Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hubby’s stupid work schedule continues. It’s taking a toll on Peanut and me. I’m feeling like a single parent and hating it. Peanut is in the midst of Daddy separation anxiety. He cries nearly every morning at daycare, even on days when he goes immediately to the playground. I brought in a family picture at daycare’s request because he asks for Daddy so often during the day. He begins asking me as soon as I pick him up in the evenings. “Dada?” “Home?” “Dada?” Once we get home, it's "Dada?" "Nigh-nigh?" (Is Daddy sleeping?) When the three of us are together, he's really big into pointing to each of us in succession, reinforcing that we're a family. "Dada, Mama, Peanut. Dada, Mama, Peanut."

Monday, August 28, 2006

This weekend was a crazy end to a crazy week. There were 3 or 4 shootings over a span of 5 days. Hubby was called out every night except, thankfully, Tuesday when I was sicker than a dog.

We stopped by Mom’s Saturday evening to drop off some prescriptions. She’s still having all sorts of G.I. tract problems and isn’t in much shape for getting out. Shortly after we pulled into the trailer park, the car in front of us was nearly hit by a truck skidding through an intersection. The truck sped off and we weren’t able to get the tag number. I assumed it was a handyman of some sort since the truck had a shovel, some gas canisters (for a welding set up) and some other stuff in the bed.

Ten or 15 minutes after sitting down at Moms, we heard loud revving, skidding tires, and a crash followed by Mom’s front yard palm tree* swaying crazily around. Hubby ran outside while I comforted Peanut who was freaked by the noise and us all jumping up. I checked on Hubby a few minutes later to find the truck from earlier crashed in Mom’s front yard and Hubby detaining the very drunk driver. I went back inside and called 911. I could hear the man arguing with Hubby, so I held Peanut and paced the house. When I checked again, Hubby asked me to call again and have them step up the dispatch. The man resisted, so Hubby had him on the ground.

Their interaction (as later told by Hubby) went something along the lines of:

“Sir, I need you to stand her by the truck. I’m going to detain you until an on-duty officer arrives.”

The guy keeps heading for the back of the truck toward the shovel.

“Sir, do not put your hands on the shovel.”

He touches the shovel. Hubby moves him away. The guy reaches for it again, so Hubby moves him toward the front of the truck. The guy tries to break free. Hubby takes him to the ground.

“You’re breaking my arm! You’re breaking my arm! You’re breaking my arm...” (This went on for a while and I could hear it from inside the house.) “I want handcuffs. Where are your handcuffs? You said you were a cop!”

“Do I look like I’m on duty? “

“This is brutality. You’re prejudiced.”

“I’m only prejudiced against drunk drivers.”

Finally two marked units arrive, followed by a third. A short while later a fire truck and ambulance show up, too. By this point the driver is falsely claiming Hubby kicked him in the head. Several park residents are gathered around. One of the arriving deputies takes photos of the man’s head to show there is no bruising or blood; his only injuries are some scrapes on his hand from the take-down.

Peanut and I go outside to look at the fire truck. A deputy takes the driver away, everyone else leaves, and a traffic investigator arrives to finish up.

We head home and turn on the laptop to see what came of the drunk driver. He’s at the hospital. Hubby notices a red dispatch (uh-oh). It’s an unattended death. His work phone rings. Guess where he’s off to…

Sunday evening we head down to the substation near Mom’s so Hubby can print out his report (required since the driver claimed Hubby beat him). His laptop battery dies, no one has a power cord to fit, and all the detectives’ offices are locked, so he has no access to a docking station. The report has to be turned in before 6 am Monday when the sergeant goes off duty (never mind that Hubby has worked 7 out of the 7 last days, often till 2 or 3 am.) We leave and just as we’re about to turn onto the main road, who crosses in front of us? Why, it’s the drunk driver! He was released after his court appearance and was walking home. Hubby refrained from running him down.

We head to the substation near our house where Hubby finally prints the report. After Peanut and I go to bed, Hubby drives back down to the other sub and drops it off.

*Mom’s been talking about having that tree removed ever since she moved in. If the tree wasn’t there, the truck, gas canisters and all, would have been in Mom’s kitchen.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Big spaghetti dinner + incubating stomach bug = a very long, rough night.

I've become re-acquainted with my old best friend Ginger Ale. Saltines will be stopping by later. Apple Sauce and Broth called to let me know they're in town, too.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Last night, after the 10 minute tantrum because Peanut didn’t want help with his bottle, Hubby asked: “Are you a baby or a big boy?”

