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Momo Fali's: March 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's a Bird, It's a Plane

American Idol is one of the few shows we watch as a family. My son loves giving the singers a "thumbs up" or a "thumbs down" and my daughter likes it when Joe Jonas shows up.

But, ever since my husband called this contestant Clark Kent, I can't see the forest for the trees.

Which is to say...I can't get past her face to hear her voice.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Random Realizations: Water Park Edition

My family and I visited an indoor water park over the weekend; here is what I learned.

1. If the water in the toddler pool is warmer than the big kids' pool, there is probably a reason for it.

2. Either having a lot of medical procedures has toughened up my son, or he is immune to pain, because after he got tossed off his raft in the wave pool, knocked over another kid as he tumbled under the water, slid along the ground for five feet and came up bloodied, he got right back on his raft.

3. Going down a slide in a giant family tube is a lot of fun.

4. If your friend is bitter because you're leaving the water park to go watch Ohio State play in the NCAA tournament and she says, "I hope they lose" and then they do, you'll hope she doesn't own your likeness in voodoo form.

5. Teenage girls should wear bigger bathing suits.

6. My son needs his back waxed.

7. I need to lose weight.

8. So do a lot of other people.

9. If your son is 43" tall and he climbs steps that are the height of his knees, and there are five flights of those steps to get to one of his favorite slides...that won't stop him from wanting to do it again and again.

10. Kids can go for hours and climb lots of steps on cold pop-tarts alone.

11. Later, they'll practically inhale an entire Big Boy franchise for lunch.

12. And they'll sleep peacefully all the way home.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

They Don't Call it a Crush for Nothing

Have you ever had your heart ripped out of your chest, thrown to the floor, then watched as it was stomped on, then a dog comes by and pees on it and another dog comes by and chews it up like rawhide?

That's what it feels like when you have your first crush and that crush isn't exactly crushing on you. Not that I would know.

Okay, I know exactly. I liked the same boy from the third grade all the way through junior high. Yes, I know it was a long time to be stuck on the same boy and yes, I know that saying "junior high" makes me sound ancient. That's because I am.

Let's be honest. I was not Blair from The Facts of Life. I wore glasses and had short hair, which was permed so I could look just like Annie. You should have heard me during my piano practice when I would belt out show-tunes. I know that all of this makes me sound homely. That's because I was.

Let me give you some words of wisdom; just because you know all the words to Tomorrow, doesn't mean the sun will come out. I will never forget lying on my bed, burying my face in my pillow and crying huge tears. The 10 year old boy I liked didn't like me back! Oh, the pain of it all. The horror! Boys are stupid!

You think the throbbing in your chest means your lungs will close and your heart will cease its beating and no one seems to understand. Your mom wants you to set the dinner table when the world is getting ready to stop. How can she expect you to eat when your throat is closing up?

But, as any good mother would, my mom had a secret weapon. She could always stop my tears by pulling out the big guns. Mini-cheesecake.

Lately I've been hoping I don't have to make mini-cheesecake anytime soon. My 11 year old daughter is at just about the same age I was when the hurt started really hurting. I know that crush isn't too far away.

Lucky for her, she doesn't look a thing like Annie.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Into the Light

My eyes are burning. My cheeks stained with tears of exhaustion. I can't remember the last time I got a good night's sleep. I have to wait for our new insurance to kick in before I can talk to my doctor about my insomnia. Again.

My legs are cramped from standing on a hard floor for the past five hours, my hands are dry and cracked. My heart, heavy. I worry about my kids, my husband, our health, our finances, my parents.

Looking around the house makes me anxious. There are dishes, laundry, dog hair. Piles of papers, kids' projects, things needing my signature or my response, volunteer work, writing assignments, insurance nightmares. I feel buried.

I need to work on math with my son. I need to take my daughter to practice. I need to find babysitters for upcoming events. I need to buy birthday presents, a sweater for my daughter's choir performance and I need to send in her camp forms. I have to find a new therapist for my son. I need to change the sheets.

I want to set up piano lessons and swim lessons. I want to take the kids out to play catch. I have to call the pediatrician's office. Maybe I can get to that after I start making dinner.

I need a minute. I collapse on the couch and let out a sigh. My head flops back against the olive-green chenille. I close my eyes and rub my forehead. I have had a headache for three days.

I rest my hand on my thigh and feel my young son's fingers grab mine. He reaches up and brushes my hair from my cheeks. He tells me I am "so, so, so, so pretty".

I muster half a smile and say, "I love you, buddy."

He says, "I love you too."

Then he hugs me.

And just like that, the dread is gone.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Calling an Audible

I have mentioned before that my 75 year old mother has a tendency to make slight errors in her pronunciation of certain words.

Usually her terminology is good for a chuckle, but last night at dinner she had me completely stumped when she asked, "Diane, have you seen that HBO movie I told you about yet? The one about that acoustic girl."

I stared blankly. She continued, "Temple something..."

"Temple Grandin?"

She replied, "Yes! That's it."

"Mom, I think you meant to say autistic."

