monkeys and marbles

Archive for the ‘the boys’ Category

We have been waiting on pins and needles for over 3 weeks for results from Zander’s blood tests. Well, the wait ended today…we finally got the phone call from the pediatrician’s office. The main reason the blood work was done was to confirm that Zander’s iron deficiency had indeed returned, and to find out what his current iron stores level is at. A child his age should have a level between 24 and 360…the higher the better, of course. Our little Zander is at 10….. According to the reading we’ve done on iron deficiency in toddlers, here are some symptoms that can rear their ugly head:

  • pale skin (uh…ya, except for the yellow tinge from his Carotenemia!)
  • fatigue (yup…except when he goes into super-hyper-temper-tantrum-spaz mode)
  • irritability (ya…no shit!)
  • decreased appetite (what a bonus for a kid who already has an eating disorder!)

And if that wasn’t enough, a toddler suffering from iron deficiency could suffer permanent mental and physical developmental problems, decreased attention span, and it also makes kids more susceptible to lead poisoning and infection. Fan-fucking-tastic!

In order to replenish Zander’s iron stores, our pediatrician has put him on iron drops. Finally, a little control over the situation. He doesn’t eat, his iron levels drop. His iron level drop, his appetite disappears. No appetite, no eat. This vicious cycle has been slowly killing me.

We got the iron drops this afternoon, and since he is supposed to take them about an hour after a meal, we were anxiously awaiting his first after-dinner iron “installment”.

I figured it would probably be less than scrumptious, so I took a taste to see what Zander was in for. You know what it tastes like? BLOOD! B-L-O-O-D! Blood! Nasty metallic-tasting blood, with a lovely everlasting aftertaste of bloody blood! I was half expecting there to be a warning on the bottle. “Caution: May cause vampire-like tendencies and, in rare cases, permanent vampire-ism”. Yak! But the only warning on the bottle tells of the high probability that the drops contained within will leave dark stains on you child’s teeth. Attractive, no?

So I loaded up a syringe of iron drops and a little water to dilute the heinousness of it, held a screaming, kicking, flailing Zander down on the couch and squirted it straight down his throat. I’m really looking forward to doing this 3 times a day. Joy.

But, really, it’s a small price to pay to get my happy, healthy Zander back. And we can always hope that his vampire habits will be curbed before he starts dating.


Hubby made dinner last night. We had our first corn-on-the-cob of the season. It was delicious. Of course, it wouldn’t be dinnertime in our house without shenanigans and goings-on!

hubby: (as I’m about to take my first bite from the cob) I hope it’s completely cooked…I boiled them for 5 minutes.

me: 5 minutes should do it. (I take a bite, pretending it’s still raw)

hubby: (looking slightly deflated) I guess 5 minutes isn’t enough….?

me: Just kidding! Ha! (I take a bite of corn with a wink and a mischievous grin) Mmmm…delicious and cooked to perfection!

hubby: I can’t believe you just did that! I totally couldn’t tell that you were pretending!

me: (saying with just a pinch of cockiness) I am an actress!

Zander: (turning towards me, a look of amazement and adoration on his face) Oh, WOW!

I’m so glad that I still manage to impress my 2 year-old son. Hopefully that will last…

There’s a new sheriff in town, and his name would be Zander. He’s tough, he’s not always fair and he takes no prisoners.

You see, my dear little Zander has learned a new phrase…from who, I’m sure I have no idea! This phrase would be “Stop Logan, NOW!”…although he does mix it up now and then with a “Logan Stop NOW!” or a “Stop Logan! Stop NOW!”. But one thing you can count on, it is screamed from the depths of his little lungs every time, with extra special emphasis on “NOW!”.


So yesterday Zander was busy putting together his little Thomas train track…which he always does with his trusty plastic hammer, just to make sure the joints are “rea’ toit!” (translation: real tight). As usual, as soon as Logan saw what Zander was doing he made his way over to promptly destroy what Zander had worked so diligently to create…making sure it was “rea’ toit!”, of course.

And then, it came…like thunder, his voice booming in a way that I had not heard before, “Rogan, stop! NOW!”. I found it very hard not to laugh my ass off…but being the model of self control that I am [snicker], I kept a completely straight face.

Today, it has become clear that he’s just making up the law to suit his fancy. Zander was sitting at the dining room table drawing when he noticed that Logan was crawling towards him. “Stop, Rogan! Stop NOW!”. Did I mention that Logan was still about 8 feet away from him?

This must be some new proximity bi-law that I am not aware of.

