Friday, December 31, 2010

Let's turn this up to 11 shall we?

It's New Years Eve, people.
Did that catch anyone else by surprise, or was it just me?

I swear I was just here:
NYE 2009-We fell asleep immediately after this was taken.

Owen was two months old. So tiny and perfect.
I was STILL healing from my section (infection/inverted staples) and exhausted.
We were both excited to see what 2010 would bring us and nervous about the challenges that were ahead....

This past year has been both really tough and really joyful on a multitude of levels.
It's been been a defeating year from a financial perspective, and super-stressful on the health front,


Watching O grow into the beautiful little person he's becoming has been magical.
(In the this-is-the-hardest-thing-I-have-ever-frikken-done-couldbethedeathofme- kind of magical way)

He's feisty, funny, and fiercely independent.

Gone is my sleepy cuddlebug who would nap on my chest for hours, and instead I see a zooming (almost)little boy who stomps around and babbles (in what sound vaguely like Klingon) at the top of his lungs.

He's my angel. My danger-seeking, Evel Knievel-esque angel.

Despite the different pit-falls we've weathered this year, I am beyond grateful for my family.
I have an amazing husband, a gorgeous son, and unbelievable friends.
I am a lucky lady.

I have no idea what 2011 will hold for my little family, and I won't even attempt to try and predict.

I just plan on heading into the new year frankly- my ears and eyes wide open, with a small bit of cautious hope in my heart.

Happy New Year, Friends! 
 I hope the year is kind and generous to you all.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Excuse me while I get up on my soapbox...

[I might need help getting down, just FYI.]

Anyone who is a mother knows that being a mother is hard.

It's the most amazing thing I have ever done, but also, hands-down the hardest.

Most mamas would agree....


We're always segregating ourselves into camps and judging each other. Like a scene out of Mean Girls.

co-sleeping vs. crib
breast-feeding vs. formula
baby-wearing vs. stroller
sign language vs. not 
homeschool vs. public school


But one of the biggest (besides the boob vs. baba debate) is  
natural birth vs. cesarean birth.

In case you were wondering, I delivered O via C-Section. I did not want to, but there was a big possibility of risk/harm to him and myself if I would have attempted a vaginal birth. As much as I wanted to do it MY way, I couldn't abide by even remotely endangering my son to accomplish what I wanted.

I've received both overwhelming support and staunch derision for my decision.

This led to a lot of conflicting emotions surrounding my 'Birth Story" as it were.

I've never written about my birthing experience, because for a long time, I felt like I didn't HAVE one, which is just ridiculous. Of course I did.  It was just a different one from the one I had expected. That didn't make it any less.

That's like Battle Royale material in the Mamahood.

Holy shit, ladies. This is where we lose our minds. People get angry and vicious and all-KINDS of militant about this issue.

If you're wondering what brought this on, I stumbled upon this, which was in reference to this, which got me thinking about how frikken judgy a lot of mothers are (myself included, from time-to-time).

Why is that? Can't we just support one another, and each family's birthing experience?

How dare we (In the collective sense) marginalize a woman's love and/or commitment to her child because she had a Cesarean. How dare we sigh and cast a sideways glance of pity because that woman missed out on "giving birth" and bonding with her baby, again marginalizing the experience.

I WILL say this:

I am not a fan of elected, non-medically necessary C-sections. Stone me if you must, but I'm not.

However, I would never DREAM of saying that because a woman chose that route, it means she does not love her child.

Let's get it together people. Parenting is not black and white.

Each pregnancy is different.
Each Child is different
Each FAMILY is different.

What do we teach our children when we run around acting like holier-than-thou fools?

As long as we do our best to love and nurture and nourish and educate our children, while keeping them safe, do we have to sling arrows at the details? Or can we respect each other enough to try and hold one another up rather than always finding a way to tear down?

[Cue Melody of Kumbaya/We Are the World.]

Bottom Line?

The day a child is born in ANY manner is special and sacred day.

Let's not hang ourselves on technicalities.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Trims and tears.

O has such beautiful blonde locks, with little curlies at the end.
He has his daddy's coloring, but my obstinate hair-temperament. Ha!

I love his hair. Luuuuuuuurvvve.

BUT, it is getting a little long and shaggy.

Daddy says it's time for a hair cut...

Mommy says NOOOOOOO.

When we talked about it, I just burst into tears. Ugly ones.
I thought I was ready, I really did!

