Tuesday, September 30, 2008

That lulling thing . . .

Sleep deprivation!

Beautiful was in prodromal labor for 3 or 4 days before finally getting to active labor. Neither she nor I had slept much during those days. By the time baby was finally born, we had both been up for the better part of 48 hours--with very little in the way of rest before that.

You could say my thinking wasn't quite crystal clear. You could say my thinking had the clarity of chocolate pudding . . .

I was holding Lily in the hospital, trying to comfort her while her mama filled out a ream of paperwork, and thought maybe I should sing to her like I used to sing to my own babies.

I knew there was a special kind of song. Songs just for babies. Songs to lull them to sleep. But I couldn't remember what they were called. The nearest I could remember was nursery rhymes. But that wasn't quite it.

After singing to Lily "Hush Little Baby" (which was Beautiful's special song) my mind went blank. I just could not recall the other "baby songs" I knew.

Number One Son used to have a teddy bear that, when squeezed, hummed out the tunes of several children's songs. The first one was "Ten Little Indians." That was the only ditty I could come up with.

"One little, two little, three little Indians . . . " I began. And then realized that was somewhat unPC. "Four little, five little, six little Native Americans . . . " That didn't have a good flow. I gave up.

But the song about ten small members of the indigenous population reminded me of a different counting song. I began:

"One bottle of . . . . ummmm . . . . milk? on the wall?"

Beautiful looked sideways at me. "Mom, how about we don't teach my daughter any beer drinking songs just yet, k?"

Fine. But still I couldn't come up with any "baby songs." Nor the term for them. So I thought perhaps some mellow, cheerful '60s folk songs would be acceptable.

"I love the flower girl," I started, "something, something, something, something, la la, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm . . . "

D'oh! Stupid unrememberable lyrics!

"Hello, lamppost, what cha knowin'? I've come to . . . something about flowers growin. Ain't cha got no . . . something for me? Doot 'n doo doo. Feelin' groovy!"

Close. But no cigar.

This went on intermittently until 4:30 this morning when I was rocking her back to sleep.

Think . . . think . . . think . . . 60s folk songs . . .

"War! Good gawd, y'all! What is it good for? Absolutely nuthin'! Say it again!"

Not quite.

Baby songs . . . baby songs . . .

My instinct was to sing her the ABC song. I knew that wasn't quite what I was looking for, but it sounded kinda close.

Then "This Land Is Your Land" floated through my head. Again, I knew it wasn't exactly the song I wanted, but it was almost like something I remembered . . .

Finally my brain was able to make the connection it had been trying for since Sunday afternoon. The songs I wanted to sing that are for children and are especially for the purpose of lulling them to sleep are lullabies. Yes! That's the term!

And once I remembered the term, I suddenly remembered all the songs. Including "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" (the ABC song with different lyrics) and "You Are My Sunshine" (sorta close to "This Land Is Your Land.")

Oh yes, and I remembered "Rock-a-bye Baby." The granddaddy--and most obvious--of all lullabies.

By that time, Lily was fast asleep and didn't care.

But she knows a few things now. Like what to sing with her mates in a pub. And a bit about protesting the war. And that this land was made for her and her grammy.

bonding with grandpa

Sunday, September 28, 2008

no title needed : )

Just. Too. Exhausted.
Let's go with minimal information and a few photos, shall we?

A perfect Northwest autumn day for a birthday!

This being born thing is a tough gig.

Tired, happy mama. Sleepy baby.

Pleased uncle.

Proud grandpa.*

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am thrilled to introduce you to

Lily Kristin** Athena.

My granddaughter.

*Not posting a photo of me with Lily because, as usual, all the pictures of me suck. A lot.
**Isn't that a sweet coincidence that the first of Lily's two middle names is Kristin--just like me! And it's even spelled the same!

Friday, September 26, 2008

aaaaaaand we're still waiting . . .

It wasn't a "false alarm." It just wasn't time yet.

Beautiful was encouraged by the nurses that she did everything just right. That her decision to go to the hospital was the right decision.

But she wasn't very dilated.

We mutually agreed that she should come back home where she can be more comfortable and move around more.

She's been taking advantage of the time she's had to rest and regain her strength. All the while dealing with increasingly painful contractions.

