Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why Did the Elephant S**t on My Week?

Weak, disoriented, and hardly able to stand, my pulse begins to race and sucking in air has become a chore rather than part of the natural rhythm of life. The room begins to spin and my stomach lurches, and it's everything I can do to keep my dinner where it belongs.

Just when you think things are going great, the forbidden French foible happens. Some may say it hits the fan, but for me it comes from an elephant's ass, leaving copious piles of poo in my path.

It was about this time two years ago that I found myself making my first official "blog" post, otherwise known as a "note" on facebook. It was entitled A Week Worth Writing about, and it was indeed a week worthy of expression through written word. I could never forget those seven days filled with stories I had told my friends, stories inevitably to be told to my children and grandchildren some day. It was a week of D's; a downward detour of disaster that involved a dishwasher in flames, a drainpipe that wouldn't drain, and a dog untrained, which respectively resulted in a dish stack in the sink, a newly refinished basement becoming a lake, and an forbidden bite out of a four tier wedding cake. It was one of those weeks where one might indulge in a stiff drink to drive away the angst at the end of it all. Alas, that was not the way I rolled back then, so my liquor was left untouched.

I find that while a lot of things have changed since then, so many things have also remained the same, and two years later I find myself with another "week worth writing about".

After Emie's birthday bonanza a couple of weeks ago, Jon and I were invited to attend an adult birthday bash of an old buddy of ours. My perception of taxing times was poor, and after what I thought was a somewhat strenuous week, I deemed a stiff drink (okay three) necessary to smooth over the serrated edges and celebrate another year of life, forgetting it had been a day of inadvertent dehydration. Only two screwdrivers and a Mike's Hard Lemonade later did the tough times actually present themselves, and the aforementioned elephant took its first of many dumps on my series of seven days.

At 32 years of age, I finally faced what so many experienced after many more than three drinks, and at an age half that of mine - the first hangover that had hung over my head for so long finally happened . . . . I imagined many would not suppose that was such a bad thing, as a hangover has happened to the best of most. However, while Emie's precious party was the day of my lightweight drunk fest, her actual birthday was the day of dreary drunken regret. Having had many more liquor lavishes in one evening in the past, I never dreamed that three of them would fling me full force into an abysmal after affect. I spent much of the morning praying to the porcelain gods and crying like a crazy woman for the horrible mommy I felt I was in that moment. Sitting in a chair unable to move while my daughter opened her remaining presents was not how I envisioned spending Emie's birthday. Putting on my best happy face, I began to be thankful for Emie only turning three . . . she was none the wiser to my state of suffering, and had she been a bit older she would have assuredly understood the circumstance at hand.

So as each birthday passes in a child's life, subsequently do annual well check-ups . . . Emie's pediatric appointment of 2010 is one I may never forget. Not only, as many of you may already know, am I handed a book called The Difficult Child, but I am informed, after assessing Emie's gait and reflexes, that she may have a condition called Tethered Spinal Cord Syndrome. The panic does not set in initially, as the doctor does not fully explain what this means for my adorable daughter if she continues to live with this condition, but after Googling it I feel like vomiting once more. TSCS is when the spinal cord is fused to at least one part of the spinal column, and is a condition that can eventually interfere with Emie's ability to walk and appropriately relief herself on the potty, a condition that can be cured, but only by surgery on the spine. I try not to think about it much, as no official diagnosis has been made yet. A diagnosis can only come by way of a very expensive and very invasive MRI. Since the condition deteriorates only with growth, we have a bit of a window to watch for possible improvement . . . three months of waiting before we know more.

I am blessed with two days of calm before the storm erupts again – one of my mom's best friend passes away, Jon and I's Goddaughter is taken to the hospital, and I get a bad burn on the palm of my left hand, and all in the course of one afternoon. The barrage of bad news begins to be too much to manage, and I think about a glass of wine to wipe away the worries for awhile. But the nausea returns as I remember the recent morning of mourning over the misguided decision to drink my misconceived woes away, and just like two years ago, I choose not to roll like that and stay stunningly sober.

So what I am grateful for in this week of wretchedness that my room spinning, heart-racing, short of breath experience which I described above did not occur as it has so many times before. For all it is worth, not having one of my many migraines (which I usually get weekly) is the only redemptive thing about my story of seven days. And much like Emie had no punch line for "Why did the elephant poop on the ground," nor do I have one for "Why did the Elephant Shit on My Week," other than *it* happens sometimes, and so goes the ebb and flow of life and poo.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Why Did the Elephant Poop on the Ground?

