Saturday, March 28, 2009


Sorry we've been laggng with the photos! Zack had a checkup last week, and here he is waiting for the doctor. The stats: 24 pounds, 12 ounces (92nd-95th percentile), 30 1/2 inches (95th - 97th percentile) and a head circumerence of 19 inches (still off the charts).

Asleep on mommy

Hanging out in the front yard


First time swimming!

Well, not really swimming. But we're going to enroll him in class.


Yummy.  Some old pictures.  Internet connection working at the moment.  Technician arrives on Monday to replace or repair something.

Yesterday Zack and I went to play with Tekla, Geneva, Baby Kate (who is no longer a baby, but three!), and Tek's mom.  Geneva is simply the funniest person in the entire world.  She cracks Zack up.  He spent some time crawling around after her on the front lawn.  He also got to play a fun game with playing cards and a bowl.  I put the cards in the bowl, and he took them out and put them in his mouth.

Tekla is a great hostess and gave Zack some rice and beans and broccoli.  We've been a little lazy about finger foods around here, but only because I cannot seem to get to the store.  Yesterday, I had Zack in the car, finishing a car nap in the parking lot of Trader Joe's.  It took way too long.  I finished my Iphone Scrabble and got bored.  Then, Marion called and we blew off the store and went to the park.  So I ended up just letting my car idle in the parking lot for 40 minutes.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Yesterday Zack just took off, schlepped out of the living room, and into the hallway. He was moving fast, doing this peg legged crawl. He's on the left knee but up tall on the right foot. Sometimes the right foot is out in front. It's very funny looking, really, but he's fast.

He banged on the bathroom door, but it wouldn't open. Good--child proofing made easy! He turned and headed into our bedroom and made it pretty far. As soon as he decided Jeff's trash can was a good toy, I picked him up.

He's all over the place now! So cash in your bets. He did crawl, or anyway schlep, before walking. So many people told me he would probably skip the crawl phase completely.

And actually, I'm pretty sure he could move like this for a while, but why bother? If there are toys nearby, who needs to move?

AND! He also looked right at me and said, "Mommy." Seriously! I said, "Yes, that's right! I'm Mommy!" And he could tell I was pretty stoked, so he said it again! Still not a reliable crowd pleasing baby trick. He also will not wave bye bye just to make me look good. I mean, I know my baby is not supposed to be a performing monkey. But come on, monkey, dance and wave to the people already!

"Mommy" seems to not only mean who I am. It also indicates, "Hey, I want out of the highchair." Or, "I'm hungry." He actually did say, "Mommy nay nay." HI-larious. I wonder how long it will be before anyone actually can verify that I'm telling the truth. The baby is talking. FRRRREEEAKY!

Pictures soon. We have been dealing with too many annoying internet problems. I hope to have time to make some fixing attempts this weekend. Once again, I'm posting from my "job."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Special Bulletin

Zack stood up yesterday! No hands!

He was outside in the boat at daycare. There's a big plastic boat, where he has spent a lot of time since September. He's been hanging out in there since all he could do was lie around in a Boppy. The outdoor area at daycare is super nice.

I saw him pushing to standing, with his hands on the side of the boat. When he saw me, he stood up, arms over head, and said, "Nay nay!"

I was amazed! He was up for a few seconds, and then he sort of swayed and started to fall on his bum, but I caught him and gave him a whole bunch of kisses.

Yay Zack!

He is also definitely saying Mama. Clear as day.

And he ate a pear yesterday! Well, he toothed and gummed it. I got pictures, but stupid internet, stupid Airport Utilities, stupid invisible devices, grumble grumble grrrr... I don't know what is going on, but we are having some really annoying tech issues at home! I'm actually posting from (ahem) "work."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I took a stab at our taxes today, using the free Turbo Tax software in the accounting class where I work.  When I saw the result, I returned our TV.  Well, it hasn't been delivered, so I just went to Best Buy and got a refund.  While I was there, I called Mom and found out she's being readmitted to the hospital.   I don't think she's as bad as she was.  Just dehydrated.

So everything and everybody is going back.  And more weirdness with Grandma.  I thought she was pretty together yesterday, but it's just so apparent that she cannot hold onto information.

But yesterday she did come up with the best term for how Zack gets around.  He's great at standing, but there's no forward motion.  If he really wants to move from A to B, he does this combination crawl, fall, roll, pull, and then a few other moves.  I actually want to videotape it and speed it up.  It kind of happens slowly, so that maybe five minutes later, you'll say, "Hey, he moved a whole seven feet!"  But you can't really remember how it happened.  We were out on the front lawn the other day and he got interested in the sprinkler, and then gradually, over time, he got to it.  I don't know how.  My grandmother nailed, though:  "He schleps."

Zack was kind of ornery in Best Buy today, but for a kid who had a too short nap in the car, he was very, very good.  There was some computer issue  and it took forever for this poor manager to run around the store collecting enough cash to repay me.  I had to get cash for some reason.  Then finally I didn't need cash.  I won't bore you with the details, but it took a along time.  At one point I had to warn the manager, "Um, I'm going to have a screaming baby in here soon."  But I didn't.  Just a baby who made me take my shirt off a whole bunch to give him his nay nay.  He's a good natured kid.  We're lucky.

