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Archive for January, 2008

excellentblog.jpgI’m excellent. Pluckymama told me so. (I wonder who starts these things?)

Apparently, my job is now to pass the award on to ten other bloggers. That ain’t happening. I don’t want to be a spoilsport, but I’ve just been too busy to do much blog reading. So while blogs like Yoga gumbo and Them’s My Sentiments come immediately to mind, coming up with eight others is going to take up too much of my brain power.

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I was just running around doing errands. This included buying a digital tape recorder, both for work and for Maya to tape her Torah lessons on to practice. I went to Best Buy. Digital recorders not cheap, but I got one that had been opened and was slightly cheaper because of that. Yay me. Then I found the Family Guy’s version of Star Wars in DVD and got it for J to give to Asher for his birthday. That’ll make them both happy.

I went to the cash and handed the sales clerk my VISA card. She flipped it over, saw that my signature had been rubbed off from it’s heavy use and announced she could not accept it, as it didn’t have a valid signature. I told her what I’ve told clerks in the same situation – I’ve signed the thing at least 5 times now, but it keeps getting rubbed off. She repeated her statement. I said, “Okay, give me a pen and I’ll sign it.” Nope, couldn’t do that. I pointed out this was ridiculous. I pointed out that I didn’t feel like going into overdraft because my chequing account was low. I got the same robotic response.

“But,” I said, “Couldn’t I just go outside to my car, sign it and come back in with a signed card.” She said, “I just need a signed card.”

“Can you hold onto these?” I asked her, handing her my stuff, “I’ll be right back.”

I went outside to my car, dug a pen out of my backpack, signed the card again and was back in the store in under a minute. She took my card, checked that it had a signature and rung through the purchases. It was surreal.

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In this episode: kid health, dog obedience and fat loss –

Maya is pretty much healed now, and stuffing everything not nailed down into her face to make up for those few days she could not eat properly. We now have an appointment at an orthodontist for the next step: braces. Ugh.

Asher doesn’t have an appointment with the tummy guy until March, but I’m rattling cages and trying to get it earlier. Meanwhile, he continues to eat normally and I continue to wince inwardly and resist the urge to web surf for answers I can only actually get from the doctor.

My mission to stop Jasper from becoming an annoying and humpy dog at the park is actually coming along very well. He still tries it when he first encounters one of his favourite dogs, but pretty much all I have to do is yell: “I’m watching you, so don’t even try it!” and he stops. If he starts in again, I leash him and that really calms him down.

Yesterday, I walked with another woman who has a doodle the same age, and the two of them acted like very badly behaved teenage boys. Every time they encountered a dog smaller or younger than them, they’d charge the poor thing. The other dog would sit on it and Jasper would yank ears and tails. Usually calling them off would do it, but once they ran ahead to a young Golden and were really knocking the poor thing around in their exuberance, and would not listen to orders to leave him. So I managed to get in front of Jasper and yelled, “Jasper, STOP!” at which he came to a screaming halt and lowered his head in that ashamed doggy way.

I find that lately he’s taken another cognitive leap with me and understands a great deal of what I want from him. For example, when we walk around the neighbourhood, I don’t leash him and there is one spot where we walk on the sidewalk on a busy road to cross at a certain spot for the park. He normally walks right behind me then, but a couple of times he’s jumped the gun and start to cross early. The first time, I was so surprised I said, “Hey! Get back here!” and to my amazement, he did. He does not understand the words “hey get back here” but he understood my intent. And while he will roam into the road on the side streets, when he sees a car coming, he now goes straight to the side and stays still until it passes (because I make him wait whenever a car goes past.)

See – the smartest dog ever.

As for Weight Watchers, so far so good. I lost 4.5 lbs the first week and I know I’m down a bit more so far this week. Thanks to all the dog walking, I get enough points that I don’t feel particularly deprived (so far). But I am aware that I am still in the weight loss honeymoon period and the difficult stuff is yet to come.

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but at least Maya is feeling better.

I haven’t written must about J’s celiac disease, mostly because it doesn’t much affect our lives. He had it when I met him and has had it since he was a baby. Of course, little was known about the disease back then and his parents were erroneously told he’d outgrown it when he was 6 years, but he was re-diagnosed when he was 19. This means he’s lived with it for over 20 years and we’d pretty much adjusted a lot time ago. He has been having fun with all the new gluten-free products that have come out in the past several years. When he was a kid, it was rice, rice and more rice.

