Of Cavities And Picky Eaters

The boy is the picky eater in our house. “I want macaroni and cheese for dinner!” he’ll proclaim, but when it is placed in front of him in all its day-glow orange glory, he’ll take one bite (maybe) then say “I’m done.”

Excuse me? Baking powder? A sphincter says what?!

It’s not like I’m putting overcooked brussels sprouts and canned ham in front of the kid. This is macaroni and cheese. The stuff of childhood. And I have to buy the blue box, because he refuses to eat the “natural” kind.

The orange stuff.

The orange stuff.

Meanwhile, the girl child has polished off her portion, has mowed through her sliced fruit, her sugar snap peas with hummus (one of her favorite snacks), and is munching on a slice of turkey breast.

“I eating Mama,” she’ll say. “I listening!”

“I know baby,” I’ll say, then turn back to the stone-faced 4-year-old. “You have to eat FIVE bites of macaroni and cheese. BIG ONES. And all your fruit.”

For those keeping score, five big bites is to compensate for him specifically requesting said macaroni and cheese. The fruit is to keep ze bowels moving. Because lordy, if he gets stopped up that’s a good THREE days of mineral oil and eventually stool softener to get things moving again.

TMI? Sorry. Welcome to my world.

So dinner is basically a Mexican standoff. A gunfight at noon. Whathaveyou. We sit and stare at each other until he eats. It is SO much fun. Oh, and he STILL doesn’t eat meat. It baffles the mind.

"You will eat your dinner!"

“You will eat your dinner!”

Meanwhile, his sister has cleaned her plate and gets to hop down and watch a movie of her choice. Even if it’s his turn to pick. And if he gets upset, usually she’ll say something along the lines of: “Just eat, Sean. You taking too long.”

But why the long, drawn-out process? Why not just say “fine” and let him be done? Well, Internet, I’ve tried that too. What happens then is that when its time to get into pajamas and get ready for bed: He’s starving. SO HUNGRY. But now my food is cold! I want cereal! With milk! But I’m still hungry! I don’t want to go to bed! and  WAAAAAAAAAAH.

So we struggle. Daily. And I fantasize about scientists creating a pill that gets him all his nutritional needs and fills his belly. But then I’d have to figure out a way to get him to eat it daily. (Back to square one.)

Meanwhile …

The shortcake has cavities. Yes, plural.  On her back molars. The dentist says part of it is because her mouth is so little and that her teeth are very close together.

But if we’re honest with ourselves, its because of the fruit snacks, raisins, and goldfish — all of which she loves — and all of which stick to the teeth and spread their sticky, sweet, cavity-inducing selves all over the enamel. As a result, I have hidden the rest of our fruit snacks and they won’t be making any more appearances. (Also? I got tired of the picky eater trying to fill himself up with these. Fruit snacks do not a meal make.)

Sugar-filled cavity bombs!

Mmmmm … sugar-filled cavity bombs!

I’ve replaced the kid-height snacks with Z bars, granola bars, boxes of raisins (they’re healthy, we just need to be more cognizant of how many she eats), applesauce packets, and snack-size bags of popcorn and “better” crackers. In the fridge, I’m going to make small bags of carrot sticks and sugar snap peas. So far, the girl is loving it. She ate 2 bags of popcorn (about 1/4 cup popped per bag) and a bag of crackers yesterday. The boy? Not so much. He survived on blueberry shredded wheat. Which is fine by me, because hell0 — FIBER.

We took her to the pediatric dentist on Friday for her fillings. Yes, we. Because of the medication they give the kids, two adults are required to be there to ensure nothing bad happens to the kid on the drive home. Like falling asleep and flopping forward and cutting off their air supply and dying. Seriously. So … I wasn’t worried AT ALL.

First off, the girl handled the whole thing like a pro. The only time she cried was after the procedure was over and the dentist turned her movie off before the song was over. That caused sobbing. But aside from that? She was a boss.

And I’ve got the slideshow to prove it.

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And a video. To show just how loopy she was. (BTW, she didn’t lose her footing. She straight up almost fell over.)


Summer Snapshot

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She lives!

Slight hiatus. Lots of stuff has happened. So … bullet points.

  • We didn’t move in with my parents because Hubbs got a job.
  • A good job! He’s happy! And he doesn’t have a commute!
  • I still feel bad that my parents rearranged their entire house for us and then we didn’t move in.
  • But my dad says its cool, because it was a great motivator to “clear out some of the clutter”.
  • I’m having shoulder surgery Aug. 1. I’ll be in an immobilization sling for six weeks. Torn rotator cuff, bone spurs, fraying tendons … and who knows what else.
  • As Hubbs says, “And there goes the summer!”
  • My house is a disaster zone.
  • I had a fantasy about donating all but one small bin of toys the other day.
  • I also need to clear out my bedroom. There’s stuff piled up in there that I never use. I’m tired of the junk.

Maybe that’s what I need to do: declutter my life. I’ll add that to my gargantuan to-do list.

Hope ya’ll are having a great summer!

The Face Of Illness

This is what Sean looked like Saturday afternoon after throwing up more than 16 times in less than 12 hours. Poor little man couldn’t keep anything down. He had to have an IV put in, and received an anti-nausea pill and two rounds of fluids, after which he felt MUCH better.