Now she's totally into dancer mode : ) She's so cute! She's doing plies to warm up her pelvis and will move on to jazz hip isolations. Trying to let gravity help. Trying to ease the pain with movement. Trying to help baby move down a little more in the pelvis so the pain isn't in her back.

I'm so proud of her. She's doing everything she can for her own and her baby's well being.

I suspect early tomorrow morning we'll be back in the hospital. Maybe this time for the real deal.

And, lucky for me, I won't have to get up after 3 hours of sleep and go to work tomorrow. Like I did today . . . Not that I'm complaining : )

Thank you all for the well wishes. I've passed them on to Beautiful and I can tell that she's pleased to be a part of my on-line community!

Soon! Very, very soon!

bright morning star?

It's 4:39 a.m. Pacific time.

Beautiful is gathering her things and we're going to the hospital.

It feels real. She's been having hours and hours and hours of contractions every evening for 3 weeks, but tonight felt different. Good thing I planned ahead and got those two whole hours of sleep . . .

She talked out loud to herself and to me as she tabulated the final items for her hospital bag:

"I'll pack my curling iron--Mom, you grab your straightening iron--I'll get my makeup bag. Because when this is done, I want to look fabulous! No hot tranny mess for me!"

Now there's a girl whose priorities are straight : )

Stay tuned . . .

Sunday, September 21, 2008

easy as pie

Yesterday, my still pregnant daughter was craving apple pie. Our friend, Randy, had brought us apples from Lake Chelan, so pie baking seemed like the only sensible way to spend the day.

We started at about 11 in the morning. Well, she arrived at my house at about 11 in the morning. And then I did some laundry and swept the floor and cleaned up in the living room a bit . . .

And then we went to the kitchen to start with the pie. But I don't use shortening and all my cookbooks are old school and only have pie crust recipes using shortening. I needed to look up butter pie crust recipes online.

But as long as we were online . . .

An hour and a half later, after we myspaced each other (even though we were in the same room) and went bananas over the cutest baby shoes ever, we remembered to look up butter pie crusts.

I printed a simple one and went back into the kitchen to begin.

But when I read the directions, I noticed that the dough had to rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before rolling it out. Which I sort of knew when I started thinking butter crust instead of shortening, but it hadn't quite sunk in yet.

Two hours was too long to wait.

We needed pre-made pie crust.

We called the little family-owned convenience store that's a couple hundred yards from our house but they were out. We had to drive the 3 miles into town. And as long as we were on the way to town, Beautiful had a craving for fish n' chips so we figured we might as well stop for lunch at the waterfront seafood restaurant.

We finally made it to the grocery store for the pie crust, but when we entered there was a distracting display of gingerbread Halloween house kits. Since most of my attention lately has been focused on Beautiful and the baby she claims to be carrying (but which shows no sign of entering the world) Youngest has been a little left out. What better way to rectify that problem than to buy his love?

We came home and gave Youngest the kit. He happily began work on it right away while Beautiful and I, tired from all the shopping and eating and what were we doing in the first place? watched an episode of "Platinum Weddings" because you never know . . . she and Dan might get married someday . . . and Hubby and I might win the lottery . . . and one should never go into a potential over-the-top wedding situation unprepared . . .

Ummmm . . . eventually--at 4pm--we made a pie. And it was one damn good pie! Mostly because I used freshly ground nutmeg . . . which I was so proud of because I finally broke down and bought myself a microplane specifically so I can make kickass apple pies with freshly ground nutmeg.

During the impressive grating of the nutmeg, I commented to Beautiful on my mastery of the technique. She said, "Oh, is that nutmeg? I've always wondered what nutmeg looks like."

I showed her the seed and remarked that it kinda looks like a testicle. Well, perhaps a mummified testicle.

Henceforth, she will always think of my kickass apple pie as Mummy Testicle Pie. And will have no appetite for it . . .

More for me : )


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Moms, you all remember the third trimester and how the brain no longer cooperates, right?

Beautiful saw her OB yesterday. Nothing new to report.

She continues to have plenty of Braxton-Hicks contractions. And she continues to have the tail-end-of-the-third-trimester side effects.

Like, everything is swollen.

And uncomfortable.

And she's exhausted.

And she has no bladder capacity to speak of.

And her brain function is kinda quirky.

