Well, it appears I should've blogged yesterday rather than being lazy. But I did really like Dawn's post and I felt it was appropriate for me to put up for a bunch of reasons. Thank you for the emails and comments, I'll never be lazy again! ;)
I have a couple of things that I've been thinking on and I think I'll start at why I was lazy yesterday....
So, our Saturday was pretty busy. We start off each Saturday with Music Together class for the kids and from there the day just unfolds. Yesterday, music class was pretty typical except Addison decided to vomit every 10 minutes...not so much fun when you're not prepared for it! After music class we went on a hunt, for my dad's birthday gift to my mom. Yesterday was my mom's birthday so of course it makes sense that my dad would ask me on Friday to find a gift for my mom from him! (It actually does, knowing my dad!) We ended up not having to go on that hunt for too long, my dad decided to just take my mom to the jewelry store to pick out exactly what she wanted. Now, don't the wrong idea here...my mom was looking for a specific type of necklace that only she knew what it looked like. Thank God he took her because I NEVER would have picked the one she did! Although, it is really pretty...just not what I was thinking of! ANYWAY, after that Pat and I took the kids on our own "hunt". We ran to the mall and then to the florist and then to the drugstore. Completely forgetting that Nicholas was supposed to get a haircut and we were supposed to stop by a friend's garage sale! We also ended up skipping homecoming at my school because the kids just weren't into it, i.e. they were both asleep! Following a catch up session with an old friend of mine at the florist and a stop at the drugstore we headed to my mom and dad's house where Pat got in a few minutes of the sad Notre Dame game and we got ready to go out for dinner.
We went to dinner at a Spanish restaurant that we all LOVE, especially my mom. Quite fitting considering it was her birthday! The kids were really good the whole time we were at dinner, we were on high alert though, just to make sure. After a not so good dirty martini and a few glasses of excellent Sangria followed by an Irish coffee all accompanied by enormous amounts of DELICIOUS food, we headed back to my parents' to open presents and then we went home. We got home, put the kids to bed and I plopped down on the couch, fully ready to fall asleep courtesy of my lack of sleep and my pretty good "buzz". NO SUCH LUCK! Wouldn't you know, the idea strikes me at that moment to get up and start painting the downstairs bathroom?!?! This is not so random, don't worry. We have just started "remodeling" the house, i.e. painting, crown moldings, and the like. But yes, in my state of exhaustion and minor intoxication I decided to paint the bathroom. I have to say, the top half of the wall came out GREAT! We're doing two different colors because we have a chair rail in there and I think it will add some great "dimension". By the time I finished it was 11:30 and I was exhausted but completely satisfied with a job well done. Pat just sort of looked at me like, "what the hell inspired that?" You know what? It seemed like a really good idea at the time...and this morning, I realized it was a good idea because now we're one step closer to being done!
When I was in college, a freshman I think, Sugar Ray came to play our university and of course alcohol accompanied our experience. Following the concert I had, again, what seemed like a good idea at the time. I decided, with my friends and my boyfriend at the time, that I NEEDED to get on the tour bus. Yup, that's right on the Sugar Ray bus. Genius right? I blame it on the Guinness. The story continues on to where I, the "stupid" Caucasian college girl, am trying to convince a giant, but kind and patient,-and when I say giant, I mean TALL and HUGE- African American security guard that his once love for Whitney Houston is just like my love for Sugar Ray and wouldn't he have wanted the security to let him on to her bus when he was in my shoes. HEY, it seemed like a good idea at the time! Who knew that he was going to find me hysterically funny because, according to my friends, once his devotion to Whitney failed to help me I moved on to my last chance- his Axl Rose addiction. I have NO IDEA how I made that connection. Clearly, I did not get on the bus. And actually, that night was the first of a few nights where the whole group of us went down on to the turf and sat in the center and pondered life.
My son came up to me the other day and started talking to me a mile a minute. All I caught from the conversation was something about a broom and cleaning and his last words, "that sounds like a good idea, right mommy?" We must've gone through the same conversation about ten times, all of them ending with, "that sounds like a good idea, right mommy?" Finally, I realized it...having a conversation with my two year old is like having a conversation with a drunk college student or "buzzed" suburban mom to two. 90% of what is being said is completely incoherent and slurred but the content is always the same. They always have the BEST IDEA EVER! Like, getting on a tour bus or painting the bathroom. I finally figure out what my son wanted to do....he wanted to go outside on to the porch and sweep the acorns off. Honestly, it wasn't a bad idea- not unlike the earlier ideas-because it does need to get done BUT it was 8pm at night, pitch black out and pretty chilly. But, for him, it seemed like a good idea at the time because it would have meant avoiding bed! Oh how that will change for him...eventually he'll find every idea out there to get into bed and stay there, asleep!
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Well, it appears I should've blogged yesterday rather than being lazy. But I did really like Dawn's post and I felt it was appropriate for me to put up for a bunch of reasons. Thank you for the emails and comments, I'll never be lazy again! ;)
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:30 AM
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I'm too tired to think, tonight. So, with Dawn's permission of course, I've copied and pasted a post from http://mom2my6pack.blogspot.com/ , aka BECAUSE I SAID SO. She is the writer of the infamous Ebay auction for pokemon cards. She's a GREAT writer and actually one of the people who inspired me to start writing my own blog.
Thanks Dawn for the permission and I really do love your writing!
I feel like this post is apropos...
First of all, before you say anything, I have no idea what is wrong with Blogger. I don't believe I violated any TOS agreement unless calling the folks who did the math problem sad, is considered libelous. :D
Thanks, again Dawn! Another GREAT post!!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:11 PM
Friday, September 28, 2007
I really could not stand looking at that dark pink background anymore. I went ahead and googled some alternative backgrounds and I really like this one. It's bright and airy and happy! It was time for a change...Enjoy!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:11 AM
Thursday, September 27, 2007
That's right...it's time! It's September 27th....it's a Thursday night...It's finally arrived! I won't deny it, I'm addicted and I've been waiting all summer for it. I've gone through the range of emotions...anger, sadness, grief, withdrawal, confusion...you name it, I've had it. But it's here and I'm ready and I'm all atwitter with excitement!
GREY'S ANATOMY is back on tonight and I cannot freaking wait! I think my husband is happy too because now he doesn't have to listen to me debate what is going to happen in the first episode. After tonight, I'll know and I'll be able to concentrate again and focus. I know I sound crazy but, seriously, I've been waiting all summer and re runs just don't help! TiVo is getting worn out from me replaying old episodes and I think even my precious precious TiVo is getting annoyed with me!
So, won't you join me tonight? Park yourself in front of your TV at 9pm and put on ABC and start watching because it's going to be good...I hope! Seriously, it better be good! Like so good that they bring Denny back from the dead good! Never gonna happen, seriously! But wouldn't that be GREAT?!?!?
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:30 AM
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
- Len Wein
I found this link through Postpartum Support International, a site that I visit often and found during the beginning days of my postpartum depression. I think it's a really fascinating look at and a great starting off point to think about our friends and the relationships that go along with them.