I swear I'm hearing him say Mama.  Too weird.  It just can't be.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


It's so funny what will capture Zack's attention.  He was fascinated by Mom's slippers when I went to visit the folks today.  I actually got these for her when she first went into the hospital.  The physical therapist and all the nurses there loved them, and apparently they were so popular that someone put a note on the bulletin board near the nurses' station informing everyone that you could purchase these slippers in the gift shop.  I was at a loss about what to get Mom, since no flowers were allowed.  I ended up opting for slippers, a stuffed animal, and a purse.  And I got myself the same purse.  It was a good day for the gift shop.

And Zack loves the slippers.

He had a great day visiting the family today.  Grandma was finally allowed to smush him a little.  He stood on my lap and waved his arms around and addressed the good people of the living room.  He's really quite the orator.  He played peekaboo with Great Grandma and laughed his head off.  And he ate a ton.  He ate a piece of bread, and some rice cereal and peas.  And he nursed non stop.

He also got interested in some papers Mom was removing from the coffee table, and he stood up with only one hand to balance himself, as he reached with his other hand toward the papers!  There was what seemed like a long, long moment where I watched this happening in complete disbelief.  The sight of him standing there, perfectly balanced, one hand outstretched, just by himself:  stunning.

So the family are all remarkably in their right minds again.  Mom straightened out Grandma's meds, and now Grandma is making sense again.  And Mom herself is now lucid, which I'm not quite used to.  For a month I've been talking to and taking care of people who had a hard time communicating and understanding me.  It got to the point where if Jeff didn't catch what I said and asked, "What?" I would almost get panicky.  (No, no, not you, too!)  But now all seems to be well.


I took this with my iPhone, which doesn't work so great in low light, but it captures the action-y blur of these xylophone sticks, which Zack used today to bang the heck out of everything.  I thought he might smash his new little toy cell phone.  He banged the sticks together.  He would not let go of the sticks today.  I had to put him in the high chair with the sticks, and he didn't eat much--just sat there banging on the tray.   I finally pried them loose for bath time.  It was great to see how much he latched on to the concept that these were little hammers.  It kinda looked like that monkey scene in 2001--except much louder.

Jeff came home and found one stick in the kitchen, one in the bathroom, and Zack and me asleep on the futon.  I often fall asleep at 7:00 with Zack and then have a little wander round the house at 2 or 3 in the morning.  You know, a little dinner.  A little futzing with our internet.

I don't know what is up, but I keep thinking that maybe the economy is finally hitting our internet connection.  It's slow, and for some reason, my computer can't see devices, and then Jeff's computer can't access my network.  And we're having trouble on Rational Moms, too.  It's just frustrating because it's bad enough that I have to do my taxes, but if you get me started fixing computer problems, I'll just emerge three days later from this frustrated but happy little geek hole.  It's such a time suck, but in this weird way, I do enjoy it.

And speaking of tech stuff, Zack and I went to Best Buy today, and we had a stellar time together as usual.  He decided it was nap time--no arguments, folks, it's happening now!  And he napped in my arms while I looked at various flat screen pictures.  When he woke up, he was in a great mood, bubbly and ready for admiration.  A woman came over and started talking about his big blue eyes, his red hair, and oh my gosh, a dimple, too?  It's the whole package! Then she tickled Zack (okay, a little weird when people touch your baby, but this time it was fine) and he let out a peal of his unbelievable little laugh, and then it was over.  The woman was just beside herself.  She could not believe it.  I mean what is with this kid?  Did he go to baby charm school when I wasn't looking?

The guy working at Best Buy gave Zack a little toy Curious George, and Zack looked the guy right in the eye.  It was like he was saying thanks.

And then the guy rung us up for a brand new TV.

Happy frickin' 40th birthday to me.

Okay, it's actually coming up in April, but here's the thing, our old TV sucks.  The sound is terrible.  My ex got the TV used from the people moving out of our old apartment, and it went on the fritz not too long after that.  We tried rerouting the sound through the stereo, but the sound connection thingy is also broken.

I work at a vocational school, so I asked the home theater repair teacher about fixing my TV.  He said it wasn't even worth it to fix TVs.  I don't know if that's necessarily the whole story, but hey, good enough excuse for Jeff and I to buy a new one.  Only we haven't bought a new one.  We just keep trying to watch the old one, and we have to use the captions feature on DVDs just to make out anything at all.

We just had a discussion about the TV situation, and we also had a discussion about how we're going to track our expenses for 30 days, starting today.  We figure we're spending too much money on takeout and expensive juices, and we need to curb that.  So today I spent $1.80 on snacks, $4.00 on Girl Scout cookies I bought from a co-worker....

And oh yeah, I bought a TV.  Add that to the tally!  First day out and I'm already saving money on juice!

Another funny thing about Best Buy with Zack was that I didn't bring in my diaper bag.  I didn't even bring in my wallet.  I just got out my bank card and my driver's license, and my phone, and I carried Zack.  I left everything else in the car.  And oh yeah, I actually left my diaper bag at home.  I didn't have it with me when I picked him up from daycare, and Best Buy is on the way home.