Life, Interrupted

I seem to be unable to put an entire cohesive post together, so think of this as expanded bullet points.

If I were a car, I’d be a lemon

I had shoulder surgery when I was 19 years old. It was an old sports injury, the doctors had shaved the interior of my shoulder socket to prevent grinding and shrank my shoulder muscles so my shoulder would stay in the socket. I thought I was done with that issue.

Except that for the past five years or so, my shoulder would slip out of the socket once a year. Until a couple of months ago, it was only a little slip and I was able to put it back in the socket by myself without incident. Kinda like the end of this clip, except I don’t slam it against a wall, I lean and gently twist and nudge downward:

Sorry for that.

Anyway — in late March, my shoulder FULLY slipped out of the socket, prompting an ER appointment after there was lingering pain after I got it back in the socket. After sending me home with a sling after a round of X-rays, I was referred to a shoulder specialist. He’s ordered an MRI, but at my appointment last week while he was assessing my arm, an offhand comment he made really caught my attention: “You have to think about how you move your arm.” It’s true. He’d tell me to reach above my head as if trying to get something off a high shelf, and I’d pause, rotating my shoulder and arm, trying to find the correct angle. I never even realized I was doing it.

He also commented on my limited range of motion. He called it “significant to severe” in its limitation. His bet (he’s 99% sure) is that I have a lateral tear, which the MRI will likely confirm, because this guy was GOOD. And once it’s confirmed, I’ll be having surgery on my shoulder. AGAIN. To repair the tear and to “laser” my shoulder muscles to shrink them again. In the meantime, I’m blowing through my supply of Aleve and Motrin with ridiculous rapidity.

Stress Management = messy house

For awhile, I was staying up to about 1 a.m. daily, trying to stay on top of cleaning the house. I was getting less than 5 hours of sleep and essentially burning myself out. My “to do” list was so long, ever growing, that I actually considered getting some no doze just so I could get ahead. That list, and my daily responsibilities, began to weigh on me. I started to feel like Atlas. Except that my burden had shifted to my chest: I could barely breathe from it. I’d find myself having issues drawing a deep breath. The pressure on my chest was so great I started having panic attacks. Hyperventilating. And not knowing why.

I talked to a counselor, who as a stress management aid, told me to take 10 minutes for myself each night, and to give myself a set bedtime and that no matter what I’m doing, when that bedtime hits, to go to bed. No excuses.

My house is now a disaster zone. It’s ridiculously messy. But that feeling of not being able to breathe? It’s gone. I’m not hyperventilating. No panic attacks. Just feet that have been pierced by tiny, sharp, plastic toys as I try to cross the living room.

Total Upheaval

The Fiscal Cliff has pushed us over our own proverbial ledge: Hubbs was laid off a few months ago, and despite calling our mortgage company the very next day, we’re still in loan modification purgatory — meaning we’re still waiting for an answer as to whether they’ll modify our loan. And they just asked for more documents. Again.

As someone living between the proverbial rock and a hard place, it doesn’t feel as through they’re trying to help me. At all.

And so we’re going to rent out our house for a year — or more, depending on how things pan out. This means moving in with my incredibly generous parents. It means renting a storage unit. Discarding a ton of stuff. Trying to fit everything we need for daily life into two 8×10 bedrooms with only the teensiest bit of overflow.

It means upheaval for my children, who will need to adjust their expectation of what “home” is going to mean. Who will need to adjust to brand-new teachers and a brand-new preschool. But it also means more love: They’ll be living with their grandparents and uncle — enough to send them jumping up and down and yelling “yay!” when we told them. They’ll have dinner at my grandparent’s house once a week, which warms my heart because I grew up doing the same thing and have wonderful memories of those dinners and visits.

I adore my parents. I’ll never be able to thank them enough for helping us. For upending their house to make room for us. For my dad grimacing, but allowing me to paint the kids’ room a light blue — despite abhorring any wall color but white.

I never expected to move again. I was going to grow old in this house — watch my kids grow up here. They took their first steps here. Said their first words here. I expected to walk with them, hand in hand, on the way to their first day of school from our front door. I expected to teach them how to back out of this driveway when they learn to drive.

Maybe I still will. You never know what life brings. But not matter how it turns out, we’re together, and we have a loving and supportive group of family and friends that are with us no matter where we call home. And in the end, that’s what matters most.


And bullet points!

  • After I got the kids in bed last night, Hubbs looked at me and said “Why don’t you just go to bed? You look exhausted.” And so I did. And Internet? IT WAS WONDERFUL.
  • I kinda have a crush on Bruno Mars. I know. But every song is a freaking earworm and I can’t stop singing along. In the car. At top volume. He’s kind of like this generation’s Michael Jackson. Without the crazy plastic surgery or child molestation/Neverland thing. Which, winning.
  • I hate raw tomatoes. Cooked and in sauces? Fine. But raw=slime and that’s just no bueno.
  • When my dad is mad (looking at him from the eyebrows up), he kinda looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    I think it's the glare.

