Go ahead, laugh at the irony

Today was boy day. Dad and Logan took a trip to the lighthouse for their hike. That meant it was also girl's day. Megan and Mommy went shopping at the outlets about a half-hour Northwest of here. In the Carter's outlet - one of us patiently waiting on line, one of us not - I took Megan from her stroller to calm her incessant whines over, I'm assuming, how stinky long, slow, lines are. I held her facing me and she did her darndest to continue her shopping. She gazed at every baby girl outfit she could feast her eyes on. A women two shoppers ahead of us smiled and admired.

"How old is she?" she cooed at Megan.

"She's 3 and half months," I said and smiled my appreciation at her adoration of what is obviously the cutest baby girl around.

"Oh, she has such remarkably good head control for her age! Look at her moving that head around so well. Nice strong neck!" the lady said.

And I just smiled and thought - oh if you only knew how wonderful that is to hear.


Oh look! Another gray. "Pluck!"

Miss Thing's head is now on straight. . .again. It remains to be seen how long this phenomon lasts since we had the excitment of a non-tippy baby for a week previously. She still has this uncanny ability to twist her head farther to the right than I had thought humanly possible. However, when she's sitting up supported around the hips or being held upright the head is straight between her shoulders.

As an aside - I did some googling on "Wry Neck" to see if I could find anything on why the condition would correct itself only to reappear. I just skimmed because I searched way too close to my bedtime to actually read. What I did find was a whole lot of articles on Wry Necked Rabbits. Hmmm, perhaps a vet would be more useful than that no-personality, cardboard cut out of a specialist we saw.


A quick update on bedtime Houdini

I was replying to a comment in my tirade about Logan's antics last night and figured I should post the rest of the story here as well:

Tonight was a non-issue. He and I had a long talk. He also had a long talk with Grandma. And he had no nap. All these things helped for at least tonight - although I'm sure last night wasn't the last time he decided to make a game out of not staying in bed.

He got up this morning and found his four trains high on a shelf. He asked why they were up there - I reminded him that they were in a time-out and why. Then he cried. I made a deal with him - if he behaved for the next hour and promised to listen tonight he could have them back. Normally not something I'd do but since I was leaving for the day and Grandma would need to deal with the tantrum I figured I'd be nice to her - especially since she'd be house bound in the crap weather.

When he went to bed tonight I simply said - "Here's the deal. I will leave the door open a little bit now, but if you get out of bed I'm putting you back in and then closing the door all the way which is how it stays no matter how much you complain." And he said "I stay in bed. I promise." Which, an hour and half later, he's done exactly that. We'll see what happens each night from here out. Last night wasn't the first time he pulled that little trick - just the worst time. He does it then he doesn't. I do think there is a connection between naps and his disappearing act. So bye bye naps for now at least.

When Grandma asked him earlier today, "Why did you keep getting of bed last night?"

He said "I wanted Mommy. I get out to get Mommy."

Grandma - Logan, that's not good. Mommy isn't happy when you do that.

Logan - No, she get mad. I get in trouble. I wanted Mommy. I call her but Daddy come.

Grandma - What did Daddy say?

Logan - Daddy said stay in bed.

Grandma - Well Daddy was right.

Logan - I just want my Mommy time.

Grandma - Ok, but next time ask for it before bed time. Mommy works hard taking care of you and Megan all day long. She's tired and needs her sleep too.

Logan - I fun.

He also told Bruce tonight that he wanted Mommy to give him his bath yesterday but Daddy came and he was sad but didn't want Daddy feel bad. Sometimes its heartbreaking having a kid that can clearly communicate and show early signs of budding empathy. ugh.

Its like looking in a mirror

I'm sitting here at my desk ignoring the stack of work I need to be doing and staring at a picture of my daughter taken roughly a month and a half ago. In it she has the biggest smile - so big it makes her squint a bit and show off those big pinchable cheeks of hers. The light catches her little bits of baby hair making it obvious that she's a redhead. Replace the lavender and pale green plaid dress she's wearing with something more in vogue during the early '70s and this is a picture of me. There are times I look at Meg and I see traits from other people - when she stares in wonder her eyes get large and round, looking more like her father's brother's eyes than either of ours. There are times when you could swap out her pink outfits for blue and think you were looking at her brother at that age. In this photo, wow, in this one she's my twin. When this particular roll of film came back I found myself studying Meg's features more closely. I still see bits and pieces of other people, but more and more often I get that deja vu feeling.

Its eery to look at someone else and see yourself. Not just pieces of yourself, but your whole entire being. And not just someone else, but someone 31 years younger than you are. She's an entirely different person. Her little independent will and personality already evident at a mere 3 months of age. We're different people but we're also already so much the same. More importantly though, we've bonded and that's the one thing I love most about being a mother to an infant. There is nothing like seeing a child's entire two-foot body light up with pure joy the moment you enter her line of sight. The way she kicks her feet and flaps her arms in happiness, while she coos and smiles at me just melts my heart, especially because I feel the same way.

Warning Warning. . .

To anyone with a 2004 Toyota Sienna All-Wheel-Drive -- when the stability control kicks in a panic-inducing, nerve-rattling, incessant, high beep goes off. . .and persists until the stability control feature does its job leaving you and your van back on the straight and narrow.

