Thursday, July 31, 2008


Mom and I had a conversation today about hair. Hey, at least we didn't get caught up in politics again.

Kiki was born with a full head of thick black hair. It did not fall out.

It lightened, thinned out in the back where she slept, then grew back and grew down. The length, up until recently has always been most prominent in the front.

It now hovers below her shoulders. Apparently she has natural layers because I cannot give her pigtails without adding a third ponytail on top or heavy duty clips to keep the bangs out of her face.

I have no experience with child hair, so I can't tell you if there's enough of it to classify as "thick". The texture is baby fine. I do know that the baby barrettes I have are too flimsy to hold back the sides.

It's long though, and it covers her face when we don't fasten it up. In fact this morning her hair was completely plastered to her face with snot. Which kind of made her look like a little werewolf, or maybe even that girl from The Ring. Either way, snot is icky and hair curtains are creepy.

Anyway Mom said, "You know, she's over a year old now. It's time to cut her hair. If you cut it now, it will grow in thicker."

I replied, "Even if that's true, I don't think Kipp will let me cut ...."

And Kipp, across the room, bellowed, "You're NOT cutting her hair!"

And so there you are.

Later I broached the subject again, mentioning how cute she would look in bangs, which somehow ended in how cute she would look in a pink mohawk -- again, no cutting, just profuse hair products.

Then Kipp suggested I find some computer program wherein we could plug in a pic of her, and experiment with hair styles digitally before comitting. "Come on," I said, "She's a baby. She'll look cute in ANYTHING and besides, it will grow back."

"You don't know it will grow back," he countered, stubbornly. Even though he has 2 other children with healthy thick heads of hair which constantly grows back. And it's not like I don't have a special Pooh jar waiting upstairs for her first cut lock of hair (alongside another jar waiting for her first tooth to fall out.)

I've been talking about trimming her hair since even before her birthday. There's no way I'll do it myself because I don't cut bangs well (my 3rd grade pictures will validate this statement.) On the other hand, I don't see her sitting still enough for me to feel comfortable about anyone branding anything sharp near her face.

But if I have to face another morning of the snot-do, I may just reach the acme of my ick capacity.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Play Date

I've probably mentioned this before so if I'm beating a dead horse again, just skip ahead. I won't mind.

One of the most common comments I got while I was preggers -- and still -- when people were first told Kiki has T21 was, "Oh, they're so full of love! So affectionate!" ad nauseum, cue the chubby, singing bluebirds (who STILL haven't shown up to clean my house. Disney LIES.) and fuzzy wuzzy blah blah blah sentimentalcakes.

If I sound bitter, it's because I'm a bitch. I know it.

But here's the thing. Every time I heard that, or heard some variation of it, when I was pregnant, it did NOT comfort me, as was the well-meaning intent. Instead it would spawn an anxiety attack of biblical proportions which usually ended with me, at home, blubbering in bed that my imminent child would be eternally denied an actual unique personality.

I was pregnant. I was ignorant. It was the hormones. But still. It honestly remained a fear until Kiki was probably about 6 weeks old, I shit you not.

ANYway. She is now over a year old, and my daughter? Is not affectionate. I mean she has her moments of shoving her chubby fist against your chin, baring your defenseless cheek to her wet, open-mouth kisses, which is awful sweet except that on occasion she decides to try out her four teeth, and it's always a SURPRISE!!! when it happens.

I'm not insinuating that she takes pleasure in other people's pain, of course, but those open-mouth kisses are about the long and short of her affectionate nature. She will on occasion suffer a cuddling or two. She is awfully sweet, don't get me wrong, but affectionate and loving? Umm, I have yet to see any conclusive evidence.

Which, by the way, THRILLS me to DEATH! I am not even being sarcastic. I think it's quite possible that my slightly unhinged psyche, too long tormented by the visions of chubby singing bluebirds, has subconsiously set about encouraging anything BUT affection in Kiki, as if it has become a subconscious goal to raise the very first angry, mean, bitter T21 individual in existence.