The anticipation of the birth of my first daughter, my second baby, was great after a long, difficult, and somewhat high-risk pregnancy. First being on prednisone, then dealing with anemia after weaning off the atrocious steroid, those nine months of my swelling belly seemed to last an eternity. But when the day finally came and they placed my calm and content little one on my lap after a fairly easy induced labor, I fell in love. She laid there quietly sucking her hands and I looked at Jon and said something along the lines of, "I think I want to do this again." After having Aidan I wasn't sure that I would want more than one child, so I found it fascinating that after giving birth to Emie I was thinking about having three. Had I known that three years after at my second child's birth I would be handed a book called The Difficult Child at her annual well check-up, the thoughts of having a third child would have never entered my mind.

Who would have thought that this peaceful beautiful baby face . . .

. . . would have become this spunky monkey . . . .

So having just celebrated her third birthday, I thought the time had finally come to give you an overdue introduction to my daughter Emerson, a free spirited fire-cracker full of obstinate opinions.

The first two weeks of her life were quite calm and collected. Emie was a baby who ate and slept well. Our Eden like existence was short lived though; it took an emergency exit out the back door as Emie presented us with her pistol like personality. The incessant crying and late nights (some with no sleep) began and thoughts of another child quickly flew out the window. While much of the reason for her crying was due to a really bad case of acid reflux, I am now almost certain that at least some of that crying was in part Emie exhibiting the drama, willfulness, and sheer determination she demonstrates so freely today.

This adoring daughter of mine will do anything to be the center of attention. A fine example of this occurred only a few weeks ago while shopping at my local grocery. You see, my son had been telling a lot of "Why does a chicken cross the road" jokes, and my daughter had been using the rhythm of the joke to ask other questions. In her best jokester fashion on this day at the store she asked very loudly, "Why did the elephant poop on the ground?" I couldn't help but laugh out loud before asking her why indeed did the elephant poop on the ground. Her answer was her own laughter with no punch line in sight. I then proceeded to ask her where she heard the joke; she simply replied, "I made it up all by myself." At this I chose to keep my thoughts in my head, which was nodding side to side with a smile . . . Dear Lord Emie, you are obnoxious!

Her obnoxious nature has reached such a pinnacle of precociousness that it moved me to recently type the following two status updates on facebook:

"[I have] told Emie that for all the drama she creates, she best put it to good use someday and then walk me down the red carpet with her."


"[I feel] like I'm in a movie filled with drama, angst and war. Emie is the star whose main goal in life is to waste every single second of the supporting actress's (that would be me) time and eventually drive her insane."

I mean, this is a girl who on a day I let her choose whatever she wants to wear, insists on arguing with me about whether her underwear goes on the outside or inside of her clothes, and upon asking her another day why she chooses to argue with me so much, she answers by belching in my face and laughing. So you can imagine that as her third birthday approaches, preparing for her party is a production like no other (thus yet another bit of a break from my blogging, sorry). She has opinions on what her cake should look like, what characters would support the theme, where she wants the party to be, and so on and so forth, and all at just less than three years of age. Despite her original wishes for a Spiderman party, we somehow (and gratefully) end up with Abby Cadabby's face gracing the cake I work on for so many hours. In the midst of the cake making process I hear more than once "I want my cake now!!!!" To which my reply finally is, "Then perhaps I'll throw this one in the trash." Silence is golden; mommy wins this battle . . . . So when the cake is finally completed, excitement ensues. Upon viewing it she looks up at me, smiles, and says with ardent enthusiasm, "Oh mommy, I love it so much! You did such a good job! Go mommy go, [insert claps] go mommy go!" and then squeezes my arm and says "Mommy I love you so much," and much like the day she is born and placed on my lap, my heart melts once more.

Emie is a girl much like my adult self, so it is inevitable that route of our relationship is going to be one of a collision course, but every crash is worth it for those heart-melting "I love you so much" moments. Her spunk and dogged determination is something I never had as a child, and in fact I was much more like my sweet and shy one, Aidan (who I will pay homage to soon enough). If she is like I am now at three years of age, I can only imagine the strong independent woman she can become by age 32. I have many dreams for her, however, whatever my dreams, they mean nothing next to what she can dream for herself, and I imagine the fearless fireball that is Emie is going to dream big and do whatever it takes to make said dreams come true (and perhaps even come up with a punch line for her now regularly repeated elephant joke, lol). So keep your eyes peeled, because just like any admiring mother, I believe there is a good chance Emerson is going to do something larger than life one day, and when she does, you can bet your ass I'll be shouting from the roof tops and boasting of her brilliance.

To my endearing Emie, always know that Mommy loves you so much too!