It was such a bad idea, in retrospect.  I had none of his stuff with me, not even another diaper.  And it was near nap time.  But what can I say?  I guess he travels light like I do.  He was ready for the whole scene, as long as we could stop for an hour while he slept in my arms.  And that actually worked out great, because then I could really study the subtle differences between the pictures on the models in my price range.  (It was the low range, just to make everyone feel a little better about the TV.) I think this is what that actually stopped me from buying a TV during my other trips to Best Buy.  I didn't have enough time to stare and stare at the three choices I really had, trying to determine if I wanted the sky to be bluer or the butterflies to maybe look more realistic.  I totally opted for more color.  Screw realistic.  I'm a sucker for saturation.

Zack is still waking up every three hours at night to eat, and I think I might actually muster up the strength to try and night wean him.  But for the most part, I find then when I just roll with what he can do, it works.  I have kind of stopped believing I can do much about his naps.  Obviously if he can sleep in Best Buy and Home Depot, he knows when he needs to sleep.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Okay, I might have my first nervous breakdown today.

I'm just so effing tired. In spite of my glorious post on Rational Moms about our victorious sleep training and my decision to side with mainstream parents across the US, um, we SUCK at sleep training, and we're pushovers. We give in to every demand.

Tekla came over to babysit last night, and Jeff and I went to see the Watchmen. We knew it would be dicey, because the night before, Zack had a full on freak out when he did his hour after bed time wakeup. I warned Tek. She's a pro, so she asked a great question: how long should she let the boy cry before calling me?

And I said, hey, if you're uncomfortable, call. No minimum time requirement.

I can't say I'm sorry she called, because the Watchmen was the most violent, disturbing crap I've ever sat through. There were a lot of shots of cute buttocks, though, if you're into that. And some full frontal male nudity. I guess you can show a big, blue atomic guy's weinie now. I guess the MPAA is okay with it. They didn't show it when the big, blue atomic guy was the size of a house--just when he was our size, so hey, it's fine.

Zack woke up to eat last night, and Jeff brought him into our room. And his diaper leaked all over the mattress. So we had to change him, and he completely, totally blew his top. That is just NOT how it gets done at our place, most of the time. You don't tear the baby away from the boob mid meal, at two in the morning. I mean, what was THAT ABOUT????!!!! Sheer outrage. We tried various calming techniques as Jeff attempted to squeeze the little sausage into his size 12 month PJs. NO EFFING DICE.

At one point, we stood him up just to see if we could wrangle his wriggly hands into his sleeves, and he started twisting his body around to see if he could get his wailing mouth any closer to the Mommy prize.

So traumatic!

And Tek fed him all the milk last night, so although I tried to pump, I could not catch up. I have not been able to stay ahead of him, have no frozen supply, since month five or something.

I really envy my friends whose babies just decided they were not interested in breast milk at nine months old. Zack will be at it until he's five, if we let him.

And the way things are going, won't we just let him??? We are really not very forceful about much. I woke up with him in the futon again today, swapped places so Jeff could keep him company, and now they are coming to visit me at work, so we don't have to give Zack formula. And...I'm pumping while I write this!

We are trying to not give Zack formula because we think it really might bother his eczema. But I'm philosophically fine with formula. Even though for some odd reason, it's a huge challenge to my ego whenever the kid gets even an ounce of it.

So I may as well give it up. I thought I was a sleep training, baby in the crib, formula loving, modern mom. But let's face it, I'm a breast feeding and co-sleeping mom, and I may never sleep through the night again!

Friday, March 13, 2009


Hey, everybody. Just wanted to say:

Foot's better.

Butt's better.

Zack's better.

Mom's coming home today.

The arrangements for her homecoming have been characteristically cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs over at the folks' place. Things have always been nutty in my family. With the addition of several prescription pain meds and a hefty dose of old age, the confusion and theatrics became even more intense. But we seem to have worked it out. Last I heard, everything was settled. According to Mom, Leticia and Lidia will now come to help Grandma for a combined total of four hours a day.

And according to Grandma, only Leticia is coming, and only for two hours a day.

I'm glad everyone's happy! Can't wait to see how this one plays out. I was on the phone from work for several hours yesterday. I hope they don't send me a bill.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Fun With the Little Dude

Not a new picture.  Just wanted to post about our day.

First off, while I thought that Zack throwing up all over the car was the cherry on top of the crap sundae that has been this month, I think it was actually just the whipped cream.  Yesterday, at an audition, I had to run around and do a bunch of physical stuff, and I ran into the camera tripod.  The audition folks were saying, "Did you break your toe?  I heard a crunch!"  I said of course not and continued to run and jump around.

Then, I got in the car, and I realized that clearly, I had broken my toe!  It is so black and blue today.  I went to get an x-ray.

So that just must be the cherry!  It must be!  That has to be the end of the lameness.

And speaking of end, well, there's actually yet one more thing. seems our blog has a few readers from my mother's workplace, and well, I feel a little bad that they got to hear all about her soiled robe.  So just to let it all out, I have a hemorrhoid, left over from pregnancy, and lately it has been really bothering me.