But I'm not.

I'm not ready to cut off his baby hair and for him to have a big-boy hair cut.

He's so big already. He's so independent. He wants to do everything himself. People always think he's like 18 months or older.

(He'll be 14 months next Tuesday.)

Half of me is beyond proud, and the other half is kinda heartbroken.

My little tiny baby is growing faster than I imagined. Everyone told me he would, and still, it surprises me DAILY at the speed.

I know it's stupid, but I feel like cutting his hair is like cutting away the last of his babyhood.

I'm sure that's melodramatic, but it's how I feel.

Totally NOT helping the situation is the fact that I'm still feeling the heat-wave of baby fever...

I know that we can't have another baby right now, or any time soon, but my biological clock is thundering loudly.

My husband said that he had thought O would turn the clock off for a while, but apparently, we just hit the snooze button.....sorry, Querido.

Maybe it'll pass????

No. Not with preciousness like  this.

I mean, HONESTLY. Honestly.

Maybe a hair cut for New Years...New Year, New Do'?



I make NO promises. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cerebral Palsy: It's Not as Sexy as it Sounds

I have Cerebral Palsy.  I know I've mentioned it in various posts (like this one, that one, or yep, that one), but I realized today over coffee with one of my close friends, as she was asking me about my experience with it, that I've never explained it in my blog...

[Take a second to read the info on the Mayo Clinic page, if you want. I like that site because it lays things out very clearly and concisely.]

If you're wondering which things apply to me, here's a short list:
  • Variations in muscle tone-stiffness/weakness
  • Stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity)
  • Lack of muscle coordination (ataxia)
  • Tremors or involuntary movements
  • Slow, writhing movements (athetosis)
  • Delays in reaching motor skills milestones (as an infant) , such as pushing up on arms, sitting up alone or crawling
  • Favoring one side of the body, such as reaching with only one hand or dragging a leg while crawling-My right side is my weak side and my arm will hang and/or my leg will drag, especially when I'm tired or in pain.
  • Difficulty walking, such as walking on toes, a crouched gait, a scissors-like gait with knees crossing or a wide gait-Before my surgery, I was on my toes and crouched...nearly impossible to walk that way.
  • Difficulty with precise motions, such as picking up a crayon or spoon-Or holding a pencil, handling scissors, typing, buttoning/zipping/snapping etc. As a kid I went thru a lot of PT to learn how to do those things, and I still get frustrated while doing it from time-to-time...particularly when you add a squirming toddler to the equation.

The lack of explanation is partly because it's a difficult disorder to explain, affecting each of us that has it a bit differently, partly because I don't even fully understand it, and mostly because that is not how I want people to "see" me.

 A brief history of Me and CP:
I was born about 3 months early.
I was 2 lbs. 6oz.
I needed surgery right away (and lived in a incubator for the first few months)...My heart and lungs were underdeveloped.
They told my mother that I wouldn't live through the night.
When I did, then they said I wouldn't last the week.
As I proved I was going to be around awhile, then it turned into:
She'll be mentally handicapped, she won't talk, she won't walk. and so on....

I talked very early. And from what I was saying, it was clear that I was very smart.

But I didn't walk. I didn't move very well at all.

When I was 2 and a half, they diagnosed me with Cerebral Palsy.

Along with that was more of what I wouldn't do...and leg-braces and walkers and wheelchairs and the mine-field that is the school-yard  playground.

When I was 7 years old, a surgeon decided that I would be a candidate for this experimental surgery.  It was risky, but it was free. It in my childhood mind, offered the possibility of being normal.
Yeah, it could backfire, and I could never walk again or DIE, but WHAT-EVER.   
Sign me UP!

The recovery from surgery was hell. It was long and excruciating and exhausting. Add in the less-than picturesque environment that was my home life, and I wasn't sure I was going to make it.

It took about 2 -3 years to get to the place I now (more or less)  find myself physically. I had to relearn to sit, crawl, walk, the whole shebang.  but the first day I went to school without a walker or braces or orthopedic shoes was one of the best days of my life.


I spent most of my childhood as the "handicapped" girl. The "retarded" girl. The "girl who walks funny" girl.

And I was bitter. I still was in pain. I still had tremors and a limp (among other things).
I still was never going to be an Olympic gymnast/ballerina/high-heel wearing supermodel.

I was never going to climb a tree. Or ride a bike.

