Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Decade Ends

When the decade began, I was working as a pharmacy tech for the state, returning to college, newly divorced, and being sort of long distance romanced by my ex-husband. Now I'm happily married with two beautiful, perfect little girls. So much has happened in between.

I got my degree in Biochemistry. I learned to scuba dive and create stained and fused glass pieces. I bought a wonderful sewing and embroidery machine and discovered the joys of sewing on a quality machine. I bought a quilting machine and went into business quilting other people's (so far only women's) quilt tops. I've learned hundreds of signs. I learned to do tiling and mosaic tiled the bathroom floor. I learned to use the scroll saw and made wood items.

I've gained and lost up to 50 pounds (I did have two babies though that does not account for all of it) multiple times. I have been to Belize and Mexico and a myriad of places in the states. I learned to ski in Banff. I went to Disneyworld with my sister and two of my best friends. I bought and sold a house. I acquired another dog and five cats (some through marriage).

I got the best job, though far from the best paying, as a drug and medical device investigator for the state. I got to perform investigations and inspections of drug and device warehouses, manufacturers, and salvagers, not to mention the ever interesting tattoo and body piercing studios and tanning salons. I left the state to work for private industry and moved in with P temporarily until I could find a suitable place. When I never found the time (I was working between 80 and 100 hours), P and I found that we were good roommates and decided after 13 years of friendship to move our relationship to something more and get married and have babies.

It has been great so far this century. I'm looking forward to the next year and decade and the wonderful discoveries to come.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What a Year It Has Been

January – The nerdlet was sick for the first time and ended up in the hospital. I got the same thing and almost lost the bear cub. We got the replacement Prius for the car that was wrecked the previous April.

February – Not a whole lot happened this month. It was my eighth month of pregnancy (of 10 months). I did get two job offers out of nowhere and one of them told me to give them a call when I was ready to return to work.

March – P’s grandmother came to visit and she came with pneumonia and ended up in the hospital. The day she went to the hospital, so did I to deliver the bear cub. She was born at 37 weeks and came out in two pushes and less than 3 minutes. Two miracles happened at the birth: her kidneys cleared up without the operation we were told would be necessary and I had an undiagnosed vasa previa and the bear cub lived with no problem.

April – After failing 3 hearing tests, the bear cub finally passed one. We started the bear cubs early intervention. The nerdlet got her first molars in.

May - I joined facebook and spent a lot of time playing dumb games while pumping. We discovered the holes in the bear cub’s heart.

June – The bug finally started sleeping some. She started staying in bed and soothing herself back to sleep in the middle of the night and started taking naps..

July – The nerdlet started doing somersaults and the bear cub started scooting some and rolling over. We started learning a lot more sign language and bought Signing Times. We discovered that the nerdlet is reading. The bear cub had her first laugh.

August – The bear cub is baptized and meets her godmother. The bear cub starts saying mama and melts my heart by showing us that she knows that it is me. She also starts doing mini sit ups and holding her head fairly steady. We discover that she is missing bone fragments in her neck.

September – I joined Lifetime Fitness, which is a great gym. The gym starts using the bear cub as crowd control because she calms the toddlers down. The bear cub gets H1N1 and though it’s really scary for a while, she recovers just fine. P and I saw our first opera, Madame Butterfly, for our 3rd anniversary. The nerdlet starts swimming lessons.

October – The girls and I go with my mom to visit relatives in El Paso and Yuma. We start the nerdlet’s potty training and a week later, she is no longer having accidents except around my MIL (though she has had problems since I went on my trip to GA). The bear cub passes her 6 month hearing test.

November – We find out that the bear cub is definitely going to need surgery on one of the holes in her heart and surgery is scheduled. The nerdlet started speech therapy and her speech starts going through the roof. I start creating things for myself again and start feeling better about myself. My diaper service goes out of business and I start having to wash my own diapers. We got cable and I started watching tv after not really watching any since 1990. The pre-op scan for the surgery shows no malformation of anything in the neck – another miracle.

