Posted in Children, Identity, Mommyhood

My “Hero” Name . . . if Heroes Worked for the TSA

Fair warning: This contains humor a fourth-grader might enjoy. I will not take the blame for snort-laughter at work. And make sure you’re not drinking anything, mmkay?

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It seems the older my boys get, the less mature I become. Not younger, mind you — they have the ability to age me severely some days. I mean, I will laugh at immature jokes and phrases and subject matter I might have just given a courtesy chuckle to or just outright rolled my eyes at in the past.

But my kids say some hilarious things. What makes it even funnier is that they often don’t even understand WHY Mama is suddenly snorting, gasping for breath, and running to her phone to text someone or post to Twitter/Facebook (if they even know that’s what I’m doing. I’m sure they’ll be onto me someday). Sometimes, the only person I can tell is my husband, because I generally consider Facebook to be “mixed company”, where not everyone is going to fully appreciate the fact that I have suddenly reverted to the fourth grade.

It took me a long time to figure out where my oldest son could have gotten the imagery for this gem, uttered last year sometime:

“I smell a green floppy thing. It’s just my butt. It does that sometimes.”

See? SEE? How can you possibly read that and not feel the urge to titter, even a little?

I discovered later, while actually paying a modicum of attention to one of the movies they were watching, that “a green floppy thing” that smells bad most likely came from a description of Sid the Sloth from “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”. Aha! The imagery is something to avoid thinking too hard about, but it’s still funny!

I fight the urge to chuckle every time my kids talk about Beanie throwing up, even when I’m telling them not to. It’s a big mess to clean up (and he’s talented at hitting as many targets as possible), Mama gets a little excited over the fact that it always happens at the most inopportune times . . . It’s become kind of a household event. We’re brushing teeth? Get ready to clean the bathroom and change everyone’s clothes. Touching food? Watch carefully for the signs and be ready to clean everything again. Often ten minutes before we have to get in the car, or at times when I don’t have extra clothes for him.

His most impressive display occurred one afternoon when he managed to get almost every square inch of the kitchen walking space. I was almost proud — except that I had to clean it all up. Pie’s still talking about it (but because he has no concept of time, he keeps saying “last night”, so I have to correct him for the sake of the concerned adults with whom he has chosen to share this tidbit).

One time, Beanie threw up on the rug in the bathroom, and when he was done, he told me in a matter-of-fact tone of voice, while looking at me very seriously with his huge, sky-blue eyes: “I frow up on da rug.” *Giggle, despite frustration* Yes, son, yes you did.

I also lose maturity points every time Beanie says poop. It’s so freakin’ cute, I can’t stand it! You’d think I was five instead of thirty-five. And I taught him to say, “I’m a stinky boy!” which is also painfully adorable.

But, then, TODAY. Today was a doozy. Today was the funny to top all funnies thus far. And it’s SO inappropriate and immature, I’m not necessarily proud that I totally went there. But I did, and I’ve been laughing to the point of tears ever since.

Pie’s been watching the cheesy Batman cartoon on Netflix and playing super heroes all day. I was changing Beanie’s diaper in their room, when Pie came in and said:

“Mom, your hero name is Ball Searcher!”

*Blink*

“You search for balls!”

Total loss of control in three . . . two . . . one . . .

Oh. My. Gourd. It was all I could do, seriously. I wanted to post to Facebook right then and there, but in my barely contained mirth, I managed to retain my last shred of dignity and just texted my husband. And Joy. And I almost called a few other friends, but was afraid I’d be incoherent.

I’m not kidding. My vision was obscured. I hadn’t laughed so hard since having a Tim Hawkins marathon on YouTube a few months back.

What made it better was when he called me in on a ball-searching mission (*snort*). “Ball Searcher! You need to find four balls!” (Oh MAN, the jokes write themselves!!) There’s this plastic dinosaur thingie we have that sings and bounces. You put these colored balls in one end, and they bounce and come out the mouth. It’s a baby toy, but we haven’t gotten rid of it. He gave me a hint to look in the dinosaur, then led me into the room and I pointed at them (trying not to snicker the whole time, lest he ask me why I’m laughing. Or crying. Or fainting from asphyxiation). He counted them and celebrated our success. I just barely managed to say, “Oh good. I’m glad my super powers have not gone to waste.”

Then, redoubling my fits of laughter, I came up with my catchphrase:

“It takes balls to be a super hero!”

Oh dear . . . *wiping tears away*

This is the fine, quality content you get here at Chez Mom. Don’t you just feel so lucky? 😉

Posted in Children, Mommyhood

Can’t we just trade him in?

Beanie clocked Pie over the head with a toy car earlier today. As often as you tell kids not to hit their siblings, nothing you can do or say will curb all their impulses. This is especially true if the target audience is two.

Anyway, Pie whined, I reprimanded and started to get up, then Beanie ran into his room. It was almost like a self-imposed timeout, but not as effective a brother-striking deterrent as one might hope for. Pie began to cry and carry on, probably because I was giving him attention (and maybe because it hurt, so I gave him hugs and kisses — and permission to smack his brother back if he gets hit again). (What? He probably won’t even do it. He’s bossy, not violent.)

When he was sufficiently mollified, he began to chatter, as he is won’t to do. Then, the following gems fell out of his mouth: “I don’t think [Beanie] likes to live here anymore. We should get a different baby . . . that’s smaller. And nice.” [Chatter chatter while I’m trying not to explode with laughter.] “Maybe I need a sister!”

