Val and mommy at Disneyland
What's Going On
Well, not a whole lot. That's for starters.
The most exciting things are:
- That Val is sleeping LIKE A CHAMP in her own room. Seriously. 9-10 hours in a row, like regular kids. She can even soothe herself back to sleep before we can get in there. Yesterday, I was peeking in on her before I left for work when she rolled over, stirred a little, found her pacifier, didn't quite get it in her mouth right, said 'no' then put it in and went back to sleep.
I guess this means we'll have to actually 'finish' her room now.
- We may have found a preschool/elementary school we like for her. Yes, it's sort of a ways off, but not really. Preschool could start as soon as next spring in some places so we wanted to know what our options are.
Unfortunately, for a Cantonese-speaking preschool, the options are slim. As in none. The in-home places I've seen (on the internet of course) look awful -- 3 kids strapped into highchairs while a woman sits in front of them with her hands over her head. I kid you not. Psst, lady, highchairs are for meals, not for baby restraining devices. So we started talking about what we're willing to compromise and for now, it came down to Mandarin vs. Cantonese.
So we found a place that starts preschool at 3, and goes through 5th grade. It's a 'real' school, no woman waving at kids strapped into highchairs when not eating, no weird backyard playgrounds. I need to call over there and find out if they have opinions about 2 mom families (hi, I'm just wondering, are y'all homophobic??) and set up a tour. But it sounds good and I'm relieved.
- I'm STILL quite ready for a vacation.
- Viv and Lucinda made Burninator trading cards and I have to tell you, they are the coolest thing ever. Nice work, ladies!
Man, They Are Cute!
When we first got Alice, back in 1999, we found a vet that was close to our house and even on our way to work. She was just starting her own practice and we liked them right away. And for all the time their office was convenient to our house, it was great. We loved the doc (still do, always will) and the staff was very kind. One woman even drove Alice down to the vet who did the surgery that ended up killing her because I had a new job and had to get to work, even though I wanted nothing more than to sit there waiting for news. (I still can't type that without crying.)
For a time, they were like family. Alice's death made them cry, too.
But since Alice's death, we've been largely blessed with healthy dogs who don't need to be seen nearly as often as she did. Mostly because they don't make as many attempts to kill themselves as she did (by eating vast quantities of shit that could kill her). And, we've moved. And, we have different jobs that are nowhere near the office, making getting there, with the dog(s) and the baby nearly impossible during their seriously limited regular office hours.
But we kept trying, because they were like family to us. Because they knew Alice. Because she knew about Pat's seizures and worked with me over the phone many a time to adjust his meds to help stop those seizures. And for all that, I will always be grateful to them. Always, please make no mistake.
But. Today I went to pick up Pat's meds and was told that it's been over a year since he's been examined (yes, true, but just barely) and that phenobarb is a controlled substance so all they could do was give me enough to tide him over until he can come in to be seen.
Okay, sigh. Yes. That makes sense. But. I do not appreciate the receptionist, who has known me for NEARLY A DECADE, through all these dogs and all this heartbreak, I do not appreciate her attempts to make me feel like a schmuck because my dog takes a controlled substance. Hi. I'm not mainlining the stuff. In fact, I'm giving it to my dog so his seizures, when they happen, will eventually stop and not kill him just yet.
And PS, you've known me for almost a decade. I haven't changed. Perhaps you have.
So I made the appointment, for 4:20 pm on a Thursday, with a different doc in the practice than our vet. The logistics of getting there with Rainie and Pat (she needs her yearly anyway) at 4 fucking 20 pm on a workday are nearly impossible. So with a heavy heart, I took that 4:20 appointment knowing that making it was the only way I could get 2 weeks worth of pills for Pat.
And then, in my car, I called Adobe and made the same appointment for a Saturday afternoon. When we can get them there without pissing off our bosses.
I do feel like I'm cheating on Dr. Kate. She's absolutely fabulous and if she was available even one day a month after hours, we'd find a way to get there.
But she's not. And though it breaks my heart in a lot of ways, we'll be taking our business elsewhere and in no small way, leaving a bit of Alice behind.
It's been almost 6 years since we lost her and though my heart has mostly healed, please don't think for a second that a day goes by where I don't think of her or that I don't miss her like crazy. Because I do. Oh yes, I do.
I know what you're thinking, that in the last year my posts have gotten less frequent and more disjointed. It's true. Blame it on Val -- she's just far more interesting than anything else. Yes, even than hockey. How do you like them apples?
In a vain effort to make it up to the three of you here's a variety of topics for you to enjoy.
Weaning. Yep, we're done. I made it just past a year then stopped pumping while we were in Phoenix. I figured, wisely, that desert dehydration would help out with that and it sure did. I've pumped a couple of times since then, the last one 2 weeks ago today, just to relieve the pressure. Because you can't just turn that shit off. I thought I'd tapered it down enough to where I wouldn't have to deal with that but I was wrong.
