Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday, Asher!

I'm a couple of days late--his birthday is actually on the 22nd--but I wanted to publicly wish my sweet boy a happy 2nd birthday (this blog appears to be turning into nothing but a series of birthday posts, doesn't it? Will try to post something non-birthday related soon!)

Asher--lover of trains and cuckoo clocks and rocket ships and bed time stories and ice cream and blueberries and spinning and jumping and the letter T and Mama's milk and exploring the world--may you find the same kind of joy in your life as you have given us these past two years. We are so grateful for the wonder you bring to our lives every day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Papa!

Happy birthday to the bravest, funniest, kindest, most thoroughly amazing 92 year old I know. I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am to be your daughter. Thank you for all you have taught me and continue to teach me about language and life and love.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy 21st Birthday, Arin!

Lifting a bottle of (ginger) beer to celebrate the first day my firstborn can order a real beer. Thank you, Arin, for initiating me into motherhood with the sweetness, intelligence, humor and zest for life that's been with you from the very beginning. I am so proud of you, so filled with love for you, so lucky to be your mom.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

cuckoo

Asher's second love--after trains (he is utterly smitten with anything choo choo related)--is clocks. Cuckoo clocks in particular. Any time he sees a clock of any sort, he shouts "Clock!" with glee. Only he doesn't say the "L", so this can come out sounding a bit funny. He will often yell "Big c(l)ock!" if he sees a large timepiece, or "Dada c(l)ock!" whenever he looks at Michael's watch. Being the loving little guy that he is, he will sometimes blow kisses to clocks, and then loudly say "Blow c(l)ock!" or "Kiss c(l)ock!" Needless to say, some funny looks have been thrown our way.

Michael has been working with him on saying the "L" sound in clock (which Asher says with ease in other words, like "yellow" and "blue"). "Cuh-LLock" he coaches, and Asher will gamely say "cwock" in return. After yet another round of Asher crowing about "c(l)ocks" out in public, Michael told him "When you say clock that way, it means penis." Asher cracked us up by putting his hand on his head and saying "Oh my!" with adorable alarm. He has tried since then to insert the L sound into the word more often (and when he doesn't, he'll sometimes say "Cock--Penis!" with equal enthusiasm.)

Life with a toddler is wonderfully cuckoo. I'll try to do a better job of updating this blog than I have (although I can't promise anything, given the aforementioned cuckoo nature of our lives.)

I've also been wanting to thank everyone who has emailed to inquire about Michael's health. The double vision has not returned, thank goodness, although he has had some other occasionally troubling issues of a neurological nature. No diagnosis at this point, other than possible atypical migraines (which would be much better than something degenerative). He is having another MRI this Friday--please send good thoughts to his brain if you have a chance, and I'll try to keep you posted as we learn more.

Have a beautiful autumn!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Happy birthday, Mom

Today would have been my mom's 72nd birthday. When I put together this little video for her 70th, I never imagined it would be her last--I'm glad we made that final birthday special for her (my sister assembled a gorgeous photo album of our mom's early years and my dad took us on a beautiful harbor cruise for brunch.) There are so many things I wish I had done differently with and for my mom, but her last birthday was thankfully not one of them.

I love you, Mom. I'm so grateful you were born.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

head cases


As we sat in the neurologist's office on Friday, Michael turned to me and laughed. "All three of us have something wrong with our heads," he said.

Asher's head is healing nicely, but there is still a long red semi colon stretching down his forehead. My own forehead is covered with shingles. And Michael's MRI shows three white spots on his brain, spots of demylenation that could indicate multiple sclerosis, and explain the double vision he's been troubled by most of the week.

"We're head cases," I smiled back, forcing myself to breathe through the fear building in my chest.

It's so wild how quickly life can change, how terms like MS can suddenly become part of one's daily vocabulary. When 2011 began, I said that I was hoping for a nice boring year. Uneventful. No major life changes. Life, however, has its own plans.

Just last week, I was worried about my own vision. One of my eyes was swollen shut from the shingles, lesions dotting my puffy eyelid. My doctor sent me to an opthamologist to make sure that the virus hadn't entered my eye (thankfully it hadn't.) Michael started seeing double a few days later; at first, he chalked it up to fatigue, but it started to get worse, even after a good night's sleep. Double vision has a name that's fun to say--"diplopia"--but the experience, while trippy, is not what he'd describe as fun. He found a picture online that he says captures the diplopian feeling--just looking at it made me dizzy--but after I posted it here, the site took it down and asked people not to link to it. I found the double Obama image above to replace it; it doesn't quite capture the same vertigo, but it's close.