Again, without sarcasm, such a thought kind of makes me quiver with glee. I am not right.

Anywho, my friend H, who has a a 5-year-old son with T21 held a playdate at her house today, to introduce me to another woman my age -- ahem, over 40 -- who has a 4-year-old daughter with T21. H mentioned that she'd speaking to this woman, J, and had mentioned to J about how I felt that I was raising the first demonically-possessed child with T21, and J evidently responded that she thought she was the only one. Thus, a playdate was obviously required.

First of all, though, I was a little bummed, because her daughter is 4, which means that Kiki is not, in actuality, the first DPT21 child after all. I got over my pouts though and bundled up the child and went anyway.

Okay. Here's the thing. J's daughter? Played sweetly and quietly all through the playdate. Not a fuss. Not a whimper. Nada. At the end of the hour, sat next to her mom and snuggled with her.

H's son? Usually quite hyper, this time very well-behaved, played and sought attention, but was sweet and engaging, running around kissing everyone.

Kiki? Bit one of the other children on the finger hard enough to leave deep tooth marks. And then? Got pissed at me for comforting said child. It was the first time she'd ever seen me hold and cuddle another toddler, and she Did Not Like It One Little Bit.

So all in all, I think my DPT21 child still holds the market in non-affectionate behavior. Yay us!

And now I am sarcastic because of COURSE I was mortified that she bit another child. I was REALLY trying to watch her, because I KNOW she bites. I'd even just SAID so. But then I got distracted by conversation and before you know it, someone is screaming and someone else has blood trickling down their chin and...

Okay there was no blood. But she DID draw blood from Kipp's finger yesterday, so I'm not being as overly dramatic as you think.

BUT there is this part of me that I cannot honestly deny that is relieved she's biting, a completely normal typical phase for any toddler to go through. It reminds me that she's not a stereotype. She's her own little being, still figuring stuff out her own way, but still, you know, figuring stuff out.

And I'll risk getting bit any time for one of those rare, spontaneous kisses.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Things are Rough All Over

Last week was horrible. Horrible. Not just for our own little nuclear household, but also amongst many of our nearest and dearest. The week before THAT was bad too. Kipp is still unemployed, but looking hard. And this week Kiki got sick. Like 106 degree fever sick. That lasted two and a half days.

During which time, my precious independent soul was most content being held and cuddled. It was lovely being able to cuddle my darling, as she is not usually inclined for much affection, but not at this expense. She barely moved for those 2.5 days. After each dose of Tylenol though, just as it kicked in, she would perk up a little, look around, wave, smile, maybe wiggle a little, then collapse back into slumber.

Once the fever broke, she dove right back into her usual rambunctious self, but her appetite is still not the same. In fact she now is QUITE adamant about being DONE when she's DONE. First she'll bang her arms on the high chair. I'll say, "All done?" to reinforce the words with the action, and she'll bang again, a little irratibly as if to say, "Did you NOT understand me the FIRST time?"

If at this point I try to sneak another spoonful towards her mouth anyway? She will yell at me and angrily swat the spoon as hard as she can, sending its contents all over the place (much to the pleasure of the dogs.)

I'm trying to teach her the sign for "drink" so that when she wants something to drink when she's eating, she'll sign for it instead of crying for it. So far I am unsuccessful. And if I just leave it on her high chair, she will pick it up and launch it as far as she can because when she is DONE with something, she MEANS it. Although we have thankfully broken her of lobbing her cup when she's done drinking. Now she bangs it down on her high chair authoritatively when she is finished. But again, if we don't remove it from her reach immediately, she will take matters into her own hands.

I'm thinking the terrible 2's are going to be terrible indeed.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kiki-Style Vogon Poetry

(a moment while I channel my daughter)

O rattle!
Apple of my eye
Favoritist of my toys
You have returned to me!