So when Jeff comes home and says, "How are you?"  I really only have this to say:

My toe hurts.

And my butt hurts.

Before the audition, Jeff and I actually had a lunch date, and it was so great to see him in the middle of the day, and it was so sunny and nice.  I just knew things were looking up.

Crunch.  Broken toe.

But anyway, I had a fantastic day with Zack today.  Here's what we did, after my toe x-ray.

We dropped off a job application for me at LA Valley College.  Why was it so fun?  I think it was fun to carry Zack across the campus.  I've been skeptical of slings, since the boy is just so huge, so I thought I'd rupture a disk carrying him in a sling.  But I could really see the fun of a sling as I carried him along on my hip and was privy to his view of the world.  He noticed squirrels, so I noticed them.  He saw birds whizzing overhead, so I did, too.  It was really great to see all this normal stuff as new and exciting stuff.  And it was really great for everyone to just fall apart when they saw Zack.

And keep your fingers crossed.  I think I'd like to get this job, and it's right near Zack's daycare.  It would get me out of LAUSD, which is just one big sinking ship right now.  I have the exact experience they're looking for, and then I'd be a real live college teacher.  We'll see.

Then Zack and I went to drop off his little headshots at his agency, which is right near our place, as it turns out.  Then, we went to the post office.  And then I got some pizza and he played with my keys and the top of a Snapple bottle.  In the pizza place, I heard the following gold as hell exchange between some teenage boys:

Boy One:  Why does your hair look like you just had sex with ten monkeys?

Boy Two:  Because that's what happened.  Only it was twenty monkeys.

Those unsuspecting boys have no idea that I am stealing this dialogue.  It's just too good not to end up in something.

The owner of the pizza place and his relative at the cash register (who looked 18 and had an 18-month-old) talked to me and Zack.  They loved Zack.  This place was supposed to be New York Pizza, but the pizza (although delicious) was nothing like I remember from New York, and the interior of the joint was covered with LA graffiti.  It maybe was supposed to be cool, but it was a mess.  The place delivers, and when I told them approximately where I live, the owner said, "Yeah, they just found a body in a trunk over there."

How he knows this, and who "they" are, I did not ask.  I surely didn't hear about this incident before today!

And there you have it.  Our day in North Hollywood.  Why was it so much fun?  When I write it all out, it seems quite mundane.  And perhaps at times sinister and frightening.  But whenever I'm with Zack, I just have the best time.  He makes all my little errands so awesome.  I love taking him out to get stuff done.  He's so game.  He is happy to sit on my lap while I eat pizza.

Oh, and then we came home and played roll around on the futon and laugh like crazy.  That was really fun.

And now he's taking a nap during what used to be his bedtime.  His recent illness and daylight saving time have really messed up our schedule.  I gotta go get him up now.

And Mom is better and better.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Nine months!

Here's the little munchkin is as I dropped him off at daycare this morning. Neither I nor the two other adults trying to get his attention were able to, since he was more interested in what some other baby was doing. Pff. Other baby.

So Zack celebrated last night with a middle-of-the-night party, and Daddy was invited. He got up at 2:30 and he was up. Not interested in nursing, just interested in having me support him in standing position so he could look around and go "Da-dah-dah-dah-DAH!"

Early in the party, when I still had some sense of humor about things, I noted his contented demeanor and thought I'd try putting him in his crib awake. It works sometimes at bedtime. So I put him in without any trouble and settled down on the futon we keep in his room, eyes on the crib. I couldn't see him through the bumper, but by the enthusiastic noises I figured this wasn't going to work.

But then a surprise! Did my eyes deceive me, or did I just see a tuft of red hair heave into sight for a moment before falling back down? Surely he stuck his foot in the air, or... was that his head? Holy crap, it was his head, because there it is again! Before I could even take this in, there were two little hands gripping the top rail and Zack's face in between them, looking at me. Of course I cracked up, and then he smiled, and then I pulled him out and it was party time again. Ah well.

While he can't yet get himself from his back to sitting up in one move, he has developed a tummy roll/sideways push combo to achieve the same result. I don't know why it never occured to me that he could do it in his crib, but who cares! Seeing that little guy's four-toothed grin over the top of that rail was one of the cutest things I've ever seen in my life.

Good thing for him, too, considering my mood four hours later.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Fun Stuff of Late

These are some pictures from the shoot Jeff did to get Zack's "headshot."  The agency is using the bottom photo plus the one of him on the slide I posted a while back.

So Zack waved today!  We were playing together, looking in the mirror, and I waved to him.  He raised his little hand in reply four times, so I know he was actually doing it!  I don't know if this will be an experiment I can reproduce later for company.  But I'm pretty sure he waved.  It was so cool!

This was right after I had to change him and the futon covers again.  Another big yack with no warning.  Oh well.  We both took a three hour nap today--very badly needed for both of us.  Now he's down again, but I have a feeling this nap will just be a mini one, so I'll just blog a bit.  I don't think I could get the bathroom cleaned during this nap.  Anyway, I'm going with that theory.

So here's some stuff Zack does.