I have submitted a formal request to Sheriff Zander, asking to be kept apprised of any amendments and/or additions to the current Laws of the House, so that I may do my best to stay on his good side.

I know what you’re thinking. The title may lead you to believe that this post is about the eye-watering stench coming from my sons’ toxic-waste-filled diapers…most likely Logan’s. Well, you would be wrong.

I now pose this question…in run-on-sentence form.

What do you do when your son, who has just finished lunch, poops while still in his booster seat and starts crying while he’s pooping like it’s hurting him and when he’s done he just starts screaming at the top of his lungs like someone has set fire to his diaper and he doesn’t stop when you pick him up out of his seat and you know that changing his diaper and ridding him of the nastiness in within said diaper will take the fiery pain away but because he has Reflux Disease he can’t lie down for at least 15-20 minutes after he finishes eating and he just finished eating and you don’t dare change him while standing up because, while you have done it before, it’s not the sort of thing you do when his diaper is loaded with danger and you just want to take the pain away and get him calmed down before his screaming kicks his reflux into high gear???

[phew…takes deep breathe]

I’ll tell you what you do…you make a huge ass of yourself. You prance around like an idiot. You do somersaults, even though there isn’t much floor space and you haven’t done one in years and you know the chances of hurting yourself are pretty good. You make goofy faces and noises. You jump around, scratching your armpits and making “oo! oo! oo! ah! ah! ah!” sounds, pretending to be a monkey. You make up silly songs using your son’s name and sing them at the top of your lungs. You sprint back and forth in front of the ottoman your son is standing at as fast as you can. You perform your own rendition of the Pee-Pee Dance. You play your bald head like a drum using your hands, performing such favourites as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Hickory Dickory Dock”. You run yourself to exhaustion acting like a massive tool, all to buy yourself 15 minutes of distraction for your son…just enough time for him to start digesting what’s in his tummy so you can safely change his diaper.

Then you look out your living room picture window to see a man standing on the roof of the school your house backs onto….looking at you…huge grin on his face…and you realize… crap! Did he see the whole thing???

At least I got Logan to turn his screams into laughter until I could change his diaper. All was well as soon as he had a clean, dry bum. I, on the other hand, need a nap!

Note To Self: Close the curtains when any maintenance is being done on the school roof!

Yesterday was a bad day for a couple of people in our family. Both Logan and Carlos’ grandmother, Marcolina, had bad falls. Logan was left with a bump on the noggin, and a bruised ego. Marcolina wasn’t so lucky.

First I will tell you about Logan’s fall. He has recently began climbing up on the couch by himself. No fear…no understanding of falling off furniture or the consequences of doing so. Isn’t that a happy day for every parent?

He is also not yet understanding the words “no”, “stop” or “be careful”. In fact, the grin on his face each time I utter these words indicates that he may believe they are just playful words such as “yay!” or “woohoo” or “wow”.

Back to the story. As is usual now, he scrambled onto the couch, wiggling and kicking and flailing, finally hoisting himself onto the couch. Then he proceeded to try to scale the side of the bookcase beside the couch. I knew I couldn’t get to him in time, so I called his name. He turned around, wicked grin drawn across his face, and just looked at me. His mistake was standing at the edge of the couch when he turned around instead of sitting down like he usually does.

It was as if the whole thing happened in slow motion. There was no way I could have stopped it. He just toppled over, falling from his standing position on the couch and landing flat on his back on the floor. The sound of his head hitting the wood floor made me unable to move. It was shockingly loud. Then came the screams. Ear piercing screams.

It took a good few minutes to calm him down. This was his first big fall, and I think he was pretty shaken. You know it’s bad when the TV doesn’t calm him immediately…and it didn’t…right away. But a few minutes later all was forgotten. Too much was forgotten, it appears. He was right back to his couch-climbing ways in no time, and it was obvious that no lesson was learned. But the important thing is that he wasn’t injured.

I wish I could say the same for Carlos’ grandmother. Marcolina lives with Carlos’ parents. She had a bad fall while they were at work, and couldn’t get up. Luckily we had just bough an X10 personal security gadget for her, and Carlos had installed it on Sunday.

The X10 Personal Assistance Voice Dialer

She pressed the button on the heart pendant around her neck, and the system called Carlos’ cell phone. He then called his mother, who left work immediately and headed home. When she got there she found Marcolina on the floor, her arm so swollen that she couldn’t get up even with my mother-in-law’s help. She ended up calling 911, and an ambulance came and took them to the hospital.

