Tag Archives: phoenix children’s hospital

Three sentences too far. Wait, no – four. Four.

I was at the mall today because I go to a Benefit Brow Bar every three weeks to get my eyebrows done. I’m not going to talk about that today because it was pointed out to me that maybe I should PACE MYSELF and I don’t actually know how to do that, so what I guess I’ll do is mention a bunch of things, not actually talk about them, and then maybe get around to talking about them on another day in November when I feel like I don’t have anything else to talk about. So, future me – not too far future me, but still in November 2013 me, so maybe next week me, or week after next me – you can talk about eyebrows, if you want to, if you’re in the mood for that. You probably won’t be. I don’t know. I don’t know you. We haven’t met yet. Hope you’re doing well.

After my MYSTERY EYEBROW APPOINTMENT that MAYBE you’ll hear about or MAYBE YOU WON’T, I was wandering around the mall on a mission for some full coverage foundation, because my eyebrow girl, who is fantastic, said “You look… tired.” Which I know is generally seen as an insulting thing to say. So maybe you’re feeling a little het up on my behalf right now. Which is really kind of you. But I did look kind of tired, or kind of something, at least, because I’m taking this medication – hey, there’s some more stuff for another day – and anyway, it’s been doing some things, and apparently, some of the things that it’s been doing have been being… been bong… been banged onto my face. I hope I’m not saying it in a vain way – well, I know I’m not saying it in a vain way, but I hope you understand it’s not meant to come across in a vain way – when I say that I’ve had relatively decent skin in my adult years (this has certainly not been the lifelong case at ALL). A blemish or two at certain times, but nothing else. Generally even skin tone, not dry, not oily.

Well, I’ve described all of this to you just so I could tell you NOT ANYMORE. It is all weird colored and shrunken and unappealing to me. All my of light, sheer coverage solutions do nothing. I even mixed together two of my favorite BB creams so that they could, in concert, do nothing. Now, note that I said it’s become unappealing to me. Meaning that I needed to fix it to make it more appealing to me. Just like I don’t walk out of my house and eye up the faces of other people, deciding that they need to do to make their faces more appealing to my tastes, neither do I do up my own face with the intent and purpose of making it more appealing to others. I operate at my best, and most confident, and most comfortable in general when my outward appearance is something that I am personally comfortable with. It has nothing to do with your appearance, and may actually even have little to do with my own appearance. I can wake up looking exactly the same two days in a row and one day be fine with it and one day prefer wearing some makeup.

I’m just saying, right now – me expressing dissatisfaction with my uneven skin tone says NOTHING AT ALL about how I feel about your skin tone. I do not think about your skin tone. I don’t eye up the quality of your skin. I don’t think about your skin when I talk to you. When you sit next to me, I will tell you if you have lipstick on your teeth, or I will tell you if I like your eye makeup, but I legitimately give no bother beyond that. None. I talk a lot about my hunt for the perfect eyebrow product on Twitter (IT’S GIMME BROW), but I’m not considering your eyebrows unless you ask me to specifically consider your eyebrows. Honestly and truly. I don’t.

bothers

Hint: It’s none.

And this is where I would assure you that actually, everyone is like this. Everyone is like me, and totally self-centered and self-absorbed, and really only cares about her own eyebrows and own skin tone and own makeup and dwells upon the face situations of others only when asked. Like how when fat people (I did use the word fat) want to go to the gym, but bring up the fact that they feel self-conscious – that they feel like they need to get in shape first, in order to feel less conspicuous or silly or noticed or silently mocked or otherwise OUT THERE at the gym. And someone jumps in to say that that’s ridiculous, everyone at the gym is there to work out, no one is looking at anyone else, everyone is there for the same reason and it’s serious business.

EXCEPT NO. That is a big lie. That is a huge lie. Probably most of you reading are like me, or want to tell yourself you’re like me, so you’re thinking, “No! No! Not a lie! A true! Opposite of a lie! A not lie!” But it only takes one person to ruin that, and that one person is Twitter. Twitter, telling you what they saw someone wearing at the gym. Or how long they had to wait for someone going HOW slow on the treadmill? Or? OR? In one notable case that still frustrates me to no end, because I did not unfollow the second it happened, and I SHOULD HAVE, and now I don’t remember who it was and search is failing me, someone posted an ACTUAL PHOTO of the person on the next treadmill, along with a comment on the person’s body.

thatsmessedup

So no. No, I can’t assure you that what I say about me carries over to other people. Because other people have clearly demonstrated that to be a huge lie, in some of the worst ways. I can tell you that how I feel about the way my skin looks and how it makes me feel on a given day has nothing to do with how I feel about your skin, and how your skin should make you feel. I can also say I think I should be allowed to feel ways about my skin without feeling at the same time that it transfers to how I feel about your skin automatically. I have to wear my body, and I don’t have to wear yours. Your body has no power to make me unhappy or uncomfortable, unless you press it all up on me without my express personal permission and let’s all just assume you don’t have that.

LISTEN. Here’s the thing. I just know I talk a lot about makeup. I know I talk about how I’d like my eyebrows to look better. Or today, how my skin has taken a turn I don’t like, and how I’d like to change that to make it more pleasant to me. And I want you to know that I don’t ever think about you that way. I don’t think about the makeup anyone does or doesn’t wear unless it’s brought up to me by that person. And I guess it would be nice if everyone was like that, but we know that’s not true, because people are taking pictures of other people at the gym. It’s messed up, and we can wish it wasn’t true, but it is. Just don’t care what those people think, right? Ha.

What’s hilarious is the fact that I went to Sephora and bought some full coverage foundation actually has NOTHING to do with this post.

WHILE I WAS WALKING TO SEPHORA TO BUY SOME FULL COVERAGE FOUNDATION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE – which I’ll tell you about another time, because at 1300 words in, I’m totally learning how to pace myself – I saw that Bath and Body Works was having a SALE! On SOAP! Hand soap! SHIT YES!

So after I bought the foundation I can’t tell you about because I’m clearly in danger of running out of words at some point soon, I went in to Bath and Body Works, and they had SO MANY SOAPS. All the new Christmas smells! Soaps littered all over the store! No sense of order! No organization! Soaps here! Soaps there! Soap! Soap!

Soap 5 for $15, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I started grabbing soap with no plan. I’m stacked boob to chin with soap. But then I started thinking. Phil bought me a bunch of soap for Mother’s Day, and we had just run out. Well, not actually run out. The problem is, we have just one left, and it’s a scent I really like, but I cannot ABIDE by it in the kitchen. I can’t have strong, floral-smelling hands when I’m trying to eat or cook. Just can’t deal with it. I needed a STRATEGY. Half florals, half kitchen appropriate smells, then, right? But if I do THAT, then I’m basically making myself STEWARD OF THE SOAP. And except for all of the things I hate more, there’s nothing I hate more than being the one solely in charge of any specific chore.

Start over. I put all my soaps back. KITCHEN ONLY SMELLS. BRILLIANT. All the smells will have to be tested for kitcheniness and then ANYONE can replace ANY soap without my intervention needed, which is great, considering my husband is totally smeaf.

Now I’m EXTRA happy, sniffing away, grabbing soaps and grabbing soaps and pinballing from display to display, but then I realized, I had SIX. And also that the space between my boobs and my chin was positively soap-jammed. So I went to get a bag, and an employee watched me try to wrestle a bag free, get half a bag free, attempt to dump my treasures into the bag, and then helpfully asked, “Do you need a bag?” I DO! I DO NEED A BAG! ALL THIS SOAP!

And I was off again! Sniffing up one wall and down the other. Did you know they have these metal decorative things that your soap bottles can SIT IN? Like a shirt. For your soap. Anyway, I got all the Christmas time smells, then I got all the fresh smells, you know, like “Air” and “Tree Fart” and “Nature Yawned” and I was over five, but it was fine, because also? SEVEN FOR $20. BIG SOAP DAY.

