You Know You’ve Done it Too…

I was hanging out with friends the other night, you know, like you do.    We had enjoyed dinner and brownies, and we were all talking.  About this time, Baby Bird, my 3 year old approached to tell us something.  I scooped her up onto the table.  I couldn’t help but notice she had a giant hunk of brownie hanging from the tip of her precious curls.  I yanked it out of her hair, and did not have a napkin handy.  So, I did what every loving mother would do, I popped the brownie from my daughter’s hair into my mouth for ease of disposal.   One of my guests queried incredulously, “Did you just eat chocolate from your child’s hair?”

Oh Wow… how do I answer that one?   I am getting the vibe that I just did something in public that (although everyone has done in private) should be done in private.  What could I do but just own all that chocolaty deliciousness?

So I replied, “Yeah, I didn’t have a napkin (like that is going to excuse me eating food particles from my child’s hair).”  Come on people, for reals,  like you have never played, “Poop or Chocolate?”  We have all played that game.  It wasn’t something from the floor.  I knew  I had just given my child a brownie.  The odds were ever in my favor on this one, so I defend my actions and it was delicious AND I would do it again.




When Tragedy Happens

With the tragic death of a sweet baby in our small community, emotions are high.  I can relate to and understand reactions that are similar to mine.   My heart aches for a family, a mother, a father,  a sister, a grandmother, a church, a community.   I grieve the loss of a sweet soul to eternity.

What I am struggling with, are the other reactions, the negative and hurtful reactions.   I cannot believe the insensitivity and some of the horrible comments.  I have thought long and hard about why people would be so cruel.

When they say, “I don’t understand why the family is profiting on the death of this baby,” what they mean is, “I am greedy and envious that I cannot exploit some tragedy in my life for financial gain.”

When they say, “That grandmother is too young, and too pretty…. That grandfather has too many motorcycles and tattoos…. That father had a run in with the law in 1999,” what they mean is, “Don’t look too hard at my family.   I try really hard to present an ideal picture on Facebook.  I don’t want you looking too hard at the skeletons and imperfections in my own life.  I don’t want to talk about my cousin who went to jail and my dad who is an alcoholic.”

When they question the searchers and law enforcement, what they really mean is, “I feel like a guilty jerk that I didn’t do my part by getting off my lazy tail to help by searching or sending a casserole.  My criticism of those who participated makes me feel better about how worthless I have been in this endeavor.”

When they say, “I don’t understand how anyone could lose a two-year old,” what they mean is, “I absolutely understand how this happened, because it (has, could, did, is happening) to me right this moment.  (I lose my two year old in my own house at least once a day.)  This is their fear and them reassuring themselves that it couldn’t happen to them, knowing full well that it is luck that it has not happened to them”

When they petition the government for a deeper investigation, what they mean is, “My right to salacious details and gossip is more important than your pain and grief.”

I hope and pray that those with a negative attitude will consider the pain of their words before making further statements.  However involved you feel in this event, your pain is nothing compared to that of a grieving mother and father.  Please measure your words.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear .Ephesians 4:29

Why My Daughter is a Better Person Than I Am

One of my friends recently posted this bit of hilarity on their Facebook feed:


Is it completely inappropriate and mean spirited?  Absolutely.  Also, really, really funny.

Imagine my horror when my three-year old leaned over my shoulder and said, “Is that you mommy?”

What? Really kid?  I haven’t lost the baby weight entirely, but I’m not THAT fat and besides I would never wear that. (Is what I wanted to shout at my child)

Instead I said, “Sweetie, she doesn’t have red hair.  Mommy has red hair.”  (I really didn’t want to mention the size difference because we are working on avoiding mention of such things in front of an impressionable toddler)

She persisted in her belief that it was a picture of me.

I finally asked, “Baby, why do you think that is mommy?”

“Because she looks so pretty and happy,” she replied.

And then I realized that what I saw and what my sweet daughter saw were two very different things.  I love her heart.  I love that she saw pretty and happy where I saw fat and smug.  I wish I saw people with her heart and eyes.

Baby Biscuit


I took Z through a local fast food drive through this weekend to get a biscuit. I have previously discussed her odd dietary habits on my blog. To review, she is three and still eats baby food for at least two meals daily. If it weren’t for baby food and cookies, my child would have starved by now. But, add to this well-rounded regimen a sudden love for biscuits and you are building a food pyramid! She refuses to call them biscuits, referring to them as “butter and salt sandwiches.”

Imagine my surprise that after two bites, I hear Z in the back seat, “Oh, I love you little baby biscuit! I will keep you safe and warm all the way to NaNa and PaPa’s house.”

I glance bemused in the rearview mirror watching her carefully wrap the biscuit up in the paper like a baby.

A few minutes later I hear crying, “I’m SO sorry Baby Biscuit (I capitalize this because by this point, this is the biscuit’s name). I can’t help it Baby Biscuit. You’re so salty and delicious!”

After a few small bites, the biscuit was rewrapped in its blanket.

This scenario was repeated several times on the way to NaNa and PaPa’s.

There were dramatics and tears.

When Baby Biscuit finally met with his demise, we were left with the “blanket” which she used to put several dollies to sleep. Then she wadded it up and said, “Look! It’s like a ball of crumpled-up paper.”

I rolled my eyes, “Yes, Z, It is EXACTLY like that.”

I think she is going to be a really awesome mom someday.

And we’re ALL Winners!!!!

I am pretty sure I offended some people on Facebook the other day… not that there is anything unusual about that.

Friend posts: “So what are some good alternatives to participation trophies for little league basketball?”

I poured over the many comments that said things like, “Gift certificates, t-shirts, and you’re child is a wonderful, special little flower posters,” and without thinking it through, I responded, “How about just giving trophies and prizes to the winners?”