It still hurts a little bit right now but I'm not going to do anything about it. I had thought that maybe Val would still nurse like 1 time a day, in the middle of the night, but she started sleeping through 5 am right around turning 1. I offered her the tap a couple of times, the last time, she shook her head no and reached for a bottle.
And that was that.
I feel like I should be more emotional about it. I know plenty of women who have breastfed for far longer than I did and it puts me in this weird place, for 'only' having done it for a year. I cannot, cannot imagine having Val walk up to me and lift my shirt for a snack. I know that I cut things off at the right time for me but I'm still proud as hell that we made it to a year. She's finishing up my stash of frozen milk now, having 1 bottle a day. I think we have about 3 weeks left in there and then that's it, cow's milk only for her.
And thank God. It was one of the most labor-intensive things I've ever done. I'm proud as hell that I did it but man. I am DONE. DONE.
Um. I tried out for a tournament team a couple of weeks back. I was so sick that day and though I tried so hard to time my medications and my rest schedule so that I'd do well, I'm pretty sure that didn't work out so well. Should I get a call to actually play with them, I'd be damn surprised.
I had fun skating, though. These days, that sorta feels like enough.
We head to Ohio and New Jersey in a few weeks. Even though it's Ohio, and Jersey, I'm still ready as hell for a vacation.
Less than a month after that, we head to DisneyWorld. To say that I'm ready and excited for that trip, well, that's not saying enough. Lessgo now!!!
Let's Talk About Race, Shall We?
Instead of telling you all the cool shit Val started saying this weekend, I'd like to talk about race. I've been thinking about this since last Christmas, when my friend's husband felt the need to call Val a name, in the interests of misguided racist comments masquerading as comedy. And really, I've been thinking about it since long before Val was born.
But when Andrea mentioned AmFam's story about overhearing some people make an anti-Asian comment in JCrew, I started thinking about it again.
I started thinking about the friend's husband who called Val the name. About how he'd also called his wife the worst name possible, in my presence. We showed up for dinner one night and whatever she'd done, in his eyes, warranted him calling her the c-word in front of us while the wife was out of earshot. Made for a very tense dinner, I tell you what. So okay, fine, the guy likes to call people names.
But it's more than just That Guy (who I really used to like and who I want to like, despite the number of names he calls people behind their backs). It's that my daughter was singled out for something, way before she's old enough to figure out how she wants to handle that.
I guess in a way, it's funny. So far, she's been singled out as much for being half-Chinese as for the fact that she's got two moms. Though that interests people in it's own right. (If I had more time, I'd link to the post about the weird woman who followed us all around the Haight asking stupidass questions, interrupting the little time I had to visit with my long-lost friend from high school who had miraculously found me last year and was here for the weekend. I'd also link to the dumbass comment the woman at the vet's office made about Val's 'daddy'.)
So I'm thinking about my friend's husband, wondering if the comment he made moves him into the 'so I'm thinking about my former friend's husband' category or if we'll proceed with caution around them. Or what. I dunno. I know that hearing ANYONE talk any kind of shit about my daughter, who is not yet 20 lbs and who does not yet have the words to use to stand up for herself, is more than any mother should have to bear.
Talk your shit to me. Make up things that will hurt my feelings deeper than I'd ever tell you. But leave Val out of your feeble attempts at humor.
But race is a whole lot larger than one guy at a party. It IS something that will come up for Val, even living here where I'm one of 4 white people on my whole street, and where Val is half of the one of 1.5 Chinese people on the street. Yes, even here.
Maybe it's easy to look at AmFam trying to throw down with someone who, not unlike my friend's husband, tried to make a joke. An innocent joke, in their eyes, but a joke for white people just the same. And I guess that's where my issue starts. That there's this secret language of white people. Eddie Murphy described it best when he got made up as a white guy, then headed out into the world. He got all sorts of preferential treatment and was exposed to this hidden world.
Yep, it was a funny skit but back even then, it got me to thinking that in some ways there really is a secret language of white people. I've tried really hard not to speak that language and now that I have a daughter who is half-Chinese, I'm trying twice as hard not to let anyone speak it around me. Maybe the 'jokes' about her race people are making aren't that offensive. I dunno, I'm not Chinese, I'm just white. I didn't grow up with people making comments like those so I'm not used to them. I don't have a thick skin about them.
And you know what? I don't want to grow one. Because, first and foremost, I'm her mom. It's my duty to protect her from shit, even from supposedly innocent comments. One day, she'll have enough experience as a half-Asian person to know what's funny to her and what's not. But for now, all she has is a mom who hasn't lived that life. So it seems clear to me that the best I can do is protect her from all the comments, until she's got her own opinion.