HAHAHA. Dream on, kid! 🙂

(A few minutes after this, Beanie comes out of their room with a toy piano, and invites Pie to come play with him. Pie agrees, after lecturing Beanie on the fact that they can’t fight over it, ’cause Mama said no fighting over it. (Sometimes he listens — that lecture was a month ago.) They played and danced for a whole FIVE MINUTES before the next fight broke out. Oh well! At least they’re cute. 🙂 )

Posted in Children, Diet and Nutrition, Mommyhood

My Son’s Oatmeal

image

(Created using Sketchbook Pro on my Google Nexus 7)

I do love that this ended up sort of in the style of The Oatmeal, and is also about oatmeal. Kinda proud of that. 🙂

I’ve mentioned before that my five-year-old is what might be called . . . particular (a.k.a. “picky”, but about a jillion on a scale from one to infinity). He likes his oatmeal a certain way: With peanut butter, honey, flax meal, and HOOOOOT. He can tell with one sniff that it is missing some element (or that’s what he’d like us to believe), especially heat.

I make it with boiling water. Like, “the kettle must be at peak whistle” boiling. It mustn’t sit cooking for more than a minute, or it will drop below 285°F, thereby becoming unfit for consumption (who knew?!). For this reason, I am continually baffled about how he could possibly not like the taste of other foods, because surely he has burned off all his taste buds by now.

Kids are weird . . .

Posted in Children, Mommyhood

Our Midnight Adventure

FUN TIMES last night!

Poor Beanie is on round two of this nasty flu bug going around — probably a different strain — and I thought he wouldn’t have as hard a time with it as he did before. He coughed a lot last time, but had no fever. This time around, he’s not coughing (yet), but after relatively few symptoms, he spiked a 104.6°F fever last night that, admittedly, freaked me the heck out.

I’d tried to give him medicine twice yesterday to bring down the fever he had (which was reaching 101-2°), but each time, he gagged up everything he’d eaten or drank in the last couple of hours. Fortunately (or unfortunately), he only “eats” formula mixed with a little baby cereal in a bottle, so the volume was great, but the consistency was not really that gross. I doubt the reason he threw it up then was because of his fever, but because it was thick and hit his gag reflex wrong, like solid food does.

However, after I put him to bed, around 9pm, or so, I went to bed and stayed up till about 11pm, maybe 11:30, before going to sleep, myself. I woke up at midnight to him crying, and when I went into his room to check on him, he was off his bed — and radiating heat. Yikes! That time, he did throw up, and I’m sure it was from the fever.

I got him onto the changing table, got his clothes off, and checked his temperature. The thermometer I have, which is designed to go “where the sun don’t shine”, so to speak, usually seemed to read a few degrees too low when I’d used it before (like, in the 95s and 96s, when the temperal thermometer — which also reads low — read in the 97s or 98s). So when it read 104.6° in ten seconds, I had to seriously rein in my panic mode.

When he was an infant, just a few months old, we had a bad flu that is similar to the one we got this year. He was coughing and vomiting (because of the coughing) and carrying a temp of 100-ish. I was able to cool him down by nursing him and putting a cool cloth on his head. I couldn’t give him medicine at that age, and unless he was showing signs of lethargy, I wasn’t going to drive him 30 minutes to the ER just to have them tell me to nurse him and bathe him in cool water.

Now that he’s a toddler, and his temp was in the “danger zone”, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to shock him with a cold bath, and I didn’t have the time (I felt) to look up tips on the internet. Also, I had just (like, Monday) transfered our TriCare insurance to US (Uniformed Services) Family Health Plan, a TriCare option using the civilian Franciscan network local to us. I had never been to St. Anthony’s, a brand-new hospital just five minutes from home, and had no idea what to expect. But I knew this wasn’t something we could deal with at home.

SO, I threw on a sweatshirt and boots, gathered my stuff, got Beanie all secured in the Subaru — and realized the dome light was not coming on when I opened the car door. Neither were the door-open indicator lights on the dash. I got in the car and turned the key — nothing. Not even a click. I tried to put the car into neutral so Sweetie could help me jump it with his car, and I couldn’t get it out of park. The brake was super-stiff, and the gear would not release.

ARGH.

Fortunately, my husband was right there, so he put Beanie’s car seat in his car for me and got his keys (I tried to find them, but got the wrong ring. Did I mention I’d had about an hour of sleep, and am getting over this flu, myself? I was alert, but only running with emergency faculties). I had to rein in panic mode a little further, because I was going to be driving Sweetie’s 40-year-old Mercury Capri, by myself, in the middle of the night, to a destination I was vaguely sure of (I knew where the hospital was, but not how their Emergency parking area worked). No fear, right?