This was not well received.

I come from a place of understanding and compassion. I really do.

Z came to us about six months ago and asked to take “nastics” like her friends. For those of you who don’t speak mangled toddler, this means gymnastics.

Now, once a week we struggle her into a sparkly leotard and take her to nastics. Z is very enthusiastic and squeals with excitement running around in a circle every nastics class. But, here is the kicker…. she sucks at it. She really stinks it up.

The other two and three year olds line up in their colorful little leotards and deftly perform flips, and “skin-the-cats” while I am not really sure what Z is doing. I think I blogged about it before and one time I did catch her allowing another little girl to pick her nose for her. This essentially captures Z’s nastics experience.

She is not good at floor. Her flips are all sideways. She is scared of the balance beam even though it is actually on the floor.   She cannot even jump on the trampoline. It usually results in flailing around like some sort of tortured giraffe trying to escape a tar-pit.

But, Z is happy and cheers for her friends and is learning to follow instructions and stand in line. She is way too little to know she isn’t good at this.   She doesn’t need an encouraging participation trophy.   If she doesn’t listen, I am the first one to declare that she doesn’t get her end of class “yolly-pop” or stamp. When I have done this, it is not a popular decision, and results in tantrums, but sometimes life doesn’t give you a reward for just showing up.

So, even though I will not be rewarding her with a “Certificate of Participation” coupon to Denny’s breakfast bar, I will continue to take her to nastics. Not so my toddler can be a world class gymnast, and not so she can build “self-esteem” (she has that in spades). I want her to learn to listen to and obey her elders. I want her to be kind to her friends and cheer them on in their successes. Is that too much to ask?

Well, At Least It’s Protein….

I am daily astounded by the differences and similarities between my babies. Z is precocious. She was an early talker.   She has made shocking speeches from the time she was eleven months old. Most recently, we have been potty training and we spent an eternally long couple of days in the Mythical Big Girl Panties.   It didn’t go well. We had SEVERAL accidents. Finally, Z looked at me and said:

“Mommy, I think my Big Girl Panties are bwoken.”

I said, “Really, Z, what’s going on.”

“They have holes in them. They don’t hold the peepee,” Z replied candidly.

After trying to contain my laughter, I promptly switched her back to pull ups. Clearly she just isn’t ready for this.

Baby Bird only communicates in a string of grunts and pointing and screaming. It is amazingly, just as effective as Z’s soliloquys.

Z is afraid of everything:

  1. Bugs
  2. Going too far from the house
  3. Anything on TV that is not PBS
  4. Airplanes
  5. Trains
  6. The dark
  7. The dining room (for some inexplicable reason)

Baby Bird is fearless.   She crawls headlong into danger. I lost track of her the other day and looked up and she was half way up the stairs oblivious to her impending head injury.   I was trying to get some housework done the other day and I noticed a black spot on her face. I went over to examine what was going on, and found half a bug hanging out of her mouth. She was happily munching on the other wriggly bit. When I removed the half that was accessible, she grunted, pointed and screamed about the loss of her delicious bug.   Moments after that, I found her trying to smash a snow globe into the carpet with both hands trying obtain access to its delicious contents.

And sand…. Where Z would timidly taste a little play sand, making a horrible face and discarding it, Baby Bird got a cup of the stuff and was drinking it like a med student guzzling coffee at two am on the wards.


I don’t really know what I expected.   I guess I assumed that they would be miniature clones of me. Yet they have their own personalities that I had nothing to do with.   They came out endowed by God as the sweet little individuals I am now responsible for.   I thought they would be a blank slate, but I guess it is more fun un-wrapping the layers that are Baby Bird and Z. It is the most wonderful present I have ever unwrapped.

Hey Jerk, Don’t Bring Your Sick Kid to Church

The last two weeks my family has been afflicted with the stomach virus and we missed church two weeks in a row.  I want to share with you the strange thing that happened.   We did not get struck down by lightening.   I know, it is really strange, in my experience, most people believe that Jesus wants them to go to church no matter their state of health.

I could understand if our church was into faith healing. I don’t think a lot of that showboating actually goes on at our contemporary, coffee-bar style church. Besides, dropping your pestilence-ridden toddlers off at the nursery is NOT an attempt at faith healing. It is just a Jerk move.

I would propose that in addition to the contexts of your child actively spewing forth from both ends, coughing up hunks of green nastiness, or bleeding out their eyeballs that there are several other circumstances that merit staying at home.

  1. If your child has had a fever in the last forty-eight hours perhaps you should skip church or at least the nursery. (One day we were dropping off Z in the nursery and we overheard another couple talking about how their angel had been up sick all night and they were really looking forward to dropping him off for a break. Really? We just turned around and came home.) Also, if you are continually medicating your child to keep their fever down it doesn’t count as “not having a fever”.
  2. If your child has an actively snotty nose, or obvious respiratory infection. Don’t play. You know your baby is sick. Stop lying and saying things like, “oh her nose is really runny when she is teething.” That baby’s snot is green with blood in it. That is NOT teething.
  3. If your child has had stomach virus in the last week or so, you should pass up church. Rotovirus is highly contagious with just a few viral particles and can be transmitted for several days after the acute illness passes.   Plus, it is just gross and miserable and you are not a good person for doing this to others.   (On a related note, saw many people a couple of weeks ago on Facebook comment about how bad the stomach virus was at their house only to see them at church a couple of days I am sure all the volunteers are really going to be sending you a thank you card when they are missing valuable work time because for some reason you felt compelled to bring your sick child to church.)
  4. If your child has a positive flu and/or strep test, YOU. SHOULD. SKIP. CHURCH. (I shouldn’t even have to mention this, but sadly, I do.)

