Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Alopecia Sounds Like a Girl's Name

After further exhaustive internet research, driven by my own innate vanity and gut-eating guilt, I've discovered that alopecia traction can be caused by hairstyles such as, you know, tight ponytails and whatnot.

So the balding areas along the sides of her head and at her forehead? Definitely my fault. And I've been poring through pics and watching that hairline recede through them. Why didn't I notice before?

It does not explain the smooth round bald spot on the back of her head, though. So yeah, I still need to confer with the Doc and hopefully not begin bawling and confessing all my sins in a virtual monsoon of guilt, guilt, guilt.

It's a good thing I'm not a practicing Catholic. I'd probably never be able to leave the confessional.

I wonder if priests keep a pot to piss in in their confessional booths.

I wonder if I'm going to hell for that question alone.

So this morning after her first haircut I still had to deal with snotty hair and moreover trying to figure a way to keep it out of her face while she ate. I used little clippies, which worked for a bit until she rubbed her peaches and cereal in her hair (as she's wont to do), so it took much readjusting and it was slightly frustratng and ended up with me demanding from my mother, "Why didn't I just have them cut it all off? Why? Why?????"

Easy answer: My husband would have stopped speaking to me. But since right now he's messaging me about buying an XBox upgrade? I don't think that would be so bad.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snot Factories

So we got new medical insurance, so we had to get new doctors. We bid a sad farewell to Kiki's pediatrican, whom I adore, and venured off into another office (one that she recommended of course!)

It's a very cool office, actually, and very kid-friendly. I of course had to fill out all the prerequisite paperwork, but much to my surprise and pleasure, Kiki sat on a little kid chair at a little kid table completely happy with a pamphlet the entire time it took me to fill it all out.

In the exam room itself, there was a shelf under the exam table that contained toys! Toys! Toys! which Kiki found immediately and immediately proceeded to pull down and play with. She has no trouble making herself at home.

When I was filling out the paperwork, I knew I should mention somewhere on it about her having Ds, but I just couldn't find an appropriate place, and so then suffered a mini-lecture from the new pediatrician (who is not really her new pediatrician, but was filling in for her new pediatrician whom we haven't yet met) who began to assume that Kiki was undiagnosed (sigh) and then on and on about the many things we need to be proactive about because of the Ds ad nauseum. Thank you. I'll remember next time.

She did see both Kiki's eardrums (yay!) and there was no sign of an ear infection, but she gave her antibiotics for the obvious and raging sinus infection, and in the midst of all this (and cookies too!) I forgot to ask about something that I had just begun to notice a few weeks ago. Or maybe a month ago. No more than a month ago, but more and more over the last couple of weeks.

Anyway. Fast forward to today, Kiki's first haircut! We took her to Cookie Cutters, and it was awesome. I was fully expecting Kiki to throw a fit, but she was absolutely thrilled with the red fire engine they sat her in, and she behaved throughout the entire haircut. Luckily her snot flow was also slightly abated (Thank you, Benadryl)

(I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, Why would you take a child with an uncommonly snotty nose to an establishment full of children whose parents would quite likely prefer not to have their own ilk get sick? You're thinking, Can you be so oblivious? The answer is no, I am not oblivious. I am selfish. There is a difference.)

(Besides, sinus infections are gross but not contagious.)

And so, because the hair stylist was so sweet, and also because she started talking about other kids she knew who have Ds, I decided to ask her, you know, instead of a doctor.

"Do you see this bald patch?" I said, "And this one? And these around the sides? Are those normal? That's normal for kids, right? They lose their hair when they're babies, right?"

Sadly, no.

"Is it because I'm always pulling her hair up and back? Am I pulling out her hair?"

Sadly, probably not. It looks like alopecia to me, she says, but I'm not a doctor. You should talk to a doctor.

"It'll grow back, right?" I say.

And she says, "The thing to remember is, it's not painful and it's not because she's sick."

Oh, GREAT. Thanks.

So Kiki did not get bangs, because if she got bangs, she'd have visible bald spots on both sides of her head. Her hair is shorter now though, but still in her face, so honestly? I don't know that we've really accomplished much more than the ever-important milestone, Mini Baggie Of Hair.

I was going to keep all of it. But I did not after all.

