Thursday, May 26, 2005

Kicks and Giggles

I have been running crazy, as you can see. But amidst it I've been able to slow down enough to feel baby #3 kicking away. Just the internal "flicking", nothing pronounced, but a reminder that I have company. Nights are long, as sleep doesn't come easily to me when I'm pregnant. Looking forward to OCTOBER! Our ultrasound will be next week. No, we are not planning on finding out the gender.

The kids are hilarious, alot of laughing and playing. Izak has begun to recognize the presence of his sister. He now greets her in the morning when I bring her downstairs, "Good morning, Bibby!" Libby has started to self-feed, which is a HUGE accomplishment for both of us. Izak was very slow to self-feed, and had a really senisitive gag reflex, so new food was not very fun. Libby is shoveling in chili, bananas (has the potential to keep up with Lukie P in the future...), Chex cereal, etc. I think she needs to eat in her diaper alone, because she becomes very involved with her meal. This morning she had tons of fun rubbing her hands in her hair, and the afternoon capris are already soaking in a bucket of OxiClean.

Grandma DID come last weekend and thoroughly enjoyed the kids. Her arm looks tough, but is healing. Bay County judge has signed 7 warrants for the dog to be destroyed, along with other legal issues, so it should be interesting to hear how it rolls out. Evidently the dog was still out of the house the other day standing off neighbors in the street. I just don't see how you can care that little...

Midwest vs. Northeast, interesting observation. I've been in the NE region for about 10 years. While people are a little more reserved in their interactions, there's also a greater sense of restraint in the conversations. I think that's something that I've grown used to. I actually like the coolness ot NE'ers, even though I'm MW-born. As I've begun to meet folks around here, you are immediately transported into areas of conversation that used to be reserved for third or fourth visits in the NE. I have to remind myself, You're back in the MW, where you can have a 15-minute conversation with a stranger. But something else I notice it the freedom with which people voice their opinion about the subject at hand. A lot of times I find myself feeling set-up, because people ask about more personal issues and then proceed to invalidate what I say by rattling off their thoughts about said subject. I stand there thinking, But I didn't ask... . From what I hear, it will get worse as I become more pregnant, obviously a bigger target for those with an agenda. My girlfriend was telling me about perfect strangers aproaching her in the stores, asking her if she was breastfeeding. I do remember when I was pregnant meeting a (NY) woman I did not know, (met with once to practice wedding music with) who wanted to know upon 2 minutes of knowing me if I was having a boy, and if I did would I cirumcise him. She spent 15 minutes discussing why I shouldn't. I think I will be better prepared this time to deflect the nosey and inappropriate comments, but it's hard when you're not sure who's safe and who's not. There's a place I need to find between being polite, being honest (which I usually do not think is appropriate), and being politely honest.

I went out for dinner the other evening with ladies from my neighborhood. We had a great time. I was so impressed with how they treated one another, and how well they listened to each other. It was great. I didn't feel picked on b/c of being the "pastor's wife," which is unusual with unchurched people. They were good at sharing funny stories, and taking the time to encourage each other as one might voice frustration with a particular issue. I'll admit I was nervous, I was texting Aunt Lo back in Buffalo to pray for me before they arrived, but three hours went by like no time at all. I look forward to next month!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Answer: Good for Shootin'

Question: What are feral cats and pit bulls good for?

Last night was remarkable in Bennett history. My dad tried calling our house twice last night at about 9:45 p.m.. That's never a good sign. When I returned his call his first words were, "Your mom's in the hospital. She was bitten by a pit bull." Ok, deep breath, put on nurse face, don't panic and scare dad. At that point he backed the story up to some time around 5 p.m.. They had just returned from visiting Mom's sister in Beulah for the afternoon. Upon arriving home my sister Stef, who is mentally and physically handicapped, was out in the yard. Before Dad knew it, the neighbors, Connie and Larry, were bringing her into the house, covered in blood. Evidentially, there was a feral cat in the neighborhood that literally attacked her. (A half an hour earlier it lunged at and scratched up our neighbor and friend, Carol, before running off.) I'm not sure if it was witnessed or not. Clawed and bit her face, tore up the skin between her eyes, lacerated areas behind her ear and throughout her hair. Mom prepared to get her to the RiteAid treatment center, and Dad hunted down and detained the cat until Animal Control came. Dad said it still had Stef's blood on it's face when he found it. The cat almost attacked the A.C officer as well before he was able to get it netted. The cat will be quarantined for 7 days and then destroyed. Cats don't get rabies (I'm not sure what they get instead of it), but the cuts have a high possibility of becoming infected. The emergency center used a skin glue on Stef to get her face/head back together, and started her on large doses of antibiotics. Mom returned home with her about 7 p.m..