Just consider the above a public service announcement from both a physician and mommy.   Remember that there are other children, elderly and pregnant women at church who may have depressed immune systems. There are also numerous people that cannot be vaccinated for myriad reasons (transplants, allergies, etc.) They rely on us not to expose them to diseases.

I think the problem is that people feel “safe” at church and expect people there to act ethically and in the best interest of the whole community and they do not use the vigilance they would in other public settings to protect themselves against germs. Please realize that God is not going to strike you down for enjoying the sermon remotely while in your PJ’s if your family is sick. We will ALL thank you for this.   Also, remember to wash your hands and vaccinate those kiddos! We are all in this together!

Make IT Stop!

I must speak to and deride a most disturbing trend in Southern fashion.  I am quite sure that much like smocking and pin-tucking that this is a trend only seen in the Deep South and not in the rest of the country.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being from the South, but sometimes, things go too far.  For me, the horror began about a year and a half ago at a consignment sale:


I know, I know, it is really confusing.  Let me explain to you what you are seeing in this photo.  It is a GROWN woman wearing pants with ruffles around the bottom, like a clown.   It takes me back to that horrible period in sixth grade when clown style jumpers were all the rage (this was an actual thing and it was horrifying).   This was a bad idea then and it is a bad idea now.   I immediately knew who was responsible:


Matilda Jane makes a line of clothes for CHILDREN that are considered quite “charming” in some circles.  It is mismatched patterns of gingham and stripes and ruffles that looks like Dr. Seuss and Little House on the Prairie vomited out a confused sad clown.    I will admit, they mostly look cute on children, but the trend has expanded to adults.  I know, it is true.

I was at church group earlier this week and someone was wearing them.   I admit, she is about the size of a fourth grader, and could maybe pull off this look, but it is now everywhere I go, mocking me.   One of my friends sent me a “selfie” of her new “Christmas Pants” just to taunt me.


I mean, she seems happy, but do you SEE how these pants make her look like The Joker?

Clown pants ARE NOT a good look ladies.  Please MAKE IT STOP.   I cant take it anymore.   Everyone should take fashion cues from me and wear ten year old jeans and graphic tees and all would be right with the world.

College Prep


Just like any parent, I really want my girls to have the opportunity to go to college if that is what they desire. To be clear, I don’t believe college is for everyone and there are many paths that are valid such as trade school, apprenticeship, military service and many others that are good choices for different personality types. Contrary to popular belief, college is NOT for everyone. For some, college leaves them forty thousand in debt with a degree in a career that they will never get a job in and have no ability to unburden themselves from this crippling burden. Most of these unfortunate souls can be found clutching their liberal arts degrees while rocking back and forth in their parent’s basements. I don’t want my children to live in my basement forever. I know they are only two and eight-months old, but it is never too early to start considering their education.

The other day I get a phone call at work from my husband. Z has thrown up for the first time.   I shudder with the reflection of my own first vomit experience. It was chili. I was about Z’s age. I vividly recall spewing it onto the colorful carpet of my room. I remember a chili bean being stuck in my nostril for weeks.   I had immediate concern for the trauma that my two-year old had endured.

According to my hubby, he found her in bed with vomit in her hair and had to clean the sheets, the million stuffed animals, and the two-year old (who hates having her hair washed). I felt really bad for him because he is a sympathetic puker.   Hubby showed tremendous fortitude in his biohazard clean up duty.

It disturbed me all day. I was concerned about my baby girl sleeping in that soiled mess for hours.   I felt various emotions. I was sad, empathetic, and a little guilty when I reflected upon all the candy-corn I let her eat the night before (which was probably the cause of the incident in the first place).

When I arrived home I gave Z a big hug and asked her about the incident, “What happened last night Z?”

“I made my bed all sticky and icky and I made a weird noise.”

“A weird noise?” I asked with curiosity.

“Hoooooooouuuuuahhhh,” she responded.

I am familiar with this noise both personally and professionally, “So why didn’t you call for Mommy and Daddy?”

She considered for a moment and with a shrug said, “I just put my pillow and some animals over it and went to sleep on the other end of my crib.”

It was this instant that I realized that all my efforts were successful and this child of mine is far more prepared for college than I had previously suspected.

The Government Sucks

As a physician I have many friends who are nurses. I know, I know, this is somewhat unbelievable as that most physicians never even learn their nurses names and just shout things like, “Hey you!” or, “Nurse!”, or “Get over here!”. But it is true, nonetheless that I have several friends who are nurses. I can name twenty to thirty of them quite easily by name! Let me elaborate a little bit about these awesome people.

Most of the nurses I know are hard-working, and underpaid. They clean up the worst messes you can imagine that would turn most people’s stomachs. They clean patients who may not have bathed themselves for weeks. They serve as waitresses. They get yelled at for getting dinner orders incorrect that they weren’t responsible for taking in the first place.

These lovely people got into this profession so that they could make a decent living while helping people and making a difference in a tangible way. They spend nights and weekends away from their precious babies because this is a calling. While most of us are kissing their children good night, these folks are missing theirs.

But I will tell you what they did not sign up for.   They did not sign up for an incompetent government who refuses to protect them from the threat of a deadly illness. They did not sign up to take care of patients that could kill them with inadequate protection. They certainly did not sign up to risk their lives of themselves and their families while being villainized by the same aforementioned incompetent government.

Make no mistakes folks, these nurses are HEROES. If I were faced with caring for a patient with a disease that is 50-70% fatal and the infectious dose of virus required to obtain the disease was 1-10, I would run screaming. They did not. They are HEROES.   If there was a breach of protocol it was on behalf of the CDC for inadequate preparation, not on the part of the nurses who have probably not been trained in that level of safety equipment in ten years if at all.

