Thursday, December 30, 2010

You Know That Saying....

....that God will never give you more than you can handle?  Either that is a total truck load of bat crap or God has seriously overestimated me.

Let me recap for you:

12/11 - Bianca lands in the ER due to acute asthma attack that I cannot control at home despite maxing out all medications.  As a result of her chronic asthma & this flare up, we get a total of about 10 hours sleep over a period of 4 days. 

12/13 - Bianca wakes up with pink eye.  She and I have to miss 2 days of school/work.

12/17 - I finally succumb to the cold that has been threatening me for days (resulting from no sleep and little sickie coughing in my face for a week)

12/19 - My cold turns to bronchitis.  And, that night, Bianca has a power vomit incident that coats her room, bed, blankets, walls, furniture from stem to stern.  Fun.

12/25 - Merry Christmas.  I wake up with a migraine & throwing up from it.  When that passes, I get the flu, fever chills and more throwing up.

12/26 - I start to feel like I'm getting a cold again.

12/29 - I wake up with pink eye.  I have to go to work anyway b/c I'm covering for a department manager.  While here, my computer crashes. 
In the evening, Bianca rapidly declines into full blown asthma bronchospasm episode in a matter of hours and we're up all night (except for that oh-so-(not)-restful 3 hours) coughing, puking and medicating.  We went to see her dr this AM and she is now on 2 prescription allergy meds, 2 prescription asthma meds, inhaled steroids, liquid steroids, antibiotics, and 2 OTC meds.  How much can a 6 year old ingest?  And it's still not helping.  Breaks. My. Heart. 

If all this means that my 2011 is going to be a breeze, then I'll weather it out.  If it's a precursor of things to come, I politely decline.  Thank you very much. 

Dear God, there is a LIMIT to the amount of CRAP one single Mom can tolerate.  Please have some mercy on us.  We've had enough.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tying up Loose Ends

Figured I'd update a few of my older posts with what has happened since.  (ie: I have nothing profound to write about.)

Back in November, I started a diet. My Dr pretty much tricked me into it.  Bastard.  But I love him.  Some weeks have been better than others but I end the year with 25 pounds lost.  Not bad at all.  My only goal for last and this coming week is to maintain.  You'd think with the stomach flu for Christmas, I would have lost something over the weekend but humbug!  I guess not.  (Did the 3 pounds of cheese I ate on Christmas Eve have anything to do with #1 not losing weight and #2 puking my guts out on Christmas?  Who knows....??)

Bianca has ADD.  It's now confirmed.  I vented and sounded off at all my frustrations in trying to figure out what was going on with her.  But I never did write about what happened next.  We see a naturopathic doctor.  It's more in line with my beliefs about medicine.  And it has helped me like western medicine never could.  Frankly the "tests" for ADD are not tests.  They are subjective checklists.  So before I allow a doctor to check off all the appropriate little boxes and then start drugging my baby with an addictive, dangerous stimulant, I wanted to be a little more scientific.  Through our Dr, we ran a test that checked things that could be affecting her neurotransmitters.  We learned that her dopamine level is severely out of balance which causes impulse control issues.  Basically, all the technical gobbelty-gook confirmed what I have been observing for years.  She is incapable of following a task through.  Her little brain is jetting in 20 directions at once.  There are herbal supplements that should bring her levels back into balance.  That, along with some dietary changes and some behavior modification (probably more on MY part than hers) should bring about improvements.  I am looking forward to starting this regimen, probably later this week.

Bianca was very excited when she got her Elf of the Shelf.  Excited, that is, until we got home with it that evening.  She was clutching the box in her hot little hands, carried him upstairs and then.....I could see her little mind at work.  Magic. Elf. Comes. To. Life.....   She deliberately hands me the box, eyes narrowed into suspicious little slits and with a slow motion wagging index finger she whispers "I don't want that thing in my room."
"Okay," I reply "I'll leave him in the hallway."
The finger wags again like a pink polished little metronome.  The eyes widen in fear.  "I don't want that thing upstairs."
"Okay...I'll bring him downstairs with me."
"I don't want him to leave his box or to come in my room or to come upstairs.  And I don't want him to hide, especially not under the table. That would be bad."
"Alrightee, you know what.....he will just stay in his box on the table, in plain sight, until you tell him you're ready for him to do anything else other than that, okaaaay?"