Do I sound bitter? I think I sound bitter.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Busy busy busy

Mom and JP drove into town about 2 weeks ago. Things have been on fast forward ever since. They're supposedly retired, but they brought work with them, and between their work and our work, we sort of bounce around each other like pinballs.

Kiki has been sick and teething for the past week. When I say teething, I mean there's five big teeth coming in all at once. On top of a sinus infection which luckily hasn't gone into her ears. Anyway between the two things, and possibly the change in routine and the new people, she's been uncharacteristically grumpy. Just about every day she has a crying fit and she's completely inconsolable, even with me.

Early last week she started throwing a tantrum every time we put her in the high chair. A few days ago she stopped eating altogether if we put her in it. Now she will eat a couple of bites or so, but only if she can wander around freely and only if it's off one of our plates. We've resorted to giving her Pediasure. We know she's hungry because she grabs madly for food, but then once it's in her mouth, she starts crying and spits it out. Sore throat or sore gums, we don't know for sure, but it's heart breaking.

We're stocked up in Orajel and baby Tylenol and teethers and Pediasure and biter biscuits and antibiotics and hoping this will pass quickly.

Meanwhile, of course, I've caught her cold and Kipp caught her cold and Mom is feeling under the weather and it's really getting cold outside.

Since the first day Mom has been in town, she's been insisting Kiki needs a haircut. Kipp grumbled and resisted until this week when he had to deal with her snot-encrusted hair when she first got out of bed. "Cut it," he said, "for God's sake, cut it!"

We'll be doing that sometime this week, I hope.

Now added to her signing repetoire: bath, bedtime, block, and ball. She knows what she's talking about too. The other day, she signed ball at me, then crossed the room to get her ball, and happily played ball with me for a while. When she signs block, she gets all excited when I gather up her blocks to stack them with her.

When her speech therapist was here, she tried to get Kiki to stand up (Kiki is very stubborn about doing this at someone else's behest), and said "Up up up!" to encourage her. Instead of standing, Kiki simply repeated, "Up up up!" with the same inflection. Her ST and I stared at each other, and each said, "Did you hear that?"

We could not get her to do it again.

When she talks to herself in her mirror now, she often includes her toys and several arm gestures. It looks like she's telling herself stories.

And that's all the news here for now!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Good Day

Today was a good day. I say this with great satisfaction because I have to confess, I haven't been able to say that with conviction very often lately. And I know I'm blessed, and I know my life is good, and I love my husband and my children and even my dogs, though I'm convinced the canines are trying to figure out a way to kill me and still guarantee they'll be fed every day.

Some things are a little too personal to talk about on a public diary, and then somedays I just don't care. So, you know, TMI alert!

But not today.

Today instead I will tell you about my great day. My great day started with me procrastinating on work (when I say "start", I mean after: getting breakfast fed to the husband, the kids, the dogs, then myself, then mediating a deal negotiated by the two older children about how to share the PC and the XBox for the duration of the day).

I subsequently blew the whole negotiation out of the water by comandeering the XBox360 all by myself and refused to share and by doing so somehow managed to create an environment in which Bri ended up playing with Kiki and there was much rejoicing. Yay!

I then had this amazing revelation. One of my key needs is alone time. It always has been. Perhaps I'm an introvert. I don't know. I know this. I know that if I get to a point where I'm throwing a tantrum because I don't get to do what I want to do RIGHT NOW RIGHT THIS INSTANT LEAVE ME ALONE, then I need a time out, and that time out must involve a huge personal bubble, roughly the size of Texas.

The reality is there is no such thing as a personal bubble the size of Texas when you're the mom of a pre-toddler, step-mom to a pre-teen and oh-my-God-he's-going-to-be-a-pre-teen-too-any-day-now, dog mother of two very people-oriented dogs, and a husband who has social activity needs that run roughly on the scale of Paris Hilton.

I cannot escape them by watching TV. They gather around and want to know, "What are you watching? Who's that? What's going on? Where's the remote? Is that the remote? Can I see the remote? Can we watch something else? I'm huuuuungry."

I cannot escape them by playing video games. They gather around and comment on everything I make my character do. They want me to kill innocent villagers. They want me to slap annoying NPCs. They want me to give them the controller so they can show me how it's done. And also, they want to know if they can get on the computer, so then they can talk to themselves while they do so. Which I do, too, of course, but it's annoying when other people do it.