GUESS what other section they have? KITCHEN SOAP. Oh hell yes. Got a bunch of those, too. And by this time, I’d forgotten my bag, so I had a Macy’s bag*, and a Sephora bag, and a Bath and Body Works in store shopping bag packed with soap, and then I was once again boobs to well-groomed brows with soap. So much soap, you guys.

I got in line to pay, because I was out of arms, and because I had sniffed every single sniffable thing, examined every single foaming hand soap in the store – every single one – and I had not only picked out any that were kitchen suitable, but also duplicates of my favorites that I worried might be limited edition. While I was waiting in line, an employee asked if I’d be paying with a card, and said that she could take me over at a small side counter. I followed her over and dumped out all my soaps. They took up the whole counter. I tried to count them, but she kept grabbing them, so I said that I thought they were in multiples of the sale, anyway. She said it didn’t matter, because after seven, they were all $2 and some change, anyway.

WHAT. THAT’S AWESOME.

Her: It’s awesome that you’re getting so much shopping done so early!

WE REALLY LIKE TO WASH OUR HANDS!

Her: …

THEY’RE ALL FOR ME!

Her: …

THEY’RE JUST FOR MY HOUSE!

Her: …

WE REALLY LOVE SOAP!

Her: …

original

Her: Receipt with you or in the bag?

BAG’S FINE THANKS BYYYEEEEEE.

Then I immediately called Phil. DUDE I BOUGHT SO MUCH SOAP!

Phil is participating in the Extra Life Marathon for Children’s Miracle Network, specifically playing for Phoenix Children’s Hospital, RIGHT NOW! Here’s a link to his page, but unfortunately, the Extra Life servers suffered a DDoS attack today, which is just mindblowing and sad, so you can’t actually get there as of right now. Regardless, thank you to EVERYONE who has supported Phil via donation, words of encouragement, or sharing his page via Facebook or Twitter and also to everyone who has been supporting our family during our I hate the word journey journey with Phoenix Children’s and Penelope’s health over the last two years. We’ll continue to support CMN and Phoenix Children’s via this fundraiser in the future, so please let us know if you’d like to get involved next year!

* I’d LOVE to let you know what happened to Penelope’s pajamas, but I’ve got to pace myself. 2200 words a day. Max.

I remembered one of my complaints.

I remembered one of my complaints.

I like Louis CK. I like him a lot. I think he’s a funny guy, and his humor hits me just right. I loved the series he had on HBO, with the little kid, and the ballet routine she did to the hilariously inappropriate song about the vagina and the buttcrack, but not before asking fifteen times, “Are you READY for the SHOW?” I like what he’s doing with his new specials, offering them for download on his site at a low price and just asking people not to pirate them, because, hey, here they are for you. I think he’s a smart guy in basically all the ways he needs to be smart as a guy and as an entertainer and as someone I want to entertain me, specifically.

Anyway, he’s a smart, funny guy, which is what I like in a guy. I mean, it’s most of what I like in a guy. I also like an essential Phil-ness in men. Luckily, I found one that was pretty stuffed up on that quality. I don’t know what I feel the need to quickly clarify that I like smart, funny guys that are also my husband. I can just like smart, funny guys and still remain married to my husband. Smart, funny guys can exist independent of the smart, funny (let’s not get into types of funny because you just can’t drill down to specifically into your list of wants or you’ll be alone forever and sometimes you have to settle for the guy who thinks puns are just THE BEST and decide that okay, you’re going to go ahead and CALL that funny because at least, while he does think puns are hilarious, he also recognizes that YOU’RE funny, and that counts for something – a lot of something) guy that I married. OKAY. I LIKE LOUIS CK. GUY’S GOT SOME SMART, FUNNY THINGS TO SAY. AGREE? AGREE.

So recently, I guess on a talk show, Louis CK talked a bit about why he thought cellphones and spending time with faces buried in a screen is bad for kids. It’s an opinion he’s got, the host asked him about it, he talked about it a bit. That’s what these shows are for. You ask celebrities to talk about stuff. Louis CK is a guy who can speak eloquently (or entertainingly, depending on what you consider eloquent, I guess) on a pretty wide array of topics. He’s got kids, he’s talked about them before. He’s also talked about technology before. So for a couple minutes, he talked about both. Okay, fine.

BUT THEN. The next day. All those parenting sites, you know, the stupid ones we never read because they’re totally without editorial supervision (okay, not totally without, but this one time, a column was nearly completely plagiarized and when called on it, the person supposedly in charge said that they have a lot of writers and she can’t possibly be expected to watch over them all, I am not kidding, that is a thing that happened in real life) and full of slideshows about shit no one actually cares 15 clicks worth about? And some other sites. Tons of headlines like (and I’m saying “like” because I don’t recall exactly what and I don’t care to go look because temerity-jane.com just has tons of authors and I can’t be expected to keep track of all of them and hold them to any kind of standards like accuracy and non-assholioacy) “LOUIS CK THINKS OUR CHILDREN SHOULDN’T USE CELL PHONES!” and “FIND OUT WHY LOUIS CK THINKS SMART PHONES ARE BAD FOR KIDS!”

As I said above in a big chunk of about a hundred to a hundred and fifty words like I say everything else, I like the guy, and I think he’s smart and he’s funny. But unless what Louis CK has to say about kids and cell phones or screen time or whatever the hell we’re calling it when we put the little “be quiet for a while” machine in front of our kids is punctuated with the word “fuck” or “fucking” or “motherfucker” or some variation on “shit” or “shitty” or basically any kind of profanity because I think it’s funny when he’s profane, it’s like a cow’s opinion to me, in that I don’t give a fat fistful of gross chewed up and regurgitated wet grass about it.

And it’s not even that I begrudge the guy for having an opinion about kids and cell phones, it’s an issue. He has kids. And I don’t begrudge him for talking about it. He talks about things. That’s what he does. It’s his job. He’s ragged on cell phone addiction before, and it was funny, and I know I’m not the only person in the world to have obnoxiously told someone else to “give it a MINUTE.” So yeah, it’s something he’d talk about. No, no, what’s kind of ridiculous to me is the reprinting and rehashing of it on sites like the aforementioned content pile, on Slate, on Mashable, on the Wall Street Journal’s site! As if I am to sit and ponder the SERIOUS IMPLICATIONS OF LOUIS CK’S OPINION ON CHILDREN AND SMART PHONES and how I might best apply that to my own parenting.

There is already enough pressure and implied shame about limiting screen time from actual sources. We don’t need a literal MADE UP SOURCE brought into it as well. AND I’M NOT SAYING the guy isn’t entitled to his opinions. HE IS. And I am INTERESTED in hearing them. On the television. And then going to bed. And then not discussing them over coffee and a notepad because holy shit. We can silently self-shame just fine without bringing Louis CK into it.

I really, really don’t want to discuss with anyone, now or ever, if your kid has a cell phone or if they’re allowed to use yours, or use an iPad, or for how long each day, or how much television they’re allowed to watch. I don’t want to have that conversation today, where someone says they agree with me that the self-shaming is enough, “and, actually, my kid watches a lot of screen stuff,” and then lists what she thinks is a lot, but someone else feels bad because that doesn’t seem like a lot to her, and someone else thinks that’s WAY too much and lists HER schedule of much, much less, and someone else actually just built a yurt in the woods with her kids, so fuck all the rest of us anyway.