I successfully backed the car out of the garage and didn’t kill it or spin out throttling into first gear. Yay! Success! There’s no radio in that car, and I wasn’t going to fiddle with one, anyway, so I started singing the first song that came to my head: “Be with me Lord, I cannot live without Thee, I dare not try to take one step alone . . . ” There were a lot of “la-la-la”s and humming, because I don’t remember all the verses. I made up some, though: “Be with me Lord, I don’t know where I’m going . . . ”

I got to St. Anthony’s and found the Emergency room, and parked in the first spot I found. Beanie immediately threw up all the juice he drank on the way there before I could get him unbuckled. Argh. Didn’t think to bring a change of clothes in case that happened. I also bonked his poor head on the door frame getting him out of the car (the car is two-door, so I had to pull him out of the back seat through a door much lower than my car). Sweetie’s sweatshirt was in there, so I wrapped him in that and carried him, my 200 lb purse (containing Beanie’s juice cup and my water bottle, among other things — but no diapers, I realized later), and his coat approximately two inches, before the juice cup fell out of my purse and I had to stoop down to pick that up and carry it in by hand, too. Not sure how I sprouted those extra hands, but hey. I’m a mom. It must be a mutant power.

I will say right now that, despite the circumstances, I have never had a more pleasant, friendly, dare I say it, enjoyable trip to the ER in my life. I’ve never personally been seen to in a civilian ER, though I’ve been to civilian ERs with other people. Most of my experience has been with the Naval Hospital here, which I’ve been going to for a large portion of my life (also doubles as the military Urgent Care for the region, so it’s usually busy). I’m used to all-business, no smiles, and a vaguely exasperated staff, even during the day. This was 1am, and the ER staff was all smiles and intently helpful. The place was deserted, too. I didn’t even have time to sit down to regather all the stuff I had in my hands before there was someone coming through the door, offering to help me carry stuff, joking with me — I really could have cried, it was SO different than what I was used to.

We were in and out in two hours. Beanie got nausea medicine and a Tylenol suppository (can’t gag that up!) and chest X-rays to rule out pneumonia (that was fun! No, really! Another smiling, sweet tech just rolled the bed out of our room and down the hall into an X-ray room, with us and all our stuff! And Beanie cooperated just well enough that X-rays took no time at all). The doctor didn’t even get that judgey look on his face when I told him we opted out of vaccinations. The nurse hung out with Beanie while I went to clean Beanie’s car seat — she even gave me a towel to use.

The last time Beanie and I went to the ER, it was at Naval, and I’d sprained my ankle in a wet parking lot and thought I’d bounced Beanie’s head off the pavement when I fell, because I was carrying him. He wasn’t quite two years old at the time. It was the middle of the day, the ER was deserted, and though our trip was quick, I felt on edge the whole time, because no one was smiling. I felt like we were intruding on them. They determined Beanie was fine, but they were going to X-ray my ankle. I got to ride in a wheelchair to X-ray, but the guy didn’t even put the foot rests down. I suppose I could have asked, but wouldn’t that be, like, automatic if you’re wheeling someone somewhere? I waited in the X-ray lobby for over five minutes, alone, with nothing to do but read the walls and learn how to roll my chair around. I suppose I could have gotten up and put the foot rests down, but I didn’t think about it. X-ray took no time at all, and they rolled me back to the ER, where I picked up Beanie before they got us in a room. Where they offered me no ice for my ankle, or for Beanie’s head, and an unsmiling, mildly patronizing doctor came in after a long, quiet wait to tell me my X-ray looked all right and offer sidelong criticism for carrying my child through the wet parking lot when he is perfectly capable of walking by himself. They gave me the standard paperwork on caring for a sprain, then left me alone to walk out of the room, through the ER floor (they all kind of watched me go; it was actually creepy) to the lobby, and into the parking lot. No wheelchair, no painkillers, no ice, not even an Ace bandage. I had a half-hour drive home before I could ice and wrap it, myself. At least that doctor called later to tell me he thought he saw what could be an old fracture on the X-ray and to follow up with my primary care physician (who I can’t even remember the name of, because I have never seen him or her, just other doctors on the “team”) that Monday. I had a good experience with a medical practitioner of some level on the Family Practice floor, who may or may not have been on my “team”, and he hooked me up with a brace. I never saw him again after that. I don’t even remember his name.

We were almost never alone at St. Anthony’s, and we got extremely detailed paperwork when they released us, including some with conclusions from the X-rays with technical terms basically stating he had a virus rather than something they could treat with antibiotics. Wow! I was impressed! Also, though USFHP, we are assigned to ONE doctor, who is immediately notified when we have to visit the ER, and is required to follow up with us ASAP (I don’t remember who contacts whom, but if I don’t get a call early Monday, I’ll call her). I haven’t met our doctor yet, but at least I know who we’re seeing, and that we should be pretty much guaranteed to see her tomorrow.

Back to last night: Beanie drank all his juice and some Pedialite while we were there and kept it down, which was a good sign. We gave him a dose of children’s ibuprofen when we got home, per instructions, and his fever broke by 3:30am, well after he’d fallen asleep on the couch watching Blue’s Clues. I couldn’t sleep till after 4am. I woke up a couple times to Beanie shifting or making sounds in his sleep, but his fever stayed down all night and he didn’t fall off the couch. 🙂 Later, I woke to Pie moving around, and was surprised to see it was 8am. After a brief session of trying to relocate to the bedroom and failing (Pie wanted to stay in our bedroom and Beanie wanted to stay on the couch), Beanie and I went back to sleep on the couch and Pie and Sweetie watched Netflix in our room. Well, Beanie might not have gone back to sleep, but I slept another 45 minutes, or so, till 9am.

Beanie’s fever is staying down, mostly, but he’s really stuffed up. Sweetie skipped church in case we needed his car, and when we determined Beanie wouldn’t need to go back to the hospital, he went to the store and got a starter to jump my Subaru’s battery to try to get it running again. Fortunately, it appears it was just a dead battery, and it’s working now.

