Make it Rain…

wpid-img_20150215_152346_657.jpgFor those of you who have never watched a rap video, Making it Rain, according to urban dictionary, is when one, “throws a lot of money into the air at a strip club to show the ladies how rich you are.” I am pretty sure that this has been a lifelong dream of my husband.  I know this because every time he takes money out of the ATM for the nanny he offers to “Make it Rain” if I want to dance for him.   So far, his advances have been met with an eye roll.

We were lucky with Z.  She is a thumb sucker so we never had to worry about additional paraphernalia at bedtime.   But, Baby Bird has been a different story.   She requires a paci at bed every night.   And…. if she looses said paci, then it results in screaming.

I had the bright idea that we would just place a couple of extra pacis in her crib so that if she lost it in the night that she could easily placate herself.   This was great until she started clutching a paci in each of her tiny, clenched fists.  Now she cries if she doesn’t have a paci in her mouth and both hands.

So now we have fixed this problem by keeping a bucket of pacis nearby and tossing handfuls in every time we put her to bed.  Sometimes she wakes with one in her mouth and 2-3 in each hand.  It occurred to me the other night that tossing handfuls of pacis at a one year old was not the “Making it Rain” that my husband has been dreaming of.  Oh how life has changed.  wpid-img_20150215_152346_657.jpg

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My Life as an Exhibitionist

Confession time…. I don’t get to shower regularly. Okay, so I do get to take a whore’s bath every day (cleaning the vital areas for business), but only about twice a week do I get to luxuriate in a shower (for the ten minutes required to wash my hair and shave my legs). Otherwise it is just jumping in quickly to do the necessary.

So, let me set the scene. We have all had the flu this week and earlier in the day Baby Bird threw up on me more than once. It may be in my hair. I am super gross.   I am really looking forward to this shower.   My husband announces that he also needs a shower which he takes for about twenty –five blissful uninterrupted minutes.

When he finishes, I inform him that it is my turn.   Z is entertained by Granny.   Baby Bird is asleep.   THIS IS MY MOMENT.   I head off to the shower and hear my husband using his neti-pot it what can only be described as an ode to the memory of a dying whale.   This was one minute into the shower.

At about a minute and a half, Baby Bird wakes up due to the tortured hunchback snorting in our bathroom.   Seconds later, I feel cold air hit my backside and as I rinse the shampoo from my eyes quickly (it burns, it burns), I look down to see my husband holding the baby and sitting on the floor next to the open shower so we can “talk”.

I demand that the shower be closed. My request is met with reluctance and hostility. I look down and can see a pair of tiny hands on the glass like a scene from a horror movie trying to gain entry.   Then she is licking the door.

At about three minutes in, Z comes running in screaming, “I peed in the POTTTTEEEEE.”

Folks, this isn’t news. She has been doing this for like six months intermittently, mostly for chocolate.   She still expects us to receive it with the same excitement. It is getting old.

And on cue, at about four minutes, Granny comes in to hang out with the kids, so for the record, during my relaxing shower, both of my children, my husband, and now my Mother-in-Law are all chilling in the bathroom.

It was the best shower I have had all week.

Jesus, Thank you for our Christmas Stomach Flu

Dear Lord, thank you for the Christmas stomach flu,

Thank you that it hit my girls a little before Christmas so they still got to enjoy the magic of your birth.

Thank you that Z doesn’t bother to wake us up when she throws up.  She just vomits in one corner of the bed, piles some toys on the top of it and sleeps in another corner.   It isn’t fun to clean up the next day, but it makes for a better night of sleep.

On a related note, thank you that when I found my toddler covered in dried puke with every toy and blanket she owns likewise coated that I had hot, plentiful running water to clean both her and her toys.  Thank you that I didn’t have to walk several miles with a sick toddler and a baby to draw up water from a well to clean my daughters.  Thank you that I had an entire stick of Oxi-Clean on hand to get the stains out.

Thank you Lord that Baby Bird only had a touch of it. When she had a poosplosion of epic proportions and my husband held up a sleeper covered in baby waste shaking his head we both knew we weren’t going to try to salvage it.   Thank you that I wasn’t standing at the sink with my hands covered in filth trying to salvage something so disgusting because we are just so blessed that we can just buy another sleeper.

Thank you that when my mother got sick that there were good friends at her work willing to drive her home and help her.

Thank you that Dr. Pepper is also on the road to recovery.

Thank you for our excellent health on most days of the year.  Lord, thank you that I am not holding a sick and hurting child every day wishing I could make them feel better.