“Boy” was Peanut’s reply.

Neurotic cat pooped by the front door this morning, just as we were getting ready to leave, and despite Hubby’s efforts to steer her to the litter boxes. Fucker.

Today will be another low-to-mid-90s day. I’m so done with summer.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Things have been chugging along at their usual, fairly boring pace in selzachland. Not that I'm complaining. Boring is much better than stressed-out and hectic. Hubby will soon be training a detective new to the unit, so we'll be back to an erratic on-call schedule.

Peanut became the proud owner of a new pair of shoes last night. He's been strutting around like hot stuff in them. He managed to kick off and lose one of the old shoes somewhere in the mall and after carefull retracing our steps, we came up with nothing. Lost and Found later called to report a kind soul had turned it in.

We've had middle of the night freakouts the past couple of nights. We're not sure what's up. Maybe teething.

He cracked his head pretty hard at daycare the other day (bad enough for them to call us) and has a huge egg in the middle of his forehead.

Little dude loves music. We've been watching Rockstar Supernova each week. Last night Peanut pulled out his drum and started beating on it during the show and played even louder once a song started. He was messing around with the drumsticks, too. Musician=cool. Tommy Lee=hell no. And they finally axed Zayra. She had the attitude and quite a style, but she always sounded off key.

Dad made it back from his ill-timed business trip - he flew out on the 10th (the day terrorist plot came out). We thought everything was cool, but he ended up coming home a day late after the first plane had engine troubles and the second plane somehow ended up with a broken door.

Mom is still her usual with the crazy health issues. She's now back to her semi-retired gastroenterologist. Apparently the new "great" doctor wasn't so great after all. Whatever.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The weekend went smoothly after all. Hubby and Peanut met up with the family on Friday for a visit to Animal Kingdom. Peanut took to MIL and immediately began calling her “Nanny.” In fact, he asked for her all weekend. They had a great time at the park, even without an afternoon nap. Peanut loved the safari ride and even survived the 3-D bug’s life show…with 3-D glasses and all. Hubby was much braver than I would be!

Nanny stayed with us Friday night, sans Friend, thank dog! We’re not sure what happened, but it seems Friend decided not to stay with us after all (hmmm, maybe she realized she was imposing? Probably not.) We tooled around Saturday and met up with the rest of the family for dinner at Arabian Nights. Peanut was scared by the pre-dinner magic show, which was painfully loud. Why do theaters and other entertainment places insist on putting the volume at ear-splitting level? The experience would not be lessened by a more comfortable volume. In fact, it would be better and less scary for the little kids. He kept saying “bye” and pointing to the exit. After a few rounds in the gift shop, he settled down and we were able to go back into the main hall. In retrospect, the loud pre-show was a great threshold-upper. By the time we got to dinner, Peanut was no longer freaked out and loved the horses, lights, clapping, and yelling. He even clapped and hooted during the interactive parts of the show (so cute). Each time an act ended he’d yell “BYE! BYE!!” to the horses.

The food was mediocre, but that’s not what we were there for. Free beer and wine (yes!) and our funny waiter more than made up for the food. The horses and stunts were fantastic, although the storyline was hokey (as expected.) It was great entertainment for the kids, with goofy, clean humor. The Gypsy scene was my favorite – flashy costumes, lots of acrobatics on and off horseback. Ponytailed men with sixpacks didn’t hurt, either!

After dinner we hung out at the hotel for a bit. Peanut and his cousin had a blast playing with her toys and running laps around the place. We left well past bedtime once Peanut started asking for his ba-ba. We had to make due with a sippy cup, which worked. He zonked out around halfway home.

Yesterday was a nice, relaxing day. We did our usual trip to the park, fed the ducks, and showed off our playground skills to Daddy. After several requests for Nanny, Hubby called her and let Peanut talk on the phone. He was so pleased.

