Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Big Pimpin' Toddler Style

I always like to joke with my son that "It's a good thing you're cute."

There is no doubt that his big blue eyes and coy little smile get him out of a lot of trouble. Heck, it even, almost reliably, gets him a free cookie from the little old lady behind the bakery counter at the grocery store every time.

And what's worse is that he knows it.

This perfect execution of cuteness was recently demonstrated at the lake. Enjoying the fresh new beginning of summer, we took advantage of a beautiful sunny day and decided to enjoy some time relaxing on our boat. My son has really been too young the past two years to take him out much on the boat, however now that he is older we are really enjoying our days at the lake.

We decided to go and drop anchor at a calm little cove to do some sunning/swimming. We had just gotten there when another boat with a couple our age cruised by to inquire about restaurants, etc. in the area. They were Brandy and Brent, who had just moved from Texas and were still getting their feel for the area. One conversation lead to another and before long we had our boats tied together and a new friendship in the making.

Then poor Brandy fell victim to my son's big blue eyes and coy little smile.

Brandy, who had been a preschool teacher in Texas, was an easy target for my son. With one little smile and a sweet little "hi," she was in love.

Before long, my son was on their boat, sharing a nice little picnic with Brandy, complete with chicken and green beans. The two were in their own little world, leaving me, my husband and Brent to ourselves.

As the rest of us went swimming, Brandy and my son enjoyed their little picnic and deep conversations about the merits of boats and toy trucks. When the chicken was all gone, my son and his new friend joined the rest of us on the sundeck of the boat.

My sweet little son then picked up Brandy's suntan lotion. He held it up to her and she asked him if he wanted to help her put some of it on her back. Ever the little helper, my son eagerly said "yeah." So, he held out his little hand as she squirted a little drop of lotion on it, then turned around for him to help her put it on her back. But, alas, my son is not that innocent.


Instead of spreading the suntan lotion on her back, my son chose to slap her right smack dab on the ... derriere.

He then turned around with a proud little smile and a devious laugh. He knew what he had done. And I knew he knew what he had done. We all did.

Fortunately, Brandy had already succumbed to the big blue eyes and coy little smile. All she could do was laugh. We all did. It's a good thing he's cute.

And at the end of the day, as I tucked my sweet little son into bed and turned on his soft frog nightlight, all I could think was "at least my son has game."

Friday, June 20, 2008

An Introduction to the Doom

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be more of a lighthearted narrative chronicling my son growing up and life in general. I want it to be much like my favorite blog, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman (If you haven't checked it out, do so. You WILL laugh.) I love her style of writing and photography. I envy her creativity.

Although I am a journalist, I do have to admit that this style of writing is very unfamiliar to me. I sure can whip up a 20-inch news article on the city's latest budget crunch in a matter of minutes, but breaking out of that "news" mold is difficult for me. I was taught to keep it simple. No fluff.

So, bear with me as I try to break out of the box and into a new, fluffy one.

I know that my previous posts have been me rambling about and sappy. So let's begin the new, fluffy, fun blog:

My son has an obsession.

While most normal 2-year-olds ramble about and find the greatest pleasure in getting into drawers, dirt and shiny, breakable objects that you thought were perched well out of their reach, my son is in love with one thing.

The "Doom."

For those of you who don't speak 2-year-old, that is "vacuum."

And he doesn't discriminate; he loves all dooms, big and small. Our household doom, the shop vac doom, the handheld doom, all toy dooms and anything that even remotely resembles a doom.

Because of this new love, we even bought him his own toy doom. Which he now gleefully plays with every day, going about the house and dooming anything in his way. The floor, his toy trucks, the dog ... no one is safe from the doom. Even you.

This week my son began a new daycare. After being with his previous provider for two years, I was very nervous about the transition. I had visions of a full-out breakdown complete with tears and my poor little son clinging to me screaming "NO MOMMY!" as I left him off for his first day of his "new school." I got up early and prepared myself emotionally for the emotional battle I was sure I was going to have to endure that morning.

And then there were dooms.

As I walked him to his new classroom, in this new unfamiliar daycare and introduced him to his teacher, my son's ocean blue eyes perked up and began to gleam.

I sat him down on the ground and he immediately walked, eyes still gleaming, straight towards the back corner, bypassing the bin full of shiny toy trucks, right past the table full of large, rubberized dinosaurs begging to be played with ... and toward a small orange object sitting alone.

He then turned to me and proudly, excitedly exclaimed to me "MOMMY! DOOM!" Yes, there was a toy doom. Just sitting there, like a diamond in the rough.

My little doom-obsessed son then proceeded to go about the new, unfamiliar classroom as if he had been there for the past two years, dooming.

When I turned to leave, I looked back. Still expecting some sort of emotional breakdown. Yet there was none. Just my son, happily dooming away.

"By-bye mommy," I heard my son's small voice say as I left. "I dooming."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Long Chapter

Let me begin this post by saying that I am a member of a sorority.

And I'm not talking about the kind of sorority that just popped into your head. It's not the one full of gleeful, curly haired college girls who band together and randomly blurt out songs about sisterhood, who share secret handshakes and wear a tiny gold skull and crossbones pin above their heart. (Although I do suddenly feel the urge to give a shout out to all of my Tri-Sigma sisters - SLAM).

I digress.

It's the sorority of HRP - High Risk Pregnancy. I wanted to share my pregnancy story so that my son (when he is much, much older obviously) will know just how much he is loved and what a gift he truly is. I also wanted to share my story so that all of the HRP newbies who join our sorority's rank daily will know that there are happy endings. Because I remember my days as a newbie -scouring the Internet looking for any bit of hope I could find ... yet only to find the Internet full of doom and gloom.

