Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Story of Birdie

One day, almost five years ago, Kim came up to me and said, "I'm ready". Not knowing exactly what she was talking about, I looked at her with a questioning expression. "For a new dog" she said "I think my heart is ready for that kind of love again." When we had gotten together four years ago, we each had "our" dogs, the loyal companions that had chosen us, independently through our own trials and tribulations, still loving and accepting us after all of our youthful mistakes.

A year before we had said our tearful goodbye to Georgia Bean, Kim's eleven year old golden colored mix, who had been suffering with an oral malignant melanoma. The loss was tough on Kim because Bean dog was not only her loyal side kick, but also her work companion, running the length of the tennis courts as she made her rounds. Kim needed time to grieve the loss.

"I've had this vision that our next puppy is waiting for us at the new Dawson County Humane Society" she said joyfully. I was willing to go along with her whim but was not very eagerly anticipating having to train a puppy, especially because there was a good possibility that I was pregnant. We scoured the the pound and I wept as we passed every crate with those sad eyes staring at us saying "Am I the one?". I couldn't take it...I had to have a break...I was ready to take all of them.

Kim wanted to look through the puppies once again and that was when we spotted the one, a kind of meek, 12 week old floppy eared mutt in the rear corner. We took her out and Kim was instantly in love, it was obviously meant to be and her name was going to be Birdie. The very next morning I got a positive reading on the EPT stick, we were pregnant with Senia Mae.

Although I was initially not very excited about dealing with a puppy and having morning sickness at the same time, Birdie has become a very important member of our family. If it was not for her, I probably would not be alive today.

After having a Cesarian section delivery, I was laid up in bed feeling feverish. Birdie jumped on the bed and landed on my painful incision...it immediately ruptured. The ER doctor said I would have been dead in another hour from sepsis if that dog had not made us aware. An antibiotic resistant MRSA infection, obtained during the C-section surgery, was secretly taking over my body. Thankfully, Birdie had smelled the infection brewing inside of me. I can never praise her enough.

Today our sweet dog is turning 5 years old. This morning Senia Mae and I were mixing together her special doggie birthday cake, shredding the carrots and scatterings half of them over the kitchen counter. "The good news is that Mommy Kim is a cleaning lady!" I said with pleasure. "What's the bad news, then?" Senia Mae asked innocently. "There's no bad news...it's Birdie's birthday...we are supposed to make a mess."
Birdie loved having her own cake after she got over the fear of the burning candles! Happy Birthday to a great family dog, we love you!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

True Love's Kiss

I could see the hurt in Savannah's eyes as Senia Mae pushed away from her and closer to me on the couch. She snuggled in on my lap, wrapped her tiny little hand around mine, and focused her attention on the premiere home viewing of "Frozen" on Grandma's big screen television. "Don't get your feelings hurt, Savannah,it is only because today is Mommy Day" I said apologetically. We had spent the whole day doing extra fun things, just the two of us, and apparently she didn't want any one else to break into our bubble. Inside I soared, because I usually have to share her attention with a lot of other people, including her cool teenage cousin, and sometimes feel like I place last on the list. Today was our day, her and me, and my insides skipped with glee when she wanted to keep it as just that.

We sat mesmerized as Hans easily tugged at Anna's heart strings, charming and handsome, it seemed as though they fell instantly in love, much like in any fairy tale. This must have moved Senia Mae, for she reached over and grabbed something from the coffee table. Just then she took my left hand and slipped a pink plastic heart shaped ring on my index finger (it was too small to fit on any of the others). I could see the pride she was feeling after "placing a ring on my finger" like Hans was going to give to Anna, it was my secret present. We snuggled a little bit tighter and I kept the special ring on for the rest of the night. She lit up every time she saw it.

A little while later I asked her if she was going to kiss my ring. "No Momma" she said, "Only True Love's Kiss!"

"Well a Momma's love IS true love..." I said. "You may find more love or a different kind of love later, but no love will ever be more true than the love a Momma has for her child." and with that she gently reached over, grabbed my hand very daintily, and kissed my ring. We did this several more times the rest of the night end every time she just squealed with delight, as if we had our own little secret code.
It was fabulous as I thought, this is the stuff. I hoped that I would always remember to take the time to appreciate "the stuff" as it was happening, because as we all know, it goes away fast.

