Thursday, November 24, 2005

I am Thankful

The transition to the BBB (that would be "Big Boy Bed") went fantastic! We stuck with Junior's nightly routine, only he climbed into his BBB himself, instead of us putting him in the crib.

A couple things helped, I think. His crib was still in the room. And okay, I cheated a bit and shoved one side of the BBB against the crib, effectively making a daybed, with only one open side. I have to confess, the up-over-down-run-around circles he had been practicing on the BBB had me worried!

We also took Baby Tad and put him at the foot of the BBB. Baby Tad (who gets my vote for essential kid gear) is a stuffed frog-doll thing that plays up to six lullabies when you press his paw (who knew frogs had paws?).

After we put Junior into the BBB, kissed him goodnight and set up the new gate across his door (no escapees allowed!), we ran to the monitor and listened. Baby Tad finished his 6 songs. Then we heard "One minute to night-night". Junior had pushed Baby Tad's paw again! And then again. And again. Poor Baby Tad started sounding a big sluggish. "Damn you, Baby Tad, don't go out on us now!" I thought.

Then finally...silence. We had achieved sleep in the BBB. And we were thankful.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A New Toy!

It's pretty sad when you get really excited about a mixer. But this isn't just any mixer. Oh no. This is the KitchenAid Artisan 5-speed mixer, baby. With 325 watts of pure mixing power.

I got the cobalt blue color, 'cause I figured if I got a sports car that's what color I'd get. Red is just too showy for me... ;-)

I'm going to whip up all sorts of yummy baked goods with this bad boy.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Chillin' in the Crib

In the beginning, there was the crib. And the crib was good.
But She-Who-Holds-the-Pediatric-Degree came down from on high.
"The boy is too big," She declared.
"He can climb from the crib."
"He will climb from the crib."
"He will go 'boom'."
And the crib was no longer good.

...and so the Saga of the Big Boy Bed began...

Tonight we put together the Big Boy Bed (hereafter called "BBB" for brevity). We have been "selling" the BBB for the past two weeks, since it arrived in its giant box. We visited the library and checked out books about BBBs. We read the BBB books. Junior started getting excited.

When Loving Husband asked Junior "Would you like to put together your BBB tonight?", he (Junior, that is) ran upstairs and pointed to the big box. He "helped" put together the bed, with lots of "No, Junior"s from Loving Husband. Finally, the BBB was complete.

"You will get to sleep in it in TWO DAYS," we told him.

"I wanna get in it," said Junior. Hmmm....we thought. This is all good, right?

We got the crib mattress from the crib and put it into the new BBB. So looks like a doll bed.

"Pretend to be asleep," we urged.

He eagerly got in and started a dog! This was new behavior. Then he started climbing in, circling around, then climbing out the other side. Then repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Faster. Faster. Faster. We started getting dizzy.

"Well, this will be fun!" said LH sarcastically.

Then we went to take the mattress back out and put it back in da crib. "I wanna sleep in Bigboybed!" cried Junior. "In TWO DAYS!" we cried back. "WAAAAAAAAAAA!" he cried. Literally crying now.

We finally settled him down. I think he talked me down to 1 day...I can't be sure...but in the end he was in the crib and settled down.

I guess we are good Marketers, huh? A little too good.

Stay tuned for D-Day, er, BBB-Day. Hopefully the casualties will be low.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thoughts on Football and Life

Anyone who owns a radio or TV in the Kansas City area knows the news: The Kansas City Chiefs have lost their star running back, Priest Holmes, to a neck injury. He took a hard hit in a game two weeks ago and has been examined by several doctors, who came back with the same advice...No hits for 30 days, at least. Since there are only four regular-season games left, this means his season is over.

This is a tough loss, as Holmes is widely considered to be carrying a large portion of the team's weight when it comes to offense. I was listening to a sports radio station the same day this news broke and lots of fans were calling in commisserating about losing our star player. Would the Chiefs still be able to win without Holmes? Would Holmes' backup be able to perform? Would he retire or be back next year? The calls went along these same lines for an excrutiatingly long time.

