Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Conversation with A Sword

But first, let's talk mommy blogs.

The ubiquitous mommy blog -- a place to brag, complain, confess, review the mundane, share pithy stories, and overuse the word "cute."

They're everywhere!

Some say mommy blogs are inconsequential drivel, pixel graffiti, the clog of the internet. Others mock the reasons mommy blogs exist which may or may not include documenting the ever-growing child, filling lonely hours, trying to find meaning in motherhood, or trying to express the love of motherhood to a stranger you hope is reading in... wherever.

And then there's grandma. Most mommy blogs exist *exclusively* for grandma who, oddly enough, is still a mommy too.

As a plebeian endeavor, mommy blogs rarely discuss anything important. Like whether you pronounce it (plee-be-uhn) or (pleh-bee-uhn). I may know the answer, but who cares? It's a mommy blog.

Of course, there are famous internet mommies out there, the ones who have a special take on the mommy world. We mommies forward their links and "like" them on Facebook.

We click their ads to say, "Keep writing! I relate to you!" or "Keep writing! You're funny! Tell it how it is!" or "Keep writing! Your life is much harder than mine! You inspire me!" or "Keep writing! I'm stuck at home with my squawking kids and reading about your squawking kids somehow takes the edge off!"

Some moms are snarky. Some really are heroes. Some are obnoxious. Most of us are plain boring. One of my favorite mommy blogs is written by a man with no children.

If you're looking for mommy blogs, there are options.

I began writing my blog because B was born, after difficulty, into difficulty. It was too hard to talk to everyone. I couldn't afford the time for personal updates about tests and surgeries when I didn't have time to sleep or shower. And it was too painful. Writing one post while crying was much easier than crying on the phone all day.

But let's not put too much meaning into this.

Today I'm writing my mommy blog because I had a middle-of-the-night conversation with a sword.

That's right. You heard me.

And that's not symbolic.

I didn't fend off an intruder by "conversing" with my blade.

I spoke to a sword.

At length, actually.

"Hello, Sword."

In fact, this conversation didn't happen with *a* sword, or even *the* sword.

It occurred with "Sword."

And this, as many middle-of-the-night things do, struck me as so odd that I'd better write it down.

Let me introduce you to "Sword."

"Sword," as it shall heretoforeverandalwaysbeknown, has become a big part of our lives since it hung at Bridgette's side at Halloween.

Sword has taken a place of increasing honor in Bridgette's life. Currently, Sword is to her what Teddy or Dolly might be to other children.

You can see that Sword is scaled for child-sized use. And thank goodness. I don't think Bridgette could pronounce, "Stiletto."

Also, Sword has a persona.

Although inanimate (and we generally refer to Sword as "it"), I'm pretty sure Sword is male, as most inanimate objects are. When he speaks, Sword has a much deeper voice than either Bridgette or myself.

Sword is cooperative and listens intently to random facts. Sword is hungry a lot and rarely wants to sleep. Sword, as it ends up, is a lot more decisive than Bridgette.

Bridgette and Sword often have intimate, whispered conversations to which I am not privy.

It's cute. Super cute. Inordinately cute. Cute. Cute. Cute.

Cute as only a three-year-old girl and a sword can be.

So when The Bridgenator is sick (see yesterday's post), getting her to eat and drink, among other critical functions, can be dicey. She fights it. She clamps her hand over her mouth. She puts her blanket over her head. She says, "No-o-o!" a lot.

And when I can't reach Bridgette by pleading, coercing, rewarding, or threatening, I turn to Sword. It/he is the perfect intermediary.

Sword came to the rescue last night.

Somehow, Sword seems to understand both of our perspectives. Or maybe he's just greedy. Either way, he gets the job done.


Here's last night's example:

Conversation With Sword
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

(Stumbling, weary and blind, into Bridgette's room.)

Me: Sweetheart, what's wrong?

(Pulling Bridgette from her crib as she cries.)

Bridgette: Mom! I eeeeeeat!

(Setting her on the rocking chair, me facing her on the ottoman.)

Me: Okay. What do you want?

(Her, grinning, suddenly tearless.)

Bridgette: Eggs. Cheese.

