Monday, January 23, 2006

1.0, meet 2.0

This will be my last post here at Bumblebee Sweet Potato, blogspot edition. I'm moving, as of tomorrow, to my new home, hosted by wordpress. From now on, you can find me here. For all those of you who are kind enough to blogroll me, I'm hoping you'll take a few seconds to update your link--and if I've failed to include you in my new blogroll, give me a shout.

As of now, I'm planning to leave this version of the blog up as an archive somewhat indefinitely. Wordpress is still in development on the importing-from-blogger-thing, and what I've realized over the last couple of weeks is that my interest in blogging stems from my interest in writing. Words. in English. not in my desire to learn HTML, which has confounded me. I think that for some of my favorite posts, at least, I'll be using the old copy-and-paste method to bring them over.

So come on over to the new blog. Don't mind the boxes--I'll have them unpacked in another five years or so.

• Posted By landismom @ 1/23/2006 06:53:00 PM
Saturday, January 21, 2006

what, me worry?

The Potato was pretty sick last night, and I'm dragging today. He ran a high fever, and he wouldn't go to sleep alone. I sat in the rocking chair in his room with him for an hour or so, and eventually let him fall asleep in our bed. The fever had broken by the time I fell asleep, but I didn't want to move him. I know all parents hate it when their kids are sick, but I'm scared as hell of fevers.

The Bee was not quite three when she had her first febrile seizure. It was on a Sunday evening--the three of us had been at a wedding the night before, and she had been sort of tired and listless all that day, but mostly I chalked it up to a late night. We had taken her temperature earlier that evening, and she had a slight fever. She and landisdad were on the couch watching tv when he noticed that she was unconscious--I was at the other end of our family room. He ran to call 911, and after that I sent him down the street to knock on the door of our neighbor--a pediatric nurse--while I held her seizing body and thought, 'she's dying in front of me.' She came out of it right before the paramedics showed up, and they stabilized her with some oxygen, and then we went to the ER. When they took her temp it was about 103--high, but not outrageous. I went in the ambulance with her, and landisdad followed us in the car. She was crying and disoriented the whole time. We got into the pedes ER, and since we clearly weren't a real emergency, had to wait about an hour before being seen by a doctor. The whole time, we were listening to some kid screaming, and I was silently thankful that I wasn't his mother, having to deal with whatever horrible accident had befallen him.

When the doctor finally came, she sent us off to get the Bee an MRI. She was so upset that they had to sedate her to make sure she would lie still for the procedure. She held my thumb as she fell asleep, and then they wheeled her off. She looked so small, lying in the machine...

Eventually, the doctor came and told us that the MRI was fine, she had no brain damage, and diagnosed it as a febrile seizure. She said that some small number of kids have a lower fever threshhold than most people, and that this might happen again, or it might not--and that the Bee would almost surely grow out of it when she was six or seven. She told us that we didn't really need to go to the ER if it happened again, although it was up to us.

In the end, the Bee was also diagnosed with shigellosis, which made us the pariahs of her daycare for a little while (we had to keep her home for three weeks), and actually involved a quarantine from the Department of Health, which made me feel like a Dickens character. That was what had caused her fever (you gotta love it when your kid gets a highly contagious disease that's known as 'the American form of dysentary'. Oh yeah, and when you get it too.).

The second one happened about ten months later. In some ways, it was less scary than the first--at least we knew what was happening. Unlike the first time, she had actually been sick that day, so we weren't totally surprised. But this time, she stopped breathing. And she started to turn blue. I held her (again) as landisdad dialed 911 (again) and ran to the neighbor's (again) (and btw, I was so excited when the pedes nurse moved into the neighborhood, but the guy has literally never been home when we've had an emergency). And again, I thought, 'I'm losing her.' This time, I gave her mouth-to-mouth, and she started breathing almost as if she had forgotten how, and just needed a puff to remind her what to do.

The paramedics came (again), and we went to the hospital. I was about 7 months pregnant with the Potato, so that time LD rode in the ambulance. After it pulled away from the curb, I let myself hyperventilate for about 30 seconds before I dashed to the car to follow them. And (again) the doctor told us that we didn't really have to come to the ER. I was very proud of myself for not saying, 'Bitch, my kid turned blue! We're coming to the hospital every single time that happens.' We went home, no MRI this time, and we spoiled the Bee rotten.