In addition to taking the baby to the doctor and the car to the shop, I might have to take the dog to the vet, too, because she’s off her feed and her stomach is making weird noises. Could be the coconut oil in her food, though, so I’m going to try a few tweaks to her diet first.

Crazy weekend! Fun times. Now I need a nap . . .

Posted in Anxiety and Depression, Children, Insomnia, Mommyhood

Growing Up

It was time to change the theme (and I was being picky, so I went with PLAAAAIN) and the title of this blog. My kids don’t really nap anymore. Well, Beanie does, when he passes out on the couch sometime in the late afternoon (though he’s actually been ASKING TO GO TO BED in the late MORNING, and staying there for half an hour, at least. Creepy). But, for the most part, my children are stalwart defenders of the NO NAP, MAMA! camp. Which means Mama never gets a nap, either. Sometimes I don’t notice. But there are days when I’m passing out, myself, and hoping they don’t burn the house down while I’m snoozing.

I have a lot going through my head most of the time. Sometimes it’s politics, sometimes it’s spiritual, sometimes it’s just stressed-out mindfreak and I need someplace to put it where someone might come out and say, “You know, you’re really not THAT crazy” or “How about you come down from that ledge? I have chocolate!”

Lately, I’ve just been working through STUFF. I need someplace to be funny, or snarky, or otherwise loquacious when I can’t be in “real life”. Unfortunately, this is still the Intarweb, so I have to leave most of the filters in place, but maybe I can write funny stories and no one will know what I’m talking about, but it might make me feel better to know someone else is reading and laughing (and thinking I’m not TOO crazy) (or giving me emergency chocolate).

See? Blathering. I woke up at 3:30 this morning with general anxiety. I couldn’t go back to sleep till almost 5. My alarm (radio program I tune into every morning) went off at 6. I dozed till 7. It’s been a crazy couple of days with bad attitudes, crankiness, hormones, and whining. But it wasn’t all me! I should probably get to sleep, because my kidlets will be up by the crack of dawn (“Rise and Shine” as Pie calls it. “Look, Mama! It’s time to get up! It’s Rise and Shine outside!!”)

Anyway. That’s me lately. 🙂 There are other things coming down the pipe, some of which are the cause for anxiety, but I’ll dwell on those later. ‘Night!

Posted in Children, Mommyhood, Pets

Meet Ladybug!

A long time ago, when we first bought this house, we had intended to adopt from some friends a sweet, well-behaved, loving, and calm Pembroke Corgi, who really needed to be an only dog in a home full of people who will pay oodles of attention to her all day long. My boys could be up to that challenge, boy howdy. We were getting ready to prepare to bring her home after our second child was born.

However, before that happened, we got a call from our friends to let us know that they just discovered this beautiful, sweet dog had lymphoma, and not long to live. 😦

She had to be put down a few months later. I wasn’t extremely heartbroken, because she hadn’t been ours yet. I hadn’t seen her (or our friends) much in months. Life just kind of got in the way. Perhaps providence. I don’t know. But I really wasn’t sure how we would ever find another perfect dog like her for us.

Fast forward a year or so: I left my boys with some friends from church one evening while I was at a choir practice, and when I went to pick them up, I met our friends’ newly adopted Golden Retriever. She was about a year old, a little timid, but sweet as could be and the perfect energy level for my boys (which meant too much for me!). My friends mentioned that another set of friends from church, who are getting ready for a big cross-country move, were trying to find a home for their older Golden, because they just didn’t think the move would be good for her.

I kind of wonder if God put a few of these Golden Retriever owners in my life at this time to get me ready for this new addition to our family, because Ladybug would be the fourth Golden Retriever (maybe fifth, if I count an older one who died a few months back, who belonged to the people who just adopted the one-year-old) I would encounter in a few months’ time. One of my friends owns two Goldens, that are her ninth and tenth in her adult life, and tells me there is no better breed, especially for raising boys. She said she couldn’t have raised her three boys without her Goldens.

I thought about it. At first, I didn’t want to promise anything. I wasn’t sure I could be a big-dog owner. I’d tried before, and I couldn’t handle it. I was sure I would need something with big-dog attitude, but of a controllable size (like a Corgi; I really wanted a Corgi). Well, in truth, the big dog I’d tried before was not a dog I had any business trying to own and train myself. He needed special keeping, and I was definitely not a good match for him. Bringing him back to the shelter was not, on the face of it, my proudest moment, but looking back, it was a very smart move on my part. He was aggressive and too energetic. At this point in my life, I KNOW I could not have handled him, especially since I found out five days after bringing him back to the shelter that I was pregnant with our first child.

Since then, I’ve researched Corgis. I’ve looked up adoptable older or senior female dogs who just need a loving family and a good home to spend the rest of their days. But I didn’t know if I could do it. We don’t really have a good yard set-up (yet) for a dog, nor a fence. We could adopt a sweet dog, but if she was a runner, we would be forced to stay outside with her the whole time she was going potty, rain or shine. And what if she wasn’t good with cats, or children? Most petfinder sites are good at screening those, but I found my first dog through them, and they did NOT have the full scoop on Maxie. I just wasn’t sure whether to trust them.

