Eli: Like a boss

Eli earned a new nickname this week:


He did the best he could to boss everyone in his world, everyone trying to mess with him.

He is 38 pounds of piss and vinegar.

He’s a boss.

Want to take the piss out of him? (Literally)?

Naw, he ain’t havin it.

Need a drop of blood?

Yeah, sure, ya want a knuckle sandwich first?

To alleviate our boredom as a hospital stay stretched on, I blew up hospital gloves and turned them into weird, blue people, like Hand Baby, who became Eli’s hospital Wilson.

Except Eli punched the shit out of hand baby, not to mention hand baby’s ill-fated dad, Dad Hand.

Next, Eli potty trained hand baby, like a boss.

We could all learn a thing or two from Eli. He knows how he feels and he’s not afraid to let you know how he feels.

Of course, at 3, he doesn’t understand people trying to take things from him and hurt him are actually trying to keep him well.

That’s where Mark and me come in. We let those people do the things to him they need to do to keep him well, completely against the wishes of my little big boss.

It’s heartbreaking. I betrayed my son roughly 204 times in our thus far short 5-day battle to get his lungs working right, holding him down procedure after procedure, through his protests of thrashes and screams and “I HATE YOU”s.

His preferred emphasis word is “really,” as in “REALLY,” as in “This REALLY REALLY REALLY hurts,” and “I REALLY REALLY WANT TO GO HOME.”

We know more now about what happened this week to Eli’s body, when he stopped breathing right and his tum and neck sucked in to squeeze more oxygen into his blood and his heartrate spiked. We know thanks to a sputum sample that entailed a team of doctors and nurses and me holding him down while they stuck a tube through his nose and down his throat and scraped out some junk, to tot protests so loud that they were surely heard around the world.

A few days later that junk had a name; the blossoming outbreak of a common cystic fibrosis bacteria currently fucking with my son is Haemophilus influenzae. 

It’s a little more complicated than that, though. He had a trifecta of viruses in him, including RSV, entero and rhino viruses. Those viruses made the Haemohilus influenzae bacteria stuck in his lungs because of the CF jazz on up. He had a “CF exacerbation,” a clinical term that essentially means bad chronic bronchitis.

That much we know and today, after five days of pumping oxygen and antibiotics, Eli was well enough to go home.

He had a PICC line placed and needs antibiotics for roughly 10 more days at home.

It doesn’t mean he’s over it, all of this, all of these people messing with him.

After ignoring his demands all week for the sake of his health, he made a final plea as we left the hospital and drove by a fire truck.

“STOP!” he commanded.


He went on and on.


And for the fir st time all week, I did what he said. I did him one better.

I went to the goddamn fire station 1 downtown with Eli still in his tiger-emblazoned hospital scrubs.

I had to do what the boss said, didn’t I?

Yeah – I DID.

Ok, buddy, here we are. Wanna get out of the car?

He went shy on me.

Come on, sweetie, let’s go look at the ladder truck.

Me with my no-makeup/hair askew/inexplicable active wear (had I not just had like three scones in 12 hours while sitting on my ass?) got Eli out of the car and we walked over to Fire Station 1 in downtown OKC.

The fireman tried to coax Eli into sitting inside the truck, but my son was so shocked that we were at the actual firestation he had  practically gone catatonic. We checked things out for about five minutes and the nice firefighter brought over two sticker badges, one for him, one for sister.

I put Eli back in the car.

He noticed a glass factory across the street.

He wanted to go there now.


No, sweetie, we have to go home now.

Eli next screamed “NO” for 20 straight minutes, along with “TURN AROUND” and “I HATE YOU.”

He had some residual rage from his hospital stay, from his frustration with people messing with him, doing everything he told them not to. That’s my theory, any way.

I let him scream. I took him home and let him hit me, roll on the floor and hollar to his heart’s content.

“Inconsolable” is the word that comes to mind.

He ran to the door and messed with the locks, so determined was he to get back to the goddamned glass factory.

We distracted him with the prospect of opening a gift that had come in the mail.

Things were better until the home health nurse arrive and we gave him his next dose of antibiotics.

Again, I had to restrain him completely as he screamed and Mark worked the IV flushes and drugs under the supervision of a nurse.

“It won’t hurt, buddy. It’s going to be over soon,” I cooed. “Shhhhh. It’s OK. Shhhh.”

He forgave me, cuddling up afterward.

Since then his smile has returned. We threw him a party with pizza and cake.

He’s smiling again.

Like a boss.


Saying bye to nannies

It started with Nanny X. I thought she was it. The one. Tops.

That swingy pony tail. Those pie eyes. That earnest, can-do attitude.

Scam. Scam. Scam.

