Friday, January 30, 2009

Im just a "regular" gal

Im gonna let you in on my little weight loss secret:

Eating lots of fiber makes me shed pounds. That's right. I don't diet. I don't exercise. I don't limit my portions. I simply include as much fiber as I can in every meal, and it magically absorbs the fat I consume. It all started when I watched a particular episode of my favorite television show "Take Home Chef."

The show is about a chef who picks up a random woman at grocery stores, buys her groceries and teaches her to cook a gourmet meal in her own kitchen.

I love that show...

On this particular episode, Curtis (the chef- we're on first name basis), surprised a nutricionist with his film crew and took her back to cook some rockin' food. While they were talking, she mentioned that if you ate 25 grams of fiber early on in the day, you could practically eat junk for dinner and not worry. That was because the fiber in the body would move the fat along without it being absorbed by the intestines.

Guiltless pizza and Icecream for dinner? This ought to be worth a try!

I started reading labels and trying to fit 25 grams of fiber into my system. 25 grams sounded like so little. I envisioned them fitting easily in the palm of my hand. Let me tell you something though-

Fitting 25 grams of fiber aint as easy as it sounds. A serving of prunes has three grams. Half a can of beans has six. A bowl of raisin bran has less than four. Fruits and vegetables- even less. But then, I discovered this AWESOME product that changed my life.


People- they got Pancakes! PANCAKES!

Whoa baby, oh baby! Im sold on that. Im having pancakes for breakfast and dinner and STILL meeting my fiber quota. They have cereal, cereal bars, heck- even pop tarts!!! Ive also gone and bought a bunch of All bran crackers for my snacking needs. Not to mention, all this stuff is pretty tasty too.

Maybe too tasty...

Did you know that stuffing your belly full of fiber in one blow can give you a serious case of gas? I knew that. Ive done it to myself before.

Yet that never stops me.

So here I am, on a friday. Sitting alone, hoping for it to pass. The gas must pass. I dare not go out. Its not pretty, people. But with a belly full of tasty goodness and the love handles melting away, I can only imagine this is not the last time I will do this to myself.

Here's to lookin' good and smellin' bad!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

How a Moment of Shame Turned Everything Around

Seeking a place of refuge from my shame, I ran into my car and cried. Ironically, I was parked right next to some bikers who witnessed my weakest moment. Five minutes earlier I had been in the post office dealing with some of Katy’s difficult behavior. Parents of toddlers usually complain about standing in line with their little ones. Sure, they wiggle and squirm a bit- but to me that looks so easy. I spend most of my time getting out of line to rescue Katy from trouble. It’s enough to make me postpone my errands till I can count on someone to babysit.

After an eternity of waiting at the post office line (five minutes can seem to drag on forever), it was finally my turn to get helped. I let Katy go for a moment. When I turned to check on her, I discovered that she was poking buttons on a stamp machine. The problem was that there was a lady trying to use it. I ran to grab Katy and returned to the counter with some apologies. The clerk continued to help me and I let Katy go for half a minute. This time, I heard the woman scolding her. When I turned to look, the lady was very angry. She was down on Katy’s eye level, holding her hands tightly and reprimanding her for her behavior. Once again, I left the worker standing there as I ran to get Katy out of trouble. Not being able to get her way, my little tot began to have a meltdown on the floor.

I wished I could too.

Rushing through my errand, I swept Katy up in my arms and darted out of there- to cry in my car. So many confusing thoughts clouded my mind. I replayed the situation over and over in my head, knowing it was pointless to relive something that was only meant to live once. Life is not meant to be rewound.

Still, I tortured myself thinking about what should have happened. I though of the things I wanted to tell this woman. I wanted to tell her that Katy had gone through a very serious brain injury and that she was still recovering. I wanted to explain away how my daughter was developmentally younger than her physical age. I wished so terribly for this woman to know my story so that she would not be so angry. But that wouldn’t be right.

Telling a perfect stranger that my daughter had a brain injury would be wrong for three reasons: First, it would be a shameful thing to do to Katy in public (how would you feel if it were you being talked about?) Secondly, it would deny my faith. All I’ve been fighting for would be torn down by a simple statement made to a stranger for the sake of “saving face.” But more importantly, explaining away Katy’s behavior would be just another way of evading my responsibility.