He gives baby kisses.  He's actually been doing this for quite a while.  I want to say a couple months, but the time all blurs together.  If you give him a kiss on the cheek and then ask for a kiss back, you will get a big, open mouthed, slobbery, drooly, toothy, and sometimes snotty kiss back.  Often there is biting involved.

I think there is nothing better!

His speech is developing.  Jeff says he still hears "nay nay" for milk.  I often hear the extended dance remix of nay nay, which is Zack giving me a piece of his mind about something he really doesn't like.  Just now, he was sitting in the high chair and got bored and wasn't hungry.

"Nuh nuh nuh!  Nay nay nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh!"  And on and on.  This means something along the lines of, "I don't want to be here anymore.  Pick me up!"  And he will say it until I do, often while I try to buy a little time to finish whatever I am eating by responding, "Yes?  Do you want to get out of the highchair?  Give me a second, here.  I'm just finishing my sweet potato.  Okay."

I love that he is really talking to us.  He will do this before resorting to crying.

He also is very, very close to saying Daddy.  I've heard the nascent version of Daddy in there a few times, and I don't think I'm pulling a Grandma.  My mother will hear Zack say, "Muuhhh," and insist, "He said Mommy!  He said Mommy!"  He did not say Mommy.

But I've heard, "Duh-daaaay!" when Jeff leaves the room.  It's very close.  Okay, maybe I am reading too much into this one.

A couple days ago, he ate sweet potatoes, black beans, brown rice, a little egg yolk, and broccoli.  I call this a Zack casserole, which Jeff shortened to Zackerole.  It's great.  Since I was such a veggie for a while, this is like ideal eating for me.  I am eating one of the sweet potatoes I bought for Zack right now as a little snack.  I'm sure eventually Zack will become more like Jeff and want nothing but sausage and ice cream.  The problem is, those things are so tasty that I tend to eat that way a lot now, too.  So I'm glad there's another person in the house who likes brown rice, at least for now.

I can't say I'm the healthiest person.  Jeff's company has been working on a Corn Pops add, so there have been boxes of Corn Pops around here that I have been devouring.  Jeff caught me in bed with a box one day, sticky saliva trailing down my cheek.  He said, "That's what that noise was. I thought a raccoon got in the house."  I guess I was munching kind of loud.

Zack loves to stand.  We got a storage ottoman, inspired by Jules, and chucked our old coffee table. The ottoman is the greatest piece of furniture ever, and it's soft, so not a danger to Zack.  He loves to pull himself to standing and bang on it like a drum.  Since his nose is running lately, this piece of furniture has been renamed by Jeff.  It is now the snottoman.

We have quite a few new words thanks to Zack.  The Intellitainer turned out to be a great device to get Zack to empty out his bowels.  We'll stick him in there before going on errands, just to clear everything out.  It's almost foolproof.  So we've dubbed it the Intellipooper.  When Jeff calls me at work to give me the morning report, it's often, "He woke up at 7:00, Intellipooped, then I got him dressed...."  The Intellipooper has three keys that play cool little jazz riffs, and you can sing, "Dah dah dah daaaaah, Intellipooper!" to all of them, which I love to do.  And I mean, I sing this song when I'm out and about, so someone is going to catch me soon singing it at Trader Joe's.

So I'm just wondering when we'll catch a break.

Here's Zack, practicing two of the skills he will need as an LA native.


And eating Mexican food.
OK, the internet connection is working at Jeff's desk, but not mine.  I cannot explain this, but that's what's happening.  On my side of the apartment, you have to sign in, the device isn't recognized, or the connection times out.  But over here, life is peachy.

And the thing is, if I have to keep fixing things that are broken, I am just never going to get a chance to do anything creative ever again.

We took Zack down to Orange yesterday.  Mom is settling into her new place.  She feels she rescued an elderly man across the hall from her, who kept exposing himself and was not checked by any of the nurses.  Her medication was screwed up again, and while I was there the nurse on duty discovered that, "Oh yeah, the nurse last night signed for your patch but didn't put it on."  Mom greeted me with a list of "concerns," but at the end of the list, there just wasn't much I could do.  I called her pain doctor, who said he's not on staff at this place and can't do much more.  Mom said she had no idea what was going on, what the goals for her recovery were.  Luckily I was there when they went over all this with her at the hospital.  She doesn't remember because she was OD'd on methadone at the time.  Then she said, "I don't even know who my doctor is!" and she gestured toward her wrist band.

Then she read the wrist band.  It was her same doctor from the hospital.  She just hadn't read very carefully.

After I found out from the nurse that this doctor will come and see Mom tomorrow, she felt much better.  She arrived at this place on the wrong meds on a Friday night, so it's been a confusing weekend for her.  Saturday morning I dealt with straightening out her pain meds with the now obsolete (because he's not on staff at her nursing home) Dr. Sterling, who Mom always, always calls Dr. Silver.  Sometimes she focuses very hard and gets a look on her face like, "This time, I'm going to get it!"  And then she says Dr. Silver.  To be fair, she finally got it right yesterday.  Anyway, I called Mom from work to check in, and she said they were poisoning her.  They gave her Oxicodone instead of Roxenall.  They didn't believe her when she said that was wrong.  Turns out St. Joe's--some a-hole at St. Joe's--wrote the order wrong.  I frickin' hate that place.  St. Joe's in Orange is some kind of weird death trap.  The nurses at Mom's home were all, "Well it SAYS it right HERE!"  Of course, she's just another disoriented old person to them!  So they had to eat it when that all got straightened out.