Bedtime was unreal. Peanut drained 2 ½ bottles and still would not settle down. We read the night-night story. We snuggled on the couch. Hubby sang. Hubby and Peanut went in Peanut’s room. Hubby finally put Peanut in bed with me and after much crying, fussing, flailing, standing up, and clamboring over us, he fell asleep. At 10 pm. Ninety minutes past betime.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I was so proud of Hubby last night. He didn’t go to $eaW0rld because of some work that came up. When he spoke to his mom, she said how bad she feels that Peanut barely knows her. Hubby responded that he wished we could visit more often, but it works both ways. How she’s so busy taking care of the other grandkids, she has no time for us and that maybe it’s time to let her daughters raise their own kids. He said it as kindly as he could, and I’m so glad he did. Peanut is too young to notice or even care, but I’m tired of feeling like we’re sloppy seconds. I know it hurts Hubby’s feelings and eventually Peanut will notice that the other grandkids get a lot more time and attention than he does. I hope she takes it to heart and will take the time to visit more often or at least make time for us when we visit her.

She’s supposed to stay overnight with us tonight (fingers crossed that it actually happens). The bad news is that her friend invited herself along, too. I wish she had said something other than “I’m sure they won’t mind” when friend asked if she could stay. The house is a mess and we really don’t feel like entertaining the opinionated friend. So help me if she tries to oust MIL from the guest room so she doesn’t have to sleep in the office with the litterboxes. Yep, it gets stinky and it’s not the greatest place to sleep, but that’s what you get for inviting yourself over. If she doesn’t like that option, she can sleep on the couch, or go back and stay at the hotel with HER family.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Peanut’s Elmo doll, compliments of, arrived yesterday. Hubby placed it prominently so Peanut would see it when we entered the house. He instantly saw the doll and exclaimed “Melmo!” Melmo accompanied us on our nightly walk around the neighborhood, buckled into the wagon for safety.

The word explosion continues. Key and hat were added to the repertoire just this morning. Last night, as Peanut poked at my boobs (a recent interest on his part) I said “boobie” half-jokingly. He responded with “beebee” and proceeded to point at Hubby’s chest then his own. I’m praying he doesn’t share that one with the daycare ladies, especially with the touching bit.

Hubby’s mom, youngest sis & family, and his mom’s friend & her family arrived in Orlando last night. The original plan was for Hubby and Peanut to meet up with them for lunch today and a theme park tomorrow. Of course, that all changed after Hubby had already dropped Peanut off at daycare with plans to mow the yard and do some chores before heading out to lunch. So now they’re off to $eaW0rld during the hottest part of the day. Hubby tried to talk me into leaving work early, but I declined. It’s going to be miserably hot, I’m not sure how Peanut’s nap will work into the plan, our niece is notorious for whining/crying until she gets her way (no one will say no to her), and I really don’t want to listen to SIL deliver a dissertation on all the things we should be doing HER WAY WHICH IS THE BEST AND ONLY WAY.

I’m sure I’ll get my fill this weekend. Family drama. Good times.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I'm so glad this story came to a happy ending.

I was watching TV with Peanut last night when a photo of Austin came up with the news he was missing. How easily a 5 year-old child was able to disappear from school during an approximately 300-foot walk scared the crap out of me. I hope the authorities do some serious investigating into the elementary school, after-care program, and the daycare he ended up at. One teacher escorting 40 kids is ridiculous during the first week of school. They should have had several sets of eyes on those kids. The after-care program sounds like they were the most on the ball - at least they quickly realized he was absent and reported to the school. The other daycare baffles me. Don't they have rosters of which kids should be on their vans? I realize that there were probably many new kids and the driver wasn't familiar with them all yet (only the second day of school) but that's negligent. Apparently he used another child's name once at the daycare center, but I can't believe it took them until 11 pm to realize who he was.

When I think back to elementary school, we were always escorted to other classrooms, lunch, recess, bathroom break, etc. We walked single file and the teachers got on our asses if we talked or broke the line. (Maybe public schools are more lax than parochial?) After school, we had a designated line for each bus and a teacher called out the buses as they pulled up and watched everyone get on. It seemed overkill to us kids, but it was a system that worked.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Yesterday, Mom and I had her cat Ashley put to sleep. Mom called about an hour after lunch, and with her usual lack of tact dropped the bomb on me that he needed to be put to sleep. Now. No, it couldn't wait. I asked her to get a Saturday appointment, but the vet is only open on alternate weekends and this Saturday is on the off weekend. She hung up on me when I told her I couldn’t take time off work. I called her back and asked her to get a late appointment today. She got one for yesterday (as in two hours away from our phone conversation) and by that point I was so frustrated I agreed and begged the boss for permission to leave early.