And now every single time one of my kids has a fever, I wonder if it's going to happen again. There's no certainty that it ever will, but there's no certainty that it won't, either. Last night, I thought, 'I wonder if I'll still worry about this when she's 16? or he's 26?' Because if there's one thing I've come to realize about parenting, it's that the worry never ends.

• Posted By landismom @ 1/21/2006 02:49:00 PM
Wednesday, January 18, 2006

words on the page

I haven't been posting much lately, because I've been spending my time trying to figure out how to re-do my template. For some reason, I can't figure out how to make my comments appear in a new template, nor can I get my blogroll to work right. It seems like all the code is there, but it's just not working. Frustrating, to say the least. I'm sure I'll get it eventually, but I feel kind of stuck right now.

This post is going to be a little bit all over the map. I'm not that focused tonight.

On the kid front, it seems like the Potato is starting to catch up to the Bee in being a player in the sibling rivalry game. He's in a very independent stage right now (our home reverberates with cries of 'me do!'), and yet, somehow, if I'm sitting on the couch reading the Bee a story, he suddenly wants to sit in my lap, etc. We had a lovely playdate with LeggyP on Monday, but it was one of those every-kid-wants-to-do-different-things kind of playdates, which made adult conversation kind of hard. Landisdad came too, which made life easier--I always find it hard to chase two kids and concentrate on anything else.

Speaking of landisdad, his job situation seems to be shaking out in a positive direction--he has accepted a job that I'm hoping in the long run will make him happier. I've got a big project at work right now that is taking a bunch of my mental energy, too, and in fact I'll have to be out of town for a couple of days next week.

So that's about it for tonight. I have some other, more interesting posts that I'm mulling over, but they're not quite ready yet. If you're the kind of person who used to make mix tapes, head on over to visit Jim at Patriside. He's got a great new Mixmania up, and he's always spinning something funky.

• Posted By landismom @ 1/18/2006 09:41:00 PM
Sunday, January 15, 2006

reading recommendation: Red Diapers

I was flipping through the Times magazine this morning, thinking that I was going to write a post about the cover story on the Living Wage movement*, and I went off on a mental tangent that led me to write this post instead. WorkingLife has a pretty good post up about it, if you are interested in the subject.

In the last couple of weeks, I've been thinking about the book Red Diapers a lot. "Red diaper babies" was the term of art for kids who grew up in the American communist movement from the 20s to the 50s and 60s. This book is a collection of memoirs of kids who were Red Diaper babies, including one of the most famous Red Diaper babies of all--the younger son of Julius & Ethel Rosenberg (identified in the book as Robert Meeropol--he and his brother were adopted and changed their last names to the name of their adoptive family).

I've been thinking about this book so much, because there's been a lot in the news that's helped me imagine what the lives of these children must have been like. The whole 'the government is eavesdropping on people' situation is one that would have been very familiar to the families that are involved in the book. Many of them were spied on by the FBI, some for having acted on what today would be considered to be fairly pedestrian political beliefs (ie--the belief that African Americans should be able to sit anywhere they wanted to on the bus).

After the tragic events of 9/11 there was a period where I believed that either landisdad or I would have to quit our job, in order to ensure that one parent was around to raise our daughter (the Potato was not yet born). I was terrified that, as part of our government's response to the attacks, we would be giving up civil liberties left right and center, and that activists like me and LD would be spied on. It didn't help that a European that I knew through AIDS activism was stopped at the border and refused entry to the country. Admittedly, one of the things that happened to me immediately post-9/11 was that I had a miscarriage, and I'm not going to deny that my hormonal levels were all over the place. But it now seems like I wasn't that far off the mark, either. In the end, I decided that I needed to keep doing what I was doing, but we did make sure to establish a clear guardian for the Bee, in case that became necessary.

I wonder, sometimes, what my kids' memories of life in our house will be like. Both of my kids attended more rallies in utero than most people do in their lives. They've been to organizing meetings practically since birth. I'm not trying to make it seem like they're having some tremendously abnormal experience--I think that most kids who grow up in a household where both parents work are gonna get taken to work once in a while--it's just that most kids don't go to meetings where half of the meeting is spent talking about how to organize your own precinct to defeat an incumbent city councilman or something.