My parents have always said that if I have good friends enough to count on one hand, I am lucky. The more and more I learn and experience and the more people I meet, the more I realize just how true that really is. Over the years, I've had some wonderful friends and I've also had some not so wonderful friends. The friend who was bringing home quart sized baggies filled with pot in college- not such a great friend, or roommate for that matter! The friend who stayed with me the night I broke up with my college boyfriend because I was afraid of what I had just done and how he would react- really great friend! The friend who insulted my husband to my face and couldn't understand why I decided to stay married to him instead of being her friend- not so great! The friend who planned an impromptu baby shower in a matter of days, with my mom, because she knew how hard things had been and how much I wanted pink for our little girl- great friend! I could go on because the list continues but you get the point...
After my family, and that includes my husband, my parents, my children, extended family, etc., my friendships are most important to me. They are my lifeline very often and they are what keep me going through the times when sometimes I just don't think I can keep going. Besides "offering" me what could be termed general friendship, my friends all have unique qualities that cause me to turn to each of them at different times. My best friend has known me since I was 18 but I feel like we've known each other forever. We've been athletes together, we've cried together, we've planned weddings together, we've had children together and we've gone through major medical crises together. We've seen each other through to the other side of everything and because of it, we are stronger. I've realized that more than ever over the past few weeks when I've really needed her and she, of course, has been there. My oldest friend- not because of age- is the person I call and I know that when she picks up it will be like we just spoke yesterday. We email intermittently and chat occasionally but it's those late nights out at a bar or restaurant or hanging out in one of our houses or getting a tattoo that matter the most to us. We've been through a lot together as well, death, birth, school transfers, break-ups, just about anything you can think of, we've seen it. Then there are the friends I've made in more recent times. The teacher that I worked with at my last school who I text on a regular basis and see about every two weeks. Or the teacher that I worked with at my very first daycare center who I still email and hear from on a regular basis. And another teacher who I worked with at my most recent center who was so sincere about renting a radiation suit that I thought for sure she would show up at my house during that one week in July. And of course the woman who married my husband's best friend. She is probably the friend that I didn't think I would have. I didn't think we'd be friends, just acquaintances who would meet, with our husbands, for dinner occasionally. But really, she has turned into quite a good friend, especially since I've needed one lately.
Friendships are so important to women and how we function within our families and society. They have the power to lift us up and make us better people, better versions of ourselves. They also have the power to make us feel worthless and like we don't matter. We, as women, have immeasurable power and I don't think that we always realize it. We have the power, with our words- or lack of words, to hurt each other and we sometimes abuse that power. It is our job as women, in my opinion, to lift each other up. To show one another that we all matter equally and we are all unique and wonderful gifts to our families, to ourselves, to each other and to the world. I encourage each and every one of you to embrace your friends and the special gifts that they bring you. Remember that you have the ability to be someone amazing to someone else and that ability goes beyond value. Our friendships should be sources of healing and care not toxicity and hurtfulness.
- Anais Nin
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 1:19 PM
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
My aunt passed away last week and I attended her wake this evening, wearing my shoes on the wrong feet. She would have found that hysterical! My aunt, third from the left above, was a wonderful woman. My dad would tell me stories of her and the summers he would spend with her and family in "the country". She adored Nicholas, when she had the chance to see him she would shower him with love. She never met Addison but did know she was coming and had arrived. She was so friendly and loving, always loved to talk and catch up. She had been sick lately and getting progressively worse. She was in a coma for a period of time and apparently over the last few days she woke up and was smiling and as my dad's cousin said, someone came to take my aunt because she looked up and away, smiled and was gone- peacefully and perfectly. I hope I go the same way...surrounded by my family and in peace.
Funerals are a funny thing in my family. Literally...they tend to be funny. We are very "lucky", the funerals we attend are for members who die old. That is not to say that they are not sad events but more often than not the deceased has suffered and death actually brought peace. I think the worst part, as one of my high schoolers surprised me with last week put it, is for those of us left behind. We have to stay here and wonder and miss the deceased. But that's where the "funny" for us comes in. We're English and Irish and we deal with grief with humor. We tell stories that make us laugh so hard the only tears we have are those of laughter. We make jokes about the funeral home and the casket and often we plan out how we want our own wakes to go. Sounds sick, huh? I guess if you're an outsider and you don't understand my family, maybe it is. But from the inside it is the best way for us to relate our grief and feelings to one another.
Tonight was no different. Tonight I saw cousins and family members that I usually only see at the family reunion each year. Tonight we joked about the funeral home. We looked at pictures, like the one above, that showed my aunt with her siblings looking young but the "same" as she did the last time we saw her well. We talked about what we wanted to happen when we all passed. And all I could think about was what my dad's cousin said about someone coming to get my aunt just before she passed. What an awesome thought...one of the people that you love the most who has gone before you helps bring you into something so much better. Hopefully, when I go, whoever is leading me will let me know I have my shoes on the wrong feet.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:16 PM
Monday, September 24, 2007
So, my daughter was the last kid at daycare today. Well, no, allow me to clarify that...my daughter was the last kid in her room today. My son was still there as were other kids in other rooms but my newly turned 6 month old daughter was the last baby at daycare today. And, yes, I felt like the worst mommy EVER!
I walked in and saw one of Addison's teachers holding her and then I saw her car seat sitting on one of the toy shelves and that's when I knew- last. I said to her teacher, " Is she the last one here?" in my most sheepish tone. She just kind of smiled at me and nodded her head and then quickly added, "But the baby before her left like 5 minutes ago." Thanks, but nope, doesn't make me feel any better!
It was 5pm, not really late, I've picked up later. But when I walked into that room and saw that she was all by herself I just felt so bad! We grabbed Nicholas and headed home where I was reminded about why Addison was the last baby at daycare. I left work after a meeting this afternoon to run to the hardware store to get paint to paint the bathroom. Then I went to the supermarket where I stocked up on more than 50 containers of baby food and some chicken and veggies in order to prepare a nice meal for my family. (Really, just the husband because Nicholas won't eat anything that isn't pizza, chicken nuggets, or mac n cheese and Addison doesn't eat anything that isn't pureed beyond recognition.) After the supermarket I finally got a real estate agent on the phone to answer my questions about the house we were considering only to find out we were lied to about it's status. Gotta love it! Following that phone call I had another phone call, much better, from my best friend. We were able to catch up after both of us being so busy lately and only exchanging emails! Then it was home to drop off all the groceries and check messages and right back out to the kids' school for pick up.
So, yes, my daughter was the last baby at daycare today. But she'll have a ton of food that should last her maybe 2 weeks since she eats like a truck driver! I was able to pick up the paint that I've been mulling over for weeks now, which means that the bathroom project can finally begin and we're a few steps closer to the selling market. And I didn't have any messages waiting on my machine when I got home. Are all of these things trivial? Maybe to you, and sometimes maybe even to me. I feel a little bit better knowing those few things are done...I don't have to think about baby food and I don't have to drag my kids and my husband to Lowes to get paint that they'll probably have very little opinion on anyway, because it's done.