If this spreads, which hopefully it will not, a lot of health care workers will have difficult decisions to make. Currently, if they stay and take care of a patient with Ebola and get sick they are eviscerated in the media for their breach of protocol. If they refuse and leave, I am sure they will be demonized as well. They are in a darned if they do, darned if they don’t proposition. It is time we start treating these wonderful people like the everyday heroes they are.

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.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes


I remember having a few nightmares as a child. I had a recurring dream about tornadoes sweeping me away. Ironically, this dream went away after I was actually in a real tornado. I guess there is something to be said for facing your fears.

I remember being about five years old when Dr. Pepper in his infinite wisdom decided it was okay for me to watch Poltergeist. (He was about eleven at the time, so don’t judge him too harshly). That resulted in pretty bad dreams and an inability to sleep with the closet door open for about thirteen years. But one thing no one tells you is that there is something more disruptive and disturbing to your sleep than your own bad dreams, and that is the bad dreams of your two-year old.

Z is a pretty sound sleeper, but about once a month she will wake up screaming lie a banshee because of a bad dream. Here are some of my favorites:

“Z sweetie, what was your dream about?”

“A monster,” (keep in mind that this child is only allowed to watch PBS).

“A monster? What kind of monster? What did he look like?”

“He was blue and he was eating ALL the cookies and then he was going to eat me.”

That’s right folks, kiddo had a nightmare about Cookie Monster. She thought he was going to eat her. She has also had nightmares about dragons in the jungle who were going to eat her (I place the blame squarely on Dinosaur Train for this one).

Last week she woke up screaming and I asked her what was wrong and she told me there was a bug in her bed. I paused for a second on this one because we have had a little bit of a spider problem, and I figured that this was potentially a real situation. So, I emptied her crib and even lifted up her mattress and couldn’t find anything. Upon a more in-depth query it became apparent that the bug in question was a giant purple beetle with pink stripes and I realized that this was probably not a legitimate concern.

By far the most disturbing dream she had was also the one that was most panic inducing. It occurred a few months ago right after she turned two. I awoke to her screaming.

“Z what’s wrong?”

“I was in a rocket and a ball came at the rocket and the ball went BOOM and the rocket went BOOM and I died and Aunt Panda had to take care of my body.”

Wow, that isn’t a creepy thing for your child to say at all you creepy little kid. I don’t really know how my two-year old learned about rockets, or explosions, or death, or embalming. Not sure how this happened, but it is really weird being confronted with it.

Interesting thing, as soon as I come and comfort her, she is calm and ready to go back to sleep immediately. She has even told me, “Mommy strong. You keep monsters away.”

It makes me reflect back on a time in my childhood to one of my earliest memories. I was riding in the back seat with Dr. Pepper while my Mom and Dad were driving us somewhere at night. I was watching the lights of a plane flying overhead and I felt so small and so infinite at the same time. I remember feeling completely and totally safe. I remember feeling like nothing on earth could harm me.

I wish Mommy was strong enough to keep the monsters away.   I wish this was true. I wish that I could protect my daughters from all of the world’s evils. In a world where there are children being killed by hunger, and thirst, and disease and war, I can’t even protect my child from being made fun of on the playground much less any of these larger concerns.

It is humbling to realize how little control I have. I don’t remember the point in life where I realized that my parents really couldn’t protect me. I want my children to hold onto this feeling of security as long as possible.

This is all enveloped in the larger realization that ,my parents were never in control at all, and neither am I. You see, It is my Father in heaven who holds this world, including me and my precious girls in his hands. And I cannot protect them from all the things I consider bad, because some of them are just a result of living in a fallen world, and some of them may be part of his bigger plan for their lives. But it sure is comforting to know that I don’t have to be in charge and I can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Why Children of the 70’s Were Tougher

My mother dropped off a box of books a few weeks ago for the girls.  I assumed all of them were child appropriate as that they belonged to my brother and myself when we were little.  Imagine my surprise and excitement when my daughter brought me this gem:


First of all, you can tell from the cover that this is going to be awesome!   Look at all the firearms.  Those look appropriate for a children’s book.  I would also like to point out that all the folks chasing the little Aryan nation kid on the cover are all brown. That’s a good message for Z to learn as early as possible. I am thinking right away, “This is the perfect book for a two-year old.”  So, we read this with little Z and Baby Bird, and I would like to share my review with you.


So apparently, the malevolent Chinese Dr. Chiang is going to poison the earth’s water supply with a vile salination machine.  I can almost hear Dr. Evil laughing and demanding “One Million Dollars”.    But fortunately, according to this piece of literature, the United Nations are going to send a pre-teen boy to fix Dr. Chiang’s wagon.  Enter our hero:  Johnny Quest.


See that kid in the turban to the left of the table?  That is Johnny’s friend, Haji.  I AM NOT KIDDING.  His actual name in the book is Haji.  Haji is going to help save the world too.


Above is the nefarious Dr. Chiang gently stroking his Fu Manchu.  Y’all, I don’t know what to say about this one.  There is so much implied, unintentional racism I am speechless.



Here on this “television” are Dr. Chiang’s slaves that Johnny and Haji are going to be liberating.  Y’all, this book has everything.  It is environmentally conscious, multicultural (although overtly racist at the same time) and anti- human trafficking with a strong stand on gun control.


You can see here in this picture that every bad guy in the book has a gun.  Contrast this with the fact that Johnny and Haji take down an evil mastermind’s regime with an apple.  Y’all, we’ve been going about this the wrong way.  Someone should alert Israel that their “Iron Dome” isn’t necessary.  Apparently all they need is love and apples to defeat Hamas (who are all named Haji by the way).