That finally satisfied her.  She eventually named him Elfris and stared at him in his box.  She liked him a little more when he brought her letters and gifts from Santa.  By the week before Christmas, she was crying that he had to leave with Santa on Christmas Eve.  I mean...C.R.Y.I.N.G.  Like sobbing.  I had to write a special M*F*ing letter from Santa explaining why the elf needs to leave on Christmas.  Which is, of course, because Mommy doesn't want to see his creepy little elf grimace year round he must return to the North Pole to be with his family and replenish his special Elfin magic for next season.  She was thrilled with a cute little elf girl doll Santa left to keep her company til then.  *Phew*

As for more recent posts, the health of everyone in our household (you know, all both of us) is presently maintaining.  There has been no more throwing up, projectile or otherwise.  My brochitis has passed though I feel suspiciously like another cold is coming on it's heels (expletive, expletive).  It's back to the grind for a few days before New Year's and another long weekend.  Looking forward to some time with my BFF, taking down the Christmas decorations and some (hopeful) downtime.  Then it's January and time to reassess my life.  Fun!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry (Day After) Christmas!

Christmas Eve was lovely.  I had the day off, spent it cooking and baking in preparation for the evening and Christmas Day.  We went to a family party at my BFF's house.  It's our tradition.  She and I have been friends for 25 years so they are like family to me.  After we came home, we left out treats for Santa and the reindeer.  Bianca saw on Max & Ruby 2 years ago that chocolate milk is Santa's favorite so we have to leave it for him.  :o)

I put a very excited little girl to bed and proceeded to complete Santa duty, filling the stockings and placing presents under the tree.  Disposed of the goodies, left her a letter from Santa.  Went to bed.  Woke up with a heinous migraine, my first in over a year, which resulted in vomiting until it passed.  Lovely.  I *thought* that was the end of the story.

Despite her horror over Elf on the Shelf, Bianca was very upset that he was leaving on Christmas Eve.  Frankly, I was relieved because that little dude is seriously creepy.  So to ease her angst, I Santa brought her a cuddly elf that she can keep all year.  It was on top of her stocking with the Santa letter and she was thrilled!!
My Mom came over and we opened gifts, had breakfast.  Bianca's ADD makes opening gifts an overwhelming experience for her.  She has to take frequent breaks and put aside several presents that she didn't open til about 7pm.  I tried to keep it smaller this year.  While I did succeed in having a smaller Christmas, that does not necessarily translate to a small Christmas.  Evidence:
Right about this time, around 1:00, I felt like a truck hit me.  I got chills, 101 fever and lost all my energy.  My last gift was....the flu.  Very not cool, Santa.  Nevermind eating dinner, I could not even cook it for my Mom and Bianca.  Fortunately, I'd made a big breakfast and prepared a couple side dishes (and the most important course....DESSERT!) the day before so at least they had something to eat while I threw up some more and whimpered like a sissy in the corner.  I am fortunate that I had a period of wellness between the migraine and the flu so we could enjoy the morning.  Ten hours of sleep, lots of tea and chicken broth later, I'm starting to feel better.  We're in the midst of a huge blizzard and I cannot imagine better timing for it.  I had already taken tomorrow off from work and am hoping for full recovery so that snowman making can commence!

I hope everyone else had a great (and healthy) holiday!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Worst Christmas Gift. Ever.

I was at my office Christmas Holiday (damn P.C.-ness) lunch yesterday.  I was seated across from a co-worker who is 29 years old and, one can tell, quite popular with the ladies.  He works with a female partner in the office and they are also friends outside of work. 