Enter my friends from church. Suddenly, they have to find a home for their dog in a matter of weeks, and here I am, wondering if I was going to make a big mistake by asking them about it. Was I setting myself up for heartbreak? Failure? Future bad behavior from my cat, who still resents the fact that we brought children into her territory? (She’s not aggressive, just irritable.)

I talked to my friend, then agreed to meet with her and Ladybug at a local park, so we can see how she handles the kids, the strangers (both men and women), strange dogs, etc. Fortunately, all those things were present! A family brought their dog, which was the same size as Ladybug, and sat not far from us. The dog was off-leash and came to say hi to Ladybug at one point, and Ladybug, though a bit stressed, did not react at all. She did not react to men coming to talk to her. She did not jump on my boys or lick their faces. She was pretty much perfect, and I couldn’t help but feel that she would do just fine with us.

She is six years old, has gorgeous curly hair on her chest and hindquarters, the sweetest brown eyes, and such an immensely loving disposition that transfer to our house was nearly seamless. I say “nearly”, because she does have an issue with submissive urination. After a couple days of cleaning up messes because she didn’t want to go do what I wanted her to do, and didn’t like it when I approached her to correct her, we’re starting from the beginning with some crate training (to get her comfortable with smells and sounds, and so she’ll realize that she mustn’t mess the crate, since that is where she will be spending a lot of time), then we’ll work up to “who’s the boss” (roped to me all day, following me around while I do daily stuff, learning sit-stays and down-stays), and hopefully we can get her more confident around us so that she won’t feel like she needs to wet herself, her bed, the floor, her crate, or anything else because she feels threatened or timid.

Tonight was great, because we all went for a walk, and it only took a quarter or a third of the walk to get her used to my walking rules (walk next to me, behind my husband (for today); don’t pull; sit when I tell you (she’s kind of hard-headed about that one sometimes); and stay till I tell you (that one, too)). By the end, she was barely pulling on the leash, and I could hold it loosely looped in one hand while she walked next to me and Sweetie. She even mostly ignored the boys when they turned around in the stroller to call her. Such a smart girl! 🙂

She is still getting used to a potty schedule, but as far as I know she has had no more accidents in the house after Friday morning, when I decided we’d go back to crate training for a while. She’s been a good listener, has let me clip her toenails without complaint (or peeing!), put in her ear medicine in (she’s fighting yeast infections, which should hopefully clear up soon), and has been happy to play ball in the yard with the kids. She hasn’t barked but once. She would rather be by my side or chasing a ball — and bringing it back — than running off into the sunset. And she’s a calm car-rider.

But the best thing about this dog? I’m not a total big-dog failure! And she’s so dependent on our love and companionship that I feel like I can actually be a good leader for her. She’s helping me be a bit calmer toward the boys, especially since loud noises freak her out a bit. 🙂 AND I’m getting the house cleaned. Slowly, but she’s good motivation. 🙂

I’m really glad we could help our friends out, because they were so worried about finding a family for her, especially if it would have to be strangers. And she is just about as perfect a dog for us as we could ever ask for!

Here she is, lookin’ for love:
Ladybug outside

Pie torturing her:
Ladybug inside

Posted in Life, Vision and Glasses

My Incompetent Eyeballs, Take 2

Here is Take 1. Cliff’s Notes version: Glasses broke so I had to get new ones; oldish prescription, but still good (I thought); went to Costco for affordable frames and lenses; first pair had polycarbonate lenses and anti-reflective coating, but I had to take them back because of massive distortion; second pair had regular plastic lenses and anti-reflective coating, but I had to take them back due to not-as-massive-yet-still-as-annoying distortion; went to the eye doctor, but they sent me to Optical instead of checking my eyes against the prescription, and Optical said to have the base curve changed from 4.75 to 6; took glasses back to Costco yet again, and that is where Take 2 begins . . .

When the new glasses came back, with all the specs that Optical hoped they should have, they were not only distorted, they were also WRONG. When I had the polycarbonate lenses, everything I looked directly at was nice and sharp and clear. It was everything around what I was looking directly at that was distorted. When I got the plastic lenses, there was something weird about my left eye, and my eyes seemed to unfocus and refocus as soon as I put them on, but it still seemed like I could see okay when looking directly at something. The third pair . . . I couldn’t read clearly in the middle distance, which made the glasses completely worthless. I wore them for an hour or two, and gave up on them quickly. It was obvious my old glasses were superior to the new — which is not how it’s supposed to be! And whenever I took them somewhere to get them looked at, everyone commented on how the new prescription (2011) is just not that different from the old (2008).

So I called the eye doctor and managed, wonder of wonders, to get an appointment that same week! On a day my husband had already taken off! Hooray! I was determined to go in and not get foisted off on Optical, and, fortunately, they took me seriously when I said that something was definitely wrong, and needed to be fixed.

An optician (at least — she might have been an optometrist, because she was using the equipment) checked my eyes for me, with my new glasses and my old glasses, then checked my eyes with the equipment they use to determine a prescription. She found that my left eye Rx needed some fine-tuning, but the right eye didn’t need as much power as it had in the past. The doctor concurred when he checked, later. It just wasn’t enough to make a difference in the problems I was having with the new glasses, though. They had Optical check my new glasses out completely, and they were all to spec: Correct prescription and base curve.