THE POINT OF IT ALL IS, it’s really hard not to raise a shitty kid. It’s especially hard not to raise a shitty kid when other parents are letting their kid be shitty right to your kid’s face. Or, worse, when the ADULT is being shitty right in front of your kid, doing the very things you’re trying to teach your kid not to do in an effort not to raise a shitty kid. On top of it, everyone you know and everything you read carries an opinion on what it is to be shitty or not shitty – both for your kid, and for your efforts and methods in creating your not shitty kid. You spend your whole life picking and sorting through your own ideas, goals, hopes, and gut feelings to cobble together a parenting method that you hope is going to result in the happiest, least shitty, HAPPIEST kid possible. At night, when I settle down after maybe crying in the shower or maybe staring blankly in the steam for half an hour or maybe just rhythmically thudding my head off the wall for a while, and I settle down to be entertained for a bit, I’m not going to sift through all that stuff, too. Because it’s moo.

******

I have seen just enough 30 Rock to think it’s hilarious to say, “You’re not a paht of this, Lemon,” to a dog encroaching on my fish stick and Stovetop preparation space.

*******

Remember how I said registration for PJs at TJ’s was opening on 10/10, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, so for the best and most up to date information, you should join the Facebook group? I hope you took me at my word if you wanted to go and weren’t waiting for more updates here, because it sold out in 30 minutes, which was surprising and awesome. That was a thing that happened that I did not think was going to happen.

******

Something, something, here’s Penelope.

Penelope waiting for ham.

Traditional Sunday Waiting for the Ham.

I should explain that caption. See, on Sundays, after church, we go out for lunch, and Penny orders a ham sandwich. Then I take a picture of her, waiting for her ham. I did not need to explain that caption.

******

Here is a thing I am suggesting to you.

wnwcapp

It’s Wet n Wild. I’m real n serious.

So, apparently, while I wasn’t looking, Wet n Wild has been stepping up the quality a lot over the last few years. Tons of beauty bloggers who are actual beauty bloggers have covered that, so I’m not going to, but definitely look up some reviews and swatches of a bunch of the eye shadow trios they have out, for example. They’re still priced very low and they put out a lot of seasonal and limited lines in fun colors, so they can be an inexpensive way to add some out there shades to your collection without spending $10 or $12 on singles from the high end brands.

Now, some stuff is still hit or miss, like you’d expect with a cosmetics line at this price point. When I picked up this powder, I also got a Color Icon Shadow Trio in Spoiled Brat that was just a mess when I tried it. The lid shade had fallout all over my face, the crease shade wouldn’t blend, and the browbone shade… actually, I don’t think that one was so bad, but I just tossed the case aside. More talented makeup people could probably make it work with no issues, but I am not an expert. I’m like Louis CK when he talks about kids. He has some. I have some makeup. Doesn’t mean you should look at me like I know what I’m doing, sitting on top of my hoard and chortling like Scrooge McDuckface. Whatever, it was $2.50 at Wal-Mart and I’ll pass it to someone else at PJs.

THE POWDER, THOUGH. If you’re very fair and have a hard time finding a powder foundation to match your skin, Wet n Wild Coverall pressed powder in 821B just might be your match, and I picked it up at Wal-Mart the other night for $2.43. You can use it with a big, fluffy brush to set all of your makeup in place. You can use it as a powder foundation if that’s the style you prefer. For me, I’ve been using a BB cream instead of foundation lately. I use this powder to set my under eye concealer and brighten that area up just a little bit, and then, since BB cream doesn’t offer full coverage, I use a sponge and press this powder with a kind of rolling motion over my chin and next to my nose where I have some redness. I haven’t been able to use a powder like this before, because until now, I’ve been using (and loving) Rimmel’s Stay Matte powder in translucent. Translucent powder is awesome for the super fair/pale, but a powder that actually matches skin tone has way more utility.

Give it a try. You may have to hunt around a little for the shade, but try Wal-Mart or Walgreens. You can always order online, but that takes a little away from how great the price is.

******

Last thing! Just a reminder that I will keep reminding you about just a little bit because Phil and I are a team: he’s participating in the Extra Life marathon for Children’s Miracle Network and it’s coming up. His fundraising page is here, and we’d appreciate anything you can do to help. There are social media buttons on the left hand side of the page, so if you’d share the page to your friends and family and guilt them with our adorable child, that would be swell. This is my part of the team effort, because I’m having no part of the whole “24 hours” thing. Nope.

I thought it was going to be all complaining but it’s just mostly complaining.

I had to take a break for a while, due to some health concerns and the fact that my husband was away for six weeks and a Penelope stops Peneloping for no man or blog. Oh, and also, I watch Korean television, like, ALL THE TIME. But when I talk about it, it’s like I’m talking to Penelope, because no one gives a shit or listens or does what I say and then just draws on the wall even though I am RIGHT THERE and saying STOP IT.

Or, at least, I thought that’s why I took a break, but I just logged in here to make a post and it turns out THIS STUPID POST INTERFACE DIDN’T MAGICALLY FIX ITSELF and I guess I wasn’t posting for a while also because everything is stupid.

Anyway, Phil’s been back for a couple of weeks now, and I’ve gone as far as to open WordPress a couple of times to regale you will all of my thoughts, but I’ve stopped short when I’ve realized that most of my thoughts are more like complaints or complainy observations, and there’s bound to be someone who is all, “geeze, don’t you do ANYTHING but COMPLAIN?” and I will point out to you that I just did several months of nothing, so yes, I complain and I also do nothing. So, I’ve just unmade your point for you right there, hypothetical person I made up in my mind largely as a reason not to make the effort to post.

(At this point in writing this post, I updated WordPress, and some things fixed themselves, but I can’t go back in time to two months ago and do that. Sorry.)

FLYING BATHTUB

Here’s my kid in a flying bathtub.
I went to the Phoenix Children’s Museum while I wasn’t posting.
I also started using Instagram.
It was an eventful time.

So during this whole period, most of what was occurring to me to post was pretty complainy stuff (see: health issues, husband away for a month and a half, general predisposition to narrowed eyes and curmudgeonliness in the face of blank text editors), and it was stacking up. I had piles of small ideas for a blog post, but they nearly all fell in the “general grumbling” category, making me feel as though I couldn’t write a WHOLE POST of general grumbling – though I don’t know why I felt I couldn’t, when I’ve made a pretty solid five year blog career of doing just that.

I was thinking a bit about why it bothered me, and it mostly comes down to the trend of pegging anyone who has anything negative to say as someone who must actually be deeply sad or internally unhappy with herself somehow. Or how someone who finds fault with another person  is actually just jealous. I guess it’s pretty tempting to imagine deep faults in another person when they’re finding fault with you, but we all know that’s just something we say to make ourselves feel better, right? That those are completely empty and likely totally untrue words in most cases?

Desert Ridge Market Place

We also went to a splash pad.
She was reluctant to splash.

Listen, all of this is lead up to say this: you can’t send me an email that says: FREE SHIPPING!! as the subject, and then inside, it says, “with $50 purchase.” That’s not free shipping. I basically expect free shipping with a $50 purchase from most of the places I shop, because I do not buy expensive things. That email subject line is bullshit and I hate it, and fucking stop.

Here’s another thing. Phil was gone for six weeks.

Here is another thing. Phil was gone for six weeks, and then he had a week of leave, and for some reason, since he has to shave for work every day, he feels no obligation to shave when he’s on leave, even if his leave is long enough that the only face I can make at him by the end is a hate face.

The helpful hobo

After church one Sunday, this random helpful bearded hobo offered to buckle my kid into her carseat. Thanks, hobo! Go shave. Because you look like a hobo. Hobo.

