Friday, March 28, 2008

Easter basket cupcakes

I know Easter is long over, but today was our MOMS Club "Spring Fling" and egg hunt, so I made these cupcakes:

There are three left if anyone wants them.

I made my monthly visit to the Cancer Center today. The nurse handed me my CBC results, and I was SO EXCITED! My hemoglobin was 13.8! It's never been that high in my ENTIRE LIFE! "How did I do that?" I asked the nurse. She was surprised, too. "Did you just eat a bunch of liver or something?" she asked. I hadn't, and I didn't know why the numbers were so high, but we were celebrating. We even speculated that Dr. GPO would let me stop taking the iron pills because I was doing so well.

Then I took a closer look at the form and noticed that the nurse had given me someone else's report. Oh.

Dr. GPO showed up with the real report, which wasn't nearly as good. My white blood cells have taken a nose-dive to 1.9 (they should be at least 4.0) and my hemoglobin is only 10.9. Numbers like these are a common side effect of the Revlimid, so he wants me to try taking a two-week break instead of the usual one-week break to let my blood counts recover. We're not telling the pharmacy, though, because it would probably confuse them too much. They're very easily confused.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Try to get this out of your head

My friend Abigail thought she could outdo me by posting a video of her embarrassing '90s crush, Chesney Hawkes. (He's from England, but I knew who he was! If there was a cute boy with floppy hair anywhere in the world in the early '90s, I knew who he was). Anyway, I have one that's even MORE EMBARRASSING. Does anyone remember Tommy Page? If I couldn't marry Donnie from NKOTB, I was going to marry Tommy Page. I had a life-sized poster of him in my room.

This is not his best-known song, but it is by far the most embarrasing (and hilarious) video I could find. Try not to laugh out loud. And try not to dance.

I think I'm going to regret admitting these things if I ever, I don't know, run for congress or something.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Graduate

I've written before about the Parents as Teachers program. This is a free program offered by our school district for kids from birth through age three. An early-childhood educator would come to our house four times a year to perform screenings, tell us what skills WCK should have at various ages, give us ideas for activities to do with her, and basically reassure us that WCK was TOTALLY NORMAL and, in fact, brilliant. They'd also have some group activities a few times a year. Because WCK turns three this spring, today was our last Parents as Teachers visit. WCK had to go through a long series of tests and passed nearly all of them with flying colors.

Her one "failure"? She had to answer a bunch of questions, such as "What do you do when you're tired?" ("I go lie down," said WCK. The Parents as Teachers Lady was very impressed with her correct grammar.) One of the questions was "What do you do with a chair?" (Correct answer: "Sit.") WCK thought for a while and said, "Use it to reach the computer!" While this was 100 percent factual, it was not the "correct" answer, so the teacher tried again. "Blow bubbles," said WCK. This, of course, made no sense to the PAT Lady. I explained that I'd put the bubble soap up in a high cupboard where I thought WCK would never reach it. She's recently figured out how to push the chair over to the cupboard, climb up on the chair, and reach the bubbles.

Again, this was a 100 percent true answer, but it was not "sit", so WCK failed the chair question. No points for creativity in the Parents as Teachers program.

Despite the chair failure, WCK was allowed to graduate from the program, and she got a nice certificate and a new book for her efforts. I'm very proud. I'm sure it's hard for a three-year-old to get a well-paying job without a Parents as Teachers degree. It was a little sad to say goodbye to our teacher. She was the one who reassured me that it was totally OK for Jay to let WCK watch football on TV when she was four months old. I was convinced it was going to give her brain damage.

Ticklebee update: My child is not as heartless as I thought. Yesterday, she found Ticklebee (the wounded balloon dog), and instead of shunning him, she announced, "Ticklebee is very sick!" She then ran to get her doctor kit and gave him a full workup and a plastic Band-Aid. He's still hanging in there, despite the fact that he still has no back legs.

Black jellybean update: My friend Hannah gave me another bag of black jellybeans this morning! Woo hoo! My supply will never run low.

Class reunion questionnaire update: Still have not filled it out completely, although I did circle the "N" on the plastic surgery question.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hangin' Tough

My 15-year high school reunion is coming up this summer, and the reunion committee sent us a bunch of forms to fill out. I know the committee means well, and I have to hand it to them for being so organized this time (our last reunion was in a bar ... where an actual fistfight broke out). But. We're supposed to fill out an RSVP form with some basic info, write a 500-word biography about ourselves, and then answer four pages (FOUR PAGES) of questions. Examples of actual questions I am supposed to answer:

Was there ever a time you had to confront the possibility of death?

Cosmetic surgery: Ever considered it? Y/N

I'm wondering if I'm allowed to be sarcastic on this form. For example, I'm wondering if I can answer "Do you have an interesting/dangerous/dirty job? Please summarize." with "Yes. My child once called me to her room because she had somehow managed to get poop all over her hand."