People looked at me with that "Ohhh, she's special" look of pity on their faces...

It pissed me off royally.  You mean I went through all of that for NOTHING?

(Being told that I was worthless at home really wasn't helping either)

Fuck me.

But then I pulled my head out of my ass and realized that the only way I was going to have a life is if I got the hell outta dodge and ignored all the voices said:

NO You Can't.

So I fought it. Lied about it even....I didn't have Cerebral Palsy, I just had been in a car accident. People seemed to accept and deal with that easier than CP.  I did my best to hide my symptoms, and always tried to act like I was fine. If I was hurting, I tried not to show it. If I needed help, I would have rather injured myself than ask for it*. I avoided situations where my condition would be glaringly apparent.

I refused to apply for a handicapped  placard. To me, that was like pinning a big scarlet H to my blouse. Hell to the no.**

I pushed myself  and did things that I probably shouldn't have, but I was so desperate to just be like everyone else. To prove to myself that I wasn't trapped by my disability.

There are times that I did feel trapped. That I felt sorry for myself. I still do, occasionally.

But I know that I am so very lucky.
That it could have been so much worse.

Sure, I need help putting on socks and shoes, and it's hard for me to do certain things that most people take for granted, but at least I can feed myself. At least I can breathe on my own...there are those with CP that can't.

I do fear the future, what getting old will be like for me. For my husband and children. I worry that my son will miss out on things because of his mother's limitations, I worry that my husband will too,  for that matter.

Sometimes, my fears overwhelm me, and I feel defeated. But I constantly remind myself that I so lucky...To have overcome so much. To have been able to live the life I wanted. To have amazing friends. To have a loving husband and beautiful son.

It took me a long time to accept that I had Cerebral Palsy, (and as such, there would be complications/limitations-I was gonna have to tackle life in a different fashion than I'd hoped) and a long time to not try and hide it.

I now am very upfront about who I you may have noticed...ahem....perhaps...

I'm so happy that I finally let myself do that. It's made me a better person.

That being said...

The General Public can often be unkind to those who are disabled:
They often treat you like you're contagious, or that you somehow did this to yourself. Like you're not a whole person. They ask rude questions and make idiotic assumptions.

I had a guy who told me once: I really like you, but I could never date a cripple. I said: Well, I could never date an asshole, so no hard feelings.

My husband was once asked if he married me because he had a fetish for gimps. TRUE STORY.
(It's a miracle that individual remained alive....)

I don't mind if people ask  questions. If they want to know more about my condition-what it is, what causes it, etc., but a little tip? Don't lead into your queries with:
"What's wrong with you?" Or, "So, are you like,  retarded?" 

It will not end well. When asking questions, be respectful. Or I will make you sorry.

(In all seriousness, if you have any questions, feel free to ask! I'll do my best to answer them!)

*If I'm being honest, I fall into that pattern of behavior still now and then because I don't want to be a burden, or be seen as weak. It's something I continually work on. 

**I want to be very clear about something:
I have an enormous respect for the Disabled community. I was wrong to be ashamed of my disability. I was wrong to hide it/lie about it. No one should ever be ashamed of something like that.  I was frustrated and afraid. I was made to feel like a burden by the people who were supposed to be caring for me.  I just wanted to be treated like a person, and as a child/teenager, denying my CP was the only way I thought I could be.  I would never want a young person with any sort of disability to read this blog and think that they should do that too.  Be proud of who you are. Don't hide and don't lie.  Be honest with the world and yourself. That's a more fulfilling life that faking it could ever get you.

Friday, December 10, 2010

All signs point to "Yes"

Sooooo NOT what I was hoping for.

I think I may have Fibromyalgia.

One of my close friends, R, has it and I was talking to her about how I'd been feeling lately (and over the past several years), and she said that all of my symptoms sounded a LOT like Fibromyalgyia.

This was not something I wanted to hear (and I absolutely value her advice/judgment/insight), so just shrugged it off for a long time.

It's just having a new baby...
It's just the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
It's just the Depression
 It's just the Cerebral Palsy
It's just the Gall Bladder
It's just the Hernia
It's just the IBS
It's just....

But this isn't new...I haven't felt good or "normal" in 6-7 years.
Every day is tough, and it has gotten worse since I've had O.
Sickness/Infection/Stress just compounds it. (Me? Sick? Stressed? Why, that's so RARE.)

