Tuesday, February 26, 2008

LIfe and times of a stay at home mom

Dont touch the blue water-

Ive been taking my daughter with me to the bathroom. Together, we form a mighty team. I do the potty thing, and she does the flushing thing. Then, we wash our hands together. She's gotten real good at flushing, too. Every time we go in, the toilet gets flushed a minimum of three times.

This morning I looked away for a second. It was all the moment Katy needed. As I washed my own hands, I glanced at her in the mirror, her head bent over the toilet. She had not only stuck her hand in the water, but was digging it in as far as it could reach. By the time I saw her (trust me, it only took a second) her little fingers were scraping the bottom of the comode.
I think I gotta rethink my (pre) potty training strategy.

I'm sleeping with a musician

Like any normal teenage girl, I used to dream about my future husband. I envisioned him coming out through the smoky floors and standing under green and blue stage lights. With his guitar strapped over his shoulder, he would give me that "secret" look right before performing in front of a screaming audience.

When I first met Isaac, it was clear to me that he did not have any special musical talents. He was a smart, political thinker with a deep passion for philosophy and wisdom. I settled for that. After all, he was freaking hot!

We've been married for eight years now. Over the past year and a half, Isaac has started to learn the guitar. He has been motivated and persistant. Lately, he has been on a creative streak, writing many songs. I wish I could write the sound of Isaac's voice in this blog. It is the most beautiful voice a man has ever posessed. It makes me weak in the knees.

Being a man after God (just like I always prayed for), his music reflects his passion and intimate relationship with Jesus. They are really powerful songs that have brought the entire church congregation to tears. I can hear people humming the tune long after the service is over. I have even visited churches in other cities that sing them in their services. Its really something to watch hundreds of people know the lyrics that I heard being writen in my living room.
Every year, we do a large event targeted to reach the city. Its become a really big thing, with hundreds of people packing buses and traveling many, many miles just to participate. Its a really great event, but this year is going to be the biggest we've ever done. We had to rent a city building just to fit the people that will attend.

In this event, Isaac will be performing a mini concert with the songs that he has writen. There is also some talk (which I probably shouldnt be mentioning yet, due to uncertainty), that he might record his own CD. I am so proud of him!

Words of wisdom to live by

I just read this today. I thought it was very true...

"The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude"

-William James

"No pain...
No pain!"

"Ever notice how anyone driving slower than you is an idiot, but anyone driving faster than you is a maniac?"

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Weird Beauty...

She seemed as if she was going to suffer a nervous breakdown any moment. Sophie*, a young lady whom I had seen but never spoken to had just tapped me on the shoulder. She was known to be socially akward, and was always seen alone. Her wild eyes looked unconfortably into mine and her voice quivered as she gathered up the courage to speak.

"May I have one moment of your time?" Sophie asked, looking as if she would dart away any second.

After dispatching a few of my friends and handing the baby over to my husband, I sat down in a corner of the room, giving her my complete atention. Sophie had a little gift bag in her hand. She placed it on my lap.

"Ive never talked to you, but I want you to know how much I admire you."

I opened the bag, and in it was a little black shirt. It was simple but useful. Sophie herself was always dressed quite simply. She was always clean, neat and-plain. I thanked Sophie and she left in a hurry.

My father in law is a pastor of a large church. It's not uncommon for people to come and give me gifts from time to time, for no apparent reason other than being thankful for my service. If only I had known how much this little black shirt had cost Sophie, I would have been more appreciative upon recieving her gift.

A little more than a year ago, Sophie walked the streets of central Mexico with no shoes on her feet. She was a homeless beggar, barely managing to stay alive. Her bed was the concrete floor and her shelter was whatever bridge she could find. Sophie was avoided by the people of the city. She was believed to be a lunatic, never making sense when she spoke. Coins dropped into her plastic cup from time to time as she walked along side traffic, with her hands stretched out to the cars. One morning, like any other, she made her way into a church, hoping to find generous people who could give her some change.

Well, she found people. And she found change.

Never in her life had she felt this way. She was electrified with a sense of hope and destiny. Layer by layer, she started to peeling off as the people in the church prayed for her. Her future flashed before her, and it was unlike anything she had ever seen. She was no longer a street bum, a beggar or a whore. She was a princess, loved by God Himself. It was a life changing encounter.