    I think it’s the glare. Very effective.

  • I have a MAJOR soft spot for Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. Hubbs knows how to cure any bad mood that I’m in with one word: “Commando”. I love that movie. It’s full of one-liners, 80s cheese, and it even has a scene in the Galleria — which, if you’re a movie nut, you’ll know also makes an appearance in T2. And where else can you see Arnie swing across a mall from a giant streamer, land on an elevator, and jump down like it’s just a typical Tuesday? HILARIOUS.
  • When I went to Universal Studios for vacation with a friend, I blew my souvenir budget on a gift for my dad: An 8×10 picture of Arnie (with a mat and metal plaque) from the movie “Predator”. That was more than 10 years ago. It’s still hanging in his office.
  • I also have a thing for the Conan movies. Not the new ones. The Arnie ones. I used to pretend my Barbie was Valeria (or Jenna) and she rode a unicorn My Little Pony. I’m totally aging myself here. Child of the 80s much?

    Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.

    Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.

  • Arnie was in “Terminator” with my lifelong crush Michael Biehn (the good guy helping Linda Hamilton in the movie). Biehn was also in “Aliens”, “Navy SEALs”, “Tombstone”, and was the lieutenant who got killed after yelling at Ed Harris in “The Rock”. Last time I saw his name in print, it was because he was kicked off a movie set in Russia for being drunk and accosting female set workers. Do I know how to pick em or what?
  • Michael Biehn is also my dad’s age. Kinda ruined that whole crush thing when I found out.
  • My dad, brother, and I were so annoyed when they re-dubbed the gun audio for the original “Terminator”. Now its just distracting instead of realistic.
  • And don’t even get me started on the horrors that George Lucas did to the “Star Wars” trilogy. Someone needs to have control over the leash on that guy. And someone else has to be the reality check. Hey George, Leia remembers her mom, because she was with her. Luke never knew his mother. And their mom died “when I was very young” not at birth. You’re killing your own storyline for chrissakes.
  • More Star Wars redo gripes: Adding wombats to the ground during a scene? Did nothing for me. It ended up being distracting. Who cares that the storm troopers rode fuzzy hippo things on Tatooine? Everyone I knew was like “Oh look, more obvious, unneeded CGI. Thanks, George.” Somebody needed to reign in him. It got ridiculous.
  • Final Star Wars redo grips: For crying out loud, Han shot first. You hear me? HAN SHOT FIRST. Quit trying to clean up his image. We love him because he’s a scruffy, nerf-herding rogue.
  • The prequels never happened. Seriously. The only good thing to come out of those was the soundtrack. (I excuse Natalie Portman for her participation solely on my love for “The Professional.”)
  • I think I know every line from: Commando, Terminator, T2, Conan, and Conan the Destroyer. So does my brother. We quote all of them back and forth when we’re bored. It’s a kind of code.
    Me: Let off some steam, Bennett.
    My bro: guh — oh … ugh.
    My bro: Hey Sully, remember when I told you I’d kill you last?”
    Me: Yeah, Matrix, that’s right. You did.
    My bro: I lied.
    Me: Aaaaugh!
  • I can also sing the entire introduction song to the animated GI Joe movie, to my brother’s great amusement. Ask Hubbs. He was thoroughly embarrassed. (Cobra lalalalalalala!)
  • I’m slightly embarrassed that my kids haven’t seen Star Wars yet. But since Sean has been scared of monsters for the past few months, I thought I’d hold off …
  • Whenever I see the word “therapist” I immediately think “the rapists” Thanks for that, SNL.
  • That’s it for today, kiddos. Happy Friday!

Just breathe

Not going to delve into the details, but I’ve been really stressed out lately.

Stressed as in I’m losing an alarming amount of hair, I’m not sleeping well, and nothing ever seems to get accomplished.

I think I’m losing my mind.

Today is mostly about breathing. And bullet points.

  • Patch testing determined that our little girl is allergic to nickel. This means we’re going to have to watch what we put against her skin — like zippers and snaps, jewelry, etc., and monitor the food she eats. Canned food? Has nickel in it. Pears, asparagus, and kale? Have nickel in them too. Who knew?!
  • I slept wrong last night and my bad shoulder slipped out of the socket. It happens every couple of years, despite me having it surgically repaired back when I was 19. Arm slipping out of your shoulder socket = extremely limited mobility and extreme pain. Luckily, a chiropractor taught me how to use a wall to gently help put myself back together. I think I scared the bejeezus out of the Hubbs: I cried out when I finally got it back into the socket. The whole thing hurts intensely for a moment, during which your eyes tear up and you gasp for air, before the relief hits.
  • I’m trying to sell some clothes on Facebook in a local group and although more convenient than ebay, they’re driving me batty by wanting to go through my bags and cherry pick clothes and then negotiate. Just take the freaking bag for the $30 we agreed upon, won’t you? This isn’t Craigslist, I know your full name!
  • I need a manicure.
  • I also need a full night of sleep.
  • The last woman who came reeked of fabric softener. For some reason it was really distracting, probably because we don’t use the stuff due to everyone’s allergies.
  • I’m kinda perpetually annoyed these days. It’s not a flattering look.