Good riddance December 

This girl is a total freak. She had been looking forward to getting her tonsils out for the last three months. Jon took her to the ENT in September to get her nose looked at after she broke it, and during that consultation the doctor told her that she could get her tonsils and adenoids out. She had been wanting to hear that advice for years. Our primary care physician had referred us to an ENT when she was much younger and that ENT had told us that surgery wasn’t necessary. He told us that we should keep an eye out for any increase in strep throat infections, and any issues with her being able to sleep at night. Well, she hasn’t got a heck of a lot more strep throat infections, but she does not sleep well at all.  She wrestles around through the night and snores quite a bit. So, when she and Jon went to the ENT for her nose, she brought up her desire for the surgery. Jon does not have the concerns around surgery like I do so he went right along with it. They returned home waltzing through the door with a brochure about the surgery and a date for it – November 27. The date was a couple of months away so I did not think anything more about it. I figured we would all forget about it and there would be no surgery. But as November rolled in, she got more more excited about the surgery. She brought home a piece of paper from school that I needed to sign setting forth the days she would be absent. This is when it really hit me. Were we really going to go through with this? I am not a fan of drugs, surgeries, anything invasive to the body so I was very hesitant to agree it should move forward. However, after tons of google research and numerous talks with several of my go-to family members, it seemed fairly harmless to do now and much more problematic if we waited until later in her life. The ENT had told her that she would likely need a week off of school. Jon and I both translated that to mean Maria would be off at the most one week but would prv ably only be off two or three days. Maria is a machine when it comes to healing quickly. 

As the 27th approached, I had more and more hesitancy of going through with the surgery. I just did not like the thought of Maria going under. And I worried that nothing good would come of it. Was she really sleeping that poorly? Were taking out her tonsils and adenoids really help? But, in the end, I deferred to her wishes. And in the end, she was right. But in the beginning and in the middle, Jon and and I were regretting our decision.


Maria post – operation. 

She actually came out of the procedure in  a jolly, irreverent mood. She did not seem that drugged up but in retrospect, Jon and I could see she was pretty loopy. She would take a while to answer a question to where it seemed she was trying to think of a funny answer but then she’d say something out of the blue. Before the operation, she asked me to make videos of her. So, I took out my phone and began the video. She had some gems for us. Jon and I looked at each other after a few minutes and both thought “this is our girl, goofy as always and taking the surgery like a machine as always. She will probably be up and ready to go tomorrow.” 

She switched off belting out tunes on the way home and sleeping. A good little patient. We got her home and she laid in bed watching TV and sucking on Popsicles. She didn’t make any ruckus; she didn’t call on Jon and I hardly at all. This is going to be a piece of cake, we thought. She slept well that evening, too. Machine! The next day, she felt a little sick to her stomach but was still in good spirits. She didn’t want to eat much so she continued with the Popsicles and abided by Our charge to take sips of water every hour. I even went to work for the afternoon and left Jon with her. He reported that she didn’t need much – an occasional new glass of water or a popsicle – but most of the time she was fine watching her TV and working on some homework. I thought she may even be able to go to school on Wednesday! 

She woke up on Wednesday feeling about the same as Tuesday. She definitely was not heading to school but at least she was still not in excruciating pain and dehydrated, like I feared may happen based on my google research. We told her that she should continue to rest. I set up some books and homework for her and headed off to work again. I called in to see how she was doing and she reported that all was fine. I came home from work that evening and she looked pretty good. Her lips were a little parched so I told her to drink more water but other than that, we continue to have a great patient. I still held out hope that she may be able to get to school by the end of the week

Then all hell broke loose. It just took us thinking that all was good in order for all to turn. She could not sleep on Wednesday night. She was up several times complaining about her throat and her ears.  I gave her medicine and rubbed her back. It sucks that the only magic for those times is to hold them and tell them that it will get better. It breaks your heart. She woke up on Thursday morning still feeling awful. And so it began…. five straight days and nights of her being absolutely miserable. Her ears killed her. I called the nurse and they told me to continue her on routine heavy pain medication with Motrin (we had slowed the heavy duty meds because I did not want her to get addicted – yes, I’m the freak). We did that for 24 hours but then she got constipated from the heavy pain medication. Her stomach absolutely killed her. I had a speech to give on Saturday morning at 9am. I was up with her all night on Friday. At 6:30 am, she laid on the bathroom floor moaning. I phoned the on-call doctor and he advised to give her laxatives.  I jumped in the car and went to CVS to get some. I arrived home to Maria still laying on the floor. Poor girl. I gave her a laxative and headed off to my speech. Patty stayed home with her because she was still recovering from her neck operation on Tuesday. She had been in the hospital until Thursday afternoon and then came to stay with us. Lordy Lordy. When I got home from my speech, I found the two of them on the couch. They both looked miserable. I got them some soup and tidied up the house as much as I could. Maria finally got a poop out and I felt the same type of relief I felt when she was a baby and was constipated. It never ends, does it? 