Don't ask me how I know this.

By the way - I hate driving in snow and ice.


Because they think I'll look good in grey

My children are conspiring to give me grey hair early - or is gray?

The little one keeps teasing us with a straight neck. Today she did a nice game of "on again, off again tippy head." Sometimes you'd catch her with a perfectly straight head as she sat on a lap or was being held upright. Other times she'd sit there staring at you with that head leaning to the side as it always does. You start thinking she's past the whole "wry" thing and then she regresses. I'm starting to think she's my little troublemaker and she's doing it now to mess with my head. Ok, I don't really think that, but when she starts laughing at me as I do her neck stretches you have to wonder a bit.

The big one apparently can no longer nap because every time he does take a nap during the day lately he screws with bed time. Case in point - tonight. Nice bed time routine and then boom...five minutes after I plant a good night kiss on his head and leave his room he's standing next to me and my laptop laughing. This went on for approximately two hours. During the course of the increasingly aggravating 'game' of his, four of his beloved Friends of Thomas were sent to 24-hour time-out. They now sit on a book shelf where they will stay all day tomorrow not being played with. I know I am setting myself up for tantrums. Although actually, if the snow stops and the roads aren't bad I've set Grandma up for diaster.

The little wise guy did his darndest to make me laugh - and although he doesn't know it he succeeded. I mean really, try not to laugh at the stuff he was tossing out:

Me - Logan that's enough. Now Lady is up on the shelf with Diesel 10. No Lady tomorrow.

Him - Why? I behaving now. See, Mommy. I fine. I sitting in bed now.

Me (probably with a touch too much sarcasm for the mature adult I'm supposed to be) - Yeah, that's great Logan, but you were not sitting here nicely in bed behaving two minutes ago.

Him - I know, but I sit here now. Lady sleep on shelf tonight. I see her in morning.

Me - No, Logan, Lady can't play tomorrow and neither can Diesel 10. They are off limits tomorrow because you're not listening tonight.

Him - I listen. I just come visit you.

Example two, as I escort him to his room for the Nth time:
Mommy, you should be working. You work very important.

Example three, after I tell him that I have to get work done tonight because its starting to snow so I may work from home and if I can get some work done tonight we can play outside tomorrow he says:
Oh! It snowing? I need my snow pants now.

Example four, as he stands in the living room watching me put yet another toy on the shelf banned from his use tomorrow:

Him - No! Mommy I like Jack!

Me - Yes I know Logan, that's the point.

Him - No put Jack in time-out, pick someone else. I want to play with him tomorrow.

Me - Ahhh, no, don't think so.

Example five as he sits on his bed having just made such a rukus he's awoken the baby:

Him - Mommy you need get a crayon and paper.

Me - No, you need to go to bed.

Him - No Mommy, you need to make a list for the supermarket.

Me - I need to what?

Him - Make a list for shopping. You have to buy Chap Stick for my baby (Editor's Note: baby being his stuffed green hippo.) She have yucky lips. She needs Chap Stick.

Me - Logan, your baby does not need anything for her lips. Stay here I will get you the stuff we already have for you.

He gets it. He pretends to put it on his toy. He puts it on his own lips, then says "There all done. Ok, Mommy, you can cross it off your shopping list."

For what its worth, we finally just pulled the door to his room completely shut and ignored his protests and banging around. Its something we had done a few times tonight but naively went in to see if the thud we had heard was him slamming the lid to his step stool repeatedly or cracking his skull open on the hardwood floor. (It was the lid, don't report me to Children's Services for neglect thank you very much.) We also went in once or twice to point out that his loud prouncements that his door was shut and he wanted out were waking his sister. We decided it was easier to get her back to sleep than to chase him up and down the hall. Since that final "this door ain't opening" we've not seen him or heard him. One can only hope he's not figured out how to climb out a window. . .


A slice of Christmas in our house

On Christmas Eve
Mommy - Logan, are you going to leave Santa something to eat?

Logan - Yup.

Mommy - What kind of cookies are you going to leave him?

Logan - One cookie.

Mommy - Just one? Why not a few cookies? He's got a long night of work, I bet he could use a good plate full.

Logan - Nope. Just one.

Mommy - Ok, how about one from you and one from Megan.

Logan - Nope, he just needs one.

As the children presenting the pageant at last night's Family Service filed in

Look! There Mary and Joseph. Come on Mommy! Let's go. I want to see the manager!

For the record, he was persuaded to remain in the pew with the promise of a visit up to the manager on the chancel after service was over.

During a prayer in the middle of the Christmas Eve Family service

Clearly deciding Pastor David had prayed long enough, Logan began softly and built to a crescendo so loud, even the praying minister must have heard it by the end:

God, Thank you, AMEN!

When walking around the Sunday School wing with Papa after leaving service 2/3rds of the way through and finding the lights off his Sunday School classroom

Its ok Papa. We find Miss Shannon, she turn the lights on for us.

