Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The Bug just had his 18 month appointment at the doctor. He got his last vaccine until he is 5 and he doesn't have to go back to see the doctor (unless he is sick) until he is 2... Yes. 2. That appointment can take forever to get here as far as I am concerned.

He weighs 24 pounds and is 31 inches long. Compared to the 4lbs and 17 inches he boasted as a newborn, it's unbelievable. I just can't believe we are here already.

I remember looking into his little incubator in the NICU, thinking he looked so small, so fragile. I couldn't fathom how this tiny creature could possibly turn into a healthy, chubby child. Honestly, looking at pictures of him as an infant, I have difficulty believing it is the same individual. He was so brittle we were afraid he would simply stop existing. So, we monitored him and we checked on him 3 billion times a night while he slept... And now we pretty much parent by the philosophy of "If you hear a loud crash somewhere in the house, go see what he fell off of or pulled over". He runs around, climbs things that are much too tall for my comfort, falls... hard... only to promptly pop up and continue on his toddlerish terrorizing of my house and sanity.

He has made a complete metamorphosis into a child that will not be labeled "premie" forever. He will continue grow and to develop skills and language and social abilities. His "two month deficit" will be far behind him and it just won't matter anymore.

Honestly, it already seems very far in the past to even me. I remember it, but at the same time, I forget. I often forget what it was like in those early days, looking into his little face, willing him to grow and eat so that we could leave the hospital. I forget what it was like to not get any more than two or three hours of sleep at a time, though he was sleeping through the night, because I was afraid his little lungs would stop expanding and his little heart would stop pumping. I forget tiny premie diapers and how he used to swim in newborn clothes. I forget so many of these things when, at the time, I never thought I would be able to forget, to move on from the heartbreak of having things not go anywhere close to planned. My world was rocked and I thought that I might stay there, curled up in a ball of eternal vigilance motivated by a fear of germs and SIDS and whatever disabilities might befall my son because of circumstance. But I am stronger now. We are both stronger.

Perhaps I, too, have emerged from some sort of metamorphosis.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Two years ago, Mark and I got a really nice tax return because we bought a house. With some of that tax return, we bought a washer, a dryer, and a couch. Why? Because at that time we were living in a house with no washer, no dryer, and a second- (or third-... or fourth-) hand couch. Barbaric, I know.

Anyway, I was so excited about my new washer and dryer. They were front-load with the little windows you can see in... so exciting for someone who hasn't run their own household for very long... well, maybe exciting for anyone with a household. But that isn't the point. The point is, they were new, and shiny, and environmentally friendly... and I could finally do laundry in my own house without having to worry about Mark's grandmother sneaking down to the basement to fold my underwear when I wasn't looking.

Flash forward two years: All of my laundry smells. Especially my towels. And for some reason, no one else can smell it in the clean laundry but me. Last night, I presented Mark with a towel.

Me: "Smell this!"
Mark: "It smells like a towel..."
Me: "Uggggggghhhh."
(We have had this conversation about towels, blankets, wash cloths... you get the picture.)

So, I finally got on Google... my worst enemy and best friend. And Google told me that I might have *gasp* mold in my washer.

I marched straight into my laundry room, whipped open the washer door and... lo and behold. THIS is what I found. 


I am now on a quest to get rid of this. Any suggestions? Tips? Aside from crawling under a rock... but that is SO what I want to do...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Unicorns and Meat Cleavers

Currently, I am doing a clinical rotation at a psychiatric hospital. Every week I am either on an acute unit (where the people are psychotic, but could possibly be released into the community after treatment), a forensic unit (in which the people are either Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity or being restored to competency for trial), or an adolescent unit.

The acute unit is full of very sick people. The adolescent unit is full of children that have behavioral issues beyond the scope of most parents’ imaginations. But the forensic unit… that unit is full of people who have committed crimes. It is full of people with antisocial personality disorders (sociopaths, for those not on the up-and-up with cutting-edge psychiatric terms) who couldn’t care less about your or your feelings… and, honestly? It is my favorite unit. As long as you can accept that these people don’t give a shit about anyone but themselves, it is a very interesting learning experience.

