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Momo Fali's: April 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Day in the Life

Yesterday morning, I tested my level of parenting endurance when the school where I work said they needed me to leave my second grade class for the day and go on my son's field trip. Thirty kindergartners, a city bus, a downtown transfer and an imminent rainstorm, all at the ripe hour of 8:00 AM.

First, we missed our bus. Then as we stood waiting for the next one to arrive, my son tugged on my arm to tell me he had to poop. Of course.

I did what any self-respecting mother would do and said, "I don't know what to tell you. You're going to have to just shove it back up in there."

On the bus, we met lots of colorful characters. At one point, I mentioned to my son that our new puppy would likely pee in her cage because we would be gone so long, to which he replied, "I bet she will. I can kind of smell her pee right now." No sweetie, that's the guy standing next to me.

After the field trip, we waited an eternity for the bus to take us back downtown. We were in a lovely area of Columbus, affectionately referred to as "The Bottoms". There was lots of trash for the kids to play with and some delightful graffiti for our emerging readers. Something about someone's mom and a particular body part.

On the bus trip home, I can't decide if it was more fun to stand for half the ride, or whether it was watching my son's "buddy" touch the bottom of his shoes and then hold my son's hand as we walked back to school in the rain. When we finally got back to our car, I just went ahead and had my boy drink some hand-sanitizer.

After arriving home, I spent over an hour on the phone (45 minutes of that on hold) trying to find a baker who can make a Mario cake for my son's birthday party this weekend. Sorry kid, you're getting Matchbox cars.

Then, I cleaned pee out of the puppy's cage. Not from when we were gone for four hours in the morning, but from when I put her in there for 15 minutes so I could do some laundry. Which, makes perfect sense. Oh, and she learned how to climb the steps, so now I have two levels of house on which to chase her.

And, for the icing on the cake? I found my son had etched a self-portrait into our mahogany dining room table.

Some days, there just isn't enough wine.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Taking Chances

Roughly 14 years ago I went paraplaning with some co-workers, one of whom would become my future husband.

If you have never seen a paraplane, it is a glorified go-cart with an enormous fan on the back. As you drive the go-cart across a field, the fan fills a parachute which acts as your wings. Before you know it, you're alone, 700 feet in the air with steel strapped to your rear end and nothing connecting you to your friends on the ground but a walkie talkie.

Photo courtesy

Because of a technical malfunction, my husband had no radio contact. He flew around, without flight instruction, for almost a half an hour and absolutely loved the experience. I, however, spoke clearly with the people on the ground, and was so terrified that I made only one loop around the farm because I feared I might buy it.

I had always thought I would be more of a daredevil, but the paraplane set me straight. A few years later, I was conveniently pregnant when my husband went white-water rafting and sky-diving without me.

I am fine with that. I own the fact that I don't take chances.

About a month ago, I put word out that we were looking for a puppy. I also, half-heartedly, asked someone to stop me.

Our 11 year old dog has been a great big pain. She is finally at a point where she's calm and controllable, so why would we think about starting from scratch?

A few folks tried to talk some sense into me, including my best friend who knows me all too well. She knows how busy my life is, and how having a dog throws a wrench into just about everything you do.

But then, a childhood friend sent me a message that simply said, "Go for it -- life is short."

And that? Was all it took.

Life is tough enough thanks to the worrying we do over whether we're raising our kids the right way, if they're doing well socially and academically, if they're going to get hurt playing sports, or get plucked off the street by a stranger. Having kids is a pinch of love and a whole lot of stress. It's all about taking chances.

Add to that, the fact that my six year old son walks around at risk of a stroke every day, or that he needs open heart surgery, or that his life has been one, big, uphill battle.

Life is short for all of us, but for some people, life can be risky without ever intentionally taking a risk. Some people don't have to fly a go-cart through the air or jump out of a plane. My son is one of them. His life is risky because he exists. All I needed was a reminder.

That is the reason my fingers have become chew toys and why we are going through paper towels like they're going out of style. My little boy wants to run and romp and play with a puppy and he deserves the chance to do so.

Life is short and we went for it. And, I am so glad we did.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

To Infinity and Beyond

Although it has never been diagnosed, my son suffers from some OCD tendencies. I have no idea where he gets it. Hold on, I have to go straighten my underwear drawer.

One aspect of this is that he gets fixated on shapes and numbers. For a while, his favorite number was 109. He would use it to measure time and count toys, and when he would eye the clock shortly after lunch to see it reading 1:09, it gave him quite a thrill.

Luckily for us, last year he took to the number 10. This made it easier when we had to take 10 steps from the house to the garage, or give him 10 kisses each night. After 109 kisses on a kid's forehead, your lips start to get numb.

But recently, the digits have been taken to a much higher level. His new favorite? Infinity. And, although I know infinity isn't a number to which you can count, I will never tire of hearing him say, "Mom, I love you to infinity."


