Friday, September 24, 2010

I'm sorry Cookie Monster...

Dear Cookie Monster,

I’d like to thank you for all the happy childhood memories I have of you.  Your fuzzy blue fur, your love of life, your inquisitive nature and even your love of all things COOKIE are what I remember.  Who didn’t love it when your beady eyes got all wiggly and giggly when you caught a glimpse of a delicious treat?  I dare say no one….not until we needed others to control our Nation’s weight issues.

Cookie, I’m a large woman but I don’t blame you.  I never have.  You see I don’t like cookies.  It’s true!  I actually don’t eat desserts except on a very rare occasion.  I never have wanted to eat cookies…not even when you would go into a silly cookie rage and gobble up your favorite cookies, chocolate chip.  I just loved you for you.  I didn’t judge you on your eating habits.  After all you are a monster and not a human boy or girl.  You aren’t made of flesh and bone.  You are made of fur, plastic and you have some dude’s hand up your…..well, you know, I don’t have to tell you.  Even as a child I never thought to myself, “gee, that guy is awesome I must eat cookies like him all day long.” 

Many of my generation turned out alright and we had only our parents to thank for that.  I’m grateful that public standards are so different now.  I would hate to think that my children were being unfairly influenced by your love of baked goods.  I would hate to think that while I am the one shopping and baking (or truly not baking) in my house that they were learning from you and not from what I placed in front of them.  I confess; I have yet to place a warm plate of cookies in front of them for their meal.  I do crazy stuff like give them a balanced meal but you didn’t teach me that.  Who was that?

Oh, Cookie, do you remember when you could just be you?  I do.  I like that you are embracing new things.  Trying the fruits, the veggies and the grains but isn’t the magic of you the frenzy and fun you had when you saw a cookie?  I’m sorry that our National weight epidemic rests upon your furry shoulders.  I guess we are a heavy weight nation because of the years of Cookie Brainwashing.  I hope you understand why your whimsical nature had to change.  It’s not your fault but we needed a Cookie Scape Goat.  I don’t know what breed of monster you are exactly but I think you are likely most closely related to the scape goat.  You’d have to be, right?

Cookie, I don’t blame you but we can’t be trusted to educate our children properly.  I mean…who was there for us?  Off to call my mother to thank her again!


Monday, September 20, 2010

The power of words...

The power of words.
The pen is mightier than the sword.
Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you.
I’m rubber and you’re glue.  Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.

If life were only that simple!  Words, tiny meaningless letters till our advanced animal brains string them together in a way to describe, illuminate, communicate or to beat down a person, a group of people or a life style.  Words have power.  We give them power when we give them meaning.  Look up in a dictionary any word you want and you have empowered it.  Before, it was just letters strung together but now it has meaning and therefore power.

Words like gay, faggot, homo, dyke, queer have always been there.  But when did they become weapons?  “That’s so gay,” or “he’s a faggot” or “she’s a dyke” they weren't meant to tell the world how happy the person or item is or talk about a bundle of twigs or even an embankment of earth.  They are used to make the accused feel ‘less than’ as if a man loving another man or a woman another woman is ‘less than’ the ones slinging the words like daggers. 

Words like retard, loser and idiot are not meant to describe a delay to a process, a competitor who lost a challenge nor are they describing a person not holding a public office.  They are used to make others feel bad about their challenges or to boost the accuser when they pop the words like mints.  They are meant to insult and rarely to describe a situation with their original meanings.

Words have meaning, why do we have to use them for less than they deserve?  We have words that are rich and colorful but we are reduced to bastardizing words till they have lost their true meaning.  Be careful of the words you choose.  Words have power.  We’ve given them power by giving them meaning.  We’ve corrupted that power.  It’s time to take that power back.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mommihood isn’t for us criers…

I said this phrase the other day joking away tears after my son was crying due to pain from an injury on the football field.  Come to find out, it is us criers that make for the best and loudest advocates for our children.

Some back story…My oldest son broke his wrist Saturday afternoon playing football.  He was taken via ambulance to Albany Memorial.  I was not there at the hospital but I was told that his treatment consisted of x-rays, ice, Ibuprofen, splint and ace bandages.  He was not casted at the time as my husband was told that due to the nature of the injury that we will need to follow up with an Orthopaedic Surgeon.  Visions of surgical nightmares and a crippled wrist flooded my head.  I decided to do as instructed and see an orthopaedist on Monday.

Monday comes….