After seeing the OB she had a craving for something familiar but she couldn't quite name it. She described it to me as, "Like hot cocoa only cold . . . but not iced . . . and slushy . . . "

"Do you mean a chocolate milkshake?" I asked.

"Yeah! That's what it's called . . . The baby ate my brain . . . " she answers. Defeated.

Any moment now . . .

Sunday, September 14, 2008

September 13th was the big day!

Or, it was supposed to be . . .

Beautiful's due date came and went and there is no baby yet to show for it.

Beautiful is ready. She is so done being pregnant! She is tired and achy and her feet are swollen and she feels ginormous.


My allergies are my nemesis. One of the weapons in my arsenal is Benadryl. In order to sleep well at night, I take a pink and white friend (or two) before bed.

A couple nights ago, when things had been particularly bad for me, I took two capsules and headed off to our bedroom. Hubby and I laid there talking as the sleepiness took over.

And then the phone rang.

My first thought was, "Oh crap, I took two antihistamines and now I can't drive! Plus, I'd really rather not get up and get dressed. I sure hope she's not in labor!"

Yeah, I'm gonna be a fabulous birth partner!

Hubby and Beautiful laughed heartily at me the next day. She is well aware that once I'm asleep (or well on my way) I tend to be a bit grumpy. And uncooperative. And, well, sort of ill-natured, one might say. The Benadryl only serves to magnify these traits--besides adding groggy and muddled thinking to my menu.

So as long as labor doesn't get too serious in the middle of the night, we'll be okay.

Once I'm awake in the morning, I'm fine. After an hour or two, that is.

First thing in the morning I'd rather not be spoken to. And if you try to speak to me, I make it astronomically clear that I'd just as soon not chat.

So as long as Beautiful doesn't require my help first thing in the morning, we'll be okay.

I'm good in the afternoon though. And I'm great at night. I'm a devoted night owl as well. So, Beautiful, if you're reading, why don't you plan early labor for early afternoon and try to have the whole thing over with by about 2 a.m., k?

And try for one of my days off? That'd be best.

Oh, but not on the weekend. I like my weekends free with your dad.

So, a weekday when I'm not at work--not too early in the day and not too late at night.

Call me if you need me : )

Saturday, September 13, 2008

the daily grind

I get it. I've been on the other side of the counter and I know how frustrating it can be. I know why people sometimes forget their manners. I've certainly been there.

Though my official title is "Pharmacy Assistant" or "Pharmacy Technician B", I am commonly referred to as a cashier. Even so, anyone who thought about it for more than a few seconds could probably guess that my job requires a little more finesse than "cashier" implies.

All day, every day, I patiently and sympathetically explain to irritated customers that we don't have their orders ready because there were no refills left on their prescriptions (which is printed at the bottom of the label, but nobody reads those.) Or because the prescription expired (also printed at the bottom of the label, but . . . )

"It usually requires 24 to 48 hours to hear back from the doctor after we've faxed," I explain with a pleasant smile for the umpteenth time. "Why don't you give us a call tomorrow to see if it's ready instead of wasting a trip," I suggest, thereby uniting myself with their cause.

There is no end to rude people glaring at me as though I am personally to blame for imperfections in electronic technology. "But I watched the doctor send the fax to you and that was 20 minutes ago!" I am commonly told. And I never argue.

"For some reason," I tell them, "it can take up to an hour for that transmission to reach us. Seems like it should be instantaneous, doesn't it? I have no idea why it takes this long. If you have some other shopping to do you could swing back by and see if we've received it. I'll be sure to watch for it."

I give the same answers multiple times each hour, but I'm sincere every time. I really do understand their frustration. And I really do understand how it feels to be sick and to have to sit around and wait when all you want to do is go home and go to bed.

I'm just as sincere with the cranky old bastards whose hearing is non-existent. These men (and sometimes women) who regularly get annoyed with me because they can't understand the transaction. They don't understand why the drugs are so expensive or why they have to wait until the doctor calls us with new dosing instructions before we can give them more. They can't find things on the shelves and have difficulty communicating their needs to me.

And I smile and try to be as cheerful--and helpful--as possible.

Even with the kind of customer like the egocentric bitch from Friday.