Michael still has a bunch of tests to do, so a diagnosis has not been confirmed yet. Hopefully the double vision will fade away as quickly as it came (just as my shingles are fading away, though not as quickly as I'd like. People still look at me in alarm when I'm out in public. It's been quite interesting to witness the changing landscape of my face--another reminder of how there is so much beyond our control, so many forces at play within our skin.) Whatever the future may hold, I trust we'll get through it with love and laughter and the support of family and friends. Despite all the marks on and in our noggins, we are not truly head cases, not by a long shot. If the last couple of years have taught us anything, it's that we are more resilient than we ever could have guessed, even if sometimes we're a bit shaky on our feet. And all we can do is continue to walk forward, dance forward, together into the unknown.

Monday, January 17, 2011

falling

Asher had his first serious run-in with gravity today.

We were at an open house for Growcology, a local gardening/arts/sustainability organization. It was a beautiful afternoon--I was feeling inspired as I sat in the barn, listening to speakers talk about ways they want to bring art and music and nature and community together, watching Asher play joyfully with other kids as Michael and our dear friends supervised. At some point, Asher ran down a gently sloped ramp and tumbled at the bottom. It didn't seem like too bad of a fall at first, but when we picked him up, blood was streaming down his face. There was a large gash on his forehead, but it was hard to see it clearly through the bleeding. With our friend Nancy in tow for extra support, we headed off to get it looked at.

The first Urgent Care we visited didn't accept pediatric patients until 5:30; it was about 4:20. We called our family doctor to see if the office could work Asher in before the day was over; they were booked solid, but they told us our doctor would be attending at the Urgent Care we normally use, which opens at 5, so we headed over there. Before our doctor arrived, though, a nurse took a closer look at Asher's head and said they wouldn't be able to do stitches on a baby there because they didn't have a "papoose board" to hold him down; she suggested we go to the ER. Thankfully at this point, the bleeding had pretty much stopped and Asher was acting like his normal happy self again, but the gash was pretty wide at the bottom, and we knew it required attention, so off to the ER we went.

I have never seen an ER so packed before. I have been pretty germ-phobic since Asher's birth, and bringing him with an open wound into a room full of germy people was quite unsettling, to say the least. Michael and I took turns staying outside with Asher while the other waited inside with all of the coughing, seeping Day of the Dead extras. When Asher's name was finally called, only one of us was allowed to go back with him, and because I have built-in food and comfort as a nursing mama, that one was me. We were ushered through the swinging doors to yet another waiting area made out of a tiny exam room, packed with other "Fast Track" patients with various maladies. One fellow, who was there with tingling legs, kept leaving the area and coming back with food he swiped from the "Patients' Fridge", magnanimously handing out string cheese and graham crackers to the other patients in the room. "I'm going to call you the Cafeteria Bandit," said one woman, there to see if her pneumonia had returned, as she gratefully unwrapped her string cheese. It was dinner time at this point, and most people had been waiting for hours. Asher kept tugging at the white ID bracelet they had wrapped around his ankle, but for the most part, as long as I kept singing to him and nursing him, he was doing amazingly well.

We were eventually shuttled to our own exam room, where he freaked out a bit as they cleaned his wound; Michael was allowed to join us just in time to hold Asher down--no papoose board needed, after all!--as they glued and taped his head back together. The doctor said that glue would make for less scarring than stitches. It will be interesting to see how this fall leaves its mark on our boy's sweet skin.

In the car on the way home, I thought Asher would fall asleep immediately, but he was wide awake and smiling, even hiccuping, which has always been a sign that he's having a good time. He weathered the whole incident with his usual good-naturedness; such a champ. He went to sleep after a bath and some playtime, and now we're supposed to wake him every two hours, just to make sure he's responsive, but the doctor wasn't really concerned about any real head injuries. It's just a precautionary measure, one I'm glad to take.

I did not handle the whole episode nearly as well as Asher. Nancy had to keep reminding me to breathe as we went on our help-finding odyssey. I sort of shut down at first--Michael had to keep telling me to put pressure on Asher's wound because I would kind of glaze over and let go of the tissue. Of course I am greatly relieved now--it all could have been so much worse. I honestly don't know how parents handle more serious situations. I have been watching with awe and an aching heart as Emily Rapp deals with her baby son's recent Tay-Sachs diagnosis, writing with such courage and honesty and passion, it takes my breath away. I can't even begin to imagine what she's going through--this scrape nearly did me in. I can only hope I have enough mama courage inside of me to draw upon whenever I need it. And in the meanwhile, I want to keep remembering to enjoy every moment I can with my amazing little guy, with all of those I love--we never know when one of us is going to fall.