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Thursday, December 14, 2006
circa 2005


When my heart began to hurt.

When I got the call, I was expecting news about A’s test results. I thought that the pediatrician was confused when she left the message to contact her to discuss Maggie. After all, she only had the standard CBC test, not the test for thyroid and blood sugar that A was prescribed. I called with the confidence of assuming that everything was just fine and that Dr. B. just wanted to advise me that the tests were in and that I could stop stuffing my little bean with all the extra calories she could take.

It turns out she wasn’t confused. A’s test results weren’t back yet and that made her hopeful that there was nothing to be concerned about. You see, when the tests are normal, the lab doesn’t call her. They just fax a written report within two to three days. If there was something abnormal regarding the test results, she would have received a call. She did receive that call, for M’s results.

It appears that M has a low white blood cell count. Immediately Dr. B assured me that it was nothing to become alarmed about, but that she wanted to inform me that M would have to be tested again in two weeks and to provide me with information on how to deal with this situation.

Apparently, having a low white blood cell count usually means that you just have a harder time getting better when you are sick or you are more susceptible to catching an illness. There are other, more serious causes for this symptom, but at this point, there is no reason for me to discuss, or even think about something so devastating. Right now, we just have to follow some simple rules.

M should not be exposed to other sick people.

If M does become ill, we should notify the doctor immediately and monitor her behavior and symptoms.

If M develops a fever, we must report it to Dr. B immediately and, if she is unavailable, we must take M to the emergency room for treatment.

From the beginning of our conversation yesterday, I immediately began to tremble. My hands shook and my eyes welled up. My heart began to hurt. Is this what it is like? Is this how you find out that the things that you hold more precious in life than your own are completely out of your control? The feeling of helplessness consumed me immediately. That I can have no control and am at the mercy of forces outside of my own are concepts that I cannot comprehend. J says that I have a control issue. Is it an “issue” that I feel so vulnerable against things that can happen to my children, regardless of how hard I work to protect them?

Well meaning friends and family have assured me that everything is all right, that it is a fluke or that she is fine and it’s nothing to worry about. I would say the same thing to my friend or family member. But being on the receiving end, I wanted to shake them and say, “Don’t you remember what it’s like??” Not worrying is not an option.

M is the feistier of the two beans. She runs and climbs and laughs from her belly. She pokes at her calm sister and has a devilish twinkle in her eye. She already knows how to hide her misbehaving (her favorite spot is by the refrigerator). The girl’s got moxie. I have no doubt that this will probably be either a minor infection or mistaken lab results.

But that doesn’t stop the worry.

That doesn’t stop the feeling of helplessness, the anger that I can’t do anything to fix this problem. It doesn’t quiet my desperation to get to her as soon as possible to hold her so tight in my arms, as if that could make her white blood cell count miraculously increase. Last night, my eyes lingered on her a little longer, I pet her hair a little more and I held my breath at every cry or stumble. I wondered if my parents felt this way when we were little, and if they still feel as strongly today.

A couple of weeks ago, we heard the horrible news that an acquaintance of ours received a similar phone call, but with a much more shocking message. Their little girl is only eighteen months. It is a word that no parent should hear and I won’t begin to imagine what that family is going through.

So, if something like this causes me to worry a little more, pay a bit more attention or really appreciate each and every day that they are in my life, then maybe that call was a wake-up call.

I don’t think my heart will stop hurting until the day I die. It is a wound of parenthood.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006
WINNER OF THE MOTHER OF THE WEEK AWARD: Not Momma Bean who, when invited to a cookie exchange by Amanda and her twins, failed to properly read her recipe, obtain all of the ingredients and resorted to whipping up a batch of tube-dough cookies* instead of from-scratch cookies, thoroughly embarrassing her Beans in front of their friends.

*They tasted damn good though!


Monday, December 11, 2006
During the work week in the winter, I’m usually home for the rest of the day by 3:30 p.m. I go to work, I pick my Beans up, we come home. J doesn’t get home until around 8:00 p.m., so it’s just the three of us for the bulk of the evening. Sometimes, the girls will fall asleep in the car and I’ll gingerly maneuver them from their car seat to their cribs for a little afternoon siesta. Then, I’ll come downstairs, gaze longingly at the couch, festooned with soft pillows and warm blankets, and make my way, grudgingly, to the basement for laundry.