I've done all the things I'm supposed to do:
Healthy Diet
No Alcohol/Drugs/Nicotine/Caffeine

Still, I feel like varying degrees of SHIT on a daily basis.
There's never enough sleep.
I hurt all the time.
I feel like I'm in a fog all the time.

But I don't like announcing that daily, because who wants to hear that all the damn time? And regardless of how I feel, O still needs his Mommy and my Husband still needs his wife.

And really, (I started to think) maybe it IS all in my head. Maybe I'm just being a baby....

WTF?  I'm no baby!!

This is legit. Whatever THIS is. But the symptoms/issues don't match up to only CP/CFS/IBS* there has to be another explanation...

Then a few days ago, I was praying for my friend, and all of the things that she has to deal with, and it dawned on me that almost ALL of the physical things that I pray on for her are the things that I struggle with myself.
I started thinking of all the times in the midst of a conversation the words "Me Too!" came out of my mouth...

So I did what we all do these days: Googled my heart out**.

And it wasn't pretty.


So I called R and told her about what I'd read and what I was experiencing...she told me that I should talk to my doctor right away. In the meantime though, an important marker to check were the pressure points.

In FM there are 18 points bilaterally on the body that are painful to the touch of firm pressure in people with the disorder. You must have at least 11 tender spots to be diagnosed.

I refused to look at the points myself. I wanted accuracy.

I waited til the Hubs got home, had him look at the list and then apply pressure to various points, using fake points as well so that I wouldn't subconsciously skew things one way or the other.

I had all of them. All Frikken 18.


But both R and my Hubs made the excellent point that maybe:  THIS is the answer for what's been ailing me.

And if it is, there's medicine that will help control the symptoms and hopefully, improve my quality of life.

There's a novel idea.

I'll be heading to the Doc probably at he the 1st of the year. There's just no money for it right now.
I'll have to have a bunch of blood work done to rule out things like Lupus, MS, and Rheumatoid Arthritis, but if those all come back clean (FM is a negative diagnosis) then we've got an answer. Interestingly enough, I learned that that people with FM are more likely to also have CFS and IBS....go figure.

While I'm not excited about being even unhealthier, it would be a relief to know that I'm not crazy, that I am legitimately*** ill, and that there's actually something that can be done to help it.

We'll address how  in the hell we'd afford the meds when we cross the prescribed bridge. I wanna end on a positive-ish note....

At least we can safely assume it's not Lupus. Because as Greg House has taught us all, it's  
never Lupus.

Until it is, but ya know, whatever.

* So many acronyms, so little time...errr, health.

**How did we LIVE before Google? I just don't know!

***A lot of folks think Cerebal Palsy is only legit if you're in a wheel chair or pushing a walker and have crazy leg braces...all things which I've had/done before, but since I'm pretty self-ambulatory, I've been 86'd from the club as it were. And Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Most people just think I need to take more naps or just stop being lazy. Yes, people have REALLY said that to me. To my face, even. IBS? Don't even bother!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Doin' Truffle Shuffle...

...More like the iPod Shuffle, but that sounded better (Ooooof! Not a pretty picture mental pic of myself though).

  My Dear friend B tagged me in a facebook note that went a little something like this:

1) Turn on your MP3 player or music player on your computer. 

(2) Go to SHUFFLE songs mode. 

(3) List the first 15 songs that come up (song title and artist) NO editing/cheating, please. Even if you might skip the song when it comes up or be embarrassed for people to know that it's in your collection, you still must list it.

I figured that I'd blog it, because my musical tastes will be an important thing for O (and apparently, my Husband)  to know about his Mommy, right?

Side Note: Isn't shuffle always a surprising moment? I mean, we bought the music, but there's always that "OH!" moment about a song we've forgotten/thought we didn't have/hadn't heard in eons...

 Here is a slice of my musical deck: Draw 15

1. Apres Moi: Regina Spektor

2. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot: She & Him

3. Whatever Gets You Through The Day: The Radio

4. The Distance: Cake

5. I Love You: Sarah McLachlan

6. Help: The Beatles

7. You are the Best Thing: Ray LaMontagne

8. Electrolite: REM

9. Corner of The Earth:  Jamiroquai

10. Novacain: Strung Out

11. Loves Me Like a Rock: Paul Simon

12. Tell Mama: Etta James

13. Heard it Thru the Grapevine: Marvin Gaye

14. Over the Hills and Far Away: Led Zeppelin

15. Marian: Nouvelle Vague

The B-sides:

1. Under My Skin: Rachael Yamagata

2. Son et Lumiere: The Mars Volta

3. Are You in? Incubus

4. This is Love: PJ Harvey

5. The Walk: Imogen Heap

6. Strawberry Fields Forever: Ben Harper

7. Song For Junior: Beastie Boys

8. Tempted by The Fruit of Another: Squeeze

9. I Me You I'm Your: Jim Noir

10. Get Off My Cloud: The Rolling Stones

11. Go All The Way: Perry F

12. Love The One You're With: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

13. Friends: Band of Skulls

14. The Hurricane: Bob Dylan

15. Sea Lion: Feist

(Funny, I'm  obsessed with Florence + the Machine at the moment, but that never popped up)

PS.  Bubu, Mommy's Top Ten Fave Artists/Bands are: ( in no particular order, except for EC)
1. Elvis Costello
2. Van Morrison
3. Jenny Lewis/Rilo Kiley
4. Etta James
5. Pearl Jam
6. David Bowie
7. Neko Case
9. x
10. 3-way Tie: Fiona Apple and Bad Religion and Radiohead 
(Mommy was a product of the 90s and its throwback to the 70's, FYI)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gettin' all Holly Jolly up in this mug!

Or, maybe not so much...

O's visit to Santy this year was a little dicey.

But, C'mon, how cute is that picture?

Husband said that I just enjoy schadenfreude.

I say that I enjoy adorable....

Speaking of  adorable (as in adorably loud), my angel of a son who is supposed to be napping is now screaming from his crib.

I gotta go.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I'm waaaay behind!

How is it December? 
(I still need to complete my last TOP entry...sorry'boutTHAT.)

I've completely been dropping the ball on my blogging and tweeting...

Truth be told, Twitter intimidates me. It's so all-consuming. I feel like I can't keep up, and need a crackberry/iphone/smartphone/compuphone to just maintain...

No thank you.

I'm not going to delete the account. but I've given up the ghosty of being all tweet-pro.

As for my blog, I reaalllly wanted to try and do at least 1 short post a day, with at least 1 meatier one a week, but so far, that hasn't happened either...

This is partially because I feel like it's silly.

Who wants to hear from ME on a daily basis? Isn't that a bit indulgent?
My life revolves around Elmo and shoring the tides of laundry that flow through my life.
This is not thought-provoking content.

I'm just not feeling particularly interesting these days...

Side Note: Does any one else feel like they've gotten drastically less intelligent since they became a mother?

Or am I experiencing my own personally deserved intellectual decay?

The other day, I couldn't remember how to spell knowledgeable.


I used to be an editor for CRYING OUT LOUD. Now I'm stumped by an elementary-school vocab word.

For Shaaaaame.

Moving swiftly along-

We bought a new car! Yay! Well, new to us. It is a pre-owned 2010 Chevy HHR.

Yes, it was going to be tough to add yet another bill to our pile, but the time had come, and the Jetta needed to be put out to pasture, so we decided to at least look...

And as luck would have it, we found the perfect car for us at a amazing deal. 
 After showing it to my FIL, who is very savvy about these things, and getting the thumbs up from him, we decided that we were gonna go for it!

We were terrified, but we needed to pull the trigger.

THEN, on the way to the dealership, my ILs call to tell us that they've decided what to give us for Christmas....

They TOTALLY helped us out in the down payment arena in a very generous (and-completely-unnecessary-but-we'll-TAKE-IT kind of ) way.

I was bawling and GRATEFUL and sorta unsure if we were being "Punk'd" or not....but we weren't, so we signed the papers and drove home in our Shiny NEEEEEW CAAAAAAAAR!

We love it. I LOVE it.

I hated my husband's old car. It had a lot of bad Juju for me.  As my dear Father-in-law put it so perfectly:

"I can't say I'm sad to see that see that Blue Bitch go..."
 (I truly heart my FIL)


So sure it's another bill, but it's WELL worth it.

Goodbye, Mika...
Helllllllllooooo Julius!

Happy Hanukkah AND Merry Christmas, my friends!

Ps. I need someone to come over and watch Christmas movies with me whilst eating sugary holiday treats.

My hubs is a little scroogey and won't participate.  He teases me about being a bad Jew. He's right, but whatever...I ADORE Christmas.

And I light a Menorah.  I might even make Latkes. While eating Peppermint Bark....

Who's with me?