Hey, I know I have not been totally on the ball with updates here on this site, but hopefully those who are interested in attending PJs at TJ’s in 2014 have already joined the Facebook group. If you haven’t, you can do that now or follow me on Twitter for updates, but regardless of either of those things, you should know that registration opens at 9am west coast time on October 10th, which is this Thursday. All of the details are in the Facebook group so… I still suggest you go ahead and join it for full information. I can’t tell you if it will sell out or not, because I don’t know, or how quickly it will sell out if it does, but the best way to make sure you get a spot if you want one is to sign up for the Facebook group and register when registration opens on Thursday morning. Like always (the whole entire two past years), PJs is not exclusive. Everyone is welcome. There’s no secret in club or list. You don’t have to know anyone to come. You do have to register and it is first come, first in, and that includes people who have attended in the past or who are my very best pals in the whole wide world, so don’t think you don’t have a shot because I’m going to try to pull some tricky shenanigans so only my friends can come. That would make me a big hypocritical asshole, and while I am several kinds of asshole, I am not that kind.

If you have any questions, leave a comment, email me, message me on Twitter or Facebook, whatever you want. I don’t extend personal invitations, nor do I extend personal exclusions. You, personally, are welcome. That’s it. That’s the best I can do to assure you. I’m assuring you.

Penny on Charlie

LOOK AT MY HORSE, MY HORSE IS AMAZING.

Penny also on Charlie

On further reflection, this horse is just okay.

Let this be a lesson to me, I should have just complained when my complaints were hot, imaginary complaint complainers be damned, because now I can’t remember any of my complaints, except for one, which was kind of specific, in that I can, if pressed, name several people that I have, over the course of ACTUAL YEARS, seen do this specific thing, even though I would not actually be thinking of THEM SPECIFICALLY if I was to complain about it, you know what I mean? Like, for example, if I say, “I hate people who jump in the checkout line when they only have one thing, as if it’s their right.”

A guy actually did this to us fairly recently, fairly recently meaning I remember it but don’t have any real concept of the time frame. Just walked up and said, “Can I just get my bananas” and set them on the belt and began to go through the whole checkout process as if it was just a given that it was fine, because we had several items in our cart and he had the MOST IMPORTANT BANANAS IN THE WORLD in his hand.

OUT OF THE WAY, LIFE-SAVING BANANAS COMING THROUGH.

And you know, when I have a full cart, I do often let someone with just a couple of items go in front of me. But that’s my call. On this occasion, we had several items in our cart, but by no means a full load. Maybe we were in a hurry, too. Maybe we had exactly enough time for X items, with X being the number of items in our cart. Not X plus NICHOLAS CAGE’S BANANAS (I assume). How arrogant do you have to be to assume that wherever WE have to be is unimportant enough that it can absolutely, definitely and certainly wait for one banana bunch checkout’s length of time in addition to the time we’ve already calculated for our own shopping? How do you assess the shopping lanes to choose? “Oh, those schmucks there can definitely wait a banana length. They’ve got nowhere banana-important to be. Not like me. OUT OF THE WAY, PEONS. INCOMING BANANAS DESTINED FOR THE BREAKFAST OATMEAL OF THE GRANDSON OF SPUDS MACKENZIE.”

Anyway, so sometimes when you pick a specific complaint to make, like the one I had in my head that, when pressed, I could remember some people I do actually like and consider friends and don’t in any way hate AT ALL maybe doing on one or two occasions, one like “I hate people who jump in the checkout line when they only have one thing, as if it’s their right,” you’ve got to be ready for those people to maybe defend it. And I get that, I guess, because I just said I don’t like something you do, and we’re friends, so obviously I actually hate you.

And someone will say, “Well, I’m actually responsible for buying Nicholas Cage’s bananas.” Or tries to explain how it’s actually a courtesy on their part to stop clogging up the lines with just their one bunch of teeny weeny bananas. Or explain how they only did it one time, but they actually did have a really extremely important place to be that time, more important than anyone else in the store could have possibly had to be. And then everyone feels awkward. Because, what? I’m supposed to start giving arrogant banana line rushers the benefit of the doubt? I’m supposed to issue individual pardons so that a line jumper can mentally reconcile the fact that they can both do something that I personally don’t like, yet still somehow remain my friend? I’m supposed to… continue this awkward stare down?

LOOK, YOU AND YOUR BANANAS NEED TO JUST WAIT FOR THE NOD, OKAY?

And that’s why I had to just scrub one whole complaint from the list, but I think the whole banana guy thing worked out pretty well, because THAT GUY, RIGHT? WHAT THE HELL? “Can I just get my bananas?” Can I just rip off your arm and beat you with the wet end?

Here’s something else. I haven’t talked a lot about makeup stuff recently because I haven’t talked a lot about anything recently, but you need to go out and get Gimmie Brow by Benefit right now, and I will demonstrate the reason with an actual picture of my actual face wearing the actual makeup product I am actually talking about, something I have never actually done on this blog, which is kind of amazing, considering how much I talk about makeup. I went and got my eyebrows done by the most amazing eyebrow lady in all the land, and after the waxed my wonky and odd shaped eyebrows, she used only ONE PRODUCT on them, Gimmie Brow, and this is what they looked like, holy shit, go buy it:

Don't care, eyebrow hair.

Far from the most flattering angle of my forehead wrinkles.
Don’t care, eyebrow hair.

Macy’s, Ulta, Sephora, Benefit site, wherever you’re racking up your bonus points for buying all the awesome holiday gift sets that are coming out. Buy Gimmie Brow. Do it.

Anyway. That’s it, I guess. We’ve still got a lot going on right now. Some stuff is up in the air. Still working on some somewhat difficult health issues.

Oh! But Penelope isn’t! In September, she was pronounced completely clear of all kidney and VUR issues by her pediatric urologist and she was completely released from care by her team at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. All issues related to her failure to thrive and vesicoureteral reflux have been resolved. We passed my “one year catheter free” goal and hopefully she’ll stay catheter free until she epidurals up for her own kid some day.

Penelope's Last U/S

Pro.

And speaking of Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phil is once again participating in the Extra Life marathon fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network, specifically playing for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Last year, he was playing when Penelope’s surgery was pretty recent. This year, he’s playing shortly after finding out that we’re completely done with seeing Penny’s team at Phoenix Children’s, but I don’t think we’ll be ending our relationship with them – in terms of support – for a long time.

Children’s Miracle Network raises money for hospitals across the United States and Canada, to fund research and buy equipment, but most importantly to us, to pay for uncompensated care. We are lucky enough to be in a situation that Penelope’s expensive care and surgery didn’t burden us financially. For others, Children’s Miracle Network provides the funds to allow families in less fortunate situations benefit from the same excellent standard of care Penelope has received for literally her entire life from Phoenix Children’s Hospital. PCH has benefited our family in more ways than just the top notch medical care they provided to Penelope, and that needs to be extended to as many children and their parents as possible.

ANYWAY, the Extra Life Marathon is coming up! Here’s Phil’s fundraising page. If you’d like to donate, we’d appreciate it very much. If you could share the page on your social networks, we’d appreciate that, too. If you’re feeling crazy and want to stay up for 24 hours straight playing video games and want to support Phoenix Children’s while you do it, let me know and I’ll get you in touch with Phil and he’ll get you started with joining his team. If you just want to think about joining next year, still let me know. We’ll still be here.

That’s it! Thank you!

HO SHIT GUYS PUMPKINS

Pitchforks and hay, cat butts, promises, and questionable prizes.

So I find myself struggling, sometimes, lately, with remembering how little I wanted to do with other people’s children when I was single with no children and just trying to live my life in public places and trying to enjoy my right to… enjoy those places, and how fresh those memories are, and how much I remember being that person, and how much I still am that person, and how much sympathy I have for those people when I am out in a public place with my admittedly pretty stereotypically terrible toddler, and how that rubs up against the fact that I do have a kid now, and there’s a whole lot of “what can you do?” and “I also have to live this life” and “I also need to be in this place” and a whole lot of boiling up feelings of MY BABY IS ALLOWED HERE that I do my level best to stomp down, because yes, of course she is, and I won’t be told any different, but there is a huge difference between my baby being allowed somewhere and my baby’s right to be somewhere spreading all over someone else’s right to enjoy being somewhere.