December – The bear cub has surgery and is home in 48 hours. She is rolling around the living room the evening we came home. The bear got her first tooth – I think it’s a molar. My BIL is deployed and I fly to Georgia to help her move to Austin. It is the first time I’m separated from my girls for longer than a night and the first time P has to take care of the girls by himself for longer than a few hours.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best Book and Movie of 2009

The best book I read in 2009 was Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill. This book was published in Canada under the name The Book of Negroes. I learned about this book from an online friend who happens to be the best book reviewer out there. I don’t always agree with the reviews, but in this case I definitely do, and as she has already written a review of this amazing book, I’m just going to link to her review I will comment to say that I think the name it was published under in the USA is just as if not more apt than the original. I will definitely be looking for more of Hill’s books in the future.

Now I don't watch as many movies as I read books so you have to take my favorite movie that I've seen with a grain of salt. I usually only watch children's and superhero movies. I always intend to watch more, but I rarely get around to it. I even belong to Netflix, but I joined relatively recently and have mostly watched tv series (I'm about halfway through Charmed).

Of the 13 movies I've seen this year, I'm going to say that my favorite was Up. I found it charming and adorable. Every Pixar movie I see captivates me and this one was no exception. It made me laugh and cry (though I was pretty pregnant when I watched it). It was definitely worth watching.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Sister is going to kill me

R and I are actually going to kill each other. I came out here to help her move and I think if I hadn't she would have had a nervous breakdown. Her husband left without really finishing help her wrap things up. She and he thought that they were close enough to done, but there was so much still to do. Before I flew out, R told me that she was only taking the essentials with her and so they would easily fit in a Uhaul trailer and the rest of there stuff was going in a Podz and that it had already been packed.

When I got here, there was still enough stuff in the apartment to fill 1000 cubic feet, but it didn't look like quite that much because it was spread throughout the apartment. She showed my one closet that she said was everything that was going in the Uhaul. The closet is about 6 feet by 8 feet and was stacked up 3/4 of the way to the ceiling. I asked how high the trailer was and she told me that it was about 8 feet high. When I asked her if she was sure, she said she thought so and asked me how high I thought it would be. I told her four feet high. It turns out it is 3 1/2 feet high. So everything that was left needed to fit in 112 cubic feet. I kept trying to point that out, but she kept responding that I was stressing her out and not to be so critical. After a lot of hassel, I convinced her to put quite a bit of it in the remaining space in the pod, but right now Little Miss and I are waiting for the Uhaul and I think we have at least 200 cubic feet of stuff, if not more, left. She thinks we'll be able to fit more than I think in the car, but we'll have to see.

I would not call R high maintenance, but she is certainly closer to high maintenance than low maintenance ( using definitions 2 and 3). She told me that there was nothing that she was taking that she wouldn't have to buy again if she left it behind. These essentials included a white christmas tree, a box of dress up clothes for Little Miss, a 122 quart container filled with purses, and an extra box of shoes for Little Miss, of which some she has already outgrown in addition to a bunch of other things. R would point out that I'm on the extreme end of frugal and she is right, but I still think that even medium maintenance people would acknowledge my view at least somewhat.

On top of the packing issues when I get into her car it is making this strange clicking sound. R tells me this is the brake caliber and do I know how to tighten it. I not only don't know how, I have never even heard of a brake caliber and ask if she is sure that is what it is called. Anyway, R tells me that she needs to take the car for an oil change and it turns out that she hasn't had one in 10,000 miles. My car is a few miles overdue and I've been stressing about getting it done. I can't even imagine doing this, though I know she had done it before and gotten away with no problems, but it kind of freaks me out a little bit. We take the car for the oil change and they point out that the car's tires are completely bald, so all four tires have now been replaced. Needless to say, my confidence in the car is slightly shaken. I'm really worried that something is going to happen on the way back.

My sister says that my heart is in the right place, but you never know where my mouth is going to be. She's upset with me about being to critical and stressing her out more, but this whole thing is completely stressful and if I hadn't harped on it, there would not have been additional stuff added to the Pod. I hope that she is right that it will all fit in the Uhaul but I have serious doubts about it. Right now, I'm still glad I came because I can't imagine that she could have done this with no help, but I'm wondering if we are still going to be speaking to each other by the time we get back to Texas.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Funny kids

My sister, niece and I went to see Christmas lights today. My niece, Little Miss, was of course sitting in the back seat. We passed this weird looking reindeer in the shape of an egg. My sister R and I were laughing about it and R said that maybe the reindeer should eat less and lose weight and Little Miss piped up that probably Santa should, too.