Then for "Do you have a funny story about work?" I could answer "See above."

Anyway, this form has been sitting on the desk in our kitchen for at least a month or so. The time I could have spent actually filling it out has been spent e-mailing the few people I'm actually in touch with from high school to complain about how much I don't want to fill out this form. And now I'm blogging about it instead of filling it out.

This afternoon I decided, once and for all, that I was going to fill out this form. I got about a third of the way through page one (which consisted of tough questions like, "Name", "Address" and "Number of guests attending"), when I got to the part about which songs from high school I'd like played at the reunion. I got to reminiscing, suddenly everything turned blurry, and when the smoke cleared, I realized I'd spent most of WCK's naptime watching New Kids on the Block videos on YouTube.

That's right. And now it's Big Confession Time: A couple of months ago, there was a delightful rumor going around that the New Kids were going to be reuniting. I was secretly REALLY, REALLY, REALLY excited. Actually, it wasn't all that secret, because I told Jay that if the New Kids came to Kansas City, I WAS GOING, NO MATTER WHAT. For about 17 years I've had to pretend that I'd finally decided that the New Kids were really lame, and you know what? It's all been a lie!! I still love them. Donnie's ripped jeans? His Carol Brady hairdo? The way they all chased each other through a cemetery and then jumped into the convertible in the "Right Stuff" video? Awesome. Those videos are still as awesome as they were when I saw the New Kids in concert in 1990. I never got to marry Donnie Wahlberg, but, you know ... maybe we can work something out.

You can't make fun of me. I have cancer.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ticklebee: A tragic romance

WCK has what seems like about 1,000 stuffed animals. Even though she insists on having about 999 of them in bed with her, and even though she has a few who are particularly loved, she's never developed a close relationship with one particular animal. She's never been motivated to give one an original name of her own choosing. Most of her stuffed animals go by names like "Clown", "Frog", "T-Rex", etc. She does have one dinosaur named Chuck, but one of her aunts came up with that one. All of her dolls are named "Baby" except for the one that sits on a little potty and pees water. That one is "Potty Baby." No, WCK just wasn't into naming and bonding with her animals -- until Saturday, that is.

WCK got a little blue dog at an Easter carnival near our house. She fell in love with the dog immediately and announced that his name was "Ticklebee". She then spent the whole afternoon playing with Ticklebee, announcing that "Ticklebee feels really, really sad! No, Ticklebee is really happy! Ticklebee wants to sit on the couch and rest! Ticklebee wants to play!" Ticklebee HAD to sit at the kitchen table and eat some plastic vegetables while WCK ate her own lunch. Jay and I watched grimly, knowing this romance was doomed.

Ticklebee, you see, is a balloon animal, inflated and twisted together by a woman in a clown outfit.

Late Saturday afternoon, WCK announced that Ticklebee wanted to go to Applebee's. Of course, we agreed to go, not wanting to deny Ticklebee his dying wish. Ticklebee was already starting to look old and frail, and he was much thinner than he had been that morning. Amazingly, Ticklebee was still alive when we all woke up on Sunday morning, doing his best to hang in there. He's got quite a will to live, that Ticklebee.

Then, during a particularly rough play session yesterday, WCK accidentally untwisted Ticklebee's back legs and de-poofed his tail. He became half poodle, half lumpy snake creature. WCK cried out in alarm and then said quietly, "Put him away." Then she went off to play with her new sheep puppet, who is named, of course, "Sheep Puppet." The relationship with Ticklebee was over.

The newly deformed Ticklebee is still hanging out in our dining room, mostly because I feel really sorry for him; I actually feel bad about the way my child abandoned him, and I can't bring myself to throw him away. Maybe, I think, I can find a balloon-animal specialist who can help him regain use of his legs. Can you imagine? A tiny car would pull up to our house and a while bunch of clowns would pile out and rush inside and fix him.

I think I need to get out more.

Friday, March 21, 2008

It's funny 'cause it's true

When WCK and I got home from gymnastics today, there was a package from my parents waiting on our porch. Usually I like to save opening of packages until after naptime, because of the intense excitement that's always involved, but WCK had already spotted the package. After about two minutes of nonstop "What's in there, Mommy? What's in there, Mommy? What's in there, Mommy?" I caved in. Inside was a beautiful new Easter book for WCK and a pair of coordinating t-shirts for both of us.

My t-shirt says, "me."

WCK's t-shirt says, "mini-me."