Am I the worst mom ever because my daughter was at daycare a little later today? Nope....not by a long shot. Her teachers love her and she wasn't waiting in her car seat or laying on the floor all alone, she was being entertained and it didn't look like it hurt too much. Thank goodness because I really need to find Nicholas a Halloween costume this week and God knows I don't want to bring him along and have him end up being Captain Jack Sparrow or even worse, a princess, because he'll end up throwing a fit in the store when I say 'no' to either of those and I'll want to avoid the mass chaos and just buy him one! Ok, so maybe not Mom of the Year this year but I'm a close runner up and I'm ok with that because my kids are happy and loved!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:35 PM
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I prayed to the porcelain god last night...briefly. I hosted a neighborhood Ladies' night In last night and found out all too quickly that I can't hold my liquor anymore! Where did that come from!?!? Three weeks ago I spent four days drinking each night during my residency and I was FINE, but one night in and some Sangria apparently push me over the edge. What a wake up call! I'm old...I think...or maybe Sangria just isn't my friend or maybe my meds pushed me over the edge...who knows! At any rate it was not fun, gripping my cool white Kohler toilet for those brief few minutes. It made me think back to those college nights...you remember those nights. The nights where sleeping on your gross dorm bathroom floor seemed like the BEST IDEA EVER! Don't deny it, I know you remember them because a few of you were right next to me on that floor!
I guess I never thought that a suburban ladies' night would have me right back in that position. I woke up this morning and my already shot memory was even more shot courtesy of last night! One of the side effects of my "medical condition" is a lack of memory, mainly short term, and a lack of concentration. Sounds great right? Mom of two, teacher of 150, graduate student in counseling, can't remember her own name or the words that come out of her mouth and just doesn't have the stamina to listen! OY! Today, other than not being able to remember much of last night's conversations, I could not remember the word Provolone. I had just bought olives at the supermarket and they were stuffed with Provolone and for 5 minutes my mom had to name every cheese she could think of that they might stuff into an olive before I finally said, "you eat it with salami". That's how I got to provolone! You know why I connect provolone and salami?? Because one of my oldest friends- not old like she's 90 but old like we've known each other since we were 5- used to always eat salami and provolone with mustard on white bread for lunch. GREAT! I can remember what she ate for lunch 15 years ago but grasping the concept of whether or not I brushed my teeth this morning escapes me.
So, that's what I'm blaming last night on. I couldn't remember which drink I was on or how many I had had, that's why I drank so much. I'm not old...I can still hold my liquor...I just can't remember how much of it I've actually consumed!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:21 PM
Friday, September 21, 2007
I found this through another blog I read and it's actually fairly accurate, according to what I think. I'm more a visual person and I wonder if someone who is not would have the same accuracy, try it for yourself.
The first link is for you to try out and the second link is to my DNA. Enjoy!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:40 AM
Thursday, September 20, 2007
...No, not like that! I got rear ended yesterday and really I don't have much to say about it except that it sucked and it was scary and I had my two kids with me and if my van was not such a beast, I believe that we would have been in a very large multi-car accident!! Ok, I have a little bit more to say...
Yesterday was back to school night for my school and I had to take the kids to my parents' house and then rush back to school for the evening. I was really in a hurry...I had promised some other teachers I would meet them for dinner before the "festivities" began. I was driving safely, obeying laws and limits...seriously, no joke! I was on an off ramp that becomes and on ramp, it's Jersey- everything is like that, when BAM! I can't even put the sound into words! But yeah BAM..my head flies forward and slams back against my seat. Addison is silent and Nicholas says his leg hurts...I'm dazed. Honestly, I don't know what to do. My experience with accidents is so limited that I really am lost at this point. Both kids are buckled in and Nicholas looks fine, Addison seems fine too. I am not looking forward to surveying the damage- an insurance premium and deductible is not something we can afford right now! I stop for a minute, grab my cell phone- we've pulled over at this point- and get out of the car to see what's what. The other person, who, to me, looks like a man, has not gotten out of their car yet and I promptly look at them and yell, "I've got two kids in my car, what the hell were you thinking??" Turns out, not a man but an older woman, with a cane, who is fairly overweight...GREAT! She gets out, hobbles over and says to me, not I'm sorry, but "You think I did this on purpose?!?!?"
I was dumbfounded! Fine, yeah, you didn't do it on purpose- I'm rational, I get that. But could you maybe apologize?? She begins to tell me that she's just been at the doctor and she was nervous about the news she got, etc. and she was preoccupied. And what happens?? MY ability to be an angry bitch all of a sudden goes away and I become understanding..."oh, ok you're shaken up over medical news, I'm sorry." WTH?!?!?! She just crashed into me and endangered the lives of my two kids, me, and other people on the road. If you were that preoccupied you shouldn't have been driving!! I'm shaken at this point...calling 911 means at least an hour on the high way exchanging numbers, insurance, etc. It means police officers and honestly, it's going to mean a trip to the hospital because the kids are going to need to be checked according to what I know from police and other people. I haven't even surveyed the damage....I'm too busy listening to Lead Foot Lucy over here who is having medical issues. You want medical issues, have I got a story for you!?!?
So, damage time...her car? Pristine!! Seriously, NOT A SCRATCH ON IT!! My car, my moving fortress of doom, PRISTINE! I am still shocked by this! I'm not even kidding...there is nothing..no damage to either car...NOTHING! This woman hit us doing at least 20 mph- ok not super fast, but still. I don't know what to make of this...I'm not sure what to think. I looked at her and she looked at me and we both were shocked. The consensus immediately became, no damage? No scratches or injuries? No cops. I was ok with this...I'm still ok with this decision. There's nothing to be fixed or repaired.
I do wonder what was at work yesterday on the highway. I do believe that God was watching out for me but I have to ask, "why did it happen?". Things happen for a reason and part of me wonders if I wasn't put there so that Lead Foot Lucy could get her wake up call to pay attention. Or to make her realize that her medical issues aren't so bad when you think of the alternatives. I really don't know...I doubt I'll ever know and that drives me a little nuts because it was scary and I didn't enjoy it and we could've been seriously hurt. But we weren't...we're ok..she never apologized, that bothers me, but hopefully she'll be paying attention and next time she won't kill someone.
So, my van took it in the rear yesterday, literally and figuratively, and we survived and we learned and we move on. Just goes to show, someone has to be looking out for us!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 1:20 PM
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I just noticed that someone voted that they weren't enjoying the blog because it does not pertain to them, thank you for your honesty! If you're reading regularly, which you probably aren't because it doesn't interest you, could you anonymously leave why you're not interested. If it's just in general because you don't have kids or something like that I understand but if you were hoping for something different in regards to talking about kids and family, let me know too!
That goes for everyone, feel free to leave anonymous or non-anonymous comments! They're all welcome...as long as they're respectfully written! :)
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:37 PM
So, as I've mentioned a few times, I teach high school. I mainly deal with Sophomores but occasionally I have an upper classperson cross my path. Today was one of those days. We're preparing for a pretty big event on Friday and they used all of my class times to get the kids ready. No big deal! It's a no teaching day for me- always welcomed on the day of Back to School Night! So, we're all gathered together in this room and there are other classes there that share my subject matter, one of which being a senior class. I was looking at this one kid from across the room, mainly because he was misbehaving and just being a totally obnoxious individual and all of a sudden it hit me, this could be Nicholas in 14 or 15 years!! GOOD LORD!
I watched as this kid ignored instruction, goofed off and just plain out was a bother to everyone around him and I couldn't help but have this horrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that just screamed out that my child was going to be "that kid".
You know the kid I'm talking about, especially if you're an educator. The kid that all the teachers talk about in the teachers' room. The kid that the administration knows just by his or her walk. The kid that never seems to be without something to say or someone to say it to. That's going to be my kid and I don't know whether to be terrified of that fact or a little happy.
Yeah, "that kid" gets in trouble, but you know what? He's generally friendly, he can be molded into something amazing that can change the world and he's got a pretty good brain in his head and he knows how to use it. (Of course it can be a she too!)
