I'm posting, hoping to seek out one of my recent commenters.

Charlotte - You wrote a nice comment on one of my recent entries. You also expressed interest in my e-mailing you and answering a few of your questions.

I would LOVE to correspond with you and answer anything you'd like to know. I'm also interested in learning more about your story.

Unfortunately, you didn't leave any contact info. Please contact me here. That way we can e-mail each other and talk.

Hoping to hear from you soon. Also, anyone else interested in speaking with me, feel free to contact me. I love hearing from my readers.

Thanks for reading!

Mama Monday #9

Theme: Careworn

This is my eye. This is my smile. I don't know if others see them as clearly as I do, but I see the dark circles. I see the lines.

Oh, they're just laugh lines, you say. Use some concealer and you'll be all set, you say. Maybe so. But they're much more prominent then they ever were before. I'm looking older. I'm looking careworn.

Worn from motherhood. But in a good way, really. Like never before, I have the wellfare of a little one constantly in the forefront of my mind.

Is she eating enough? Sleeping enough? Brushing her teeth well enough? Is she actively playing every day? Does she play well with others? Is she meeting the development milestones as she should be? Will she run off from me when we're outside? Will she hurt herself if she climbs too high, runs too fast or gets too close to the edge? Will she ever be potty trained?

Motherhood - a stressor, a source for constant worry, and, yes, even at times a burden. My face shows my careworn state. I've aged considerably in the last few years (As a 20-something, I could still easily pass for a teenager. Now I definitely look all of my almost 32 years). My natural brown hair color has become drab and I've found more grey hairs since becoming a mother than ever before. And my skin is starting to crease and wrinkle.

But would I change any of this? Not a chance!

I get up between 6 and 7am on the weekends now instead of closer to 9am. Thank you, Sweetie, for helping me to appreciate the day and get as much time out of it as possible.

I've colored my hair a beautiful, vibrant red. Thank you, Sweetie, for speeding up my hair's aging process, enabling me to switch things up a bit and have a cool, radiant 'do.

My laugh lines are becoming permanently visable. Thank you, Sweetie, for giving me something to smile about and laugh along with every single day.

Careworn - the best kind of "worn" you can be.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter

Happy Easter, Everyone. Spring is here - enjoy!

Click over to my hubby's new food blog to read about one of our first, and most favorite Easter together.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #3

Netflix movies of the day: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Electric Company: Disc 1.

For today's Sweetie Saturday I thought we'd take a look at a few of the more amusing - shall I say, unusual - notes we've received from Sweetie's daycare teacher. As you'll see, many times she'll toss in a mention about something that just doesn't seem very noteworthy. Other times, Miss Kathleen writes something that reallly needs more contextual information to help it make sense to us. Oh well, at least they're good for a laugh!

Late January, 2006 (alas, the only note I don't have properly dated...)

(Sweetie) LOVES to dance. Tuesday she spent the majority of the morning using a tamborine and dancing. Today she really enjoyed Totercize and playing with oats in the Sensory Table. Lots of smiles this week!

February 9, 2006

... (Sweetie) has been a little sad at drop-offs. Except this morning. She was smiling. She was dancing alot this morning. When "The Wiggles" music came on in the Totercize room, (she) did not cry at all. She came up to me and said she wanted to go in the bathroom (that's what I told her she could do to get away from the music)...Next week... (Sweetie) will have time to decorate her bag on Tuesday.

March 2, 2006

(Sweetie) had a happy week. She danced to the Hokey Pokey and Purple People Eater... (Sweetie) made wagon wheels on Tuesday and measured oats in the Sensory Table. She put a flat, foam toy between her 2 fingers and told me she made a sandwich.

March 30, 2006

(Sweetie) had a very good week. I'm sure I don't have to tell you - she loves to dance. On Tuesday (she) enjoyed making... a Rainbow Banana - a banana rolled in different flavors of Jello powder. She said it tastes like an orange. (Sweetie) also enjoyed playing with a squishy ball.

April 6, 2006

(Sweetie) had a great week! She spent Tuesday and Thursday mornings "making eggs for Julia." On Tuesday we made Goop... (Sweetie) didn't play with it but was all smiles "just watching". She had a BM in her pull-up around 11:30 on Thursday.

Now, is that something we really needed to know? Probably not. Join the club.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Few of Our Favorite Things

Sweetie is very into what everybody's favorite things are lately.

