Monthly Archives: January 2011

Being Prepared for Disappointment

The National Weather Service issued the following warning for my city on Saturday evening:



The storm is supposed to begin Monday morning and run through Wednesday.

I had plans for Wednesday morning.  Wednesday was the first “Parent’s Morning Out” of the semester and both of my kids were going to be in the capable hands of trained professionals for two hours while I got to have coffee with Becky.  The last time I had coffee with a friend without kids around was . . . I don’t know, but it was with Jawan, back in Georgia.  It’s been months, probably close to a year!

So I’m all stocked up for a nasty storm.  We have batteries for the flashlight.  I have the sleeping bags and all the extra blankets out and on hand.  We have charcoal for our grill so we can cook, and I have filled jugs with water in case the water mains freeze.

I can’t, however, stock up against the silly disappointment of my delayed plans.  There are a lot of Wednesdays in this semester.  I’m sure we can reschedule.   It can’t snow every Wednesday until April, can it?


I Think She May Have a Point

To say that my nephews are into superheroes is sort of like saying that humans are fond of air.  My mackerdoodle knew of the existence of superheroes before our last visit to Canada, but spending more than a week with her cool cousins broadened her appreciation of them.  She also suspects that her Uncle Brian is a hockey superhero.

Periodically questions about superheroes will emerge from the fantastic place that is my daughter’s brain.  She is beginning to compare the superheroes and their skills, understand the concept of sidekick and more than anything has grasped the fact that what makes the superheroes heroes is that they help people who can’t help themselves.  This has stuck in her brain and we talk about it a lot.  We’ve used it as a teachable moment to point out that God calls us to be helpers who care for the weak.

One day this week the mackerdoodle was watching a Dora movie that came from Netflix.  After the movie the mackerdoodle came up to me with her characteristic list of questions.

mackerdoodle:  Mama, Dora helps people, right?

Me:  That’s right baby girl.

mackerdoodle:  She can’t fly.

Me:  No.

mackerdoodle: But the things in her backpack help her to help people.

Me: I guess so.

mackerdoodle:  Sort of like Batman.  (pause)  Mama, is Dora a superhero?

Now I know this suggestion will make my oldest nephew scream “Noooooooooooooo!” loud enough for me to hear it in St. Louis (Aunty Lily may even hear it in Australia) but she may have a point.

What does Batman have that Dora doesn’t?  They both have a collection of cool toys that assist them in helping those around them.  They both have sidekicks, a collection of vehicles at their disposal and a series of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  The only two things Dora doesn’t have are a) an over developed sense of personal vengeance and b) a secret identity.  Really, doesn’t that make Dora the stronger of the two?

I will grant you that Batman wouldn’t be nearly as exciting if all he had to say was “Joker no killing, Joker no killing,” but I’ve got to say that after pondering my daughter’s question for a few days I have reached the conclusion that if Batman counts as a superhero, then so does Dora the Explorer.

Just don’t tell my nephew Zac.  I don’t think he could handle it.  🙂

He Had a Bad Day . . .

So my poor cheesedoodle is at that awkward toddler boy stage: he believes that because he can do something, he should do something, but his size and his ever developing motor skills mean he can’t do what he thinks he can do.  This, combined with his slightly volatile personality made for a difficult day on Tuesday, poor kid.

It all began in the late afternoon.  Both doodles were playing happily together.  The mackerdoodle was  tearing some junk mail I had given her into pieces, and the cheesedoodle was stuffing the confetti into three different containers: a wooden box, a purse from the dress-up box and a small, but heavy, pottery jar.  Soon stuffing litter with his little fingers seemed ineffective, so he grabbed one of Jonathan’s paint brushes and began to push the paper down into the pottery jar.  This was  great fun, and also made a neat sound as the jar jiggled against the table.  It was all fun and games until the jar jiggled its way off the table and onto the cheesedoodle’s toe.

He cried.  He brought his toe over to mama to be kissed.  He snuggled and milked the sympathy and then, suddenly, he was so over it and on to the next thing.  He scampered off to the play room with his sister and hadn’t been gone from my sight more than 20 seconds before I heard a scream.  This was not an “I want that that toy” scream, or even a “I bumped my head” scream.  I leaped up and got into the play room to see what was the matter.