When they awake, it’s playtime. The dogs are fair game and we’ve got Christmas music blaring in the background. The Beans have dinner, I start dinner for me and J and we wait (im)patiently for J to come home. The minute he does, I’m quickly forgotten and continue finishing dinner while the three of them commence the act wherein the Beans pretend like they haven’t seen him in twenty-three years (which is, of course, impossible, as they are only 15 months old) and are all, “Daddy!” and “Hi!” and “Whoa!” and he pretends like he’s a slide and he lays on the floor and they climb all over him.

By Saturday morning, I’ve got a list this long of things that I couldn’t accomplish during the week and I give him a choice: either stay home with the Beans and let me run my errands, or be my chauffer and maybe I’ll feed you. He almost always picks the second of the two. He’s never been one of those guys who hates to go to the mall. He has his breaking point, but he has no problem tagging along and catching a bite to eat afterward. It’s much more fun now, because he can show off the girls or take them to the toy store and “Wow!” along with them. The errands generally continue on to Sunday and by Sunday afternoon, J is signaling defeat, waving his white flag in surrender and curling up in a ball on the floor while the Beans pummel him with Elmo books triumphantly. Every Sunday evening, when the girls are put to bed, he collapses on the couch and mutters something incoherent that translates to mean that we’ve successfully worn him out.

This happens every week. I get cabin fever. I think the girls do too. They have to go out. Even if it’s just for a drive. A change of scenery is necessary for our sanity. We are never home on weekends.

So, when J had to work this past Sunday, I had a list of places running through my head that I wanted to get to. We kissed him good-bye after breakfast and I went upstairs to get ready. Only, I saw a book that had been sitting on my nightstand, unread for weeks because I can’t keep my eyes open past 11:00 p.m. anymore. And then I saw the four baskets of clean laundry waiting to be put away or hung up. And then I heard the girls laughing uproariously downstairs about something or other.

When I went downstairs, I found them chasing each other with stolen Christmas tree ornaments. I sat on the couch for a few minutes, enjoying the little show. Before I knew it, it was time for their nap, and time for my chores. And when they awoke, I was knee deep in laundry, still in PJs and glasses. When J got home, he asked if we got anything done. I was happy to report that we watched Cinderella, built a fort, colored several masterpieces, made banana bread from scratch and dressed Maximus up in Cookie Monster socks. We had just changed out of our jammies a half hour before he walked through the door. Sometimes it’s nice to just stay at home.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Since I’m without a camera, I thought I’d hit you all with a new old photo of A Squared.

After spending weeks in the hospital, I had accumulated a bunch of junk in my room that was piled into a box and shoved into a corner with several other boxes, as we had sold the condo while I was giving birth. In the whirlwind of recovering, adjusting, packing and moving, I never got around to going through my hospital box.

A couple of weeks ago, while we were getting the Christmas tree decorations out of the basement, I noticed the box marked “hospital” and began sifting through it. In it, I found my old camera (the one that requires FILM!) and promptly sent it out for development. Last night, when I looked at the photos, tears began streaming down my eyes.

At that time, we had no idea what we were in for. I was still high on morphine and too weary from the six week bedrest to savor the moments. They looked so fragile and small. We were strangers to each other. We didn’t know how to be parents and they were barely getting used to the world.

Anyway, the world premiere. A never before seen photo. More to come.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Okay, this is a record THREE ENTRIES IN ONE DAY!!!! But I just had to, and I didn't want to wait for tomorrow. Plus, there aren't any rules with regard to how many times you post something on your blog is there? If there is, I don't know it, but then I don't know much blog ettiquete even two years after beginning.

Anyway, this is what's so great about J being a dad. He gets such a kick out of things. I love it. I love him.

From: S, J []
Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2006 12:52 PM
To: Momma Bean
Subject: RE: this is the book i want

Forgot to tell you what happened this morning
The Beans were eating, The Wiggles came on television and HRP screamed for joy!
It was so funny
This next event shocked me
The Wiggles were on television and I was singing the ‘Wags the Dog” song while I was busy in the kitchen*
Out of no where I here “Wasss the Dug”
HRP said Wags the Dog**
I tried to get her to do it again but she wouldn’t
It was soooooo clear

*He was singing?!?!? I've never heard him sing before!!! And now he's singing a Wiggles song? A song I've never heard of? WTF?!?! Scratch that...every once in awhile, he'll sing, "You're my brown eyed girl." to me. Not the song, just that sentence.
**The girl just won't stop talking all of a sudden. And singing. I'm trying to compile a list of words, but she just keeps going!