At 6:30 am on Christmas morning
Logan certainly remembered the the last thing Mommy had said to him as she tucked him in on Christmas Eve -- He had to stay in bed until morning light because if he got out of bed before he might scare Santa away before he got to leave any presents. Or something like that anyway. At 5:30am we heard Logan mutter to himself and flop around in his bed. Again at 6am he saw it was still dark and he tried hard to sleep. At 6:30 am he slammed on his fish tank music. Mommy went in to his room and he lay there with his eyes closed.

Mommy - Logan honey, its ok. You can get up now. Its morning.

Logan (squeezing his eyes shut tight)- No! It not morning. It still dark!

Mommy - Honey, you're right, it is dark, but the sun is starting to come up now. Its ok. Santa was here and left already I think. You can get up. Just stay with me.

Logan with eyes flying wide open - Really? I get up now and get presents?!

Standing in the entry way to the sunroom, staring at the tree and the loot left behind

Wow look at all those presents! And they all for me!

Luckily he graciously accepted the clarification that only the packages to the right side of the tree were his.

Opening the box of new Thomas tracks Santa gave him

Wow! Just like I asked for! Its what I always wanted!

As he helped baby sister Megan sort through her stocking
And using his best "high-pitched" talking to baby voice:

Oh Megan! Its your first Christmas! Mine too!

When Mommy said to him "Logan silly, its not your first Christmas," he smiled and said "I know."

Upon summarizing his thoughts of Christmas morning at about 10am

Oh, this is my best Christmas ever!

As he settled down for the night, getting ready to start his bed time routine

Hmmm, maybe Santa come again tomorrow.


Merry Christmas to all

. . .and to all a good night. - Clement Clarke Moore

Santa Claus has left the building folks.

- Cookie left out mostly eaten and crumbs left upon the plate. CHECK!
- Carrot for reindeer properly disposed of. CHECK!
- Letter to child left in place of last minute letter to Santa. CHECK!
- Presents for all scattered beneath the tree. CHECK!
- Stockings stuffed and hung on doors of sleeping children. CHECK!
- Thomas tracks set up with new-to-Logan items incorporated. CHECK! (And as a note, "Mrs. Claus" has decided she must play Thomas and Friends more often when the boy is asleep. I like laying out those tracks!)
- Bows atop aforementioned handed-down Thomas items. CHECK!
- Letter explaining that Santa borrowed Logan's tracks to play and left behind his favorite pieces as a thank you. CHECK!
- Coffee pot set with auto timer. CHECK!
- Camera in place where even Daddy can find it in the morning. CHECK!
- Tree lights left up higher than gifts so Daddy can plug them in in the wee morning hours. CHECK!
- Half-asleep Mommy Elf ready to stumble down to bed.....CHECK!

May whatever holiday you celebrate, however you choose to do so, bring you much peace, love and joy.


A little info = bad thing.

Blogging is addicting. It just is. You find yourself marching around through life and thinking "Drat, gotta get to a PC and blog about this!" I, who always meant to keep a diary but never could discipline myself to do so, am a blogfiend now. With the addiction to the blog writing itself, comes this gnawing need to be read. So you up and enlist with places like BlogExplosion to generate some traffic. You work into adding links to your blog and commenting on other blogs - which in turn means other people link to yours which just means even more traffic.

And then, once you get some notion people other your best friends are reading, you get the urge to know how many and how they found you. You sign yourself for something like BlogPatrol so that you can track your hits and where they originate from. At least I did.

This tracking ability has been worse than traffic generation for my obession. I know now how many people read my blabble each day. I can see how many of you have arrived via links off other blogs and many have googled the term "I am a loser" and undoubtedly landed on the photo of my new bathroom I posted moons ago under the title "Because I am a loser" because really, who else would post pictures of their bathroom (redecorated or not) in their blog? (Ok, so you're not a loser then, just me.) Anyway, I digress.

Seeing what search terms lead to my front door has made me very aware of what I post sometimes. Not in a bad way - I mean honestly, what you put on the web is really out there and public for lord knows who to read. I wouldn't publish it if it was going to embarrass me. What I mean is that when I post, for example, about Megan's Wry Neck diagnosis and treatment I feel obligated to keep a running tab on her progress. Why? Well what if someday there is a parent out there that Googles "Wry Neck" (Or its much harder to remember or spell medical term) and they fall into this blog. I don't want them to see just the day Meg's pediatrician told us she had it. I want them to know what we did to help her and what worked. I want to know that if someone is going to peek into my life it humors them or helps them -- even if it just helps them to know that they're not alone.

Lately it seems a lot of Search Engine hits come from various queries on infertility, pregnancy, or the joys (ha) of toddlers. These are topics buried through-out the archives. I wonder if those rambles really help. I wonder if those people come back and read on. I wonder a lot...Apparently I should stop checking into my stats if I ever plan on accomplishing anything ever again!


Oh I can't wait!

Its happened. I've regressed. But, not really.

I have always loved Christmas. I love the decorating. I love the good cheer, the music, the treats to eat, the presents - both those I get and those I give. I love Christmas Eve church services and the various family traditions that have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I always look forward to this time of year.

But. . . yes always a but. . .but its been a long time since I had "butterflies in my belly" as the big day approaches. Its been ages since I felt giddy with anticipation. I don't think I've peered at a calender counting down the waning days to "the" day since I had hair down to my waist that often found itself in pigtails. I just simply grew up. Christmas was still wondeful but the childlike awe it used to inspire in me had matured itself out of my system.

