Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas To Me!

Ahhh, that was fun!

I had a merry Christmas, but I tell ya it was a close one. Christmas Eve were to have a little party at our house, and in the days preceding, I was more than a little stressed at preparing the house for guests. This being no easy feat of cleaning, and balancing the not cleaning
yet, of stuff that life and the Chaos Girls will trash between then and the party regardless. Saturday found me tense and unkind, unhappy with the season and finding fault with my beloved and children.


It never helps that I am conflicted with the timing of Christmas (not that I am in any way shuffling off the responsibility for my crusty behavior... it's mine and I was a grouch). The whole business about most of the "symbols" of Christ in the season actually being co-opted Pagan Midwinter hoodie-doo. The part about how this ain't even
close to the date when Jesus was actually born... whatever. When did I become an intellectual purist?

Besides... if I wanted to get all theologically technical? All things point to Christ anyway.... and the Pagan stuff was itself, a corrupted form of eternal truths. So what does it matter how we get there? For some reason it matters to me, just enough to throw me off my stride... that and the lying about Santa bit.

The fact that scholars and revelation agree that the Savior was born in the springtime? When did
I get so picky? My fifteenth birthday was set back an entire month so that our family could celebrate the marriage of my oldest sister. Believe me, I wasn't all that bugged by the delay or the fact that my "birthday cake" was a resuscitated half a frozen sheet cake from her wedding reception. Instead, I parlayed the shifting of my birthday celebration into my first ever "friends" birthday party complete with Domino's Pizza, drinks and a rented video showing of Repo Man.

Comically, that was 1984, the year that the movie
Sixteen Candles came out. I never did understand why the crap the main character hadn't given her whole family a heads up at least two weeks in advance to remind them of her upcoming birthday. I guess coming from a family of six kids is a titch different than three. I never assumed that my folks would remember too much of anything!

I, of all people, should relax about a little fudging in dates.

That wasn't the problem. I was the problem. Nothing that a little bit of prayer and meditation couldn't fix. Looking back on Christmas, I am shocked to see that this Christmas was perfect. It was so perfect that I couldn't even see it because I was so busy living it.

Everything was present. Warm and comfortable home, healthy children, family and friends, love, food and gifts...

We made and delivered treats to neighbors, made ornaments for the tree, a gingerbread house, parties, kept it all relatively Christ focused and even had a particularly touching and wonderful opportunity to do service for someone who had a need this season. It's good to be useful to another, and to teach our sweet girls that service and charity is an essential part of celebrating Christmas.

Sweetest of all...

All year Birdie has wanted a
My Little Pony Butterfly Island from Santa Clause. She has been scheming and hoping and drooling over the fun she will have. In the meantime LaLa has developed a deep love for her all time favorite pony... Hona-Lu-Lu. It is her "whay-vwit." When Santa went online to purchase the Island and a few other pony essentials, he was nonplussed to find that Hona-Lu-Lu was not in the Hasbro pantheon of ponys for sale. Imagine Santa's surprise and discomfort when the UPS dude delivered the Island and sundries, and he got a good look at the Pony Island set. It comes with Hona-Lu-Lu.

Santa said... "Oh, crap!" Serious as a heart attack, that's what came out of his jolly mouth! He thought long and hard about simply having the set out and assembled, and putting the Hona-Lu-Lu pony in with LaLa's stuff. In the end he decided against it because that Birdie is one sharp cookie. She probably is perfectly aware of every last bit of plastic hoopty-doo that is included in with the Butterfly Island.

Christmas morning, and the box containing the Island is being ripped into like a terrier rips into a fresh rat hole. Birdie finds the Hona-Lu-Lu pony and says, "Oh! LaLa, it's Hona-Lu-Lu! Your favorite... here." Whereupon she hands her sister the pony, and that was that.

I tell you, it was a perfect Christmas.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


It's not that I am overwhelmed. I'm always overwhelmed...

It's not all the extra medical stuff going on, what with two pennies for Pearl and the dental horrors being perpetrated on my mouth. Don't think it's the busyness of the season, after all, I have planted my can in front of the computer several times to write a post. My heart is not in it.

