Jogging My Memory

posted by Momo Fali on March 11, 2009

My best friend, Bean, saves everything. It has been particularly beneficial when I want to remember something that happened years ago and need help jogging my memory. She will inevitably pull up her organized computer files and find whatever I’m looking for, then will resend me e-mails that I sent her in 2004 just so I can know which work-out tape I was using when it hurt so much that I called the instructor some very colorful names. Kathy Smith, you mock me with all that talking…and breathing.

Yesterday, Bean sent me this from August, 2002. My son was three months old and obviously having difficulty sleeping. I had sent her this e-mail, probably to vent as I so often did.

I don’t know what to do with him. He’s been aspirating on spit-up the past couple of nights, so last night I put him in his car seat to sleep, but he still did it. He doesn’t breathe very well in his car seat either. I can make sure he’s on his side so he won’t choke on it, but I can’t stop it from going up his nose, and understandably, when that happens he freaks out. He tenses up and won’t take a breath. I’ve heard him do it the past few nights and was able to get to him before he bradied (bradycardia…where his heart rate drops dangerously low), but he’s certainly not resting well and neither am I.

What amazes me, is that I had forgotten all about this period of time, but reading about it brought it all back. I now vividly remember his tiny body stiffening and the gulping sound he would make as he struggled to get air down his throat because his nose was filled with fluid. My, maybe, six pound, three month old probably felt like he was drowning.

I figure that I forgot these episodes because there have been so many other tough experiences with my son and it’s much easier and makes me much happier to remember the fun stuff. Which is mostly what I write about here.

But, that doesn’t mean I will ever forget the first time I stroked my son’s head, or the first time he was wheeled away from us for heart surgery, or when a nurse stood over him when he stopped breathing in the recovery room after a surgery three years ago and yelled in my boy’s face, “Don’t quit on me!”

Some things you can’t forget even if you want to.

But, I much prefer to think about the time when we were in Target and he ran away from me and yelled for me to “come chase him and pinch his butt”, or the time when he asked me if he could take a quarter to school for “Q” day and put it in the “little pocket on the front of his underwear”, or when he saw a woman in a red sweat-suit and called her “Santa’s brother”. I could never decide if it was worse to get insulted by a five-year old, get called a man, or be told you resemble a jolly old elf.

He once told a very much alive, elderly woman that she had “died” because she was old. He mentioned to our cable repairman that he looked like Santa, because of his “big round belly”. And, it’s a toss-up as to whether my personal favorite is the time when he told a masculine woman that she looked like “kind of a girl”, or when we were at the doctor’s office and he mistook two Muslim women’s head scarves for bandannas and called them both “pirates”.

Some things you can’t forget and never, ever want to.

These things that mortified me at the time, now make me laugh and remind me that despite everything this kid has gone through, he still has an amazing spirit and this gift of wit and sarcasm like none I’ve ever seen.

Which is why I’m glad Bean sent me that e-mail. To remind me not to sweat the small stuff, because my son has come so far. So very far. And, through it all he has chosen to make us laugh instead of complain.

However, none of this can make me stop calling Kathy Smith names.

Cheese Puffs

posted by Momo Fali on March 9, 2009

Last week, we were playing a board game together as a family when my husband blocked our six year old son’s next move. Our boy saw his dad’s defensive strategy and proclaimed, “Damn it, Daddy!”

He didn’t realize he had said anything wrong, so we explained that it was bad, and he need not ever say it again. We didn’t need to ask him where he learned it. We knew he had picked it up while playing games with his dad. My husband’s competitive nature has also been responsible for teaching our son the words, “sucker” and “crap”.

My husband, the sailor, also taught our daughter her first curse word. When she was about two years old we were driving in the car when, out-of-the-blue, we heard the “F” word come from the back seat. Before we had a chance to stop her, she had said it about ten times in a row. At least she used it in the proper venue. Clearly, she had heard that while driving in the car with her dad.

But, I can not blame my husband for the time my daughter did not fling curse words, but instead assaulted us with attitude.

I was extremely hormonal tired, and had been working all day while my husband played with our daughter, who was just a toddler at the time. They sat down to have a snack together as I flopped my exhausted body onto the couch. No sooner had I sat down, than my daughter asked, “Mom, can you get us some napkins?”

Irritated that she asked me, instead of her father, I angrily said, “Oh, sure! Dad’s been playing all day while I’ve been working, but I’ll get up to get the FREAKING napkins!”

I returned to the room and tossed them a couple of paper towels before falling back into my seat.

Then I watched as my daughter climbed onto her dad’s lap and put her face a mere inch from his. She held that position as she stuck her hand into their snack bag, then glared at him and yelled, “Dad! These are FREAKING cheese puffs!”

But all things considered, I don’t think my “F” word is nearly as bad as his.

Picky

posted by Momo Fali on March 6, 2009

My ten year old daughter has always battled me at mealtime. She was born 10 weeks early and was fed through a tube for two weeks before I begged the doctors to let us try bottle feeding her. I have a home video of that first bottle and halfway through you can hear the monitor sound an alarm to let us know her heart rate was dropping dangerously low. Things have only gone downhill from there.

If she was permitted to exist on popcorn, chicken nuggets and Ho Hos there would be no problem at all. The girl is totally doomed when she gets to college. Let’s hope she continues to play three sports.

When she was a toddler she would pick at her plate and it would take her an hour-and-a-half to eat a meal. People thought I was kidding until they saw it for themselves.

After Thanksgiving one year, we even received a note from a dear great-aunt who told us how impressed she was with the way our daughter sat at her seat and ate her food, while her cousins left the table and played all around her. For an hour. We didn’t have the heart to tell her that it was only because there was turkey and, for crying out loud, she has to chew turkey 136 times before she would swallow a bite. At least it made us look like good parents. For once.

She was so picky in kindergarten, that she would come home with one quarter of her sandwich eaten, and nothing else. I could hear her stomach growling from three blocks away.

Now that she’s been around for over a decade, I have learned to work with it.

Tonight I made salmon, which is one of her favorite things to eat. As we always do, we went over our best and worst parts of our day.

And darn if I don’t have to work a little harder, because when I asked my daughter to tell us the worst part of her day, she didn’t hesitate in saying, “That this salmon has no flavor.”

Tatiana

posted by Momo Fali on March 4, 2009

If you are not a viewer of American Idol, let me introduce to you Tatiana. Some of us are hoping Tatiana gets sent home soon…

…and some of us aren’t. Here is my son’s take on it. Also, you get a look at his OCD flavor of the month. Not long ago, he swiped his forehead a thousand times a day, then he moved on to scratching his arms and legs incessantly, then to pulling up his pants over, and over, and over. See if you can guess what he does obsessively now.