Anyway, you know what I’m saying? I’m in no way making an effort to be the cool mom lady. The mom lady who doesn’t change from her single, childless ways now that she has a baby, who is still hip and with it and doesn’t let having a toddler cramp her style. The mom lady who swears to always understand that the single, childless people have the God-given right to enjoy their lives without hearing a peep or seeing an errant streak of snot so their delicate other-people’s-poop free existence remain untainted.

(Note that I am not accusing single people of demanding this behavior, but I am instead making fun of a certain breed of parents who try to behave in this way. I can make fun of parents, it’s cool. I am one. Some of my best friends are parents. I’m allowed.)

No, I’m not the cool mom lady, and I’m not trying to be. My style is cramped. My style is tiny and hunched over. My style is stuffed into to go containers with a lot of mumbled, “Sorry, sorry, sorry,” on the way out of restaurants. That I still go to. Early.

No, I am definitely not a cool mom lady. I don’t want to be a cool mom lady. If I wanted the same life that I had before I had a kid, if I wanted my life to be as close as possible to my pre-child life, the best way to go about that would be to not have a baby. But I do try my best to straddle the line. I don’t expect the world to cater to me because I had a baby. (Oh, and they don’t. Holy shit you guys, how about the difference between pregnancy and baby? “Oh, a pregnant lady! Let me get that door for you, let me get out of your way, oh, excuse me, oh, you’re a treasure, smile, smile, smile!” And then, AND THEN, “Oh, a woman with a stroller and a diaper bag, and 40 shopping bags, let me let that door slam in your face, let me grab that last shopping cart out from under your hands, QUICK HIT THE DOOR CLOSE BUTTON.” Children: only adorable til born.) I take my crying child out of restaurants. I run errands during off hours when I have to take her with me. I don’t let her run through stores, I don’t let her unfold tables of clothing (seriously, your child is an asshole), I don’t let her ruin your day if I can help it.

Basically, I’m super-conscious about being That Mom. I really don’t want to be That Mom. I don’t want to be the woman I used to talk about. I don’t want to be the lady who thinks your world should revolve around her kid. But you know, I’m perfectly fine with the fact that mine does. For now, at least. It does. I’m not embarrassed about it. I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of. I don’t think it’s sad that I don’t have any bigger interests. I don’t think that makes me That Mom. I mean, take my Facebook account. I post about Penny constantly. Pictures, status updates, videos. I mean, it’s all Penny, all the time. When I read a friend’s status, though, and I catch myself about to say something like, “Yeah, when Penny –,” or somehow relate it back to my kid, I don’t.

I have not even begun to make my point.

Here’s the thing. You know how I am really into terrible in law stories? That, plus advice from old women about the fact that my child is never wearing socks, really soured me on the whole “it takes a village” thing. Well, plus we no longer live in villages. I don’t need anyone’s help in raising my child. You know what it takes? It takes me, my husband, and an Internet. It Takes an Internet. That should be what they say now. It Takes an Internet. 

Anyway, I thought the whole village thing was stupid mainly because I felt like it gave aggravating as hell people license to butt their stupid irritating noses into your business and tell you what to do, simply because their were AROUND, thus part of your VILLAGE, and you can’t get mad, because, oooh, villager, and, I don’t know, burning hay on pitchforks or something. I really never followed the metaphor all the way out. Or analogy. I never really followed that lesson all the way out. And please don’t take it upon yourself to actually give me the lesson in the comments. I have the Internet. If I was actually interested, I would use my Internet. Go back to your village. Damn!

Terrible or not, I have to take my toddler out in public. It’s part of my job, actually, to make her less terrible. She is kind of a demon, and we have some cross country flights coming up, and I just need her to be… less terrible. At least when other people can see her. So yesterday, she and I were running some errands, and she did pretty well. Kind of well. It was okay. Nobody really cried, not with actual tears. So, when we were finished, I took her for a snack at Starbucks. We got a water and a slice of lemon cake, because those things are fast, with no waiting, and we sat at a table to share them.

And Penny was just delighted. I mean, just fucking delighted. I think she’s old enough to know now, sort of, when something is a little bit of a special treat. She was out with just me, and I didn’t make her sit in a high chair. She got to pick the snack from behind the glass, though she really just kind of slapped at it. I had it in front of me, and was breaking off pieces for her, so she was getting some of “Mama’s snack.” She was really excited, but we’re working on keeping the exuberance and shrieking down to… not shrieking… in public. And she was doing great. I mean, in my opinion. She’s still a toddler. And I know that can grate on some people. And you have to understand, I’m not saying that snottily. In the townhouses I used to live in, there was a family living in the next set of units over, and they would put their kids outside to play very early in the morning on weekends, and they would play, indeed. Loudly. And happily. And I swear to you, there was no sound more awful to me than the sound of children’s happiness. I mean, it was terrible. I’m retro-hating it, even now.

So even though we were there during off hours, and even though she was being good – for a toddler – I was doing my best to be quick. I’m not trying to tell you I’m a cool mom lady, see above. I’m trying to tell you I’m aware, at least. I’m aware. I’m aware of the limits of my toddler, and I’m sympathetic to the limits of people in general where toddlers are concerned. There was a man working behind us, and several couples chatting, it wasn’t too crowded. I understand that those people were not my village. I don’t believe in the village concept. Or at least, I didn’t.

Every person that went by, Penny would kind of check them out, wave a little bit of lemon cake at them, and say, “SNAAAA!” Snaaa. Kind of nasally, really excited. It means “snack.” And “snack” means anything in a bowl, or anything that someone else is eating that she thinks she might be able to snake some. And I’d say, “Mmhm, snack. Remember, inside voice, okay? Eat over the table, wipe your face, etc, etc.” We’re working on becoming a functioning human being here, you know? And people would smile and move on, or say hi to her, or nod, or whatever. I don’t know, the split second interaction you have with a toddler who is making an effort to engage with you.

Except, except this ONE WOMAN, who came and sat down right near us, and who was only waiting for a drink, not there to stay who just deliberately turned her face away when Pen tried to SNAAAA at her. And okay, you know, I guess that’s fine. Okay. Okay. In fact, I think I remember snorting with laughter when I read a post online somewhere about a woman being angry when people wouldn’t smile back at her kid. Because that is ridiculous. No one is required to smile at your kid. That is how I was reasoning with myself. No one is required to smile at your kid. I am not That Mom, no one is required to smile at my kid.

Except even now (it’s tomorrow), I am still huffy and trying to tamp down my inner That Momness, because look, me and the Internet will tell my husband how we’re going to raise this baby, and we’ll go ahead and do it, and we’re not going to ask you, Starbucks Lady, to jump in and be the village and wipe her butt or deliberate over preschools or anything like that, I promise. Nothing. No villaging the baby. But for the love of shit, could you just engage a few neurons when she attempts to make social contact? I’m not asking you to join a tribunal and come to budget meetings, I’m asking you to just show a flicker in your eye sockets, anything, and only during this formative social learning period. I will wipe the asses, clean the snot holes, etc, and YOU “be the village” by helping her not become a sociopath. When we’re ready to move on to the “well, honey, some people are cunts” lesson, I’ll give you the nod. I’m sure it won’t be long, what with your cat butt-looking face walking around out there.

Is it even possible? IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE to parent without, to some degree, becoming That Mom? I hope I’m clear in that I don’t want to be a cool mom lady, I don’t expect to be thought of as such, but was it too much to expect that I could straddle the line indefinitely?

I don’t, I don’t really expect you to smile at my baby. I don’t really get mad. I mean, I do notice. I can’t help noticing. I don’t think the non-react-backers are awful people. They’re just people I take note of. I’ll present your names to the judge if Pen turns into an arsonist.

“I HAVE THE NAMES OF THE ENTIRE VILLAGE, YOUR HONOR. RIGHT HERE. THE ENTIRE VILLAGE.”