I think the thing I liked most about this book was the snapshot of what my kids' experience might be. The editors (both Red Diaper babies themselves) didn't try to paint a one-sided portrait of what it was like to grow up in a politically unpopular household. They got stories from people who loved it, people who hated it, and most importantly, people who were indifferent to it.

It may sound odd for me to compare myself to a Communist--after all, I'm not being excluded from employment, or forced to name the names of my co-conspirators because of the work that I do or my political beliefs. It sometimes seems like a valid comparison to me though, because I think that the left in this country has come so far centerward, that now the work that LD and I do is in the vanguard, rather than the center-left.

I'm sorry to say that I lent my copy of Red Diapers to someone a few years ago, and I can no longer remember who that was. I'd like to be able to read it again, but I'd also like my kids to have a chance to read it when they're older.

*(Note, I'm linking to this on Sunday, when you can read the whole article online for free--not sure how long that will last, it might be archived already by Monday.)

• Posted By landismom @ 1/15/2006 06:05:00 PM
Saturday, January 14, 2006

Through the magic of StumbleUpon (truly my favorite Firefox extension), I found this cool site, GoogleMontage. You put in some search terms and it produces a montage of images that match to that. This is my montage of "bumblebee sweet potato." If you try it yourself, let me know!

• Posted By landismom @ 1/14/2006 01:27:00 PM
Wednesday, January 11, 2006

finally, some good news!

If you're a relatively new reader of my blog, you'll have missed these posts, which dealt with our frustrations with the Bee's kindergarten teacher last spring. I found out today that Mrs. X is retiring.

I managed not to do a happy dance of joy in the school library, because I thought it would be unseemly. But I was doing it on the inside.

You cannot possibly imagine how happy I am that the Potato will not have to have her as a teacher.

It's funny, because I had just been having a conversation with my neighbor, whose son is in kindergarten this year, about how much he likes kindergarten and how happy she has been with Mrs. X. I spent a lot of time last year scaring her with stories about Mrs. X, and I think she was mostly relieved that her son escaped those experiences. Mrs. X plays favorites, so I'm not terribly surprised that she has treated this woman's son well--I never thought she was awful to everyone, just to the Bee and one or two other kids.

And I realize that running a full-day kindergarten class of 24 kids is a challenge for even the best teacher. Mrs. X only has a half-day aide, and is by herself for the rest of the day. I'm sure that, were I in her position, I'd run screaming after a week. On the other hand, I know my own strengths and weaknesses pretty well, and I'd never put myself in that position.

I had a lot of trepidation when the Bee entered first grade this year. I was worried that the problems that she had in kindergarten were all about her--that somehow, she wasn't mature enough for school, or something. Those fears have proved largely groundless, and she's doing great. She never had academic issues, it was all about behavior, and we haven't gotten one bad behavioral report this year, even after some probing. Clearly, there was bad blood between her and Mrs. X (and me and Mrs. X, I can't leave that out). It's amazing how much pressure it can put on you as a parent, to think that your kid is struggling in school.

Now, I have two things to be happy about. The first is that the Bee's current teacher is great, and the Bee is learning a lot! It's amazing to me that such a turnaround could occur in just a year. And the second is that I can stop worrying about having to sit through another parent-teacher conference with Mrs. X ever again!

• Posted By landismom @ 1/11/2006 08:31:00 PM
Monday, January 09, 2006

sometimes when life hands you lemons...

...lemonade isn't really in season.

We've had a rough, full of ups and downs week here at BBSP.

To summarize:

#1) A bad work situation for landisdad (which unfortunately involves me too) is causing him to leave his job. Which means that we will be losing over half of our income.

#2) A potential opportunity means that landisdad could end up doing something he finds a lot more fulfilling, although at a significant pay cut.

#3) A happier landisdad will be better for our kids.

#4) A landismom who feels like she's been punched in the stomach will not.

#5) I may have offended Comfort Addict by commenting on his blog too soon after finding out about #1. Considering that CA is one of my oldest and most loyal readers, that's pretty inexcusable.

• Posted By landismom @ 1/09/2006 12:18:00 PM
  2. My daughter is the Bumblebee. My son is the Sweet Potato. You'll have to ask their father.

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  2. 1.0, meet 2.0
  3. what, me worry?
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  7. finally, some good news!
  8. sometimes when life hands you lemons...
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