My mom is watching the Nerdlet. Last night, my other sister S was over there and went to sleep on the couch while my mom was watching tv (probably one of her novelas). The nerdlet apparently decided that S was thirsty and brought her a glass of ice water that was sitting on the table. Too bad S can't drink through her armpit. My mom's comment? She's just so fast. I hear that a lot.

Today, I get another phone call from my mom. They were making cookies and my mom was handing the bug M&Ms to put on the cookies. My mom turned around to do something and when she turned back around, the cookies were missing their M&Ms. Guess what I heard again.

The bear cub had spiked a fever a few hours before my plane trip to Georgia, so I was really worried about leaving. I was really afraid that while I was flying P would be taking my precious cub to the ER. We gave her a cool bath and her fever dropped and apparentlly she has been fine since.

I'm missing my family so much right now. I'd comment on how the packing and everything is going, but I'm trying to keep on good terms with R until I get back. I love my sister so much...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

So many conflicting feelings

My bear cub's godmother J, her brother, and friend were staying with us the last few days. It was really good to see them. I always feel like I haven't entertained people enough, especially lately when I am often tired, and also since I'm allergic to Christmas trees, I don't like to leave the house much in December and early January.

The friend, K, I'm never really comfortable around. I always feel like I'm much too happy and energetic for her. I know that I am both for probably a lot of people, but I don't often feel it (probably because I'm socially inept). She also makes me feel watched. I don't know what that's about, but as much as I wish J could have stayed longer, I am a little relieved to not feel so uncomfortable.

I'm leaving tomorrow early in the morning to fly off to Georgia. My BIL was deployed this past week (with little real warning aside from military rumors) and I'm going to help my sister and her daughter move to Austin. I'm really excited to see them, but I'm going to miss my girls. I originally was going to take the bear cub with me, but it really isn't fair to her. She's still suffering from congestion and is in a lot of pain from teething. I was hoping to fly out there and drive non stop back being gone as little as possible, but the military housing won't release her until Tuesday evening, so it looks like I'll be gone until late Wednesday at the earliest. Let's hope nothing else comes up or I'm really going to cry.

Friday, December 18, 2009

More Glass

First some melted glass bottles. I think they look better in real life.
A picture of the glass plates so far.
I really like the red plate, but I think the recipient might not because of the streak of black on the corner. Here is a closeup.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Baby Lust

I have to admit that I'm experience a lot of jealousy over all the people I know having babies. I've always wanted a large brood and I've had baby lust since my younger sister was born (I was almost five). P and I are likely done. We will welcome any babies that come our way, but we went through quite a bit of medical intervention to get the two that we have and have decided not to use any more in the future. On top of that, my pregnancies weren't exactly what you would call easy.

Then there is Reece's Rainbow ( There is a waiting list in the US to adopt babies with Down syndrome, but in many countries, they children have no chance at a life outside of an institution. Looking at this site breaks my heart and I want to adopt them all. P and I have always agreed that adoption is in our future and we have also agreed that special needs children are completely acceptable. Since Chloe's birth, we have developed a fondness in our hearts for people with Ds.

I've been telling people that I believe that I was always meant to have a baby with Ds and a lot of people agree with me. There is no question in my mind that if any family can provide what these kids need, it would be ours. I hope I continue to have this mindset when Kate and Chloe are old enough to allow us to follow this route.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Feeling creative

Here are two pictures of the most recent glass plate. I am so happy with this one. I have it's twin waiting for the kiln right now and the twin should be even better because only one side had any flaws and I've trimmed that side. I put the white paper under the plate so you could see the blue on the clear glass because it didn't really show that well on the grain of the table. I trimmed my red plate and now have 6 1/2 inch by 1/2 long heavy pieces of glass that I don't know what to do with. I'd love any suggestions. I say they're heavy, but really they only weigh an ounce or two.

