Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Attitude Problem

I know the first day of school is too soon to be one of those parents, and maybe you teacher types or those of you who have had more experience with kids in school can help me through this, but I'm pissy. I'm pissy that my kid, one of the two shyest in her kindergarten class last year, is now in a class with just one other girl from that class, and not even one of her close friends. What's more, the one boy that annoyed her all last year (most likely he annoyed all the girls, and there might be some mutual crushes involved but still...) is in her class. The latter problem isn't that big of a deal to me, but I do wish she had more friends in her class. We met her teacher for the first time this morning and I swear she doesn't look like she's old enough to drink legally. I'm not saying that she's not a great teacher, but I do know that this is her first year teaching so she's not experienced. This could prove to be an OK thing. Julia's kindergarten teacher was also in her first year and she was enthusiastic and wonderful and nowhere near burned out like a lot of overworked teachers, but a little experience would be nice too. Results remain to be seen on that front. So my attitude is lacking a little today.

My daughter, on the other hand, sailed through the morning like a champ. She got up without much fuss, ate her breakfast, got dressed and we all (including the brothers, one of whom is severely bummed that he doesn't get to go, too) got to school on time with a few minutes to spare for pictures. She did crawl into our bed somewhere around 3 a.m. but when it was time for me to leave her classroom, she just asked for a hug and off I went without any of last year's theatrics. Maybe I can take a lesson from her.

P.S. Is she not the cutest little first grader?????

Monday, August 28, 2006

Eat, Eat, Eat

I thought Jewish mothers were supposed to bestow guilt trips, not suffer from them (of course, most Jewish mothers by definition have their own Jewish mothers so they could theoretically be both guilt trip creator and recipient, but we won't go into that here). In my case, though, I've been right in the middle of one for several weeks.

The dilemma began with Brady's impending readiness to eat solid food. When my other kids began solids, I happily made them homemade baby food and fed it to them almost exclusively until they were ready for table food. I loved doing it, it wasn't that difficult, and jarred baby food grosses me out. My freezer was always full of colorful fruit and vegetable purees and it worked out really well for us. However, looking at my current chaotic life, I didn't think there'd be any way I could do this again for Mr. Bunch. Life these days is hectic, the only thing I have less of than time is freezer space, and I don't need to spend more hours in my godawful messy relic of a kitchen. Still, I wanted to give my little guy the best possible first foods.

I decided to try organic baby food. A field trip to Whole Foods was futile. The jarred baby foods only came in really odd flavors (and being organic didn't make them look any less gross) or I could purchase one baby size portion of fresh baby peas for more than the cost of an entire bag of frozen peas. No, thanks. I did discover dark chocolate peanut butter, but I hoard that for me and don't even tell the kids it's there!

I tried putting off the decision, but it's not one of those things you can postpone forever; the baby needs to eat. In the end, my own guilt and weirdness about jarred baby food seem to have triumphed for a third time. Over the last couple of weeks, I've cooked, pureed (my Braun hand blender kicked my mini Cuisinart's butt in this department), and frozen peas, spinach, butternut squash and carrots for the boy. The final decision seems to be a combination of prepared and homemade. I don't want to sacrifice quantity and variety to the craziness that is my current life, so I'll buy some baby food. You can't beat the convenience, especially for travel. But as often as I can, I'll make small batches of fruits and veggies, and eventually probably chicken (there is nothing nastier than boiled, pureed chicken. It smells like farts.) until Brady graduates to table food (and the ensuing battles that will no doubt follow). I'm also a big fan of fresh bananas and avocado as baby food: portable, nutritious, readily available in most restaurants and easily mushed. We'll also do some bits of food in the little mesh baggies-with-handles and before I know it, this phase will have passed too.

Damn, now I'm feeling guilty and depressed.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Doggie Mask

It's going to be great having a preschooler again!