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Ashley didn’t seem all that sick to me, although he had obviously been losing weight. Mom said he had occasional good days and frequent bad days of puking and not eating, but he always seemed happy and alert when I visited. According to her he was no longer eating anything offered, but he had gone through anorexic spells before. The night before last he violently threw up in the hall outside her bedroom, then got in bed with her and pawed and meowed at her. She then decided it was time.

I considered consulting with the vet alone, but it would have just been prolonging the inevitable. He was her cat and if she felt he was suffering, it was her decision to ease his discomfort.

The vet and his staff were very condiderate and compassionate. We sat with Ashley across our laps as the vet administered the sedative. It was quick, almost instantaneous. They let us have as much time as we needed, then the tech came and made a paw impression for Mom to take home.

I hope we made the right decision.

Ashley found Mom when he was just a feisty little scrap of a tabby kitten, full of personality. He ran up to her as she was taking trash to the community dumpster, meowing his little head off. (In rural NC there is no trash pickup. You either take it to the local dumpster or directly to the dump.) She didn’t have the heart to leave him; the dumpster was only a few hundred feet from a busy 4-lane highway, so she let him in the car and took him home. My childhood cat was still alive, but old and very frail, so mom left Ashley with a neighbor for a couple months until she had the old girl put to sleep. Ashley was simply too rambunctious for an elderly cat who just wanted to sleep on a warm lap and be left alone.

When Ashley finally came home, he was quite the little stinker. He loved to use his claws on everything, people included, and was constantly in trouble. He managed to knock over a heavy room divider which wedged against the bathroom door, effectively barricading him in. Mom had to call the local fix-it guy, who somehow cracked the door open far enough to cut out a hole on the inside and work the divider free. Mom was hours late for work and was absolutely livid. Ashley was nearly tossed out for that episode.

He managed to annihilate our woodpile-residing family of chipmunks as well as many birds. He attempted to get the resident hummingbirds, but they were too quick and would tease him mercilessly with fly-bys. He would spend hours under the feeder hoping to snatch one.

He was quite the outdoor kitty in those days. Mom lived in a little cabin on a mountain, so he had acres and acres for roaming. He’d disappear for 2 or 3 days, then show up hungry and tired. He’d crash at the house for a week or two, then go on another expedition.

He was the only cat we’ve had that would go on walks with us. He’d start out with us, then find a bug or bird and trail behind. Pretty soon we’d hear sad meows and he’d come bounding back to us. Then he’d run ahead, realize we were nowhere to be seen, and come meowing back. When we’d come to an under-road drain pipe, he’d pop in one side and out the other, his meow echoing.

When Mom moved into town, Ashley had to adjust to indoor life. He hated it at first, but became the consummate housecat. He grew into a sweet lap cat, although he still gave out the occasional swipe when the mood struck.

Rest in peace, little guy. You were well loved.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I’ve been reading a couple of home-birth midwife blogs lately and enjoying hearing the birth stories. I love the idea of a birth without interventions, although I don’t know if I could do a homebirth (I’m too chicken), and with Peanut it wouldn’t have been an option. I considered using a birthing center, but Hubby and I were concerned about what would happen in the event that Peanut or I needed transport to the hospital, so we opted to go with the OB a good friend highly recommended. I had full confidence in my OB, but she didn’t have much bedside manner, was not gentle with her internal exams (my former gyn, a man, was much, much gentler), and she pissed me off during labor. If we ever have another child, I’m pretty certain I’ll use the midwives in my OB’s practice or further research the birthing center.

Even though I’m a homebirth isn’t for me, I love hearing the stories of women who are confident enough in their bodies to deviate from the current “norm” and allow their pregnancies & births to progress as something natural, rather than as a medical condition.

All this has brought about some introspection on my part about Peanut’s delivery and our unsuccessful battle at breastfeeding, which still bothers me, a good 7 months after weaning off the pump.

I took Bradley Method classes while pregnant, in hopes of an intervention-free labor and delivery. The class instructor was also a doula and I considered hiring her, but something just didn’t click. I’m almost certain Hubby felt the same. She flaked out on us at the beginning of class, so we missed the first two (she knew we were going on vacation and scheduled the first class to start while we were away, then didn’t let us know that the 2nd class was moved to earlier in the day, so we showed up after it ended – a good hour’s drive away). It was awkward to join in when we finally made it to class 3, since the other couples had gotten to know each other and had already bonded. On some level, I was afraid if we did hire her, she’d flake out on us at delivery time.