I've been fairly creative in the last month. I've made myself two skirts, the therapists all bags (five of them), a number of glass items, and am still working on my BIL's deer quilt. It's really given me a lot of my spirit back that worrying over the surgery had taken. If you had asked me what I wanted more time to do since I had the girls, I would have answered reading without hesitation, but I'm coming to realized that what I need more time to do is spent time creating more than fingerpaintings and playdough sculptures. I'm going to make my New Year's resolution now (or at least one) and that is to make sure that I do allow some time each week to work on something creative (other than customer quilts).

Welcome Home!

A number of us don't really care for the poem, "Welcome to Holland" ( The reason is that the poem leaves the reader believing that you are always going to regret having a baby with Ds over having one without. I'm thrilled to have my Chloe and I wouldn't change her Ds or anything other than any health problems that come up. I believe that I was meant to have her and am so glad she is a part of my family. I'm told the book is better, but I haven't read it yet (I own it but it has been misplaced). Jennifer Sones wrote "Welcome Home!" for those of us that feel this way.

Welcome Home

When my baby was born with Down syndrome, I received a writing called, “Welcome to Holland,” by Emily Perl Kingsley, from my local support group. I am grateful for the inspiration which has been felt by many who read it and love that was put into creating it; however I would like to relate my experience differently than hers, with another analogy of the feelings involved when having a disabled child.

For years, you save for your dream home and finally find the perfect house. The location is great. It has four bathrooms, real hardwood floors, and the biggest picture windows you have ever seen. Everyone you know is happy for you about your new house. You can’t wait to move in.

On the day you are scheduled to close, you receive a call from your lawyer explaining that the homeowners changed their minds and have decided not to sell.

You are shocked and sad. You have planned, waited, and prepared for this house, but now it is gone. You picked out new paint colors and decorated it in your mind at least a million times. You wonder, “How could this happen to me?” You think you will never find your perfect house again.

You decide to bid on an older house you walked through once before. There was something about that house that was comforting and the need for a home of your own is still strong. Your bid is accepted. You move in within weeks.

When you tell everyone about the loss of your “perfect” house and plans for moving into the other one, you receive many condolences. Everyone is sad for you, and all of your friends and family wish they could “fix it.” Nobody thinks it is fair.

You go to the new older house, immediately after you close. You wonder why you didn’t realize that it was so close to your favorite store. As you walk in the front door, you see a beautiful window full of stained-glass artwork which was hidden by a curtain before. As you continue to walk through, you notice the stained and dirty carpet, decide to look at what is underneath, and are amazed by the hardwood floors that are even more elegant than those in the other house. There are only two small bathrooms, but they have awesome claw-foot, porcelain tubs that are very deep and you can’t wait to soak in them.

You begin to realize what made you like this house initially. There is sweet character here. It is unique. There are rooms attached to rooms, and many hidden spaces that you never expected to see. This house will need work, and there are things about it that aren’t quite “perfect,” but you kind of like the imperfections; they add to the personality of the house. You immediately develop pride and love for this house because it is yours, imperfections, beauty, character, and all.

You can’t wait to tell those you care for how much you love your new house. You want to show it off to everyone and let them know how very excited you are. You don’t want to feel sadness anymore; you love this house and wouldn’t have it any other way. The other house would have been nice too, but the one you were given will bring you just as much joy, so there is no need for condolences. This house is where you belong, you know it, accept it, and love it. You will be happy here, and look forward to the experiences you will have within its walls.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ds and Abortion

In one of the Ds communities I belong to, a number of mothers with children with Ds expressed their wish for the Duggars to have a baby with Ds, so that people would see a family welcome a child with Ds into their home and see how wonderful our children are. They were flamed because of this and were told that is was abhorrent and other horrendous things. I wanted to express my feelings on this in a little more detail.

Ds is not a disease. It is not a defect. It is not a horrible condition. It is a chromosomal anomaly. It does not doom your child to anything. It is not abhorrent to want people to have children with Ds, it is just a wish, like any other. It is certainly not akin to wishing someone's child to have heart disease or be born extremely prematurely. A while ago, someone had likened the severity of Ds to that of balding and I immediately thought it was more like gender. How male or female is your child? Then I started wondering just how many genes are on the 21st chromosome.
I attempted to look up the genetic difference between a female, a male, and a female with Ds. There are a lot of huge variations in the estimates. Because I no longer have free access to the medical sites that I did when I was working in the medical/drug field, I turned to the oh-so-trustworthy internet. I found that the government Genetics home reference site estimates that there are 70-200 genes on the y chromosome and there are 300-400 genes on the 21st chromosome.