Daisy is Mom and Dad's miniature schnauzer. She routinely has a walk in the evening before bedtime. Mom set out to go around the block about 7:45 with Daisy on her retractor leash. They went down the block and turned right. A man was coming out of his house to get into a car that was in front of his house. Suddenly, the screen door swung open and a pit bull charged out after Daisy. Mom reeled her in and kept lifting her higher and higher to get her away from the dog. (Not sure what the people of the house were doing while this was happening.) Eventually the dog backed up and lunged at Mom. It got her forearm. Mom began screaming. She says she heard a woman in the car yell, "Get that dog back in the house, it has a warrant out on it." Somehow the kid got the dog back into the house, and my mom was yelling, "Call 911!" She was bleeding all over. Get this: The woman said, "My cell phone's dead," and the guy jumped back into the car and they DROVE OFF. By this time the whole neighborhood was coming to Mom's aid as she was calling out the numbers of the license plate. Someone shouted, "Don't worry -- that car lives there." The neighbor called 911, and the fire trucks came to get Mom ready for the emergency room. The people were quick to tell Mom and the police that there were two pit bulls and both were menacing; multiple reports had been filed. Meanwhile, the nice neighbor's husband came running to Dad at home, "Your wife's been bitten by a pit bull!" So off Dad goes again. Mom was certain that Daisy would have been killed had she not been lifted out of harm's way. Mom ended up with 4 stitches, a tetanus shot, a Rochephin injection, and Augmentin.

Can you believe the owners fled the scene?? What if Stef had been with Mom? What if a child had been outside? What if Daisy had not been on her leash? What if...???? I'll be anxious to see justice meted out in this case. Mom and Dad are rightly talking about litigation. I'm dumbfounded by the ignorance of the dog owners, and the randomness of two animal attacks in 3 hours on my family. Not sure how this will effect Mom's trip this week. She may need to stay home and keep a close eye on Stef. The doctor said that if she shows even the slightest sign of infection she needs to get more medical attention immediately. My guess is IV antibiotics.

At the end of our phone call, I jokingly said to Dad, "Just make sure Grandma stays inside tonight."

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Libby 11 months Posted by Hello

Picking Pretty "Yeyow Fwowers" Posted by Hello

My First Flower Posted by Hello

Update - probably too much information ahead

Many people ask how the pregnancy sickness is going. The nausea has lifted during a majority of the day, which is wonderful. I still have vomiting more days than not, which is no big deal. It's a quirk that I've learned to deal with and cope with. I keep ziplock bags everywhere -- in the car, my bag, kids' diaper bags. I'm not too proud to hang over the garbage disposal at home.

Some days I forget to take the Zofran ... and that usually spells TROUBLE. Without the drug on board, the vomiting hits much quicker and with greater severity. For example, yesterday I smelled a dirty diaper, and I knew I was in for some heave time. But before I could get anywhere safe it hit. And when I was done it was literally running down the walls. Gusto!

I usually think it's a boy in there, since the N/V is more similar to when I carried Izak. But this terrible dandruff and itchy scalp is something that I had only with Libby. So boy? Girl? Completely befuddled. Last heart rate check was 136-165. That doesn't help me a bit. I'm approaching 18 weeks, about half way done.

I look forward to getting color on the walls and more shelves and storage at home. Other than that the house is very functional, most of time looking like Toddlerland blew through and blew up. I will eventually get a picture of it posted on the website for you curious folk.

Visitors on the list: Mom is coming by train from Bay City, Michigan next week, Thur- Mon. Kat and Dave (S and BIL) coming the following weekend from Pittsburgh. A free week and then the Hilson/Cary/Fishers are coming for Liberty's one year birthday bash! Can you believe it?!