Do you remember the chifferobe that my mother-in-law painstakingly restored for the mackerdoodle before she was born?  (If not, click that sentence)  It’s still one of my favorite pieces of furniture and it is in the play room right now.  The cheesedoodle has a passion for closing doors, and he had walked into the toy room, directly over to the chifferobe and closed the door – with his left pinky finger wrapped around the hinge side of the door.  He had closed it with force, because he never does anything in halves, and was holding the door closed with his right hand, while trying to extract his compressed pinky from the closed door.

His tiny finger tip (which will seem huge when the snickerdoodle arrives) looked like an acme cement truck had run over it in a cartoon.  It was completely flat.  As I carried him to the kitchen to get ice for it, I watched it slowly pop back out to its normal shape.  There were angry gashes on the front and back of the finger, and I was expecting a flood of blood as soon as the compression had eased.

Have you ever tried applying ice to a 19 month old pinky finger?  Not so easy.  I ended up filling a cup with ice water and sticking his entire hand in, but even that only lasted seconds.  He was still crying in pain and would periodically press the offending digit to my mouth, hoping for a magic kiss.  The action of offering it for kiss, however, was exceedingly painful, and would send him into new waves of painful screams.  I fear it was the first disillusionment in his short life – sometimes mama’s kisses don’t make the pain go away.

Finally, I was able to numb the pain enough to get him settled down with a binky and I turned on the TV to let him recover.  Remarkably, the finger never did bleed, and didn’t swell.  The next morning it was a little red, but not bruised, and the gashes were pale white lines.

We ate supper and went through our bedtime routine (no bath for the cheesedoodle, because I was still watching that finger) and by normal bedtime, what with his eventful afternoon, the cheesedoodle was tired.  All through bedtime stories he was rolling around on my bed, trying to snuggle up to me, only succeeding in headbutting varying parts of my anatomy.  The headbutt is the cheesedoodle’s expression of exhaustion, and after he made contact with my nose, I cut story time short and declared night-night time.  The mackerdoodle was tucked safe in her bed but the cheesedoodle was still restless with adrenaline and discomfort and general exhaustion.  I went into his room to tell him to lie down on his pillow and go to sleep.  He reared back in full headbutt move, and flung himself toward his pillow – as full a force as his 21 pounds will allow – head first.  He missed his pillow and drove himself full on into the metal frame of his bed.

It was just a bad day.  I suspect it won’t be his last.

In Which I Learn a Lesson In “Sweetness”

One of the standard screenings all pregnant women receive is a blood glucose screening to rule out gestational diabetes.  One hour before your appointment you drink a concoction made of sugar, orange coloring of some sort, and liquid hell.  Seriously.  When you arrive at your appointment they draw your blood and test the blood sugar levels.  They tell you it is not a fasting test and that you should just go about your day doing everything normally, except the part where you drink a death-by-sugar-and-coloring potion.

Both with the cheesedoodle and ten days ago with my snickerdoodle, I tested high and had to undergo the dreaded 3 hour test.

Here’s how the 3 hour test goes:

  1. Fast from bedtime before the test.
  2. Arrive at location hungry, thirsty, and feeling generally nauseated because I’m pregnant and haven’t eaten anything.
  3. Ushered back to the lab and blood is drawn.  The  technician then hands you a sugar-death-potion and tells you to drink it in less than five minutes.
  4. Death potion is worse on an empty stomach.
  5. One hour after drinking death potion, blood is drawn.
  6. About 1 1/2 hours after drinking death potion, I begin to feel woozy and light headed and the sudoku puzzles I’ve brought with me begin to seem incomprehensible.
  7. Two hours after drinking the potion the nurse calls me back to draw my blood another time.  She asks me if I’m okay because I look a little pale.  I feel like saying, “Well duh!  You’re forcing a pregnant woman into a diabetic coma.”  Instead I just smile and say, “I think the baby’s getting hungry.”
  8. Three hours after drinking the potion, blood is drawn one last time, and then I can eat something.  Food has never tasted so good.
  9. For the rest of the day have a vague headache from putting body through more than 12 hours of nutritional torture.

So I went through all of that on Monday, and late Tuesday afternoon got a call from the nurse to say that I have passed with flying colors.  My blood sugar numbers were textbook normal, which in a pregnant woman is actually abnormal (in a good way).  Her question: “How did you fail that first test?”