Continue reading Saying bye to nannies

My creepy sweetheart

Laila is the cutest, creepiest little sweetheart I’ve ever met.

From around the corner, I overheard her playing in the playroom with Eli and Daddy.

That’s when she said:

Continue reading My creepy sweetheart

Oklahoma, OK

I turn the key in the ignition. Not a sound. Not a click. Nothing is working. My cell is out of batteries.

I sit in my car at a pump at a neighborhood gas station. Full tank and kinda stranded, for the moment.

It’s a familiar place. A few months ago I met a couple living in a small sinkhole in a parking lot adjacent to this gas station for a story about homeless veterans. He was an Afghanistan vet who couldn’t stop the bad dreams. She, battered by an ex, turned to meth and lost her children to state custody. Only recently was she able to can the meth addiction, because the Afghanistan vet, the love of her life, won’t stand for meth. He told me of the situation: “It don’t take one thing and it’s gone. Everything you got is gone, you know?”

Each said the other was the best thing that ever happened to them. Then they flew kites.

You can find love in unexpected places sometimes. Like, near a sinkhole in an expanse of concrete.

I feel only mild annoyance at current car situation because I’m tryin’ to run errands on a Saturday afternoon.

I walk into the convenience store to let the counter staff know I’m having car trouble and might be parked for a moment while I figure this one out. I think I need a jump, I say. I don’t have cables.

There’s a man who walks in right behind me and overhears. His hair is rusty blond and wild, Einstein-esque. Dried paint covers his jeans and boots. He’s a mid-50s cowboy Thor.

“I got this,” he tells the staff. “I’ll be over after I fill up,” he says to me.

“Thanks,” I say. “I might need a jump.”

I walk to my car. Pop the hood.

A green Bronco pulls up and he gets out.

Just don’t let him be a creep

He’s all business, stares at the battery and says, “You’ve just got a bad connection. Look at this.”

“Awesome. Is it an easy fix?”

“Yeah, yeah.”

He pulls tools out of his Bronco. A drill, a wrench.

Oh good he’s normal.

“Sweet Bronco,” I say. “Love Broncos. What year is it?”


“OK, completely rude question asking anyway – how much did you pay for it?”

“Got this one for $500 ’cause it had a lot of problems. Usually, they’re around $1,500. I only pay cash.”

“My husband and I are the same way,” I say.

“Yeah,” he says. “I got a wife and three kids. I started watching this show, Doomsday Preppers,” he says. “Man, these idiots on this show. They got guns. They got food. Bronco is loaded up.”

“With guns and food?”

OK, so maybe he’s not ‘normal,’ in the conventional sense, but, uniquely prepared for anything…

“Yeah,” he says, intent as ever on the bad connection in my battery.”Bronco’s got a reinforced front panel. Can charge through anything. Man, these guys on Doomsday Preppers were some of the biggest idiots I’ve ever seen. Then I turn around and become a big idiot like them…”

“Like, in preparation for Doomsday?” I say. “Apocalypse or what?”

“You never know. I’ve always kept guns…a lot of guns.”

“Tornado,” I offer. “You could get out of town fast for one of those.”

“Yeah. Tornado. Or anything else. You never know.”

“You really never know.”


“OK, give it a start.”

He shuts my hood.

I turn the key. My car starts.

“Wow, thanks,” I say.

But the stranger is already halfway to his Bronco armory food bank.

“Thanks!” I call out. I wave. “THANKS!”

He’s gone.

He not only patched up the car, cowboy Thor reminded me of…preparedness…

It’s a topsy turvy world. Come to think of it, I need to fix my weather radio.

the end


Laila uses threat of force in chocolate milk request, and a question for readers

Hey there, hiya.

So it’s 7 a.m. and I sit down to have my coffee and this is what my daughter says:

Laila: Mommy, if you pour me chocolate milk I’ll be very excited.

If you don’t I’ll shoot you in the face with this poison air.

She is pointing the end of a kid rocket launcher at my face. To her credit, it wasn’t loaded with any foam rocket ammo…just the poison air. Her brother has destroyed with his teeth three/four foam rockets.

It’s not the same as being there, but I made her repeat it for Audioboo right after. She changed poison air to “spicy air.”

After the jump, hear this strange exchange and pretty please answer my question!

Continue reading Laila uses threat of force in chocolate milk request, and a question for readers

Laila’s creepy bedtime story 1: Bears and crystals

Laila has gotten into the habit of telling me a creepy story at bed time. I can’t guarantee there won’t be holes in the plot, but here you go. Enter her world of magic crystals, bears and creepy stuff:

Like putting makeup on a 4-year-old

How in holy hey hey hey do you make a bun?

This is the question I posed to my sister, Emily.