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My other car is a Doom Buggy

We're back! Actually, we've been back for a few days, but I didn't go anywhere near a computer for a full week, and I'm way, way behind on all of my e-mail and blogging. If you sent me an e-mail and I haven't written back, I'm not ignoring you; I'm just overwhelmed by the e-mail flood. Anyway, DISNEY. WAS. GREAT. For the first two days I was there, Jay still had to go to all of his meetings during the day, so I was on my own at the hotel. I had to make some really tough decisions during those two days: Did I want to lie around on a chair by the pool or lie in a hammock on the (fake) beach? Did I want to go get a massage in the morning or in the afternoon? Did I want a strawberry smoothie or a pina colada one?

It was rough.

Then we spent an evening at Epcot and two full days at Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom. Jay and I now have master theme park skills; through a combination of early arrival, skill, luck, and the Fast Pass system, we got to go on every ride and see every show that we wanted, and we never had to wait in line longer than five or ten minutes. We barely had to wait at all to meet Mickey Mouse. We got to ride the Greatest Ride in the History of the Universe -- that would be The Haunted Mansion -- twice. Without waiting.

While I was searching the web for a Haunted Mansion photo, I found a HM fan web site that sells bumper stickers that say, "My other car is a Doom Buggy." I want one. No, I NEEEEEEED one. (By the way, I think this photo is from the movie, which was lame. I'm still bitter about it. The photo has the same ghosts from the ride, though)

As for WCK, she had a great time at Grandma and Grandpa's house. She got to go to the zoo, bake sugar cookies, watch violent cartoons, eat pizza, and skip naps. I'm sure she had an even better time than we did.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The sort-of second honeymoon

Next week, Jay and I are abandoning our child and going to Disney World. I can't decide if that's as horribly cruel as it sounds.

Jay has a work-related convention that's being held at a Disney hotel. We're dropping WCK off at Grandma and Grandpa's, and I'm going to join him in Orlando. While Jay's at his meetings all day, I'm going to sit by the pool. Then we'll stay on for a couple of days after the convention to go to the theme parks.

We've justified this because 1) all of Jay's expenses during the convention are being paid for by his company, 2) this July is our 10-year wedding anniversary and we spent our honeymoon at Disney World, and 3) Grandma's house is probably even more exciting than Disney World, as far as WCK is concerned. The last time my parents were here, I went to take a shower while they all played in WCK's bedroom. When I went to join the family after my shower, WCK pushed me out the door. "No, Mommy!" she said. "Go downstairs!"

"Enjoy surfing the Internet," said my mom cheerfully, as the bedroom door slammed loudly behind me.

You see where I stand in the whole Grandma/Grandpa hierarchy.

Still, I can't help but feel that this makes me one bad mother, and not in the way that Shaft was one bad mother.

Then I look outside at the snow, and I remember that we are going to be staying here:

At least I will be a warm bad mother.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

How much cuteness can you handle?

I spent most of a perfectly peaceful naptime yesterday afternoon on the phone with my doctor's office, the oncology pharmacy in Texas, and Celgene, the drug company that makes Revlimid, trying to correct some random error with my prescription that was 100 percent not my fault, 100 percent not in my control, but, apparently, 100 percent up to me to fix. It's a really good thing I wasn't on steroids when this happened, because even in my un-steroided state, I wanted to slap the pharmacy customer-service woman through the phone. It all worked out in the end, though, the delivery guy brought my next round of Revlimid to the door this morning, and I can go back to my one-pill-a-day, no-side-effects cancer treatment and try to forget about this cancer nonsense until I go back to Dr. GPO at the end of the month. That's why it's time for ...

A Whole Bunch of Really Cute Stories About My Kid

Story One: WCK needed a cleanup the other day. I asked Jay to bring me some baby wipes.

"No, Mommy," WCK said. "They're Big-Girl Wipes."

Story Two: I was making dinner (OK, I was reheating some leftovers for dinner), when I noticed WCK playing intently with a set of little stuffed dinosaurs. She was weighing them on the little scale that came with her toy grocery store, examining them closely under a toy magnifying glass, and poking at them with a paper clip. I'm not sure where she got the paper clip. I realize this is a big error in baby-proofing -- I mean, big-girl-proofing -- but she seemed to be handling the paper clip responsibly. I asked her what she was doing.

"I'm making the dinosaurs feel all better," she said, not looking up from her Very Important Work.

"You're a dinosaur doctor?" I said. "That's great!"

"Yes," she said soberly, still continuing to poke at the dinosaurs. "I care about so many things."

Story Three: When WCK goes pee on the potty (which she has been doing beautifully for about a month now) she earns one chocolate raisin and a sticker. The other day, she wandered in while I was in the bathroom, and declared that I had earned a sticker. It had Princess Jasmine on it and said "Excellent Work." WCK insisted I wear it to music class.

"I like your sticker," said my friend Abigail.