What else could it be but a material issue? They called J.C. Penney, where I got my original glasses, and Costco, hoping to find a difference in materials between the two. I’d thought that I’d gotten regular plastic lenses from J.C. Penney, because polycarbonate costs more. However, J.C. Penney claimed that the glasses they sold me were polycarb! Costco confirmed the plastic (CR-something-something). SO, the doctor said that maybe I need to switch back to polycarb, but with the same base curve as what they are now.

Up to this point in the story, I’ve had two people confirm my prescription, tweaking it ever so slightly as to make almost no difference, and two sets of glasses with very little difference in prescription and the same base curve (and same lens size and shape in the frames!) but still a major discrepancy in visual quality. What else could it be but the materials?

I took them back to Costco — hoping they would be kind to me, their Worst Customer Evar — and asked if they could change the lenses, once again, to polycarb, but with the same base curve as what they have now. Almost as soon as I got the words out of my mouth, the Costco optician said that polycarb is aspherical, and cannot be made with a base curve (she was nice about it, thankfully).

Um. Well. Okay. I guess that clinches it: I’m officially back at Square One!

(Also, why didn’t the doctor know that?)

All I could figure at that point is that I’m going to have to go somewhere else for glasses. This makes me very sad. I might have to spend $100+ more to get them right somewhere else. I thought for a second, and then asked if I could just get a refund. She was totally cool with that. (Probably happy to get rid of me, finally?)

Now I just have to figure out who can make glasses for me, and how much more I’m going to need to budget for them. Meh.

I did ask the doctor whether I could be a candidate for Lasik, and he said that I would have to solve my dry eye issues first and then I could be, but PRK might be a better option, because it’s usually better for people with dry eyes. We’ll have to see . . . But that might be more cost effective in the long run than $300 every time my stupid frames break!

So, I might have another glasses saga to tell when I go try to find some new ones. But, for now, the masking tape seems to be holding my old frames together pretty well. 🙂

Hello! I’m coming back from the future to say that this goes on for a long, loooong time — and it only gets worse. Here is the saga in full (more to be added later):

Posted in Life, Vision and Glasses

My Incompetent Eyeballs

Augh! I have freak eyes!

I had an eye exam about a year and a couple months ago, but I either didn’t really have the time to go glasses shopping or I couldn’t find frames I liked when I did go shopping (I’m really picky — also, new baby, and pregnancy and nursing can throw off an Rx). I was just going to wait till my next exam to get new glasses, because the new prescription really wasn’t that far off from the old, but then my frames broke and I was forced to get new ones. I’ve had this prescription since 2008, and the frames since 2009 (the first pair broke barely a year after I got them), so it’s definitely time.

I went to Costco, because I’ve gotten glasses there before and had no trouble with them (and I also don’t want to spend more than $150 on glasses while I have two active little boys climbing on me all day). I spent about $130 and got cute frames, polycarbonate lenses, and anti-reflective coating (yeah, it’s a pain to keep clean, but I’ve found I’ve become less tolerant to glare over the past few years, especially while driving at night).

When they came in, seven days later (while the earpiece that broke off my old glasses has been held on by masking tape, cleverly wrapped and colored with brown Sharpie), I could see great far away and up close, but when I used peripheral or looked down, there was major distortion. The ground was too close, like I had bifocals (which I don’t), and everything else was like looking sideways through aquarium glass. Ugh! I took them to the optical shop in my doctor’s office after trying to wear them for most of a week, and optical confirmed that the prescription matched, but suggested that maybe my eyes were too sensitive for the polycarb lenses. Bummer! So, I took them back to Costco and asked them to exchange the lenses for regular plastic. The lady there tried to flatten the frames a little, but that didn’t help, either.

Seven days later, the new glasses came in! Yay! But when I put them on, everything was still just a bit off. Boo! 😦 The floor was still a little too close, and there was distortion on the sides, but it wasn’t as bad as before. I decided to give them another shot, but after another couple of days of eye fatigue and resulting irritability (apparently, wonky vision makes me angry, not to mention nauseous), I gave up.

I’d made an eye doctor appointment when they called to ask if I needed one, because it was the only opening in April (and if I was going to need one, earlier is better than later). I kept the appointment (which was at 7:30 this morning — bleh), and ended up not even seeing the doctor at all (grr!), because they just sent me back to optical, who determined that it was the distance of the lenses from my eyes and the “base curvature” of the lens that was giving me all the trouble.

*Sob!* Stupid eyes! I’ve never had this problem before! 😦

So I took them back to Costco today, asked them very nicely if I can return the glasses so they match the base curvature of the new lens (which is currently about four & 3/4) to the base curvature of the old lens (about six), and will have to wait another seven (to ten) days for my new glasses to come in. Meh.

(I have tried to get contacts in the past, but was told by the first optometrist that I didn’t produce enough tears, and the second told me that the lenses for dry eyes cannot be made precise enough for my prescription, which is not strong, but is apparently very demandingly fine. Stupid eyes.)

I don’t know what I’m going to do if the next pair doesn’t work. I might have to go to a different eye doctor, though…

Hello! I’m coming back from the future to say that this goes on for a long, loooong time — and it only gets worse. Here is the saga in full (more to be added later):

Posted in Children, Insomnia

Why WE Choose to Keep and Bear Arms

I’m still too keyed up to sleep. Or perhaps I’m caffeinated.