Thank you for Phenergan.

And Ginger Ale….

And Ritz Crackers…..

And Lysol.

Amen

The Wounds of Parenting

Z, my two year old has been attending gymnastics class for the last two months.  I say attending because it is largely her running around randomly or crying.    Generally she will do a few tricks with the promise of a lollipop at the end of class.  When she received her first lollipop it was with some consternation that she declared, “lollipop…. it’s like a sucker!”   (Did I mention this kid is a genius).

At first, she adorably referred to it as “flip class”, but now if I ask if she wants to go to “flip class” she haughtily corrects me and says, “It’s Gymnastics” as if she’s Dominique Dawes.

At last flip class Z managed to perform a contortion in such a way that it nearly resulted in a concussion for Mommy.   She didn’t seem to notice the blinding pain that she had caused me and kept happily doing log rolls.

When we arrived home, I decided to rest from my closed head trauma by relaxing on the floor and allowing Baby Bird to crawl all over me as is her new favorite nine-month old pastime.  She promptly crawled onto my chest and shoved her first finger on her right hand so far into my nose that her jagged, impossibly sharp baby fingernail ruptured something and I immediately started bleeding.

baby fingernails

I am thinking about what could have possibly given Baby Bird this idea.  I flash back through the lancinating pain to a moment in flip class where Z and her new friend were discussing their “stuffy noses”.   I was thinking to myself how great it was that she was socializing appropriately when I noticed that the other little girl had started picking Z’s nose prompting her mom to recite the well known saying, “You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.”  I had largely viewed this as anecdotal and not instructional until this point.

As I was trying to staunch the bleeding, Z leaps from the couch in what can only be described as a Bruce Lee impersonation and lands a windmill kick squarely to my left ear, rupturing my eardrum.  My world goes dark with pain.   I am bleeding and about to vomit from the instant vertigo that this perfectly landed blow has caused.

In fairness, as I was writhing on the floor, crying, Z did give me “double hugs” and got her Doc McStuffins doctor bag to give me a “check up”.

While I was still bleeding and deaf in one ear, she put a bandage on my thumb (which ironically was not injured), kissed me, and declared me to be “all better”

 

A Joyful Moment

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There are wonderful, priceless times in our lives. These are times that we are carefree and joyous; times were the bad things in life don’t seem so large. When I was young, it was easy to overlook these times and not recognize what a blessing they were.   As I get older, when I have one of these transient life-moments of delight interspersed between the moments of pain, it is easier to distinguish it as the glimpse into heaven that it is meant to be.

When I was in medical school, we lived in the University Cabana Apartments, affectionately known as Cabanaland.   This was not some pre-professional school luxury condo.   This was a section eight apartment complex in Memphis.   Let me say that again so it can sink in. It was a section eight apartment in Memphis.   Also, this complex had eight foot fences with razor wire around the top, and an ACTUAL moat around it.   Okay, so maybe it wasn’t an actual moat as much as it was a giant culvert going around the whole property to drain overflow sewage from the city, but it did make me feel marginally safer from outside marauders. There was also a twenty-four hour armed security guard at the gate.

One sunny afternoon, Hipster Doctor found a bag of crack and money on our adjacent front porch.   She, being the good Samaritan that she is, turned this over to the security guard (who incidentally was later fired for being found high in one of the public bathrooms on the property. I think there is a possible connection here, but I cannot be sure.)   I think I would have flushed the crack and kept the money (considering my husband and I were living on about $9500 annually).   One of the neighbors (a self-professed cocaine aficionado) came by all the time to borrow our phone (this was the day of land lines).

I miss lovely summer evenings at the Cabanas when a string of tricked out Caddys, Buicks and Cutlasses would come pick up a parade of scantily-clad, deftly made-up young women for their evening employment.

So you may ask, “What was so great about being poor in a section eight housing unit in Memphis filled with crime, drugs and hookers?”   This is a valid question.   No argument, but let me tell you what else the Cabanas featured.   Hubby’s sister, Aunt Panda, my brother, Dr. Pepper, Wild Pharmacist, Italian Stallion, Tim The Overly Italian Optometrist, The Librarian, Art Student, Hipster Doctor, Insane Newscaster (story to follow at eleven), and Evil Genious all lived at the Cabanas.