As you can see, with all the great messages meted out by this masterpiece, it is easy to understand why children of my generation were tougher than those of today.  All of Z’s books feature animated, big-eyed animals and sight words.  I have to say, I do question some of the parenting decision’s of Dora The Explorer’s Parents. They let that nina get away with a LOT.





Invasion of the Body Snatchers…. or “How I Got Fat”

I know it is hard to believe if you saw me now, but I used to be a size six on a good day and a size eight on a bad day.  I held on to this proudly pretty much all the way through college.  I mean, sure, I put on the dreaded Freshmen Fifteen, and by the time I graduated, I was much closer to an eight on a good day and a ten on a bad day, but still, hotness.

Then there was medical school.  I spent endless hours during my first two years pouring over books.  I made neat little packets of note cards, and would walk around my apartment complex for hours and hours while studying so that I could stay trim.  I was feeling pretty good about myself until third and fourth year of medical school when I worked thirty-six hour shifts at hospital after hospital every third or fourth night.  Guess what?  There was no built in time to exercise, unless you were running to a code, or leveraging all your muscle to pop someone’s arm back into socket.

Also, hospital food is not all it is made out to be.  You would think at a place where you go to make people healthy, that they would have healthy food, but you would be very, very wrong.  For instance, at The Med in Memphis, they actually had Hog Jaw Thursday.  I. am. dead. Serious.  Also, at Ehrlanger in Chattanooga they have perhaps the best apple dumplings you have ever put in your mouth.   I challenge you to resist them when you have been up for thirty-six hours straight.  I challenge you to make healthy food decisions when your body is so tired that you can barely stand up.  Fighting against fate, I was up to a size twelve.

So then came residency.  It is like the extended dance remix of the last two years of medical school.  On-call at the hospital once or twice a week, at least twenty-four hour shifts.  Pizza is an easier choice at this time than a salad.  Time for exercise is pretty much non-existent.

I guess I should insert a diatribe here about how little the medical machine promotes physical and emotional health in the very people that are responsible for public health policies, but I digress.

So then, I started my practice rocking the size fourteen scrubs.  I was doing really well with all this new-found time as a big, grown-up doctor.  I had time to exercise.  I even hired a personal trainer, and started eating healthy and was on the right track, down to size twelve again!  Hurray!

This was until I was helping a friend move, and I got stung multiple times by a wasp.  The wasp got trapped between my face and my glasses and it stung me multiple times.  I became intensely sick at my stomach and swollen all over.  I had never had a reaction like this to a wasp sting before.  It was awful.  Two weeks into it, I was like, “This is ridiculous!” and then I did some basic math, and took a pregnancy test and realized my problem was not a wasp sting.

The first thing that happened in pregnancy was a welcome change.  I realized that my usual B-cup bras were getting a little snug, so I stomped right into the nearest Vic Secret to get some new measurements.

When the girl looked at me and said, “well, that’s a double D,” I was like, “Score!  Most people have to pay for these babies.”

Then, the rest of pregnancy kicked in and I started gaining weight other places, less pleasant places, such as my face, and ankles.  My once graceful, svelte calves melted into an amalgamation of cankle glory.  But, it was okay, because one of the rules is, that when you are pregnant, no matter how big you get, everyone says you look “cute”.

(I must list one noticeable exception to this policy.  My father, during my thirty-fifth week of pregnancy with my second daughter suggested that I get ahead of the baby weight by starting Jenny Craig.  He’s a sweetheart folks.  I get my tact from my father, it is a gift.)

Then there is the great lie of breastfeeding that says you will lose weight by making milk for baby, but what they don’t tell you is that you are going to be as hungry as a line-backer.  I was nearly back down to a trim size fourteen after nursing my first daughter when SHABAAM… pregnant again.

Now, I have weaned Baby Bird, and find myself face to face with the reality that these kids have really screwed with my body.  I don’t even recognize my body anymore.  The double D’s have shrunk back down to baby B’s and my stomach sticks out, and I am a horrifying size sixteen after all this trauma.

I was in discussion with my friend, The Jillionare about when your body goes back to “normal”.  Her comforting advice was, “It never goes back to normal.  It is going to be weird dressing yourself for the rest of your life.”

Okay…. Great.

So something has to be done about this.  I gotta get serious folks.  If you see me around town with a Twinkie in my hand, be a friend and walk up to me and smack that sucker out of there.  I am going to try and get healthier, and I can say it is for an example for my daughters and patients and for good health, but that would be lying.  Really it is so I don’t have to buy new clothes.

No one told me that having babies would change my body forever.  This wasn’t part of the deal.  No one also told me that they would change my heart forever.  No one told me they would change my soul forever.  No one told me that they would change the way I interact with God and with the world around me forever.  I may never see my early twenties body again, but if that is the price I have to pay for this much joy, then so be it and a million times over.  But for now, I guess I am going shopping.  See you at Lane Bryant.

I See Your Yard Biscuit…


Hubby and I had fellow blogger, Underdaddy and his wife, Supermom over for dinner the other night.  We look to them for guidance as that they are in this parenting thing two kids deeper than we are.  We were having a lovely evening.  The kids were playing well enough for us to indulge in some adult conversation.

I recently had read Underdaddy’s post on “Yard Biscuits”.  His number three was learning to potty train which can be a trying time I am told.  While they were swimming with his four small children, he quite expediently told them to “use the yard” so that the constant stream of small wet feet would not be continually tracked in and out of the house.  It is this kind of wise, no-nonsense parenting advice that I have come to appreciate from Underdaddy and Supermom. *

Underdaddy of course meant for his four kiddos to pee in the yard, but the Underdaddy children are extremely good at following very literal instructions.  Imagine his surprise and horror to see number three hunched over in the yard assuming a position very different than the number one pose.