There is this reservoir that I have near my heart, it is full of tales and stories. It's the place that my laughter comes from and the place that my tears start. Right now I am a little congested in my reservoir with a troublesome knot of fear and sorrow that I am really not in a place to talk about. It's not my tale to tell, not one side of it or the other side....

Really... I am not trying to be all mysterioso, does this never happen to you? You can't write about a thing that seems so glaring and big to your heart, and so your ability to write just dries up altogether? Just me?


I'm gonna post this pathetic bit of introspection in an attempt to break this I-can't-write cycle, bear with me... good stuff is to come.

Have a funny picture.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I don't do New Year's resolutions... they just don't make much sense to me. I have recently resolved to do better in the two following areas, and I am not waiting till the first of January to start.

1. I will stop swearing. This includes the swearing I do in my heart, which is where most of my cussing stays. But, little by little, bits of NaNa words are leaving my heart and re-entering my speech... and I won't stand for it. I control what I think and say.

2. I will make sure and shut the bathroom door when I do my business. I am an adult, and my kids can wait three seconds (i pee fast) to have access to me. I will lock the door if I must. After three girls, and the attendant separation anxiety of a simple potty break, I have become uncouth and I won't stand for it.

On a side note....
Pearl has another/continuance of her double ear infection. Impressive considering the high levels of antibiotics she has been pumped full of. Tubes will be put in on Thursday the 28th by the ENT. This means another trip to same day surgery and a general anesthetic, but barring her hoarking down a few more pennies, it should be uneventful.


He is of the opinion that the tubes will help to improve her breathing thingy as well. He is also of the opinion that she will grow out of the whole thing. I am of the opinion that I really like his opinion. I have heard, and continue to hear stellar reports of his medical prowess. Sooo....Yay!

Also, the ENT was able to clear up the placement of popcorn kernal chunk that was removed last week. It was in her hypowhatsis, a small area above both her food and wind pipes... soooo, not her lungs at all. The ENT was of the opinion that is got lodged there after the pennies cut off the downspout for food. She still ain't touching popcorn for a long time.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Grin and Bear It

Huh, apparently I have been decompressing. Apparently, also; I cannot decompress and write at the same time. Witness recent lack of post.

It has not helped matters that the wee sore throat that started for Dadguy during the Hospital-Two-Penny incident turned into a full blown sick. Plus a continuance of my tummy distresses and Pearl also has not exactly normalized. Her schedule is off, and she now feels so good that even when she IS tired, she doesn't want to waste it on sleep.

Yesterday we finished decorating a graham cracker gingerbread house, one of four that were started on a Sunday a few weeks back. Also last night I made each of the girls a new bed-buddy out of unused portions of a quilt I made a few months back. For those of you who do not know what a bed-buddy is, it's a fabric pillow thing that is full of grain instead of stuffing. Toss the thing in a microwave for a minute or two, and voila! Better than a hot water bottle or electric heating pad, and safer too. They are especially wonderful when kids feel sick in their tummy's. We tend to have a hard time keeping track of them in this house, so the more that exist, the better. Like fingernail clippers. I have discovered that once I had saturated the household with approximately ten pair, I can usually find one pair within a one minute search.

Speaking of fingernail clippers... I have been meaning to document the following:

In order to get the girls to sit still for the weekly clip, I whump them on my lap and sing them the following song:

Snip snap snooper
Poop-ed as a looper
Snip snap snooper
Bippity bappity bop

As a result of this, LaLa calls all nail clippers... snip-snaps, only she pronounces it "nip-naps." I'm fairly certain that she knows the real name for this tool, as I KNOW for a fact she knows what the heck a ball point pen is called.... yet today she asked for a purple, sparkely pen by requesting her "pockelly draw-draw."

Ummm... any way, I'll be giving them each a new bed-buddy for Christmas.

I don't think that I have mentioned lately how much I love my neighbors. Last week on the evening before the initial procedure that sparked a hospital half-marathon, I had reached my full level of freak-out stress. Dadguy noticed I was not at my... ummm... best, and ordered me out of the house, suggesting that I take myself out to eat. I walked two doors down and knocked on my friend K's door.
I may have said something like..."I have been kicked out, can you talk?"
She looked at me and said, "I'll get my car. Meet you in the driveway."

