Friday, September 21, 2007

Bad start today :(

My little one -who normally LOVES school- started stalling for time when we got him to school this morning. First he started acting silly, then asking for one more hug, one more kiss, then kept saying he'd forgotten something at home. After 15 extra hugs and kisses he still wouldn't cross that threshold and go into class. THEN he started to cry :( he hugged my neck and wouldn't let go, insisting he had to stay with me. One of the teachers came over to talk to him and all he would do is bury his head in my shoulder and cry. Finally I had to stand up and hand over my miserable child to a very nice teacher who told him she'd take him for a little walk to calm down before going inside the class. As she carried him away, he reached over her shoulder and stretched his little hands out to me and cried "Momma! Momma!"

I felt like the Worst Mom Ever.

My husband had to then comfort ME because I felt so awful that I just couldn't walk away. I know everyone has bad days, and bad mornings, but this just makes me feel terrible. I have to work, as much as I wanted to say, "Okay baby, let's just go home" I just couldn't. All my vacation days are scheduled for when the kids are off for Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks.

Just needed to share with other moms (or dads) who might know how I feel. They're having a birthday party in class today so they'll have cupcakes and get all hopped up on sugar, and it's their gym day so I know he'll feel better soon. It's just the horrible guilt of having to walk away when he's so sad. To go to work, to make money, to keep him in private school where he's so sad today.... it's a vicious cycle!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Great Great Grandma Rose

Every family’s got a story, right? A few years ago I tried building a family tree. What I wanted was to be able to tell my boys the story of how they came to be. What I found was that mine is more like a family bush. Small, tangled and sometimes thorny.

My mother is German, Italian, Irish, Danish, French-Canadian … or is that French COMMA Canadian? Great grandmother Marie Chartrand was certainly French, but Canadian?? Ah, who knows. My father was born in Puerto Rico. Over the years I’ve learned some veeery interesting things about my family. Fun stuff like this….

My great grandfather’s family came here from Italy and had to change their last name from Gorriano because they’d been known as horse thieves. My great grandfather had been in the Kaiser’s army in Germany. My grandmother claims to have started women’s lib by wearing blue jeans in the 40’s. At my grandfather’s funeral, five women showed up wearing diamond rings. He’d proposed to each of them while still married to my grandmother. I have a half sister that I haven’t seen in 15 years. Seventy five years ago, my great grandfather got Lucille pregnant, and called of his wedding to another woman so he could marry her. My grandmother still has the papers that her grandfather signed when he came to America, giving up all allegiance to Austria.

One thing I’d never heard in all this was that my great great grandmother Rose was Jewish. Now, I know the love story of Rose and George, and maybe someday I’ll even take the time to write it. But my grandmother mentioned on the phone last night that here had been a huge family fight brought on by Rose’s Jewish parents because she wanted to marry George, a Catholic. She said that she didn’t know how ANYONE didn’t know, as Aunt Sophie would tell anyone who would listen that she was really Jewish. Hmm, I guess that might explain the Star of David that Aunt Janice wore, too. I figured it was just because she wanted to impress Uncle Sol.

While I’m not religious, I’m absolutely fascinated by religious rites, beliefs and art. I’m not going to say I suddenly feel connected to the struggles of Israel or anything, but I was definitely intrigued by this little tid bit. Maybe I should go see my grandmother and have a notebook ready, before all this family history is lost to time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

No More Prednisone!!!

Just got back from the retinal specialist (fancy eye doc) and they're taking me off of that vile Rx!!!

Here's the story.... get some popcorn, it's kind of long. And kind of funny. If you think STDs are funny.

In November last year, I went to see my regular eye guy because my vision seemed to be changing. He said everything was fine. By December, I had vertigo all the time but my vision had improved so much I didn't even need glasses anymore - and I'd been wearing glasses/contacts for 10 years. The doctors still didn't know why. Then one day in January I woke up and there was a BLIND SPOT in my peripheral vision. My eye guy sent me to the ER. My darling husband took me, made me laugh and kept me calm. After a CT and some basic blood tests, they said I didn't have any tumors pressing on my optic nerve. Great, but why am I going blind?! My eye guys suggests these things can be caused by cocaine use, and asks me very seriously if I'd been snorting anything powdery. No! Of course not! Fix my eyes, dammit! I don't need drug counseling!

3 days later I woke up with a blind spot smack in the middle of my vision. Alarmed? Yes. To put it mildly. Went back to eye doc and literally grabbed him by the shirt and screamed some not-nice things at him about it being his job to find out what's happening to me. I was terrified. All I could think of was that the next day I'd be blind and I'd never see my children again. So off I went to a retinal specialist.