As I said, I am told that potty training can be challenging.  As Underdaddy and Supermom were about to leave, we look up, and Z has pulled off her diaper, and announces, “I peed on the floor.”

I look down, and my two-year old has indeed urinated all over our hand scraped hardwood.

Fortunately,  the Underdaddy family is on their way out the door and this calamity can be overlooked.   Until…. We get to the sidewalk.  We have been experiencing our rainy season and had a rather torrential downpour earlier that day.  I may have mentioned Neurotic Beagle in the past.  One of Neurotic Beagles idiosyncrasies is that she refuses to get her paws wet for any reason.  So, if it has been raining and the grass is wet, she will back her bottom up off the pavement (ideally) to do her business.  But, this time, her business didn’t make it off the pavement and it is laying smack dab in the middle of the walk way in a giant, steaming pile.

So, Underdaddy, I see your “Yard Biscuits” and raise you one “Floor Pee” and one “Sidewalk Poop”.

*Other great parenting advice from Underdaddy and Supermom :

– Why buy a baby monitor?  Everything you worry about happening to your kid is silent.  If you can hear them screaming through two closed doors, they probably really need you.

–  Where do we find time to clean our house?  We gave that up a long time ago.  We suggest you just stop cleaning.

– Calm down.  Seriously.  You only have as many kids as you have hands.

She Wont Eat That….

                I swear I had the best of intentions when my firstborn started transitioning to real food. I bought those tiny mesh bags for self-directed feeding and cut up hefty chunks of bananas and avocado and proudly presented her with these to teeth on. This resulted in green and yellow mush being smeared all over every surface of my house except my child’s mouth. They are gross. I chucked those in the trash after a couple of uses.

                My next effort was equally fraught with complications. While on maternity leave, I went to the farmer’s market and loaded up on squash and apples and other sundries. I traipsed back to my house with my treasures and dutifully roasted, and sautéed and blended them into a bland, organic, locally grown cadre of healthy baby food. These were all lovingly food-processed and poured carefully into ice-cube trays and stored for later consumption.

                When it came time to try Z on baby food, I presented her with these, and she would pinch her mouth together like the vault at Fort Knox. She would shake her head back and forth as if to silently declare her discontent. If I did happen to manage to sneak a bite of squash past her clenched maw, I was met with screaming and spitting. It was an exercise in frustration.

                Finally, my nanny provided some commercially made baby food and Z selected about three flavors that she will eat.

                As a physician, I also had very strong feelings on JUICE. I informed my mother about the risks of JUICE at length to include obesity and diabetes.   This went out the window when Z’s turds were the consistency of jagged rocks and so infrequent that their appearance resulted in great distress. Now she gets a cup of the dreaded JUICE each day and is as regular as a German train.

                I have been judged by friends and family alike about my daughter’s pickiness and limited diet. My mother has admonished me extensively about my many failings in introducing variety to her diet. I have borne this ridicule from friends and family with a fairly good nature offering to let them “try”. My mother was met with the same stubborn screaming, “I NO LIKE IT” response that I experience when trying to get my daughter to try new things.  

                I have offered any of her little friends five dollars for any new foods they can get her to try. This resulted in one of her friends cleverly wrapping a piece of hot dog in a Cheezy Poof. Z was not deceived. She hurled that Cheezy Poof Dog out of her friend’s grasp with indignant, furious vigor.

                I have also been counseled, that she will “eat when she gets hungry”. I am just going to tell you how it is. No. She. Wont.

                Several hours, and one tear and snot soaked toddler later, she still won’t eat anything she doesn’t like.

                Here is a brief but comprehensive list of things my daughter will eat:

  1. ANYTHING chocolate
  2. Chips (Cheetos and Doritos – not the Cool Ranch kind.. She says these are gross)
  3. A grilled cheese (Only if it is very lightly browned)
  4. A peanut butter sandwich (if it is chocolate peanut butter)
  5. Mechanically separated chicken fries
  6. Popsicles
  7. Yogurt
  8. Baby food (spaghetti flavor, fruit flavor, and chicken flavor, and baby cereal).. and yes at two and a half years old, she still eats baby food at least twice daily.
  9. Cookies and Candy
  10. Desitin (she begs to eat Desitin at every diaper change declaring that it is delicious. For what it is worth, I have tasted it and it isn’t horrible)
  11. Hand sanitizer
  12. Dirt and/or Sand
  13. Any lotion (again, she begs for me to put it on her hand and she licks it off with gusto)
  14. Boogers (which she also has declared to be “yum yum yummy in her tum tum tummy”)

                Pretty much anything else she is presented with is declared as “gross” or “I NO LIKE IT”. So withhold your judgment. I have tried smoothies and hiding healthy fare in other dishes (see the above hot-dog wrapped in a Cheezy Poof). I am assuming she won’t go to college eating baby food and Desitin, and if she does, I will send her baby food and Desitin care packages by the dozen.



Girly girl


                I must make a confession. I am not a girly girl. I do not recall the last time I bought a pair of shoes that were not 5T in size. The only impetus for me buying clothes in the last four years was gestation, and then it was reluctant and largely over the internet. I purchase makeup at the local Walgreen, not at the Clinique counter, and I feel that the only purpose of it is to disguise blemishes, not for enhancement.

                I should have known something was strange about my two-year old at eighteen months of age. I was putting an outfit on her one day and she starts crying uncontrollably. I thought maybe there was a tag left in it that pinched her or something, so I gasp, “What’s wrong Z?”