I cannot escape them by locking myself in the bathroom. They have knuckles they use to do this knocking thing. And they have high-pitched voices they use to simulate danger encroaching upon their very souls, evil danger that I, only I, can conquer.

But I discovered one thing I can do, one single thing that I can do in absolute peace and privacy and enjoy a personal bubble of at least the size of Rhode Island.

House cleaning.

Also? Give a pre-teen the choice of scrubbing a kitchen floor or entertaining the baby? Guess which one she will pick every time?

I have discovered nirvana. Eden. Heaven. And it is good.

Also my kitchen is spotless.

And then we went out to dinner to watch a friend sing a gig at a local Mexican restaurant wherein my loving fabulous husband insisted I drink a margarita. Ahhh, bliss.

I hope everyone is having as fabulous a weekend as I am!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Going Too Fast

I just sent out emailed photos to friends and family, and almost every one has commented on how long her hair has gotten. Now while she still hasn't figured out the patented hair-flip gesture, I have to show off just how she can make it fly by shaking her head to music. She's a head-banger, people.

So temperatures have dropped again. It was actually 65 to 68 in the house all day until I got cranky and switched over to the heater to get it warmed up to 70. Our AC is set to 73, so 70 was just chilly enough for me to be comfy. And it's all about me, of course.

The kids were out of school today, so I got 'em this morning and we spent the day playing video games. Well, Chris played on the PC, Bri on the XBox360, and I pretended to work on the laptop, while Kiki cruised from electro-zombie to electro-zombie, trying vainly to find someone interested in playing with simple, mundane, completely non-digital blocks.

And of course Sugar was sooooooo thrilled that the Kids! the Kids are here! The BIG kids, not the scary-miniature-kid thing who bites and pulls, but the Big Kids! Yay! So she was all bouncy, and whenever the kids showed her the slightest attention, that bouncy kicked into high gear, causing her to run over and across Kiki at least 3 times before I announced that Sugar no longer existed and NO ONE WAS ALLOWED TO MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH HER EVER AGAIN.

I know, I know. High-energy dog with sheep herding in her genes, confined to indoor space and not much exercise = ALL MY FAULT. I get it. I know. Call the ASPCA already. I'm fine with it.

Anyway I've already decided the family is spending the weekend cleaning the house. And I'm sending Bri out with Sugar to run her around the neighborhood. I'd send her out with Chris but, umm, I don't think Chris can handle it. He definitely can NOT handle Honey, who is basically a bull on a leash and even Kipp has a hard time holding her back. The funny thing? Honey has obedience training, but Sugar has always been innately leash-trained. Isn't that odd? Honey has NEVER quite gotten the whole leash concept other than it's just to, you know, slow her down a little.

Yes, our dogs are really named Honey and Sugar. We adopted Honey first, and she is honey-colored, and she is actually Honey Bear. Then we adopted Sugar and couldn't decide on a name, and I jokingly suggested Sugar Bear -- you know, the Sugar Smacks mascot, and also with the Bear at the end and the Sugar aspect versus the Honey aspect we already have -- and it just stuck.

Although in the normal course of the day, it's usually Honey Bear and Sugar Booger.

I just noticed that I wrote 21 blogs in October. 21 for 21? Does that count, if just for the irony factor?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We voted! We voted!

Yeah, so we were part of that Missourian crowd who first went to the wrong place and then had to travel to the right one just to vote. Luckily they're only within 2 miles of each other, and 2 miles of us, so it's not like we were running around all over town. No, wait. That IS all over town.

It's a small town.

Okay. Anyway, as we were waiting to sign in, the women in front of us started talking to and playing with Kiki. One of the women then made the comment that she thought it was great that so many people were bringing their kids to the polls. I thought at first, what an odd thing to say, because it never occurred to me to NOT bring Kiki, you know?

Then she continued, "When I was a kid, my parents NEVER took me when they voted. So when I was 18 and voted the first time, I was completely lost."

And you know what? My parents never took me voting either. I mean probably my Mom did when I was a baby, but not when I was older. And also, it wouldn't have occurred to me to take my older kids with us to vote either, but you know what? Maybe it would be a good, educational thing. It's just something I never thought about before.

Anyway. The three of us went voting and we are very proud of ourselves. (I wish the I Voted sticker was clearer; my cell phone is not the best camera.

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