Me: No. I'm not cooking in the middle of the night.

(Wracking my brains for something that is pre-made, soft, filling, and meets the requirements of Bridgette's dietary needs.)

Me: How about some mashed potatoes?

Bridgette: No.

Me: Do you want sweet potatoes?

Bridgette: No.

Me: How about a banana?

Bridgette: No. No. No.

Me: A piece of bread?

Bridgette: Huh. Uh. No. Eggs. Cheese.

(Taking a deep breath through my nose... calm... calm...)

Me: What's that noise? Oh, Bridgette, I hear Sword. Just a minute.

(Removing Sword from her crib because, yes, they sleep together.)

Sword: I'm hungry.

(Pursing my lips.)

Me: Okay. What do you want to eat?

Sword: A banana.

Me: Are you sure?

Sword: Oh yes. I looooooooove bananas. They are SOOOO tasty and filling and good for me. They help me feel better when I'm sick. And I don't feel too good.

(Sword coughs and sneezes.)

Me: Well, if you're sure.

Sword: Yes. I'm very sure. I want a banana.

Bridgette (whispers): Me too, mom.

(I go downstairs and rustle up a banana, some fruit snacks, juice, and bubblegum flavored Tylenol. Back upstairs I face Bridgette on the ottoman, Sword in hand.)

Me: Here it is!

Sword: I'm so hungry.

Me: Well there's a lot of banana here. Do you think you can eat all of it?

(Sword nods, vigorously.)

Sword: I want to take the BIGGEST bites.

Me: Will you share it with Bridgette?

Sword: Hmm... I don't know. Maybe. I guess. But I really like banana, I want to take the BIGGEST bites.

(Sword takes its first big bite of banana -- which sounds something like this, "cHharuhm," -- and chews -- which sounds like this, "Num. Nom. Num. Nom. Num. Nom. Num.")

Me: Wow! What a BIIIIG bite! Bridgette, do you want to share the banana with Sword?

(In answer, Bridgette unlocks her jaw like a snake.)

Me: Alrighty then.

Sword: I want another bite!

Me: Calm down. I know you want to eat the ENTIRE banana, but you have to take turns.

(Pattern ensues, each of them fighting for the next bite while I face Sword and explain.)

Me: You know, Sword, the banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant on the planet. Bananas have amazing nutritional value, including vitamins C & B6 as well as potassium. Do you know what potassium is?

(Sword shakes his head, no.)

Me: Potassium is essential to help your body and digestive system work properly. If you vomit and have diarrhea, you lose potassium. That can lead to a variety of cardiac dysfunctions. Also, in case you care, potassium has the elemental symbol "K" and the atomic number 19.

(Turning to Bridgette.)

Me: Did you know that Bridgette?

(Bridgette nods her head, yes.)

Me: Hooray! You ate all of the banana! Now, Sword, I have a special treat for you. Tylenol medicine! It tastes yummy. Like candy. And it will help you feel better. I know you didn't want to take any last night, but if you take some now, you can have . . . Fruit Snacks!

(Sword jumps up and down and dances with excitement.)

Sword: Oh yay! I loooove fruit snacks.

Me: I know you do. But first you have to eat both pieces of Tylenol. And Bridgette, if you want to share Sword's fruit snacks, you need to eat the Tylenol too.

Bridgette (whispers): Okay mommy.

(Tylenol and fruit snacks ingested, it's time for bed. It's really time for bed.)

Me: Sword, would you like a bedtime song?

Sword: Yes, please.

****Okay, I admit. HERE'S where it gets silly.****

Me: Oh, Sword. You're so polite. Now settle down. Here's your blanket.

(Rocking Sword in my arms, I sing "Sandman," give him a kiss -- oh yes! --, and tuck him in. He asks some questions like, "Whyyyyy?" But I tell him it's nighttime, and that means he has to go to sleep.)

Me: Bridgette, Sword is soooo sleepy. Do you want to cuddle with him?

(Pattern ensues.)

Me: Goodnight, Bridgette. Goodnight, Sword.

(Pulling her protective "tent" over the top of her crib, I think I'm about to scuttle back to my room, nestle under my once warm covers, and exhausted, try to shut down my brain.)