For ease of storytelling, I'm going to give them names.  But the names have been changed to protect the blockheads.....
Co-Worker: Steve
Steve's work partner: Mary
Mary's husband: John

Okay, so Steve has a girlfriend.  They hang out often with Mary and John.  Steve and John decide that they want to get Mary good & riled up by playing a joke on her.  She has known Steve a long time and it's just her personality that she likes to be all up in his personal business.  So a couple weeks ago, John says to Mary "Isn't that so great that Steve got engaged to his girlfriend?"  Mary FLIPS out.  "WHAT??  How did he not tell me this first?"  She calls Steve and Steve says "Yeah, I popped the question!" She's furious and is angry with Steve all week for not consulting her before making such a huge decision.  Fast forward a week of this "joke" and mind you, Steve's girlfriend.....does not know about any of this.  Steve & his girlfriend, Mary & John are all at a party and Steve decides to make "an announcement."  He stands up with his girlfiend.  Mary assumes he's announcing his engagement and instead he says "Hahahahahaha Mary....we're not engaged, we're not getting engaged.  It's a joke!!"  Yeah, that's hilarious.

Steve is patting himself on the back for a well played ruse.  I, older and wiser and FEMALE, say "Umm, how did your girlfriend feel about all this?"

"Oh, she's cool.  She thought it was funny."

"Really.  Because girls tend to be a little prickly about being the unsuspecting punchline of a joke.  A joke that end with a room full of people laughing about the fact that she is not getting engaged."

Subject was changed after that but it brought me back to my own Christmas Eve, 2004.  I had been dating Tom for two months but we had already declared our love and intent to get married.  We'd even started planning the wedding.  Yep we were idiots, or at least *I* was one.  We decided to open gifts that night since we would not see each other til later in the day on Christmas.  We went to a lovely family party and it was the first time most of my friends and family met him.  They all loved him.  I loved him.  We were all crazy happy and I was basking in the incredible glow of stupid love and too much eggnog holiday joy.  We came home, put the baby to sleep and then he tells me to come into my bedroom where there is:

tah-daaaaaaah!  HO-LEEEE CRAP!!!!  A tiny little obvious jewelry box gift is sitting on my dresser.  He is all corny-grinning and motioning for me to open it.  Oh.My.God...this is IT!!!!  All the talks and's fruition!  My heart is pounding.  My cheeks are flushing as I delicately peel back the wrapping paper.  My eyes are welling with tears as I slowly open the tiny velvet box.

Earrings.  It's earrings.

And don't get me wrong.  They were gorgeous loops bezel set with numerous diamonds.  But it was earrings.  And I was.....crushed. 

Once when I was 12, my Mom decided it would be a hoot to stuff purple lacey bras and feminine pads into my stocking to pull out in front of my father and brother.  I thought that was the worst holiday moment ever until the great jewelry disillusion topped it in spades! 

In the end, Tom turned out to be just like his gift.....not what he appeared to be once you got below the fancy wrapping and pretty box.  (Did I just say my boyfriend had a pretty box?)  Well, you get my metaphor.....cut me some slack.  I'm still sick.  :o)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bliss, Interrupted.

You know that point, at the end of the day....the little one(s) are in bed, finally.  You do what you need to do, maybe switch over some laundry, do the dishes, whatever.  You're ready for ME-time.  You sit down into aaaahhhhhhhhh with a glass of wine cup of tea, DVR and your laptop.  And all goes horribly, horribly awry.