She decided to abandon her life of misery and pursue a life of destiny. After inquiring about the people who had prayed for her, she discovered that they were from Monterrey, Mexico (they were some pastors from my church). She would follow them there. Having nothing to gather and no one to kiss goodbye, she made her way to our six million member metropolis. Then, she came to our church.

That's where I saw her. Day in and day out, she was singing softly as she cleaned the bathrooms and mopped the floors. Every now and then she would take a break to stand at the altar and pray, sing and even dance. Then, she continued with her chores. Sophie was always the first one to show up for a service and the last one to leave. She was sold out.

Sophie began to make a little extra cash from selling knick knacks. Shortly after her arrival to the city, she found a quaint little place to live. Not knowing how to socialize, Sophie kept to herself and minded her own buisness. That was until the day she tapped me on the shoulder. Coming boldly towards me, she conquered yet another giant in her life. Ever since then, I see her bravely venturing to other people and giving her best shot at small talk.

At times, miracles are instantaneous while others require some time. Some battles are fought for us, yet others ours to overcome. Sophie is finding her strenght in her weakness. Like a small baby, she is opening her mouth and discovering her own voice. Sophie is on a life changing journey, in which dreams are finally allowed.

Tomorrow morning, I will wear the little black shirt to church. I hope she notices.

* Her name has been changed for privacy and protection.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Im going into "SHE" mode

After I post this notice, Im shutting the computer down, making myself entirely unreachable (by internet) for an indefinate period of time.

I backed up into a neihboor's car on the way to katy's physical therapy. It was one of my stoopidest wrecks, but what made it worse was the witness. I was goofing around with a friend of mine who was driving down the neighborhood as well. He was going one way, and I the other but there was no room for the both of us. We jokingly acted like we were mad, and I backed into my neighboor.

Then I couldnt find my insurance policy.

My mother in law had it. She was in San Antonio. Actually, she was driving down the highway. There was no way to fax it, so she could only get it to me personally a few hours later.
But the plan was stopped short because a beloved little boy lost his battle with severe brain injury this morning. My mother in law will be visiting the family instead of coming home with the papers. The little trooper was six years old, and having fought his whole life for survival, he expired his last breath at home in his bed. My heart goes out to his family, who has bravely endured for so many years.

Yes. Its a crappy day, so Im going into "she" mode. I need a grilled cheese sandwich, cooked nopales (cactus, in salsa), a clean house, some REAL, PHYSICAL friends, lots of orderly laundry and a pot and a half of coffee with an entire chocolate cake.

I leave you with a random image-

Ladies and Gentelmen, this is SHE mode. Im out.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mommy Meltdown

Its a crab!  Its a slug!  No, it's Michelle!!!

Im laying on the couch in my living room wearing yesterdays shirt and some decade old pajama bottoms.  Im in the middle of a melt down.  My husband has ordered for me to stay and rest while he took care of my chores.  He's taking the baby to therapy and later, bringing home lunch.  Meanwhile, I lay in the middle of a mess with a laptop on my- lap.

Just half an hour ago, I snapped.  Then, I snapped again.  Then again...and again.  My target:  my husband.  Why is it that the people we love are the ones who end up being taxed by our hormonal rages?  Poor Isaac.  I feel so guilty for being constantly mean.   He wasnt doing anything wrong.  In fact, he was helping around the house! Eventually, he walked in on me crying.  Thats when he told me to rest while he took care of my things.  

Am I the only mom who feels overwhelmed?

I feel as if every waking moment, im working, working working. Laundry, baby, cooking, baby, cleaning, baby, dusting, baby, picking up toys, baby.  I feel like I've been in a marathon with no direction and no weight loss.  I just want to lay down and plop. 

Dirt- its whats for dinner.

Like any two year old, Katy is a picky eater.  The problem is that she is living with PKU, a condition in which protein cannot be broken down in the bloodstream.  She is only allowed to have five and a half grams of protein per day, which is practically nothing.  That really limits our options, making feeding a whole new challenge.

Her food is also very expensive.  She cant have any flour, pastas, dairy... the list goes on.  This means that all her food has to be special ordered from the internet.  Its very expensive food.  That's why it sucks when she turns her head in disgust.