                “Thath’s UGLY!” she wailed.

                Ok, maybe I didn’t hear her correctly, after all, she is only eighteen months old at this point, and why should she care what she wears, so I pick out another outfit, and she continues to wail.

                “What’s wrong baby?” I am concerned.

                “Thath’s UGLY too!” she responds with her chubby thumb thrust into her angry, pouting mouth.

                I decide to conduct a scientific experiment and start pulling outfits out of the closet. I pull out a variety from the mundane to the lacy and indulgent.

                I am met with multiple, “Thath’s Ugly” until I hold up a frilly confection, and am met with a wide-eyed, excited, “Oooooh, Thath’s cute!”  

                How does this kid know that “Thath’s cute” and the “Thath’s ugly? She doesn’t even have access to television and only reads books that we approve. Where did she get this?

                Fast forward about six months to last Sunday while trying to get her ready for church.   She is arguing that it is her constitutional right to go to church in a pink tutu and a diaper and nothing else.  I explain patiently that this will simply not be permitted. She pouts and whines and is presented with an array of other options that I deem “acceptable”. Finally she condescends to wear a particularly ostentatious dress that is silk, bedazzled with pink jewels, with a full trailing tutu covered in glitter. As a result, we all, including the baby end up covered in glitter and looking like a day-time hookers at Sunday service.

                Earlier this week, her father sends me a picture with her in a layered tutu, and a day-glow, unmatched top wearing high-heeled shoes and a bright orange head-band in her hair. There is no question in my mind that she would have happily left the house proudly and greeted everyone in sight wearing this contraption.

                I watch her and how she is so confident, and knows that she is beautiful. I don’t remember the last time I felt that way. I hope she always feels this way about herself and I ache inside because I know that she wont. I know that over time small scars will form on her precious heart as some mean girl tells her that her clothes are not expensive enough or are not in style.   I know that she will lose this lovely confidence when the boy she likes asks her prettier friend out. I know that no matter how smart and astonishing she is, that the media will eventually convince her that her body is wrong and she is not enough. I hope that she can hold on to this feeling of striking invincibility as long as possible, and that she is able to find her worth in her exquisite mind and God’s love for her and not in her attire, or how gorgeous she is. But I must admit, she is pretty fabulous and she can rock a pink cow girl hat.



Maple Syrup?


                Z started swimming lessons this week. It has taught us a couple of things. First of all, a toddler absolutely can scream while standing in a pool for a half hour straight. Secondly, screaming for a half hour is more exhausting to a child than actual swimming. This practice resulted in Z taking a three hour nap and going to bed at seven. Hurray! Cocktail hour!

                Hubby has had the pleasure of taking Z for her daily screaming sessions this summer except on Wednesdays which is my day off. I took her swimming this Wednesday and had perhaps one of the best moments of my life.

                She started off with her characteristic screeching. It was so bad, that I was starting to doubt my parenting. I was starting to think that maybe we should put off this swimming thing for another year while the voice of my husband saying, “I don’t care if she likes it. She has to learn this. It is a life skill.” I was just about to scoop my precious angel up and take her home declaring failure when she paused from her wailing to declare, “Mommy, you’re my very best friend ever,” with a broad grin. Then she immediately went right back to bawling.

                I could feel the tears of joy welling up in my eyes and started crying right there in the pool with her. Luckily the water hid my tears pretty effectively.

                After the pool, Z and I went grocery shopping. Z acts like she is a movie star at the grocery. She waves to everyone like she is in a parade, or a beauty pageant with a slight turn of her hand so as to not wear herself out.   She greets everyone with a loud, “Hi, I swimming,” or, “I blew bubbles,” as if they are interested in her aquatic adventures.

                There is something satisfying at the grocery store about actually getting everything on your list. I had almost accomplished this task when I realized that I had forgotten the pancake syrup. Hubby only likes real maple syrup and I was going to get the economy sized jugs because it is a bargain and that is when I met with my grocery store nemesis. I was wearing a bathing suit with a soggy cover-up over it pushing a toddler in a bathing suit covered in Cheetos dust waving like a princess, and there SHE was. She was wearing what I can only describe as formal wear. It was red, and possibly chiffon, accessorized with expensive, chunky looking jewelry and strappy sandals.

                But that was not the worst of it.   She swooped down in front of me and loaded up all ten jugs of economy sized maple syrup into her cart. I was stunned…. too stunned to speak. She cut me off and took ALL the maple syrup, and then when I looked in her cart, it was full, but completely full of nothing but maple syrup and large flats of grapes. At this point I am a little freaked out. What is she doing with all of those grapes and maple syrup? I was rendered speechless. Oh, how I wish I had asked.

                So, in lieu of actually knowing what she was doing with these select items, I have been taking a poll to see what people think she was doing with them. Here are the top answers:

  1. Homemade Canadian Wine
  2. Some weird diet cleanse
  3. Freaky pornography video
  4. Brunch?

                What do you think she was doing with them? It is driving me crazy.




Letter to Baby Bird

Dearest Baby Bird,

                You are unlovable. I am now four months, three weeks and two days into my captivity. I have been held hostage in my home by a tiny despot. This eleven-pound tyrant controls what I eat, when I sleep, and where I go.

                It started with pregnancy. My pregnancy with you was horrible. I was tired, all the time, sick, depressed. I assumed, wrongly, that once you were born that the situation would improve. After all, maternity leave with your sister was like vacation. She started sleeping through the night in a couple of weeks, hardly ever made a peep. I wasn’t like those parents who had babies that didn’t sleep and screamed in the restaurant. I had this parenting thing down. And then you came along, and shattered my preconceived notions.