I shudder to think of Marcolina lying on that cold basement floor, waiting 4 hours for someone to come home and help her (Carlos got the call from the system at 1:20pm…my mother-in-law isn’t home from work until 5:30pm or later). I am so thankful that we installed and tested the system on Sunday, and that Marcolina had the presence of mind to use it. It was 25 minutes from the time Carlos got the call to when my mother-in-law got home.

Poor Marcolina, 86 years old, fractured her arm. She’s got a cast and everything. As if it wasn’t hard enough for her to use her walker in the close quarters of her mother-in-law suite, now she has a cast to contend with. Luckily my mother-in-law had already planned a trip for her and her mother to visit family in Boston. They leave next week. Marcolina has been cleared to fly by her doctor. She will be pampered by her other daughter (Carlos’ aunt), and her grandchildren. I’m sure her brightened spirit will help her heal faster.

I asked Zander if he wanted to make his great grandmother a “Get Well Soon” card. He screamed “Yup!”, and ran to the table, anxiously awaiting his box of craft supplies. He then spent the next hour carefully crafting the perfect card. I’ve never seen him focus like that…it was like he was on mission. Every sticker placed with precision, every stroke of the crayon specific and deliberate. He was so pleased with his creation that he was hesitant to give it to his great grandmother…so much so that he wouldn’t let it leave his iron grip for 30 minutes.

He wouldn’t even look up for the camera!

Wouldn’t you love to be given a masterpiece like this? A Zander original!

Hopefully we won’t be getting any recorded messages from the X10 system again anytime soon. And hopefully Logan will start to understand the pain of launching himself off the couch…ya…that’s never going to happen!

Zander was playing with the chairs in the dining room just after lunch today.

He pulled out the chair with Logan’s booster seat on it, then walked over to the ottoman where Logan was standing.

Zander: Carr’ Rogan!

Me: You want me to carry Logan?

Zander: N0! Carr’ Rogan. Sit i’ chair! (he points towards the chair that he has perfectly readied for Logan’s arrival, puts his arms around Logan from behind and proceeds to try to lift him)

Me: You want to carry Logan and put him in his chair?

Zander: (squeals) Ya! Ya!

Me: Oh Zander, I don’t think you can lift him. Maybe you can help mommy put Logan in his chair for snack time…okay?

Zander: (sounding a little defeated, but still hopeful) Okay.

Now, Zander is a tall boy….but I don’t think his current 22 pounds stand a chance against Logan’s squat 30 pounds!

I was diagnosed with Post-Partum depression in February 2007. It has taken me until now to be able to talk about it. I’ve been writing (more like crafting) this post since April…carefully choosing my words….trying to properly describe what I’ve been dealing with. It’s been difficult. I would write a couple of paragraphs, and then not touch it for a week. Then I would read what I had wrote, and scrap most of it…this has been going on for almost 4 months. I think this is as good as it’s gonna get, folks….

Carlos and I were aware of the symptoms…we knew the signs to look for. We had discussed PPD and “baby blues” in our prenatal classes when we were expecting Zander. We were reminded of what to watch for by our doctor after each of our boys were born. But I was ambushed…it snuck up on me…on us…

I went through my days thinking that everything was okay. Until one day in January. Zander looked at me suddenly with an odd look on his face…and then started to laugh. What was he laughing at? I was sobbing…sobbing without realizing I was sobbing…how did I not know I was sobbing? And Zander, being 18 months old and not understanding what mommy was really doing, thought the whole thing was funny.

It was as if I was being rudely awakened by a splash of ice water. What was going on? What had been going on…for too long. I had a sudden clarity akin to an out-of-body experience. I was floating over my life…looking down on myself for the past few months. I didn’t like what I was seeing.

I had been so deeply disappointed by the inability to breastfeed either of my sons. More so than I realized until now. Looking back, I cried. I cried daily. It would take the littlest thing to set me off…sometimes nothing. Feeding Logan a bottle. Zander resting his hand on my breast while I was carrying him upstairs for a nap. Seeing anything to do with babies, mothers, breastfeeding, anything on TV.

Sometimes I would be fine after shedding just a few tears. Sometimes it was almost impossible to stop.

I had so much guilt. Too much guilt. Guilt over everything to do with my sons. If one or both of them got sick, it wouldn’t have happened if I had been able to breastfeed…why didn’t I try harder? Why did I give up after only six months of torture and agony? A good mom would have kept trying. If Logan had a bad episode with his GERD, it wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been premature. I must have done something to make my water break early. I shouldn’t have lifted that box. I should have taken it easier. How could I do this to my child? How could I have put this awful disease on him? How could I have caused my son so much pain and agony…what kind of mother does that? If Zander fell while he was running around playing, I should have been there to catch him. I should have stopped him from getting hurt. I should have picked up all of the toys over and over again all day so that there was no chance he would trip on one of them. Sounds ridiculous now, but back then these thoughts seemed completely rational.

