Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Who Knew?

Lately, Peeper's taken to climbing from my lap onto my desk and then messing with, well, every-damn-thing.

Today, she was doing that and poking at my monitor, and the screen went black for a few seconds and when it came back, well, this:

Hmm, yeah. That's gonna be a problem.

I did manage a work around . . .

. . . but knew I had to fix it somehow.

I wasn't sure who to ask for help, so I asked everybody, and posted my dilemma on Facebook. Within an hour, about five people had given me the solution: CTRL-ALT-UP.

Try it. Then try it with the other arrows.

Evidently, she'd managed to hit CRTL-ALT-LEFT.

How cool is that?

I asked if I was the only one who didn't know that, and my niece Frappa said something along the lines that "No, your friends are lying. They just Google faster than you do."

For some reason, I'd not even thought to Google it.

I was talking to Frappa on the phone tonight and told her that I wouldn't really know what to tell Google, because I had more room to work with on Facebook.

She suggested I try "screen sideways toddler" and see if anyone had ever had the same problem.

121,000 results.

And one cat.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Numbers Game

As I just described, she has gathered up all the numerals: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, K, 8, 9 and 0.

In her defense, when I asked, "Hmmm, is there anything there that's not a number?" she did point to the K.

But when I suggested we add the 7? Hoo-boy. That was a no-go. 

Twenty-Five Months

Dear Peeper:
Today are you Two days ago you were twenty-five months old. Here I was feeling all guilty about being a day late with your panda picture, and I completely forgot that I was supposed to be writing a letter, too. Maybe I was sicker than I realized!

So, what's happened in the past month?

You are talking more and more and more every day. Still one word at a time (with about three or four exceptions) but you say tons more one-words than a month ago, and repeat the last word of just about everything we say.

Oh, I know this doesn't count as "two words" although it technically is, but the most exciting thing you're saying these days is "Love you!"

Actually, it's more like, "duh SHEW!"

And it's just the coolest thing ever.

As I've already talked about, you've been getting crafty on occassion, and I'm hoping to do a few more projects for Christmas.

You love to color, and just this week, you've started coloring in books.

Not coloring books. Regular books.

You know you're not supposed to though, because while you do it, you're saying, "No, no, no" all cheerful-like. Well, I guess that's a start.

And today, you produced your first mural. We're so proud. As will be the Magic Eraser people.

Speaking of Christmas (as I was a little while ago) you are already totally into it. I can't wait to see you when we put up the tree, and go see Santa, and all the other fun stuff we've got planned.

You've learned more letters and you're all about the numbers. You can identify (name and point out) the numerals zero ("oh") through nine, and sometimes ten, and with some help you can count to ten, and occassionally fill in some numbers between ten and twenty.

Except for seven. You don't like seven. You skip it when counting, and when you gather all your magnet numerals, you always leave it behind.

But you get the "K." You know it's called "kay" and you know that AuntieK's name starts with it (and, sometimes, you know that Mommy's real name starts with it - but if I ask what her real name is, you usually tell me mine, which does not start with K) and we've never, ever counted to K, but you always want to put it with the numbers. Not sure why.

Oh, and you have a new tooth! It's the bottom left second molar. It showed up about a week or so ago and seems to be about all the way in. No real signs yet of the other three, but I hope they're all in before your next dental checkup in February, so we can go ahead and get them all sealed while we're at it.

Well, kiddo, I guess Mama better go get dressed so we can get to Target and buy a Magic Eraser.

I love you, my little Pint-Sized Picasso.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Panda Pics - 25 Months 1 Day

Better late than never.

Well, maybe.

Let's just say this was "the good one."

And these are the "best" of the outtakes.

Mom and Baby Naturally: Grand Reopening - And a Contest!

Remember that business I bought a while back?

Well, I've been busy sprucing things up and adding new products, and although I still have a few more to go, I'm officially relaunching Mom and Baby Naturally site effective, well, now.

To celebrate our Grand Reopening, I'm giving away a beautiful nursing necklace in your choice of colors.

Visit the Mom and Baby Naturally Blog to enter!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Yes, I know it's the 27th and that means that I should have taken a panda picture, but I was kind of out of sorts today.

When Peeper and I got home from Target and the grocery store last night, I was feeling really icky, and by the time Shrike got home from work (half an hour early, because I emailed and begged her to come save me) I'd thrown up twice, and was lying in the floor near where Peeper was playing, trying desperately to ignore the series of food-related Sesame Street videos that I'd inadvertentally cued up.