Though I suppose it's entirely possible that Temple played a mean guitar.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

She Wasn't Hurling a Discus

On Wednesday night my husband and I picked up our 11 year old daughter from track practice.

She excitedly jumped into the back seat, began to buckle herself and without a hint of a greeting blurted out, "Guess what?"

I turned to look at her with her red face and hair falling from her ponytail, "What?" I asked.

"I ran in a 400 meter race against three boys from my class and I came in second. The winner only beat me by two seconds!"

"Wow, honey! That's great!"

"Yeah. I ran pretty hard and I sprinted really fast at the end...and when it was over I threw up a little bit."

I don't know if I have ever been more proud.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Random Realizations IV

1. If you work in a school kitchen and introduce your seven year old son to some of the delivery people, you may find him telling the milkman all about his lactose intolerance.

2. When your husband quits his job and the next day he tears his calf muscle and needs an MRI and a walking boot and physical therapy, then two weeks later your son gets an ear infection, and a few days after that you get a sinus infection that requires five antibiotic pills that cost $178.00, you may find out that your husband's former employer didn't give him any grace period and instead canceled his health insurance the DAY HE LEFT.

3. And you may find yourself wanting to tell everyone you know what a horrible, greedy, downright nasty company for which your husband used to work.

4. Then you may consider using your blog for evil purposes.

5. Twitter and Facebook too.

6. If you spend months considering whether or not to have your hair shortened, and you finally muster the guts to have five inches cut off, it's possible no one will notice.

7. Except for your husband.

8. And he knew you were going to get your hair cut.

9. If your family gets Super Mario Bros. for the Wii, you may find it brings about some extra-special, family bonding time.

10. Or, maybe everyone will just yell at each other a lot.

11. The DVR is the best invention ever, especially when you're using it to fast forward through American Idol.

12. But, then you might get spoiled and think you can fast forward through your laundry.

13. And then you will be sorely disappointed.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Little Silly


video

I originally took this video of my son because I wanted to document how his cold was making him sound like he was a seven year old with a pack-a-day habit.

As you'll see, it morphed into something else. Stuff like this is likely why he has been labeled a class clown. This, and because he spends his lunch period saying, "eyeball" to the amusement of every first grader at his table. Why "eyeball" is hysterical, I will never know. He gets that part of his sense of humor from his dad. I know this because his dad is the one who taught him an entire song about diarrhea.

Also, don't be intimidated by my purple "Buns of Steel" aerobics step in the background. My buns are steel. Steel like Jello.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

IAMINLADIESHOMEJOURNAL!


This is me from the April issue of Ladies Home Journal magazine. That's right, I'm officially published.

Sure it's only 150 words, and it's pretty much the last page in the magazine, and in this picture I look like I'm straining under the weight of 25 pounds of meat, because I AM, and the roast on top kept rolling around, and all that balancing and lifting made me look like I need a laxative, and they edited out the burners on my stove, but not my flabby arms, and I look as pale as Eddie Munster, and people at work didn't even recognize me because I wasn't wearing my glasses. But, it's Ladies Home Journal, people!

And, at the very least, my kitchen was really clean for about 20 minutes.

If you want to pick up a copy, it's the one with Brooke Shields on the front. Which is kind of awesome, because now Brooke and I are like this. I gave her tips on posing.

Why was I in the magazine? Why was my kitchen clean for once? The back story is here. And, when you're done reading that, go read these.

Being Michael's Daddy, Suburban Scrawl, World of Weasels, A Look on the Random Side, Code Monkey Daddy, Double the Fun, Real Men Drive Minivans, Beautiful Wreck, Half Past Kissin' Time, D is for Dad, Nuclear Family Warhead, Joeprah, Big Bad Daddy Rant, Dear Mr. Man, The Busy Dad Blog, Get Off the Ground, The Devoted Dad, Knee Deep in Kids and Surprised Mom.

Because if not for them, I wouldn't have been juggling that roast.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Continuity of Care

This is the day that I often refer to as my daughter's adjusted birthday. Today was her due date. Unfortunately, she decided to arrive in December.

She was in the hospital for 35 days while she grew from just over two pounds to just over four. Believe it or not, I look back at her days in the NICU as a beautiful time. She had amazing care and the nurses encouraged our bonding. She rested, she ate, she snuggled against my bare chest and we became a family.

Best of all, we had primary care nurses, also known as having, "continuity of care". That means that we had the same two or three nurses all the time. The hospital ensured that there would be a solid relationship built between the caregivers and the patients. Those nurses knew us, they knew our daughter and they became part of our family.

When my son was born seven weeks early, he was too sick to stay in the NICU at the hospital where he was delivered. He was immediately swept away, across town, to Children's Hospital...just in case he needed emergency heart surgery.

In that NICU, they had recently done away with the use of primary care nurses. Apparently, the bonding that was going on between the patients and the nurses became too hard if the sick, little babies would pass away. I can understand that. I have watched a baby die. It is unbearably painful.

But, there is stark contrast between the memories of my daughter's infancy and my son's. I couldn't help but feel that there were complete strangers caring for him. Because there were. Every single time I walked in, there was someone new. They didn't know me, they didn't know my baby, they didn't build any kind of relationship with him whatsoever.

