Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Living with (cat) diabetes

This... Leo.  He's a beautiful mister.  Sadly, he was diagnosed with diabetes this week. 

Monday was one of those days.  I think I had poop on my hands four different times throughout the day (and seriously, by now, I'm pretty adept at avoiding that).  I spent the night in and out of bed with some sort of short-lived stomach bug.  And, I almost passed out at the vet's office.  So there was that.

The short and short of it is, though, that our big fluffy has been all out of sorts of late.  Shamefacedly, I admit that we've known something has been going on with him for a month or so, but I kept putting off another vet's bill because he was just in for his shots and whatnot a couple of months ago, and those bills aren't cheap. 

I did my Google best to figure out his issues prior to committing to an appointment (did you know there is an animal equivalent to WebMD?), and while "diabetes" definitely came up in my sleuthing, I was thinking he had this other issue, which I can't remember the name of, and for which I wasn't that excited to dole out the money for meds.  Diabetes, unfortunately, it is as confirmed in a couple of different tests. 

My boy is anything buy ferocious, but apparently, he fought the good fight against the vet, who eventually called me for an okay to sedate him just for a blood sample.  The other option was apparently a muzzle, a towel, and likely injury to all involved.  He fought like a true champ against his perceived enemy.  Ergo, he actually spent a pretty miserable night because the vet couldn't even get close to him to move him into a more comfortable cage.  Way to go, buddy.

Prior to that battle, I suddenly had a pretty bleak choice staring at me, which caught me both by surprise and while I was feeling all woozy.  I had to either commit to the medical bills entailed for regulating his blood sugar or I had to commit to having him put down.  Immediately.  So I made the choice, and he's back at home with us for the foreseeable future.  What it really means is that he has about a month of 2 insulin shots a day as well as a very strictly monitored, prescribed diet before we'll know whether he has to continue with the insulin injections.  Unfortunately, this is probably going to be the deal breaker.  They're pricey enough and he's skittish enough around all but 2 people (in the world) that it means one of us has to be with him every morning and every evening while he's on insulin, which overall just isn't feasible. 

Of course there's the standard refrain that He's just a cat.  But that's not really the the issue at stake, now, is it?  Of course, he is a cat, and there simply has to be a price that's too steep at some point.  But we believe in animals and in their emotional capacity.  We believe that there is a mutual love affair and that we have given them our pledge to care for them.  I know that many a person would not be willing to give their cat insulin shots or pay for more expensive food.  I guess my cat is a lucky one that he has a bit of a safety net here.  We're a pretty insular family, and once we lose one of the few pieces that we have, it's a colder, bleaker world. 

He's cuddling with me as I type this, and some day I'll miss that.  But, it's not going to be today because I sure do love his big, throaty purr. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Case in point why we don't bed share

Actually, there are a number of reasons (even, dare I say, better more scientific ones than what I'm about to throw down here) why we don't bed share with the littlest ones in our lives.

Here's my 5:42 a.m. story.

I'm actually not necessarily adverse to being awake at 5:42 a.m., but pretty much only if I'm a) by myself, b) wrapped up in a blanket, c) in our recliner, d) drinking coffee--dark roast, of course, e) by myself, f) enjoying the full-blast furnace as the house warms back up from the chill of the night, g) reading, and h) BY MYSELF.  I like to be by myself in the morning, ya dig?

This morning, was not one of those mornings.  I was in bed.  Happily asleep.  Warm.  Snuggled.  Relaxed.  My child, however, disagreed with my selfish desires.  She decided that "Mommy!  I need you!" at around 5:14 a.m.  (This is a journey, folks.  I'm getting you to 5:42 a.m.  Just hang on.)  Surely I've mentioned before that child #2 is MY little snuggle bug.  Child #1 is DADDY'S little snuggle bug, for which I have been very grateful many a Saturday morning when she has bounced in all awake/alive/alert/enthusiastic at 6:00 a.m. on the nose cause you know she's there in her bed staring at the clock, just waiting for those digits to change to "a 6 on the left" (our household rule).  And when she bounds in like a little puppy who needs breakfast RIGHT NOW (!!!), Daddy gets the nod to be her star provider and Mommy smiles grandly (nay, luxuriously?) to herself, rolls over, and goes back to dream-ville.  Yet God is one for a good bit of harmless fun, of which I am convinced.  What goes around comes around.  We had to go and pop out #2, who is every bit my cling-on just as much as #1 has spurned my comforting arms in favor of her dad's skinny ones. 

Once in a great while, #1 will snuggle in between us on a Saturday morning and won't insist on breakfast RIGHT NOW (!!!); when she does that, Daddy gets the soft, cuddly end of her, and I get the cold feet kicking me in my back.  I can handle it.  I mean, my pillow is still all soft, I'm still relaxed, and my down comforter is nothing short of fluffy-warm perfection.  (Those ducks and geese know what's what with the down.  W-A-R-M.) 

