January 2014

I got 3 pieces of bad news this week.

1.) Wednesday was the kid’s dental checkup. I was all happy and confident going into the pediatric dentist’s office because Allie’s broken front teeth have not seemed bother her this whole time. We still brush twice a day, floss nightly. We even have a new flossing game. After Allie selects the kid floss pick she wants to use, we examine what animal shape it is. “It’s a dolphin!” “It’s a crab!” “It’s a hippo!” She starts off flossing a few teeth, then it’s my turn. We tell the floss, “Get the food out of Allie’s teeth, dolphin! What do you think the dolphin will find in Allie’s teeth?” Allie would think back and list as many things as she could remember eating that day. “I think there’s broccoli!” “I think there’s yam!” “I think there’s rice!” Lately she’d get silly. “I think there’s pillow!” “I think there’s cars!” If I get any food bits out, I’d show it to her and she’d be delighted and open up so the animal on the floss pick can hunt some more.
So anyway, the dentist saw what appeared to be a tiny hole in the back of the front tooth that had suffered the most damage. He had her x-rayed, and saw a “shadow” in the roots of that tooth that wasn’t there in the x-ray from 6 months ago. It could be a beginning infection, but as she’s asymptomatic, it could also be nothing. Conservative dentist that he is, he put the tooth on “watch” and didn’t want to start drilling or doing a root canal or even a patching, yet. However, he warned us that if she starts getting pain or showing signs of an infection, he’d have to root canal that tooth and if the damage is severe, pull it instead so the decay doesn’t spread to the permanent tooth underneath the baby tooth’s root. 🙁 I’m keeping my fingers crossed. It just has to last until her baby tooth falls out. So, like, 4 more years. :/
On the happy side, Allie was super duper incredibly cooperative. They got to do a tooth cleaning on her. Afterwards she was happy about her “new shiny teeth.”

2.) I got notification from Discover that my credit card has been compromised AGAIN. This is getting ridiculous. I’m going to see if I can figure out when it was last compromised (I think was within the past year) to see if I had used it at the same merchant. Discover Card’s fraud protection department is amazing. Whatever logarithm they use for determining what is/isn’t my charge is right on. They contacted me about unusual activity on my card the same night it happened, and locked down my card. This time someone used my card number to buy hundreds of dollars’ worth of stuff via Best Buy dot com and Microsoft dot com. Discover has already terminated this account, credited me the money, opened a new account number and the new card is on its way, but it’s just a pain to have to remember what companies have my old number store on file for frequent purchases and charges, such as Amazon and various doctor’s offices. At least this has already been resolved, aside from updating accounts with the new credit card number once I receive it.

3.) This one is a pretty painful one. On Thursday, I took Allie to her pediatric ophthalmologist follow-up appointment for the out-turn of her eyes. It’s still intermittent, and some weeks are better than other weeks, but it hasn’t gone away. As a summary, I had delayed the ophthalmologist’s treatment plan of patching each eye for 4 hours a day, 6 days a week, because I had wanted to avoid the patching altogether by taking Allie to vision therapy. Well, Allie was too young to meaningfully engage in vision therapy. We tried. But since that failed, I hadn’t done anything except to tell her to “look at mama with both eyes” when I see her eyes diverge, and when she brings the focus back in at will, she’s good until she looks far away for an extended period of time (like watches TV) or gets tired. I had sort of fallen back on the last statement the ophthalmologist threw over his shoulder at the end of the last visit, which was, “Or you can do nothing and we’ll wait and see and reassess in a few months.” Okay, so we did nothing. We reassessed. She’s worse. The out-turn has increased between 5-10 degrees (she measured at 20-25 degrees 3 months ago, now between 30-35 degrees). Her doctor basically told me that altho he’s conservative and doesn’t want to throw children into the OR if there’s something else that could be done, we also can’t stand by and just let her get worse. He reduced the alternative patching schedule to 2 hours a day instead of 4, and said if she doesn’t show an improvement by the next visit in 3 months, we’re going to glasses which would force her to work to focus in her eyes, and if that doesn’t work, then surgery.
I should’ve known better than to try to circumvent the Universe. Rebecca had already told me when Allie first started having this out-turn, that she’ll be fine and there won’t be any long-term consequences, but we’d have to patch her for a little bit. I thought I could avoid it but Rebecca’s record is sky-high. 🙁
So today is Day 1 of serious patching therapy. After her dance class, the plan was to let her pick out some stickers at a party store. Then we were going home so she could select a sticker to put on an eye patch. Then we were gonna affix the eye patch and she would wear it while watching any movie she wanted (a rarity since we try to keep her off the TV). “Yeah! That sounds good!” she told us. So that’s what we did. And she kept the patch on for 1 hour 23 minutes, altho at about the 1 hour point she’d asked to remove it “because I can’t see.” We told her if she took it off, we’d immediately turn the movie off. 10 minutes later, she asked to turn the movie off so she could watch it later, rubbing her eye patch. I asked her to keep it on for a few more minutes. We managed to push it much longer than I dreamed for her first time. But now she said, “I don’t like the eye patch.” So we’re likely looking at 10-15 minutes for the future patching. The doctor said that even that’s better than nothing, and to just do it as long as we could even if we don’t meet the 2 hours.
So this third item is a work in progress.