As for wishing a child has Ds, I don't see too much difference from wishing that your child is male. A male child, like a child with Ds, has a higher chance of having medical problems than your female child. They have a higher chance of having learning disabilities and other non-medical issues. I would also liken it to wishing your child that has fair skin. There are a few advantages to having fair skin, like being able to see cancers and skin problems easier, but by far, having fair skin requires a lot of special care to prevent problems, like the stated skin cancer, wrinkling, or premature aging. Ds is the same, special care is necessary. The bald analogy is also apt. It is considered an undesirable trait, but there is truly nothing medically wrong about it and many people do find it attractive (I'm am certainly one).

I have also stated in the past that i
f you're not cut out to be a parent to a child with Down syndrome (or any other disability), then you're not cut out to be a parent at all. There are no special skills needed that are not required for any parent. If you are expending the necessary energy to ensure your child is achieving his or her potential, then you will find that no extra time or energy is required, and you might find that less is. The problem is (as one friend so eloquently put it) that some parents are good caretakers of their kids but not necessarily good parents.

There are a huge amount of advantages to having a child with Ds:
You can enjoy each stage of childhood longer.
People with Ds have as much as 50% less chance of getting all but one form of cancer and that form is the only one to spontaneously go away and it has an 80% survival rate.
They are not likely to be criminals or participate in criminal activities of any sort.
Siblings of people with Down syndrome are proven to be more compassionate than those without.
Parents of children with Down syndrome experience greater well being
(less depression) than the general population.
Divorce rates in parents already married when a child with Down syndrome is born are lower than the general population.
People with Down syndrome tend to not attempt to lie or deceive others.
They have more compassion and empathy than the general population.
I'm certain that other mothers can certainly add to this list.

People with Ds can accomplish the same things that any other person accomplishes. They are in the National Honor Society. They get college degrees. They get married. They become Eagle Scouts. They have children. They are artists, musicians, actors, public motivational speakers, self-advocates, writers, businessmen, and so much else. They may not be neurosurgeons or aerospace engineers, but are other children really capable of that, and there is no telling what more acceptance would help them to achieve.

The way I see it is that there are 3 viewpoints about abortion. One is that abortion is murder and unacceptable. The second it that abortion is not murder and so there is nothing wrong with it. The last is that abortion is murder but that it is acceptable while the child is in the womb. I think that there are two viewpoints on aborting a child with Down syndrome. The first is that again abortion is murder and you should never murder a child regardless of any other point. The second is that it is okay to abort a child if you don't like its characteristics, whether it is a disability, gender, skin color, intellectual ability, sexual preference, propensity for a certain weight, or other undesirable trait. Abortion of a child with these traits is eugenics and something Hitler would certainly approve of.

I image that I've offended a number of people with this post and I imagine
I might lose some facebook friends and readers by this post. I'm not interested in arguing the semantics of how I stated things, and unless you have some convincing arguement that my premise is wrong, I'm not going to respond. I just wanted to express that Ds isn't the end of the world, it is just the opposite, a beginning of a whole new one, and if you give it a chance you will find it to be a wonderful one. There is a reason that mothers of children with Ds band together and they all state the same thing regardless of ethnic background, religion, or beliefs on abortion (that our children are blessings and have just as much a right to be here as everyone else) and that is because we have experienced this blessing and know it to be true.

I have one last comment. Mothers of children are quick to be defensive of our little ones. There is a reason for this. It is because we experience bigotry against our children very early on. Sometimes before we have left the hospital we have heard horrible things against our babies. It isn't long before someone tells us that not only would they have aborted theirs, you should have aborted yours. You hear things like you shouldn't waste money on surgery or special care for your child, you should let them die if they have any problems at all. They are compared to dogs that should be put to sleep. Of course, we are quickly defensive.