Three years ago as we prepared for Logan's first Christmas I started to get excited. I knew at a mere 6 months old he'd be too young to really get any of it. He'd have no real clue what those packages were under our tree and yet I went ahead and piled up a bunch of toys anyway. I knew I'd do more unwrapping that he would - his biggest contribution to the day being nothing more than chewing on his gifts and drooling on his new clothes. Yet still, his mere presence made Christmas a bit more exciting than it had been in recent years.

Last year he dove into his new gifts but didn't quite get the idea that the big jolly elf clad in red dropped some of them off while we slept. He didn't unwrap them himself - he pulled at paper and then handed the box to us to open for him. He played with his new toys but he didn't completely 'get it' all. It was fun for us to watch his joy. It was special. I looked forward to seeing his face on Christmas morning but it was more "adult waiting" than childlike glee.

This year is different. This year I sit here writing this nearly trembling with anticipation. I look at my calender and I see just three days left to 'the' moment when my little guy lays his eyes on his bounty and it starts to feel like those are three longest days of my life. That's a Christmas feeling I haven't felt in nearly two decades. The feeling that Christmas will simply just never arrive - that even a day is just too long to wait.

Logan is clearly excited. We talk now about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I map out the basic schedule for him so he knows what to expect - we go to church in the afternoon and you get to sit where the big people go on Sunday's instead of your classroom. Then we go to Grandma's house for dinner and you might even get a present to open there! When we come home you can have one present that Mommy and Daddy got you - at which point his eyes get wide and his face smiles from ear to ear. Then its bathtime...and then we put out cookies and milk for Santa, read our stories and go to sleep.

He intrupts me then saying happily "Santa will come into my house while I sleep and leave me presents. I get up in morning and I carry my stocking to the big bed then Daddy go see if Santa gone and we get to go open presents under the tree."

We talk about how presents will come from Mom and Dad also, and Megan, Grandma & Papa, aunts and uncles. We talk about how even Logan has bought presents to give the people he loves. He smiles and hugs me tight saying "I even picked you out pretty slippers Mommy." And I laugh as I kiss him back and say "Oh honey, its supposed to be a surprise, but thank you."

He then talks about how Santa will bring him lots of trains to play with and maybe Megan buy him a train too. He tells me how he's going to play until Grandma and Papa come over with more presents to open and then we'll play some more. He breathes in deeply and says in childlike wonderment "It Christmastime and soon it be Christmas. Today Tooday, then it Whenday, then it Thurday, then it Friday and Santa come when I sleep, then it CHRISTMAS!"

And I smile back at him with the same wonderment filling me up inside. I sigh and I tell him truthfully that today, being just Tuesday, makes Christmas morning seem so far away. I giggle with him - our foreheads pressed together - and say honestly that I really just can not wait to see what Santa will bring. We look over at his sister happily tugging on the rings of a toy she now adores. He says that Megan has been a good baby and will get presents too and I agree - she has and she will. Then I think to myself that in two years from now when Megan 'gets it' I wonder if I will burst in those final countdown days. I wonder if I will be able to handle the anticipation when there are two children gleefully awaiting their special morning. I wonder and I think that suddenly two years seems so very far away - but not quite as far away as three days seems.


When Mom is friends with Santa. . .

Last week a co-worker and I were talking kids and Christmas. I've worked with this guy for about 6 years now - both at my current employer and the place we both worked at prior. His kids are older than mine, although still fairly young enough that he remembers rather clearly those 2 year old days.

In the course of conversation it came up that my boy is longing for nothing but trains for Christmas - and most especially stuff for his Thomas and Friends collection. In that split moment of confession, my friend smiled knowingly and said "We had all that stuff but my son's outgrown it now. Hey, I'd love to clear out the basement! Do you want any of that stuff?"

Well hell yeah! Bring it on. And so he did. A box full.

Of course being that I only work two days a week I just got the box today. And, being that its Christmas week and it is a Very "Tommy" Christmas in our house (Tommy being the loving nickname my child has bestowed upon this particular genre of toy.), I figured now was not the time to break out the box of hand-me downs. But when did we hand them over. Was it on Christmas day? Was it the day after? The day after that?How long did these awesome gems go waiting?

Before we could answer that we had to check out the goods. All in pristine shape and all mostly intact save for two missing slabs of coal for the one giant coal loading building. Since this was something Logan wouldn't know was missing, it's no big deal. Essential parts were there. But did we wrap it and hand it out as a gift? Well no. The boy is too clever you see. He knows Thomas comes in blue striped boxes and seeing no blue stripped boxes to unwrap could be an issue.

We are doing the next best thing - perhaps even a BETTER thing. Santa, you see, also likes Thomas and Friends. Santa likes him so much, in fact, that when he's dropping off presents on Christmas Eve he's going to set up Logan's tracks and play while munching on cookies. He'll be so emersed in play, that he'll pull out a few new pieces and add them to his track layout then decide to leave them - with a note explaining it all. Perhaps he'll be thoughtful enough to add a ribbon to each new piece if Mom isn't too lazy to locate ribbon that night. When Mr Boy comes down the hall Saturday to survery the loot he'll likely head straight for the tree in the sunroom - heading through the kitchen and therefore missing his track set up where it always ends up in the living room. This just means the surprises keep showing up longer as we later direct him to the new pieces waiting for him.