Weapons of Torture

It seems my little finger friend did not respond to the burning chemical the way it was supposed to (rather than shriveling up into itself, it just got dry and crusty and started peeling away from my finger) so yesterday it got sliced right off (with a knife that makes an X-acto look like a butter knife). And if that wasn't enough, it got a burning hot electro-cauterizer thingie shoved right into it to kill whatever was left over. Take that! The whole thing wasn't too painful (OK, the cauterizing was kind of) and bothered me a lot less than having a FULL glass of iced tea dumped on me, and having to walk out a restaurant wearing see-through pants earlier in the day. My finger got a lovely whirlpool bath and the penis now has a blue collar. I have a couple more therapy/doctor's appointments scheduled in the next week but hopefully this is the beginning of the end. Unless it comes back, in which case the doctor pulls out the big guns: surgery.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My Day In Colors

Brownish Black - the color of my finger, nail and fnipple. The silver nitrate that I'm using to cauterize the thing has the lovely benefit of discoloring everything it touches. At times there's also a lovely crusty white shade as the medicine starts to dry. It wouldn't be so bad if I actually thought this was working and I was something other than a sick science experiment. My next appointment with my doctor cannot come soon enough.

Green - the color that the penis is turning from the bright green tape that keeps it on my finger. Nice.

Rust - the color of my best friend, Advil, which is one of the few things standing between me, my finger, and a mental breakdown. (Note to all moms in the pregnancy/childbirth process: HOARD the pain meds you get in the hospital after giving birth. There are so many things in life that hurt more than childbirth and you'll be so glad you had the forethought to save a few pills. Also, my math tells me that 3 Advil=1 prescription Motrin. It's amazing how smart you get at 4 a.m.). I'm trying not to think about my poor little guy and all the chemical crap coursing through his milk.

Purple - t
he color Brady turns when he rolls over onto his somach (his latest trick), then realizes that he doesn't know what to do next and starts crying, no, SCREAMING for someone to roll him back.

Fuschia - the color of my toenails. I decided that we had just enough time for a mother/daughter pedicure while Ethan was in school this morning. I felt like doing something nice for Julia, she needed some Mommy time and God knows I needed a little bit of relaxation myself. It so did the trick.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Today is my mom's birthday. I won't tell you how old she is, but trust me when I say she doesn't look her age. I don't know how I would have gotten through the last few years without her. There have been days that she's absolutely saved me, just by showing up and taking care of my kids so I could attend to whatever emergency was going on. She never says "no" and actually volunters to change the poopy diapers. When Julia was hospitalized, we moved Ethan into her house for a week. And since Brady was born, I've relied on her more than ever. Of course, we have some typical issues, but I can't imagine my life without her. It'll be difficult to come up with a proper celebration for her, and she'll complain about us going to the trouble, but it's definitely warranted. Happy Birthday Goobie. We love you!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

It Has A Name

Well, my new little friend is actually not a medical mystery after all. It is, in fact, called a Pyogenic Granuloma and if you're feeling really brave, I dare you to do a Google Image search for that term. I recommend waiting a few hours after eating to start looking at the pretty pictures. The good news is that it's not malignant or anything scary like that. The wonderful hand surgeon that I saw Friday is actually treating it topically, with a silver nitrate solution that will hopefully kill it and eliminate the need for surgery. He even went so far as to call my pediatrician to make sure none of this stuff would impact the little guy's breast milk, which it won't. The silver solution seems to be working. Although the fnipple is still growing, it seems to have slowed down, is turning black and feels like someone is slowly letting the air out of it.

These aren't particularly common; my doctor says he sees two or three each year. While they don't know what causes these things, they are common during pregnancy. So my theory is that my leftover pregnancy and/or raging breastfeeding hormones are behind this. I also learned that I could've had one in my eye or mouth, so I'm considering myself quite lucky that I didn't. The pain and discomfort are manageable with an Advil now and then. The only down side is the "cap" they made to protect my fingertip. It is flesh-colored plastic, and quite hard, and looks exactly like my hand has grown a penis. Yes, the penis is covering the nipple. My friend suggested that this is my punishment for flipping everyone off as a teenager and she may be on to something. Just goes to prove my theory about God and his sense of humor.