Every single one of my friends at the time lived in Cabanaland.   There was always someone to go to dinner, or a movie, or for a walk at any time.   There was constant entertainment at a moment’s notice. Impromptu parties abounded, and someone always had a video game system fired up somewhere.   I was too naïve at the time to realize that this was magical and something that most people don’t experience.   I didn’t know that for the rest of my life I would have to work to socialize and plan for a party.   It was about the last couple months as we were graduating and it was coming to an end that it hit me that this time in life was a gift from God. It was my support during a difficult time, giving me good memories and fun times to sustain me. When it was over, I mourned these times.

As I have grown in age and wisdom, I have come to distinguish these enchanted times in my life. As I was getting ready for church last week, I was standing in front of the mirror brushing my hair.   My daughters were dressed in beautiful matching outfits. Z was dancing around in a sunbeam from the window with motes of dust sparkling in the air singing, “Mommy, look, sparkly!”, while Baby Bird was army crawling after her and shrieking with laughter.   As I watched her exultant expression, sun shining on her hair, so delighted in this discovery that we have all experienced of the beauty of dust dancing in the sun, it hit me with a force that took my breath away that this is one of those joyful moments.   I am drowning in joy.

I wish I could bottle these moments of my daughters laughing and playing as sweet chubby babies to sustain me in sad times to come.   I wish I could freeze them like this. I know there are times to come when I am not their hero.   There are times to come when they won’t greet me at the door with screams of excitement.

Now I know a joyful moment when I see one.   These days are a gift from my Father, and my Father only gives good gifts.   James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. All praise to the one who knows my heart and crafts these perfect moments just for me.

UT Extension is a “Party” Extension

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We decided to take the girls to the local Ag Extension to view their Fall display for some family weekend fun.  For you Yankees,  an “Ag Extension”  is the local university’s agricultural extension service.   They run experiments and give advice to the local farmers and run seminars and such.  They provide a valuable service to the community.

Good times were had by all.  We viewed pumpkins and flowers and grass displays.  Baby Bird slept through the whole thing while Z picked up acorns referring to them as “her donuts”.

I have a couple valuable conclusions regarding our trip to the Ag Extension.  First of all, I am doing something wrong as a parent.  My daughter is TWO years old.  TWO.   How does this kid not know what a donut is?   I am going to have to remedy this situation very soon.  Secondly, These displays were gorgeous, but I think there may be some substance abuse problems involved in their creation.  I will let you judge the evidence.

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Notice my first image on this post with all the trippy little fluid filled vials.  Pretty, hypnotic, makes me want a cheeseburger.  See the above image?  All the concentric circles? Also trippy.  Notice their are wine bottles all over the display providing a sculptural element.   That seems like a good thing for children.  It reminds me of Dr. Pepper’s kitchen circa 1998.   But, wait folks, that’s not all….. check these out.  IMG_20141018_110431_571 IMG_20141018_110350_782

That is a LOT of wine!  I don’t know who is responsible for these awesome displays, but I need to get invited to their next party.

I Am Judging YOU Moms of Chick-fil-A

chick fil a

A blog has recently gone around Facebook about a mom saying she isn’t judging other mothers who are on their iPhone at the park and not taking care of their children. She says a lot of beautiful and flowery things about how she understands that those mothers are tired and this may be the only time of day that they have to themselves.

I get that, I do, but the time to be on your iPhone and have some privacy is in your own home with the bathroom door locked while you are pretending to poop like a normal person. So that lady on her blog may be nicer than me and she may not be judging you, but news flash, I AM judging you.

I had a couple of days off in the middle of the week the other day and decided to do something novel with my physician friend, Hipster Doctor and her baby girl Jabberwocky. My two girls and I joined HD and Jabberwocky for trolling Target followed by a play date lunch at Chick-fil-A.

Our local Chick-fil-A has an enclosed playground, and I must admit that they are fantastic at catering to the Ladies Who Lunch crowd. They took my order, and noticed my hands were full so they offered to bring my tray out to me while I got the girls settled in the playground area. What I didn’t realize is that the playground at Chick-fil-A is more like a Mixed Martial Arts Cage Match than a playground. It is a freaking free for all.

There was a veritable cavalcade of women who obviously do this daily either sitting isolated while playing on their iPhone, or with groups of friends happily gossiping, but they all had one universal thing in common. None of them seemed to give a crap what their precious angels were doing. I witnessed big kiddos shoving little kiddos to the ground without so much as a raised eyebrow. One portly little boy was going around spitting on the ground where the little kids were playing and I had to go talk to him myself about not spitting where other people have to play. He looked absolutely astounded and shocked that he had been corrected by an adult.