I'm so excited I can't wait. I almost think it'd be fun to go ahead and unwrap the other pieces Santa is leaving so we can set them up too! ;)

Wry again

So my little one had gone a whole week or more with a perfect straight neck - holding her head up high...and now she tips again. I am concerned now because this is now a step backward and if we can't move forward by her next OT appointment we move into "real" treatments. It would start with actual Physical Therapy. If that didn't work she could have to wear a special harness for a time...and if that didn't work we're looking at surgery.

We're back to stretching her head and working on getting her to move herself around. I'm hopeful its only a minor setback because she will turn her head various ways and doesn't always fall back to the extremem right view (with left ear to left shoulder) or staring to the left...or tipped over to the left when upright.) I do hope this helps. I'm so frightened by the more 'serious' treatments if this or PT doesn't do it. My poor kid.

As a side note: please kindly over look all gross spelling and grammar-related errors. I am attempting to type this with a half-asleep infant on my shoulder. Yes the joys of mommyhood include taking "your" time with 15 or so pounds of infant laying across you.


Musical Memories

I got to drive the Big Red Car to work Tuesday and as such, I got to listen to satellite radio for 2 hours out of my day. Its a first for me as Bruce tends to be possessive of his new Accord even on my work days when I don't need the "Mommy van."
I didn't think I'd care whether I had satellite radio or not. I had my stations and I was fine. But now I do care because satellite has variety and it has no commericals. AND it has the nothing but 80s station.

Yeah, I know, 80s music isn't as 'cool' per se as some of the other eras, but it was mine. I was born in 1973 and so by the time I was old enough to be listening to "today's" music we had hit the 80s - decade of big hair and bright colors. Its not the songs on that station will necessicarily be revered as classic any time soon. Sure, a few may make the cut but over all? Well, let's just say I'm not convinced it'll be hailed any time soon as the "great era of (insert genre here)." No, its not the quality of the music perse, its that these songs were *my* songs.

It was weird, actually, to hear song after song that I might not be able to identify by title or performer name...but I could sing along with it. I could hum the next notes before we got to them. I knew them because in some weird way they knew me. They were there in my puberty. They were there when I started High School. They were there when I left for college. So much of those corny songs were woven into my life in such a way that just hearing them brought memories to the service. The open chords suddenly evoked memories so clear I could smell them again. I could taste them. See them in such overwhelming clarity.

On the way home it was "Stand" by REM. Those first notes hit the airwaves and suddenly I was there again. It was September 1991 and I was wearing my 'hottest' jeans and shirt. I was squashed in what seemed to be the world's smallest dorm room. The smell of sweat and spilled alcohol almost nasueating. I had a drink in my hand - the first one I'd ever had at a real, honest-to-goodness, college party. I felt awkward. I felt out of place. This wasn't me. This wasn't what I did. I didn't know these people. I didn't really drink. I didn't 'party.' But the music started and suddenly these weren't loud, obnoxious drunks vs me. This was us. This was us standing with our hands to our sides jumping up in down in place -- standing in the place where we lived.

Song after song that played from the 80s station sparked the same in me. More memory. More reliving. More vivid recollection. I know smells can trigger memories. Specific images can send your brain for a 'this is your life' ride. And now I know music can to. I don't like to live in the past any more than I like to obsess over the future, but sometimes, as I live in the here and now, I think I'd enjoy dancing to my version of yesteryear.


More on Wry Neck

In regards to Saturday's update on Megan's neck Mandy asked: Did they think that spending so much time in the carseat was a factor?

In a word - Yes. The car seat was a factor. Here's the gist of what came out of her specialist appointment:

1. She likely had a left preference in utero.

2. She likely had some degree of birth trama that impacted her neck. The first thing I noticed about her as they held her up - seconds old - was that the left side of her mouth was puffy and swollen, as was the left side of her nose. This leads us to believe that some of the Wry Neck issue could be associated with her trip down the birth canal and out. The specialist also seemed to think that the left side swelling and bruising also supports the "in utero" theory - I'm assuming his thoughts are she got banged up on her way out because she was holding her head tipped to the side a wee bit.

3. She did not show signs of a preference in her earliest days. Its something that seemed to show up between one and two months of age. This is thought to indicate a problem caused, or at least exerbated to the point of a noticable preference,by the car seat sleeping. Basically an infant's head is very heavy in relation to the rest of the body. Sleeping in a semi-upright position causes the head to pull to a side as weight pulls it over. (And frankly, don't we all do this when we fall asleep sitting or more inclined than our normal 'in bed' sleeping.) Sleeping consistantly in this position all night and for naps (which means the head was always leaning to a side) could have caused the neck muscles to build more on one side than the other -- which would have caused or contributed to the problem.

By shifting her out of her habit of sleeping semi-upright, we gave her the chance to sleep with her neck straight - her head placed down in the crib centered or even, in the first few nights, with her chin pressed towards her left shoulder. This helped to loosen and lengthen the mucsles which had built up too much on the left side. The combination of her new sleep habit and the excercise of placing her so she had to look to the upper left stretched her muscles and eliminated the "great tip."