We were supposed to head to the farm to bake cookies on Saturday, which obviously was not happening . We were hoping for Sunday but the way Saturday was going, I knew that would not happen, either. I told Maria that she and I could bake cookies at the house on Sunday. But alas, she continued to feel awful and not be able to do anything. By this time, I was getting a little pissed off. Not at her, by any means, but at the ENT who told us that she should be feeling better by this time. I kept looking at the scabs in the back of her throat and wondering if they were coming off. The nurse had told us when they start to fall off, Maria could feel more pain. But they didn’t look like they were coming off so why was she in such pain? And if she was in this much pain now, what would she be in when the scabs started coming off? Why the hell did we agree to this operation? Would I ever sleep again? Would my baby girl ever sleep again? I was losing it….

The eighth day post surgery came and went. Maria had some classmates come over to see how she was doing. They had expected that she would be back the following week. Jon and I were exhausted and distressed – would this ever get better for her? I called the nurse again and she told me the same thing she had told me the week before – some kids take longer to heal than others. Really? My girl has always healed crazy fast so what is up with this operation?  I sat with Maria on Monday night and could tell she was over it. The first week has been rather fun with her just being able to watch TV and do what she wanted but she was now antsy to get back to school. She is one who loves being at school and so this long of a break was killing her. I made some wishes to the skies above that she would start to turn it around. I must have been doing something right because on Tuesday she woke up feeling a bit better. She was able to walk around and able to eat some macaroni and cheese and soup. On Wednesday, she was feeling even better. She wanted some more substantial foods in her body and was drinking hot tea like it was out of style. As we watched our tenth Modern Family, she told me she wanted to try to head back to school on Thursday. I was hesitant but also thought it may be good for her to go for a few hours just to get up and about. I was so happy to see that she at least had the desire. School started late on Thursday morning, which was helpful. She woke up Thursday morning around 8 am and was bright-eyed and bushy tailed, and ready to go. 

“I want to try it, mom!”

I was not about to say no. After all, she is my daughter and whenever I feel sick, if I can just get up and work out, it actually makes me feel better. She survived her first day back to school and loved it. She was tired when she came home but was so glad that she could spend the day with teachers and friends.


I, on the other hand, was laid out. Waking up nearly every two hours with Ri every evening had killed me. I had a nasty headache, runny nose and cough. Nonetheless, just like I thought with Ri, I figured I’d be out for a day or two and back to life. Yet, here I am nearly two weeks later, still trying to recover. I was out of work for two days, laid in bed the entire weekend, and then went back to work on Monday still sniffling and feeling miserable. 

Needless to say, December could have just been obliterated and I would have been perfectly fine with it. Over three weeks post-surgery, Ri is back to her same goofy, crazy, irreverent self. And that makes me so happy. She’s also sleeping like a log, which is wonderful.

Here’s to a healthy holiday and restful 2018.

Braving the flu vaccine

I finally scheduled flu vaccines for M&M last week. I got hit with that alien bug and wanted to try my best to prevent the kids from suffering (even though there are rumors that the flu nasal spray may cause flu-like symptoms?).

Maria swore up and down that she was going to get the shot. She prides herself on being a machine. I can’t count the number of times that she has fallen off her bike and people passing by make a quick stop and stare at her thinking she’s seriously hurt. She pops up with a big smile on her face and chirps “What? I’m fine! I’m fine!”

When we walked in the doctor’s room, Mario begged to go first. He wanted to get the ordeal over with and wanted to make sure he got the spray. There was no way he was considering the shot. He still gets concerned when we tell him he has to get shots in a month for his check-up. He asks twenty questions about the shots: “Are the shots big? Will they hurt? Do they sting? Will I cry?”

The nurse came in with the nasal shot and explained to Mario how he’d have to hold his nose after she sprayed the mist. He was excited that he was so calm about the ordeal.

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The nurse sprayed both nostrils and he immediately pinched his nose just like the nurse ordered. Perfect patient.

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Mario stepped off the table beaming proud at his accomplishment. He helped Maria onto the table acting like her little knight in shining armor. She continued to demand a shot and the nurse went out to get one laughing at Maria’s courage. Meanwhile, Mario played with a truck and I looked at my phone. In those few seconds, Ri changed her mind.

“I was going to get a shot to show Mario it doesn’t hurt but then he got the spray so there’s no reason to get it.” Makes sense.