Well, all this is to say that by 5:42 a.m. this morning, after 3 combined trips into #2's room to re-tuck her in, to fumble compassionately at her downy head, and to whisper sweet please-go-back-to-sleep-right-now-child nothings in her tender ear, I gave up and advised the boy to just bring her in with us.  The day was about to start anyway.  Neither of us were going back to sleep.  But I wasn't ready to give up my cocoon quite yet.  What do you know?  I (yes, I!!!) got the soft, cuddly end of the baby and at one point I heard "You're kicking me, not your sister" (who had also joined us by this point).  When I say "I got the soft, cuddly end" I really mean, I had a hard, downy baby head repeatedly whacking against my back/shoulders/neck/head area as she shifted and shifted and shifted as kids are wont to do.  Blissful dreams, right?

Then she cough/gagged and threw up a little bit in our bed.  Delightful. 

Why do people do this on purpose?  I am truly befuddled. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

This sounds like paradise

About the end of every week, I hit a mental wall of fatigue where I go through this endless pattern of self-pity (really attractive to admit, I know) and longing.  A change of scenery would be greatly appreciated by all around here, not just because we're in the last death throes of winter but just because the same old, same old just gets...old.  So here it is.  This is my paradise right now, in part restricted by budget and in part out of a true sense of this is what I really, really, want to do.

1.  a weekend away
1a.  I'm not sure if this entails a weekend away by myself or with someone else.  I really can't decide, and I've been debating this point for about a month now.  Pretty much every Friday around 2:36 p.m.

2.  a mani/pedi
2a.  If I had to choose one over the other, then a pedicure.  Every.  Single.  Time.  I do love me some pedi action.

3.  restaurants
3a.  This probably goes without saying, but my ideal restaurant situation right now would entail no children.  And it would be a whole weekend full of them.  They would be local, not chain fare, and something different from anything around here.  There's a reason I hit up Panera so much (which by "so much" I really mean, the once in a blue moon when splurges happen).

4.  plentiful amounts of coffee
4a.  There would preferably be a Keurig on demand, stocked with a veritable array of delish choices that I don't normally indulge in.
4b.  There would also be pastry.  Lots of it.

5.  reading
5a.  I would very much like to combine #4 with a lot of #5.

6.  television
6a.  How sweet would it be to zone out to some HGTV and Food Network?  How epic would it be to do so combined with #4?  Amazing.

7.  shopping
7a.  I like to wander shop.
7b.  I have never been to an IKEA.  I would like to go to an IKEA.  I would like to combine visiting an IKEA with #1.

8.  bed and breakfast
8a.  I love them.
8b.  I've been spending some serious computer time scouring ye olde inter-web for a B & B that will accommodate us when we take a mini trip with the girls this summer.  It's fueled my yearning for #1.

And that's it.  It's not so out of reach, I don't think.  Except, at 2:36 on any given Friday afternoon, especially ones when the bean WON'T SLEEP, it is all out of reach.  We have a fat tax refund within easy reach right this very moment.  If only...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bless the boy

I got a call from the principal's office this morning, but it wasn't about my kid.  It was about the boy.  Rather, it was about the lack of the boy being where he was supposed to be.  In other words, he didn't show up at school for a while.  And I don't know what I was going to accomplish, but I was 30-seconds away from putting the kids in the Prius and striking out on our own to find our mangled car in a ditch on the way to school. 

Today's weather can best be described as never-before-have-I-witnessed-this.  I got up at 5 a.m. to cram in a week's worth of Bible study homework for today's class that was summarily cancelled.  At that point, it was raining...downpouring, really.  That changed over to sleetishness around 6 with a few bursts of thunder, followed closely behind by big-old-wet-snowflakes-ing at 6:15, which, surprisingly, were sticking immediately.  Bad news bears for ye olde morning commute.  And the electricity kept flickering flickering flickering for over an hour.  It was just one of your typical June-thunderstorm-snow-showers-in-March kind of a morning.

And the boy left in his all-wheel drive vehicle on time.  But didn't make it to work...on time.  And herein lies my biggest fear.  What if something happens to the boy?  My primary fear isn't about my kids; I feel control over their situation.  Nothing is happening to them unless it's happening to me, and I am infallible, right?  I'm in charge over everything, right?  Yes, nothing is happening to them.  It's not really even on my radar.  But time and again I get these little breath-catching reminders that the boy is beyond my control.  He's not protected by my superwoman aura.  I can't correct his car from sliding off of the road or watch for anyone running a red light.  And it has to be this way.  But my kids are also impermanent insofar as they're under my force field for only a handful of years, but the boy I have chosen for good.  He's not getting booted when he gets too big for tween books and high school basketball games.  He's not getting cut off when he's no longer covered on my insurance.  I mean, he's my IT. 