An interesting piece of the puzzle has been Mom's obsession with the activities and the dining room.  She called me in a panic one day to say, "Julie, can you please go out and buy me a robe?"  I did not have time to do this, but I told her Grandma and Grandpa could wash her dirty robe. (It's quite soiled, loss of bowel control, 'nuff said.)  She said that would not be "time efficient."  Why did she need a robe so fast?  She was convinced that she had been told she must dress for the dining room.  "No one told you that, Mom.  You're in isolation.  They're bringing meals to your room."

"Oh yeah.  I forgot."

This happened again on Saturday.  She said, "Oh, that's right.  But then how will I go to all the other activities?"

"You're not going to any activities."

"Am I just supposed to sit here?  Why am I here?"

For real, y'all.  This is happening!

To my great, great relief, she called me yesterday and said, "I'm feeling so much better!  I can think!  I guess those meds are wearing off.  And I get it, Julie.  No dining room!"

She's still confused, but the fog seems to be lifting.  I really wish I could be down there more.  I'm sure it's all very depressing in the nursing home.  When we discuss getting her out of there, she calms down and says she'll try it a few more days.  It doesn't seem that great to me, but it's clean and pretty, and even though the medication snafus have been annoying as hell--not to mention bordering on dangerous--I think they're taking care of her.  She doesn't have cable, which perhaps will motivate her to get well soon.  But most importantly, her insurance pays for this place, and I think she'll become independent enough to go home soon.

Then we're on to phase two:  Grandma must ship out, and that ain't gonna be no pretty picture.

I wanted to go down alone yesterday, because Z had a cough and a runny nose.  But I was so tired.  So Jeff and Z came with me.  We stopped at Rubio's (my new obsession) and Zack had beans and rice and guacamole.  At the home, he got to peek at Mom.  I would allow no touching.  He was great.

Then, we got back on the road, and he let out a spectacular vomit while we were at almost a dead standstill on the 5.  That's when you're know you're having a bad day in LA.  Your child vomits all over his spare outfit and car seat while you're stuck in traffic.

Fortunately, Jeff and I are vomit experts.  The first couple months of Z's life, we just became old hands at maintaining our composure while covered in spew.  So we dealt with it.  We put back on the outfit that was covered in beans and rice, is all.  So what.  Then we put the child back in the slightly damp car seat and continued on our way.  It's not that big a deal, okay?  Poor kid.

He's definitely ill.  Threw up about every three hours last night.  At the 11:00 p.m. round, Jeff and I panicked.  Jeff was thinking, "What if Z caught the stuff Julie's Mom has--MRSA, parvovirus, c-def, or some other nursing home thing?"  And I was thinking, "What if a pinto bean was glued to the bottom of his duodenum by some cotija cheese?"  Anyway, before we actually got out of the driveway to the emergency room, our doctor called back, gravelly voiced and trying to stay cool, to tell us there's a flu going around and we might just want to try Pedialite.

So I'm home with the boy today, trying to get some things done.  I took a break from trying to fix the internet so I could mop the shower ceiling.  None of this stuff is getting done around here.  Once we got maids, but the silly whores broke a couple of Jeff's toys, and they will not be invited back.  We value toys over cleanliness here.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Playing at daycare

Just some fun pictures of Zack playing at daycare today that I snapped with my iPhone.

He's really standing a lot and also about to crawl.

That's Elsa in the background with the glasses.  Whenever I call and ask about Zack, whoever answers says, "Hold on, I'll get Elsa."  It's like we have a nanny, really.

Um, he got a little stuck here, but we worked it out.

It's so great watching him explore the space over there.  This place is really good for him.  They have a big area for the babies to run around and play in, and it's a completely safe space.  He loves those mats.  They also have a nice outdoor area with grass, and the babies  crawl and walk around there, too.

So I just got a call from Mom saying she's terrified to even spend the night in her new place.  They're not giving her water, medication, oxygen.  I talked to the nurse and well, they are giving her all of those things.  Something I'm starting to notice is that Mom's sense of time is distorted.  But mostly I believe she is panicking because I was not able to go to the new care facility with her.  I couldn't leave Zack in another long day of daycare.  It's just been way too much for him, and cries when I leave now.  This may be just a developmental thing, but anyway I just couldn't do it again.  So I brought him to Orange with me.

It went mostly great.  He got to see Mom, although he couldn't get close to her.  And everyone in the hospital got to ooh and aah over him.  I was much more relaxed because I wasn't rushing to get back to LA to pick him up or asking Jeff to leave work early.

And then we went to Great Grandma and Grandpa's and ate dinner, and Zack just gobbled up the rice cereal and sweet potatoes I had left there for him.  And then we ordered Chinese, and Zack ate some Buddha's Delight broccoli (he really loves broccoli) and some rice.  He ate it off my fingers.  Then when he was done, he rubbed his eyes and nursed himself to sleep at 7:15.  He's wavered very little from that bed time.  He's pretty regular with it.