I've been tagged by the Town Criers, so here is my response to the 2007 Meme:

In honour of 2007 quickly approaching--and since I suck at actually doing memes once I'm tagged, I've started my own. I'm not sure if this is kosher--if a regular person can start a meme or if there is a group of men and women tucked into a dark room somewhere creating these lists. tread carefully, attempting to not offend the Memers with my offering.

I have created this meme which can be done in two different ways. Either you can do all seven categories and list two answers for every category (get it? It's 2007, so I'm playing on the two numbers: 2 and 7) OR you can choose two of the categories and list seven answers.

The categories:
Things you learned this year
People you met
Things you don't want to take with you into 2007
Things you want to hold close as you pass into 2007
Things you're looking forward to in 2007
Things that were life changing in 2006
Things you hope to accomplish by the end of 2007

(see--those are the seven categories. Now you can either give two answers for each category OR you can choose two from that list and give seven answers)

Things you learned this year
1. I learned how to make lasagna.
2. I learned what an omentum is, and it's not very pretty.

People you met
1. Everyone at my new office.
2. E's niece, Lauren, who is a doll.

Things you don't want to take with you into 2007
1. The 20 lbs. I'd love to lose.
2. My accounting habits.

Things you want to hold close as you pass into 2007
1. My newfound enjoyment of cooking.
2. The joy I feel when watching the Beans discover something new.

Things you're looking forward to in 2007
1. Watching J's action plan become a reality.
2. Visiting my sisters in their respective towns.

Things you hope to accomplish by the end of 2007
1. Lose 20 lbs.
2. Make a decision on our third little bean.

I hereby tag Peanut & Cashew's mommy, JN and Becki.


MISSING: My Camera

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

LAST SEEN: In the Jeep, on the way to the Christmas Show on Saturday.
REWARD: Um....well, none, really, b/c it's a P.O.S. anyway.
WEARING: A 1G memory card. Okay, so I want that back. You can keep the camera.

Until I either (a) find my camera or (b) find another camera underneath my Christmas Tree*, I will be unable to post new photos of the Beans.

*J, this is in no way a veiled attempt to coax you into purchasing a camera for me for Christmas. However, should you feel the need to do so, please contact Stacy for suggestions on what to buy.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Five Things that I Don’t Want to Pass On To My Beans.*

1. I steal pens. J and I have an unholy desire to find the right pen. We don’t agree on what the perfect pen is, mind you, but we agree that it is completely normal to drive to three different stores to find the right pen, if such a pen exists. We also agree that it is okay to “borrow” a pen, if the situation allows, from people, if it is the right pen, including but not limited to our waitress from last weekend. He’s a ball-pointer but I’m above those. My sister brings an extra of her favorites when she visits, because she knows that if she doesn’t, she’ll be leaving Michigan without hers. Just this morning, I arrived to work, went into my office and found that my favorite red pen went missing. I panicked and immediately assumed it was D, as he was clearly coveting it the other day when he borrowed it to scratch out some numbers. Lucky for him, I found it underneath a file.

2. I am addicted to chocolate. Never mind. Thanks to Grandpa M, this trait, that can be traced back to my grandfather, who made my father sneak chocolate into his hospital room, is alive and well in my girls. In fact, yesterday, when I arrived at my parents’ house to pick up the girls, I found their fingernails filled with Oreo crumbs and the scent of Frango Chocolate Mints on their breath. We just can’t break the cycle.

3. I’m blind. Is this genetic? I’m not sure, but I am. Not legally or anything, but I challenge anyone to be a passenger in my car at night to believe otherwise. My parents wear glasses, my sisters wear glasses, J wears glasses. It’s inevitable. But I don’t think anyone is nearly as bad as me. I scare myself at night. Everything is all starbursts and blurriness and quite disorienting. I get from point A to point B by starring intently at the vehicle in front of me or, in the alternative, driving precariously close to the white lines. I’ve confessed to J on several occasions that I do not trust myself driving the Beans around after nightfall. Probably not a good thing huh?

