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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

When the walls come tumbling down

My youngest is almost six. The baby gates were removed long ago, as were the drawer latches. The outlet covers are there mainly because I'm too lazy to remove them, not because I really think they are needed anymore.

And, oh yeah, the bookcases are still anchored to the wall, probably forever.

Except they aren't.

We found this out last night when D, my almost six year old, tried to reach something on a higher shelf and pulled his six-foot-tall bookcase down on top of him.

The anchor behind it? Snapped like a small twig.

I was in the next room, tucking the girls into bed when I heard a scream and loud BANG! I ran into his room and, to my horror, a scene that will be forever seared into my brain, saw that bookcase lying on the ground, no child in sight.

Oh please, oh please, oh please is all I could think as I pushed the bookcase up. My husband, who was right behind me, jumped over me and into a pile of shattered glass from the picture frames. Our son screamed in fright and pain and reached up to him.

If there is any "good" in a bookcase falling on a child, it's that this particular bookcase was a piece of crap. The shelving "floated" on plastic clips so, instead of pinning my child to the ground and breaking every bone, they collapsed on impact. The wood was cheap particleboard, not heavy hardwood. The only books on it were on the bottom two shelves; the upper shelves were just a few picture frames and nicknacks.

And our little guy escaped with just some bruises and cuts. A quick trip to the ER and an x-ray confirmed that he may be sore for a few days, but no major problems (mad props to Norwood Hospital and Dr. Kim for their amazing ER).

My husband had checked and replaced all the bookcase anchors that had grown old and brittle, though this one, on a bookcase we were tossing just "as soon as we buy a new one" may have been overlooked.

So use our late night experience to your benefit and make sure you don't have any anchors that are no longer holding your furniture to the wall. We were so, so, so very lucky. I can't even think about what would have happened if our luck had run out.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Life, though different, marches on

I've been reluctant to post too much about the issue we've had with one of our kids (for the background, please go here), since every time I am ready to write something ("Things are so much better!", "Things couldn't be worse!") the exact opposite of what I'm about to say occurs.

In a nutshell: still no medical reason why one of our kids is afraid to eat. The good news is that this child IS eating some foods. The bad news is that there is still pain, although with some comfort and redirection, the pain can disappear within a minute or two.

The other bad news is that this child is reluctant to DO anything, which, as you can imagine with three kids and summer's open schedule, is a bit hard to take.

"No, I don't want to play with XYZ"

"No, I don't want to go to the beach"

"No, I don't want to go out for ice cream"

It's as if an alien came and replaced my "up-for-anything, happy-go-lucky" child with a "NO" robot.

But, I press on. There have been a couple of playdates----happy, wonderful playdates where I see the smile on my child's face is as big as ever. There have been outings and bike rides and walks and movies. Not all smooth-sailing, but none total disasters either.

But, a couple of weeks of summer camp looms on the horizon. Every time I think about it, I get a stomach ache myself. Will my child go to camp easily? Will this be a struggle? And then, selfishly, will we lose the hundreds of dollars if this child refuses to go?

Summertime, and the living's easy. Or so the song goes.

I wish it were so.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: The Mini Mosh Pit

This is what happens when we make our kids wait a few minutes in a store with cool music and big mirrors. . .thankfully, no one tried to crowd surf.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Birthday wishes

My sister hit a milestone birthday last week, and though I don't want to spread her age all over the internet (I did that already, heh), I thought instead I'd share the 40 Things I Love About My Sister:

1. She likes me enough to take me on her fancy trip to Topnotch Spa in Vermont, where I ate my weight in sushi and had a foot massage that can only be described in vowels: aaaaauuueeoooooooo.

2. She has always loved my children like her own. And they know Auntie K has their back.

3. She listens politely when I try to give her "helpful advice", otherwise known as "meddling".

4. She not only doesn't make fun of my more questionable attire, she often bought it for me:


5. She has the most kick-ass birth story ever. Seriously.

6. She is an amazing entertainer, throwing birthday parties that make mere mortals weep.

7. She is even louder than I. I think. Or maybe we are equal. I can't tell anymore. My ears are shot.

8. She remembers things about my dad I have long forgotten.

9. She moved within a half-mile of my mother, thus insuring that I am NOT the geographically closest child.

10. She hosts Thanksgiving, saving me the anguish of having to cook a turkey.

11. We babysat the same kids, so though we are three years apart, we have many shared memories, some we both wish we could forget.