She wants to listen to Nana's favorite songs (either ABBA or the new, rockin' version of Charlotte Church), Mommy's favorite show (typically American Idol or whatever else she's last seen my watch) or she wants some of Daddy's favorite food (chocolate smoothies or granola).

Many times she's even mentioning our "favorite" things that we really couldn't care less about. But she loves them, so everyone else must as well, right? Yay, peanut butter roll up sandwiches!

The other day we picked Sweetie up from her sometimes babysitter Lee Lee's house. She had a great, fun time playing with Lee Lee's young daughter, Julia. Sweetie LOVES Julia and is always so excited when she gets to spend some time with her.

On the car ride home from this particular visit, Sweetie's post-Julia, happy, agreeable mood quickly turned into an insistent, desperate plea to us to PLEASE listen to "Julia's favorite songs."

Okay, but what are her favorite songs? Sweetie couldn't say.

I'm a Little Teapot? No

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star? No

The Alphabet Song? No

Well what then? It took her a good long while but Sweetie finally found her words.

Julia's favorite songs are the High School Musical ones.

Ohhhh! High School Musical, okay!

My husband kept Sweetie's tears at bay for a few minutes longer as her "tried" to find the coveted songs on the radio. No, of course we didn't happen upon any of these tunes. But Sweetie didn't know we'd be unsuccessful with our search. At least we kept her entertained for awhile with this "game". She even grooved on some Metallica and Jane's Addiction, making my husband both happily amused, and slightly concerned.

Our little secret? My husband and I really do love High School Musical too. We even continued to watch this Disney Channel movie after putting Sweetie to bed one night recently. Those songs are great! So much fun!

And we've even put in a good word with the Easter Bunny himself to see if he can slip a copy of the High School Musical soundtrack into Sweetie's Easter Basket this weekend.

I'm pretty confident he'll come through for us - I mean, her.

Family harmony through kitchy, teeny-bopper musicals and bad acting. Finally, a favorite thing we can all happily agree upon.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Mama Monday #8

Theme: Delight

This week's Mama Says Om theme gives me the perfect opportunity to make an exciting announcement:

I am absolutely delighted to announce that I have been chosen to write as a Go-To Mom for ClubMom! My category of expertise is Diseases and Conditions, giving me plenty of opportunity to write quick tips, tricks and stories from the heart about my experiences as a disabled mom raising my healthy daughter.

Look for my stories starting mid-May. And while you're there, check out all the other great Go-To Moms and categories. ClubMom is an awesome website full of sweet stories, fun shopping and important information.

I'm so excited - and delighted - to embark on this wonderful collaboration with such a fabulous site!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Not Now, I Have a Headache

I tend to get migraines. Turning white, vomit inducing, incapacitating migraines. Thankfully, I don't get them too often, though. I'm talking maybe two a year or so. And I know how to stop them before they happen. If I can get a couple Advils in me when I first notice the headache, chances are that will do the trick and a migraine won't occur.

So, basically, it's not a problem.

But lately - like, maybe the last month or so - the headaches are coming more and more frequently. I've noticed because I'm not the type who likes to take medications at the drop of a hat. I have to have some solid, major reasons to finally decide to down some painkillers or cold medicine. Mainly, I try to stick to the homeopathic fixes - echinacea for colds, or simple rest and relaxation for minor pings, pains and pulls.

So the fact that I've had Advil on the brain lately - Is this pain bad enough for drugs? Do we have Advil at work? Will any generic painkiller help? - tells me the headaches are indeed coming more regularly now.

I have an appointment with my neurologist in a week. I'll definitely be asking him about these headaches/migraines. My concern is that they're related to my Arnold Chiari Malformation. I say this because I've noticed that the headaches usually start from the back of my head/neck area and intensify from there. Surely that may have to do with my "droopy brain", right? Oh, and what about the sometimes accompanying upset stomach? Related? I don't know.

As my mom and husband have pointed out, just because I recently found out I have ACM doesn't instantly mean that my migraines (whether or not they're increasing in frequency) have anything to do with that condition.

But maybe it does, I say. Maybe it does.

Or - maybe it's the blogging. Too much - way too much - time spent at the computer, hunched over the keyboard typing my blog and writing my articles. Or even - gasp! - resting my chin on the desk, staring at the screen as I fritter away my late night and weekend hours blog-hopping and web surfing. (Hey, I never admitted to having a perfectly ergonomical feng shui situation in home office/desktop set up, did I?).