"Oh, Katy!  That was a five dollar pancake you just threw!"

But I try to keep meal time happy.  The last thing I want to do is traumatize her with a negative eating experience.  What I dont understand is how she can suck on a dirty shoe or drink right out of a puddle and then sneer at my PKU mac and cheese or home made french toast.

Then Isaac, my husband, has been given a strict diet by a gastroenterologist (a stomach doctor).  All irritants (salsa and spices), and flour (tortillas, bread, pastas) have been removed from his diet.  Basically, Im having to cook three different things for everyone.  Katy's PKU stuff, Isaac's non irritating food and my lasagna with chocolate cake and shot of tequila.  Hey, I deserve it.

Potty show temporarily out of service

Ive been trying to show Katy how potty's work. Every time I change her diaper I narrate the whole process.

"Katy made pee pee in diaper.  We need to put on a new diaper.  Pee pee is for potty"

I also make sure to narrate her bowel movementa, live and on scene.

"Poop?  Katy makes poop?"  I say as she grunts "Poop!  Katy is making poop in diapy! When Katy finishes, we take poop to potty."

Now, Ive been taking Katy on a potty tour, where I am the guide.  I walk in and sit on the toilet as I narrate what Im doing.

"This is the potty.  Potty is for big girls.  Mommy sits on the potty and makes pee pee."  

Then I get quiet so we can hear the soft tinkle.

"All done,"  I say.  "this is toilet paper." (we'll just skip ahead to flushing).

Katy helps me flush the toilet, and then we go wash our hands.  She thinks its all quite an adventure, and looks forward to every potty moment of the day.  Ive only been doing this for a month, when I suddenly realized that it is not good to take her with me every single time.  I decided that Potty Shows will be closed during cycle day 21 through 28 (girls, ive written this in code, so the guys dont understand).  There are some lessons that Katy is not quite ready to learn or I to teach.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

and my heart pounded...

Ive been writing to my daughter in a journal since I was pregnant with her. Today was an eventful day, and this is what I wrote her:


Little lady,

It’s a beautiful sunny day in the middle of winter. The warm and gentle breeze skips cheerfully across the Monterrey streets while you nap contently in your bed. You’ve come such a long way in your two little years of life and its days like these that remind us that God never sleeps.

I was remembering the first time I held you. I was lying on the hospital bed seven hours after you were born. The doctors told me that they would bring you to me as soon as I recovered from the epidural, and any minute now, I was going to hold you for the first time. In the distance, I could hear the muffled squeaking of little wheels-

“Its Katy,” dad said “She’s coming.”

I shot up in my bed, not caring about my fresh cesarean incision. The squeaky sound neared, and I began to hear it more clearly. Then, a knock at the door. It was you!

The nurses came in with congratulations and what not- I don’t remember a word they said. I didn’t care. All I wanted was that little white bundle inside the basket. The nurses finally handed you to me and left.

You were so small, round and perfect! You’re thick brown hair had been waxed into a cute little Mohawk. I held you in complete awe and new that from that moment on, my life would never be the same.

We stayed in the hospital for three days, during which you would visit me every three hours- for breastfeeding. I could never sleep. My ears were fine tuned, trained to listen to the sound of squeaky little wheels. Every time I heard them, my heart pounded loudly in my chest.

When we finally took you home, I rocked you in my chair. Holding you tightly, with your little head resting on my shoulder, I cried with tears of joy.
“Thank you God! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

At first, you didn’t cry when you were hungry. You only huffed and puffed and kicked your feet. No matter what time it was, no matter how tired I was, my heart would always pound with excitement to see you again.

As the weeks turned into months, it became very evident that you were suffering and in pain. At ten weeks, you were hospitalized. They diagnosed you with Rotavirus and Broncholitis. That was that, and your labs were concluded.

A few months later, you lost all your interest in your surroundings. The milestones you had reached were lost as you regressed and became uninvolved. All you ever did was eat, sleep or cry. Every month we took you to the doctor, and every month he said the same thing- you were fine. Then, the seizures started. My heart pounded.

The neurologist started looking for a cause behind the epilepsy. In one month of testing, you were poked and pricked as much as I have in a life time. Daddy and I held you down while the doctors stuck one more needle in your arm. You screamed in fear as you looked into my eyes. All I could do was smile and sing calmly. Little did you know, my heart was pounding.