Let me back up.  Last week, Bianca was sick.  Really sick.  She has severe asthma and, despite the fact that she takes four different daily meds to control it, it's an unfortunately regular occurrence that we end up in the ER.  Last Friday (12/10), we went to my Mom's house for a cookie bake-a-thon sleepover.  Bianca had a bit of a cold and cough.  We stayed up too late, til about 11pm, because it was a special night.  Bianca woke up at 3am wanting to know if it was morning and could we wake up Gramma and start baking again.  Please, please, please, please?? NO. I woke up at 4am from a dream.  And not even the good kind, sheesh!  She got up again at 5-something and 6-something.  Once sunlight was streaming in, she was not hearing any more about sleep.  As Saturday progressed, I saw she was getting to crisis mode with her asthma.  I maxed her out on the medication I'm allowed to give her at home.  And at 11pm, we were on our way to the ER.  Home & in bed 2am.  I had to get up early Sunday and drive an hour each way in the pouring rain to sing.  Now, I don't know if you are familiar with what happens to a child when she is on two forms of steroids and albuterol.  Bouncing. Off. The. Walls.  So napping, for either of us, was totally out of the question.  I put her to bed early and came downstairs, for my Me-Time.  Sat down and then.....
"Moooooooooooommy.  I'm not tired."
"Mooooooooooommy, when are you coming upstairs?"
"Mooooooooooommy, I think I've had enough sleep today!"

I went upstairs, finally, and let her come into my bed.  She TALKED my freaking ear off for 90 minutes before she finally passed out shortly before midnight.  At 6:30am, I am sound asleep when awakened by the utterly piercing voice of a 6 year old girl  "AAAAAAAAAAAAAggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!  I have THE PINK EYE!!!!!"  Shoot out of bed and run into the bathroom, trying to guide my crusty eyed sweetheart so that she doesn't ram into the furniture or doors.  And indeed, she's got "the pink eye" in both eyes.  Great.  Call out sick, call her out from school, call the Pedi.  Go to pedi, stop at grocery store.  Go home to cook and clean and take care of sickie.  Another night she could not fall asleep because of her meds and, I am starting to feel sick.  I'm sleep deprived and that little beast darling has been coughing and blowing her nose on me for days.  We call out sick on Tues also.  The rest of the week was kindof a blur of no one feeling well, trying to muddle through work and school.

Come this past Friday, I finally admitted I was sick.  It was inevitable.  I did everything right, taking vitamins, drinking fluids, eating healthy.  But by this morning, I knew it had turned the corner to bronchitis.  I am ridiculously prone to it and, after a scary bout with bilateral pneumonia in January, I am super paranoid.  Fortunately, I had medication at home and started it right away.  But I'm not feeling great.  And I have been unable to sleep the past two nights.  Which is most certainly not helping anything.

Today, we had tickets to a show so we went to that.  We had unexpected visitors in the evening which threw off our night time schedule.  She was whiney and sad.  I put her to bed at 7:30, came downstairs to clean up, prepare for tomorrow, laundry, make lunches.  Finally, sat down with my tea, DVR & laptop. Aaaaaahhhhh.  And then I hear over the baby monitor *sssshhhhhkllllpoooooooossshhhhhhhhhhhhhh* cough cough cough *ssshhhhkllpooooossshhhhhhhhhhhhh*  Yeah.  Absolute power vomit all over her bed, blankets, chair, walls, dresser, carpet.  Especially that *awesome* crease where carpet and wall come together.  That spot is a joy to clean.  So much for relaxing.  She seems to feel better after that.  She was nice enough to read me a book while I was scrubbing puke off everything.  "Mom, what does h-u-n-d-r-e-d-s spell?"  "Mom, what does e-l-v-e-s spell?  Well that's silly, why isn't it 'elfs'?  Mooooooooommmmm, why is it elves instead of elfs???"  You know, in the midst of the vomit volcano, I am NOT really in the mood to explain the quirks of the english language to you, sweetpea. 

All that whining to say, dammit I'm exhausted.  So it's time to switch over another load of barf blankets in the wash and see if maybe I can get some sleep tonight.  Do you ever just feel like....what the hell has become of my life????

Friday, December 10, 2010

Run and Hide

I know all Moms are some degree of tired.  And I don't for one minute think that my single status makes my mother-job any harder than it is for anyone else.  It's just different.  But I am exhausted.  And confused.  I feel so ill-prepared to do what I need to do.  No, scratch that.  I feel clueless about knowing what I need to do. 