Which doesn’t mean it hasn’t affected our lives at all. For one, whenever we go to New York, he drags me to all the gluten-free restaurants (which are actually getting pretty good). For another, we avoided giving our children anything with gluten until they were a year old. Celiac disease, the latest theory goes, involves a genetic component, but also requires some sort of trigger, or challenge to the immune system, to cause someone to develop the disease. In J’s case, it was the early introduction of gluten when he was an infant. For other people, it doesn’t happen until adulthood, and often people have no idea why it begins.

We have a great family doctor who is very aware of the issues and any time one of my kids comes in with some sort of stomach complaint or hard-to-figure-out illness, she sends them off for a blood test. The test measures the level of a certain antibody produced by the gut when it is reacting to gluten negatively – to put it simplistically.

So when I took Asher in to see our doctor a couple of weeks ago because he’s always tired and run down, is pale and has big dark circles under his eyes and loosing weight, her first move was to send him for the test. This time, it came back positive.

It still isn’t conclusive. The next step is a stomach biopsy to confirm it, but first we have to get to a specialist. And until he gets that biopsy, we have to keep feeding him gluten or the test won’t be accurate. This, of course, is driving me nuts. I look at his pale face as I hand him a piece of pizza and cringe a little inside, feeling like I’m poisoning him.

If he is celiac, it is probably one of the least awful chronic illnesses we could have to deal with, since we already know the ropes and as long as he follows the diet, he’ll live a normal life. So that is good. But I can’t help but think of him being unable to eat anything at birthday parties, having to watch everyone else eating pizza during pizza day at school, and going through his adolescence having to avoid all the fast food his friends will be eating (at least he’ll be a lot healthier). It isn’t the worst thing, but it still sucks.

And there’s my selfish distress too. Before we had kids, I used to experiment with baking for J. I perfected a GF banana bread and have several great cookie recipes. I was even experimenting with bread. But then the kids arrived and the stores began to stock GF products and I stopped making the effort (poor neglected J). But if Asher is positively diagnosed, I’m going to have to come up with more variety. I’ve already promised to work on challah and matzah balls. It’s going to be a lot of extra work for me, not wanting my boy to feel deprived. (My husband, sure. But my boy? Never.)

Asher took the news very calmly, for the most part, telling me that he’d always expected this to happen at some point. Weird kid.

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Nirvana

My darling husband has miraculously installed a wireless network our house. I took the dog for a walk and when I returned, there it was. Now I am online as I sit and sing lullabies. I can be online in the can, in the kitchen, while watching TV. Oh my. Children, what children? Tell them to send me an email when they graduate from school or do something impressive.

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She lives!

Fortunately, Maya’s ability to heal with unbelievable speed seems to be trumping the need to torment me with her misery. That, and those Tylenol 2s. I feed her half every 4 hours like clock-work and except for whining about all the food she wishes she could eat, Maya is doing really well.

Moments after I posted my last blog entry and told Maya it was time to leave, she said to me, “I just want you to know that if this hurts at all or goes wrong in any way, I’m blaming you completely.” She was serious.

I said, “Maya, I am completely aware that anything that goes on in your life at any point and involving anything will be blamed on me.” I was serious.

Right after the surgery treatment, I got to see her in the recovery room, and she was amusingly dopey. I asked if she wanted water. She stared at me blankly for a good five seconds before responding, “No.” A few minutes later, she asked, “Why are we here?” I told her, “You dental surgery – remember?” Five second pause. “Yes.” She then reached up and touched her frozen upper lip and asked, “Is this my lip?” When I told her it was, she said, “Are you sure?” like it was actually possible to confuse with something else.

It actually brought back memories of feeling like that when coming out of sedation, where the thought would formulate in my head but take forever to actually get out my mouth. (I’ve been sedated a few times – wisdom teeth, molar extraction, appendix, boob tumour. It sucks.)

(I also felt like that when I was sick after Boo was born, lying in the ER room, feverish and haemoraging. That was a bit different, though, because I think that was something more like shock. And in that case, I didn’t answer. I just lay there, thinking stuff but finding it just too much of an effort to bother to communicate with anyone. I even felt badly that it might be freaking them out, but not badly enough to fight my way out of it. Only when I realized Boo was hungry and I had to tell J how to latch her on did I get the strength to shake it off and communicate.)