Then finally some guy called in and said, "Hold up...let's think this from Holmes' viewpoint for a moment. His career could be over!" There is speculation that Holmes has a bruise on his spinal case (not column). These types of bruises do not heal - they are there for life. This guy had actually played semi-pro football, gotten hit in a similiar way as Holmes and had been partially paralyzed. He still did not have 100% use of his upper body. This gave a whole new perspective to the topic. And reminded me of a similiar situation that I went through...

No, I didn't get hit by a 300+ pound lineman, but I did have a serious neck injury. About five years ago, around mid-summer, I started getting some pain near my shoulder blade. A strange little pain that felt like a muscular "knot". Since I was playing volleyball about 3 times per week, I figured I had just over-used a muscle and was sore. Then the tingling started. A weird tingling sensation down my right arm. I started going to my massage therapist bi-weekly to fix the "knot" no avail - it kept coming back. Over the next couple of months the tingling got so bad that it actually hurt. I quit playing volleyball, as it was hard to control my arm with all the tingling. I quit sleeping through the night, as I could not find a position that was not painful or that did not put my arm to sleep. Keep in mind that I work on a computer all day...needless to say, this was quite painful too.

I'm not a big fan of doctors, but at this point I figured a doctor's visit was in order.

My doctor ordered an MRI of my neck and shoulders. If you've never had an MRI of your upper body, it's scary as hell. They warned me in advance that if I was claustrophobic, I might not like this. I am. And I did not. I was able to get past being shoved headfirst up to my waist into a tiny, enclosed chamber. I was able to get past the ear-splitting, jackhammer-like thumping that the super-duper magnet makes as it images your body. I was NOT able to get past the pain of lying there on my back for 15 minutes. It hurt that bad just to lay still. I ended up wiggling and they had to repeat the process a second time. Torture.

When I went back to the doctor to hear about the results of my MRI, he scared the living shit out of me. He said I had a herniated cervical disc. He went on to say that I needed surgery to either remove or fuse the disc. He went on to say that I should be extremely careful driving, since any sort of impact could potentially paralyze me. He also mentioned that if I lost control of my bladder that I was to report to an emergency room ASAP, as that might be an indication that the disc had intruded into my spinal column.

...and I thought he would tell me it was a pinched nerve. The fucker really threw me for a loop.

I cried the whole way home. I figured my life as I knew it was over. No more volleyball, no more bike riding, no more sleeping through the night. I was 35 at the time, with a lifetime of plans and goals ahead of me - lots of them physical. It's an understatement to say that this was a gigantic bummer.

As instructed, I reported to the neurosurgeon's office for a consult. This dude, who looked just like Chris Elliott (the mad professor) from "Back to the Future", began by telling me all the bad things that could happen during the surgery. Partial facial paralysis (on side only). Okay, there goes my modeling career - ha! I could need more surgeries. I could lose movement of my neck. I would be in recover for six weeks. Six! As the icing on the cake, he mentioned that, due to how close all the nerves and spinal stuff was, that they make the incision in the FRONT of your neck. He actually made an imaginary "cut" with his finger across his throat. As in "off with her head". Okay, Alice, I'm down the rabbit hole and outta here. I nearly sprained an ankle running out of this crazy dude's office and to my car. I was NOT having my throat cut. No way. I don't like turtlenecks enough to be stuck with them for the rest of my life to cover a scar like that.

More crying in the car. Then worrying that the tears would blur my vision and I would get into a car wreck and be paralyzed. Then hopelessness as I realized that without this surgery, I would have to live with the now ever-present pain and numbness in my arm. This sucked. Then I mentally whacked myself in the head and told myself to start brainstorming. What else could I do? I couldn't live with this. I couldn't get the surgery. What else? What else? An idea came to me...

We had a friend studying to be a chiropractor. We had been camping with him the past spring and he had evangelized how chiropractic care could solve lots of problems that would normally require surgery. I had nothing to lose, so I picked up the phone and called him. I explained the whole deal and he said he would talk to one of his instructors about whether my problem could be solved. He called me back and I got an appointment with his instructor, Dr. T., later that week. At least I knew he wouldn't want to cut me open, so that was a start.