Posted this on the social media site earlier tonight:

Cindy was holding Allie in Allie’s bedroom, about to put Allie into her bed, when Allie looked me in the eyes, smiled sweetly and put both her little hands on my cheeks by my ears. Then she gently brought both her hands toward my nose, brushing my cheeks lovingly. She put her hands on either side of my cheeks again, stroking my cheeks lightly as she brought her palms to meet at my nose. So sweet and affectionate, I thought. After she repeated this another time, I asked, “What are you doing?”
“I’m making a sand castle.”

I was reminiscing about Bru Grill‘s Cincinnati Lunch Box (chilled hefeweizen, orange juice, Amaretto) on the drive home yesterday, so since the stepkidlet was in for the evening, we put Allie in bed, the stepkidlet in charge and went out for a drink. The last I saw of the stepkidlet before we left was her carrying Allie’s iPad into her room so that she could keep an eye on Allie via the babycam while the stepkidlet hung out in her own room.

Sitting at the bar at Bru, I found it amusing that I’d forgotten to wear my wedding rings and Mr. W didn’t, so that we looked scandalous together. Like, “Hey, that one married guy is hanging out with his younger Asian secretary!”

Soon we got a series of text messages and photos from the stepkidlet…

“Allie and I are having a great time together!”

I responded, “She looks so excited!”

She texted again:
“Oh hahaha stop it Allie, you’re too funny…”

“Alright Allie I’ll go to sleep now too…”

“Nope just kidding! Silly faces!!!”

By now we had already finished grocery shopping, filling up on gas, and were coming home (we take full advantage of our date hour), and Mr. W was driving. He said, “Tell her all right, she’s having too much fun, we’re coming home.” So I texted, “Ur dad said, ‘all right, ur having too much fun. we’re coming home.'”
She texted me back, “HAHAHAHA ok ok I’ll leave you guys be. Enjoy!”
I texted, “nope, too late…we’re leaving to break up that party u two have going on.”
And then I got this:

“Thanks a lot Allie. You got us in trouble…”

This morning I woke up with my face and eyelids all puffy, and I stepped on the scale and it appears I’d put on 3 lbs and 1% bodyfat. What the heck?! Coming in to work, a coworker informed me, “Beer does that.” I didn’t know that! Beer makes people all bloated? Why do women drink beer? I’ll never touch the stuff again. It’s not even that good. =P