Before I had children (and even during Katy’s first few months), I used to judge and criticize mother’s of uncontrolled children. I categorized them all in one group: irresponsible. Now, I found myself joining the clan that I had so harshly labeled. It never occurred to me that some of these might be mothers of children with unique needs. I never imagined that the simplest chores could be so draining and exhausting. I never noticed that each one of them had an individual story to tell.

If you were to talk to me a year ago, my story would have been entirely different. You would have heard me beaming with pride as I spoke of the recent first steps. If asked about my concerns, I would have told you that I worried about Katy’s weak sense of balance, lack of social skills and poor language comprehension. If pushed a little further, I would have told you how I secretly worried about how my two year old daughter didn’t even respond to her own name. She was finally walking, but there was so much ground to cover. Katy didn’t care to explore and very few things sparked her interest. Even when they did, her focus was so short that she would quickly abandon her task.

Well, here we are, one year later and a dozen light years ahead. Physically, Katy has conquered so much. She can spin, climb, twist, poke, pinch, throw and much more. Cognitively, she is also flourishing, especially these last few months. She not only responds when called, but is able to follow complicated instructions, understand abstract concepts, figure things out, and find creative ways to solve problems. She loves to sing and enjoys “reading” books. She is beginning to express herself in sign language and little sounds.

Katy is moving forward, and I need to lead the way. I once encouraged her to poke, prod and explore everything around her. We have reached our goal, now its time for me to set parameters and establish discipline. Even Katy is crying out for it. I can tell that it frightens her when she is out of control, but doesn’t know how to stop. I can teach her.

We’re leaving the baby days behind and walking through the door to childhood. Pampering and giving in to Katy’s every wish is yesterday’s way. Its time to set up order, discipline, instruction and guidance. There is no more room for excuses, and that feels good.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Whats your worst fear?

Dont worry, 80% of all of your fears will never come to pass. Unless you happen to be me.

I remember being in the fourth grade, trying to fit into the "cool" crowd. I had recently moved from Mexico to Seattle and hardly spoke English. But, kids are pretty creative, and can communicate in a wide variety of ways.

So, back to the cool crowd-two boys were at the lead of this prestigious group. They were Zack and Dave. Dave was my ten year old crush. He had blond hair, blue eyes and was so "tall." Zach was the "fat" kid in the class with a crude sense of humor. He took pride in being obscene (you know, typical "mooning" and such), but also had a flair for all things gory. One morning I arrived early to class only to find Dave and Zach chuckling with anticipation.

"What?!" I asked, knowing something was about to happen-
probably to me

"Oh. Nothing. Nothing at all," said Dave, propping his legs on his desk in all his coolness.

I sat down, thinking about how HOT David dressed. The way he rolled up his jeans at the cuff was just so awesome. Remember the "doughnut" look?
Oh, he rocked it. I always played it cool around him, though. I was the type of girl who played bully with her crushes. SURELY, David had no idea that the prank caller he kept hanging up on was actually me.

Getting ready to put my books inside my desk, I was greeted by a bloody hand. I think Zach shrieked louder than me. He gave Dave a high five and they laughed wildly at the success of their practical prank. The hand was obviously fake and it did nothing to scare me- but I pretended it did. It made me feel special that Dave would think of me when coming up with this elaborate scheme.

Day in and day out, Zack tried to find ways to freak me out. I guess he thought it was funny to scare "the little Mexican" who had a hard time with words. Nonetheless, I liked the attention. There was one thing that always creeped me out, though. Very often, Zack would take a piece of paper and pretend to get a paper cut in his eye. I knew it wasn't real, but I always freaked imagining such a thing.

Of course, that would never happen.

Or would it?

Fast forward fourteen years. I was married and Isaac and I were going to spend our anniversary on the San Antonio river walk. We got to the hotel, grabbed a couple of brochures, got some directions and suddenly-

Towering nearly one foot over me with a sheet of paper in hand, Isaac turned around and sliced right into my eye. Fourth grade suddenly flashed before me. Could this really be happening? I didn't know what to feel first- pain or terror.

I had just had a paper cut in my eye!

With my one working eye, I could see everyone around me freeze to a halt. The bell boy stared at me in disbelief, the attendant at the desk reached out to see if I was OK, some nearby guests approached me in slow and steady steps. Isaac stood still- Like a statue.