No one is worth more or less than any other person, even one with Ds, and variation is what makes life interesting.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bear Cub's sick

So the bear has caught it. It was sort of inevitable. P and I were feeling it a little bit so separating the girls didn't really help much. The nerdlet hasn't had a fever in a few days, but she is still a cranky little thing. Bear is in a relatively good mood, but her fever was 101.1. I gave her some Tylenol and have been wiping her down with wet towels. It's painful to listen to her breathe. You can hear the mucus in her system. I wish we could suck the mucus out of her esophagus in addition to her nose.

I met with a few ladies from the Down Syndrome Association of San Antonio about helping with the Outreach program today.
San Antonio has experience a large number of influx of babies with Ds lately. I'm really excited about it. I'm willing to help with whatever and P told me that he was willing to watch the girls even though any thing I do is likely to cut into his time. I'm also going to look for good small toys and books that would be good to include in newcomer bags, so any suggestions would be great. Whenever I have more time, I'd love to teach classes in sewing and quilting to teens and adults with Ds. That's probably years away considering the needs of my girls right now though.

We went to a new glass store to buy more glass. I write new but apparently they have been in business over 50 years. I loved the glass selection at this store. It was so cool. I likely won't go back there though. The prices were just a little unreasonable and I wouldn't have bought anything if it hadn't been so close to Christmas, and I hadn't had my heart set on making my sister a glass plate. It takes about a day to a day and a half to get everything in the kiln, set it to fuse and cool completely off. Then it takes the same amount of time to go through the slump cycle. If the item needs some work in between, there is extra time for that, and of course, the fact that I don't want to pull out and work on any glass when the nerdlet is up or anywhere around pushes the whole time line out. Most of the time, I love to show her whatever I'm doing and explain it as I go, but I'm afraid if she sees where I keep the glass and glass supplies, she'll head for them the first time I go to the bathroom or sleep longer than her.

Friday, December 11, 2009

White Elephant Gift

I had this idea in my head of how this was supposed to come out and this wasn't it. The black thinned out too much and joined together. I was going to square it off and make it look a little more professional, but P told me he needed a white elephant gift and so I just went ahead and slumped it as is. I actually think it came out kind of cool. I'm going to go ahead and finish my second try that also didn't come out like I wanted, but I do still plan on squaring it off and fire polishing that one before slumping. My third plate shattered when I was rinsing off the kiln wash. I realized after that I had used a specialty swirl glass instead of the Spectrum glass I normally used. Anyway opinions of the white elephant plate are certainly welcome.

The nerdlet is better. She no longer has a fever and her nose isn't running as much. When P uses the nose frida on her, he still gets a disturbing large amount of grossness, but I'm just glad it's no longer in her head. I've taken to singing, "I'm going to suck that snot right out of your nose." while P does it.

The bear's scar still looks fresh. I wonder how long it will take to look like a scab or scar. She's doing wonderly and when I wash it she doesn't act like it is tender or anything. She's also more willing to put more weight on her arms than she was before. If I tuck her legs under her, she will actually try to lift her head, whereas before she would just lay down with her butt sticking up. Also prior to the surgery about 20 minutes after doing any activity, she would want to eat and pass out. Now she has enough stamina to play for hours.

I've started wrapping Christmas gifts. This is much more difficult with a toddler that wants to help. Anyone receiving a wrapped gift will likely also find a nice crayon drawing on the inside of the wrapper and in some cases the outside of the box of the gift.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Diapers and Potty training

I cloth diaper. I do this for all the reasons that you think. I probably do this for a few you don't know or think of. One of the reasons that I use cloth diapers is that in a previous life as a drug and medical device investigator, I inspected a major manufacturer of diapers. This is open record and I would share the name, but I don't want to push anyone away from probably one of the better diaper manufacturers in spite of the large number of violations the company had. The point is that I would encourage people to use cloth diapers over choosing an even more violative firm than the one I inspected. Also, one of the example device manufacturer that device inspectors are shown is a manufacturer of the plastic beads that are the absorbent material in a diaper, and they could show no studies about the affect of this material on babies and avoided any further questions on the subject. Another reason would be that I read all the studies that point to fertility problems being linked to diapered boys (of course, I only have girls, but still). The third reason you probably wouldn't think of is that they are easier than disposables, or at least they were. That is because I used a diaper service. All the ease of disposables except I didn't even have to shop for diapers or ever have an issue throwing them away.