Don't get me wrong, I've had the other kind of "that kid", too. The one who knows the administration for the wrong reasons. And the one whose something to say is never ever nice or appropriate. And the one whose "friends" aren't really friends but rather "customers". I've seen them both and I would never want my children to be that second kid, but if they are then we'll deal with it.
I'm completely fascinated with the idea of what my son, and my daughter, will look like when they grow up. I have no ideas in my head about how they'll turn out. Do I hope they'll be good looking, yeah a little bit. But I also hope they aren't so amazingly beautiful that they rely on nothing but that. I hope my kids are the kids that people want to know and be around because they are good people and not necessarily good looking. I hope my kids are the kids that other kids look up to and that the administration uses as an example of the all around "good kid". I hope my kids turn out to be "those kids" that teachers talk about as being the ones that left such a wonderful mark on the school. It terrifies me, though, that it's mine and Pat's job to make them those kids. What happens if we don't make them those kids? Are we failures? Doubtful. I do worry that no matter what we do our kids will turn out to be the other "that kid" but as long as we do the very best that we can than I can't worry too much! But I do..I mean I can't even hold on to a tweezer how in the world am I ever going to make my kids into good people!??!?
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 12:40 PM
Monday, September 17, 2007
I was sitting "around" last night. I can't stand that phrase because it makes me sound like I am so completely lazy that I just sit "around". So anyway, I was sitting on the couch trying to find something semi decent to watch on TV. The emmys really don't interest me, and everything else was re runs. So I put something on the TV...Bridezillas maybe...who knows?!?! I just wanted some background noise while I read my most recent issue of Good Housekeeping. I only got about 3 pages into it when I realized that my eyes just couldn't focus any longer and I had to put it down. But as I stared at the fall cover with ideas of how to lose 20 pounds by Thanksgiving and how to create magical Halloween crafts and foods the thought struck me, "How in the world did I get here?".
Don't take that the wrong way, I don't say it as if I dislike where I am- well, physically I'm not a happy camper about my living surroundings- but rather I say it as a woman with two kids who is 27 years old, in graduate school, teaching high school theology and driving a minivan. How in the world did I get here?? And when was someone going to let me know that I was headed here?
My choices, for the most part, have been completely conscious. I married my husband because I wanted to, I still do, I love him. He is one of the only people who has ever pushed me, in a unique way, to do what I really love and want to do. And he has supported me in just about every decision I make because I think he knows that if I'm going to fall, it's better for me to have done it by my own hand than to have someone else to blame. He reaffirmed this support to me the other day. I decided after a lot of back and forth and research on the issue that I am going to have the BRCA testing done, if my gynecologist will agree to it, to see if I have the genetic mutations for the Breast and Ovarian Cancer genes. I announced this to Pat while we were sitting around, not even talking.
"I'm going to have the test done to see if I have the gene mutations for Breast or Ovarian Cancer." I said in my lightest manor possible. I tread lightly on the Breast Cancer topic considering Pat's experiences with it.
"Really? Good, I'm glad. You should be tested, then we'll know to prepare." Pat replied in a very matter of fact, it's about time type of tone.
"That doesn't bother you that I will know that my chances of cancer are increased or decreased? You wouldn't be more worried?" A little shocked at Pat's sudden influx of maturity on this matter.
"No, we'll be ready if it ever happens. Do they offer it for men?"
"Um, I'm not sure." I respond Flabbergasted.
My husband does not discuss Breast Cancer, he does not deal well with the idea of Cancer, he does not deal well when I have a cold. I was thrown for a loop here and it was refreshingly surprising. Pat has faced his mother's death head on and in the past year with my illness and our preemie birth I think it has resurfaced and that scared him. It is incredible to me that this man who I can't get to pick up his underwear has come so full circle and is overly supportive in my "quest" to have this test.
So, yes, my choices have been conscious. I still don't know how I got here. When did I go from being the party girl to the homemaker and teacher? When did I stop being the lazy-I don't want to do school work and study- type of girl to the full time graduate student? How much further am I going to go? If you had sat me down Sophomore year of college or even Senior year of high school or college and said by 2007 you'll be married, have 2 children, a house that is teeters just on the edge of the earth, you will have faced the possibility of thyroid cancer and still live with the uncertainty, you will be living on medication, teaching high school, going to grad school- still, and driving a mini van I probably would've picked up my beer or Jack and Coke and laughed in your face. I never imagined myself here or at least not here this early. Would I do things differently? I don't really think so. You know what? I would do something differently! I would confirm with my wedding organist that the wedding starts at 11am not 3pm so that he wouldn't be late and take time away from the party!
I guess I brought myself here, and my husband and my kids have "tagged along". Many of the choices I've made have been joint choices between Pat and I. They have been the right things for our family, at the time and sometimes beyond. I was reading a book about cancer treatments about a year back and this one piece of advice stuck out, "Make the choices for your treatment based on all of the information you have in the moment. You cannot worry about how things will change because there's a chance they won't." That's how Pat and I have tried to make our decisions about everything. We're a "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it" type of couple and family. It works best for us that way.
So, my Good Housekeeping is waiting for me at home as is my Counseling Skills textbook and my Counseling Theory textbook. I've brought myself here and would I rather be anywhere else? Probably not. There is a Friday or Saturday night when I'd love to be in a restaurant away from my kids and occasionally away from my husband. But I love those days when I can sit at home when I can make one of those Halloween crafts from my Good Housekeeping.
Oh, and I just bought my FIFTH tweezer!!
Just so you're aware, you can vote and I won't know who votes for what. It shows up anonymously. You can comment anonymously too!! Would love some feedback....
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 1:30 PM
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I hope you readers out there...and I know there has to be more than one of you...vote when it's time for Presidential elections and don't sit back and ignore the polls as you appear to be doing on here! :)
Would love some feedback....
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:23 PM
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
So, we're at the allergist today, and by we're I mean me and Nicholas- the crazed, no napped, accident ridden, overly talkative, "ADD like", toddler who is a giant rash since it covers 90% of his body. This is our first visit and we were warned....it was going to last AT LEAST an hour and a half! I don't think that idea really hit me until I got to the parking lot of this new doctor's office and realized that Nicholas had on pants that didn't belong to him courtesy of an accident at school today and a forgetful mommy who neglected to drop off more extra clothes. I then realized that the shirt he was wearing was covered in CRAP- no, not literal poopy crap, just dirt and food, etc. the typical toddler school fare. And to top it off, he still had some serious marks from the self mauling he gave himself yesterday. Yeah...this was going to go well!
I started by SCOURING my van for pants...any pants...they could've even been Addison's and if they were better than the ones he had on I wouldn't have cared! NO SUCH LUCK! Then it was the search for a shirt...well, there were no pants so of course...no shirt! And finally, the hardest one of all, the search for new skin to hide the gouges on the side of his face...you can guess the answer to that one! So, I took my handy dandy wipes and wiped him down head to toe, although I skipped his hands and discovered that in the office! I wiped his face down about 20 times hoping to miraculously perform baby wipe plastic surgery and remove the soon-to-be scars on the side of his face. Shockingly, this did not work!