No but seriously. I don’t even know. You don’t have to. I don’t even. I’m both That Mom and not That Mom. I’m both. I don’t even know.

*****

HEY PAY ATTENTION TO THIS PART REALLY PLEASE.

Over in the sidebar is a link to Phil’s fundraising page for the Extra Life marathon to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network – specifically, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where Penny has been receiving treatment since she was very small.

I know a lot of you have already donated, and it is SO APPRECIATED. He blew his goal OUT OF THE WATER, and he was so shocked and grateful.

But now, he is only $68 away from earning $1000 for PCH, and that is INSANE.

I don’t have a lot to offer. What I have to offer is embarrassing in that… I don’t know if you even want it. But listen. Today is the last day. If you donate anything today – ANY AMOUNT – and Phil makes it over $1000 before the marathon starts tomorrow at 8am, I will do a TJ’s Cosmo Cliff’s Notes of your choosing, and promptly. No promising to do it and disappearing for 3 weeks. And “of your choosing” means any media easily available to me. It could be Cosmo, or any other magazine I can get off the shelf. Or? Any episode of a currently airing TV show. Or? A show available on Netflix streaming or Amazon streaming. Or a podcast. Or… or whatever. You donate, you choose.

I know. It’s not really… anything. It’s what I have. I mean, I can make you an 8-bit perler bead hair bow barrette. I can do that. If you donate $12 ($.50 per hour!) and you’d rather have that, I can make you one of those instead. It’s equally lame. I can’t help it. We’re a lame people. But we really do have good intent toward PCH!

Regardless of if he makes $1000 or not, the marathon is tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter to get pictures and updates of Phil’s progress, except for the hours that I’m asleep. Because, ha, no.

EDIT: HOLY CRAP. $1000 passed! BUT MY OFFER STANDS. Of course money for PCH is still welcome, we love them. If you donate today – ANY AMOUNT – just email me and let me know. Take your time to pick your media of choice and redeem it whenever.

THANK YOU EVERYONE!

Penny’s prepared to step in if needed.

Skip the whole first part and give us your money.

– So I used to have this other blog. Actually, when I had that blog, I would say, “So I used to have this journal.” Let’s just agree that I have written things on the Internet since I had to pick a block to live in on Geocities, or since I discovered I was allotted some free space on AOL, since those digging animated construction men were something people ACTUALLY USED, since pitas, since buying webspace and hosting other writers, since designing sites that made different size windows open and changed your cursor shape and it’s all out there still.

Well, not ALL of it. I have a lot of it still, though, and you should collect all of yours while you still can, because you’ll want it some day. Actually, collect ALL of the things you like right now, especially if you are very involved, because you’ll want it back at some point and it really doesn’t stay out there forever, no matter how much people assure you that everything on the Internet is going to be there until the end of time. Like all of the archives of this blog? I get to keep them forever, but you don’t, not really. They’re cached out there, I guess, but eventually, soonish, I guess, I’ll decide that X-many years is too many, and lop one or two of them off the end, and put them on our back up drive thing that Phil… works.

ANYWAY, back up to the top. So, one of the main search terms that LEAD to my blog was, “Jonathan Brandis dead,” and that’s because he was, and I had written about it within moments of it hitting the Internet. I’m not exactly sure how fast things hit the Internet then. I don’t really remember. There wasn’t Twitter.  It was 2003. I think the entire entry was just, “Holy shit, Jonathan Brandis died. What do I do?” Or something like that.

I don’t think I was ready then, at (math, math, math… ) 21 years old, for Jonathan Brandis to die. Of course, that’s a dickish thing to say, because who was ready for Jonathan Brandis to die? Certainly not his parents. Or his friends. Or anyone. But you know what I mean? His pictures were all over my walls when I was in middle school. From Bop and Big Bopper. That’s what I spent my allowance on. Well, that and Metal Edge. I was a complicated child.

(No, I wasn’t. I’m not a complicated adult, either. I had in between years where I’d have liked to think I was complicated. I think everyone goes through them. You can tell when someone is going through them because if they’re female, they post pictures on Facebook that are actually pictures of text, talking about how if a guy is actually a man, he’ll fight for them. And how if you can’t something something at her worst, something something best. And on Twitter woe-ing around about coffee, coffee, there’s NEVER enough COFFEE, and how everything is much, much, much more difficult for them than it is for normal people. And then one day, you get to the other side,  I guess, and not only realize your own complete averageness, but learn to enjoy the shit out of it. And just GO GET SOME COFFEE.)

I was driving over the bridge today and I realized, I’m still not ready for Jonathan Brandis to have died. I called my mom at work – from work – the second I found out he had died. I mean, I made an emergency call with urgency, like I would have if I had discovered a close friend had died. I hadn’t mentioned Jonathan Brandis to her in years. It had been forever since the Jon-a-thon in my living room. I don’t remember the last time I watched an episode of seaQuest (yes, I do).

I think we all know that at some point, it is going to start, where all the people and icons and celebrities and names that we know, the ones that are ours, specifically, are going to be the ones that are cropping up on the regular, and I guess now that that kind of is. Sort of. Not our teen idols, though. Not yet. That is not supposed to be starting yet, I am not supposed to be dealing with that yet. The Davy Jones people are supposed to be coping and coming to terms, not me. And certainly not 21 year old me. And now I’m 30, and I’m still not ready, and mine is already gone.

And you don’t even know. I mean, my whole FAMILY could quote lines from seaQuest, because I dutifully set my VCR to record every episode (it was on at 9pm, guys!), and watched them until they were wobbly. OH. And one time? Jonathan Brandis was a guest star on Saved by the Bell, the College Years. A Thanksgiving Episode. And we didn’t HAVE a VCR, so I taped it on a CASSETTE TAPE. Held to the television. And I can still recite it by heart, complete with MY OWN SHRIEKING in the background.

So I feel like I wasn’t even remotely prepared for that at 21. I don’t know how you can expect to be. I’d lost family members by then – several. And I don’t know if it sounds crass to say that this was different, but it was. I mean, the whole teen idol obsession thing is a different… thing. So I didn’t really… do anything. Just that blog post. “Holy shit, Jonathan Brandis died. What do I do?”

I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t then, I don’t know now. I think I missed my chance to do anything. Was I supposed to cope? Can I cope? Is this a cope thing? I know it still eats at me. Once in a while. It jumps out at me, from nowhere. Just like I originally wrote it.

Holy shit, Jonathan Brandis died. What do I do?

Anyway, what a stupid topic for a blog post.

– Point two!

Phil is participating in the Extra Life gaming marathon to raise money to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network.

Specifically, Phil is raising money for Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital has been nothing short of amazing for our family. Our first encounter with PCH was an emergency room visit – we were sent there from our pediatrician after trying for several weeks to figure out what was wrong with three month old Penelope, with instructions not to stop at home, the doctor called ahead and told them to expect us.

You can imagine the condition of two new parents upon arrival under those circumstances.

Above, you can see a picture of Penny from just a few months ago, in July, right before her surgery at PCH. Her first stay at Phoenix Children’s not only helped us figure out what was going on with her, but hooked us up with her awesome GI team and amazing pediatric urologist, who performed and surgery and just released her from her prophylactic antibiotic regimen. Hopefully, next year, he’ll be telling us to get out of his face and never come back.

Like all Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, PCH treats thousands of children every year, regardless of their ability to pay. Though we are lucky enough to not find ourselves in a place where we can’t afford health care for our child, donations to PCH through this fundraiser will allow the hospital to continue to support those children with the same above and beyond care they gave and continue to give to Penelope.

Please click here to view Phil’s fundraising page (and also to find more information on Extra Life, as well). We’d truly appreciate any donation, and on October 20th, I will provide continual updates on the progress of the guy who goes to bed at 8:30pm every night but thinks that staying up for 24 straight hours is going to be “no big deal.”