I am worn down and drained.  I am stressed and frustrated.  I am, illogical as it is, resentful of my daughter for not making this parenting thing easier.  I am sick and tired of not knowing how any day will start or end....what kind of mood, what level of frustration?  I am on eggshells until I see where Bianca is at any given moment.  Did she have a good day? Bad?  Is she tired?  Is she weepy? Whiney? Shut down?  Hyper? Anxious?  And what will my patience level be for her today?  How many different ways can I say the same exact thing 35 times?  And keep it positive?  And not pull my toenails out with pliers just for fun?

I had a meeting Weds morning with her teacher and the school psychologist.  Let me back up to say that I've never met with the psychologist before so imagine my horror when I walked in her office and realized she was the same woman I told off in the parking lot last year and have given the evil eye to every time since.  Crap.  I hope she has forgotten or, at the very least, is forgiving.  More likely, she's probably noting Bianca's files with things like "Childs behavioral issues suddenly all make sense.....Mom is a psycho."

Anyhoo...the meeting has been a while coming.  I've had a few conferences with the teacher and we've exchanged a host of emails.  I suspect Bianca has ADD.  I'm not saying it's for sure or the only possibility but it seems likely at this point.  The plan was to have the psychologist observe Bianca and then we'd all get together and talk.  So I went in bright and early with my little notebook, ready to gather the information they surely had for me after four observations and a couple one-on-one meetings.  So why was I the one giving all the information?  And why are we backing up to try sticker charts and reward systems AGAIN?  They didn't work the first time.  But apparently the school phsychologist needed to see the not-working in action. ?? 

They wanted me to give them ideas.  People, I am the parent which means, YES, I do know alot about my child.  But it's stuff I've already shared with you.  And, this is my one and only child who I ride the waves with and screw up learn as I go.  YOU are the "experts" see 25-50-300 kids every school year and have seen a hell of a lot more child development than I could ever aspire to.  Why are you asking me for ideas on what will work?  You are supposed to be telling me.  I appreciate your two new plans but they will not work.  They are different versions of the same things you've already tried.  Not wanting to seem like the pessimist (which I am NOT), I nodded and said "Sure, we'll give that a try.  Great idea.  You let me know how it works out." 

Nothing works consistently with Bianca and that is part of the ADD or whatever-it-is that is going on with her brain. The same trick that worked like a charm yesterday and caused flowery rainbows of glee to shoot from her eyesockets will, today, send her into a furious death roll of epic proportions. I've beaten myself up in the past about not staying consistent with her and then I finally realized....hey, I've just been trying to stay afloat. It's to the point now where something happens and I am completely dumbfounded with 40 different books, ideas, suggestions, tips, tricks and remedies all whirling through my head like a tornado. And the tumbleweeds of what used to be my ample brain cells just can't withstand the commotion. All I want to do is RUN.and.HIDE.

My heart aches for my child who is so unhappy in school.  And I feel like the crappiest mom ever that I don't have more patience for her.  Especially if her lack of focus is something outside of her control.  Still it is downright MADDENING.  Remember the part in the movie SAW when the dude had to hack off his own foot to escape?  Trying to do homework the other night was possibly slightly less fun than that.  And then comes the meltdown that she doesn't have enough time to do anything else because it took her an hour to alphabetize 12 groups of words.  An hour that sounded like this: "Stay focused.  Okay, next word.  Okay, back to work.  Keep your eyes on the paper.  No you can't use marker.  Stop writing on the table. Sit still. Eyes on your work.  Are you sure R comes before C?  Say the alphabet.  Stop writing on the table.  Are you sure V comes before I?  Say the alphabet. STOP writing on the table.  Are you sure T comes before G?  Say the alphabet.  No, you still can't use marker.  Focus.  No you can't watch TV.  Focus.  Is singing the Polar Express song helping you work?  No, we can't watch it tonight.  No, you can't draw a hat on the snowman right now, just read me the words......etc etc etc." (Cocking finger gun at temple & pulling thumb-trigger)