And wouldn't you know, despite his propensity to irritate me in the morning and his love affair with popcorn, I still need him to be here with us.  With me.  What I don't need is anymore calls from the principal's office asking if I have heard from him.  Thankfully, he was late from being overly careful with the lousy driving conditions.  Bless him.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Chatty Cathy

I was in the library wasting a bit of time with the littlest about a week ago.  Another mom with two kids, a boy and a girl that were probably about 3 and 2 respectively, was in the same area as we were and ended up chatting with mine as I was gathering armfuls of books nearby (again I say...the children's section of a decent library is addictive to me).  My "little" is selectively chatty.  Apparently, this other mom passed her test because there was all sorts of conversationing happening.  Elephants and butterflies were being identified.  Questions were being answered.  It was all lovely, and it settles my nerves a bit to see one of my children being something more than frigid with friendly strangers (you know, in a safe kind of way).

But then came the "She speaks so well...!" comment with the heavily unspoken element of "...unlike mine."  Well, okay.  How does one answer that?  In doing so, I inevitably feel like I am joining in an unwanted dialogue whereupon I am, by default, saying something to the effect of "Yes, she is...and your kids aren't."  Which isn't where I want to stand on this or any issue.  When a parent offers praise to another parent in front of her own children, I find that there tends to be something of a wistful sigh imbued into those words of flattery: Oh, why, can't my child(ren) be this _____________???

Come, now, parents.  We don't have to always be praising other children.  We don't have to always be so blatant about making sure the other parent feels good about their kid.  If the child is decent at what-have-you skill, then the other parent already knows it.  Here on out, this should be my response to the future mothers in the children's section at the library:

We've been hitting the Judith Butler pretty hard.  She's almost ready to lead a class discourse about gender as a learned response. 

I realize implicitly that this post can easily be skewed a number of ways (She's just bragging!  She's just whining!  She's a heartless mother who doesn't think her kid is best thing since lemon sweet rolls with cream cheese frosting and who obviously doesn't care about what a miracle her precious little angel truly is!).  Friends, not so.  This little nugget is my chill baby, for whom I am every moment grateful.  But my bundle of intense love does not become relevant upon sizing up the competition.  We gain nothing in finding our progeny either better or worse than their pint-sized peers. 

Mind your compliments, fellow parents. 

Monday, March 3, 2014


Before I really get into the gist of this, I'm going to tell a short story about a little girl.  [Editor's comment--this "short story" is actually longer than the actual purpose of the post.  Such is life.]  She's a sweet little 20-month old.  A big ball of cuddles (and has learned to say "I need you, Mommy/Daddy..." in the most plaintive voice).  She's also a thumb sucker, which, frankly, I don't mind in the slightest.  Nope.  In fact, we less than anxiously awaited the moment when she would figure that coordination procedure out to get thumb to lips reliably when she was a wee tot as she followed in her big sister's pattern and eschewed all things pacifier.  That thumb has served her quite well until of late when she has sucked all the moisture out of her skin.  Something like that.  Combined with the dry, dry winter air, her sucking has opened up a biggish gash at the top and smaller gashes along the bottom.  Red.  Dry.  Skin.  But that little pipsqueak hasn't complained except telling Daddy once that it hurt.  Little heart.  Suffice it to say, she's on antibiotics every 6 hours to reign in the infection that started and Mommy is playing the need-to-moisturize dance, which is also somewhat precious as she'll just hold her thumb out as if it's poisonous after getting dosed with Lansinoh.  (I just read one of my favorite bloggers, and she's very Texan, so I feel that some of her style has crept into my story here.  Forgive me!)  Luckily for all, she has not reacted to this dose of antibiotics yet, else we may be in danger of repeating ER-crisis-2013.  (By the way, we still haven't received a bill for that.  Does anyone know what the protocol is for that?)

Here's the real purpose for today's blog.  We've decided to do away with processed breads during Lent.  The biggest purpose to this is that I am very much looking forward to the making of bread either by hand or even bread machine as a ritualistic, thoughtful time to step away from the crush of hyperactive mode mixed with the inanity of Mondays and Fridays.  I'm hoping that it will become, even if just for a few weeks, a habit of rhythm and purpose.  There's a basic, sustainable thumping in the kneading that I always enjoy.  Flour coats my counter or table and it feels earthy and determined just as the ashes smeared on the forehead do. 

I've been mulling this idea for about a year now and have chewed it down to what makes sense for us.  "Bread" will not encompass every grain product, meaning we're not giving up cereal quite yet.  Yet the daily bread will be replaced with that which has come by some amount of sacrifice of time and energy in order to create it, and we will all have a hand (figuratively and literally) in this practice.  There is room for more of this in our lives.