                You have never slept through the night. In fact, I asked Daddy yesterday if he could remember the last time that you slept more than two hours at a stretch, and he couldn’t. Neither can I. Fortunately for Daddy, in the middle of the night you refuse to take a bottle and you only want Mommy. Yet still, I love you.

                You scream like a banshee any time we put you in the car for the ride that was supposed to soothe you to sleep. Forget going out in public anywhere. That is a thing of the past. I am sure I would be arrested if I took you to a restaurant, and I am unwilling to hazard the annoyed glares of other patrons anyways. Yet still, I love you.

                You always smell like spoiled milk, because you vomit up anything I put in your mouth to include the rice cereal, oatmeal, karo syrup, gas drops, reflux medication and everything else that everyone has assured me will calm your irritable tummy. Sometimes you vomit more than I have shoved into your mouth, and it doesn’t seem possible that you could contain that much puke. I have gone through every one of your sleepers in two hours, and the bedding, and every burp cloth, and all the towels. I am constantly doing laundry. Yet still, I love you.

                Daddy and I are never going to have a date again. You often scream from the time I get home until the next morning with just an hour or two of sleep in the interim. I am really not sure when you sleep. You don’t sleep for Nanny either. Surely you must be tired. I trust Nanny with you because of her infinite patience, but even she has her limits. Daddy has suggested hiring a sitter to watch you, but I think of the hours of screaming at the top of your lungs and how frustrated I am with you. I consider the prospect of leaving you with someone who does not love you. I think of how they may not be kind to you, and so we must miss yet another action movie on the big screen (the only way to watch it according to Daddy). Yet still, I love you.

                This love for you has taught me a lot about myself and about God. You are not loveable right now, but I love you anyway like a compulsion. It is like a wave crashing down on me drowning in my love for you. One of my biggest struggles as a Christian is not in believing the existence of God, or Christ, but in understanding that the God of the universe is aware of my existence, much less that He loves me.

                For you see dear Baby Bird, I am unlovable. I fail daily. I am unkind to others. I gossip. I am spiteful and prideful and rejoice in the misfortunes of others at times. I am not a perfect mother, and get frustrated with my beautiful daughters who are a daily gift from Him. How can He love me when I fall so short of His expectations?

                At three in the morning when you wake up for the fifth time since I have placed you in your crib, you smile at me. The warmth that rushes over me gives me a glimpse into the other side. I can just begin to understand how He loves me.   Thank you for that Baby Bird.


Love MommyIMG_20140225_140802_823

Specialists Are Jerks


                It is a well-established fact in medicine that specialists are jerks. (To my friends and partners who are specialists, I am not talking about you. I am talking about those other specialists. To my fellow Family Practice colleagues who would like to split hairs and say that Family Medicine is a specialty, I with a resounding eye-roll say, whatever.)

                I had a patient encounter the other day with a woman who has had cancer. Twice. She just moved to a new area. She has not been to the doctor for three years because of financial concerns. When we discussed what her oncologist and her surgeon had recommended for ongoing surveillance for her cancer, she informed me that she had previously been getting MRI’s every other years but her last one was three years ago due to her finances.

                This protocol is not a frequent protocol, but is also not unusual given specific circumstances. I have about four other patients undergoing the same post-cancer protocol. It is one that should be decided by a team of oncologists and surgeons based on the genetics of the tumor and the patient’s prior treatments. None of this is information I have access to, and requesting records and compiling them can take months. This lady in front of me is already a year late for her screening. Did I mention she has had cancer twice?

                So, I order the test. Then I get a call back saying that a certain radiologist needs to speak to me before he can allow the test to go forward. I think this is a little odd, but try calling him back, and stay on hold for thirty minutes only to be informed that he has left for lunch. I leave him my direct phone number so he can reach me easily without any problems.

                The specialist calls me back. And here is the conversation

Specialist Jerk: I don’t understand this protocol. I have never heard of this before.

Me: Oh, really, well I have a few patients who are on this protocol. It isn’t usual, but it isn’t all that uncommon.

SJ: Well I have never heard of it.

Me: Well it is the protocol she has been following from her oncologist and her surgeon.

SJ: What kind of procedure did she have? What are her tumor markers? What was the pathology on the tumor?

Me: I don’t have her records yet, and that may take months to get, and she is late for her screening. We have cleared it with insurance and they are ready to pay for the test.

SJ: I think you should get her established with a surgeon here and an oncologist before we order the test.

Me: Well, considering she is broke, I’m not sure she is going to want to pay for two office visits before paying for an expensive test.

SJ: Well I am not going to let you order the test.

Me: Ok, well, that’s fine, I will just document in her record that you will not allow the test to be ordered, although I recommended we continue with her protocol.

(This may seem like a perfectly reasonable, benign comment to the layperson, but I assure you, that this is basically the medical equivalent of saying, “I will be happy to testify against you on this subject.” It is a like the equivalent of medical napalm, but he left me little option)


Me: Well, yes I am a little frustrated. I am just trying to do the best thing for my patient, and you asked me to call you regarding this, and you didn’t give me your direct line, so I was on hold for thirty minutes and then was informed that you left for lunch.


Me: (thinking about how my baby got up at 2 am and then again at 5 am, and then I went to work at 7am, and spent my lunch trying to get ahold of him) Yes, I agree you are allowed to take a lunch, but it is a basic courtesy to give another physician your number when you are requesting a call back. That is why I left my direct number for you.


Me: I left it with Christy. That is how you just got a hold of me.


Me: Your nurse.


                And that proves my point that specialists are jerks (again to my specialist friends… not you silly). If that wasn’t enough, he then contacted people at my office to complain about me. I am wondering if he is going to have his mother call to complain about me next, that is if he can remember her name.

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