She couldn't fathom why her little girl's prescription wasn't ready that very moment since the doctor had called it in to us the night before. I explained that we can't fill a prescription if we don't have the customer on file--that I needed birthdate, physical address, phone number, drug allergy information and insurance information.

She gave me the required information but didn't let go of her fight. "Well, if you needed the information, I'm surprised you didn't call me to ask for it last night." It hasn't occurred to this woman that we have hundreds upon hundreds of customers and if we called every single one when we had a hitch we would have to employ two full time people just to make phone calls. That doesn't matter in her world.

Instead of explaining it to her, I simply said, "We couldn't have called, we didn't have a phone number."

"Oh, that makes sense," she replied. And that was the closest she got to being polite. The transaction went downhill from there because of a glitch on the federal level that I have no control over. She angrily informed me that she would never be back.

I was, of course, courteous. The customer is always right. But we all know I was thinking, "Buh bye!"

Yes, my days are filled with self-centered jerks. But there are also happy customers. Customers who come to know us quite well. Customers who always come in with a smile or a joke. Customers who make a point of thanking us for all we do.

And there are customers who are dying and I'm just happy to see them still coming in. People like Mr. LaGrande (not his real name.) Mr. LaGrande lives with serious pain. Meds only work for awhile before his body adjusts and end-runs them. His doctor is forever prescribing something new.

Several weeks ago, Mr. LaGrande came in with a prescription for Lidoderm patches. His insurance doesn't cover them and a month's supply was going to cost nearly $100. He looked at me with such sadness. "I can't afford these," he confided, "I can't spend $100--especially when I don't know if they'll even work."

"Let's see if we can partially fill the prescription just so you can try it out," I offered.

"You could do that?" he asked.

"I'll check with the pharmacist," I answered.

The pharmacist was able to fill the prescription for one patch--enough to last a couple days and get a good reading on whether it would decrease his pain. The price was only $5.

Mr. LaGrande took my hand in his and thanked me. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you there were tears standing in his eyes as he told me how much it meant to him that we would go out of our way to help him.

For a customer like him? We'd do anything.

Being a cashier isn't such a bad gig.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Turns out Kris Jenner is NOT the world's worst mother . . . I am.

Tonight a very sweet group of women threw my daughter a baby shower.

Invitations came a couple weeks ago. I marked the date and time on my calendar. I purchased and wrapped the perfect gift for my granddaughter. I even planned what I was going to wear.

And then I forgot about the shower. Forgot, that is, until my daughter mentioned it a couple days ago. I tried to act like I wasn't a horrible mother and hadn't really forgotten about her special event . . . but she knows me too well. Busted.

So, you'd think once would be enough, right? Like I'd make damn sure not to let that detail slip from my consciousness again, right?

Today at work I bumped into the mentally handicapped daughter of family friends. Her face brightened up when she saw me and she exclaimed, "I'm going to the shower tonight!"

I swear, my reaction was only the tiniest bit delayed . . . while I processed what kind of shower it might be . . . and who it might be for . . .

It's a good thing the retarded girl reminded me about my daughter's party.

Kris Jenner's got nuthin' on me . . .

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Another good reason not to work out . . .

Yesterday evening when I walked into the cardio room at the gym, a young woman had the TV tuned to "Keeping Up With The Kardashians."

Kris Jenner is quite possibly the world's worst mother.

In the episode playing during my grueling elliptical ride, daughter Kim was considering the offer to pose for Playboy. Mom Kris pushed the idea hard.

Not only did Kris think it was a superfantastic idea for her daughter to pose (in spite of step dad Bruce Jenner's objections . . . perhaps wondering what effect this choice might have on the future decisions of his own daughters . . . ) Kris as much as admitted that she was living out her own dream through her daughter.

Oh, and? While daughter Kim was refusing to take her top off during the photo shoot? Mom Kris practically begged her to do it.

And then came the cardinal sin.

Kris used the word "fertographer" in front of her children.

Clearly, CPS needs to get involved.

Monday, September 1, 2008

I know I look a little younger than my husband, but . . .

About 10:00 last night I heard a knock.

When I opened the door, my husband's friend, Colin, was standing on the porch. I could see on his face that it had been a long, difficult day and Colin was tired.

He asked, "Is your dad home?"

We both burst out laughing.

Best completely accidental compliment EVER!