Last night was not one of the best nights of sleep I’ve ever had. Even when Beanie was a newborn and waking all the time, there was some pattern. But last night was . . . remarkable. So here are my remarks:

2300(-ish) (That’s 11:00 for civilians 😉 ): Sweetie and I go to bed. It might have been closer to midnight.

Midnight, or slightly thereafter (I didn’t look at the clock that time): Beanie starts to fuss, but isn’t putting his heart into it, or standing up in his crib. I lay in bed, hoping he will go back to sleep, because I feel like I hadn’t even slept yet. He does, about five minutes later. I drop back into a light sleep, waking every time he moves.

Between 0100 and 0200: I roll over. This is notable, because I rarely move at night. If I start on my left side, I stay on my left side. If I start on my right, my hip starts hurting halfway through the night, and I roll over. It often involves the cat moving around, too. Beanie is shifting around, too, and I seem to be waking every time.

0230: I wake up to a loud sound, about four or five loud bangs that kind of echo through the house. Thinking someone is pounding a hard object against our door, I wake my husband. There is no further banging, but he wanders about the house before getting his pistol and going downstairs to investigate. I almost follow him with the shotgun, but I haven’t used it in too long (which will be remedied soonest), so I go to the living room to look out the window. There is someone in the neighbor-across-the-drive’s yard with a flashlight, possibly the neighbor, but we’re not willing to go outside to find out. Sweetie opens the door and retrieves the mail he didn’t see on the porch the day before (yay! My curtain fabric is here!), and leaves the outside lights on. I wonder how in the world I’m going to sleep for the rest of the night.

0300: I eventually go back to bed, having exhausted all options for investigation open to me. No way am I sleepy! Well, I AM sleepy, but no way am I going to sleep! I analyze the sounds I heard while I play Words With Friends and read on my phone until my eyes force me to sleep, around 0340-ish. My next-door neighbor is awake and getting ready for work, if the lights on in his house are any indication.

0400: SLEEEEEEEP.

0445: Beanie wakes up. He is serious this time — really! He’s standing up in his crib, letting me know, under no uncertain terms, that I need to get up and change his diaper. And feed him. Until he’s asleep again.

0450: I cannot ignore him. I wake, I do those things.

0700: He’s finally asleep. I figure I get about half an hour of sleep till Pie wakes up, and by golly I’m going to claim it! It occurs to me sometime that the noises I heard might actually have been gunshots. But who on earth would have been shooting a gun outside our house?!

0900 (possibly, maybe earlier): Pie comes out of his room to find me on the couch. Tries to wake me, but I am sleepy and immobile. He’s just going to have to entertain himself for a while. He tells me to wake up and fix him breakfast. Not happening, kid.

0920: Forced awake by a stupid woodpecker pounding on my stupid roof. I know I should have fed my child, but he wouldn’t have starved. However, the one I wanted to continue sleeping was going to be woken up by an obnoxious bird, so that needed to stop. I put on my shoes and glasses and go out to scare the darn thing away. Come back inside and wonder how I’m going to function.

1000: Have had coffee, both children are awake and fed (I think). I see my neighbor across the street wandering around by the mailboxes and go outside to talk to him. I haven’t met him before, but I assume (correctly) that he’s the boyfriend of my actual across-the-street neighbor, whom I haven’t interacted with in ages. He tells me it definitely was gunshots I heard, and that he saw (or heard) two cars fleeing the scene shortly thereafter. It was his flashlight I saw when my husband was checking the front door. He was out looking for spent casings, but couldn’t see any. My heartrate goes to 11, knowing my suspicion was right. I probably shouldn’t have had that cup of caffeinated coffee.

1030: I had called my neighbor down the street, who technically lives behind the across-the-street neighbor and across from the next-door neighbor, but her driveway is between them. She calls me back to say they’re okay, but they hadn’t heard anything that night. She says she’d woken, but heard no sound. We chat for a bit, and she tells me that her nephew’s house was almost broken into while his wife was there, around 0700 — just a few miles from here. This does not make me less paranoid.

11 or 1200: Next-door neighbor comes home. I rush out to talk to him. He and his wife had heard the gunshots, but saw nothing. He did see a car zoom away from the bottom of the street when he left for work, though, which was kind of weird. He has a dummy camera just inside his fence that we both wish was real, but he also has a game camera in a tree nearby that may have caught something, but more likely nothing at all, because there’s a big bush blocking the view of the end of the driveway. I get his and his wife’s cell phone numbers (but just realized I didn’t give him mine — oops! I blame sleep deprivation). My oldest son is sticking his head outside the front door, even though I’d told him repeatedly to stay upstairs. Beanie is yelling from the top of the stairs, fortunately cautious enough to not follow his brother down. Argh. It might be time for a gate.

1300: Next-door neighbor knocks and shows me five shell casings he found at the corner of his driveway, between all our houses. They are blackened brass (oxidized, rather than painted), and unstamped, but obviously (after a little research) nothing less than a .45. He says he called the sheriff’s department, but they said there was nothing they could do. However, should it happen again, we should call 911. (Later in the day, a sheriff deputy, who is a family friend of ours, confirms that procedure.)

1330 to 1630: I somehow get the kids to nap/play quietly while I get some “me” time in. I am paranoid, and look out the window at the sound of every car coming up the road. I’m also really tired, but caffeinated and keyed up. In case I haven’t mentioned it in a previous post, caffeine makes me jittery and anxious. And I’d had a regular cup of coffee and caffeinated Earl Grey tea. It is not a state I care to be in, but I also dislike being sleepy and nonfunctional.