12. We also worked in the same laundromat,

13. cashiered at the same neighborhood market,

14. and worked at the same amusement park (before it got all cool and called itself Six Flags).

15. She endured being "Christina's little sister" as a child without growing up to hate my guts.

16. I can call her and complain about my mother without her contradicting me or telling me to "grow up".

17. We share similar tastes in music, meaning she was with me at many, many of these shows, and I don't cringe when she turns on the car stereo. In fact, I'm pretty certain she has no idea who Michael-fucking-Buble is.

18. She changes her hair style almost as much as I do, making me feel less schizophrenic about my hair.

19. She always has great liquor, including my absolute favorite: Three Olives Grape Vodka (seriously: put it in lemonade right now).

20. She gets excited to come see my girls twirl on a stage every spring at their dance recital.

21. She answers my phone calls, even with caller ID.

22. She always has good snacks.

23. and good magazines to borrow,

24. and good DVD's to borrow

25. and books,

26. and jewelry. . .(geez, maybe I should go shopping. . . )

27. I love her friends. And they totally tolerate me.

28. She still tries to beat me into the pond every year (well played this year, m'dear).

29. Without even trying, she can make me laugh. Mainly thinking about her 80's hair.

30. Or maybe I'm thinking of one of her funny stories,

31. Oh, no, I'm remembering this photo (thanks, Mom! always wanted matching nylon running suits!):


32. Or this one: (do we even look like sisters?)


33. Homemade marshmallows. 'Nuff said.

34. She made my niece and nephew who I love to pieces. Could they please hurry up and grow up a wee bit more? Auntie wants to do a big pig-pile sleepover.

35. She always invites us to visit on their annual pilgrimage to the Cape.

36. It won't bother her one bit that I'm a week late getting this post finished.

37. She isn't a conservative,

38. but she isn't too politically correct either.

39. She is living proof that my mother's constant assertion that friends come and go, but a sister is forever is definitely true.

40. She finally has a blog! And, if you've made it this far, please stop by to wish her a Happy Birthday.


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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hitting the couch

It took me 42 years, but today I finally found myself sitting face-to-face with a therapist.
For the first time.

I probably should have done this long ago, like during those dark days without sleep, when young children were threatening to run away with my sanity.

Seeing a therapist is powerful stuff, even considering it wasn't me she wanted to see. Instead, I was there with one of my children. I talked, she listened. My child talked, she listened. She thought, asked questions and gave us some exercises we can do at home. Seems so simple and basic.

And, yet after one hour, my child, who has been a shadow of their former selves, returned home brighter, happier and less scared.

We've got a long road ahead of us, but it's a good start. And the fact that my child feels like they have a bit of control over their issues makes our whole family seem bri
ghter, happier, less scared too.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

School's Out For Ever


My only out-of-home schooled child, D, finished his preschool career on Friday.

And though I am more than happy to give up the expense, the mornings rushing to get out of the house on time, and the unpleasantness of hearing that my son had taught the entire class to say boobies, I was still very, very choked up about this milestone.

This past school year, he often told me he just wanted to stay home, but now that it's over, he doesn't want it to end. When will I see my friends? he asks about the pack of boys who adopted him into their ranks though he started school two months later than everyone else.


Thankfully, I can give him a satisfactory answer: tomorrow. One boy from class has a birthday party scheduled.


But, when will I see Miss Paula/Sarah/Cathy? is harder to answer. I know he can't wait to be homeschooled for kindergarten like his two older sisters were, but there was something beautiful and sweet about seeing other teachers love my little guy so much.

Congratulations my sweet boy. Can't wait to see what the future holds for us all.


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Monday, June 07, 2010

When a child won't, or can't, eat

I've been tested as a parent many times before, and I expect I will be tested many, many more times. But, this weekend ranks up there as one of the toughest.