Whenever I am talking to these people, though, I can’t help but wonder about their lives. What led them to where they are? What kind of a childhood did they have? What are their parents like?

And it all brings me back to those age-old debates about “nurture vs. nature” and the “chicken or the egg”. Sure, dude killed a bunch of people… but he was abused by his dad from the time he was born. Was he destined to be this way? Or was he molded by his childhood into what he is now? Do you learn to only care about yourself as a way of survival? Or do you only care about yourself because your DNA is programmed that way? Are we shaped by our pasts? Are we pre-determined to be “good” or “bad” from birth?

I, of course, don’t know the answers to these questions. I do know that my sister and I were raised by the same two people and we have the same DNA, but we are very different.  As different as night and day. I know that my husband and his seven brothers and sisters were raised similarly, and they are all individual and unique. Not one of them the same as the other.

I think not knowing which factor is more important sort of scares me for my son. I mean, I am by no means a perfect parent. And I will never be. But, to some degree I feel like it doesn’t really matter what I do. My son will make the choices he is going to make no matter how I raise him.

That’s right. I could surround him completely with love and butterflies and unicorns… and he may still grow up to be a meat cleaver- wielding crazy person.  And that just sucks.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Too Big

Being a working mom is difficult. Being a working mom AND a student is next to impossible. I am not saying that my workload is so unbearably heavy that there is no way I can stand up under the weight of it (though it is pretty friggin hard). I AM saying that I miss things. And, frankly, it sucks.

I wasn’t working or in school when Spence was in the NICU and I stayed home with him for the first four and a half months of his life. When I went back to work, my baby was barely succeeding at tummy time. He hated being on his belly and I was afraid that he would never lift his head up on his own. And then, one day, I picked him up from whichever grandparent was watching him and he was rolling over, lifting his head, doing tiny baby pushups. Before I knew it, he was crawling. And I felt like I missed it all. 

I went back to school in January. And my little man was learning how to eat solid foods. He had serious tongue-thrust issues and he gagged on anything that had chunks. And then, one day, my mother-in-law was talking about how she fed him a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup for lunch. I just don’t know how that happened.

And now today, my husband informed me that he got Bug to take a few steps to him when he picked him up from the in-laws. I cried in the car on the way home.

I feel like my son’s childhood is already whizzing by and I am missing it. I question whether I really am making his life better by finishing school or if he would be better off with me by his side every day. I wonder if it is selfish of me to want to be there for all of his firsts, to want to hold onto his babyness with both hands as long as I can because I am afraid I am going to blink and it will be over.

Truthfully, I feel selfish. I feel like I should take pride in my son’s advances. I should be thankful that he is healthy and happy and beautiful in every way. But, sometimes, I just want to freeze life… just for a little while… so I can get in some extra snuggles with my already-too-big-to-be-believed baby boy.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Always Naked

It has been way too long since I have posted here. For that, I apologize. I have to tell you, though, that nursing school has consumed my life. Add to that working part time and taking care of a one-year-old... and my dance card is full. Still, I want to make an effort to post here more. I have been getting this urge to document my son's early years in as many ways as I can... and this counts, right?

I am going to write about something happened tonight that will disgust most of you. This is not for the weak of stomach or sensitive of heart. You have been warned.

The Bug has a very serious rash on his bottom. In fact, it has progressed to be almost two open sores, one on either butt cheek. I hold myself extremely responsible for this, even thought i did not occur while he was in my care. I feel responsible because I am busy. Because I am in school. Because that's how you feel when things happen to your kid when they aren't with you. Guilt is a mother's best-known companion. That concept is pretty messed up, but still true.

Anyhow, the point of that little tangent was to lay the foundation for why my son was diaperless. I was letting his butt wounds air out a bit. And, truthfully, I have never met another child that loves to be naked as much as my child. Seriously. Always. Naked. When sans diaper, Buggy often pees on the floor. The good news is, I have laminate floors. The bad news is, the kid pees like every five minutes. Still, cleaning up little puddles of pee doesn't bother me much and he never poops.