My diaper service was picking diapers on Wednesday and dropping me off a more than sufficient supply of clean diapers for the next week. About a month ago, they still hadn't picked up the dirty diapers Wednesday evening, but there were occasions were they picked up and dropped off diapers fairly late, so I didn't think too much about it. Thursday morning, they still hadn't picked up the diapers. So I called them. The number was not in service. I used the Austin number. It was also not in service. I went to the website. They are out of business. There was no warning. I had just spoken with them two weeks before to cancel Nerdlet's diapers, and they hadn't mentioned anything. So now I'm washing diapers.

My MIL very disdainfully (that makes her sound like a bitter woman and she really isn't) says that babies under a certain age aren't potty trained that the mothers are. She and I don't agree on a lot of things regarding diapering and potty training. I will say that a lot of Bug's continual potty training relies on the adults around her. She is mostly non-verbal so if you don't take her, often she isn't going to tell you. Also, she is a 20 pound 2 year old with all her clothes on, so the big toilet is scary for her and she will only rarely use it. This means I cart a potty around with me in the trunk of my car. A trip to Six Flags means a potty in the underseat compartment of the double stroller. It also involves my getting up in the middle of the night if she decides she needs to go. I still find that having her potty trained this early is preferable to my changing diapers, cloth or no.

I'm wondering how early I am going to be able to potty train Bear in a similar manner. She can hold it and often wakes up dry, and she also pees for attention and to get out of therapy, so I know she has the control already. She also absolutely hates being wet or dirty, which is what I credit as the number one motivational factor in Bug's potty training. I was fine thinking Bug would be in diapers for a long time when I didn't have to wash them. I'm less fine with it now. Washing diapers isn't as bad as I thought it would be when I was surprised at being stuck with a weeks dirty diapers on my front porch, but it still isn't something I'm wanting to do for another half decade or so.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bug's running nose

My Bug really is sick. I hate it. This is only the third time she has ever been sick. The first time was at the beginning of the year. She and I both had fairly high fevers and were vomiting really bad. I almost lost the bear cub and Bug ended up in the hospital. The second time was in October on our trip to El Paso. She had a fever again and was really run down and cranky, and Bug ended up needed antibiotics. This time she has had a low grade fever (around 100°) and again is really cranky, but this time she also has a really runny nose. This is her first runny nose and it is freaking her out. Everytime anything hits her lip she starts screaming like her nose is melting off her face. She's been using everything in site as a tissue - a number of Bear's bibs, any nearby stuffed animals, and thanks to my doing laundry, a number of dirty socks.

I also hate cancelling therapy appts. I had to cancel a speech therapy appointment for her and if she is still sick tomorrow, I'll have to cancel one of Bear's therapy appointments. The therapists do so much good and it drives me crazy to cancel them. It especially hurts to cancel the speech therapy because it took so much to finally get them for her and I know how hard it was to work us into the speech therapist's already hectic schedule. I'm still hoping to have Bear's therapy appt as I don't know what I can do for her at all except let her roll around on her own and I'm anxious for some suggestions.

So far Bearis fine. I've been doing a really good job of keeping the two of them apart. Neither one of them understands though why all of a sudden I can't hold both of them and that they are getting their Mommy time severely reduced. I've been trying to substitute Bug's mommy time with Sesame Street which works all right I guess, but today Bug has watch more tv than the rest of her life, it seems. Bear unfortunately has been relegated to the playpen in her non-being held moments though. She is bored and wants out so bad. What is incredibly frustrating about it is that she'll likely get it anyway, especially since I can tell already that I'm fighting it off.