I know she is overtired which became abundantly more clear when I put her to bed and sadly (and stupidly, as far as timing is concerned) informed her it was time for the halloween pumpkin to go in the garbage because it's getting squooshie on the bottom.  I reminded her it was a vegetable and, therefore, has a finite life span before it turns into slimy black muck.  In a whine so shrill that I fully expected a pack of wild dogs to show up on my doorstep, she wails "But you can't throw that away because it's my favorite tiny vegetable!" followed by massive weeping and attempts to grab the softening pumpkin from my hands.  I have this sinking feeling I'm raising a future hoarder but that's another post.  At least for tonight, one slightly squishy bottomed tiny vegetable is sitting in the middle of her christmas lighted garland.  I just give up.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Terrorist on the Shelf

Bianca has been a bit of a bear this week.  I'm not sure if she's having trouble acclimating back to school after a long weekend at home.  Or it could just be that she's over tired from a couple bouts with nightmares that left her without adequate sleep.  Add to that a night of Gramma babysitting when you know Bianca negotiates her way into a later bed time..... I have an ornery girl right now.  She's been getting into some minor trouble at school. 

A friend of mine suggested this may be a good time to introduce Elf on the Shelf.  I know I've heard it mentioned before but never really knew exactly how it worked.  Here's the dilly: the little dude works for
Santa and keeps an eye on the kids then reports back to the North Pole every night.  He then comes back to your house and the kiddies find him in a different spot than the night before.  I guess sometimes he brings little gifts, notes or causes mischief.  Cute idea.  Have you seen this doll though?  He's a little creepy......... 
Bianca can be freaked out by baby dolls. She HATES her cabbage patch and constantly covers its face with a blanket. Then turns it upside down and smothers it. (this is one of many, MANY reasons I don't dare have another child)  So I'm not entirely sure how she will feel about this disturbing little imp coming to life each night and running amok in our house.

I was talking to another friend this morning, a Mom of three.  I asked her "Do you guys do Elf on the Shelf?"


And then she whispers "We tried it two years ago.  Dear God, don't you remember this?"

Well, I don't really remember what color my car is most days so no, I'm sorry I don't remember what happened two years ago.  I know as a good friend, I should.  But I also know, as a mom of three, she understands I have no brain cells left so she forgives me.

She proceeds to tell the story and starts out in a tone fitting of a horrific ghost story.  "It was the Christmas of '08.  We thought it would be a cute tradition to start.  That's what....we.....thought........" ~pausing as memories of elf horror flood over her~  "Oldest thought it was great.  Middle and Baby....they didn't sleep for D.A.Y.S.  Middle spent four days like this: 

"She spent every night buried under her covers, every day creeping around the house like a covert agent, stealthing from room to room so as not to see, or be seen by, Elfie.  She would screech like a howler monkey upon glimpsing anything red.  Husband, who is usually such a great Dad......" ~trails off in disbelief of husband's evil, torturous side~ "....would hide Elfie in Middle's hamper or bath towel or put him right outside the door of whatever room she'd just gone into.  Oh, the screams.  The screams.  Thank GOD for the flu.  Do you remember it was a really bad flu season that year?"

I didn't even remember that my dear friend was terrorized by an elf.  Do you think I remember how the flu season was in '08?  But, not wanting to seem like (more of) a complete moron, I go "yeah, that was bad that year." 

"Well, thank God because we ended up leaving a note from Santa that he knew our kids were being good so Elfie was reassigned to a family with questionable children whose Elf had come down with the flu.  It took a few days for everything to return to normal.  And, God help me, they have ASKED FOR ELFIE TO RETURN this year..... I just don't know what I'm going to do.  Because *I* am traumatized."

Despite the tales of dread, and possibly against my better judgment, I think I might still give it a try.  But, at least now my friend has given me a good out if Bianca is creeped out by the Elf.  Come on, flu season!