I had my annual exam with my ob-gyn yesterday. I was a little intimidated going in, because this is the guy who gave me a few mini lectures about gaining too much weight during my pregnancy, and how OC women overeat and the myth of doubling calories to feed a pregnant body. I only blew his maximum pregnancy weight gain by 5 lbs (I think I gained like 35) which he actually wasn’t that concerned about toward the end, and he was happy with my weight loss and all that in the post-pregnancy checkups, so I don’t know why I was still that concerned. He didn’t mention weight at all, and just asked how I was generally feeling about everything. I told him that I feel like after I stopped nursing, the fat just flew on. I now have fat rolls where I’d never had fat rolls before. He smiled and said that there is nothing disconcerting about my current physical state, and that he considers me “skinny” (which is WEIRD). He said, “You are probably the last patient that I’ll see today to whom I would say, ‘We need to talk about your weight.'” He said the difficulty I’m having in losing weight is more in my head than actuality, and that if more patients had my BMI (he’d guessed 20, but turned out it was a little over 22), the medical industry would save a lot of money. He said my only issue is a body image issue.
I did finally take my stats yesterday after Mr. W replaced the batteries in our Tanita scale. I was thinking that I need to drop 15 lbs before mid-March (we’ve got a Hawaii vacation planned), expecting my weight to be in the 130s. I weighed in at 120. My hydration was low, at 55%, and my body fat was at 23%. That’s just 1% over my old goal, so I couldn’t understand why I was looking at such grossness in the mirror. Then the lean muscle mass measurement came in at 38 pounds. THAT makes sense; at the peak of my fitness, I had more like 43 lbs of lean muscle, so of course I’d look less toned. I need to put 4-5 lbs of muscle back on and drop my fat a few percent, which would probably only end up being a net loss of 4-5 lbs on the scale. I’d be okay with that.
So my new theory is that the body DOES add new fat cells in places fat cells had never existed before, but that this LOOKS worse than it had before because the skin’s looser, so things aren’t as compressed.

After the doctor’s, I went to a hair appointment. This guy was recommended by my former court reporter, who had been going to him since something like 1991. The salon was only a few miles from my house. It was interesting having a tattooed Harley-Davidson enthusiast do my hair, and he was very nice, detailed, patient. I basically went in and said, “You’re the expert. I look like a cavewoman. Do whatever you think is good.” He was all happy he got to pop my cherry, as he put it, in getting a color weave done. It was a painstaking process in which he brushed on highlights in select strands of hair throughout the top half of my head and then wrapped it in foil.

After the color developed, he suggested long layers, and I said okay, fine, whatever. Then he changed his mind and asked if it’s okay if he did a clean blunt cut. I said okay, fine, whatever. As he approached the front of my head during the cut, he asked how I feel about bangs. I said okay, fine, whatever. So here’s what happened after being there over 2 hours:

At first I was like, “This looks like Cleopatra.” But I guess it’s not THAT short. And the color will take a little getting used to. People seem to like it. Either that, or they’re just being nice. Here’s a close-up of how he did the coloring.

I love the honey color of the streaks, but I wondered if it looked too much like I had a bunch of silver hairs that didn’t quite take to color just right. My roots are still black, tho. As we finished up, he teased, “So am I gonna see you in another 3 years?” Yes, yes, the color he cut off the bottom was from the frustrating dye job(s) I got for college roommie’s wedding in January 2011. My exterior maintenance is pretty neglected. I asked him ideally, how often would I need to come back? He said if I want to maintain the look, every 3 months. Otherwise he’d have to start from scratch if I don’t return for another 3 years. If I return regularly, he just touches up the roots. 3 months isn’t bad; I was thinking he was gonna tell me 6 weeks or something. I thought his prices were a steal at $120, so I tipped him $25.