Not only that, if you're going to speak the secret language of white people to me, do you speak the secret language of straight people when I'm not around? Do you think of me as your lesbian friend before you think of me as just your friend?
Perhaps I lean too far over the line in not wanting to speak this secret language of white people, to create an environment where it's Us vs. Them, where any one person is somehow more or better than another simply because of skin color. But I don't have the experience of being anything but white, I don't know what would smart and what wouldn't. I know all too well the comments that have smarted in my own life, how I carry some of them with me still. White, Chinese, whatever, you can bet your ass I'll do everything I can to prevent Val from growing up letting those comments make her feel second-best.
One Year Ago Today
I Miss This Guy
He was, without a doubt, the easiest dog we've ever loved. Yes, the biggest, but so undemanding. He wanted only to be fed, to have stuffed toys to maul and a soft place to lay his weary bones.
I am proud as hell that we gave him all three, plus more love than he'd ever known. I miss him like crazy.
I almost have full use of my voice again. Hello, loud!
Val's fever is mostly gone. Thank the Jesus, and his bearded friends.
I think we might just get through this.
It Shouldn't Be This Hard
Val has been sick since Phoenix. Her wee nose has been running ever since and this morning, her fever returned with a vengeance. We did everything we could to cool her off, but she was still quite warm, then later, she started crying, howling, for no reason. So I figured that since we were going back to the pediatrician (still 'vet' in my head) to have Val's TB test read, I'd see if they could take a look at her.
Because she was so goddamn hot, even after the Tylenol, that I figured it was either the ped's or the ER.
So I bail on my meeting (because of the crying, makes it hard to dial in) and rush her to the doc. Where they seem totally unprepared to convert a 'let's look at your arm for two seconds' into a full-fledged appointment. The receptionist starts barking at me about their goddamn handouts, did I read one, did I get the one on the vaccine? No, I didn't get one but I did my homework, I knew what kinds of reactions were normal for it, I knew that the recommendation was to bring the kid into the doctor if they got a fever.
Which, btw, is totally what it says on their fucking handout.
So I'm standing there, at the doc's asking them to see her, and they're talking about the handout. I don't give a rat's ass about the handout, I want my baby to be seen, I want something done about her fever that won't go away.
The doc finally comes out to the waiting room, glances at Val's TB test, declares her passed, then says 'I understand you want to make an appointment.' Um, no, I want to sit here until you have time to squeeze in a look at my feverish, very unhappy baby. She tells me to check with reception, then walks away. Huh?
I have been to many a doctor's office and I've never heard it phrased like that. So I was all confused, not to mention pissed off at all the discussion about the handout and the lack of discussion about my child's fever.
So I left and was going to head home with Val when Andrea talked me into going back in there since a doctor's office beats the ER, if you can help it.
I went back in and the (nice) receptionist gave me an appointment time of an hour from then. Fine, whatever. I mentioned that I didn't appreciate all the handout talk, that if I was there with a sick kid, I needed to be heard. She apologized and as if to support my assertions, Val screamed bloody murder for no reason.
Finally, the doc (not our regular doc) saw Val and said she really didn't know what the issue was. But she guessed sinus infection and prescribed antibiotics. Here's hoping it helps.
Because this was no fun:
For All You Band Nerds
My band buddy Greg, Master of 2nd alto and 4th tenor, gives you this clip:
Tribute to 4th trumpet. Enjoy!
She Loves Cousin
I think the only thing more boring than being sick is reading a blog post about being sick. So I'll spare you.
I will, however, tell you about my entry in the World's Worst Mother contest.... Yesterday, I was out in the garage packing my hockey gear. Val was out there with me, toddling around while I did so. When I was done, she was near the doorway so I tried to get through with my giant hockey backpack on. At that exact moment, Val stepped back into the doorway so I couldn't get through. I put my hand on her head and tried to gently move her outside.
Except, of course, that she fell. And scratched her head and neck. And cried.
And I felt bad. No, horrible. Sigh.
Sick, And A Tick
Well, we're all still sick. Val is on the mend, slowly, and I think maybe I am too. But I'm not 100% convinced that I am. Blech. I played the late game last night with a whopping 9 people on the bench. My attendance was perhaps not the smartest thing I could have done because it was a very loooong game.
Saturday was Carolyn and Peter's wedding. It was really lovely, the setting was beautiful and I was absolutely humbled by how damn cute Val was, dancing with the bride and groom.
Later, we noticed that she had a little black dot on her neck. It seemed like it was maybe a scab, or a speck of dirt. Finally, we realized that HOLY SHIT, it's a tick. ACK.
We read up on tick removal, Andrea expertly tweezed the fucker out and now all we have to do is worry that the stupid tick has given Val lyme disease. So far, she's showing no signs but you can bet your ass that we're watching closely.