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Puppy Love

After one sleepless night, one ruined laptop cord, wood floors which have sustained three pees, two poops and one vomit, and after our 11 year old dog, Blue, has done a lot of growling and huffing about because Daisy thinks her ears are a chew was especially nice to wake up today and see them being snuggle buddies.

Daisy is lucky that she's so cute.

Note: In the time it took me to post this, I've cleaned up one more pee and a vomit. She's really, really lucky that she's so cute.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Glutton for Punishment

I currently have a part-time job, three writing gigs, a workaholic husband, two kids (who both play sports) and a son in speech therapy one afternoon a week. So, it only seems logical that we went out today and got this.

Daisy, this is everyone. Everyone, this is Daisy.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Muscle Man

My son will be seven in a few weeks, but he looks more like a four year old. The cardiologist says it's because of his GI problems, and the gastroenterologist says it's because of his heart. The geneticist threw her hands up and said, "It's not us!" All we know is that he's small.

Lately, however, he appears to be going through a growth spurt. In order to boost his confidence I mentioned it last night.

I eyed my boy, then looked at my husband and said, "Doesn't he look bigger?" Then I turned to my son and said, "You're huge!"

Taking this as a valid compliment, my son looked up at me and said, "YOU'RE huge!" and in order to one-up my comment, he added, "Actually, you're HUGE-MONGOUS!"

I tilted my head towards my husband and said, "Uh-oh." I backpedaled and explained that calling a woman "huge" isn't really a compliment, but it's okay when you are talking about a boy's muscles.

My son looked at his dad and said, "Yeah. Like Daddy's."

Somehow this whole thing completely backfired on me.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Not So Picture Perfect

There are some amazing photography bloggers out there. I am not one of them. As much as I would love to have classic and beautiful pictures of my family, most of them are blurry, or too dark or every subject has a nasty case of red-eye.

I do not own a fancy camera, because I'm sure it would do no good. It's not about the equipment, it's about the operator. However, it doesn't stop me from trying.

This is what happens when I try to set up a nice shot of my sweet dog, Blue, in front of the fireplace. Yes, people who live in Ohio still have fires in April.

So bright I nearly blinded her.

Too ghostlike.

Too dark and blurry.

She moved, AND grew tired of this experiment.

And, this? Is as good as it's going to get.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Underwrite That

My husband and I were recently discussing our latest attempt to obtain life insurance for our six year old son. Our applications for coverage are always futile because of my boy's underlying heart defects.

My son and my 10 year old daughter were sitting nearby and heard us talking. She asked, "Why won't the company give him insurance?"

We don't hide the fact that he is different, so I picked up my son, squeezed him and answered, "Because of his heart."

Then my son, in his dramatic fashion, replied, "What are they talking about? My heart is beautiful!"

Indeed, it is, son. Indeed, it is.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

There But for the Grace of God Go I

I really didn’t want to write this post. I’ve sat here, for the past 24 hours, trying to find the right words. I don’t think words can possibly convey what I’m feeling, but I will do my best.

I am a mom of two preemies. My daughter was born during an emergency c-section ten weeks early and weighed just over two pounds. My son was taken from me seven weeks too soon because his congenital heart defect was worsening in utero. He tipped the scales at three pounds, eight ounces.

Needless to say, I have spent a lot of time in hospitals. My daughter stayed in intensive care for her first five weeks of life and my son has had nine surgeries and has been hospitalized numerous times. When he was an infant, if he so much as got a cold they admitted him, partly because of his underlying health problems, but also because he was premature and very, very small. On his first birthday, he weighed just thirteen pounds.

When you have a child who is premature, small and sick you seek out other parents who are in the same boat. Especially those who can still manage to have a sense of humor about the awful situation into which they have been thrust; the kind of people who understand the lingo, and the acronyms and what it’s like to have therapists practically coming out of your rear end.

We know our children’s medical history as well as we know our own phone number…probably better. We know the ins and outs of the health insurance industry, our doctors consider us family and pharmacists become our good friends. Parents of preemies know what it's like to feed your kid every three hours, round the clock, for their first year just so they can maybe gain a few ounces.

We watch our children fight and claw their way to milestones like little soldiers. We can commiserate and we understand each other, and every now and then we have to help pick each other up…because sometimes all the hard work and struggles of raising a preemie don’t pay off. Sometimes the soldiers just can’t fight anymore.

This is Maddie. She was 17 months old and was still fighting up until the very end, which came day before yesterday. My heart breaks for her parents. Parents who were just like me and my husband up until Maddie died.

We are not in the same boat anymore. My family is sailing along on occasionally choppy waters, while their vessel has been completely overturned.

I am giving thanks that we have been very fortunate and I will hug my kids a whole lot tighter tonight. In Maddie's memory we will continue our fight. Rest easy, child. Struggle no more. You have fought hard enough.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Oprah Cliffs Notes VIII

Last year I took fingers to keyboard and wrote to Oprah's people about the community of moms I had found on-line. I thought it was a great idea for a show. I mentioned that blogging had opened up a new world for me....a world where I didn't feel strange talking about the things no one ever tells you before you become a parent.

