Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Food wars part two: Battle of the Stuffed Crust

If you follow my blog, you know by now about Madi and her struggles.  The main one now post-transplant is food.  (See previous post)
Tonight I decided that I was going to order a pizza from Pizza Hut, as they were doing a deal where a large stuffed crust was only $10-score!  I thought for sure it would be a win-win situation.  In the past, when I have gotten Madi to eat pizza, it was always a little personal pan pizza from the little mini Pizza Hut inside our local Target.  She also really likes cheesy bread so I thought if nothing else the stuffed crust would win her over.
She took one look at her plate, yelled, and tried to push herself away from the table.  At this point, Sydney had a piece of pizza in her mouth but upon seeing Madi's temper tantrum decided that she would much rather have her milk.  Massive whining from both children ensued.  All they wanted was their milk, right now!  (I am gonna come clean here and admit that all I wanted right then was a shot of booze.. ha ha) 
I begged-"Just try one bite!" I yelled- "Eat now or you go to your room!"  I bribed- "Once you start eating your dinner you can have your milk."  I upped the ante-"If you eat your dinner we can have ice cream afterward."  Nothing worked.  So I ignored.  I sat and ate my own two (delicious!) pieces of pizza, wishing that there was a way I could transfer my (too strong) love of food to my two food snobs.  (Sydney usually eats much better than this, but lately has been on some kind of odd food strike.)
All of a sudden, Madi says "It's perfect!"  I sneaked a glance out of the corner of my eye and lo and behold, she was taking pieces of pizza, dunking them in ranch, and eating them-without spitting them out!  She finally realized that if she loves ranch dressing, then maybe if she dunked pizza in it, it would be delicious!  (Duh!  I could've told her that.  In fact, I did.  Many times.)
I wish I could say that she ate the whole piece of pizza, and that Sydney ate hers too.  It was not to be..Sydney would not touch any of her pizza no matter what tactic was taken.  Madi, however, ate about half of hers.  I am chalking this one up to a victory.
Take that, food!  One day, one step at a time, I WILL win this war!  Determined mommies (and daddies) always do.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Food: The Enemy

At five this morning, I shot out of bed to the sounds of Madi getting sick in her bedroom.  As I sponged her off, stripped her bed, wiped her mattress and got everything re-situated in her room, the thought hit me: 'Well, there go some more much-needed calories.'  Probably not something most parents think of while throwing sick-y sheets in the washing machine, but it's a common thought for me.
Madi has never really been what you would call a fantastic eater.  But since she got sick it just all went downhill from there.  I used to think that it was because her sick old heart worked so hard just to keep her alive, her body didn't have the extra energy to expend to be hungry, or to digest the food she did eat.  And that was a lot of the problem.  Now, post-transplant, we are in the same boat still.  You would think with a good heart, this problem would've resolved itself.  I am finding that this is not the case at all.  Since Madi is still not at the point where she can communicate in detail how she is feeling, it's up to me to guess: is it because her medicines make things taste weird, or because they kill her appetite?  Or maybe it's that she just doesn't understand what a hunger pain is and mistakes it for a stomachache?  Maybe a combo of all of the above?  I just don't know, and that makes it all the more frustrating.
We do supplement with Carnation Instant Breakfast and PediaSure when she will accept them.  But she gets sick of these things, and who could blame her?  I feel as though I am forever stressing about the next mealtime.  It's usually a battle of wills.. me begging her to eat-just one bite, maybe two-and her out and out refusing to even try.  I am getting better at trying to just let her be and discover foods on her own, but there are plenty of days when I seriously want to put myself in time-out, because that way I can sit in the corner and have a cry all by myself.
In the days post-transplant, a feeding tube was discussed, but from the very start I was against it.  Of course, if she was steadily losing weight and never getting any sustenance, I would have gone for it.  But she doesn't necessarily lose weight, she just doesn't gain it either.  For all the benefits a feeding tube would have there are significant downsides to it as well.  I know of plenty of kids who will not eat anything by mouth anymore due to the fact that they aren't used to having to eat because the tube is there.  I have struggled with my decision, and many a day I have questioned it, but in the end I feel that it would cause more food issues for her.  With her heading to school in the fall, it would just be another big step backward.  The other main consideration is that a feeding tube presents a constant infection risk, and for transplant patients of course, that risk is always much more dangerous.
So onward we go..trying to figure out ways to slip calories in the foods that Madi does eat.  It gets complicated, though, when basically the only things she wants to eat are cheese sandwiches.  Thankfully she likes plenty of butter.  :) I wish that I could just take some of the extra pounds I have and give them to her.  Anyone ever heard of a fat transplant?? Ha ha.
I suppose we will just chalk it all up to another way that life post-transplant will never be uneventful.  I am very grateful, of course, that she is here and mostly healthy.  That is the main thing, the most important thing.  I will do whatever it takes to be sure that she gets everything she needs, and of course some of what she wants as well.  It may be that she will get the things she wants only after she eats a meal covered in butter, but hey, moms are nothing if not ingenious.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