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The nurse was sent back to get nasal spray shaking her head as if she knew that Ri wouldn’t take a shot. Little does she know my girl. She would have easily taken that shot if there had been any reason. But Mario already had his spray and I wasn’t getting one so why suffer unnecessarily? She’s smart. She also fully abided by the nurse’s orders and squeezed her nose tight after the spray.

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The nurse shook her head yet again as she walked out of the room and muttered “I wish all of my patients could be so good.”

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Recovery

This past week can be wiped off the charts and I’d be all the happier. I hated every moment of it. An alien creature made its home in my stomach from Sunday night through Friday night and I haven’t been so miserable in years. The headaches he brought were the worst; I have a newfound appreciation for people suffering from migraines. Five days without children in the house all morning and afternoon, and I couldn’t even watch a movie because my head would explode. Such a shame.

Jon and the kids were great during the ordeal – Jon took them to Tommy’s Pizza (Maria came home and said “I wish you got sick more mom because then we’d get to go to Tommy’s with dad!”) and let them watch nightly episodes of Duck Dynasty.

Maria was my caretaker. She ran upstairs every day after school and asked how I felt. She felt my forehead and made sure I had water. The second day she made me hot tea, bananas and oranges. She made sure the covers were wrapped snug around me.

Mario was my entertainment. He came upstairs at bedtime and ran naked next to the bed saluting me “Good night dear ma’am!” He closed the bathroom door in our bedroom and sang on the toilet. When Jon came up to scoot him out, he meekly opened the door and whispered “hold on a minute, man. I have some girls in here to chat with for a while.” Jon looked at him quizzically.

“They broke through the window, dad. They wanted to talk to me so badly.”

Jon and I and Ri looked at each other and all knew what each of us was thinking “Crazy, crazy Mario.”

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After a few more days of Ri’s nurturing, I have finally started to come back to life. As Maria scolded me after I told her to just put me out of my misery the other night “our family never gives up!”

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So take that mr. alien!

Biking for health and quicker access to coffee

I appreciate any assistance in persuading people to get out and bike more often. This article confirms the benefits to both our health and our environment when we stay away from our cars and hop on our bikes.

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In addition to making us healthier and improving our environment, biking is usually more efficient when you are traveling 5 miles or less. It takes me less time to get to work – 4 miles away – on my bike than in my car between lights and traffic and parking. It also takes less time to bike with the kids to Stauf’s on Sunday morning to get my coffee. If that’s not convincing, what is?!

Maggie Goes on a Diet, Seriously?

Is there really a book out there geared towards 6 year-olds going on a diet?  You betcha.  Why stop with women’s magazines that tout thin, blemish-free, flawless women or teen magazines that tout the same for young girls?  Might as well get 6 year-old girls into the mix so they can learn early what is beautiful in this society.  I could not believe my eyes when I saw the book Maggie Goes on a Diet.  A portly little girl standing in front of a mirror holding up a tiny pink dress and looking at it longingly. 

The author (male) justifies his book by stating “Maggie does want to look better. She does want to feel better and she does not want to be teased.” He argued that the book addressed “the issues that kids face today.”  But as the author of the article states, why couldn’t you show Maggie playing soccer or eating fruit versus staring at herself in the mirror while holding a size 0 pink dress in her arms?  By putting her at the mirror, you are reinforcing the notion that the reason to diet is to be able to fit in those size 0 dresses because it is only then that you are beautiful. 

This country has an obesity problem that needs to be controlled – no doubt.  Kids need to be more active and eat healthier foods.  But the reason for doing so is to be healthy so that you can run and jump and climb hills and not get diabetes.  Not to ensure that you look like the model on Cosmopolitan.  And the word diet has such a negative connotation for girls and women.  It denotes nothing related to health but rather everything related to body size and superficial beauty.  I can’t imagine a book like this being written by a woman. 

After having seen Maria go through the name-calling at her pre-school and Kindergarten, it saddens me to see this book in print.  I think there is a much better way to address being healthy.  I don’t know this author and he could have very well been trying to show how Maggie could feel better by eating better and exercising but he has a responsibility to think hard about how his words and images will be felt, especially by 6 year olds.  Maria could not understand why kids would call her “fat” or “big.”  It made her retreat from activities and feel self-conscious.  Those comments, thankfully, have stopped for the most part.  She would never talk that way about anyone else; she has learned from her experience.  She understands what it means to be healthy and why we don’t shovel food in our mouth – because when we do so we don’t feel good and its hard to move and we get tired….  We exercise in order to be able to keep in shape and move when we want to move and climb up mountains when we want to climb and ride our bike for miles when we want to do so.  

Maria is gorgeous and strong and happy, and we work hard to keep her on that path.  This book has no place on her shelf.