I would cry at the drop of a hat. When I saw a silly commercial. Whenever one or both of the boys would do something funny, silly, cute…I would just lose it. While I watched movies, whether they were sad, funny, scary…didn’t matter. Whenever I saw a live musical performance of any kind on TV I would cry…it was so odd.

Libido? What is that? I won’t get into any detail…’cause there aren’t any to tell. Suffice it to say, my husband is an amazingly patient man.

My fatigue was almost debilitating at times. I could have sleep all day if I had been given the opportunity. I caught myself falling asleep while watching the boys during the day….I slept while they slept…as soon as Carlos got home I would take a nap. It just went on and on.

I started to have anxiety attacks when Logan was only a few months old. Every time Logan had an episode. Every time Zander would gag on the tiniest bit of texture in his food and throw up. Every time we had to leave the house. Every. time. I would transform into Mrs. Hyde. I had no control of what I was doing. It was like I was sitting in the corner of the room watching this crazy lady yelling, screaming, crying, slamming doors, throwing things, hyperventilating. And the worst part of all of this was that my boys were witness to this temporary insanity. That still upsets me.

I was so sensitive about everything that an innocent comment would be perceived as harsh criticism, or even a personal attack.

And even though all of this seemed like completely normal and rational behavior to me at the time, I was hiding it from my husband. It was as if a subconscious part of me new something was wrong but thought I could deal with it on my own. I was fully aware of how hurt and sad I could get when I thought of missing out on the joys of breastfeeding, of how easily I shed my tears…but I’ll get over it…it will get better day by day…there’s no need to worry Carlos about this. He has enough on his plate already.

It was Zander’s laughter at my sobs that woke me up. It was a slap on the face. My little boy thought it was funny that I was sobbing. My little boy had seen me sobbing often enough that it didn’t scare him…it was a normal occurrence.

That night I told Carlos all about what I was going through…what I had been going through for months. He was blindsided. I had been hiding it so well that he had no idea what was going on. He’s never said as much, but I believe he feels he should have seen the signs…recognized I was in trouble. I don’t think he understands how subconsciously determined I was to keep all of this from him…if he found out he will think I am a weak person and a bad mother….I could deal with this on my own.

The next day I called the doctor’s office to make an appointment. Carlos took time off work to come with me while my mom watched the boys.

I sat in front of my doctor, as Carlos held my hand, and started to tell her what had been happening…and then the tears came. I couldn’t hold them back…they flowed freely and fiercely as I described my worst moments from the last few months.

My doctor, who is so caring and friendly, smiled softly and said something that surprised me. “I’ve been expecting this. Women with babies who have health problems have a much higher risk of PPD…and you have two very high-needs children”.

After much tearful discussion, my doctor prescribed me some medication. Within a few days I felt more like myself than I had in months. That first weekend was the first time I didn’t have an anxiety attack while getting myself and the boys ready to have dinner with my in-laws. It was incredible. Carlos actually noticed the change before I did. I have felt so good ever since.

Unfortunately, with everything that’s been going on with the sale of our current house and negotiations for the new house, with Zander’s eating disorder, with Logan’s teething, with my isolation from everyone (due to my allergies to….well….being outside in pretty much any weather, I can’t go anywhere with the boys by myself, so I’m stuck here at home alone during the day. Logan’s GERD turned us into a family of hermits who were scared to go anywhere, my family is 2.5 hours away and Carlos’ family lives on the opposite side of the city.), I have felt myself starting to slip again. The anxiety is creeping back. The over-sensitivity is creeping back. That fatigue is here. This time, though, I realize I can’t do this on my own. I have an appointment to talk to my doctor about a medication change.

I have to say, as hard as all of this has been, I can’t imagine how much more difficult it could have been…would have been…had I not had my blog to vent all of my thoughts….had I not had so many wonderful people…so many strong fellow-moms…lending their support, as well as sharing their own experiences, no matter how personal. I shudder to think how much more difficult this could have been…and I thank all of the amazing Blogland friends I have made. I can never tell you know much you have helped me during these past few months…

***I just noticed that I am finally publishing this…on Friday the 13th…which coincidentally has always been my lucky day….hopefully that’s a good omen…