The following came to me in an email this morning.. and I LOVE it!
My husband is generally pretty good about helping w/things when he can, so this really doesn't relate to him per se, but it is justification, in my eyes, for all of us stay-at-home parents who feel maybe just a tad overworked and underappreciated.  (I believe it originally came from but don't quote me on that!)

The woman started crying.
I didn't expect this, because, well, why would I?
We were two adults, standing in a preschool auditorium, waiting for the year-end musical gala to begin, talking summer plans and Twitter and junk fiction and all things mindless parents talk at mindless events. Then -- tears.
"My husband," she said, "doesn't care."
"Uh, about what?" I asked.
The floodgates now open, she told me her husband works from home. But he never drops their daughter off at preschool. He never picks their daughter up at preschool. He never wakes up with their daughter, never puts her to bed, never takes her to a movie or a carnival or a ball game; never comes up with fun daddy-daughter activities. "All he worries about is golf," the mother said. "Sometimes he'll take her to the driving range for an hour. But that's it. ..."
Two days later, by mere coincidence, a different mother cornered me. I was sitting in a pizzeria with my son, Emmett, and daughter, Casey, gnawing on a calzone. The woman, another preschool regular who always seems to be dragging around her kids with the worn look of a chain gang inmate, glanced my way and muttered, "My husband would never do that."
"Do what?" I asked.
"Be out alone with both of the kids at once," she said. "Never."
In case you are wondering, I am that dad. The one who works out of the house. The one who drives his kids to school, packs lunches and pushes swings and arranges play dates and attends teacher conferences and -- generally speaking -- frequently finds himself alone in brightly colored rooms filled with women and tykes.
Along with my wife (who, until recently, also worked from home), I wipe snot, clean poop, order time outs and say no -- Really, no! I'm being serious, no! -- to the damned ice cream man and his Satanic siren call. I know all of my kids' friends, and most of their tendencies (Ashley and Emily love dolls, Lucas only wants to talk about Derek Jeter, Tyler digs applesauce).
Hence, I have been sent here today, on behalf of the stay-at-home mothers of the world, to convey to my fellow pops a message of love and hope in this lead-up to
Father's Day: Wake the hell up.
Really, wake the hell up.
 Now. I understand that most of you have 9-to-5 jobs, that you leave tired and come home tired and just wanna chill in front of SportsCenter with a bowl of chips. But, seriously, you have no remote idea: Being a stay-at-home parent is exhausting. At the office, you can hide. You can take lunch. You can pretend you're working while scrolling the Internet for Yankees-Blue Jays and, ahem, Lindsay Lohan news. You have genuine social interactions with folks over the age of, oh, 12. People ask questions about your day -- and listen to the answers.
I envy you, but I sort of pity you. Kids grow. Age 1 turns to age 3, which turns to age 7, which turns to 15 and 18 and 21, all in the blink of an eye. If you're there, as I am, it flies. If you're not there -- if you're almost never there -- it barely exists at all. Which is why I just can't stomach those millions of dads who view their days at home as recovery from work, who'd rather rest than engage, who have no problem with passing the tykes off for more alone time with mom and who, literally, moan to their wives, "You have no idea how hard I work."
For you, I offer these 10 commandments of righteous fatherhood. Pay close attention, because, behind your back, people are pitying your wife:
1. No golf on weekends: Seriously, it's ludicrous. Your spouse is home with the kids all the time, and you think it's OK to take five hours on a weekend day to pursue your own pastime? Selfishness, thy name is Father.
2. Wake up: Literally, wake up. With your kids. On at least one of the two weekend days -- and perhaps both. I know: you wake up early for work. Not even remotely the same thing. Rising alongside the kiddies is hard. And crazy. And (gasp!) sorta fun, if you'd just stop moping.
3. Change diapers: If you have little kids, and you don't know how to change diapers (or, even worse, refuse to change diapers), you're pathetic. That's no exaggeration -- p-a-t-h-e-t-i-c. It's not all that hard, and though the poop sometimes winds up on the fingers, well, uh, yeah. It just does. Wash your hands.
4. Play with dolls and paint your toenails: How many fathers do I know who refuse to get girlish with their girls? Dozens. Dude, put aside the machismo, break out Barbie and slather on some pink polish. You'll make a friend for life -- and nobody else is watching.
5. Do things you don't want to do: It's easy to take the kids to the driving range -- because you want to be there. Now try spending the day having a tea party at American Girl. Or crawling through one of those wormholes at the nearby kiddie gym. Fun? Often, no. But this isn't about you.
6. Order the wife to bug off: I recently met a mother who told me her husband hadn't been alone with their 9-year-old daughter for more than two hours ... ever. Inexcusable. Let your wife do her own thing: relax, take a run, whatever. Entertain your children solo. They don't bite
(Note: is not liable if your children do, in fact, bite).
7. Surprise! Just once, on a random day without meaning or purpose, show up early at your kid's school/camp/wherever, say "Get in the car!" and take him/her somewhere special. Just the two of you, alone. A movie. A park. A hike. The memory lasts -- I promise.
8. Dishes Don't Clean Themselves (Nor Do Toys): It's amazing how this one works. You pick up a dish, run it under hot water with some soap, rub it down with a towel and place it back on the shelf. Then repeat.
9. Wake up your kid: Not often. But if you want to score big points and create a killer memory moment, walk in Junior's room at, oh, midnight, wake him/her up and go outside for 10 minutes to watch the stars.
10. For God's sake, tell your kids you love them: They never see you, and they'd probably like to know.
Bud, as you read this your wife is expecting little -- and your kids are expecting even less.
Pull one out of the blue.
Make Father's Day less about you, and all about them.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jeff Pearlman.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I have been slacking off on the blogging lately.  I guess I haven't really had a whole lot to say.  Ok, ok it's really because my laptop met with some Vanilla Coke and the soda won.  Laptop's off to Geek Squad for about a month getting new keys and such, and I am now relegated to hubby's computer.  In the office.  Which is horribly cluttered and claustrophobic.
Anyway, that's pretty much the excitement in my life these days.  Till today. Today was just one of "those days" when nothing seems to go right, and every little thorn in your side is felt bigger and bigger.  I know that I have a lot to be grateful for in my life, but hey, a girl gets irritated every now and then!