We send the boy to school as his biggest fear at the time was messing up his perfect attendance record he has had since day one of Kindergarten.  It still makes me smile to say that.  What a cool kid!  I called around till I found an office that would get him in right away versus the hours of waiting that others promised us (“No, nothing till 3:45”).  We picked our son up at school and whisked him away to CROG (Capital Region Orthopaedics Group) in Saratoga.  We met with Dr. G, the doctor with the availability and the pleasure of our whirlwind appearance in his office.  He took x-rays that showed just how bad the break was.  The wrist bones were shifted off of the arm bones like ice cream sliding off a cone on a hot summer day.  He was just as confused as we were about why our son didn’t have his wrist set the day of the injury (2 days ago).  Then we talked options.  I suddenly felt weak.  Options?  To me I have often lived with the idea that doctors do what they do and I pay the co-pay.  It’s been a nice relationship for me.  I realized that Bill and I now had to make the decision.  When did we become the grown-ups?  It hit me.  We were and we were parents too.  We discussed how they could reduce the fracture in the office with local anesthesia at the wrist or we could look into sedation which would require going to a hospital.  After blank and simultaneously thoughtful looks my husband called his father for advice and I called my mother to come.  We both have ways of “dealing.”

It was decided that we would do the reduction with the aid of modern medicine.  So we were off to Albany Medical Center.  We spent a full work day in the ER waiting, worrying, crying, setting, casting, waiting, worrying, crying, RE-setting and RE-casting!  It was an adventure to be sure.  I’m not sure who fared worse…the little man or his two parents that grasped each other’s hands till circulation was cut off slightly.  I think that we braced each other for what we thought would be the worst moment of our lives to date.  We were right.

Nothing is like the moments that you watch your children breathe in the air of life for the first time or the moments that you can’t ease the pain, the confusion, the fear and the sorrow from their bodies.  It is the toughest trial to a parent and my son *only* had a broken wrist.  I can’t imagine what I would feel if something worse was wrong with him.  I recognize just how lucky we are and were this day and every one surrounding it.

Scotch saying hello to Josh.
It was a rocky day.  Between bouts of anger and fear we had really special moments too.  Josh was visited by a therapy dog named Scotch and her human, Tom.  He really liked that.  She jumped up and leaned on his gurney so he could pet her.  The golden lab smiled on command.  She also must have had a big lunch too.  She was a bit on the airy side if you know what I mean! 

We watched as they sedated our son and he was no longer “with” us.  He was in another place altogether.  He was in a world far, far away and I felt myself trying to pull him back with my voice, my touch and my tears.  I was afraid.  We watched as they pushed and pulled his bones into place.  Animals.  Strong animals were grabbing and pulling on my baby and I was helpless to make them stop.  They had to finish.  I was angry.  He started to come out of the sedation and the confusion and fear was earth shaking.  He screamed with primal abandon.  He was afraid for his life.  I was afraid again.  As he began to calm down he wanted his mom and dad.  He begged for us but wasn’t sure we were who we said we were.  He reached for us, pulled is to his chest without seeing us and stroked our heads.  I was overjoyed.  This was the most honest feeling of love I think I have ever felt.  His small hands were comforting me while making him feel that we were there. 
Josh trying to relax before sedation and reduction.

He soon remembered where he was, who we were and the words of the doctor who said, “he won’t have any memory [of the procedure]”.  He had only taken away part of that statement. 
“Can I still do math?” 
“What?” We asked. 
“Did I lose my memory?  Can I still do math?” 
“Buddy, what’s 5 plus 5?” asked my husband.
“10,” He whimpered. 
“Yes, sweetheart you can still do math!” I announced.  I was amused to no end.  Saying that I love this kid is just not enough!

I had to have the biggest signature!
Our trial was far from over I’m afraid.  As we waited for his cast to dry and harden we were told that the casting was not good and the bone shifted.  Unlike the funny Southwest Airline’s steward joke of “Shift Happens” this was not news that I wanted to hear.  I dreaded the idea of more meds and going through this again.  I soon rethought that when I found out that they were opting for a local pain blocker this time.  Oh boy!  It didn’t need to be moved as far but he was fully alert and felt it the entire time.  Trying to be brave for him was exhausting!  Our son made it through the ordeal of the day.  We got him his meal of choice and headed home.  A long 8 hour day in the ER deserved a good night’s rest.  I think that we all crashed where we landed when we finally made it home!

I've spared some of the details as some of those are private and really to retell them would cause me to relive those visions.  It’s best to soldier on and save those tears for another day.  Mommihood really isn’t for us criers….but I wouldn’t trade it!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Moisturizer…a boy’s best friend.

Nicholas got into Mommy's lotion.
Okay. I want to say first that both his parents were home...but sadly we were both involved in something else! 

“Twas the night before Monday when Pa was at the stove preparing his meal
and Ma was at her laptop amidst well wishes and that kind of deal.
Then in the other room there arose such a clatter
That we both sprang up to see what was the matter.
And what do our wondering eyes behold?
It was young Nicholas being so very bold!”

At least his skin will be soft, supple and won’t make him look a day over 28 months old.

When your kids get hurt…really hurt.