We headed inside and within minutes were ushered into the exam room- don't worry, I'm getting to the Espanol point! SO, the doctor comes in and seriously, you would've thought that either Nicholas or I had some serious issues with staying in one place- Oh, wait...Nicholas does! We finally settled on a spot on the floor and, yes, the doctor- whom we just met- joined us!
The next step was the scratch test to see what Nicholas is allergic to. The doctor drew a grid on Nicholas' back and you would've thought he was being entertained by the funniest thing ever- he loved it! Then the testing started...not so much loving anymore! If you're not familiar with this, there is a grid drawn some place on your body- for kids the back is best because it isn't really accessible to little hands. Then tiny needle-like "instruments" are dipped in substances that mimic common allergens and the patient is then pierced with each instrument once in a box. Each allergen has its own box. Nicholas had 19. It was not fun! You then have to wait 15 minutes to find out the results but in that 15 minutes I have a very uncomfortable toddler who just wants to sit down and hang out. NO SUCH LUCK! Their back cannot touch anything! So, I have the task of entertaining this child.....I mean my child!
We started off with the alphabet and counting and that actually worked for a bit. Finally, the last time I asked him to count he started counting in Spanish. I wasn't overly surprised by this considering his love for Dora, Diego and his teachers. He takes Spanish in school as part of a Spanish program....it's pretty great! So, he's counting in Spanish, uno...dos...tres...etc. Nicholas counts perfectly up to Ocho....eight. Now, I know he can count to ten in Spanish...I've heard it....I KNOW IT! But he stops at ocho and immediately starts to sing Handy Manny....yes, Handy Manny. All of you Disney Channel fans will know HM. He's actually Fez from "That 70's Show" and he's a carpenter with these talking tools.....eight of them. When it's time to go and fix something all the tools dance around and Manny counts to eight in Spanish and the tools jump in the tool box and they go off to their job singing. Well, my son has abandoned nine and ten in Spanish for the rest of the song. I almost fell off my chair and the doctor just sort of looked at us....until I explained, of course! Yes, my son can count in Spanish but only up to eight and then he breaks into song! Can't wait to explain that one!
The scratch test came back with a SEVERE dander and inhaled allergen allergy so now Nicholas is on some more meds and we're going for X-rays to show us more information and of course some more tests. I've decided after the longest 15 minutes of my life where I did the Hokie Pokie AT LEAST 25 times and the "joy" of watching your child being repeatedly pierced with potentially dangerous substances, that Pat is taking him for the X-ray. Pat is not aware of this yet, I think I'll teach Nicholas how to say it in Spanish and then sing a song about it!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:56 PM
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Apparently, my son watches Crank Yankers without me knowing! That must be why he climbs into our bed at 4 in the morning....to turn on the tube and watch Comedy Central!
We were sitting here watching tv when someone on some random show I was watching said, "You've got mail." Then Nicholas starts with, "I got mail, I got mail" and Pat starts laughing hysterically. It seems that Nicholas and Pat caught an episode of VH1's best shows ever and there's an episode of Crank Yankers where the character just keeps saying that over and over again.
Now imagine a two year old saying it over and over again...actually pretty funny now that I know the context! Wish I had the video camera for that one!!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:16 PM
I started this blog because I was "inspired" by a very funny woman from Illinois who has six children and is hysterical. A few of my good friends and my husband all told me that I was just as funny....I'm beginning to wonder if they were just feeding my ego! :)
Let me know, via comment or poll, if you like what you're seeing or if it's just not funny or not what you want to read! I enjoy writing and I know it's a little more serious than I had first started out on but I promise, the funny should be coming any day now!
And pass me along....
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 2:40 PM
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Well, I'm back and really, aside from the fact that I'm exhausted because a few of us stayed up until 3am this morning, I feel like I had such a great past 4 days! What a great experience and what a great chance to meet people who share the same desire to help those in need of someone else to talk to and in need of chance to bring their life back on track. While it was 4 days full of class during the day it was also 3 nights filled with pool, foosball, friendship and what could only be considered as mini therapy sessions between 80 therapists in training in a bar! The phrase, "And how does that make you feel?" could be heard in response to just about everything. Whether it was in response to the program coordinator failing to inform students that they aren't actually registered in the necessary classes or a reaction to finding out that the buffet line was out of rice pudding for the night.
So, yes, I'm home and my house is still standing and my kids are still in one piece. Actually, my house is pretty clean and my kids are doing really great. It appears that if I were to ask them the dreaded, "How does that make you feel?" in connection to my being away all weekend, they would respond with something along the lines of, "We had tons of fun with Daddy! But we're glad you're back and had a good time. Can I have a cookie?"
Pat, as he so kindly informed me, found the time to bake cookies- albeit without brown sugar so they are pretty much inedible to everyone except Nicholas- take the kids to my grandfather's house to see my family and hang out, do some laundry AND straighten up and vacuum. How does that make me feel? To be perfectly honest, very happy and a little, um, inadequate. My husband, who gets stressed walking through the supermarket, was able to take 4 days and do everything that it takes me two weeks to accomplish. I've come to the conclusion that "Mom the Superhero" does not exist and neither does "Dad the Superhero" but "Mom and Dad the Fearless Tag Team Duo" does. We pick up each other's slack and Pat did just that these past 4 days. I had to go on this residency because it is a requirement of the program, and I'll have to do it again next year. But I really needed to go on this residency! I needed to get away and not necessarily from my family but just away. I needed to see two of my oldest friends on Friday night and hang out and catch, unexpectedly. I needed to meet these women who reminded me about humor and friendship. I needed to be someones "wing man" last night until 3 in the morning because those are the things that remind me that I'm not just mom or wife or teacher. Those are the things that remind that I'm Alison and I'm funny and fun and outgoing and actually pretty easy to get along with...I am someone that people want to be around. These past few months, and even before that, I don't think I remembered that. I think a lot contributed to me not remembering almost who I am, but the fact that I've ran through every emotion out there, sometimes more than one at a time, at crazy levels since last August is the biggest culprit.
Yeah, I had a GREAT time...I enjoyed my classes and my girls nights in the bar and at dinner. But I'm happy to be home. My heart swelled when I heard Nicholas say, "Mommy" as soon as I walked in the door at my parents' house. I couldn't help but tear up when Addison smiled at me with a mouth full of fruit when I saw her for the first time since Thursday. It's great to be home! I'm looking forward to work. Even more, I'm looking forward to a few weeks from now or even a few months from now when I get back together with a few new friends who are my own personal "therapists" and who don't need to ask me, "How Does that make you feel?" because they already know!
Now, I am eagerly awaiting former "Dad the Superhero's" arrival home from work because I have a GIANT bug hidden under a sneaker and I'm too afraid to touch it! The bug makes me feel like I'm glad to have my own "exterminator"!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:53 PM
Friday, September 7, 2007
Well, I'm not home this weekend...I know, you all miss me! HAH! That's doubtful considering I know 99% of the people who read this blog. I'm "away" in Madison at a residency program for Grad School and actually I am really enjoying myself! For the first time in FOREVER I have a hotel room to myself! And honestly, we were thinking about bringing the kids here so that I could spend time with Pat and the kids during free time. But really, the amount of CRAP that would have had to come with us and them in order to keep everyone happy would have been ASTRONOMICAL!! So, yes, I'm alone in a hotel with a bar in it and some really great people!
We spend the day, from 9 to 5, in classes with a few breaks in the middle and then we have dinner and we're done by 6pm. It's really very nice...the classes are a bit long and can get tedious but other than that...not too bad!