Today if she sits on your lap facing you, you'll see the reminance of the Wry Neck. You'll see the way her right side looks a bit swollen in comparison to her left - although the truth is, the left side is just a bit flat. This isn't something that most people notice unless you point it out and its gotten much better than it had been a month ago when the Ped first diagnosed her. What really stands out to me though can only be viewed from the back of her almost bald head. One ear sits on her head a bit higher than the other. Its not noticable from the front. In fact Bruce and my parents didn't even realize it until I pointed it out -and then they had to stand behind her to see it. Its not a major difference, but its there. The way her face is starting to fill out though, I'm sure her higher ear will level off too. If not, its something that won't be obvious once her hair grows in.


Call me a sap

I cried yesterday - or at least I almost did. My eyes started to get that burning feeling when tears threaten to fall from the ducts. I managed to keep the water works from breaking loose, but it was hard. Honestly the whole "my kid growing up" thing has never really bugged me all that much. Yes, sure, they get bigger but the 'next' stage always seems so much fun and exciting that I don't miss the past one that much. I relish each new development my child (now children) has broached without mourning the ones they move beyond. But yesterday afternoon I almost cried over it.

Our church begins its 'formal' Sunday School classes at 2 years old. The toddler/preschool class of 2-3 year olds are supposed to eat snacks, read a story together and do associated craft projects. Mostly its play time with some art work tossed in. Sometimes they read a story. Sometimes they bring their stories home.

The last four weeks they've been learning a song. Logan had learned the words but he refused to sing it for us. I knew he knew the lyrics because after he told you he couldn't sing it, he'd whisper it quietly to himself - too softly for me to pick up what he was saying, but loud enough that I knew it was a song. He'd get in the car each Sunday morning and announce that the man played the piano and the red lady sang. His job, he'd say, was to sit still and be quiet.

Yesterday was his chance to do "his job" - which really did entail him looking adorable, singing and doing a few hand motions and gestures with a paper candle someone had made for the little ones to hold. Yesterday was the Church School Christmas program. We gathered in the sanctuary at 4pm - Miss Megan perched upon my lap thinking she could actually read the music and lyrics in the hymnal. We had left Logan playing in a classroom with his classmates and teacher - clad in his brand new, bit-too-big-for-him, green t-shirt that all program participants were to wear.

Megan, being her usual "can't stand not be up and swaying" self, demanded I move to the side wall and dance with her as the program got underway. This just meant I had a great vantage point to see my boy coming down the hall with his classmates. He, who has come to look so big to me of late, looked so small when lined up next to the five year-olds (all classes 2yr old through K were entering at the end of the program for the "grand finale.") They marched up the center aisle to the music. Logan spied his father and grandfather with the cameras and paused proudly to say "CHEESE!" and as such, held up the line for a moment. He followed his teacher's direction and got himself lined up on the risers in just the right spot.

It took me a moment to find him up there in his place. I'd have thought the red-hair would be akin to those balls people put upon car antenae to aid location - but no. When you're 3 feet tall its easy to get lost amongst the bigger folk. When I did spy him, however, I felt that burning eye thing. There he was, my first born, my baby, sort of all-grown-up. Well ok, not all, but he certainly wasn't just my toddler any more. Here he was, a 'big' kid doing big kid things. He did remain true to his oath to not sing. He smiled instead - looking out at the crowd with his happy little face. He did move his candle back and forth as he was supposed to - taking his cue from the bigger kids around him. And, the little ham that he is, he did clap proudly for himself and his peers as the audience erupted into applause.

He stepped down the risers as he was supposed to and fell inline with the other kids. He once again held up the flow of traffic to pose for another photo and then he waved his goodbye as he followed Miss Shannon back to his classroom.

Just one year ago this child of mine refused to stay for a mere moment anywhere an adult belonging to him (aka parent or grandparent) was not. I spent countless Sunday's listening to the sermon via an earpiece in the nursery. Just one year ago he'd cling to my leg or ask to be held as he buried his head in my shoulder instead of facing a crowd of strange faces. Yet there he was walking away with a wave and a smile. There he was waggling around his toilet paper roll and tissue paper candle proudly. My little boy acting the role of little man suddenly.

He'd tell me later that he had fun. He'd retell how he pulled on his teachers arm and said "Please, Please, can we go?"

"Go where?" I asked him, wondering if I had seen him walking in holding her hand because he hadn't want to come in to the program.

"Go into the big people church. I wanted to come sing but Miss Shannon said it wasn't time yet." replied my ham.

Apparently he's moved a bit beyond the shy phase too. . .


Wry no more

Two months ago Megan was diagnosed with Muscular Torcollis, also known as Wry Neck. Its more or less just a cosmetic condition that is correctable if caught early enough. Basically the muscles on one side of the neck are shorter and tighter causing the head to lean to that side or be turned primarly to that direction. Being in this one position most of time means a flat spot often forms. In Meg's case it was the left side and her left jaw line (chins included...yes chins) are not nearly as round as the right side. She tended to look left more often than not. If she looked in another direction it was often with her left ear down close to her left shoulder.