4. I cry when I’m angry. My sister has this affliction too and it can become quite embarrassing. It’s a sign of weakness and I just can’t control it. I’m not sad or succumbing or insecure in my argument, but I’m so filled with emotion when I’m angry that my eyes rebel and fill with tears at the most inappropriate time. How can I be taken seriously, if I’m crying at the drop of a hat?

5. I can’t cook. You know when someone asks you what talent you’d like to have if you could have any talent, or what superpower you’d want to have if you were a superhero? I don’t want to be a concert pianist, nor do I want to be able to read your mind. I’d just like to be able to make a great filet with aus jus and a side of whipped potatoes and rice pilaf. I’d like to look into my refrigerator, pluck out just the right ingredients and in thirty minutes or less fill my house with mouth watering scents. Hell, I’d love to feed my husband and kids something more than (a) macaroni and cheese; (b) spaghetti; (c) hamburgers; (d) chicken stir fry; or (e) taco bake. Last Friday, I made my first lasagna. It’s a step in the right direction, but still fell a bit flat.

*I could come up with list much longer and stranger than this, but I don’t want to scare you, dear reader, just yet. Maybe another entry, another day.



I hate doctor appointments. It's even worse when it's your children's doctor appointments. And, yes, Dr. B again brought up the idea that the girls must have gotten their father's metabolism. Here's why.

Maggie is now back up to the 5th percentile (from 3rd), at 18 lbs. 13 ½ oz. She gained almost two lbs. in three months, which is excellent! I was noticing her feeling a little heavier just the other day! She is just over the 25th percentile for height at 30 ½ inches (up from 28 ½ inches). And she is over the 50th percentile for head circumference!

Audrey, on the other hand, has only gained ½ lb. in 3 months. She is just barely at 17 lbs. (she has now dipped below the 3rd percentile) and 25th percentile for height at 29 ¼ inches (previously at 27 ¾ inches). Since she has been born, she has been steadily gaining 1 ½ lbs. every 3 months. Due to lack of growth this time around (and she was a little concerned last time and wanted to watch for a pattern), the doctor is concerned about a condition called “failure to thrive”. We're taking her in for bloodwork on Saturday to check for anemia, thyroid and blood sugar issues and have been instructed to feed, feed, feed. The thing is, this girl loves to eat! She eats all the time! She doesn't prefer meat, especially red meat, but she will eat it. Just not as much or with as much gusto as she does with carbs (just like Momma Bean). My dad thinks this is the green light for Oreos and M&Ms!!

Otherwise, the girls are very healthy and doing well. The pediatrician isn't concerned about Audrey not walking. She indicated that she would be concerned if she was 18 months old. Plus, Audrey has been practicing for the past week or so with one or two steps. Maggie is doing just fine and in fact the doctor was impressed with her language skills and said that her skills overall seem to be advanced for her age! The doctor will continue to monitor Audrey’s breathing and also stated that they still shouldn’t have nut products (including peanut butter) until they turn 3 years old.

My dad went with us and he was more traumatized than the girls! He can't stand to see them cry.

Any suggestions for healhty calorie dense foods are greatly appreciated!


Sunday, December 03, 2006


Friday, December 01, 2006

I don't think there was any doubt with Mere that she was having another boy. I was secretly holding out hope that she'd have a girl, but I knew that she wanted a boy, had a boy's name picked out and was destined to have a football team's worth of boys. When she told me she was pregnant with her first child four years ago (and five weeks after her wedding), I bought her a pretty little pink girl's outfit. One year, after G#1 was born and we were staying in her guest room, I saw the little dress hanging in the closet. When she was pregnant with G#2, she knew he was a boy right away and just last week, I told her that I was sure that G#3 (yes, they all have names starting with the letter "G"), could still be a girl. G#1 overheard me and stated, very matter-of-factly, that the baby couldn't be a girl because he is a dinosaur and dinosaurs eat baby girls.

They were right. The doctor confirmed it yesterday. No lunch for the dinosaur.

When I changed the girls' diapers in front of her, Mere said that she wouldn't know what to do with a girl, if it was one. I replied that I wouldn't know what to do with a boy either. Knowing us, I could have told you ten years ago that we'd be where we are today. Me with my girls and her with her boys.

She's already talking about G#4, but she's not one of those that will keep trying to get her little girl. She has always wanted a big family. Of boys. Maybe she'll return the pink dress for my next girl.