One of my children has stopped eating. I will not reveal which one this is, nor will I talk of gender, so please excuse the liberal use of "they/them".

There were signs leading up to this crisis but things came to a head on Thursday when very little was eaten and it was obvious this wasn't going away soon. On Friday, I took this child to the doctor for a full exam in the hopes that this could be fixed with a pill or shot or instructions to rest and take it easy. Don't worry, it's a stomach bug would have been music to my ears.

Instead, I was told that this was likely anxiety based---a fear of eating caused by one traumatic incident involving public vomiting. Not entirely uncommon according to this doctor and Dr. Google, and with a high cure rate, though drastic measures are sometimes needed if too much weight is lost.

In the meantime, I was sent home from the doctors with instructions that we should just try to help our non-eater work through their fear without shame or punishment.

Oh, and don't let them lose more than 5 pounds.

There were glimmers of hope this weekend. Food was eaten. There were smiles and laughter and running around the yard. But all too often, there was a stomach clutched, tears in the eyes, mommy, help me, I want to eat but I can't. I'm so hungry.

Is there anything worse for a parent than to watch their child suffer and not know how to fix it?

This morning, even though I am pretty certain the doctor is right in his diagnosis, we ran every test possible to make sure there is no medical reason for this pain and agony. The doctor agreed that if we tested for everything, and they all came back negative, perhaps this child would realize this is something they need to overcome themselves.

One call with test results has already come back: Negative.


I mean, phew!

But, shit, if there is no medical reason for this, if this is all a fear of eating! I will be charting unknown waters, just when I was feeling like I was getting a hang of this parenting thing.

Wish us luck.

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Friday, June 04, 2010

Want to be lazy at PR? Fill in the blanks

Yesterday, I received this heartfelt, personalized email from someone in the PR realm:

Hi Christina,

I had seen that you wrote about [reference article subject etc] and thought you might be interested in this new initiative we just launched with. . .

As my father would've said: Close, but no cigar.

I imagine that someone at this PR agency (and, yes, it's a bona fide agency), went through a bit of trouble to craft a pitch letter for bloggers. They probably told their employees "make sure you find out the person's name" (though Liz didn't get a name on her pitch letter, and Kristen's person called her Karen).

But, to go through the trouble to get my first name and then forget to throw something in about [reference article subject etc] is a new kind of fail.

PR people? I know there are good ones out there (I work with many of you).

But for the rest of you, let me make this easier for you: Blog Pitch Mad Libs:

Dear (insert name),

I enjoyed reading your (adjective) post about (noun). Our brand of (product) would be so appreciated by your audience of (noun) lovers in (city or state). In fact, we are so confident of this, we'd like you to give away (quantity) of (product) to your readers!

Please contact me at (email) to discuss this opportunity further.

But, so help me, if I get a pitch letter like this with none of the adjective/noun words filled in, I'm outing the agency who sent it.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A little "yes" in my life

I knew I was going to love this as soon as I tentatively asked, Can we have our cocktails by the pool? and Ed our waiter said, Yes! You can have them IN the pool!

IN the heated, adults-only, outdoor pool looking at the mountains of Stowe, Vermont.

Now that's what I'm talkin' about.

Yes!, you may have olives stuffed with blue cheese even if it means we have to don a rubber glove and stuff them by hand.

Yes!, you can come to lunch wearing nothing but a big fluffy white robe. We won't even flinch when you dump a bloody mary down the front of it.

Yes!, you may have s'mores by the campfire even though you are a few decades older than most of our s'mores roasters. And tipsy.

Yes!, we'll pick you up and drive you to town for dinner. Oh, and of course, we'll pick you up and bring you back whenever you want.

All of this "yes" makes for a lovely four days away from home, but a helluva adjustment coming back to three kids, as you can imagine.

No matter. Going away with my sister and four friends to welcome her into the folds of forty, was worth the long drive, the expense, and the painfully obvious return to NO! which I now realize I hear more than I cared to consider.

Many thanks, Topnotch Resort & Spa, for all that yes. I needed it.


(yes, I want to go back)

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