Pull out a tissue.. and get ready

Okay for all you folks who are getting ready to send your little one off to kindergarten on Tuesday… this is one of the reasons I was a wreck the first day.

Our Principal read all the parent’s this book at our Boo-Hoo breakfast and told us the kids would all be read this book during the day. The Boo-Hoo is an event that is planned to basically just get the the sobbing parents out of the damn classroom before they upset all kids. We all went to the gym and cried and the principal read us this book, then we all cried because we hadn’t kissed their hands before we left.

But it’s wonderful. I wish I had had it before the first day. Not that Puddin’ needed it – but Mama did. Last night at open house I saw the pictures they colored that day of two raccoons with a heart between their hands and I cried all over again..

I’m such a good mommy I went to Open House

Tonight I went to my first open house.. this was important
to me because my parents never went to open house and it kind of was one of
many things that made me feel like I just didn’t matter that much.

(Without digressing too much I should say that it doesn’t
mean I didn’t feel loved, I was and am and that’s all good. But they just didn’t
stop their busy adult lives to participate in my kid life too much, and I
noticed the difference in them and other parents and I didn’t like it.)

So back on track now.. tonight was the first open house. And
I had no idea what I was in for. I was prepared for the full on pitch to gone
the PTA. Which if I had a better idea of
what PTA did, I might but it’s still a mystery to me. (remember the parent
non-participation history thing) Truthfully it kind of scares me because in my
overactive imagination they are all uber-SAHMs that will shun me because I
choose to work.  I am afraid they are the
militant Le Leche crowd six years later.*

But I digress. I made it through their portion without
joining the cult of PTA and moved on to our classroom. I foolishly thought the
funny note that was sent home describing the meeting as a “workshop” was just
meant to encourage their no kids rule. Those folks were serious. This was no
come on in and admire the little darlings macaroni artwork event. This was
serious business – I got homework and shit.

I do have to say that I love Mrs T our teacher though. She’s
just the sort to that my little drama queen needed. She’s an older lady who is
originally from Long Island and Puddin’ thinks that makes them kindred spirits
because she too was born in New York.  They
also share a passion for performing. Ms T’s brother is (was?) a Broadway singer
type and she copes with her sibling rivalry/jealousy by turning her classroom
into a stage. They sing a lot. And I mean a lot. If I hear one more round of
Apple Apple ah aha A. Baby baby bah bah B – I just might scream.

So, points of concern and frustration –

  1. We seem to be a class full of working parents.
    Which means there is a lake of classroom Mom volunteers. I could do some stuff
    but not routinely or with an exact commitment and that doesn’t meet their
    needs. I worry that this will exhaust poor Ms T after the long haul.
  2.  The kids haven’t been (and won’t be) evaluated
    and grouped by skill set. They are just all together. Some had pre-K some didn’t.
    Some don’t know their ABCs, some are reading already. I just don’t get that.
    Everyone suffers this way, the kids who are reading are bored and the kids who
    need more help aren’t getting the extra attention they need to catch up.
  3.  They have almost no exposure to kids outside of
    their class. Recess is one class at a time only. Lunch is one table a class. This
    seems strange. Maybe I just imagine it because I grew up in a smallish town
    where I knew all the other kids but it seems like the classes played together
    and socialized.

That’s about it. That’s what I did tonight. The jury remains
out on so much of this kindergarten experience so far. Most of my motivation in
writing all this down is to reflect back later and laugh at myself at the end
of the year.




Articles from the road

Work has been crazy and I’ve been on the run but found these nuggets in Southwest’s Spirit Magazine and had to share:


In a move that will either be heralded as a crime against good taste or a long-overdue act of mercy, Orion Books this month will roll out abridged versions of six literary classics. With up to 40 percent less verbiage, the compact editions attempt to maintain the greatness of the originals while trimming away expendable passages and subplots. If the word “expendable” in the last sentence caused you to black out momentarily, you’re in good company. When Orion released the books in England last spring, many bibliophiles became apoplectic.

Seriously folks are we going to create shortcuts for everything? What part of David Copperfield do you consider “expendable”?


Lefties earn 15% more than righties

We’re talking about male southpaws only. There was no difference among women. Why the disparity between lefties and righties? Researchers have no clue, but a group from Australia may be on to something. They found that left-handed kids spend less time on educational activities and more time watching television than right-handed kids. Maybe everything bad is good for you, after all.

Confession: I watch as much TV as a lefty.

And finally one for the  Pud

Starting Aug. 31, “High School Musical: The Ice Tour” will begin a trek across the country. Why ice? Simple: The show has already conquered every other entertainment outlet. The original movie reached 100 million viewers in 100 countries and won two Emmys. The DVD sold 7.2 million copies, the book adaptation sold 1.2 million copies, and the soundtrack became the top-selling album of 2006. At this point, it’s either ice-skating or mime.

There was another about the high % of people who don’t realize that plastic is made from crude oil and think that plastic is biodegradable (it’s not) but they didn’t have that one listed on the website.