Three weeks out from my daughter’s first dance recital and I was panicking.

Continue reading Like putting makeup on a 4-year-old

Little people, 1: Green moms

I’ve been utter crap at making both mom friends and little people friends for Laila.

Laila is 3.

I just recently turned a corner on the mom friend/little people front.

Little Laila

2010, Ann Arbor:

How wistfully I looked upon the mothers of Ann Arbor as they traipsed about in their Tevas in those lush, green parks.

Somehow, we just never connected.

I tend to wear wedges. A clash of footwear ideology?

Can’t be sure. I never got close enough to find out.

Sweet babies clad in organic fabrics. Older siblings munching granola. Probably homemade. Probably organic. Probably free of genetically modified ingredients.

Why, oh why, won’t you be my friend, mommy?

Look at me. I’m here.

We recycle…How could we not? This city makes it easier than throwing away garbage.

I’m totally into non-GMO…until I want McDonald’s french fries…in which case, move aside, I want french fries. Seriously, get out of my way.

Why won’t you look at me, mother earth?

Gee I just can’t figure it out.

Another one has walked away without making eye contact!


Wait! Wait! I want your granola recipe.

I rise to chase my potential friend.

Trip. #@$% wedges. Who wears wedges to a park?

What is wrong with me?

Why can’t I make friends?


2013, Oklahoma City:

OK, since I’m too busy to make friends I’m going to join an online group. Oooooh this one has a green bent.

I have to wonder what that will turn up in my red state.

OK, this group is into cloth diapering.

Yeah, pass. I mean on the cloth diapering. Do whatever you want, I seriously don’t care…but I’m sticking with my Target diapers.

OK…this article from the British government claims cloth nappies (hehe nappies!) have the same carbon footprint as disposable nappies (hehe nappies!) OK, Ok. I’ve got this study up my sleeve *just in case*

We meet at the book store.

I spot multiple Toms. The cute little slipper shoes that donate a pair to someone in a third world country when you buy a pair here in the U.S. of A.

Oooh, gold sparkly Toms.

“Where’d you get those? Thanks for organizing this.This is great!”

Hi. Hi. Hi.

“This is the first time I’ve done this.”

Me too.

“OMG, isn’t it lonely having young children?”

OMG yes! Yes!

“It’s so lonesome!”

I don’t have any friends.

“Me neither!”

This is great.

“OK where did your daughter get those mini Toms. Precious. Just precious. And in a third world country somewhere, her counterpart is running around in mini Toms, looking all stylish at the village water well!”

Laila and I need matching Toms.

“Our babies are playing together. Precious. Let’s take 1,000 photos!”

At the green cupcake store:

“Hi, I’ll take birthday cake flavor,” I tell the cashier.

“Do you want vegan organic or just organic?”

“I want vegan, organic and GMO free. And light. You have that, right?”

Cashier stares at me.

“Uh, I’m kidding. Just plain organic is fine.”

Cashier doesn’t laugh.

All the babies are running around like wild little people in a tiny modern space.

There is talk of school, of work, of staying at home, more discussion on how lonely it is to stay at home with a baby or a little toddler and a lot of:

“I’m so glad we’re doing this!”

And there are cupcakes. And coffee!

And one child is named after a tree, and another a veggie!

No one busts me for my Target diapering!

Laila runs around with the little people and is in a good mood for the rest of the day.



Today, I met one of the green moms up at a park.

We kind of splintered off from the group weeks ago.

We like the group and I plan to go again, it’s just most of the kids are 1 and our kids are 2.5 and 3.

Holland, a little girl, and her mommy, are our new friends.

Laila loves Holland. Holland loves Laila. Eli hangs out, too, in either his carrier or one of my baby-wearing contraptions.

Holland and Laila spotted each other at the park today, sprinted toward each other and then stopped about a foot apart. Then they hugged.

They are precious little people, running around together, holding hands, climbing stuff.

Laila is by some miracle bigger than Holland.

She kept acting as her body guard when a big boy showed up at the park.

Holland’s mommy is so nice! Plus she knows about so many places in OKC I don’t know about. Which parks are toddler friendly, etc. She’s cool and she’s funny.

She used to work in HR but stays at home now. She is quite pregnant with No. 2.

Her husband has a tech job that’s California-based but works at home in OKC.

Holland and Laila meet every week now.

I’m hoping H’s mommy signs her little H up for ballet.

I’ve just signed me wee miss up. It starts in a few weeks.

Laila needs somewhere to put her energy.

Today it was at the park, with Holland.

My little girl who doesn’t smile for just anything or anyone is beaming today. I’d show you a picture but her smile becomes elusive when the camera is pointed at her face.

Below is a different depiction of happiness.

Laila runs