"Isaac!" You just SLICED my eye!" I began to shriek.

"I'm sorry," he pleaded "I didn't mean to!"

Suddenly, people started asking a million questions

"are you OK?"

"Can you see?"

"Do you need a doctor?"

Issac pulled me away saying everything was fine. I stomped and protested that I was not. My poor husband felt so singled out- like some sort of abuser caught in public. He just wanted to dart outta there.

We decided to wait it out and see how I felt in a couple hours. Everything looked blurry for a few hours, but after I slept I was fine.

Just a bit freaked out.

For more laughs, here's another scenario of a terrible nightmare come to life:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Nostalgia for the "lost" time

If you have ever been devastated you will know that the feeling is quite physical.

When my heart was crushed, I was grasping a desk- unable to stand on my own strength. Im sure this must have been the geneticists' hundredth "brain damage" diagnosis, but it was my first. Not twenty seconds earlier, I had been told that my only little girl might never walk, talk or lead an independent life.

A knife to the heart would have been much less painful.

I was suddenly swept away with an avalanche of emotions: terror, grief, anger, confusion and despair, just to name a few. I was also faced with a very important decision. How would I choose to see my daughter? Should I set myself up, and hope? Or should I accept the diagnosis and make the best of what I had?

I cannot tell you that there is a formula. This is a highly individual choice in every situation. I did what most parents would have done in a moment of fear and despair: I prayed. I prayed and prayed until I felt that I had heard some indication on what I should do. After a few weeks of emotional wrestling with God and logic I came up with a decision that would direct my steps for the years to come-

I would NOT believe Katy's prognosis.

I believed the medical causes, and I would follow the instructions to a "T." The diagnosis was a fact. The prognosis was not. Who was to know the outcome? A doctor?

I was Katy's mother. I was the one appointed to teach her and believe in her. The doctor was not there to witness the sheer joy that my husband and shared as we discovered that we had conceived in infertility. It was MY joy to live. It was MY blessing to have. Now that I had it, I wasn't going to allow a prognosis to determine the way I would raise my only baby. I would set the standard high- and Katy would reach it.

Because I believed in God.

Because I believed in her.

Through pain, suffering and great sacrifice, I poured myself out on her. As she seized- I told her that she did not have epilepsy. As she lay absent- minded, I told her that she was an explorer and a discoverer. As she shook with instability I would tell her that she was going to be a ballerina. I wont go into the story of her development- its all recorded here on this blog. What I do want to talk about was the uneasiness that Ive lived with on a daily basis.

All want-to-be moms dream of holding their baby's and kissing their foreheads. We say that we wish they were little forever- but thats not true. If any mom hears a doctor tell her that her child will never grow up to be independent- she will be crushed. She will go through a process very similar to mine, and make her own decisions based on what she believes is best for her and her child. But every single (loving) mother wishes for her child to thrive and conquer the world.

Since my decision to believe in Katy's developmental recovery I have been on a milestone lookout. Every time she reaches one, a burden is lifted off my heart. That's when I look to the next challenge- and once again- I find myself nervous for her. It has been something I have learned to cope with on a daily basis.


As of today, Katy has reached most of the important milestones. She responds to social interaction, she can focus her attention on a task for an appropriate period of time, she has learned to walk (MAJOR MILESTONE), she has developed a sense of humor, has learned to use objects as tools... the list goes on. All we are waiting on is speech- and she is still within good time.

My heart is a lot lighter today than it was at the time of her diagnosis (about two years ago). In fact, mostly I feel like Im fluttering through the day on a pink cloud. The nightmare has passed and my daughter is making it.

As I watch my three year old climb into a chair to play video games on the computer I realize a bittersweet truth- Katy is no longer my baby. She's my little girl. I don't know how it happened. It all went so fast, yet so slow. Her entire infancy and toddlerhood, Katy fought like a brave little soldier. Her battles were not in vain- they have brought her to where she is at today.

Nevertheless, once in a while, I feel a little sad that we didn't get to stop and enjoy the first few years. But maybe nobody does. Maybe everyone is a little bit like me- always looking ahead- until the past is just a memory.

May 2009 be the year to stop and smell the roses. I cant wait to enjoy my little family!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Im on! Im live!

But the connection sux. Im still gonna run it, the link is

daily grind gone mad- THE STREAM