Gone you were
I wept for your loss
But no one understood me.

But you have returned to me!
I revel in your orange and yellow plasticness!
I feel whole again

I shake you
I roll on the floor
Brandishing you to the heavens!

O rattle
Never forsake me again
For you are my favoritist toy
I pine and wither in your absen ....

Oooo.... doggie!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Okay, as requested (and also because it is the most often talent we show off for others!) here is Kiki's celebrated lion growl:

We're trying to teach her what a dog says, what a cat says, etc., but right now she's just keying off the word "say" (we know this because we experimented), and everything "says" the same thing.

But SHE is now saying Mama and Baba (and also poo poo, but hey)! Dada is pouting. Altho she says "Apa!" quite clearly, and I'm pretty sure Apa is Chinese for Dad, so there you go.

Kipp is holding out for Dada.

Monday, July 14, 2008

They're the Most Teeniest Ears in Town!

We got her up at 5:00 a.m. She watched (or listened) to us scarf down breakfast on the way to the hospital, with no food or drink herself since 7:30 the night before, without a single complaint. She giggled and waved and smiled and wrinkled her nose at everyone as they came in one at a time to do their thing to prepare her for the surgery. "What's a lion say?" we'd ask her, and she gleefully roooooared to the absolute delight of everybody who came around.

And then finally it was my turn to put all the surgery fashion wear on. They gave me a heated blanket for Kiki. I bundled her up, and we followed an RN down the hall and to the operating room. "Listen to this!" she announced when we entered the room, and Kiki happily performed her lion impression for her new audince.

And then it was time for the anesthesia. When we went to the class, they warned me all the things that would happen. Some kids have an initial reaction to the anesthesia that causes them to become hyper for a few seconds before they're out. Some kids go completely limp when they're out. Sometimes their eyes don't fully close.

The mask lowers towards her. She starts squirming. I lean close and start singing to her, and stop almost immediately, self-conscious, and the nurses encourage me to continue, so I do, trying to focus only on my child, whose eyes never leave mine, until they gently tell me it's time for me to leave, she's completely asleep. Her eyes are still open, but I can hear her snoring as they pull the mask away, which makes me laugh for some reason.

I start tearing up on the way back to her room, and I'm glad I held it together because I was really afraid I'd be hysterical and therefore banned from the OR altogether.

They'd told us that it would 10 minutes, give or take, before the doctor would be done. I don't know how long it was, but I didn't even have time to begin worrying. In he comes, and he announces, "Those are the smallest ears I have ever seen!"

Now when we had our first appointment with this doctor, it made me disgruntled and nervouse that he'd spent all of about 30 seconds checking Kiki's chart and ears before setting an appointment for tubes. I mentioned then that no one had ever seen her eardrums; I asked him then if HE was able to see them at the appointment. He had said no, because there was a lot of wax build-up in her ears.

Well, the wax was the only issue he was able to address while she was in the OR. Even with the smalled microscope he had, he couldn't see more than the slightest edge of an eardrum in one ear; nada in the other. He said in his whole career he'd only been tricked like this once before; and in that instance, he was able to get a tube into at least ONE ear.

Alas, not with the Kiki. He couldn't even get close enough to the eardrum to drain any possible liquid behind it. So the only thing he could do was clean out the wax.

Ahhh, waxy ears just like her daddy!

And THEN he said, you know, it's possible she's failed those tympanum tests because her ears are so small that the instruments can't get a decent reading.

for cripe's sake. Yes, that's what her primary doc and I thought ALREADY! Gah.

Anyway, now we get to visit the ENT every three months indefinitely so he can more closely monitor her hearing, the growth of her ears, and any possible ear infection recurrence.