We were sent to a specialist for evaulation and treatment. That appointment was last week - at which time Megan had given up on the left view and had focused squarely on the right side of herself. Of course she did so with her ear pressed to her shoulder. We were sent home with a few very basic instructions - hold her, play with her, position her in ways that make her pull her right ear closer to her right shoulder and her chin to her left shoulder. Most imporantly though - get her out of her car seat for night sleeping and into the crib.

We did all of that and here we sit - just a week later - and the girl has no left lean left in her. We noticed it yesterday. She went the entire day sitting up on a lap or holding her body up away from my shoulder as I carried her - head set perfectly centered upon her neck. She even tends to nap in her assorted list of "acceptable places to sleep during the day without screaming bloody murder" without the head tilt sneaking in. Days leading up to this major shift, Megan would go for a spell with a staight neck/head only to start to lean over as she tired. No more though. Now she's all sorts of upright and happy.

The 'slimer' side of her face is a bit more apparent now - now that you can see her face. It does seem to already have rounded a bit more than what it had been. . . leading us to believe it won't be long before the only tell tale signs of her once 'wry neck' are the photos I've yet to get into a scrapbook.

In other Megan news, the child is now a whopping 3 months old and roughly 2 feet tall. She's a talker, a squirmer and a lively soul. She is dying to sit on her own - straining against the restraints of her car seat whenever she's in it trying to sit up for a better view. She gets her head and shoulders up those times. She even tries to sit up in her bouncey seat - again head and shoulders lifted. She's been known to end up slightly more to one side in that seat than she started as a result of her desire to sit upright. She loves her big brother and studies his every move either out of that adoration or fear for her life. We're not sure which sometimes. He's equally smitten with her - he just shows it a bit smotheringly sometimes. :)


Oh why!

She meant to be nice. It's a Christmas gift. Its meant to spread cheer. And it would. Heck it will. Lots of chocolate dipped cheer. . .right up until I get on the scale at Weight Watchers.

Today the UPS man brought a basket of high calorie delights from one of the vendors both Bruce and I work with at our repective companies. (She's the one we get all our promotional items festooned with corporate logo from - stuff like t-shirts, pens, mugs, backpacks, etc) We're talking chocolate and pistachio dipped graham crackers, pretzel bits dipped in white chocolate fudge and some brightly colored chocolate covered sunflower seeds - to which I scream "SUNFLOWER SEEDS COME DROWNING IN CHOCOLATE?! What has the world come to?!"

I almost did not open the celophane package but the sweet-toothed toddler by my side was pleading to see the present and truth be told, I wanted to know what it hid inside. Then he begged for "just one juicy" (also known as gummy bears) and so he had one handful. I'm really here typing about it to keep myself from lunging into the whole thing, leaving just one piece behind so I could at least say to Bruce "Oh, here, they sent a bag of popcorn." (Yup, a small bag of white chocolate covered popcorn!!)


Note to the con man

If you're going to send me a spam mail trying to weasel my bank account info from me in attempt to bleed me dry - please be smart enough to send it from a place I actually bank at AND to the email address I'd actually register with said bank.

Today in my work account I get one of those actually very offical looking, complete with logo and copyright line emails from a major banking institution. Said bank is theorically updating some system or files or something according to the email. It then goes on to implore me to PLEASE click the link and confirm my account info to make sure their records are correct. First of all, please tell me people don't fall for this crap. Second of all, the bank this is supposed to be from doesn't even have a branch near enough to me to make it worth my while to bank there. Third, I'd never register at a bank with my work email.

I mean really, you're trying to make a quick buck by stealing from idiots, at least do a little more homework than just stealing the logo off the bank's web site.


Today's Toddler Logic

Does your neighborhood have those giant inflatable Christmas decorations scattered about? Mine does. My town seems to have this knack of gorging itself on the latest holiday house fad. A few years ago everyone that hung lights had those damn icicles. They were nice on the first few houses but after a bit I wanted to start strangling folks with them to make it all just stop. But I digress. . . Well first let me say that I LOVE Christmas and I LOVE decorated houses. I just like variety and the fad lovers take that from me. :)

So anyway, there are these giant inflated holiday sculptures all over the place now. Huge Santas, snowmen, Winnie the Pooh in hat and scarf, you get the picture. They each have this internal eery lighting that makes them glow at night and a small air compressor that jacks up your electric bill so you can boost a mini-Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on your lawn. There is one house near us that boosts a train - a steam engine named North Pole Express that has Santa hanging out its window waving. Logan is enamored with this train. Every day he asks to see it, yet its only up after dusk because the home owners only run the generator when the sun goes down. As a result, Logan tries to get out in the car (or even on a walk) after the sun goes down.

Tonight as we sat at the dinner table we talked about how if he finished up his dinner in something akin to "real time" Daddy would take him for a quick ride to see the lights, including the train.

"Trains not blowed up yet." he said.

"No, it wasn't up when Grandma and Papa brought you home was it. It wasn't dark then," I explained, "But I'm sure it'll be up when Daddy goes out with you."

"If it not up, I get out of car and I put my mouth and it and I blow it up!" Logan decided.