HA!

Thanks so much, really!

– Last thing!

Registration for PJs at TJ’s opens tomorrow! Again, spots are limited and registration is $50. There is a handy graphic over in the sidebar to let you know the status. I’m not expecting a huge rush on the remaining spots, because I am not Oprah inviting you all over to my house to do a favorite things show.

(“And if you look under your seats… EVERYONE IS GOING HOME WITH A MAGIC EEEEERASSSEEEERRRRR!!!!”)

I’ll get a post up around noon tomorrow (Pacific time, as that is where I live and it is convenient for me) giving you the heads up that it’s open (I feel weird being formal about this, but if I am not, and there does turn out to be some random rush on the spots, then someone will call me out for being a jackhole, and I am NOT IN THE MOOD), and then just click on the badge and email me, and I’ll give you instructions on how to pay me.

And kapow, you’ll be registered!

When the last of the spots are gone, however long that takes (days, weeks, never), I’ll change the graphic to indicate as much.

As a reminder, PJs at TJ’s will be in Phoenix-ish, AZ, from 2/22/13 to 2/24/13. You’ll need to fly here, or otherwise make your way to the Phoenix area, as well as secure lodging – a list of local hotels will be provided. You’ll also need to arrange transportation to and from the airport, whether that be splitting a rental car, or Super Shuttle. None of that is covered in the $50.

What is covered:

– Dinner Friday night
– Breakfast Saturday
– Ridiculous amounts of snacks/beverages
– Awesome pajama party Saturday night
– Breakfast Sunday
– A lovely bunch of people to hang around with and a location in which to do it, except when I need you to leave, for reasons.

Lunch on Saturday is not covered, but there are lots of places to go, plus my experience last year was that between leftovers and copious amounts of… ridiculously terrible for you junk food… no one went hungry.

It’s a good time. And I assure you, like I did last year – if you’re interested in going, but think that when I say that the open registration spots are open for everyone, but I don’t mean you, because you never comment/only talked to me once on Twitter/think it’s only for my specialest friends, I urge you to get over that and come anyway, because you will have a good time and all of that is in your head.

Hello! We’re home! We are so! tired!

All right, let’s just do this.

At the end of July, we went to the doctor because Penny just didn’t… seem right. We’ve always gotten a lot of compliments on our smiley, happy baby and that baby seemed to be missing. There were also some diaper issues and feeding issues. At the doctor, we found that she was about the same weight as she had been at her 2 month check up at the end of June. We decided to try Zantac for reflux because it fit all of the symptoms perfectly.

We were to follow up in a week. During that week, Penny had what we assumed was a growth spurt – eating constantly and then sleeping. She was still having some eating issues, but other symptoms seemed pretty improved on the Zantac. When we went back to the doctor, though, we found that she had lost nearly a pound. Which was a problem.

However, since we assumed she had just hit a growth spurt, we decided to schedule another check up about a week out from there, figuring that maybe we actually caught her on a upswing of weight and she was gaining.

A couple of days into that week, I just didn’t feel that the improvements we had seen in the previous week on Zantac were still apparent. Eating issues, fussiness, general unhappiness – I don’t know, I actually kind of wrote it up to MY stress and moved her check up forward a few days.

We went in to her doctor last Wednesday and went over the whole story again, adding this time that while she had previously been able to lift her head and chest when lying on her tummy, she couldn’t do that anymore. That, combined with the rest of what was going on, lead the doctor to suggest that we get checked out at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. We were surprised to hear that, but even more shocked because we were expecting a referral to head down there sometime in the next couple of weeks but were instead sent directly to the emergency room.

Now, here we arrive at the part where I will be employing the Rumplerood Method, first seen here, where I don’t actually tell you any specifics of what was going on. This isn’t because I don’t like you, Internet, or anything like that. It’s that having specific medical details tends to make certain types of people (which is of course not you, Internet) make certain types of comments – prying questions as to why or why not doctors have done or not done this or that; stories of how their kid had the EXACT SAME THING (which turns out to not be the same thing at all) and all we NEED to do is X, Y, or Z; or reassurances of “Oh, that’s not a biggie,” which is the most annoying because, hello? Hospital? Very biggie, you asshole.

(Not you. Them.)

So we arrive at the emergency room and get taken back to a room relatively quickly, but there was a lot of waiting from that point forward. Once we saw a doctor and talked about what was going on, they decided to admit her before even doing any tests – her weight loss was just that severe and regardless of what came out of the tests, she needed some beefing up help.

So we shall call the weight loss Problem A, and consider it to be the main reason we went to the hospital.

Some tests and scans were run while we hung around in the emergency room, waiting for her room to be ready. Scan 1 was completely fine, but Tests 1 and 2  introduced Problem B and Problem C.

Off we went to our room.

You know, the days really blended together quite quickly. I stayed at the hospital with Penny the entire time and Phil went home in the evenings to handle the dogs.

So we’ve got Problems A, B, and C. Here’s where things started to get all kinds of messy. Problem A could easily be caused by Problem C, and Problem A could, sometimes, in some cases, cause Problem B. OR? All of the problems could be completely unrelated to each other and each a sign of much larger problems. OR? A and B could be related and both fall under C. OR? C could be its own random thing and B could be a HUGE THING.

Or? Also? Could be no big.

We saw doctors the next day who said, “Yeah, the thing is… Problem C, right? Well, it’s so unlikely that she actually has that that we need to run the test again. Because it’s just not likely at all.”

So Test 2 was repeated, and it was quite an unpleasant test for Penny. So unpleasant, in fact, that when they failed at it twice and wanted to attempt a third, I was all OH HELL NO, she needs to rest for tonight. This terrible nurse (all of the nurses except one were just fantastic) apparently wrote in Penny’s chart that I REFUSED the test and they had to scurry around finding an alternate method, which I did not realize had happened until I talked to the doctor the next day. I thought the nurse was just being nice to arrange this for Penny, but it turns out that SHE thought I was a huge bitch who was REFUSING medical treatment for Penny when all I said was to LEAVE IT FOR THE NIGHT. Twice is enough, you know? But I would have let them try again the next morning. Whatever, that nurse was a anal pimple. Doesn’t matter, though, because the doctor told me the next day that he didn’t blame me at all for stopping them.

Anyway, Problem C? The doctor was right, it probably wasn’t Problem C at all, but SO WEIRDLY? They discovered a second variation of Problem C that was definitely, definitely the case in a WAY HUGE way. They had already started treating for Problem C1 and the treatment was basically the same for Problem C2, so WHY EVEN REPEAT THE HORRIBLE TEST if the treatment WASN’T GOING TO CHANGE ANYWAY AAUUUGHHH.

That point is about where I started to lose my grip, but the hospital isn’t a great place for grip-losing (actually, it kind of is, because we got moved to a new room at one point, when Phil wasn’t there, and I had to re-unpack all of our stuff and Penny ALSO needed to eat and I ALSO needed to pump and she had a blow out (not to be a huge snot, but that has NEVER happened in cloth diapers and happened 80 berjillion times in the disposables at the hospital) and THEN she peed in her bed while I was changing her, and the nurses’ aides came in and bathed her, changed her and fed her while I got a shower and got to pump and was left alone for 30 minutes). Anyway, what I was saying was that I started to lose my grip but saved up all my grip losing to unleash on Phil on the drive home from the hospital yesterday because SERIOUSLY, there is just NO NEED to be in the farthest left lane THERE JUST ISN’T.

While Problem B could be a side effect of Problem A, it can also be a serious indicator of a large problem in its own right, so Test 3 was performed to checked for Very Serious Issue 1. And that test, which was a HUGE pain in the ass, completely failed. Penny didn’t fail the test, the test failed. Over the course of the next couple of days, every doctor we saw would tell us we either needed to repeat it or that we probably didn’t need to repeat it – whichever was the exact opposite of what the previous doctor had said. We will be repeating it, but on an outpatient basis, in a few weeks. Just FYI.