So I want to say a quick THANK YOU to Southwest for realizing that their in-flight magazine doesn’t have to be all about travel. That in fact most of the people who are flying are doing so for work and don’t want to read about how awesome Hawaii is. ‘Cause we’re heading to a boring meeting somewhere and the last thing we need is to have seeds of vacation lust planted in our brains.

It’s Not Your Birthday

The recent rash of birthdays has lead FuzzyHead to believe that any large bag with handles represents a present – and if no one else is claiming it, hey it might as well be hers. I was rooting around in the bottom of my closet looking for shoes to wear to church when I heard a little voice excitedly exclaiming "It’s my birthday! It’s my birthday" in the bedroom. I peaked around the corner to find this…

Awhh, we didn’t see that one coming…

This weekend I was out with my crew of 40-something-moms-of-toddlers and swung into the local grocery to pick up some supplies for our night out. The cashier took one look at the dozen ladies, semi dressed up, each carrying a bottle of something and several items from the bakery and smiled, "Girls night out ladies?" she asked. We laughed at how obvious we were… clearly she was feeling our vibe.

Then the sometimes-overly-friendly one felt compelled to tell her our destination in case she wanted to join us later when she got off work. To which she got a strange look on her face and said, "Uhh yeah, I’ll call my mom and tell her."  Awhhh that hurt.

But seriously, do the rest of you advanced maternal agers see yourselves as much younger because you still change diapers on a daily basis? Does it ever occur to you that when you do the math it is entirely possible, that it should could be your grand-child instead? Holy crap!

A Year of Change and Fear and Sadness and Endurance – Over

This is another of those posts that I’ve put off mainly because I don’t know how to start it or really what to say but it just feels dishonest not to talk about. But this week I hit kind of milestone and if I don’t do it now it will never get done. So here it goes.

The Milestone: After nearly nine months I’m completely off Prednisone. I hated it. It probably saved my life, or at least my liver. 

Last year about this time, in an even totally unrelated to MS as far as anyone can tell, my immune system decided if it wasn’t allowed to F with my central nervous system, it wanted a different piece of me and decided on my liver. My immune system hates me.

Last September I started having some strange symptoms that we attributed to some random viral thing and thought would go away given time. It didn’t. Then one day the Dr. looked me in the eye stopped dead in his tracks in a dimly lit hallway and said you’ve got jaundice – I’ll get you in to see someone tomorrow. The next day I gave them pints and pints of blood and cups and cups of urine. Turns out my liver enzymes were "elevated" 30ish being normal – mine where 1100. Not good. I was told to not even be in the room with alcohol and come back in 2 weeks for more tests. Good news.. they went down to 800ish but leveled off there. Everything else was clean as in no viral hepatitis so we continued the wait and see method. They stayed high never getting below 500.

After several months of this I started to worry. I knew my liver couldn’t take this forever. And by the way if you have ever heard that "if the liver ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy" adage.. it’s true. A sick liver sucks. So since the paid professionals weren’t getting anywhere I got myself on the Internet and started self-diagnosing. It took a day. The Dr. came home and I handed him my evidence – "this is what’s wrong with me, run the tests" I told him. He was skeptical but did – and also pushed me up pay-scale to see a liver specialist.

That guy looked at all blood work and concurred with me – Autoimmune Hepatitis. My own body was attacking itself again. MS and this in the same person are extremely rare – but hey I’m lucky that way. One liver biopsy (2 weeks before Christmas) and it was official. Bring on the steroids.

I was glad to know that what was wrong me, like my MS, was very treatable and was generally easy to control with drugs. The prednisone got immediate results and I was in normal ranges by late January. At which point I started other non-steroid immune suppressors. The type of things that transplant patients take. But those take a while to build up in your system and start working so the pred and I stayed tight.

It took awhile but eventually the side-effects came to visit, the weight gain, the moon face, fluid retention behind the neck (humpback), the insomnia. The moon face was what bothered me the most. I didn’t look like me, even though I was getting better.

But all has gone well and after 5 months on my cocktail they started a VERY SLOW taper of the pred. By slow I mean months… but this week its over. I am officially steroid free. My camel hump is gone behind my neck. My face is getting back to normal, and I need to figure out how to loose the extra pounds that probably weren’t entirely the fault of the steroids – unless you count the depressive aspect of the whole damn ordeal.

So that’s it, now I add AIH to my identity because it’s always going to be a part of me. I’ll take these suppressors for the foreseeable future. Can’t take my interferon anymore though. I meet with the neuro next month to get his take on that. It is going to be a fun visit. I get the feeling he’s going to want to write a paper on me. He’s that kind of guy.

So that’s it, nothing funny or witty about this… just a personal thing to note, acknowledge, own, and get on with life from. It’s changed me, much more than MS ever did. It was scarier and more life-threatening. And now I had the kids to think about. The change in my face was a bit of a metaphor for what I was going through inside, I wasn’t the me I knew anymore. But just like the face, I’m getting back to me, a little more weathered and worse for wear, but at least a me I know…