Bear had her first post operation follow-up appointment with the cardiologist today. Her heart looks great. The VSD has already shrunk to a few millimeters and Dr. Lee indicated that she believes it will close on it's own now. We have another appointment in another month. Dr. Lee noticed that Nerdlet wasn't feeling well and told me to keep her from kissing Bear because she knows she likes to do that. I was impressed that she remembered that Bug was like that with her sister. She also commented a lot on the fact that Bear is still very calm and easy going. A lot of people seemed to think that when the bear's heart was fixed that she would lose her incredibly calm temperament, but it looks like she is just going to be like her daddy. Considering the kind of treatment her life is likely to subject her to, it's probably a good temperament to have.

The bear is at 11 pounds 8 ounces, so she has lost a half of a pound since the surgery. I guess that is to be expected, but I was surprised anyway. She didn't eat well in the hospital, but she has been eating well since she got home, so I had thought she would have gained some weight. She looks good though so I'm not really worried about it yet. At eight months that puts her just under the Ds growth chart for weight, where up until this point she has been running along the 10% line.

I'm not particular worried about either one of them right now, but I do hope that this thing Bug has passes fast.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Irritating phrases

There is a question that seems to be everywhere. If you could have a superpower, which one would it be? A lot of people seem to want to answer the power to do good. I feel this is a cop out answer. Everyone has the power to do good. Another seemingly popular thing is the phrase (maybe not so much anymore) 'Practice random acts of kindness'. This drives me crazy. Why? Because I think that acts of kindness should be practiced deliberately and often. It should be a normal part of your life and not something done on a special occasion for some sort of personal morale kick.

Another one? How about 'Respect must be earned'. No. Everyone should be given an inherent treatment of respect. I know that not everyone acts like they deserve respect and that there are times that being respectful is not the appropriate action in a situation, but I think these times are rare. I will say that being polite and giving someone respect are two different things. The point I'm trying to get across is that people are not worth more or less than other people because of who they are or what they do. In addition to words of racism and bigotry that are clearly taboo, other disrespectful and hurtful words that get under my skin are words that show a lack of understanding that people deserve respect, words like white trash and retarded.

I participated in Nanowrimo the year before the Nerdlet was born, and it was incredibly gratifying. I've wanted to participate again the last two years, but it hasn't really been feasible. I'm hoping that next year will be different. I have a couple of ideas for another novel. One novel that has been sort of forming in my head is one of a person with Down syndrome trying to be a superhero. I wasn't going to give him or her a superpower, but more like a heroic job. The first thought that I had was maybe spending his time finding homes for animals in the shelter thereby eliminating that shelter's need to put any animals to sleep. In the overall story of this person and his acts, I'd like to show how that person is truly doing good and affecting the lives around him. I'm not sure I'll be ready to write this novel next year as I have pretty limited experience with people with Ds, but I might try it anyway. After all, my writing at this point is really only for me and if I ever get to the point where I'm publishing anything, I could revise it then.


I have a blog on livejournal. It started out as a dream journal and I sometimes still post those there. I also post weird little links and news articles and updates about my little ones. Most of what I post there is friends locked and I imagine that I will continue to post things that seem too private for me to post here.

I have two daughters. The older just turned two. I refer to her as Bug and the Nerdlet. She is brilliant in many ways but behind in others. I suppose this is like all children. Her two main areas that we are working on are speech development and social skills. She barely talks but in surprising moments, she has shown us that she can count and read some. She is also potty trained, which is a recent accomplishment that we are very pleased with.

My younger daughter, my Bear Cub, is eight months old. She is just had heart surgery to repair a fairly large hole in her heart, but you would never know it without seeing the scar. She was sent home just 48 hours after the surgery and spent that evening rolling around the living room trying to make up for any play time lost. She is amazing baby. She also has an incredible knack for flirtation that she inherited from neither her father or myself. She is babbling well and working on sitting up (or was before the heart surgery). She also has Down syndrome.

We have two dogs and four cats that are less spoiled than they would like to be. They are all wonderful in their own way and they likely will manage to make their way into this blog at some point.

I have a website It is completely unimpressive, but at some point when I have more time and the ability to put more into it, I will give it an overhaul. The purpose of the website is to sell my quilting services, but to date I really only sell my services through local quilt shops and the Greater San Antonio Quilting Guild meetings. Besides quilting, I also sew, cross stitch, do glass work, woodwork, polymer clay, paint, and draw. If it's a craft or art, I'm likely to be interested or working on it.