Somewhere in here, we also had Scans 2 and 3, for issues related to Problems C and B, respectively. Phil was present for both of those Scans, of course, as they were painless and easily handled with a pacifier loaded with sucrose. Oh, by the way, our baby is goddamned sugar fiend now.

Scan 3 was perfectly clear, which was great, though the results of Test 1 indicating Problem B still couldn’t be ignored. Scan 2, however, indicating that while Problem C sometimes just happens, it was possible that a bigger issue was at work and there would need to be a third kind of scan on Monday. Now, they were telling us this on Friday, which was aggravating, because COME ON. MONDAY. But it was absolutely necessary to do scan three to check for the potential Very Serious Issue 2.

Now, while waiting for Monday to roll around, Test 1 had to be repeated several times and — okay, you know what? Test 1 was blood work. Whatever. So, it of course had to be repeated, and every time they needed to do that, they tried to draw from her IV, which NEVER WORKED, and her IVs kept failing anyway. She had THREE IVs, and by the time we left last night, the last one had failed, too. It’s a good thing we were leaving then, because the next spot they were going to have to go for was the scalp. They had to call in the “IV Team” each time she needed a new one and take her to the whimsical “Treatment Room” to get them done (she had repeated episodes of Test 2 in there as well) and after a couple of visits, her entire body stiffened up whenever she saw the ceiling.

Eventually, Monday did roll around and with it so did Scan 3, which was pretty much entirely unpleasant, but luckily only because Penny was scared to be held down. Not that that’s a good thing, but I was confident that the procedure was relatively painless and her crying (and lo, there was crying) was because she was scared. Which, you know, knowing that your kid is terrified is bad, but slightly lower on the HOLY SHIT WHY DO PEOPLE EVEN HAVE KIDS IF THEY’LL JUST BE FORCED TO DO TERRIBLE THINGS TO THEM scale than terrified and in pain.

So, we’re checking for Very Serious Issue 2, and I was quite confident that we’d be cleared and sent right home, because you know how I feel about being average – that’s us. We’re average. She had Problem C, yes, but our Household Averageness would be protecting her from Very Serious Issue 2.

Apparently, Penny did not inherit the average gene.

Very Serious Issue 2 has varying levels of severity, from “hey, not so bad, if you’ve got to have it” to “well, this is pretty much no good.” Penny, choosing an obnoxious time to display a glimmer of averageness, falls right between “usually clears up on its own” and “almost always require surgery to correct” on the scale of Very Serious Issue 2 severity. However, there’s nothing we can really do but watch, wait, and medicate in a preventative manner while we wait to see if she grows out of it or needs some scalpel-ish interventions in the future.

All during this time, we were also working on weight gain, as Penny had dropped down below 9 pounds, and I am pleased to say that yesterday morning, she weighed in at 9 lbs, 14 oz. And then she peed on the scale, so maybe 9 lbs, 13 oz. It was actually quite a lot of pee, so let’s say 9 lbs, 12 oz and call it good.


“YOU SAID YOU WOULDN’T TELL ABOUT THE PEE!”

OH, and yesterday morning? A doctor I hadn’t seen before came in and brought up another round of issues that arose from the blood work, which could be a thing or not a thing at all, but seemed suspiciously like a thing, though it could be a thing caused by Problem B or Problem C or an undiscovered Problem D which might have come and gone without us even NOTICING, or? OR? Could very well be Very Serious Issue 3 which we will ABSOLUTELY need to be looking into.

We’re at home now and I’m in between phone calls for follow ups. Every issue requires a different type of doctor. We’ll be going to her primary care doctor to follow up on weight and general health, as well as to repeat blood tests and look into the potential for Very Serious Issue 3.

We’ll be checking in with a set of specialists about Problem B and the potential for Very Serious Issue 1, as well as returning to Phoenix Children’s for a repeat of test 3, as it absolutely needs to be done at a center that has experts who specialize in performing the test, even though they did a SUPER CRAPPY JOB of it the first time (apparently, the test should have lasted twice as long as it did to get good results).

And of course, Penny will be seeing a team of specialists for Very Serious Issue 2, not just for a follow up next week, but several over the next year as well as one or more repeats of scan 3 and monitoring of her new medication so that we can keep an eye on it and hope it resolves on its own.

Some things about the hospital:

1. I developed a two slice a day chocolate cake habit, because the hospital cafeteria had FOUR DIFFERENT KINDS OF CHOCOLATE CAKE, you guys.

2. This is totally going to sound like a humble brag, but am becoming increasingly more awkward with people complimenting Penny. She charmed the pants off EVERYONE once she started feeling better (you guys – YOU GUYS, our smiley baby is BACK, which is awesome and also makes me feel TERRIBLE for how long I tamped down the “something’s wrong here” instincts in order to not be “that new mom” with the panic over nothing), and more than once, a new nurse came in and said, “They told me you were cute!” She was seriously complimented to her tiny eyeballs – it’s a good thing she doesn’t understand English, because she would have a big fat head. When someone says, “She’s so cute!,” I generally reply, “She thinks so!” Any ideas of better replies would be helpful, because look. I’m just going to have to accept it. I have a gorgeous baby.

3. I DO NOT WANT HELP WITH THIS, but since so many people asked if I’m still nursing – yes and no. Problem C is likely what caused Penny to lose so much weight, and with it, she lost a lot of strength. As she lost strength, her suck weakened, she at less often and for shorter periods, and that tanked my supply, so she had less to eat, so she lost more weight, etc, etc.

She’s being fed supplemented formula right now and I met with a FANTASTIC lactation consultant at the hospital and we’re working on increasing my supply again, but it’s probably not going to work. I’m allowed to nurse her one or two times a day and I pump the rest of the time. I am not going to go into a list of everything I’m doing in this situation, so you’re going to have to trust me that I HAVE IT UNDER CONTROL.

We’d like to go back to nursing. It might not happen. We’re all okay with that, because Penny’s health is absolutely paramount. Please. Do not suggest, because I’m telling you – did it, doing it, about to do it. Covered.

4. Gained four pounds from cake.

5. Look at her bare upper arm. Someone put a scratch on my showroom condition baby.

“It’ll buff right out!”

6. The last night we were there, I was jerked awake in the night twice by the little girl – maybe 5? – in the room next to us, screaming and screaming. I mean, HORROR MOVIE style screaming. Not crying. Not yelling. Freddie is at the door and his claw hand is DIGGING THROUGH RIGHT NOW kind of SHRIEKS. It was terrifying, for one, but for the most part, I just felt so awful for her. It was heartbreaking to hear a small child in such horrific pain.

But then the next afternoon? The truth came out. Not scared. Not in pain. HUGE BRAT who was REFUSING to take her medicine. Even our wonderful, sweet, overly kind and patient nurse walked out of their room throwing her hands in the air, telling the mother that she can’t do anything until she gets her daughter under control. This nurse, who didn’t even roll her eyes ONE TIME at me asking the same question over and over and over and was nothing but wonderful with Penny, washed her hands of that kid at that moment. So I got RETROACTIVELY FURIOUS about being woken up like that, for extended periods of “I am just a huge pain in the ass” 2am scream symphonies.

7. Thank you to everyone on Twitter, Facebook, here and in my email who took the time to let us know you were thinking of Penny and hoping for the best for her. I would totally say something like, “I read her every comment,” but I didn’t. I mostly continued with my usual pattern of singing her songs about her own butt and giving live commentary on shows on the Food Network (“That Penny is a bitch. She is not an accurate representation of what a Penny should be. You remember that.”). But I did read them all myself! And read some to Phil! So, thank you all. A lot.