Maya seemed to come out of it really quickly, which is something I never managed. I was marveling at how well she was doing as we headed out to the parking lot when I noticed that she was heading off the curb as we walked down the sidewalk. I just grabbed her coat and redirected her.

Then we ordered Evan Almighty on our ‘on demand’ cable and ate ice cream. Compared to my pre-Weight Watchers days, I didn’t eat much, but I still think I ate too much. And the movie was stupid. It would have been completely unbearable without Steve Carroll. But Maya was happy with both the movie and the ice cream, so the afternoon was a success.

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Ouch

Maya is having dental surgery today, or as she insists we refer to it: dental treatment. The word ‘surgery’ is not allowed, as it is suggestive of coming together of sharp things and flesh.

They have to put her out, pull three teeth, then cut holes in the roof of her mouth where her adult eye teeth have been lounging lazily about in the wrong spot. Then they will glue wee chains to those teeth, put braces along the front and hook up the chains, which will then slowly pull the errand eye teeth down and forward into place.

She’s a little freaked out, particularly over the little IV she will need. “What if the needle goes right through my hand?!”

Okay, she’s a lot freaked out. “What if I die?! And I going to die?”

We’ve been very reassuring.  I haven’t told her that having teeth pulled (I’ve had two molars pulled at different times) was the most painful experience of my life, even over childbirth. I haven’t told her that coming out of the sedation after having one of those teeth pulled was utterly miserable. I didn’t tell her about how, when I was in hospital after Boo was born, I’d start to cry when the nurse came in to change the location of my IV because having that little needle poked into my hand was so shockingly painful, or about when I was 13 and about to have my appendix out and the nurse actually shoved the IV needle right through the vein and my whole hand started swelling up. I certainly didn’t mention that several years ago, a teenager died while undergoing dental surgery treatment – which is, apparently, a very very rare side effect of sedation.

Nope, not a peep. Which doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking of all those things.

I’m dreading dealing with post-operative Maya. She’s going to be in a lot of pain and she’s really, really bad with pain. Really bad. And she’s going to take it out on me. I’ve filled the prescription they gave us for Tylenol 2 and I’m sincerely hoping it’ll just knock her right out.

If not, maybe I’ll just crank up my own painkillers. Because this is going to hurt.

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I have a cold. This is Asher’s fault. He is fine now. Boo has it too, which she was clearly hoping for. From the moment Asher got sick and therefore started getting preferential sick-person treatment, she would cough weakly now and then and say, “I think I’m sick. Do I have a fever?”

Boo is obsessed with fevers and wants to take her temperature at the slightest sniffle or stomach ache. I told her that normally colds don’t come with fevers and she was shocked. “You mean, you can be sick without having a fever?” This opens up a whole new world.

The funny thing about her thermometer fetish (which Asher shares) is that J and I are firm non-believers in thermometers. We have two – a digital one and an old-fashioned mercury one which we’ve had for many years. When Maya was born, we took her in to our doctor for her 2-week checkup and asked if being good parents required buying one of those fancy ear-thermometers that had just hit the market.

Her response was an unqualified no. She told us that her opinion, as a mom of three, was that thermometers are largely useless. “Taking the baby’s temperature is just something to do to give you a few moments to try to figure out what to do when you already know something is wrong,” she told us.

We quickly figured out she was right. If a kid was hot, but cheerfully running around dripping snot on everything, we didn’t worry. If the same fever came with lethargy and no appetite, we were off to the doctor.

The only time I ever really need a thermometer is when I am sick, so I can prove it to J, who never believes me.

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Despite feeling like my head is wrapped in thick cotton, I am off to Jasper’s last class of intermediate doggy training. I’ll remember to bring a camera this time, to get a photo of him with his little hat on. They go nuts with the whole ‘graduation’ notion.

He now knows how to heel, but doesn’t much like it, and to stand, wait, go lie on his blanket on command (that one still needs a lot of work) and touch a ball and a rope on command. He can discern between the two, which is a good parlor trick. Even better is that no matter what I pick up, if I hold it in my hand and tell Jasper to touch it -“Jasper, touch hairbrush” – he will reach out and touch whatever I am holding, which makes him look brilliant like he knows all these words.

It reminds me of when Maya was about 14 months old and learned the colour yellow. We’d hold stuff up and say, “Maya, what colour is this?” and she’d yelled delightedly, “Lellow!” This looked brilliant unless you help up something blue, because she’d still yell “Lellow!”

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