The next morning I overheard Kim waking up Senia Mae in the other room. "Is today Mommy Day?" she asked innocently, how I wished that it could be like this forever.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Momma, who put the diarrhea on Savannah's face? You or Mommy Kim?

Last summer we had the pleasure of having our nieces stay at the lake house with us for several weeks. Both girls were in their early teenage years and had the usual interests...beauty, hair, nails, & fashion, all of which Senia Mae just ate up, because she was and still is, the ultimate diva. If it was shiny and spectacular, then the answer was yes, she loved it, and watching her stare at them with awe and amazement was absolutely adorable.

It was a rainy afternoon and we had stopped at Walmart on the way back from a bowling trip, trying to ease the blahs of not being able to be out in the boat (rainy days in the summer can be absolute torture to our guests, especially kids). Senia Mae was wanting to hang lazily from my arms, in hopes that I would drag her like a corpse through the aisles of the store. I am sure that every parent knows when their child gets to this point of tiredness that you have about a forty five minute window before the walls start crumbling down. Letting the girls know that our time was running out, they picked out some individually packaged chocolate facial masks and decided to make it a spa, popcorn, and movie night.

As soon as we got into the house Kim and I started on Senia Mae's bedtime routine as the girls went to the downstairs bathroom to apply their facial masks. About fifteen minutes later Savannah was standing in the living room letting her face dry. Senia Mae spotted her from a distance and stopped dead in her tracks, petrified of the sight of Savannah. Apparently she had no idea what was going on and assumed we were doing something harmful to our niece. We hadn't thought to explain it to her, it never even crossed my mind that it would look frightening, and it was all I could do to peel her out from behind the sofa.

As I picked her up in my arms she looked at me with this expression of disgust and horror and shouted, "Momma, who put the diarrhea on Savannah's face, you or Mommy Kim?"

While I don't necessarily want my daughter to need extensive therapy for traumatic childhood events, it was hard to be empathetic and hold back the tears of laughter that immediately followed her crazy, yet ever so serious accusation. The house practically shook with all of us in stitches. When we finally got her calmed down enough to go to bed, she was still so appalled that she didn't want Savannah to come in her room or even read her a book (which means it is VERY serious). The following day it took Senia Mae all day before she would stop giving poor Savannah the stink eye! Who knew? :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Just when you think you are winning the battle...

Sometimes I have this internal yearn to be mother of the year, chiropractor of the year, wife of the year, friend of the year, volunteer of the year...you get the picture, meanwhile I run myself ragged trying to reach this unrealistic plateau in which I scrutinize myself heavily if I under perform or come up a little bit short. It may be the Capricorn in me or just pure psychosis that has yet to be resolved in therapy, either way I plow forward in my strife, continuously trying to meet this unobtainable expectation.

One of the areas of discord are my child's eating habits. Please stop laughing I haven't even gotten to the funny part yet. As a health care practitioner and promoter of the theory of proper nutrition being the foundation of good health, I am very concerned over the possible side effects of a four year old diet that consists primarily of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. This is what she wants every day...or a grilled cheese...or if I am lucky cottage cheese. While I am certain that my child is not going to be suffering from early onset osteoporosis, I do feel as if her body needs more than enriched bleached flour and processed cheeses to achieve proper growth and development. Since I am a fairly advanced chef, I thought I would whip up some homemade mac and cheese, Lima beans, and fried catfish in hopes that we could almost complete one full balanced nutrition pyramid. This is how it went down.


"Okay, Momma made your favorite...Mac and cheese, coming at you warm and bubbly straight out of the oven." With a hopeful smile I slid the plastic princess plate across the counter as she sat opposite me on her stool. Her head dropped, eyeballs quickly scanning the plate, her long, light brown hair flopping forward like Cousin It, covering her face so that I could not see her expression. A second later I see the face: brows slightly frowned, eyes straight and direct, lower lip out.


"I don't like this mac and cheese" she says matter of fact, as if this is the end of the conversation and I should just turn around and pull something else out of my sleeve. I take a deep breath in, calming the internal fire rising from within that wants to just scream "why is mine not good enough?". Knowing full well that I am the bigger person, I thought it to be a good time to reason with her.