Yesterday's Oprah featured moms and mom bloggers talking about motherhood and all the weird and frightening stuff that no one ever tells you before you become a parent. What a coincidence!

Needless to say, I was very interested in this show because I'm a mom blogger. And, because it was my idea. Not that I'm always a mom blogger. Sometimes, I'm a blogger who writes about Oprah shows which feature mom bloggers. That's totally different.

This is Daphne. I personally know Daphne. Well, not so much personally know her as I've seen her on-line. Daphne is a new mom who admitted to pumping just before the show so that she wouldn't burst. Considering that she also said her life sometimes resembles a sit-com, I felt the bursting would have been appropriate. Because, that? Funny stuff.

This is Karen. I really do know Karen. Well, not so much really know her as I really know some of her friends. Okay, not so much really know some of her friends as stalk some of her friends. So, yeah. In a nutshell, Karen and I are tight. Karen wanted to share her method of discipline with the audience, and that is to let your kids think you're just a little bit crazy. Thank you, Karen. Consider it done.

This is Heather. I have no idea who she is.

Heather said she doesn't like the early mornings that come with motherhood. This shouldn't be a big problem much longer because her daughter is five. Oh...well, there is that little matter of Heather being seven months pregnant. Because the only thing better than facing an early morning, is facing an early morning with cracked and bleeding nipples.

And, here's Vicki. Vicki recently was on a long car trip with her kids when she needed to use the restroom. When she saw that her children were all sleeping, she did the logical thing...instead of waking them, she peed in a diaper. This is her best, "Yep, I peed in a diaper" face.

Dee-Dee is not one to be outdone. Dee-Dee once ran out of diapers and instead of going out for more in the middle of the night, she fashioned her own out of maxi-pads.

What did I learn from this show? I learned it's not really your idea if they can plug a new ABC sitcom at the same time. But more than that, I learned that I'm not as bad a mom as I thought I was.

Neither one of my kids has ever had to wear a maxi-pad.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Then All My Friends Asked For One

On Friday night I attended a jewelry party. Although, it wasn't so much a jewelry party as it was a chance to get out with the girls, drink some wine and play dress-up with gold and silver that belonged to someone else.

The jewelry sales consultant organized a game for us, so that we could earn tickets for a chance to win a door prize. She would say a letter and we had to pull something out of our purse that started with that letter.

Being that I'm highly competitive, I felt my purse was well-stocked and that I could win the prize for sure. I'd collect all the tickets and walk away with that $5.00 bracelet if it killed me!

A few years ago, on a girl's weekend, my best friend emptied the contents of her purse on the dining room table. You had to see it to believe it because you name it, she had it. There were oodles of things which had no place in a handbag. I seem to recall her saying, "So there's my packing tape. Oh, and my Alice Cooper School's Out album from 1972!"

As much as I missed her company, I am thankful she and her Mary Poppins purse weren't there to compete with me on Friday.

The sales consultant started with "P" and a lady I'll refer to as Quick-Draw proudly held up her phone. It wasn't more than a nanosecond.

The next letter was "G" and before I could get my gloss into my hand, someone held up gum.

Next came "M", and I can't even tell you what the winner had that time, because I was busy thinking about tossing the contents of my purse across the room.

But, it pays to be patient so instead I held tight and waited. When the consultant said the letter "D" and all the ladies were trying to find their drivers licenses, I not only won the ticket, but I also won for originality.

That's right, I pulled out my dog's tranquilizers. After 11 years, that mutt is finally starting to pay off.


Friday, April 3, 2009

How to Pass the Class with Gas

I work as an aide in a second grade classroom where the teacher once asked for examples of words with the "short i" sound and one of the kids raised his hand and said, "Tit". I always felt he deserved partial credit.

So it shouldn't have been any surprise when I was grading papers yesterday and more than a few of them took the word "start" and rhymed it with "fart". For that, they each earned a big, red happy face.

Some days, I really love my job.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

So Totally a Whole Nother

A week or so ago I was surfing around on-line when I saw someone comment that they are "not so totally" anything. I had to sit back and reread this obvious slam in my direction. I am so totally sure that he so totally said that!

Okay, I admit I lean toward the valley-girl, which should be obvious because I live in Ohio. What? We have valleys!

I can understand if it bothers some people to hear the English language butchered, but nothing can be worse than my pet peeve.


At least "so" and "totally" are words. "Nother" is not. Not unless you also have summer-teeth. You know, some 'r' here and some 'r' there. It is also optional language if you have a bathtub in your front yard.

My best friend cringes when she hears someone pronounce crayons as "crans" and we've actually had discussions about whether you should say "COO-pons" or "CUE-pons". And, every time I hear my mom refer to Home "DEEP-oh" as Home "DEP-oh" I die a little inside.

Tell me boys and girls, which words bother you?


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