"Ummm, honey, that's a great idea, but I'm not sure even *you* have enough hot air to puff that up!" I teased him.

"Oh, I just take more wind in my mouth and then I blowed it up." he said.


Migranes, Mood swings, Muscles and Millions

When it comes to the apparent four "M's" of Clomid, Barry Bonds got the better end of the deal. Me, on the other hand, got nothing worthwhile. Yes, both Barry Bonds, baseball's elite homerun hitter, and I both took Clomid.

I, you see, took it in hopes that it'd help me get pregnant. Barry, apparently thinks its a special vitamin to help his flaxseed oil go down better. Clomid gave me horrible migranes, hot flashes, messed up metabolism and wild mood swings. Bonds got bigger muscles, millions of dollars, and his already fairly certain ticket to the Hall of Fame fast tracked.

According to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle today the San Francisco Giant's outfielder and Major League Baseball's single season homerun record holder admitted to unknowingly taking illegal steriods during last year's Grand Jury testimony about BALCO. The article states:

During the three-hour proceeding, two prosecutors presented Bonds with documents that allegedly detailed his use of a long list of drugs: human growth hormone, Depo-Testosterone, undetectable steroids known as "the cream" and "the clear," insulin and Clomid, a drug for female infertility sometimes used to enhance the effect of testosterone.

Yes, see, Barry Bonds took Clomid. Well, yes, and a whole slew of other stuff. I have to say, the man is either the biggest gullible idiot around or he thinks we are. "Bonds testified he had never discussed steroids with his trainer -- not even after federal agents kicked in Anderson's door to serve their search warrant. That was out of respect for Anderson's privacy, Bonds said." says the SF Chronicle article.

Ummm, sure. The cynic in me says Barry quickly adopted a "don't ask don't tell" policy when it came to his supplements. If I don't ask Gary if they're illegal, I can play dumb when asked. He didn't ask Anderson because he didn't want to know - I highly doubt respect had much to do it with. Maybe its me but if someone had been passing me pills and oils suddenly got busted for having illegal pills and oils I think I'd be demanding some answers about what I'd been given. But hey, that's me.

And for what its worth, for those baseball fans amongst you, Barry's records need the *. If Maris' 61 homers needed an asterik merely because he played more games than the Babe, then I think Barry needs one because he had a little extra help in reaching his record.


The Challenge

Its dawned on me recently that as hard as I work to raise my children they will invariably meet other people someday and all my hard work is going to go right out the window. Or at least it will be challenged in such a way that I can merely pray I laid a strong enough foundation to keep the whole darn building from falling to the ground.

At first its the little things - stuff like lollipops and reckless running. Yes. I know, I am mean and overprotective. I do not let my son run through Gymboree with a Dum-Dum lollipop dangling precariously from his jaw. But apparently, you see, I'm wrong because at the same moment I was making my child cry in one of those "but I want my way!" tantrums as I took his lollipop away from him, other children were preparing to ride on the parachute with white sticks dangling out.

We have a simple rule in our house about "pops." One can not have a lollipop unless one's butt is planted firmly in a chair or a lap. Simple. The moment that little butt wants to start moving the pop must be handed over to the nearest adult. We also don't let the boy slobber away on a lollipop for long because I have this fear of him breaking off large chunks and choking. He has some then it magically disappears into the trash.

So here we were yesterday in "Gym class" and the lollipops came out of hiding. Logan sat nicely with me to have his until he realized it was bubble time. At that point he dutifully turned to me and said "Ok, you take this now." I wrapped it up tight in its wrapper and followed him to the main mat - now parachute covered. Logan then saw the others with their pops and he wanted to hold his. He grabbed it back and argued his case strongly - "I not eat it. I just hold it. See," he said as he held it up still wrapper covered. "I just sit on parachute and hold it."

But I am bigger than him and so the lollipop ended up in my pocket and he in my arms as we worked through his tears and protests. "Honey, I don't want you to get hurt. If you run while you have your pop and fall, well that just wouldn't be good. I just want you to be safe. Ok." And it was ok. Tears stopped, boy went and chased bubbles.

Then he sat because it was time to ride the "chute." He asked once for his pop back and I once reminded him that it wasn't going to happen. And that's when it hit me - this whole thing about other people screwing with my life lessons. Just as I finish telling my child no to the lollipop another child goes tearing across the floor -- mouth blue with candy dye and stick dangling from his lips. Logan just looked at the kid and then at me. I then counted them. There were five kids running or riding the parachute with a lollipop in the mough. At one point the blue mouthed child tore across the moving parachute - a no-no on a nonfood day - and nearly fell as he hit the incline. The mother to my left and I snapped the fabric quickly in an effort to right the tripping child before one of us had the chance to snag his arm and hold him up. He never fell but the mere through of what could have happened had he pitched head first into the mat below with that thing in his mouth - scary.

And there rode my child. . . actually not even blinking at what could have seemed totally unfair. He just went with it. Yet he's two. He just goes with it now because he's two and I'm mom and so that's all that we need to know. What is scary is the future. . .but we won't focus on that just yet. For now I'll sit and marvel at how its ok for other two year olds to run with hard candy and sticks in their mouths.