1700: Husband is home. Kids are up and LOUD. I’m going out of my mind, but I’m making pancakes. BEER pancakes! And they are awesome!

1800: Finally leaving for my Ladies Enrichment kickoff in Tacoma, but still tired, paranoid, and jittery.

2100: Enrichment was fun and seemed to take the edge off a little. Get some groceries (child-free!) and head home — hoping that my family is just fine, and they are. But Beanie is still awake. Natch.

2200: Beanie is finally asleep, and I get to take a shower.

2300: Not sleepy. Skype with my dad and drink a glass of wine.

0000 (midnight): Done Skyping. Realize I should probably go to bed, because I have to get up in six hours.

0015: Finishing this post.

I want to get picture documentation of the shooting “incident” — which I’m now thinking might have been a drug deal gone bad. It’s a terrible place to have a clandestine meeting, because it’s so residential, however, it’s also PITCH dark. I’m hoping to mitigate future clandestine meetings there by turning on our garage lights at night. My husband and I have also agreed to get motion-activated lighting for the front and back yards, ASAP, and I’ve talked him into light sensors for the garage lights, so they’ll come on when it’s dark and go off when it’s light. We also need to frost (or something) the window next to the front door.

I think the thing that freaks me out the worst about the shooting is that we can’t find bullets. What did those idiots shoot? The woods? There are propane tanks out here, for Heaven’s sake! And houses in close proximity! But now I’m wondering if someone didn’t get shot and driven off to be dumped. It freaks me out that something like that could happen mere feet from my house.

Well, I can’t deny that I really need to go to bed. I’m glad I’m getting out of the house tomorrow for some adult time with Christian ladies. I could really use it . . .

(And now it’s 0038, and I REALLY need to go to bed. Hoping I get to sleep till my alarm wakes me . . . and that I don’t sleep through it . . . )

Posted in Children, Diet and Nutrition, Mommyhood

Dental Dilemma

Pie had to go in for a three-month “follow-up” for his teeth today, because last time we went to the dentist, he wouldn’t lay back in the chair or let them scrape his teeth — which really needed it. The doctor had us schedule a three-month “follow-up”, which ended up being a cleaning, too. I hadn’t expected it to cost anything, but I should have, because United Concordia pays for little more than six-month cleanings. It wasn’t going to be a lot, but they may have seen a questioning look in my eyes, because the lady asked me if it had been explained to me what the difference would be, or that it would cost at all. I told them I thought it was a follow-up, but figured a cleaning was in store, because his teeth were pretty gross. It made sense that the insurance wasn’t going to pay for it, though. She decided they weren’t going to charge me for it at all, because it hadn’t been explained to me when I originally made the appointment. I only had to pay $10 for the fluoride gel. Yay for no charge, but I still hadn’t expected to pay for a fluoride treatment.

I’m not a big fan of fluoride treatments, especially ingested. It’s kind of funny to me that a topical fluoride product would warn against swallowing, and even recommend one swabs out a child’s mouth if they can’t spit it all out, but on the same sheet of instructions it advocates fluoridated water and fluoride tablets if fluoridated water is not available. What kind of sense does THAT make? One could make the argument that the concentrations are different, but how much difference is there in a slight residue on a child’s teeth that needs to be swabbed out, versus a whole tablet that must be swallowed, or water run from the tap and used in everything the child ingests?

The reason I’ll try it, though, is because Pie’s already developing some little cavities behind his front teeth. The hope of the dentist is that this product will mitigate the need for major fillings in six months. She also recommends (much to Pie’s delight) that he chew Trident (the only gum with xylitol) three or four times a day, especially after meals. This is not a problem — Pie loves gum almost as much as he loves apple juice. Unfortunately, the apple juice has been verboten by the dentist at any time but meal time, and we aren’t allowed to water it down(!) at those times. This dentist is of the school of “volume vs. frequency”, and would rather a child drink a small cup a couple times a day than have it watered down and sipped all day. Apple juice is probably the worst juice, too, she said, because of the acidity. Even Coca-Cola has a pH buffer to keep the acids from eating your teeth (though it can degrease an engine and dissolve a nail in record time!).

*Sigh* Pie doesn’t drink water. He will not drink water! I suppose we’re just going to have to enforce apple juice only at meal time, and then get him used to the idea of water or nothing the rest of the day, but, dang it, we’re trying to potty train here! It’s frustrating enough that he doesn’t eat and that dairy does a number on his stomach. At least he likes almond milk, sort of.

I did have a bit of a brain blast, though: You can buy xylitol at a health foods store (or a health foods section, like in Fred Meyer), so it might be worth it to get some and add it to plain water or watered-down apple juice to create that buffer against the acidity, or give water a flavor. I don’t want to buy “water flavoring” (like Mio), because there are other chemical sugar alternatives in those, and he’ll be getting enough of those in gum.

I know this is doable, but . . . dang it. I can already see the meltdowns over no juice. And I have, like, five cans of frozen apple juice in the freezer.

Oh well. Poor Beanie is currently screaming his sad-baby head off, and has been for almost an hour, because he flat-out refuses to nap. I think we missed the nap window. :\ Too bad my nap window has been wide open for the past two hours, because the same child also did not sleep through the night last night . . .