We got Chinese and talked for an hour and a half even though she had just that day gotten on antibiotics for a monster sinus infection. Y'all, I have great friends. This is to say nothing about all the neighbors who took my girls while Pearl and I hit the ENT's office on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then for a while after that, just because they thought Birdie and LaLa could use some fun time away, and I could use some quiet. My neighbor from two doors down the other direction brought dinner to my MIL and the girls while we were gone. Heck... my MIL who took two days off in a row to stay with the girls while getting by on sketchy, scary half updates from a bad cell phone connection. My big sis waiting in the wings to take up any slack.

How do folks do this kind of thing with no back-up?

There's one interesting tidbit I have learned from this though. When it looked like it was the worst possible diagnosis... it was bearable. I have long worried about what would I ever do if one of my girls was hurt or even killed. Would I survive that kind of pain? How would I hold up, would I fold or would I be there for my kids? Here is the interesting part... you bear it. You walk through it. Maybe it's easy for me to say because we did walk away unscathed (relatively), but I have an inkling now of how parents do it. Parents of children who do not dodge the bullet... MS, Leukemia, catastrophic birth defects, car accidents.... you bear it because you must, and then you find a safe place and cry your guts out, wipe the tears and go back to bearing it.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Much Better, Thanks

I Luuuuuve balloons!

These are so shiny!

Oh. The bear!

....aaaand a perfect photo op.

Now I want my balloons back. Fetch woman.

*edited to add... the offenders

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ruminations on Fish

The day after Thanksgiving we put up the Christmas decorations. This meant that the usual clutter of "hands off" stuff that we keep at the top of our tall shelf in the kitchen had to get shifted to make room for garland and candles. I'm decorative like that, call me Martha. On of the items that got moved was a small jar full of pennies. Everything got put in the cupboard under the shelf, we have a baby proof lock on the doors. At some point I can only assume that I left the door to the cupboard unlocked and the jar of pennies was lifted. The first I knew of this was when I entered the girls room to check-up on a ten minute period of relative quiet. The two older girls had spread my blue denim blanket on the floor and scattered the pennies about. I was informed that they were gold fish in the pond. Pearl had a "fish" in her yap, whereupon I freaked and fished it out. All pennies were then confiscated and put away.

Perhaps not all. Perhaps she had already swallowed two "fish" only they were not turned to a position of blockage. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. I refuse to allow fear to rule me as a mother. The shame and horror that I feel, knowing that this happened because of my Mama-losership? Let me say right now...yes, this happened BUT, I refuse to be an absolute freak.
Will my cleaning in every single nook and cranny tighten up? Yes.
Will my vigilance level be raised? Yes.
Will my baby be allowed to get near popcorn until she is at least two and has a full bank of teethies? Yes. Because on that point? Mea Culpa. I have allowed her to eat popcorn in the past. No more.

Sigh... but I still feel like crap.

On a happier note, these showed up today! GranPa was here and almost sent the delivery girl away.

"Pearl XXXXX? There's no Pearl XXXXX that lives here?" He said.

He's aware of the bloggity, but is not an actual reader... he has no idea the pseudonyms we operate under. It was extra funny when I poked my head out and saw the stuffed bear with three get well balloons and squeed "OH! I bet that's from NOBODY!" The gal handed it over with a veeery skeptical look on her face!

Sure enough, on top of the Pinball DVD that showed up for Dadguy from Nobody earlier this week, the Mr. and Mrs. Nobody's sent over this gift and well wish. Thank You, Thank YOU! She loves plushies and balloons!

The little sweety is tired and sore. She has various pokes, bruises, scabs and a fat lip from all the medical whatsit, along with sticky places from sundry sticky things they taped to her body. She still has her usual rattly breathing and a sore throat... but she is home. She is getting better.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Her Two Cents Worth

It's a very long and tangled story of a narrow miss, lots of frightening diagnosis, waiting, pain and a very wide network of concern and love. Not sure I am up to telling the whole story that I told around twenty seven times yesterday, to an even greater number of medical professionals.