I don't feel like a mom this weekend except for the fact that I'm surrounded by other moms! It's strange because we're doing our very best to avoid "mommy talk". You know, the conversation that goes something like this...
Me: Oh, you have kids? (after a sideways mention by someone that they are so happy that their husband is getting a taste of having the kids alone)
Them: Yes, ....insert any number here from 1 to 4. What about you?
Me: Yup, 2 of them...insert names and ages here.
Them: Oh, that's great! Do you miss them?
Me:.....OF COURSE I Miss them! I mean, I do...I mean, well...I mean, I haven't been in a hotel room alone since....well...never. But, yeah I miss them! Seriously, I really do. What about you?
Them: Oh, yeah yeah, miss them.....(to the bartender) could I have another Jack and diet, please? So, you have an infant? Are you still nursing?
Me: No, my daughter has digestion problems and I have medication that I don't want to pass on to her. (To bartender) I'll have Jack and Ginger please. (Back to Them) I nursed for a bit, she was preemie....blah blah blah....are you nursing?
Them: Yes....(lavishly sipping drink)...actually I'm pretty sure pumping and dumping will be the phrase of the weekend for me! Hah!
Enter third person...new kids...new stories...new drinks...this, with the exception of class, has been the weekend thusfar! And you know what? It's been GREAT! Seriously....these, mainly women, have just been AWESOME! Mommy talk really is at a minimum. We're grownups. We're women who really haven't been out all that much in awhile. We're wives who love our husbands but who are thrilled to know that our husbands are spending "quality time with the kids" this weekend. We're training to be counselors, so we're amazing listeners. We're everything that each of us could want in each other and sadly, we'll have to walk away from each other on Sunday.
Luckily for me, I've found a few really great women who are all completely different. One is married with a baby, one is engaged, and one is single and it is the PERFECT mix for all of us. It's like we came together this weekend to meet each other. We've been learning how to listen, yes that's right, learning how to listen- but as therapists, not moms or wives or friends or anything else. We're learning how to be therapists and this is best therapy I've had in a REALLY long time! I could say I wish I had found them sooner but I don't know that the connect would have been there if I had...we weren't who we were supposed to be before this.
I tried to find humor in this weekend and believe me it's there...or here, I should say, but my kids aren't here, I do miss them a lot, but they're my humorous inspiration...usually. I did just hang up the phone with my husband who informed me that he made chocolate chip cookies with Nicholas and without brown sugar...YUCK...and that he missed me...he really missed me and when I said he only misses me because there's no one else there to tag team the kids, he didn't deny it!
So, I'm going to enjoy my classes tomorrow and Sunday and I'm going to enjoy my time with these people and relish every single moment of it because I may not get the chance again for a really long time! And that's ok...it makes me appreciate this and them that much more! It's like a "forced" girls weekend with strangers who are like best friends.
And yes, there are men here and they are just as friendly and funny as the women but they seem to stay in one group as if they're afraid of us....go figure!
Enjoy your weekend and don't forget the brown sugar...it makes everything a little sweeter!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:46 PM
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
My house has become a bottomless pit for tweezers. Expensive tweezers, cheap tweezers, mid priced tweezers, red ones, blue ones, and the occasional silver one. All of them come into my house and promptly disappear! And you know what? It's really starting to PISS ME OFF! That's right, I'm angry! I'm angry that I've gone through at least 4 tweezers in the past 2 months....FOUR!! WTH!??! Where are they GOING?!?!?!
I digress...I'm sorry, this is how I get when the beginning of school rolls around. Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I love teaching. I love the hours, I love the vacations, I love it all...I really do...and when I find the right school that makes it even better! I hate that I leave my kids...well, no, I hate that I have to be somewhat involuntarily separated from them. I definitely need a break from my kids each day but there are some days that I just don't want to. (Those days are few and far between!) I can't stand that I leave my house at 5:45 each morning and everyone is still asleep and I have to silently kiss my kids goodbye from outside their doors. I can't stand that I don't get to see Nicholas come running into the bedroom literally all bright eyed and bushy tailed and it makes me a little sad to know that I don't get to walk into Addison's room and see her sleepy smile just as she's waking up. It's hard for me to think about Pat dropping them off each morning and knowing that Nicholas is probably pitching a fit because he doesn't want Daddy to leave and Addison probably has no clue but may give off a little whimper when someone besides Mommy or Daddy takes her out of her car seat and gives her her breakfast. I try to keep those thoughts out of my head all day because I do miss them. The pictures on my desk and my filing cabinet don't do them justice. I can't hear their laughs or their cries, I can imagine them.
Sometimes, I really am ok with just imagining them. According to Pat, this morning was one that he would have liked to have been imagining them. Apparently, Nicholas was an angel from 6:30am until 7:15 and then when Pat went to dress him he went into full on crazed demon mode where he ran around the house screaming at ungodly levels and in tongues. I can sit here and chuckle because I know I would have been a nut job if it had been me and my day would not have gone well from then on. But with Pat, he gets annoyed but gets the job done and the kids to school on time and in one piece.
So, yes, the first day of school, when Pat is doing all the dropping off and I'm busy all day, is hard for me and I really dread it for most of the summer. I love that my kids are getting wonderful social interaction and being exposed to everything, including diseases (yeah that's right), but I miss them and I think about them constantly. I don't know if I'd want to be home with them all the time. I've been doing that for the past 6 months and it's been hard...very hard. Like I said, I Love my job but you know what? I love my kids more! Part of the reason I love my kids more is because my job makes me a better mom. It helps me to feel good about myself which helps me to come home and be the best mom I can be to my kids....no matter how hard it is for me to have them in daycare and miss them all day.
You know what would make me an even better mom? If I could find my damned tweezer!!!! SERIOUSLY, this is the 4th one! It never even made it out of the package!! COME ON!! I need to pluck...I NEED TO...I WANT TO...it makes me feel better...more put together! I'm beginning to wonder that maybe I need to do a "destructive" search of one little boy's toy box. I have this strange feeling that he has a tweezer army hidden at the bottom of his toy box and they are plotting with the toys from China to take over the house.
I need a vacation....and I haven't even seen my students yet!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:52 PM
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Ok, seriously now...I can't take it! People are having their Labor Day bbqs, great...enjoy yourselves! I'm home with the kids, which is fine, EXCEPT all of the morons out there who are setting off their stupid illegal fireworks are scaring the living crap out of Nicholas! I swear to God, I'm at my breaking point! I'm just about ready to get in my car and drive to wherever these wrong time of the year fireworks setters are and take those illegal fireworks and shove them up their "booties"! I've been upstairs more times tonight to tell Nicholas it's ok and get him back into bed than I think I have ALL WEEK!!
Seriously!??!?! IT'S LABOR DAY! WHAT IS THE POINT?!?!?! OHHHH fireworks on Labor Day, what a great freaking idea??!?
I know, I know, I was probably at the parties with fireworks on the wrong holidays just a few years ago but I just can't take it now!!! And I CANNOT TAKE THE SCREAMING FROM MY 2 YEAR OLD!! How this child isn't asleep yet is BEYOND me! He's sick as a dog, he's got a ton of tylenol in him- well not a ton, the "prescribed" amount- and he ate a huge dinner that should've put any normal human to sleep hours ago!! He's been in bed now for over 2 hours...no I'm sorry, he's been in his room for over 2 hours! Damned Fireworks! I'm halfway to the phone to call the cops but what do you say, "Well, officer I keep hearing these illegal fireworks going off and my kid can't sleep because he's afraid of them." I can only imagine the response!