I am pretty good in an emergency situation.  I am usually calm, cool and collected but then….it is your kid that gets hurt!  One of the boys got hurt yesterday at his second football game ever.  I was at the other son’s football game because I am the team medic (I’m a highly trained band-aid applicator and jersey shirt tucker).

My husband was at the game with me as this was the first game for the youngest boy and we made a conscious choice to have us both at the 1st game.  Our oldest boy was playing at the same time in Colonie for his second game.  My father-in-law was there with him so he wasn’t alone.

Both games started at 3:00 and after the exciting hoopla of team introductions on the home field the game begins in Ballston.  It was just moments later that Bill (my husband) gets my attention.  He was on the phone with my father-in-law.  Our son was hurt and his wrist is most likely broken.  OMG!  Helpless and feeling a million miles away when truth is we were a half hour drive away.  I felt my eyes sting.  It was then I realized I was crying. So much for no tears in football!  Oh, I should tell you as the team medic I can assure you that tears and football go hand-in-hand!

Bill rushed off and I stayed on the field. Obligation and the fact that we had another child on the field meant that I wasn’t leaving.  That was really hard for me.  However, as a mother, I don’t think that I would have been any help in the situation.  I think that I would have made our son more upset and I’m sure that I would have relived the scene from “Terms of Endearment” when Aurora demanded pain medication for her daughter.  “Give my daughter the shot!”  No one wants to see their child in real pain.  I think that it was best that I stayed and tucked in shirts, aided with ice packs and shouted to parents to get another beverage when their kids sucked down the last bit of water at that warm afternoon game.

I was able to keep in contact via phone and text.  A marvel in technology when you think about it.  I didn’t need to find a payphone to call the hospital waiting room. It is a great asset to anyone to feel so connected.  I spoke with Bill.  I spoke with my son’s team coordinator.  I couldn’t thank her enough for being there.  I told her to thank them all. It meant so much to me to have him supported.  They are all parents too and they just get it!

So the boy came home splinted, wrapped and broken.  But it seems that the worst thing broken was just his wrist.  Can you believe it?  His spirit shined just as bright.  He had thought about quitting football forever but he was lifted up when he heard the team dedicated the game to him (winning 31-7…I guess the other team was given a TD for a mercy rule).  Coach said that he would work with our son to make sure he stays involved as it was important to us.  We think he likes the idea of being a ball-boy and even helping with “coaching” duties.

He made it through the night like a trooper.  He didn’t wake in pain or anything.  He’s made of strong stuff.  I did find an Orthopedic group based on recommendations.  When your child is hurt, it is then when you find out just how many of your friends have gone down the injury recovery road!  I called today (yes, on Sunday—per instruction from hospital).  I am a rule follower. I was surprised that my idea of this emergency is not what the answering service considers emergent.  Well…I am his mom after all!  I guess we wait and see. For those that know me they know that I’m not a wait and see kind of person!

So I’m off for the day….to wait and see.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I’ve got a secret…

I haven’t told anyone this…just you.  How many of you will see this remains to be seen but I need to let the secret out.

I’m a slacker mom.  That’s right a slacker mom.  I have heard so many times, “Karen, I don’t know how you do it.  Four kids, PTA, do you have time for all that you do?”  Please!  Don’t let me fool you…ever.  While I am a stay-at-home mom to 4 kids I am not the idyllic role model that I would have you believe me to be.  First, I swear like a trucker.  In fact, I may be worse.  So, 'June Cleaver' I am not! Second, I will let dishes sit for days if there are more important things to do.  So, 'Mrs. Brady' I am not (although I would like to mention that she had Alice).  Third, a shower everyday…only if I need to be in public and I really have to!  So a perfectly polished 'Bree Van de Kamp' I am not.  I do have flashes of desperation from time to time! And four…ah shucks.  Who needs a forth?  I’m too lazy to come up with more.  Perhaps that is the forth one!  I put on a good show for events and for the kids but aren’t there days that wearing PJ’s all day and drinking hot tea are just the way to go?

Today is one of those days I think. I think that I will get my 'Peggy Bundy' on and prepare to call for take out tonight.  It counts as a warm meal!  So PJ’s, tea and my magic wand—it’s shaped more like a toilet brush than I would have hoped but I should do at least one domestic thing today!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My first blog took a whacky turn!

I was feverishly hand writing (something great about a pen in hand to paper) my first blog this morning when it was clear that my Super Powers were not being used as they should. Oh I had funny moments of insight that were meant to amaze and entertain the masses. Then the deafening quiet was louder than ever before.

I found my youngest in the family room enjoying a little Disney Channel. Picture included and it speaks volumes to what this blog will be all about....the most perfectly imperfect mom you will ever come to know!

And to my little Nickel're welcome. And your future in politics is now in jeopardy...but Mommy is okay with that!