Yah, it's probably the typing and hopping. Not the ACM. But maybe it's because of the ACM that the typing/hopping are so quick to turn into migraines. Hmmmph. That's an idea.

Regardless, I'm not stopping my writing and blogging. No way, no how. I'll work on the ergonomics of the situation. I'll write in shorter spurts. I'll take pain medication. Anything to keep me writing. It's what I love to do and what I need to do. Physical pain and suffering be damned!

A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. Yah, you heard me - that's write!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #2

Netflix movie of the day: Mary Poppins

Upon meeting up with Sweetie's sometimes babysitter, Lee Lee, at our work this past week. Lee Lee asked Sweetie if she had her car seat ready.

Sweetie: Yes I do.

Me: It's in the car. Go with Daddy and he'll help put it in Lee Lee's car.

Sweetie: You're a good boy, Daddy.


After brushing her teeth one morning, I gave Sweetie a cup of water and asked her to take a sip and spit it out. Instead, she swallowed it.

M: Sweetie! Why'd you swallow that? You're supposed to spit the water out!

S: It's too hard to spit for (Sweeties).


As she stood, without her shirt on, while I changed her out of her pajamas. She was - um, how should I say? - examining her chest when she came up with the following observation.

This is a tickle spot!

And again, upon further experimentation.

This is another tickle spot!

My, my. Is that one going to embarrass her when she's older!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Shout Out To All My Homeys

Hey, everybody! How the heck are ya?

I just had to write a quick post to promote the fact that Parenting NH now links to my blog. Myself and another NH mom blogger are linked under their new Parenting Blogs heading. And guess what?! They're looking for more!

That's right. If you're a blogging mom who happens to live in NH, Parenting NH wants you! Visit their site, drop them a line, and tell them why your blog would be an excellent fit for their magazine. Heck, even if you live in any part of New England - write to the powers that be and see what they have say about linking you up!

I don't know, but it seems like it wouldn't hurt to ask, right?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mama Monday #7

Theme: Unusual

Ha! You know, the first thing I thought of when I saw that the Mama Says Om theme this week is "Unusual" were the lyrics to Tom Jones' famous song.

It's not unusual to be loved by anyone.

Then I thought,

Okay. Let's go with it. I can work with that.

Back in high school I would have definitely disagreed with Mr. Jones' lyrics. I personally felt that it would be unusual to be loved by anyone. Anyone of the male, teenaged persuasion, that is. After all, I knew plenty of girls in my class whom I kind of felt I was prettier and nicer than. Yet, they had boyfriends and I did not. I recognized that my physical disability was my main obstacle to attracting a boyfriend. And it was depressing.

I finally had my first boyfriend towards the end of my senior year. But even so, I was the pursuer. He was an old friend from grade school whom I hadn't seen in years. I needed a date to my senior prom, thought of him, tracked him down, and called him up. The rest is history - a 1 year relationship that tried to morph into friendship, but failed miserably. Oh well. I still wonder about him today. I sometimes think it would be nice to know how he's doing now and to tell him about my life with Sweetie and Hubby. If we're destined to meet again, so be it. Otherwise, I'll just try to remember our happier times and not our sad end.

College life didn't do much to change my thoughts on finding love. Starting my studies at an all women's college didn't help much. Then transferring to a school close to home, enabling me to live off campus, also didn't do much for me socially. I found that I was befriending boys, not romancing (or being romanced by) them. In fact, I had more male friends in college than female ones. It was during these years that I really observed the cattiness of girls and appreciated the laid back easiness with guys. But that's all. No sparks.

Soon after college I started my job at the newspaper where I still work today. And that's where I met my husband. On my first day of work, in fact, on my tour of the company. There I was, hobbling around on crutches, still recovering from spinal surgery a few months back. And there he was, a handsome, smiling young man, happy to greet me into the newspaper world.

Later that day I ate my lunch in the company cafeteria. There he was again, eating his. We sat at separate tables, but exchanged pleasantries and smiles.

The week went on and we kept passing each other during our lunch times.

Friday came and, once again, he soon left the lunch room after my arrival. But this time, 30 seconds later, he was back. Telling me about some tickets he'd just won to a music concert/silent auction/work-sponsored function happening that night. Did I want to join him?


At the time I had no understanding of the details of the event we were going to. I just knew there'd be a band there that he said would be good. Okay, whatever. That sounds like fun.