I need a drink....and some fireworks...they're so pretty and they drown out the screaming!
Happy Labor Day....enjoy it quietly!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:11 PM
So, both kids are asleep...the husband is at the restaurant, working, and I had someone ask about Nicholas' struggle with deafness. I figured, this is a good time to get a little serious and tell you about the first 15 months of his life.
Let me start here, Nicholas is now 2.5 years old and is no longer deaf. He does still have moments where his words come out slightly different, and by different I mean not sounding like the average 2 year old speech but having a quality to them that is similar to that of a deaf person who has learned to speak. This is has lessened quite a bit over the past few months. I am really the only person who notices it but I'm hypersensitive to it now.
Ok, so Nicholas was born in February of 2005, the DEAD of winter. It was snowing when we went into the hospital and it was snowing while I was in the hospital. The only time it wasn't snowing was when we brought him home! I was induced with Nicholas because my bp had climbed quite steadily and they thought he was 9 pounds....I was about 38.5 weeks. He was born after 13 hours of labor, 2.5 of those were spent pushing!! He was perfect, we were trying nursing but he very quickly developed pretty bad jaundice. He was under the phototherapy lights for a number of days and I went home without him- horrible horrible feeling!! That was just background, so you knew where we were coming from.
We were told by my then pediatrician that Nicholas was not to leave the house for 9 weeks! I only went slightly crazy during that time...HAH! So, within those first weeks he developed his first cold and his first ear infection. It wasn't terrible but enough that he needed to be on antibiotics. And that's where it began. From that point on Nicholas would have an ear infection roughly every 6 to 8 weeks. We tried a few antibiotics two or three times to no avail. NOTHING was making these infections go away permanently. During this time, our pediatrician left the practice we were with so we started seeing a new doctor who I ABSOLUTELY LOVE! Let me tell you, I trust my doctors 100%, that's why I bring my kids to them! They've seen a lot more than I ever have...they've been to a lot more school than I ever will....I TRUST them and their opinions.
OK...so the old pediatrician leaves, and it is the dead of winter, Nicholas is in daycare at this point...there are many reasons as to why my perfect little son would have all of these infections. The pediatrician wanted to see what the summer would bring in terms of sickness and all since it would be warmer and he would be out of daycare. During this time Nicholas was physically and emotionally/mentally developing normally, if not ahead of schedule. He had TONS of problems with formula, though. We went through 5 formulas before discovering acid reflux and a pretty severe milk protein and lactose allergy- he was on nutramigen and it was a LIFESAVER.
So, things were going well...formula was sorted out, he was growing and developing but was still having allergies. I started to notice little things, he wouldn't startle at loud noises. He NEVER woke up when the phone rang or someone opened the garage with opener (the garage was directly under his room and it was loud!). Things like that but I never thought to mention them to my pediatrician because I thought he was just a sound sleeper and maybe being in daycare had conditioned him to the loud sudden noises. Summer brought ear infections, just not as many and really they did sort of die down....maybe 2 all summer....not too bad! Nicholas started cruising and walking, he really didn't "talk" or babble much and I only realize that now becuase our daughter does it SO MUCH! This is when the indicators for me really started. We tell him No and he wouldn't even turn his head. We would see that he was going to do something dangerous and scream to try and get him to stop in tracks and be "scared" and nothing would happen...no response! We would have the TV on and he would cruise up to the stand and put his ears against the speakers at the bottom of the TV and stare up at the screen....the volume was at a pretty good level because I listen to it quite loud due to my own minor hearing loss. These indicators really started in the fall of 2005 just as the infections were picking up again and just as we were getting back into daycare.
We went through the whole winter and at one I asked my pediatrician what she would do because she did offer me a specialist's name and number. She said, knowing my history- I apparently had a ton of ear infections as a baby- that she would wait for her own kids. The first thing she found was that ENTs, Ear Nose and Throat doctors, jump right to surgery and she wanted to do everything she could to prevent that. She felt that if things didn't clear up by his first birthday then we needed to pursue a specialist. I agreed...I talked with my husband about it and my parents and found that the infections ran in the family...it made sense to me.
Nicholas' first birthday came and went. He was speaking MINIMALLY. We maybe got a 'no' or 'dada' out of him, not much else. That was ok too, my dad didn't speak until he was 4. Once he did start speaking it was in complete sentences but, again, it made sense to me. Boys seem to develop a little later as well...I was not overly worried except for the persistent infections and constant medications.
So, we're into mid-March/early April of 2006 and I've made an appointment to see the ENT for many reasons but the main reason was this: we were on our last oral antibiotic. We had exhausted all options and the next step would be shots and I could not do that to my baby. So, we first saw and audiologist who informed us of a profound hearing loss, roughly 80%. It was like Nicholas was under such deep deep water that everything was jumbled and impossible for him to hear and process. HOW HORRIBLE! I didn't know what to think at that point, I didn't know how to feel....I just felt almost kind of empty. My little boy couldn't hear...what would this do to him for the rest of his life?!? The next step was the doctor, same day. I wish I could remember the exact words he said to me but I think the feelings of fear and sadness for Nicholas just took over. It was VERY overwhelming! The basic gist of the meeting was that it was bad. It looked like a tubal defect in both ears. BUT it also looked like it was totally fixable. The tubal defect was preventing the ears from draining at all and the sitting fluid was causing all of the infections. They would never go away until the fluid was drained and the defect corrected. OK...what do we do and how quickly can we do it?!?
We came back for one more visit and heard all of the risks, etc. and then were scheduled for a May 4th surgery date. May 4th rolled around and my husband, my mom, Nicholas and I went to the ambulatory center at Morristown Memorial Hospital and got ready for his surgery. He hadn't eaten or drank anything in more than 12 hours and I felt terrible because I knew all he wanted was his sippy cup! Poor Kid!
Pat and I were able to both bring him back into the prep area but only one of us could bring him into the operating room. The nurses and the doctor tell you flat out it should be the one of you who is stronger, who won't freak out when you see your child immediately pass out, etc. Well, Pat looks at me and what do you think he does?!?!? "Ali, that's definitely you. I won't be able to take it!" Gee thanks! I'm so happy you consider me so strong! So I get into my too snug jumpsuit and carry my monkey, in his pjs, into the operating room behind the nurse. God, what horrible sight and I've been in many an operating room. This table that my boy is going to be strapped to and I have to put him there, but it's for the best. I have to keep telling myself that. The nurses are wonderful as is the anesthesiologist....everyone clearly understands the heaviness of the moment. Nicholas is placed on the table and it's explained to me that it's better for him to cry because he takes in the anesthesia quickly that way. Ok great, that's exactly what I want....seriously, I want him to scream so that he sleeps faster so that this is over for him faster. What does he do? He lays on the table, smiling, with big wide eyes staring at everyone and everything! Finally, I think he notices that this is totally unique and different and a little scary and we both start to cry. Within 8 minutes he's asleep and I'm ushered out, still crying. Pat is waiting for me and we go back to my mom in the waiting room. I get a cup of coffee for my mother- that gesture is huge in my own health but more on that another time- hand it to her, sit down and wait. I don't have to wait long, the doctor is out within 15 minutes. WOW! He gives us the report, the amount of fluid in each tube was astronomical. He drained the tubes completely, twice just to be sure. He inserted artificial tubes to help keep the real ones open and to help drain any excess fluid. That was that!