Except for when the computer monitor went to "sleep" and the screen went black, right in the middle of me throwing up, Peeper handled it pretty well.

The first time, she came in the bathroom and patted me on the back. I asked her to hand me the toilet paper (which lives on the counter, so she doesn't unroll it all) to blow my nose and such, and the next time, she got it on her own, tore off a piece, and shoved it in my face. Very sweet.

When Shrike got home, I went right to bed and sort of slept until they joined me. I had Peeper almost to sleep, when I had to get up again, which of course undid all the sleepiness so far.

I feeling pretty bad all night, but much better this morning. I figured it was best to stick to soup and toast today, though, so I skipped the family Thanksgiving dinner, which was a bummer, but on the other hand, I had about four uninterupted hours to work on getting the store ready for the big "Grand Reopening," so I suppose that was good.

I was feeling well enough this evening to have a bit of leftovers, but still didn't manage to even think about taking a photo until it was way to late to stick her in front of the panda.

But I did manage this.

Friday, November 26, 2010


I'm not quite sure what these shiny things in the Christmas section of Target are supposed to be used for, but Peeper sure likes them.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Oh Yeah, Happy Thanksgiving

Shrike worked today, and I think her sister and her partner might have, as well, so we're having the big family dinner on Saturday.

Shrike, Peeper and I had lunch at Ruby Tuesday's before she went in to work, because it seemed like we should do something.

Then Peeper and I mostly just hung out at home. We tried to go to the grocery store to pick up a few things for Saturday, but they'd closed early. I guess all the food was gone.

Then I noticed that Michael's was open, so we popped in there for a little while, right before they closed. It was quite busy, but not insane. It helped that I was just killing time and not really shopping. Of course, I did find a couple of things to buy.

Including something for Peeper - for whom we were "done" shopping about fifty dollars ago.

Ah well, 'tis the season.

Elmo Has Some Competition

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

And Then We Went for Ice Cream

Because that's how we roll with our grief around here.

Sad Kitty News

We had to put GirlCat down today.

Yesterday, she wandered out of the laundry room (which is rare) and lay in the living room all day, looking not well at all. As we discussed it, we thought that she'd probably been even more lethargic than usual lately - we both felt like, suddenly, she was much slower to look up and say "hi" when we went into the laundry room, and that we'd even had to go "poke" her a bit to make sure that she responded.

Then, she had some diarrhea (right there in the living room, with no effort to get up and move) and later Shrike saw some blood in it.

When I took her in to the vet, she was making no effort to move around and get comfy in the carrier, or fight with the vet or anything. Her body temperature was 89' (!) and her respiration rate was very slow.

We went ahead and did bloodwork, in hopes of finding something fixable, like an infection, but there was nothing like that, and the vet said that based on what she saw, if she had to put money on it, her best guess would be some sort of bowel cancer.

The only "treatment" she could recommend would be fluids and maybe antibiotics, in hopes of getting her strong enough to maybe survive a biopsy, which would most likely involve opening her up, just to confirm a terminal cancer. All of which, of course, just seemed cruel and pointless, and something that we were not about to put her through.

So, we went ahead and did it then.

Shrike was at work and I had Peeper with me, but she did great. I was wearing her on my back when we went in, so that I'd have my hands free to carry the cage and so that she'd be contained. She picked up a very large Elmo book in the waiting room, and spent the first part of the exam bonking me on the head with it.

At some point when the vet was doing her initial exam, I sort of half-way noticed that Peeper was breathing loudly, but didn't think much of it. Then she dropped the book. The vet tech picked it up and started to hand it back to her, but said, "She's asleep back there!"

What a relief. She stayed asleep during the discussion and through a couple of phone calls to Shrike and until after the decision had been pretty much made, although we were still waiting on the blood work.

When she woke up, I moved her to my front (and figured out that the new carrier is infinitely more comfortable if I criss-cross the straps in back, rather than doing a "rucksack" carry, with them just over my shoulders) and she nursed off and on and got okay with being awake, and stayed there until we were done.

When it was a certainty, I explained - as best I could - to Peeper what was going on.