Sorry about the excrutiating detail. So many of you have been concerned and sending me good wishes that I wanted to thank you and reassure you that this looks like it will be over in the next week or two. Besides, there's just something about being an oddity that makes you want to share it with the world.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A Quick Update

The fnipple lived to see another day. The surgeon was quite intrigued by it and readily admitted that he has no idea what it is. I think his exact words were "WOW!" Very reassuring. Today I'm seeing a hand surgeon who will hopefully know exactly what this being is and more importantly, how to get rid of it asap. Meanwhile it continues to grow, and grow more annoying. I know it's mocking me.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

This'll be a short one

Not because I don't love you, because I really do. But because it's too big of a pain to type. It seems that my middle finger on my right hand has grown a nipple, or something that looks like one anyway. If you were to, hypothetically of course, piss me off and I were to, just for the sake of argument, flip you off, it would have an exclamation point. Maybe, in hyper-breastfeeding mode, my body decided it needed another way to get the milk out. Maybe because I don't have enough stupid stuff to deal with on a daily basis. Probably for no reason at all. What started out as a cute little teeny red dot is now a pulsing, oozing growth the size of a pea, and growing constantly. Thankfully it's coming off tomorrow. This will involve a surgeon, and stitches, and hopefully drugs (but not too many because of the little guy's milk and having to be coherent to take care of the kids and all that). So the good news is that this painful, hideous appendage will no longer be attached to me as of tomorrow afternoon. The bad news is that I may not be able to blog for a day or two. Try to contain your anguish.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Dancing Doll

This is my favorite picture of Julia ever. It's this year's dance portrait. I love how she looks beautiful and all grown up, but you can see her little girl hands too. I love her thoughtful expression, and thinking about how much she loved wearing all that makeup. She's definitely a girly girl, that one. I know she did a great job listening to the photographer and doing what she was asked to get a portrait like this. I'm really proud of her for that.

I also love thinking about how she wanted to quit dance this year, but didn't. The class was different from her first year, not as many girls, and definitely not as many good friends. The teacher's style was also different, but not bad. There were times when I wanted her to quit. Getting her there and back, especially after the baby was born, was difficult. I hated showing up at the end and watching her not participate. I really hated class days. But both of us soldiered on. She loved her costume and her recital so much that she decided to take dance again next year. We're really proud of her decision, because it was definitely her decision. Of course, it would be so much easier and cheaper for her not to do it again. But it's so worth it. It's helped her to come out of her shell so much and she really loves the dancing. She takes it so seriously and she's good at it. Besides, now I have someone to watch Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance with.

Yesterday we watched the DVD from last years' recital together, and since I was hugging her from behind, she couldn't see my tears. I'm so blessed and thankful for my dancing girly girl, and for pictures like these, that capture her little girl moments before she's much too grown up.

These portraits were taken by Visage Photo Studio . If you ever have the chance to have portraits taken by them, take it!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Artist

My son is an artist. Apparently he prefers murals to canvases and even dabbles in furniture. He has even altered some Thomas Trains, whish sadly, I have no pictures of.

Once upon a time, in what seems a lifetime ago, in a land far, far away, little Torreh's parents were having their apartment painted. I don't remember a ton about life before we moved to the United States, but I do remember the day the painter came. I must have been about 4. My dad was at work but my mom and I were home while the painter did his thing. Now, who stays cooped up in an apartment with a four year old while the place is getting painted, but that's besides the point. Knowing my mom, she was there either to supervise the painter or make sure he didn't steal our stuff. Probably both. So anyway, this nice man was painting the walls and apparently I didn't think he was painting them pretty enough. So I followed him with my colored pencils and drew all over the freshly painted walls. I'm pretty sure I owe this man my life because when Violet noticed the scribbles on the new paint, she was ready to kill her beloved only child (no Tannaz yet). But the nice painter, in one of the calmest voices I've ever heard, assured my mom that no harm had been done, and it's just paint and I'm just a kid and he calmly painted right over my artwork. I'm sure his reaction amazes my mother to this day.

So when I noticed that Ethan had decided to color his walls, and bookcase, and train table and trains even though he'd been told at least a million times that we color on paper and that he's not allowed near the markers, my first instinct was not to kill him. Surprising even myself, I wasn't even particularly angry. It could be that the exhaustion has finally gotten to me and I can't be bothered by anything that doesn't require a visit to the ER. Thanks to scrubbable paint, washable markers, and the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (which really and truly is magical), Ethan's wall and bookcase are back to their previous condition. The whole incident took less than 10 minutes to clean up. Maybe one day he'll remember the time he colored his wall and his mom didn't freak out. Probably not. But the markers did go in the trash.