Pat and I were brought back to recovery where Nicholas was wheeled to us and he was groggy but asking for Daddy...saying Daddy. We sat there for awhile. Nicholas at Graham Crackers, had some juice and cried in discomfort. Even his cry took on a different tone at this point, it was strange. The four of us went to get something to eat once we were done in recovery and after we had picked up a script for antibiotic drops and Nicholas was incredible at the diner. He was hearing EVERYTHING! You could see his reactions to horns while we were driving, his slight startle to dishes being dropped in the diner, anything and everything. In those moments and in more and more moments over the next few weeks I realized that this surgery really and truly saved him. Within weeks he was speaking words that we didn't even realize he could have picked up, it was wonderful!
We went back for follow ups and the tubes were working great! We go back every 6 months now and the worst thing that has happened is that he had a giant wax buildup in one ear. It was removed and that was that. The tubes are still in, they should fall out by 18 months after the surgery which is this November. If they don't, we do have to discuss removal and I'm nervous that removal will bring on the infections again but he'll be three soon and he knows how to communicate now and he knows how to tell us that he's sick...it'll be different and we'll know how to react.
I was sure that Nicholas would have delayed speech and be in therapy for a long time, I just wanted to make sure that it was started ASAP. Nicholas last visit to the pediatrician was an amazing step forward. I brought up the idea of therapy and pediatrician just sort of looked at me. I had explained to her what I felt was slightly underdeveloped speech and she asked Nicholas to say a few words. He did and then he kept speaking. At the end of the appointment, which I believe was his 2 year checkup, my doctor informed me that therapy would not be necessary- Nicholas has this vocabulary of a child who is at least 1.5 years older than him!
It's incredible to me, the journey he has taken and we've just kind of been tagging along for! There are the days where I will jokingly say that I wish he still couldn't speak or where I'm convinced he's still deaf because he certainly doesn't listen to anything I say! But, my children are a miracle- all children are miracles. My doctors were miracles and used their knowledge and skill to make sure that my son lives a life of sounds and music that I was very afraid he wouldn't.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 3:33 PM
I came home from church a little while ago and what did I walk into?? My house was still a disaster, Nicholas only had on his pajama top (from China which means that it's slowly leaking formaldehyde into his skin) and his diaper, Addison was asleep in her bouncer and my husband was wrapped up, like my 99 year old great grandmother used to be in 100 degree heat, on the couch as if he were dying! My sink was still full of dishes, the toys were still all over the floor and the pack of diapers we purchased yesterday were still sitting at the foot of the steps, just where I had left them because I had too much stuff hanging off my arms as I came in from the car.
But that's not what "bothered" me the most. The TV, of course, was on and truly I was expecting SportsCenter, PTI, something like that to be on the "Big Screen" since Nicholas has been using our mini DVD player to watch Mickey's Halloween. NOPE! Can you possibly guess what my sickly husband was watching?? Even if you've known him as long as I've known him or longer, you will NEVER guess this. Ready for it.....wait for it............
"The Devil Wears Prada".
Ok, take a deep breath once you're done guffawing.....let it out and go ahead laugh a bit more. Because you know what? This wasn't on because he was surfing the channels, this was on because he was WATCHING it! And get this, it wasn't the first time this WEEK he was watching it! Yeah, that's right, this WEEK!! I would have to say in the past 3 months, I've caught him watching Devil...at least 4 times. He and I watched it together once and after that he was on his own. I didn't care for it much. The book was better! But apparently, my sports loving, action film watching, war video game and Madden playing husband is a big fan of the NY fashion scene! Who knew!?!? I may have to start video taping these Devil sessions because I'm going to need ammunition in the future. I'm also going to need to be able to say, "Oh honey, you don't want to watch this ultra female romantic sappy love story comedy? But it's JUST LIKE "The Devil Wears Prada"." I expect his response to be one of joyous hand clapping and jumping up and down...in the middle of Blockbuster.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:30 AM
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Nicholas slept in our bed last night.....again.
Before we had kids I had these visions of Saturday and Sunday mornings where all of the kids- I would, of course, have 6 or 7 of them- would pile into our bed and we'd climb underneath the immaculate white oversize down comforter that made our 4 poster King bed look like a big comfortable white cloud. And there we would sit, playing, talking, enjoying the early morning hours of our weekend....enjoying each other being a wonderful happy family!
Fast forward a wedding, two pregnancies and labors and here's the real deal....We have two kids which is enough...FOR RIGHT NOW. Our bed? Well, it doesn't even have a footboard let alone four posts to go with anything else. Although we do have a very nice hand crafted headboard courtesy of my dad. Oh yeah, it's a queen...just about large enough for um, well, me. Our big white cloudlike comforter...out the window- down would send me into such a breathing predicament that I can only imagine it would end our idyllic family Saturday morning scene. We have a red one that I loved when we received it as an early wedding gift and apparently, our cats, at the time, loved it also as does every single one of the sippy cups in our house! Immaculate does not even begin to describe what this comforter now looks like. So, now we're to the part where the kids all effortlessly climb into bed with us and we enjoy our morning....HAH! Nicholas has taken to running at full speed screaming bloody murder into our bed at around 3 in the morning. He immediately wedges himself in between Pat and I without even the thought of waking us. So 3:30 rolls around and I roll over and lo and behold somehow my two year old is in bed with us! This is where the fun begins because this is where I "gently" nudge Pat and he looks at me as to say, "WTH?!?!?" Then he realizes why I've nudged him and I hear, "Nicholas, WHAT-ARE-YOU-DOING?" Nicholas is, of course, dead to the world because he's so freaking comfortable in our bed. The rest of the night does not play out well. Nicholas sleeps diagonally which puts everyone else in the bed at a disadvantage for actually getting space or sleep. I have been known to sleep on the edge of the bed with my hand anchored on the floor to make sure I don't go flying out of the bed. And after a wonderful night of sleep, Nicholas is up at 5:30 bouncing off the walls asking for Noggin and his sippy cup- at the top of his lungs!
This is the most common scenario for us and our bed sharing. Usually, we can add Addison in around 8 in the morning and get maybe 5 minutes before freak out ensues from all parties involved because breakfasts need to be made and diapers need to be changed. A less common scenario involves Nicholas, 3am and our bedroom TV. He takes both remotes, again wedges himself in between us both and then whacks one of us in the head, unintentionally of course, and says he wants the TV on, please. Well, he did say please and neither one of us has any concept of time or space so of course the TV goes on. Well, what SICK SICK SICKO decided that it would be important for children's programming to be on at ALL hours of the day?!?!? Seriously, I do NOT enjoy sleeping to the sounds of Kipper the Dog or Sagwa the Cat...the dreams are frightening for all involved!
So my resolution? I'm getting a new bed. My new bed is going to look remarkably like a day bed that was once a crib. It has sports themed sheets and a lovely headboard and even two side boards. It's got it's own music box that will lull me to sleep with lights and swimming fish. And of course it has this wonderfully warm green fleece blanket with satin trim. It's mine and I really don't care if there is anyone else, namely a 2.5 year old boy, in it with me....I'm sleeping there!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:51 AM