Because I want others to know that even in a world full of doom and gloom, there ARE happy endings.

So, I begin ...

I did not have the kind of pregnancy we see in those films they show on the Hallmark channel. While the beginning was mostly uneventful (mostly), I did not have that moment where I excitedly jumped out of bed at 3 a.m. and told my husband it "was time." I did not glow. My labor was not celebrated by throngs of relatives who stayed by their computers or phones anxiously awaiting news of how many pounds and ounces - instead they were anxiously awaiting news of whether or not my son's premature lungs were strong enough to provide enough oxygen for his tiny body.

My first trip to the maternity ward was when I was 25 weeks pregnant - barely halfway there. I went in to my doctor's office for a routine check-up, but instead found myself in a whirlwind of doctors and nurses. I did not understand all of the medical-speak around me. I did not understand the gravity of the situation.

Initially, I was excited to be there - I was having my baby! I mean, sure it was a little early - but preemies are born every day! They can do so much for them! Right?


Then, someone brought me crashing down into reality.

"Ma'am, we need your baby to stay. If he is born, his chances of survival are not great."


That was the moment I first felt the raw, deep, gut-wrenching fear that all mothers feel.

Fortunately, they were able to stop the contractions. However, it also landed me in bed for 12 weeks. And I don't mean casually lounging about and having an excuse to be waited on and pampered for 12 weeks - I mean not able to even sit up (but for a whole 30 minutes a day) and virtually losing contact with the outside world. I missed an entire season. I got into bed during the final, hot muggy days of summer and emerged just after the year's first snowfall. I missed all of Fall 2005.

To keep my body from going into labor again, I was prescribed a drug cocktail of sorts that contained three different types of smooth muscle relaxers. (At least I was able to sleep well.) I was also prescribed steroid injections to help my son's lungs (one of the last organs to fully develop in a fetus) grow so that he stood a chance of surviving his imminent premature birth.

(Don't say I didn't forewarn you about all of the doom and gloom.)

I was helpless. I could do nothing to help my son except lay in bed and wait. I shut the door to my son's nursery because I couldn't bear to look into it. I treasured each kick, even though each one also brought a pang of fear with it. I was terrified. Really, truly, terrified. I don't think even my closest friends and family knew just how terrified I was. I don't think they understood the gravity of the situation.

However, ever the obstinate one, I defied all of the doctor's predictions and proved them wrong. My son was born early, however he and I made it all the way to just 3 weeks early. He entered the world greeted by a large team of nurses and doctors, all on standby just in case. But we made it. Three weeks when no one else thought we would make it that far. Three weeks were a miracle.

And then we all heard it - my miracle. The deep, loud, full out scream of my new baby boy. And he kept screaming. And screaming. And screaming.

His lungs were OK. He was OK.

The final paragraph of the final chapter of my pregnancy story had been revealed - and it was a happy ending.

"Well, there's nothing wrong with his lungs," said one NICU team member.

And they all filed out.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tick, Tock, Tick

Because I really should have started this blog when my son was first born, there is roughly 2.5 years of catching up to do. Actually more ... to begin, let's start at the very beginning.

I used to hate kids. Despise them, even. They were these sticky, smelly little strange creatures that made strange noises. I definitely did not grow up anticipating the day that I, too, would be known as "mom."

Oddly enough, that general feeling continued way into my 20's. I had graduated college, married the man of my dreams and settled into a nice, quiet life in the 'burbs.

Then it came - Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock.

My biological clock.

I, literally, woke up one day and wanted a baby. My husband, however, was not so on board. So, we waited. I figured it was no big deal, wait a year or two and then have one. Nothing to worry about, right?

A year or so later, I found myself on August 17th, my birthday. During my work "birthday party" I was enjoying a laugh with my coworkers and gleefully snacking on the Blue Chip cookies they had gotten me to celebrate the occasion. Then, another of my coworkers chose to use the moment with all of us assembled to announce that she was pregnant. There was a sudden pang in my chest. And no, it wasn't a piece of my Blue Chip cookie caught in my throat. It was my heart. It wasn't until that moment that I realized just how much I wanted a baby.

Another year or so later, I found myself staring down at two pink lines. It was a positive pregnancy test. I took three of them, to be exact. When the box ran empty I finally accepted that, I was indeed, going to be known as "mom."

Now, I just had to get through my pregnancy.


Settle in. That chapter is going to be long.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ordinary is in the eye of the beholder ...

Ah ... my inaugural post. For years now, many have wondered why I haven't joined the blogging world. I am, after all, a "journalist." As if being a journalist made writing easy. So here is my blog ... a little late, but hopefully not overdue.

Growing up, my friends and I couldn't wait for the day when we could blow that proverbial popsicle stand and get the hell out of town. We counted the days, minutes and seconds until we turned 18. Oh, the sweet naivety of teenagers.

We grew up and we all did end up leaving town. They are now scattered across the globe (literally), while I never crossed the state line. I know they think my life is ... ordinary. That somehow, because I never left Kansas, my life is unlived. But that couldn't be more true. Their roads took them across the U.S. and even across the ocean. Mine took me here, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I chose to call my blog "this (extra)ordinary life" because that's just what it is, to me at least. Some may just perceive my life as ordinary, possibly even extra ordinary. But I see something else - the extraordinary. Call it a play on words. Call it witty. Call it stupid. I call it creative liberty ... I call it my blog.

My life, to me, is anything but ordinary. And as far as adventure goes, my greatest adventure yet began just over two years ago - the day I first held my son and forever became known as "mom."

This is my (extra)ordinary life.