I have a funny little girl. She’s forever trying to make us laugh. Even when she does something that goes against my parenting interests, it’s hard not to accidentally encourage her.
We were out having dinner at Buca di Beppo with the family of one of Mr. W’s oldest friends, and Allie insisted on getting out of the booth where she was trapped between Mr. W and me in a booster seat. I acquiesced because she’d been in there for hours. The moment her feet hit the floor, she took off. I went around the tables after her and she giggled, but took my hand and led the way back to our table. Before we got there, she suddenly slid into the booth of another table, in front of a startled-looking young man whose date or girlfriend had left momentarily. “Allie! That’s not our table!” I said, pulling her off the seat.
“I’m funny!” she said, continuing on our journey.
“That’s not fun– Hey! That’s not our seat either!” I pulled a self-amused grinning Allie out of yet another booth, although this time thankfully the booth was empty.
“I’m funny AGAIN!” she announced.
The same week, Mr. W and I were with her at a Selma’s Chicago Pizzeria where Allie was munching on a dinner roll as we waited for our food to arrive. Suddenly she chucked a chunk of bread at me.
“Allie!” I said sternly, surprised at her uncommon misbehavior. “That’s not nice. We don’t throw food.”
Wearing a huge smile, she said, “I’m funny!”
“No, you’re not funny. Don’t do that again.”
The smile only faded a little as she insisted, “I’m funny a LITTLE bit.”
Mr. W had the luxury of being able to laugh since she had her back to him and was facing me. I had to keep my face straight and serious.

I see the 2s as an age when her emotions have developed enough that she feels things very strongly, but her immaturity and inexperience keeps her from being able to evaluate what is an appropriate level of response to a situation or stimulus. Hence, tantrums. For example, she sees a glass item that catches her eye and she wants to hold it, examine it in her hand. We don’t want her to hold glass, so we don’t allow it. Her response is to instantly wail because she is SO disappointed and she wants it SO badly and she’s SO curious about the item. Anyone would feel the same way, but as adults, we are able to say that in the realm of things, this isn’t a big deal and thus we aren’t heartbroken over the denial. She doesn’t have a range of experiences to know that this is small beans, so it’s a BIG DEAL. However, I have yet to discipline her because I’m usually able to reason her out of things. I lower my voice and say to her very seriously, “Allie, listen to me. This is made of glass, and glass is not for little kids. If you drop it, it will break, and you will get hurt.”
She’ll usually stop wailing to listen to me and she’ll acknowledge with a head-shake and a, “That’s not for little kids. No.”
I’ll offer a compromise. “You can look at it, but you can’t touch it. Okay?”
“Yeah.” She’s instantly mollified.
I pick her up to look at it. She examines it visually and sticks to her word. Sometimes the compromise is, “You can smell it, but you can’t put it in your mouth.” “One last video clip, you get to pick, and after that we go take a bath, and you don’t cry.” “Eat the last carrot, and I’ll go get you more cheese.” She’s pretty much always reasonable and trustworthy when she agrees to something.
The largest hurdle these days on the wailing front is leaving somewhere she’s not ready to leave yet — the house, the grocery store, the park, a shop in the mall. She’s too upset to listen when we explain it to her so we just have to pick her up and carry her off loudly protesting. “Nooo, I don’t wanna leave! Dada put me down! Stop, dada, stop!” And then she’ll try another strategy. “I wanna walk! I wanna walk!” We’ve learned that before she’s out of the protest mode, not to put her down or she’ll just take off back to where we’d dragged her out of. So she’ll try, “Mama hold Allie, not dada! Mama wanna hold Allie! I want mama!” And then she’d try to wriggle out of my hold, hoping I’m less resistant than dada. If she’s bad, we just won’t address her crying anymore and ignore it. If we’re somewhere private like in our house or in our car and she’s strapped in safely in the carseat or high chair, I’ll tell her, “Okay, you go ahead and cry, I’ll wait for you to finish and when you’re good, I’ll come back/talk to you again.” Then I’ll break eye contact and placidly step away or look away. The tantrum hasn’t lasted more than 10 seconds after we do that. It ends with her saying, “I’m all done now. I be good. Mama are you happy?” Today in the car, she wailed her protest about not wanting to go home. After talking to her went unheeded, I told her I’m going to wait until she’s done before I address her again and I looked out the window, ignoring her attempts to get me to pay attention to her again. That fit quickly ended with, “I’m almost good. [3 more seconds of wailing] I’m good now. [smile at me]”
“You’re all done?”
“I’m nice now.” And she was.

Funny girl.