The good people of Chick-fil-A had graciously provided a dispenser of individually wrapped purel wipes to help sanitize the children after their play date in tuberculosis-laden sputumville. I witnessed two delightfully smocked children in expensive, lovely outfits repeatedly rip over half of these out of the dispenser and open them up to throw both the wrapper and the wipes on the floor. They finally stopped when I asked them to. I wish their mothers cared as much about the growth of their character as they do about how they look when they go out. My children left the house in Target hand-me-downs instead of fifty dollar boutique chic, however; if they behaved that way, it would be their A%$. When I pointed out what the girls were doing to their mothers, it was met with an overwhelming look of “whatever.”

I realize that being a mother is a hard job. I get that. I have the same job. My Pottery teacher has perhaps the sweetest, most polite three little girls I have ever known and in the words of The Hairy Potter and his wife, The Jillionaire, “Discipline has to be like gravity with kids. It is a force that is always on.”

I totally understand that you are trying to have a relaxing lunch with your friends…. Me too, and so is everyone else at Chick-fil-A midday with their little ones. In a few years when my daughters still listen to what I have to say and your little sociopath burns the house down you may wonder where you went wrong. (Okay, that last part may be a little extreme.) I allege that it went wrong with everyday opportunities like this when you failed to teach your children courtesy to the good folks of Chick-fil-A and to the other patrons. If you are unable to instill these values in your five year old, what is your sixteen year old going to look like? What kind of citizen are you rearing? So yes, I am judging you mothers of Chick-fil-A for all the good it will do in the face of your eye-rolling ambivalence.

Stagnation

IMG_20140218_185602_659                I have a confession to make.   I co-sleep. I know, I know, there was no stronger opponent to this abhorrent practice than myself. As a physician, I have had the unpleasant, heart-breaking task of pronouncing four babies dead from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and all but one of these was due to co-sleeping. Now granted, alcohol or drugs were involved in each of these cases, but that did not alter the tragic look on the parent’s faces, or my hardline stance on the practice. It was during this depressing time in my life that I determined that I no longer wanted to work in an Emergency Department setting. It was also when I became a strong adversary to the co-sleeping movement. I preached loudly to patients and friends alike about the dangers of co-sleeping and how they would most certainly roll over and smother their baby beneath their ponderous, non-organic food eating American fat rolls.  

                That was BBB or Before Baby Bird. I understand that there are some co-sleeping, baby-wearing, attachment-parenting, modern hippies who actually enjoy co-sleeping and do this as a matter of personal preference. I assure you I am not in this crowd. I enjoy building a pillow fort around myself and having as much sleeping space to myself as possible. I would get twin beds like Lucy and Ricky if my husband would let me. My co-sleeping experience is a little less granola and a little more like being held hostage by a tiny tyrant.

                Baby Bird will absolutely not sleep without being able to both touch and see me, and if Baby Bird doesn’t sleep, then NO ONE sleeps. We have tried tricking her by putting a pack and play or a co-sleeper in the room, even shoved up next to the bed with my arm draped precariously off the edge of our bed to be in constant contact with her minute, heaving chest. Baby Bird is neither fooled nor appeased by that. She wants to be IN our bed, and as of late she has added an extra entertaining and particularly demanding element to her evening routine.

                The newest element of torture she has employed against us is obligatory hand holding. That’s right, hand holding. I must take her diminutive fist in mine and hold it between my hands until she falls asleep. Don’t tell my captor, but I secretly love this part of the bedtime ritual. She caresses my hand with her free hand over and over again until she falls asleep while wriggling her petite captive hand betwixt my palms. I fall asleep happy every night.

                Then, the creeping sensation settles in. I am in that dreamlike state somewhere between waking and sleeping. It is subtle at first, a gradual loss of proprioception. We have all experienced it. Your body is heavy and you no longer can feel where your leg is in space without twitching it slightly. I know logically that my hands still encase this petite treasure in their grasp, but I can no longer feel her movement against my palms. Occasionally she will quiver in her sleep and I will feel her precious presence. Sometimes, even though I know it may wake her, I stir slightly myself to feel her move.

                I reflect on my relationship with God. When I am standing still and refusing to move in my faith it is harder and harder to feel His presence. Sometimes I will feel a flicker of his movement over me in my stagnation, but in order to really feel Him, and I mean really feel Him, I find that I must move. Even if it is the slightest shadow of a movement toward Him, I am rewarded by the feeling of His enveloping presence.

                For now, I will enjoy the ephemeral, all too transient feel of my baby’s touch. I wonder if God in His omnipresence and eternal nature finds our touch so fleeting as well, as this time passes us by, or can He just revisit joyful times with us at his will?

 

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