There was no bonding. We were not a family.

And I hated it.

During that painful time, I could have never anticipated where we would be nearly eight years later. My tiny daughter has grown into a typical eleven year old and my medically fragile son has come farther that we ever thought possible.

Because, in addition to a lot of work at home and in therapy sessions, there has been something even more meaningful to their development.

There has been continuity of care.

My children attend a very small school. There is one class per grade and every teacher knows every student. The vast majority of parents know each other and I would venture to say that just about everyone who enters that building knows my son.

I am working at the school so that I can be there for my boy if he should need me, but I am certainly not the only one looking after him. Day in and day out, there are many parents, teachers, aides and even students, who watch out for him as well. That stability and the formation of these strong relationships have helped my kids excel.

There are more bonds than I can count. We are a family.

And I love it.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Things I Would Change: The Boob Light

I am not going to lie; I like nice things. However, I pride myself on being a bargain shopper through e-bay, Craigslist and various discount stores. I have bought a room-sized area rug for $200.00, Pottery Barn lamps for $2.50 each (from Pottery Barn) and have no qualms about buying designer clothes at thrift stores. I like nice things, but I like to be cheap about it.

Unfortunately, when my husband and I bought our house in 1998 it was in sore need of rehab. There were yellow plastic tiles on all sides of the kitchen, including the ceiling. All of the bathrooms had linoleum, the foundation needed jacked up and there were trees growing through the patio cement.

We were both working full-time at good jobs and were plugging along on the renovations slowly, when I found out I was pregnant. Suddenly, we were rushed...and decidedly less wealthy...because I would soon be staying home with a new baby. We didn't even have the money for discount items. We had to buy clearance discount. It wasn't pretty, people.

I made many, many decisions on the fly as well. I picked out wallpaper because it was in stock, not because I liked it. I bought carpeting off of a 5" x 5" sample at a bargain outlet. I made a lot of mistakes. Times one thousand.

This may just be the worst of them. This is the boob light that hangs on my bedroom ceiling.


We have other boob lights in the house, but I see this one every morning when I wake. It stares at me whenever I lie in bed and despite searching e-bay and Craigslist and every other site I can for a chandelier to hang in its place, I have not yet been successful. In 12 years.

I hate this light. From the bottom of my bosom.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Over My Dead Body

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been scared of cats. As a child, when my next-door neighbor went on vacation she would pay me to open and shut her drapes, empty the litter box and feed her cat. You can probably tell I am old and this was a long time ago because I just used the word drapes.

That cat's name was Fluffy and he used to meet me at the door standing on his hind legs, hissing and baring his teeth. Fluffy was a jerk.

My husband grew up with a cat and my kids are constantly asking if we can get one. Never mind that we have two dogs and I could create something cat-like out of our dust bunnies. But, no! As far as us getting one, let's just say that pigs would need to be flying and a fat lady would have to be singing. Also, the devil would be very cold.

But, apparently my son really wants a cat, because when we were walking around the pet store the other day he was lamenting the fact that we don't have one.

I said, "I'm sorry, buddy, but I just don't like cats. I will never have one."

He thought about that as we approached the register then said, "Oh well. Maybe we can get a cat when you die."

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Barbie, Be Gone

My daughter turned eleven in December. A couple of weeks ago, in the midst of cleaning her room, she told me that she had a bundle of clothes to hand down to her cousin. Then, as if she was uttering something completely meaningless she said, "Oh, and I don't really play with my Barbies anymore." Like a knife to the heart, I tell you.

For as long as I can remember, she has had a large, Barbie storage bag hanging in her room. Nearly the length of the door on which it hangs, it has individual compartments for putting dolls or clothes. It is so full and heavy that I have had to replace the hooks for it twice.

Under her bed there is an entire box full of wedding dresses, night-club outfits, tea-party skirts and mismatched flip-flops. There is a school teacher's chalkboard, a purple convertible and a red, VW Beetle. Not to mention the full Cinderella carriage, complete with horses. All of it, done for.

My daughter is moving on. We have gone from baby dolls to shopping malls. Now she wants her own e-mail account and a cell phone. She was thrilled when I recently bought her a full-length mirror for her room so she can make sure she looks okay before school.

She brushes her hair without being asked (most of the time) and she's wearing deodorant. Sometimes we pass right by the kid's shoe section and head straight for the women's, because she can fit in those now too.

She is growing up. And, that? Scares me to death.

Getting her through childhood was hard enough. Soon there will be peer pressure and boys and really important decisions with which she'll be faced. Hard decisions that need to be made in an instant and need to be made correctly the first time, because sometimes there isn't a second chance.

Don't get me wrong, I love watching her grow and excel and morph into this amazing person.

But, I would do just about anything to go back in time to see her playing with those Barbies again.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

That's One Scary Snowman


I wonder if my son's art teacher is as proud as we are with his coloring skills
and the little extra something he added to the left side of this sketch.

Because, clearly, a constipated deer would be lacking in originality.

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