I told her that "Kitty is very, very, very old and her body's been working for a very, very, very long time and now it's very, very, very tired and very, very, very sick, and it's going to stop working soon. She feels really bad right now and her body hurts. We don't want her to hurt any more, so the kitty doctor is going to give her some very special medicine - different from any other kind of medicine that we take - and it will make it so that she doesn't hurt when her body stops working. Her body is going to stop working because it's all used up, and the doctor is going to give her the special medicine, so it won't hurt any more while her body stops working. Then she's going to stay here, because her body's going to stop working. We're going to tell her bye-bye, and we're going to miss her and we're going to be sad, and that's okay to be sad, because we love her. But she won't hurt any more."

When the vet tech took GirlCat out the start her IV, Peeper, got upset, but I assured her that she'd be back in a few minutes, and then (see above rambling desperate attempt to explain euthenasia to a two-year-old).

When she came back in, they left us alone with her for a while, and we talked to her, and Peeper petted her and kissed and hugged her (with some prompting) and "read" her Elmo book to her, and then the vet came back.

The vet was wonderful, through the whole thing. When I was making the decision, I asked what she would do if it were her cat, and she said that, being a vet and knowing what signs to look for, she'd always actually put hers down before they got this close on their own, which made me feel better about it.

She also asked me a hundred times, if she asked me once, right up until the last moment, whether I needed more time to make the decision, or if I wanted some more time with her before she did it, or if I wanted her to try to get her a couple more days, so Shrike could be with me for it.

I realized this evening, that she always phrased it like that, "Do you need some more time?" and never asked, even at the moment, "Are you ready?"

I really appreciate that, because it's a lot harder to say "No, wait, I'm not ready!" even if you aren't, than it is to say, "Yes, I need more time," or even, "No, go ahead and do it" - as hard as that was.

I think that, as hard as it was, really, once I got past the uncertainty of whether it was really time or if I was giving up on her too soon, my biggest concern was Peeper and how to explain it to her, and how upsetting would it be for her.

The vet had asked me whether I wanted to be with GirlCat when she put her down, or if I wanted her to do it in the back, and as much as I felt that I owed it to her to be there, I did get the vet's promise that it would be "peaceful" before agreeing to allow Peeper to witness it.

And it really was.

When the vet came in, we talked about it a little bit more, and she asked again if I needed more time, and I told her that we were ready, and I petted GirlCat while she gave her two injections in the IV, and then I waited and watched. And didn't even notice when it happened.

Just moments after the second injection, the vet asked me, "Did you feel her stiffen just a bit there?" - I hadn't - "That was the end of it." She listened for a heartbeat and confirmed that she was gone.

I think the vet stepped out again for a while, and I went over it all again with Peeper, and told her that Kitty's body has stopped working now, and she doesn't hurt any more and we're going to leave her here, and so on all over again.

When the tech came in to see if we were ready for her to take her, I told Peeper that we needed to say bye-bye, because we wouldn't see her anymore, and I think she gave her a kiss and I know she waved and said, "Bye-bye."

I was relieved that she didn't say her usual "See-YA!" because I don't think I could've handled that.

I wasn't handling it all that well, as it was, but I think that, in a weird way, as much as I would not have chosen that arrangement, it was sort of helpful to have Peeper with me, because I did have to hold it together at least on some level, and I had to stay calm - crying, of course, but still somewhat in control.

And I am so proud of how she handled everything. Of course, she doesn't understand what happened, but she was so cooperative through the whole thing (once we got past the "I just woke up and I need goody, and they're way on the other side of Mama!" point) especially considering that I was upset and that had to have been upsetting and confusing and frightening for her, and I was so relieved that she accepted it when I told her that we had to tell Kitty bye-bye and she wouldn't be coming home with us, especially after how she reacted when they took her in the back for the IV.

Of course, when you have kids and pets you know you're going to have to deal with this at some point. We'd hoped that it would be much further down the road, but we knew that it probably wouldn't be, just given the kitties' ages.

And I know it will only get harder the next time, and the others, because she'll be older and will understand better what's going on and - and I feel sort of like a jerk saying this - because she's got more of a relationship with the others.

GirlCat spent most of her time in the laundry room, close to her food and litterbox, and Peeper didn't get to interact with her much.

And, honestly, GirlCat spent most of her time in the laundry room and probably hasn't had much quality of life to speak of for a while. I suspect she feels better tonight than she has in years.