That is, he hadn't pooped. Until tonight.

I was in the kitchen making dinner and Bug was playing on the floor in front of the cabinets when, suddenly, I hear the telltale grunting noises of an impending poop. Oh. No. Not now. No, please not now. But it was too late. I was running for the diaper and the poo was running down his leg. My child busted a grumpy right there on my kitchen floor... and stomped in it. So, I scooped him up and tossed him in the tub. With clean child tucked under my arm, I returned to the kitchen to clean up the offending mess... only to discover that the dog had done it for me. Ok, yuck. But it get's worse.

I replaced Buggy back on the floor with some cheezits, still free-cheekin' it. He had to be done pooing after the massive crap that had just come out of him... right? I tossed him some cheezits and went back to cooking... until I started to get whiffs of dookie. I turn around to find that, not only has Bug pooped again... but, to my horror, he has dipped his cheezit in the poop and has managed to stuff it in his mouth. I can feel the room spinning, the earth stop its rotation for a moment. He has poop smeared ON. HIS. MOUTH. It is stuck IN. HIS. TEETH. Ultimate mommy fail. Honestly.

Commence whirlwind of numb bathing and cleaning. He is now sleeping soundly and he smells wonderful. I, however, will not be able to eat for weeks.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Frogs and Snails and Puppydog Tails

Little boys and little girls are different. They simply are.

I find that little boys have inherent qualities that seem to want to come out no matter what you do to try and delay their emergence. My angel (I use that term loosely) is only 10 months old and he has the clear personality markings of a boy. Let me make you a list.

To begin, my son has decided that it is his job to put every item he can hold between his  fingers into his mouth and attempt eat it. This includes (but is not limited to) lint, fuzz, string, scraps of paper, dog hair, pieces of cloth, and dirt. Most recently, he added an eye booger directly off of the dog's face and a Boxelder bug to his repertoire. I am not proud of this. Both were instances in which I saw the horror occur and dashed over to attempt to dig the item from his mouth only to discover, with great disgust, that both items had been ingested. Simply? Yuck. But, I have to tell you that Spencer was elated with himself. I think he maybe even enjoyed the bug.

Another issue I seem to have with my son is that I constantly have to pry him away from making out with the dog. Again, yuck. It started innocently enough with the dog licking him in the face when he was perhaps 5 months old. He giggled, we giggled. It was all in good fun... until he started letting the dog lick IN his mouth... and started actively licking her back. Ugh. I am raising a germ-obsessed ragamuffin. Clearly.

My son has chronic stinky feet. I give him a bath, and 10 minutes later his feet smell like he has been wearing an athlete's week-old gym socks all day. Worse, when I sniff them and tell him how terrible they smell, he has the nerve to laugh. And I am talking LAUGH, not a giggle or a snort. A full-out belly laugh that lights up his whole (usually sticky or snot-covered) face.

He likes being dirty, he plays in his own vomit, and he thinks farts are hilarious. He knocks things over, kicks things on purpose, and enjoys spitting with a remarkable enthusiasm.

Plain and simple: My son is a boy. Through and through. A mama's boy (for now), but a boy nonetheless. And I love him. Right down to his putrid-smelling toes.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Accidental Heartbreak

This is not my first go-around in the blogsphere. Not even my second or third. It would appear, however, that this is my only surviving blog these days.

My old blogs (one a personal blog and one the tale of my family's journey through the NICU) were both inadvertently deleted. And, I have to confess, I am quite heartbroken. The Bug Chronicles (the blog about our NICU journey) was unspeakably important to me. At the time, it was an outlet for all of my fears and worries for my only son. After, it became a place for reflection and a place to share with others in similar situations.

I guess the only thing to do now is look forward and move on. So, I hope to be able to use this blog as a way to document our lives in a stark and honest fashion, to express the difficulty of juggling motherhood and nursing school and working and marriage, and to share the joy of all of these things at the same time.

I am sad, but I am hopeful. We'll have to see where things go from here.