Here is the short story; we dodged the bullet. There was, in the end, no Vascular Ring, no swollen artery and no cancerous growth. There was only my sweet Pearl getting her two cents in. Literally. There was a period of four days between Tuesday Nov 28th when she got her chest x-rayed, and Sunday morning when we first became aware that she could no longer swallow solid food, that she ate two pennies, and they became lodged in her esophagus. Swelling ensued and started pressing in on her trachea, cutting down her airway to less than a pencil's thickness and closing. After a second CT scan and some very quality medical interpretation finally ruled out some scary potentialities, they operated on her last night and removed the pennies. Also they checked out her lungs closer and found...stuff, among which was a small bit of popcorn kernel that she had at some point inhaled. She has a respiratory condition that has a long name but falls under the catchall diagnosis of "asthma" and we will be pursuing that. From home. Which is where we are now.

I have alot to do, I have alot to process. A night spent on the PICU (intensive care) floor in Primary Children's Hospital is a humbling experience for the mama of the healthiest child there. We shared a room with a five month old baby girl named, of all things Purl (same real life name as my baby only spelled different). The road ahead of her and her mama... well, it will be longer and harder than "asthma." Just to walk from making a phone call in the waiting room back to the room where Pearl was, was to walk a gauntlet of the pain and suffering of the sickest and most catastrophically injured of children, and their families.

I am grateful. I am tired. I am home.

Thank you.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

whats happening

Dear The Mama readers:
This is mama's big sister posting from my own computer, I hope this works! Just wanted to update, so that nobody would be too worried. Big doings though, I'm afraid. During the "procedure" this morning, the ent found the swelling was very bad and getting worse, and little Pearl was in actual danger, (a swelling aorta was involved!) so an ambulance trip was ordered up to Primary Children's hospital in Salt Lake City. Tests showed that something (probably metal) was lodged in her esophogus, and she's in surgery now again as I type. Thanks to modern medicine, God's providence, and Bon's persistence with the medical types, she should be just fine.
Well, I could have the details mangled, because their cell phone connection from the hospital is mighty bad, but Bonnie will probably be back tommorow or Saturday, and she can set the record right. Let's all keep her in our prayers/meditations/thoughts - take your pick!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


We went to the ENT. He asked the questions, he looked in the ears and he stuffed the wee scope up her nose and checked out her throat as far as her voice box (ummm, not a happy baby). Saw a thing or two, but it appears that she has Subglottal Stenosis. This means... below-the-voice-box-swelling. Why this is, we do not know. My vote is congenital, but it could be lesions of some sort.

We will know more on Thursday after exploratory "not-exactly-surgery" when she goes under anesthesia so they can get a look past her vocal chords. Dadguy is taking the day off work and his mom is coming to stay with the two older girls. I will be staying away from google because... well, it's telling me nothing I want to know.

Really, everything will be fine, but prayers and happy vibes are welcome for the wee Pearly girl.

ENT Today

Tip toeing along the very freaking edge of freaking out. I have my "things" but I am generally not an alarmist when it comes to my kids health. Of course we have been lucky and very blessed where that's concerned. Other than the finger smashing incident a few months ago in Shopko, we have managed to keep out of emergency rooms. I'm liking life like this.

Pearl had her appointment with the ENT on the 15th, but they graciously moved it up to this afternoon. Her crunchy, grind-y, gurgle-y breathing is about the same... but she has not been able to get solid food down her throat since Saturday night. At least the first I became aware of the problem was when she gagged and choked on the wee piece of white bread from the sacrament tray on Sunday morning. As far as I can tell, the only thing that has made it past the... whatever it is that does not allow even baby cereal to get by... is rice milk, water and juice.

Thankfully, she is relatively chipper. Except for the sleeping bit. She's not too hip on sleeping. Oh, and the clinging part... I'm not allowed to put her down.

I am not yet freaking out. I am just "stressing out." Yeah, that's what it is... stressing.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Hold This Please

The debacle of potty training LaLa continues. Like her older sister, she "gets" the poo portion of potty training... the peeing business has her stymied. Perhaps "stymied" is the wrong word, it implies some sort of effort on her part.

For the last month or so, every time she sits on the toilet I have to "hold" her tail so that it does not fall into the toilet water. She is a pony, you see. Sometimes her name is Hona-lu-lu, sometimes she is Flowertop. One way or another, I know I am her mother... who the heck else would hold her imaginary tail and wipe her not-so-imaginary bum?