But unfortunately, Mom didn't get into her new place until around 5:30, and by that time, I did have to feed the boy and then he was asleep.  There was no way I could see her.  I couldn't bring him asleep to the nursing home, and I couldn't skip dinner.  I think this really broke her spirits.

I have spent a day with very disoriented people.  Mom says some strange stuff at times.  Jeff and I have this funny in joke about one time when I was drifiting off to sleep and I said the weirdest thing, and we cracked up about it for maybe 45 minutes.  We could hardly breathe.  Sometimes talking to Mom now is like hearing that sort of pre-sleep weirdness, but all day.  She was drifting off when I was talking to her this evening, and I was assuring her we'd get her out of this place, look into her Afflac coverage, yada yada yada.  She said, "You'd have made a better straight man today."


"I don't know.  I don't know why I said that.  I keep hallucinating.  I keep seeing things in front of me that aren't there."

"Like what, Mom?"

"I don't know.  I just said it off the cuff."

"I think you need to sleep."

Then Grandma, who's well, blind, told me tonight that she also sees many things that aren't there.  "Like, do you see a grey kitten on the side table?"

"No, but there's a cloth there.  Maybe that's what you see."

"But I see that kitten on the table, and then running on the floor.  I know it's not there, but it's hard to convince myself it's not there.  And then I see a blue red dog near the couch.  But I think it's actually your socks."


Mom told me that Grandma once insisted she saw a man in Mom's bed and did not believe otherwise until she got Grandpa to verify that Mom wasn't lying about it.

Grandma also forgets just about everything.  We always order from this one Chinese place, and the reason we order from there is that they love Grandma, and they only deliver to her.  But tonight she said, "Oh, they don't deliver."  Grandpa and I reminded her that yeah, of course they do.  She said, "It's slowly coming back to me."

Grandpa was actually pretty helpful tonight, getting me a plate, getting a cup for Zack.  He's still pretty with it. But then he gave me a pie he said he shouldn't be eating.  He'd gotten a sugar free banana cream pie and wanted me to take it home.  I realized in the car that it sort of smelled funny, and when I got it home, I took one look at it and had to throw it away.

Sorry, Jeff.  I guess we will have to make due with the Girl Scout cookies I bought. But if you don't get home soon, I am going to eat an entire box.  It's just been that kind of day.

Grandpa has been looking into assisted living facilities for Grandma.  The strange thing is how fast this is all going down.  But I guess I've been shielded from it, and now that Mom's out of commission, I'm just getting my nose rubbed in the entropy.


Elsa helped Zack make this card.

We got Mom all setted in the Town and Country nursing home, and then a nurse came in and perfunctorily told us we had to turn around and go back to the hospital. Someone at St. Joe's had faxed over the wrong information, about a different Marjorie Mullen, who was 92, and not as sick as Mom. They didn't have a room to accommodate Mom's isolation requirements.

I was about to leave. It was 4 p.m. and I needed to get on the road to pick up Zack by 6 p.m. Instead, I had to call Jeff, and he left work early to get Zack. I stayed with Mom until she was back at St. Joe's, and I got her some dinner. Oh, and I pumped breast milk in my car, into my last bottle of the day. It was almost overflowing. I had to fill it way past the top line. I had already driven to Van Nuys to drop off the rest of the bottles at daycare. For anyone reading this who's not familiar with SoCal, I have been driving an hour out of my way to hit daycare to the north, and then turning around and going south to visit Mom. This has been going on for a while! I have also gotten pretty good at pumping while driving.

The hospital sent Mom fake flowers (no real flowers allowed), balloons, and a stuffed bunny. And big wigs apologized to us. But there's just nothing they can say, as far as I'm concerned.

The strain of the last few weeks is really taking a toll on me. My grandparents can't seem to deal with any of this. Driving down to Orange is starting to make me bone tired. It's taken two hours to get home the last two nights. My brother is too far away to help and is about to become victim to Microsoft's first round of layoffs ever, and he's got three kids. So he's pretty strapped. And the biggest problem is that Zack can't come to the hospital, which makes all this crazy driving necessary. Once Mom clears isolation, we should have an easier time of things, because Zack will be able to visit her.

Today I have to deal with more hospital people.

Mom was pretty out of it last night. After I checked out Town and Country, she started getting kind of excited about going to the nursing home. "Do they have activities?" she asked. So last night, in the middle of all the chaos, she sort of woke up and said, "Well, can you wheel me to the entertainment?"


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Zack is a blast.

Zack has been so much fun lately.  I wanted to write about our day on Sunday, so let's see how much of it I can remember now.  Uh...almost nothing.  He fell asleep in Home Depot, which we found cute as hell.  I was nursing him near the refrigerators and he just sacked out.  Jeff carried him to the car and sat with him while I finished shopping.

Then we went out to dinner with Bruce and Tekla, and Geneva was shaking her arms at Zack and he was cracking up.  She is a non stop comedy show.