I wonder, though, how things would have differed if I had a midwife and/or a doula. Would I have made it through without an epidural? I don’t regret having one, but it probably would have made for less pushing – I was still very numb, even after the anesthesiologist stopped medicating me, and it took nearly 2 ½ hours to push Peanut out. The nurse even had me wait while after I was fully dilated to let some of the numbness wear off. I loved the L&D nurse, she was awesome. She was supposed to stay in triage, but wound up staying with me instead. I’m so glad she had me wait for some of the anesthetic to wear of before pushing, because I would have just worn myself out otherwise - I was sapped when Peanut finally slid out. I honestly don’t think I could’ve given one more push. I don’t know if they doctor threatening me with a C-section was what did it (like I said, great bedside manner), or the episiotomy (eek) she cut, or if he finally decided to budge. I do know that the horrible nausea and vomiting stopped with the epidural, and there’s no way I would’ve made it puking throughout labor. Were there other anti-vomiting meds available? The nurse gave me something that wore off quickly, but maybe I could’ve gotten something else. I wasn’t with it enough to even think of asking for something else. My thinking was along the lines of “Oh shit, I’m puking again. Guess the meds don’t work. I’m so glad the anesthesiologist is here.” (I had another round of puking just before he put the epidural in). But if I had a doula, maybe she would’ve suggested something else to manage the puking and maybe she could have helped me work through the pain.

The doctor’s c-section comment angered me. I understand she wanted me to get the baby out and she wanted to avoid surgery, since vacuum or forceps (eek again) weren’t an option, but she could have been kinder. You know why I wasn’t “pushing effectively”? Because I COULD HARDLY FEEL.. Peanut came out with big bruising and a lump on one side of his head, so I wonder if his head was at an odd angle and he needed to align correctly before making his grand entrance.

The continuous monitoring also bothered me. Peanut was too jumpy for the external monitor to get a good read. Every time the nurse would finally get it in a good place, he would move. She finally resorted to internal monitoring and we went through 3 leads – they kept falling out. (Internal monitors poke into the baby’s scalp – so that also contributed to the bruising and lacerations on his head. The NICU was worried about infection, so Peanut constantly had antibiotic goop on his head.)

On to the breastfeeding thing. I realize Peanut may never have gotten the hang of it, being a preemie and being bottle fed in the NICU, but I’ve learned so many things since his birth and early days. When looking back at our home videos, I realized he was smacking his lips when given to me after his delivery. I would’ve put him to the breast had I known, and had I known the doctors were going to give us a few minutes with him before whisking him off to the NICU.

The lactation consultants (all 3 that I saw) were of little help. All I heard was “Keep trying. You’re doing everything right. He’ll catch on.” I should’ve been more aggressive in calling and visiting them, but some sort of follow-ups on their part would have been welcome. Preemie, with trouble latching/staying latched, hmmmm, maybe a follow-up or 5 is in order.

No one gave me information on exclusively pumping. The LLL leader mentioned a friend of hers had done it for 2 years (that’s where I learned it could be done*), but her comment was something along the lines of “I don’t think *I* could do that.” She could offer little help with preemies, but did give me LLL’s pamphlet on breastfeeding preemies – it was all old news to me – I had already read everything I could get my hands on. She did put me in touch with the one LC who had good suggestions, but I was only able to get phone consultations with her. Nursing in the tub was one – unfortunately Peanut generally pooped during or just after eating. He latched on great, but we ended up with a floating Baby Ruth.

*After several online searches, I came across a couple of good support communities for exclusive pumpers (listed on the side bar). Without those, I’m positive I would have given it up. No one discouraged me from pumping or told me it was impossible (as some doctors falsely think), but no one offered any real support, either. Yes, pumping is less efficient than a baby, but it can be done with little or no supplementation. I did have to supplement during a few spells when Peanut was in growth spurts, or when I was sick, but I was able to do it until he was a year old and decided I had enough.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

So, I was wondering how long it would take before Peanut started coming to our room at night. Well, last night I found out. I was woken up around 11:30 to pitiful crying, but was confused because it wasn't coming from the baby monitor. In fact it was coming from the direction of the door. As soon as the door handle started rattling, I realized what was up. Sad, abandoned little Peanut was so relieved to see me.

Hubby had been working in the garage the whole time and didn't realize the monitor was off, so he never heard a thing. I have no idea how long Peanut was up and wandering around, but I'm happy he knows where to go.