Dr. T. was awesome! After looking at my MRI, he agreed that I indeed had a badly herniated disc. Then he went on to say that it would take about 4 months to get me back to 95% capacity. I had to come see him twice a week for the next few months, then we would take x-rays and see what had changed. This sounded much better than the big, scary knife solution.

Dr. T. gave me homework - buy a beach ball, sit down on the floor with my back to the wall and push the beach ball to the wall with my head. This was horribly painful...but it got easier over time. Dr. T was positive, but tough. He gave me more painful exercises to do. We were moving things around and it was going to be painful. He took me off my pain meds that Dr. #1 had given me, so that they wouldn't "mask" when I was really in pain and when I wasn't.

The first week was very tough. The second week was a bit better. After the first month I actually slept through the night for the first time in about six months. Bliss! As promised, after about 4-1/2 months, I started playing volleyball again. Over the next year, I saw him about once a month, to keep things where they should be.

I am currently pain-free, tingle-free and numbness-free. I know that my disc is not healed. It is a weak spot on me that I am always aware of. I know that there may come a day when I might need that dreaded surgery. I secretly hope that they will have fake disc "gel" that you can inject to puff discs back up to their normal size by then. Don't laugh...they are close on this!

No, I'm not carrying the weight of entire football team on my shoulders, but I do carry the weight of all the dreams and goals that I want to accomplish over my lifetime. And it takes a strong neck to carry those.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Ah, the joy of discovery! Ah, the pain of candy meltdown!

...such is Halloween in the Casa de Goofy.

Goofy Junior, so cute in his little vampire costume, ventured out for a fun-filled night of trick or treating. He was tentative at the first house, but Mommy (that would be me) had done some role-playing with him the night before, so he knew the routine.

Me: Junior, do you know what trick or treating is?

Jr: (blank stare)

Me: It's when we go to other people's houses, and knock on their door. (mimes knocking)

Jr: (blank stare)

Me: And then they open the door (mime opening door) and you say "trick or treat"

Jr: trickertreat!

Me: Then they give you candy in your pumpkin.

Jr: My purse?

Me: No, honey, it's not a purse, it's a pumpkin. Stop calling it a purse or Daddy will kill me.

Jr: (blank stare)

Me: So, they give you candy and what do you say?

Jr: thank you...?

Me: YES!

Jr: kidneys!* trickertreat! my purse!

Me (thinking): Okay, at least he won't be scared...

And, of course, he wasn't scared. He was the opposite! He was knocking on the doors, helping himself to candy, waving goodbye. After the second house, we turned around to walk down the stairs and he said, "I wanna do another one". I chuckled. Then he said it after every house, alternating with "no go home yet".

After going all the way down our street and working our way back, I began to worry about the reprecussions of returning home. But I can think like a toddler (it's my secret super-hero talent...or maybe just my IQ).

Me: Okay, one more house and then we are done (cheerfully!)

Jr: Okay.

Me (after one more house): Where's our house?

Jr: There (points). No go home yet! (shaking head "no")

Me: Hey! I have an idea!

Jr: Huh?

Me: You knock on our own door and see if Daddy gives you candy. I'll bet he won't know it's you in your costume! (daycare-level cheerfulness now)

Jr: Okay! (he's digging this idea)

Me: I'll wait around the corner here....go knock on the door.

Jr: (big smile. goes and knocks on door)

Goofy Daddy (getting the idea, God love him): Hey, Happy Halloween little boy! Would you like some candy?

Jr: Trickertreat!

I come around the corner and take off Junior's vampire-ear-hat, to reveal his secret identity.

GD: OH! It's you Junior! Give me a hug! (and picks him up and carries him into the house)

Postscript: We needn't have worried...Junior liked giving out candy to the trick or treaters that came to our house even more than trick or treating.

* "kidneys" is "candy" in Goofy Juniorese