Then I gave Zack some brown rice and broccoli, which he gobbled up!  It was so fun to see him enjoy eating.  I had tried to feed him avocado and banana before, but he really hasn't liked solid food too much until this week.  Since Sunday, we've been giving him little bits of real food and it's so much more fun than feeding him purees.  In this picture he's eating whole wheat spaghetti with butter and cheese.  Loves it.

Yesterday I took him to get the car washed and then to visit Jeff at work.  I just have such a great time running errands with Zack.  He is fantastic company.  He loves to go out and he loves people.  He is getting a little more shy around strangers, though.  He likes to wrap himself around my arm like a little clingy monkey.  Today I had to just drop off milk at daycare, and he clung so hard to me that I could not pry him loose so I could go to the bathroom.  So I just took him with me.

I was having to do a daycare dropoff so I could visit Mom again.  I had to scout a nursing home for her.  She will be discharged from the hospital tomorrow and go to this place for recuperation.  She can't go home because she's not independent enough yet.

I guess you could sum up the last couple weeks like this:

I saw my grandmother without her teeth.

I saw my mom in a diaper.

And through it all, Zack has been a total blast.  I like to imagine that someday he'll ask me what he was like as a baby, and I will be able to say, dude, you were a showstopper.  You were so cute, so fun, and you were huge and had bright red hair.  You were a star.  People couldn't get over you.  You had a great attitude about almost everything.  You loved to go shopping.  You loved books.  You were chatty starting at three months old.  You were just a complete joy.

Oh, also, Zack has an agent and a manager!  So he will start auditioning for baby commercials soon--if there are any auditions.  I haven't had an audition in months.  The economy is hitting advertising pretty hard.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Laissez Le Bon Temps Roulet!

Just going in chronological order here.  It's been a hell of a couple of weeks!  Let's see, we had a long, long drive down from SF, and as soon as we got back, Mom went into the hospital.  Then, I was too sick to actually visit her.  Now she's finally getting better, and intense family discussions have started up about what to do when she gets home, now that she can no longer take care of my grandmother.

Basically, Buddha's whole essay about suffering has been up in our grill lately.  We got suffering, old age, sickness, and we luckily avoided death.  But we still managed to have some fun.  Cause what else can you do, really?

Shower plans with pregnant Jessie!

Farmers market near our place.  Yep, Zack is standing, just holding that fence.

Here is some fun stuff that Zack is doing:

-Eating Cheerios, little Gerber puffs, avocado, and banana on his own.

-Just about crawling. (Actually, I may have missed his first crawl while doing this post!)

-More and more talking, which is nothing too new for this chatterbox. But he's started to work in more inflection and get super close to some words. Very interesting.

And yep, his hair is really that red.

Jeff snapped this pic of him and Z at the Mardi Gras
party of Mike and Jess (who married us).

Got my beads.  Got my noise maker.  Got my Darth Vader tee.
Got my Daddy.   Life is sooooo sweet!

This little cutie and Zack got some good play time in.

What?  Mommy's only had half a hurricane.
This is totally safe.

Mike and Jess life halfway up this hill.
You can park at the bottom, or you can park at the top.

This is me, after hiking to the top of the hill with Z.
25 pounds of baby!  I guess I'm getting back in shape.

There was a guy at the top of the hill, watching me struggle up, who was asking directions to drive around it.  He was scared to drive down.

Extremely suspicious of Great Grandma.

This has a difficult part of the last two weeks--talking to Grandma.  She seems to have no idea how sick Mom was.  And she also has no idea how old she is.  Jeff and my favorite quote from the week is from when Grandma told me there were some cookies in the fridge.  When I looked, there were just these chocolates.

Julie:  I think these are chocolates, not cookies.
Grandma:  Oh.  Well, they're in a cookie bag, so they become cookies.  You know, if you grow up in Europe, you're European.  Right?
Jeff:  A very good point.

Jeff is such a trooper, coming out to visit Mom while all this was going on.  And Zack was great, too.  He did two extra long days in daycare, and he was a complete sweetie pie when we dragged him down to Orange, only to sit in the hospital lobby while we took turns visiting.

But it looks like we have to do some research and figure out how Grandma can get the care she needs, and we're all pretty much thinking that means a nursing home.  So we're going to find a place, sit her down, and let her know how we feel.

And she:




It's gonna be tough.

Sofa cushion drumming with Great Grandpa.

Chewin' on Manta Ray.

We had to suit up to visit Mom in the hospital.  I took this with
my computer, which I had to wipe with Clorox wipes
after the visit.

So to make a long story short, it looks like what mom had was parvovirus.  That's the current theory.  It's a common virus that doesn't really bother anyone too much, but in rare circumstances, it can wipe out bone marrow function and cause what Mom had--pancytopenia.  This means she wasn't producing blood cells.  Since she had no immunity, I could not visit her with my flu.  And then she was also a danger to visitors herself, because she was all infected with viruses and bacteria.

Zack in the hospital lobby.  He loves this toy.  Tekla 
got us one for our house, too.  Jeff put him right on top of this one.

Very focused.

This thing is just so great!

After our last visit to the hospital, and as
you can see, I'm extremely relieved that things are 
looking up.

I am so grateful to have Jeff right now, who has jumped in and embraced my family as his own.  And Trish called Mom, too, which meant the world to her.