"Thank you," I said. "I went pee on the potty this morning."

Story Four: We've been going to the music class mentioned in Story Three since WCK was just a couple of months old. Back then, of course, she had no idea she was even attending a music class. I just wanted to get out of the house. These days, though, she really gets into it. The class is taught by this absolutely delightful, crazy-in-a-good-way woman named Alma, who is probably the happiest person I've ever come across. I want to be Alma for a day, just so I know what it is like to be so cheerful. I guess you'd have to be extra cheerful to teach toddler music classes. WCK has decided that ALMA. IS. HILARIOUS. My child has always been a hearty laugher, but at the last class, WCK was laughing so hard that her face turned red and she was gasping for breath. At one point, she choked out, "Alma!" as in, "ALMA! YOU'RE KILLING ME, WOMAN! STOP IT!" All of the other parents were looking at us, although they could have been admiring my Princess Jasmine sticker from afar.

Story Five: WCK's new hobby is stalling at bedtime. Her usual strategy is to announce that she has to go pee every five minutes after we put her in the bed. The other night, though, she tried a new technique. I put a perfectly healthy child in her bed and went downstairs. About two minutes later, I heard a voice over the baby monitor: "Mommy!" (Dramatic pause) "I'm sick now! I NEED MEDICINE!"

She kept up her plea for medicine for a good 10 to 15 minutes, while I was laughing so hard I nearly ruined my Princess Jasmine sticker earning potential. It turned into high drama, as though she were begging for morphine on a Civil War battlefield. "And give my love to Little Jeb and Amy and Big Joe and all the other folks back on the chicken farm! I see the white light!"

Eventually she realized the medicine thing was not going to work out, and decided to announce that she had to go pee.

I hope she invites me to the ceremony when she wins an Oscar. I want to sit next to Tom Cruise and ask him why he doesn't make Cocktail II.

Story Six: Our local library has a big Alice in Wonderland display up in the children's section. The last time we were there, there was a stuffed cat perched in a fancy paper tree. This morning, the cat was gone. This disturbed WCK greatly, and she spent most of story time asking me where the cat went. I kept telling her I didn't know, but then I realized ... this is the Cheshire Cat. He can disappear at will. So I told her the story of the Cheshire Cat. I told her he had disappeared by magic; he'd faded away leaving only his smile, but maybe he'd reappear the next time we came back. I kept thinking how clever it was of the library to remove the cat from time to time.

Then the librarian came by and said she'd taken the cat down so she could use it in a presentation about cats later in the day.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Get down, get down!

I got a call from the Cancer Center this morning ...


It is now 1.8! Last month it was 2.2. That's not an enormous drop, but I'm getting a huge psychological boost from the fact that I've dropped out of the twos and into the ones.

I'm going to go have some black jellybeans to celebrate.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Where's Michael Landon when you need him?

As happy as I was to have permission to quit the Dex, I think I spent a few days going through actual drug withdrawal. Remember the episode of Little House on the Prairie where Albert gets addicted to morphine (which he stole from Doc Baker) and Charles has to take him out to some isolated cabin in the woods to get detoxed? OK, it wasn't quite that bad, but on Sunday and Monday, I felt all shaky and kind of sweaty and irritable and weird and got a really bad headache. I get headaches anyway, so I'm not sure if I can blame the Dex, but I figure Dex deserves blame for all bad things in the world. I'm pretty sure the unrest in the Middle East is somehow caused by Dex.

Anyway. What does it say about me that when I think of "drug withdrawal", my first frame of reference is Little House on the Prairie?

WCK and I made it to library story time yesterday morning, but by late afternoon I had to explain to her that Mommy wasn't feeling very well and needed to rest. She actually accepted this very well and decided that I was her "baby" and brought me a toy baby bottle filled with fake orange juice (I ask you, who gives their baby orange juice in a bottle?) and a maraca from her musical instrument set to be my "rattle". Then she went upstairs to play by herself in her bedroom closet. Playing in her closet is her new passion. She says it's her "house". It's a good thing Child Protective Services didn't stop by to find me lying weakly on the couch holding a festive-looking maraca while my child was shut in a closet upstairs. Mother of the Year.

I feel MUCH better this morning, so hopefully my body is over its craving for Dex. Listen up, body: I don't care what you say. We are not getting back on that poison roller coaster.

"Poison Roller Coaster" would be an excellent name for a band.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

For old time's sake

Since this is my last bad Dex night/morning for a while (hopefully forever), I thought I'd post one last 5:30 a.m. blog entry. This way, when I'm feeling better next week and I start thinking, "Oh, my God, I quit one of my cancer treatments and I'm not even in remission. Am I crazy?", I can go back and read this entry and think, "Do I really want to be awake and blogging at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday?"

No. No, I do not.