Bridgette: Mom!


Me: What Bridgette?

Bridgette: TWO JUICE!

Me: No, Bridgette. One juice. You and Sword have to share.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

T-minus 39 days. And counting?

I've been counting down the days until we could celebrate a special anniversary -- Bridgette having been hospital free for one year.

The anniversary, if we arrive there, will occur on March 2, 2012.

Feel free to party in her honor! I'm a fan of parties.

If we don't make it, you may find out rather soon. She is not well today.

What started as a nasty virus that has been making the rounds (Jeff, some cousins, stuff like that) has moved from the regular-symptoms inside Bridgette (fever, runny nose, body aches, wet cough, etc) into the irregular (severe dehydration, fever, vomiting, gas trapped in the upper Ileum, feeling hungry with no ability to eat, and the tell-tale, uncontrollable, make-you-vomit-when-you-smell-it diarrhea that only the enteritis-familiar can truly appreciate).

All these things indicate some serious internal baddies and total bowel shutdown. Remember the drill? It's the question of what will kill her first, dehydration or pressure building in her intestines until they rupture, causing all kinds of trouble, including sepsis. The whole no-food-intake doesn't help.

Possible actions include but are not limited to -- a return to rectal irrigations (manual bowel flushes), stool samples /cultures /antibiotics, and hospitalization for IV fluids. Not fun, but not bad.

For the time being, she feels really sick.

It makes me really sad.

Also, none of us are sleeping.

That's another action that might help, but for the moment, sleep eludes us.

I'm taking a momentary break to update while B tries but fails to nap (many attempts), despite having been up all night long watching Barney. After two nights of shoddy rest and feverish illness, I can't believe she hasn't collapsed into slumber yet. But... she feels so sick, she just can't close her eyes for more than a few minutes at a time.

I would like her to get better, obviously. And if she doesn't under our care alone, we'll be headed up to PCMC within 24 hours.

Aaaaand she's crying again. My time's up. Got to go help, comfort, love, and then clean whatever mess has been ejected from whichever end.


Good thing I'm hopped up on Mountain Dew!

Survival is the word of the day.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

She is Ninja! (Neeen-JAH)

We enrolled Bridgette in Taekwando last week. She has completed two 45-minute classes.

See her.

Fear her.

Following the most rushed hemming job in history, The Tiny Bridgenator stands stoic in her (still over-sized) uniform, ready for action.

We send her to far-away lands to train with the most blood-thirsty, pink-clad masters.

She tests form and fitness against true, pint-sized warriors.

Always, she is respectful. She bows in honor but bends to no one.

Occasionally, she finds comfort in her Sa-Bum-Nim.

She seeks clarity before battle. She prepares mentally, rehearsing her *comprehensive* training before sparring.

And she LAUGHS in the face of danger.


She's STILL LAUGHING in the face of danger.

She just CAN'T STOP LAUGHING in the face of danger!

She recognizes her opponent's worthiness but is not concerned.

Her chilling, "Hai-ya!" strikes fear and cuteness in the hearts of all.

She applies her mind, focusing in the pure fashion of the ancients.

She's relentless. Resilient. Nothing keeps her down.

She graciously shares the glory of her victories.

Do not underestimate the smallest among us . . .

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Good Stuff

Here are two videos I think you might enjoy.

Bridgette received some giant Lego blocks for Christmas, a favorite toy for sure. Mostly we build and destroy towers, but one evening I built a dog.

See for yourself.

I whipped out my phone's camera right as she was giving the colorful puppy a delightful kiss on the nose.

The second video is one of those lucky, wonderful, zen bits of life.

The birds collecting in the trees were so plentiful and so loud that we could hear them chirruping from inside the house. More and more and more birds collected until the tops of the leafless Poplars were black.

Bridgette and I went outside to experience this natural orchestra, and--as if they had a conductor--in a moment they all went silent then flew away. I'm not sure why it was such a powerful experience. Perhaps because it was so unexpected? But 'amazing' doesn't quite describe it.

Within a few minutes hundreds of them had returned and were once again brightening an otherwise dull, gray day.