So here’s the thing.  They tell you not to fast for that first test.  What neither the doctor here, nor the doctor in Georgia told me was not to eat anything after taking the death potion drink.  I learned that this evening after looking up the numbers the nurse gave me.  I drank my potion, ate breakfast, and then went to my appointment.  You’re supposed to do that in the other order.

I am learning this too late to save me from another three hour test, but I share it with any of you who may benefit from my knowledge.  Don’t eat *after* the death potion, no matter how horrid and disgusting and nauseating it may be (and it’s all of those things to a factor of ninety-seven).  Trust me when I tell you that no breakfast is worth having to go through the three hour glucose test.

Calling My Northern Friends: How Do You Do It?

I really should be walking out the door right now.  Our van needs gas so friends can pick up free bread later today, and we need milk (how did I live in Georgia for 12 years, and get caught without milk on a snow day?) and I need to do that all early because I’ll be hosting said free bread for our neighborhood in the afternoon.  I really should be walking out the door right now.

But it’s eight degrees Fahrenheit out there – zero with the wind chill – (-13/-18 if you need the Celsius) and the thought of poking my toe out into it makes my liver shiver.

I grew up in northern climes and walked to school in temperatures like this on a regular basis.  In fact, at this temperature we even went outside for P.E. and lunch break.  I know that we didn’t just hole up in our houses and pretend the cold didn’t exist, because that’s a sure fire way to insanity when the snow sticks by early November and doesn’t melt again until March.  I know in my head that I have lived like that in winter.  I know that large portions of the world population can function, and even thrive, in temperatures below freezing.

Knowing and doing are two different things.

Granted, getting a toddler and preschooler dressed and ready for the cold is taking the winter living to a new level – one that I’ve never had to do before now.  And wrapping my increasingly growing baby bump up for the cold is becoming a bit more of a challenge – again, not a challenge I had to face (praise the Lord) as a fourteen year old on the playground.  These are not, however, insurmountable odds for my family and friends living in colder climates, so they should not seem as daunting to me as they do.

The forecast is calling for more snow and temperatures below freezing for the next ten days.  There’s no “waiting it out” for a couple of days until temperatures warm up to 50, like I would have in Georgia.  I’ve just got to make the decision to get out and live my life – cold or not.


I’m heading out there.


Another Snow Event



Let operation: “shovel out the van to get Daddy to work” begin.

Some Random Thoughts on Daily Life

Here is a snapshot glimpse into the life of the Cowan family right now:

  1. Classes begin again on the 27th of January, and Jonathan is part of a grand opening team at a new Chick-Fil-A the first week of February.  Right now he has a raging cold and is praying he’ll be healthy to hit his full plus schedule.
  2. Today the mackerdoodle woke up with a runny nose and sneezes.  The cheesedoodle has bags under his eyes and brought me the ear drops just before lunch.  I know this is the way of winter.  I’m spraying all surfaces with disinfectant and pouring boiling water on the toothbrushes and praying I’ll be spared.
  3. I have to do a three hour blood glucose test next Monday to test for gestational diabetes.  Ugh.
  4. Nesting has hit, and now that I’m in the midst of it, I remember the same thing happening at the same time with my other two.  In my first two trimesters I feel sick and tired and miserable and I say things like, “That’s it.  I can’t do this again!”  Then I get 6 – 8 weeks of crazy nesting energy.  Yesterday I washed cabinets and walls and mopped floors and did laundry.  I think the Braxton Hicks contractions beginning at 5:30 pm running until 9:30 pm was my body telling me to chill for a second.  I’m back at it today, because the sight of every part of my house is driving me crazy.
  5. Yesterday the mackerdoodle asked me why my stomach was squishy and squashy.  “Does that mean snickerdoodle is squishy and squashy?”  she asked.  Maybe a gestational diabetes diet wouldn’t be so bad for me.
  6. I got 100 prints from Snapfish for .99 (total, not each) so we ordered new years cards.  They arrived yesterday and now they are sitting on my dishwasher taunting me that I have to mail them.  During the nesting induced B-H contractions tonight I’ll write a letter to go with them.  I wonder how many envelopes I have in the stationary box?

Well, now I’ve got to get back to the house.  That grout in the bathroom won’t scrub itself.