Otherwise, still getting settled in IL. Some very groovy things about my new digs: no inspection stickers required, a fenced yard for the kids, not law (yet) for handsfree cell phone use, DSL, tons of space, lots of dogs to enjoy without having to do poop pick-up, a loving church, every store that you can imagine within a mile, and DUNKIN DONUTS, AND (soon coming) a DRIVE-THRU STARBUCKS. These last two guilty pleasures will, of course, have to wait until after I get this baby out since coffee tastes like metal.

As far as the emotional adjustment-- if it's possible to be quite happy and still sad at the same time, then I very much am.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The complexity of "salad"

I share this with Matthew's permission.

Matt was gracious enough to run to the store for me the other evening. I sat down with the list and began to ellaborate on the various items. "Be sure the Mrs. Grass is the original recipe, not with the celery or carrots. Izak won't eat the veggies. And the Mr. Bubble should be for sensitive skin, it's in a white bottle. It's by the adult bubble bath in the health and beauty section...". I continued down the list. Matt rolled his eyes. "I can figure this out, unless you really want to do this." I didn't, so I shut up and let him go. He came home with several bags, everything exactly as I'd requested-- except for one thing. There was no Suddenly Salad pasta mix, which I'd been craving. I'd written, "Sud. Salad, original or ceasar." Where was it? The last item I pulled out of the bag was a Dole salad kit, Ceasar style. I asked Matt, "Would you like ceasar salad tomorrow night?" He looked confused. And then it dawn on me.

Complete salad kit in a bag = "suddenly" salad.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Riding the Bus with my Sister

I stayed up late Sunday night and watched the Hallmark special, "Riding the Bus with my Sister," along with my mother in Michigan. Mom and I called each other during commercial breaks and reflected on the storyline together. The commercial that showed the sister going to her brother's apartment for the first time, the brother who finally moved out mom and dad's at the age of 34, was priceless. He was Down's Syndrome. She brought him a congratulations card (Hallmark, of course), had a tour and lunch. Before the commercial was over, my phone rang. It was Mom. She didn't have to say hello, I have caller ID. "Wasn't that a neat commercial?" "Sure was, Mom." "Okay, that's all I wanted to say. Goodnight."

I don't usually take the time to watch movies about handicapped people. I made the mistake of watching Forrest Gump. It was the first (and almost last) movie with a theme around handicapped people that I would willingly watch. My sister couldn't stomach the movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" in high school. She left the classroom. I did see "Nell" (very good). But I will generally turn a movie off, or change the channel, if a handicapped person is being depicted. There's an irreverence that writers innately have in their depictions of MR characters and scenarios. It succeeds in highlighting their ignorance of the reality, the structures that surround MR people. Well, maybe not as much ignorance as much as plain ol' lack of perspective. Many times it's a good try, but they miss the essence. And the public watches on, not knowing any better or being able to articulate a different point of view because of their limited exposure to mentally handicapped people. Everyone assumes what is on the screen is probably how things are for MR persons.

The thing that attracted me to the Hallmark film was that it was based on a true story, and from the title I could surmise that it was written by the sister. Being a sister (or brother) of a handicapped sibling is a special club that you are born into; that privilege is rarely abused. I loved the movie. It was witty, true to life, accurate at a lot of levels. Many times I found myself laughing, "If Stef (my older sister) could talk, this is exactly what she'd be saying!!!!" Beth had a ruthless love of riding the bus, junk food, and being in other people's business. That's Stef, except she is lower functioning than the character of Beth. I was captivated by the flashbacks that her older sister would have during the movie. That has become a part of my adult life on a regular basis. Flashbacks to my childhood days, scenes when I failed (or succeeded) to protect my sister, times when she was taunted, hurt, vulnerable. I still carry the weight of those times even in my thirties. I battle the memories knowing that they directly influence the kind of mother that I am and will become. Some of what I inherited from having a handicapped sibling is wonderful. Some of it is poisonous. I have the rest of my life to get it sorted out. Those of us in "the Club" understand that. I met a physician who had a handicapped sister; he was afraid to have children. A PhD research director who couldn't handle it when his children would cry; it evoked a visceral response from when his own handicapped sister would cry and rant as a child. A woman who cried every time she remembered the day her sister got locked outside in the snow, and not a single neighbor offered to help. Simple things - a smell, a sound, a memory. It takes time to figure out.

So thank you to the writer of "Riding the Bus." It was delightful, and gave me fun, new ways to understand my sister and her favorite things. Bus, bus driver, sweets, and friends.