At least that's what I have to tell myself.

Rest in Peace, Nikeaux. We love you.
March 28, 1997 - November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monkey On My Back

Peeper "helped" me cook dinner, then decided she wanted to stay on my "bap" while we ate. I stabbed pieces of food (tortellini with sausage in alfredo sauce -she mostly likes the sausage) and handed the fork over my shoulder to her.

Hey, whatever works.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Housework Helper

Shrike got inspired with the vacuum cleaner this evening, and Peeper went and got her vacuum to help out.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Peeper's First Parade

Tonight was the big Christmas parade here in our little town. It is a huuuuuuge deal.

Actually, there were three parades in the county today. The first steps off at 9:21 am (it's sponsored by the 92.1 FM radio station), then many of the participants have lunch and head over to a neighboring town for their early afternoon parade, then get an early dinner and head up to our town for the evening parade.

There are usually some bands, dance schools, and the sort from farther away than you'd think would bother for one parade, but for three, it's worth the trip.

Originally, we were going to go to the afternoon parade, since Shrike had to work this evening, but it turned out that it wasn't early enough for her to make it either. We briefly considered the morning one, but blew that off pretty quickly. So, Peeper and I ended up going on our own this evening.

Now, I'm not sure how it plays out in the other towns, but at our parade, everybody is there. I mean every. Body. Three and four and five bodies deep on the sidewalks, where they've set out their chairs at the crack of dawn to claim their spots.

Peeper and I, on the other hand, arrived in time to see the local high school band - which kicks off the parade, right behind the motorcycle cops go by.

Funny story about the motorcycle cops. A few years ago, Shrike and I were waiting for the parade to start, and saw two officers on motorcycles take their positions in front of the band. Just then, we head someone behind us say, "Oh look. I guess (the town) got another bike!"

Yes, before that, the police department had one motorcycle.

Why even bother?

But, anyway.

Peeper really seemed to enjoy herself, although you certainly couldn't tell it from these photos.

Here we are, at the beginning of the parade.

The Big Finish of the parade is, of course, the arrival of Santa Claus, and for those standing near the square (like we were), the lighting of the tree.

Right after we waved at our friends on the firetruck, Peeper spotted this guy walking by. Well, nothing for it, we had to track him down and talk to him and take a photo. Which involved getting my camera ready, and giving it to his handler, then digging out my wallet for a dollar (he was raising money for the homeless shelter) and it was a big production. But a cute photo.

When we finished I turned around, and saw everyone leaving.

What? We missed Santa?!?

About that time, I saw the friend that we'd been standing by, and she said, "There you are! Look, he's still on the square, he hasn't lit the tree yet."

So, I told Peeper, "Look over there, the tree's going to . . . " as I turned around and saw that it was now lit.


Well, I'd told her we were going to see Humhummuh, so by God, I was going to see Humhummuh.

Luckily, the goes sort of in a circle - down Main Street for several blocks, cuts over one block, then back up the opposite direction, and ends a block from where it started.

We were standing on the square, which is at the cross street about halfway down the route.

So, I hauled it ("It" being my own big ass and the almost-25-pound toddler strapped to my chest) up the road, in hopes of making it to the other street before Santa got there.

When we arrived and got settled, and I started paying attention to the parade, I realized that we probably had another good fifteen minutes or so of "reruns" before the end.

So, we sat stood through all that again, and then waved at our friends on the fire truck again, and then a small band went by, and there he was!

"Look, Peeper!" Who's that?! Do you see Santa?!"



"There he is! Wave at him!"


"There he goes!"

Yep. All that effort to actually see him, just so that she could be heartbroken when he just drove right by without stopping to talk to her.

I did get her settled down fairly quickly, by promising that we'll go see him at the mall and sit on his lap, "but only if you want to" - "Wap! Wap! Wap!" - and take a picture. 

Of course, the extra couple of blocks we'd gone to catch Santa was in the opposite direction from my car, but we stopped at a little diner for some dinner on the way back to it, so that walk didn't seem so bad. 

I thought it all went very well for her first parade experience, actually. She enjoyed it and I survived (and enjoyed) it, and the weather could not have been more perfect - chilly enough to be seasonal, but not really cold, neither of us was wearing a hat or gloves and we were quite comfy.

The only thing that would have made it better (other than catching Santa on the first go-round) is if Shrike could've been there with us.