This retinal specialist was a colorful character. Made jokes, really listened to what I was saying, and explained everything in very technical terms, which I appreciate because I'm a walking dictionary. He ordered some more tests and came up with a working diagnosis. We went to lunch, and when we were back in crazy retina guy's waiting room, my original eye doc calls my cell phone. He tells me that he got my first blood tests back and that I tested positive for syphilis.
So crazy eye doc calls us in and I'm in tears trying to tell him what my regular eye doc said. He flips through my chart and starts pointing at numbers and lines that mean nothing to me. He says my regular eye guy is reading the tests wrong!!! So what does my very funny husband say? "Well see, if you weren't such a coked out whore this wouldn't be happening" It made ME laugh :)

After an MRI, some more blood tests, a spinal tap, and a total neurological work up, crazy eye doc's diagnosis was confirmed and he started me on a high dose of prednisone. He said it might make me feel euphoric. I asked, how so? He replied, "Like you were dropped into the middle of a Bears game during 1st and ten" .... uhhh, okay.

Soooo I start the vile Rx only to find I can't sleep, I eat everything in sight, and suddenly no one wants to hang around me because I'm not a very nice person when I'm taking it. Did I mention the eating? Steroids cause puffiness around the face all on their own, but add a few pounds from indiscriminate eating and well, that didn't add to my lovely personality either.

Now, thanks to that quick thinking and wacky doctor my vision improved, my eyes are healed and all is right with the world. Oh, and I don't have syphilis ;)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

You're old, and, and...

"You're old and, and... You're fat!"
That was a little gem said by my pre-schooler to my mother. Bless her heart, she said she laughed it off. Possibly after locking herself in a closet and crying for 20 minutes.

Last night grandma decided to treat the kids to Pizza Hut. Possibly because when I walked in the house and my little one latched onto my leg screaming that he was starving, I told him to go have a bowl of cereal. Or some Diet Coke. Whatever. It's Monday, and Mom's had a long day.

Soooo, we head to a Pizza Hut close to home and get 1 block away before Grandma decided she wants to go to a different Pizza Hut. Do you have any idea what kind of reaction that garnered from my starving children???? Seeing Pizza Hut only to then DRIVE AWAY?! Off we go, and Grandma decides to take the express way (We live in Chicago, "express" is a relative term) and misses the entrance. Then overshoots the next one. Will she give in and just take the streets?? Nope. The sun is setting and we're searching for the next entrance to get to Pizza Hut like it's a desert mirage.

Eventually we make it to another Pizza Hut. Little one decides the salad bar (another relative term) is a good idea. He will eat nothing but pineapple and bacon bits and doesn't even care that they've turned into pineapple chunks covered in bacon bits. Ew. The wonderful, nice waitress hears my little one saying (screeching - same thing) Grandma! Grandma! over and over so she comes and tells my mom that she's going to apply the senior discount to the order. This does not delight Grandma because she's not technically a senior (yet) So she turns to my older son, points to me and says, "Don't let her put me in a nursing home" and my darling child's eyes light up and he replies
"Yeah! You should go to a nursing home! You could live in one with a pool and I could come and visit!"
When I cleaned myself up -Dr. Pepper in one's nose is messy - I asked him if perhaps he meant one of the "55 and better" co-ops or condos instead of nursing home? At this point, he's off the subject so he doesn't really care about the specifics, so long as Grandma's going to live SOMEWHERE with a pool.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Since 2001, there have been FORTY NINE babies illegally abandoned in Illinois. Of those, 24 were found dead. The latest one was just this weekend in Chicago Ridge.
Twenty Four lives destroyed before they even had a chance. Why? Because a woman was too afraid to admit she was pregnant, too scared to keep the baby? Or too selfish to do the right thing? This isn't "someone else's" problem. These are our babies, and they're dying because we can't reach people in time to tell them THERE IS ANOTHER WAY!

For anyone who still thinks "it doesn't happen here"..... take a look at the stats of the known parents and infants:
Known age of mothers*: Age 14-18: 22.7%
Age 19-24: 29.6%
Age 25-30: 31.8%
Age 31-41: 15.9%

Known race of newborn*: African/Black:34.9%
Caucasian/White: 38.1%
Latino/Hispanic: 19.0%
Mixed Race: 8.0%

SO the bottom line is that the message needs to get out to EVERY WOMAN, EVERY RACE between the ages of 12 and 50! Illinois has a Safe Haven Law - any unharmed newborn up to 7 days old can be handed to a worker at ANY STAFFED hospital, police or fire station. NO QUESTIONS ASKED. Every state in the Union has a Safe Haven Law except Nebraska and Alaska and we're working on it there, too!!!!!

~ Sorry for ranting. It breaks my heart each and every time a baby is left for dead, or WORSE, killed by it's own mother. Some people don't think infanticide and infant abandonment have the same root cause, and they don't every single time.... but the laws are there to give women a legal and anonymous way to give their baby a chance. How could someone be so selfish when there's help literally around the corner?
As part of my work with the Foundation, I respond to unsafe abandonments. Every time this happens -far too often, if you ask me- I contact the local authorities: mayor, police, fire stations, as well as the congressional reps and senators. Each time I ask for help in posting Safe Haven information, donations to help fund the educator's packets we produce ... and I rarely ever get a response. Does that mean that no one cares unless it's an election issue? Or do they chalk it up as a standard ill of society???
My kids know about my work with the Foundation. The hardest question I've ever been asked is, "Momma, why would someone do that to their baby?" and do you know what? I still don't have an answer.