Your seizures continued. You would suffer from four to six per day. I began dreading the sounds you made when you awakened. That’s when you would get your seizures. I would hide my fear as I held my hand over your chest. All I could do was speak over you.

“Katy, darling, you do NOT have epilepsy. You will come out of this whole ordeal unharmed.”

And yet- my heart was pounding.

The phone call came somewhere in November. I don’t remember the date; all I remember is that dad’s bag was packed. He was going to Chiapas with a church group in one hour. On the phone, was your neurologist. He told me that some blood results had come back with extremely high levels of phenyl alanine. You were diagnosed as a phenylketunoric (http://www.medhelp.org/lib/pku.htm). Dad cancelled his trip.

For a little over a year, we lived the hardest moments of your lives. My heart was shattered into a million pieces a hundred times over. I was told horrible lies about your future and destiny. It’s a good thing that your daddy and I were listening to God instead. What He told us about was sounded nothing like those diagnoses. We stood on His word and it was our rock.

On February 2006, I opened the results from your second EEG exam:

“There is no evidence of Infantile Spasms (the horrible epilepsy type http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy/epilepsy_infantilespasmswhich you were fist diagnosed with)”

Again, my heart pounded. I drove to the neurologists’ clinic where he explained to me that your symptoms had inexplicably vanished. It was as if you never had had them!

Two weeks ago, you took your first steps. Now, you’re running through the house like a horse that’s been set free. You explore everything and make a million discoveries each day.

“Ah! Ah!” you say, whenever you see something new.

“That’s right,” I answer “that pot goes BANG BANG!”

Then today, your physical therapist told us that you are ready to go to school. She said that its time for you to start playing with kids your age so you can learn all their little songs and games. Daddy and I are going to start looking for a good school so that you can go for a few hours each day.

Sometimes I stay up late, and others I sleep early. No matter how much sleep I’ve had, I’m up by seven in the morning, because my little girl is bright eyed and bushy tailed waiting for me. That’s when my heart pounds again. I feel as though you have been reborn, and I’m anxious to see you again. My ears are still fine tuned. Only now they’re not listening for squeaky wheels. They’re listening for a little girl shouting a gleeful “Ah! Ah!” ready to take on the world. Dream big sweetie. You will do it all, and then more.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Pictures. They're worth a thousand words (and you can't smell 'em!)

How NOT to do vegetarian

My husband and I are doing a vegetarian diet. That's a lot to say for an Okie with a taste for barbequed meat. (Im referring to Isaac, of course). Back when I was in college, I attempted to do my own vegetarian regime, which in the course of two months, landed me at a doctor's office. I had become anemic. He said that my diet wasnt balanced, and that I should have included more variety in my meals. That's because for some odd reason, I developed a craving for spanish rice and lemon. I skipped breakfast and ate only rice for lunch and dinner. Having no foresight, I neglected a few essential nutrients, particularly protein. Being anemic was no fun, and it took months to recover from. That's why this time, I decided to incorporate more foods into my diet. Now, Ive stumbled into a different kind of problem. For example:

Good snack idea

Bad snack idea

Good meal plan

Bad meal plan

Let's just put it this way, if the world ran on gas, my production would be making billions of dollars right now. It's so embarrasing. I cant go out in public! But I do, anyway. I just make sure that Im in the middle of a crowd when I'm about to unleash my silent but deadly powers. That way, no one knows who did it... exept for me.

Mess on wheels

No matter how much I try to keep things tidy around the house, the place always looks like a disaster zone. I had no idea how much mess a walking baby is capable of creating! My little girl is so excited about exploring and learning that she has decided to turn our house into her science project (to think, shes only been walking for two weeks!). I could write all about it, but I think a visual would be more explanatory:

I try to barracade myself in the computer corner, to no avail

No refrigerator content is safe

I find flash cards everywhere

Shes taking the fridge appart

Tossing a pot across the kitchen

Taking a pot for a stroll

Now, all of this chaos is only what I captured in five minutes. Compound that times one hundred for the hourly messes she creates, and you have a very accurate picture of your's truly:

Have a good one, ppls!