"Oh, no," I said. "You love mac and cheese. You used to eat this all of the time when you were a baby. In fact you didn't even like the other stuff, you would only eat my homemade macaroni and cheese." OK it was a slight fib, but I was really trying. Parenting tip # 1 : sometimes it is possible to sway their opinion if they really believe they used to like it as a baby. Again this is just a tip, not accurate one hundred percent of the time.

"Well I don't like this mac and cheese anymore." she replies directly as my point flies right out the window.

"It's the same as the other stuff except that I made it with real milk, butter, and cheese and cooked it in the oven. You haven't even tried it. Just take one bite." Reluctantly she pries her lips open ever so slightly, enough to force one piece of elbow macaroni through the tight space.


"I still don't like it" she hops down from her stool and runs around the counter to the food pantry, opening the cabinet and pulling out a box of the processed garbage I am so adamantly trying to overrule. "This is the kind I like right here." She hands me the box as if it is not apparent enough already. Sting, sting, sting...I can feel my heart burning directly under my chest. Suddenly I changed directions with my thought process.

"See this nice Valentine you made me this morning? Remember how you were so proud and happy to give it to me and all you really wanted was for me to like it?" she nodded in understanding. "How would you feel if I said that I didn't like it...it should be purple instead of red?" Her eyes got serious in deep thought, as if I was really hitting home with her emotions. This is it, I thought, I am getting there, round two goes to Momma. "Don't you think that would hurt your feelings when you made me that special Valentine and I said I didn't like it? That's how I feel when I make you something special and you won't even try it."


I looked up at her to see if I was getting anywhere. She nodded in understanding and got a look of slight empathy in her eye, feeling where I was going with the conversation. Just as I thought I had finally got through, she changed her tactic as well. She reached across the counter and grabbed my hand, ever so gently. Looking me directly in the eye with the utmost innocence she says, "Mommy, I do not like Green Eggs and Ham!" It was all I could do to contain my hysterics and keep my composure, trying desperately to hold on to some minute thread of the point I was making, but it was useless. Round three goes to the child!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Finding the right words

I am sure that it is not easy being the kid of a chiropractor. There is no way you are going to prop yourself up on the couch all cockamamied and get away with it, having a dinner plate with only starchy foods on it will occur only over my dead body, and of course you get adjusted not only when you are feeling bad, but to stay healthy. Otherwise it looks really bad.

Senia Mae is not that different from most four year-olds, when I say it is time to get adjusted she shrieks, runs around the table for me to catch her, and says, "No, I don't want to!". I think she really just enjoys being able to voice her own opinion. The other day I was trying to explain to her how important it is to get adjusted regularly. My first attempt was "If you don't get adjusted regularly your body will get sick...you don't want that, do you?" Silence. I looked in the rear view mirror to see her face staring blankly out the window. I imagined the droning voice of Charlie Brown's teacher....blah blah blah blah blah blah. I racked my brain for another alternative, apparently the strive for ultimate health was not of concern at her age.

My second attempt involved something more serious. Since she is constantly asking me to tell her stories about when I got hurt as a child, I thought I'd reach deep and pull out the "H" word. Yes, that means hospital.

"You know when you get adjusted your body heals from the inside out. Do you know what happens if your body stops working right?"

"What?"

"You have to go to the hospital to get fixed. Is that what you want?"

"No, I just don't want to get adjusted."

It's not as if I do not have to deal with this same issue with patients every day, but they sway a little easier and the sting in my epicenter isn't quite as sharp when its not coming from my own flesh and blood.

"Why don't you like to get adjusted?" I asked.

"I just don't"

"We do it in a way so you don't even feel it." I said, "You like it if you can't feel it, right?"

"I still don't like it!" she said without budging.

Suddenly a voice from the heavens whispered in my ear. "You know why we give adjustments? So that there is no interference in your body. If there is no interference then Jesus can talk to you all the time without getting the wrong message." I peered in the rear view mirror.

"Jesus can talk to me better?" she asked, apparently interested in being able to receive direct communication with the MAIN man. I had gotten her attention.

"Yes"

"Then I like getting adjusted," as if saying, Duh, Mom, of course I want to talk with Jesus! Apparently all those Sunday mornings coloring during the preacher's sermon are having their effect!