A couple minutes after the doc left, an RN came in to tell us that Kiki was awake and led us back to her. Now she was the first operation of the day, so she was the only one in recovery. She was bundled up in an RN's lap as the RN rocked her in a rocking chair. She grinned when she saw us. I got the RN's rocking chair seat, and Kiki cuddled in, and a bunch of RNs came up and said, "Is this the baby who does the lion impression?"

She'd been awake for maybe 3 minutes, but she's got the makings of a star performer. She did that lion impression like a trooper, and when everyone cheered, she cheered right back. Then she settled back and drank some apple juice and eventually they checked us out, and the WHOLE time, she acted like NOTHING had happened. It was now about 8:30 am, 4 and a half hours after we got her up, dragged her across town, stripped her down, drugged her, FINALLY gave her something to drink, and she was acting her normal everyday self, like this was all just another day.

So we pushed the envelope and took her to see her Mamaw who has been in the hospital since Friday. She waved her hospital tag around triumphantly, showing Mamaw where she'd been all morning, and cooed and flirted and kissed Mamaw and giggled.

And then at 9:00 a.m. sharp, it all hit at one time and she was DONE. So we bundled out of there before she got full-volume, got her fastened into the car, and both she and I were out like a light before we hit the freeway (which is 2 lights away from the hospital.)

So no tubes. Kiki's her same old self, less an acre of earwax, apparently. And I do NOT feel like an idiot for being all nervous and scared down to the very second the doctor said, "She's doing great."

Kiki's Mamaw said, "Well, now you know what to expect and the next time won't be as scary!"

It's like she doesn't even KNOW me.

:) And that's the news from 'round here!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Guess what I did! No, GUESS!

I was standing in line. I was bored. I had a pen. I was holding my driver's license (because I'm a ***gasp**** check writer. I know! I belong in the Stone Age!) And before I knew what I was doing I...

... became an organ donor.

Well, not like a truck tore into the place vomiting surgeons who subsequently began to dice me up into little pieces or anything.

There was no clamoring of bells either.

I don't even know why I did it, because I thought I was completely opposed to the whole nasty idea of my slimy bits living independent lives of their own after my own demise.

Evidently, I changed my mind. AND I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY.

Weird. Had to share it.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Us White Folk

When we first brought Kiki home from the hospital, she was nut brown. Now Kipp and I are both fish-belly white, so I remember assuring everybody that she really WAS Kipp's daughter, honest (I was sleep-deprived and paranoid). Kipp's mom laughed at me and said they had Native American in their ancestry (her grandma was full-blooded Cherokee, I believe), so apparently Kiki had just inherited that coloring and it skipped a couple of generations (Sue is similarly fair-skinned, blonde and blue-eyed.)

A few months later, the brown faded. We figured later her lovely coloring must have been because of the jaundice and the 5 days under a bili light (her own private sun lamp!). And it was a shame that she was fish-belly white like her parents. (sigh).

So the other day I was watching her play, and it suddenly occurred to me that she was again darker than either her father and me. Not as strikingly darker like her first days at home, but definitely there is color in her skin that we don't have.

I'm not sure where it came from, unless she's getting sun from riding around in the car. In which case, I would think it would be fairly localized, but it's not. And the only time she's ever been outside playing, I've fairly dosed her in sunscreen (well, except for once, but that was MONTHS ago.)

Well, it's a mystery, but I'm not complaining. She's positively gorgeous with those blue eyes and that slightly tanned skin. I've always been hoping that her hair would turn white-blonde like Kipp's was as a toddler (and my Grandma's and my Dad's), but she apparently either doesn't have the genes for that or not enough sun exposure. Her hair is much lighter than it was when she was born; it's light brown now, where it was black before. But not white-blonde (sigh).

Tomorrow we go swimming. I'm all prepared with a toddler floatie thingie, wax for her ears, Little Swimmers, and a huuuuuuge tube of sunscreen. We'll see if she gets any more Hollywood Star tanned after that!

Oh, I have sun goggles for her too. And a hat. Hee.... I need to get pics of this, obviously.

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