Here's the thing.  I have never touched a drug in my life.  (Unless you count the Vicodin I had after my wisdom teeth were dug out of my jaw.  I don't.)  I try my very hardest not to be a judgemental person.  Really, I do.  But I can't help but notice that most of the time, the people you run across that are into "recreation" in a substance form are, well, lowlifes.  Don't get me wrong, I have met many an amiable and charitable stoner that would never harm a fly.  But for the most part something seems to be seriously lacking in the responsibility part of the brain.
Case in point: when I lived in Washington State, I had a rather large group of friends.  Say maybe twenty of us all together including me.  Almost all of them dropped out of school-most not even trying to get their GED.  Ninety-nine percent of them are either off in the meth world somewhere, or have been a part of that at some point.  At least two-thirds do not have a driver's license because it got taken away for one reason or another.  Most have no jobs, and a lot of them either live at home or bounce from place to shady place as they get served with eviction notices.  The ones that have kids are generally on welfare, living in some dive somewhere that's paid for by the state.  One friend even tragically lost his life 10 years ago in a car accident that would not have happened had the occupants not been drunk and high. 
Good grief, how did I ever make it out of there sober?  I guess I have more willpower than I thought.  But these things are what irritate the living daylights out of me.  Here we are, hard working people who are responsible.  We do what we can for our kids, pay our taxes, and help others as often as we can.  So why on earth do these (able-bodied) people slip through the cracks, amassing criminal records, drug addictions and time on their couch waiting for the checks from the state to roll in, all while making no efforts whatsoever on bettering their life?  While we can't even get a boost to help us through the worst of times?  Seems a little counter-productive to me.  But hey, if I ruled the world things would be a lot different.
For starters, there would be a law in place requiring drug tests for people on welfare, and not rewarding people living lazily. 
Then again, if I ruled the world, there'd probably be a lot of free chocolate going around...