To make a long story short - we've been together ever since. We went out for coffee after the work event that Friday. Then we went out Saturday night on our first "real" date. And that was that. Here we are today, almost nine years to the day later (April 10th was the work event, April 11th was our first official date). Married with child.

He was the first boy to ever pursue a relationship with me. Much different from what I had grown used to - working up the courage myself to ask the object of my attraction if they'd like to go out. Then being flatly rejected.

From silly high school boys who don't know how to look past physical differences, to a wonderful, loving, giving man who looked right past my disability and into my eyes and my soul. Sure, we've settled a bit into the routine of life, work and family. We don't find much time for the little love notes and dates anymore. The young-love giddiness and flirtations have faded into the daily grind. But our love is there. Our love is pure.

Yes, Mr. Jones. It is unusual, for me at least, to be loved by anyone. But I don't want just anyone. I've found my One. My Love. He loves me for who I am. He improves the quaility of my life, pushing me towards my dreams, challenging me to always be better. And I do the same for him.

He makes me feel not so very unusual anymore.

True love - the "usual" emotion I so longed for, felt so removed from, I finally have.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Tango Sweetie

(Can you tell we're watching Rent right now? Actually, Sweetie is semi-watching it now - primarily for the singing and dancing. Hubby and I watched it last night. It's great! Anyway, it's just at The Tango Maureen scene and it inspired me for today's title).

Sweetie is feeling better today. She slept all last night, despite her 3 hour long midday nap yesterday and requesting bed earlier than usual. Today she is drinking more and eating some - her usual course of action. So all seems well. At least whenever she's sick, she doesn't stay ill for very long.

Her attitude today, however, leaves much to be desired. She's very moody. VERY moody. Things she usually finds funny are creating loud protests and tears. Foods she usually wants to eat (avocado) are flatly refused. She's trying to make demands of us and she's denying our help. And she's getting extremely mad, at herself or us, when she, or we, incorrectly sings songs or she doesn't know the right words to ask for certain things.

So, Hubby and I are having to step lightly around her today, figuring out the proper "dance" steps to keep her calm and cool. Normally I deal with this attitude of hers much differently. But today she's pushed too far. I can't calmly deal with her irrational screams. And most everything I say to her, good or bad, is sending her down the road to frustration and aggravation. So, for today, I'm trying to step lightly.

I'm not the type of mom to coddle my little girl. I tend not to put up with her crying fits. If she's ill or injured or scared, of course. But silly fits and tantrums, I do not encourage (not that any mom really does). I find that leaving her be, ignoring her (while making sure she's not putting herself in harm's way) is my best strategy for coping with, and capping, tantrums. Even out in public. I'm sure others see me "ignoring" my screaming child and wonder why I'm not trying to comfort her. But truly, I find that the more I'm able to ignore her tantrums, the quicker she gets over herself. She sees she's not gaining any attention from her behavior so she, most of the time, gives it up.

But for today, we're dancing The Tango Sweetie. I know it seems like the easy way out. I know it is. But that's okay. Sometimes you just want to find a way to prevent a bad situation from even cropping up in the first place. So, we dance. And, for now, we are all calm.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #1 (The First Official One, Anyway)

Hi, and welcome to Sweetie Saturday, my new weekly feature inspired by last Saturday's post on Sweetie-isms.

I had so much fun writing that, remembering her silly thoughts and phrases for the week that I thought I'd write about them regularly. Something I should have been doing for awhile now, actually, lest I forget her funny words and ideas as she grows. Oh well, no time like to present to preserve yesterday's memories:

To start with, today Sweetie is sick. Currently she's spending Saturday snoozing soundly on the sofa - snoring, snuggling Teddy, hopefully sleeping off the sick (is that enough "s"'s for ya?)

My mom dropped her off at our work yesterday afternoon so we could go to Barnes and Noble for Pajamarama Storytime. It was to be our first time going and an actress who used to regularly appear on The West Wing, Annette Sousa, (I have no idea what role she played, even though we've watched the show for years) was the guest reader.

First we went to the "O Store" (Target) to get some necessities. Then we headed to B&N. All the while Sweetie seemed logey - just going with the flow, not putting up any fights, yet happy enough to be going to the bookstore to hear a story. Her quiet demeanor didn't seem too out of the ordinary to us as she did fall asleep during her car ride with mom. I guess, in retrospect, we should have realiized that her normal post-nap sleepiness usually wears off much more quickly than this.

Another sign we missed - she didn't want to eat Daddy Granola at our work while I finished up some business. She LOVES granola, yet yesterday she said no to it, adding that she in fact did not like granola. Okay, whatever. A bit weird, but not really. She's never been a big eater, sometimes refusing offers just to be contrary, so this symptom went overlooked as well.

Oh yeah. She also told us once - about 45 minutes or so before she actually got sick - that her tummy hurt. Not a usual thing for her to say, but her claim was not accompanied by whining, crying or anything of the like. Just a passing statement. Again - parentily ignored as a sign of impending doom.

So - we're standing in line at the B&N cafe (much to the disappointment of Sweetie who wanted to go straight to the train in the kid's room), ordering our mochas and Asiago Cheese Pretzels (for my husband and I - Sweetie wanted nothing). Sweetie wanted to be up with Daddy and she rested her head on his shoulder. He put her down only so he could get his wallet out and - yuck! - she threw up. Only a little at first, but quickly followed by two more, shall we say, volumous rounds. Good thing we were on the tiled floor of the cafe and not near the books on the carpeted floor. Or by the other kids in the kid's room. Thank goodness for small miracles.

Sweetie handle herself well, not crying or freaking out about what had just happened. In fact, it was almost as if she was on the outside of the experience looking in. I sat with her at a nearby table as my husband gathered our food order (now boxed up to go) and helped the staff clean up as much as he could. Sweetie just sat quietly, wondering aloud what the lady said to her (offering her hope that Sweetie felt better soon), what the boy was doing with the mess (cleaning it up with a mop and bucket) and what had happened to make her so messy ("I opened my mouth and it came out.").

Obviously, we didn't stick around for storytime. And Sweetie was feeling better enough to be mad about it. "No!, NO!" she cried as we left the store, my husband carrying her away from the activity she was so looking forward to. Promises of our own storytime at home were made, easing her sadness a bit. But our 40 minute ride home was still occasionally punctuated by her cries. Cries of sadness and sickness. Thankfully, though, no more actual "sick"-ness.

Until we pulled in our driveway. My husband was just opening her door to help her out when it happened again. Not so much this time, but plenty enough to be sufficiently yucky. Thankfully she only got her carseat cushion and herself. Not the car. Good - everything in the wash!

Including Sweetie. I plopped her in the tub and got her freshened up. And she didn't put up her usual fight with me upon getting out of the bath - she wanted to go see her Daddy.

The rest of the night went okay - no more throwing up. But she went to bed about 1 hour earlier than usual and slept in 20-40 minute stretches - in various locations other than her bed (the Papasan chair, on the floor in her play room behind some garbage bags full of her clothes I've recently packed up to give away, in her bed with me, in our bed with all three of us) until about 1:30 am. She finally fell asleep then, in her own bed by herself, and slept until 5 am. Then she rested again until 6 am.

And now, she's sleeping again. No more throwing up has taken place and she's even had a good deal to drink today - starting with flat soda, then apple juice and finally just a bit of chocolate soy milk that she's been wanting since she woke up. Everything has stayed put so far. But she hasn't had any actual food yet today, and it's already 12:30.

We're supposed to go out to our friends' house tonight. Hubby and I for a board game night with the grown ups, and Sweetie for a play date with her little friend. This is the third attempt as of late to get together with these friends. And guess what - it doesn't look like it's going to happen this time either.

I'm torn, though. Like I said, she's not gotten physically ill again since last night. And she's been in pretty decent spirits, only getting a bit more mellow and quiet right before she settled herself on the couch, ultimately falling asleep. She may be fine. But I'm sure it's the better, safer decision to just say no to our plans for tonight. Oh well. Next weekend is her friend's birthday party, so we'll get to see them then at least.

So - that's my Sweetie Saturday story for today. Not exactly what I had in mind to set the tone for future Sweetie Saturdays. No talk of Sweetie's recent interest in things being fair or unfair. No mention of her repeated request that Daddy buy her an avocado at the store. Not even a funny mention of Sweetie's new favorite dance she made up - "The Nana".

Those stories will have to wait until next time. Unless, of course, this coming week fills up too quickly with even more silly, crazy, zany Sweetie-isms that I feel I have to share with you all instead.

Until then - I've got a Sweetie to take care of. You all take care now too, ya hear?