What's happening with the Hill family!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Day 20,426

One year ago today we brought Connor home from the hospital for the second time in his life. In other words we are commemorating one year of diabetes or as someone online called it Connor's "Diaversarry" (P.S. I officially hate this term and will never, ever use it again because it's extreme cheesiness offends me).  I also think that we might have been more scared and worried making that trip home last December with a five year old than with a tiny newborn.  A lot has changed for our family over the last 365 days and we are so proud to have a healthy, happy almost 7 year old...who also happens to have diabetes.

I am so relieved to complete this year because we have officially lived through all the seasons with diabetes.  We now know what to expect at all manner of school party, survived not just one, but two baseball seasons plus a myriad of other candy filled holidays.  We swam with diabetes, ran with diabetes, laughed with diabetes and cried with diabetes. We have run a gamut of emotions not usually seen outside of a Lifetime movie.  Matt and I both feel like we have aged about 7 years in 12 months and he finally found his first gray hair.  We are now at a gray hair ratio of Melissa's 1000 to Matt's 1 but oh, how that one made me so very happy.  I know it's petty but I just tuck the memory of that single gray hair (which I also discovered by the way, increasing my glee ten fold) and pull it out (pun intended) whenever I need a little pick me up!

We have tried to spend the last year working as hard as possible to minimize diabetes' intrusion on Connor's life as much as possible and some days it works...for about ten minutes :)  and that is still our greatest challenge, letting Connor be a six year old boy without having to drag around the burden of diabetes (and by the way that burden often takes the shape of a thirty year old woman he calls Mom). We still have our bad days and can rationally accept that those are just going to be par for the course as we navigate through this together. But man, do they sting. Connor came home from school on Breakfast with Santa day a few weeks back and told me that he didn't think he would ever participate in that again, despite being super excited for days leading up to the big event.  Why the sudden change of heart?  Because his blood sugar was low and so he had to spend 45 minutes in the clinic and by the time he made it to the breakfast with the big man, it was over and he ate a donut alone in the cafeteria with the school nurse.  Is that the end of the world?  No. But in that six year old moment, the hurt was so big it took my breath away.  Those are the moments that I can't fix despite the frantic hover of my stellar helicopter parenting and I hate it, but I also know at day 365 we are leaps and bounds farther than we were on day 1.  When I think back to our emotional state last January, our family is almost unrecognizable today.  Connor spends most of his days laughing and smiling, loves every millisecond he spends in school, considers the school nurse to be one of his closest friends and for the most part is unaffected by the inconvenience of diabetes.  It is so awe inspiring to see God's plan for our family.  If we ever wondered before why we ended up with the most intelligent, mature kid on the planet (and trust me we have often wondered this), now we know.  This is the boy designed to handle this life.  He is so unlike his Mom and Dad in so many ways because this is what he was made for. This realization makes me immeasurably proud of him, but also hurts my heart because I know that his days won't always be easy and there are challenges coming that I won't be able to help him with, but I know he will be ready.

This new life is changing and refining his heart for great things and I can't wait for day 20,426.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Brace yourselves, Hudson has been afflicted with a disease.  A disease so rare, it only exists in his mind.  I call it Fakeabetes and it is both horrible and ridiculous in equal measure.  Since Connor's diagnosis last December, Hudson has been ever so slowly and subtly familiarizing himself with every aspect of Connor's diabetes care. After all, it's not a secret and it's pretty much a family affair.  In fact, I thought his careful observation was a wonderful thing because somewhere down the road (way way way down the road) there might come a time when I cannot supervise Connor with what Matt lovingly refers to as my iron fist.  When the day arrives that my children might be alone somewhere together (hold on, I feel a panic attack coming on) I need to know that Hudson will know how to help Connor in case of an emergency.  I never thought that Hudson might be incapable of helping Connor in a real diabetes emergency because he could possibly be in the throws of his very own Fakeabetes emergency.

Here is how it started.  As we all got used to Connor's new way of life, Hudson started picking up some new lingo and just randomly throwing it into conversation. For example, he would wander downstairs in the morning and yell, "Mom!  I needs my bag."  What bag, Hudson?  "My bag with all thems needles."  Oh....hmm.  But it was just the odd, occasional reference and so I thought he might be hurting for attention since his brother was kind of stealing the show with that pesky chronic medical condition, so Matt and I decided to lavish the Puddin' Pop with lots of extra love and special feelings.  He ate it up with a spoon.  We might have created a monster (and yes, I do acknowledge the irony in this very delayed realization).    

Hudson now has more diabetes related situations than Connor and I put together.  He is always sneaking around while Connor is in the shower, putting on the running belt Connor wears to hold his pump.  He then tries forever to incorrectly connect that pump to his navel, which is absolutely not how it works.  At mealtimes, he will randomly shout out such things as, "Mom!  Where's my food, I already bolused!"    Sometimes from the backseat Connor will request his diabetes bag which I then lovingly toss over my shoulder.  Immediately I hear Hudson parrot the request, "Mom, I needs my bag too."  Glancing in the rear view mirror I see him staring at the back of my head, hand outstretched.  He won't give up until I hand him an imaginary bag over my shoulder, which he then takes and thanks me for.  Anytime we eat, he lifts his shirt, dials up his imaginary pump while we all just sit there staring at him.  He then has the audacity to look up at us and say "What?"

Hudson modeling his ill-gotten and medically unnecessary insulin pump. You can clearly tell it
makes him feel real sassy. 
The best/worst are his faux crisis. Often times when Hudson is required to do something that seems remotely strenuous such as picking his dirty socks up off the floor or brushing his teeth, he immediately collapses to the floor or couch (whichever is closest) and weakly says, "I can'ts do it Mommy, my blood sugar's low.  It's 49.  I needs some sugars."  I swear I feel like Sally Field in the middle of Dolly Parton's salon shoving hard candies down Julia Roberts' gullet.  And here's the kicker, his "blood sugar" is always 49.  Always. So at least he's consistent?  Fakeabetes is like Hudson's imaginary get out of chores free card that never ever works!  But I have to give him props for trying.  As soon as I say, "You are not low Hudson, you don't have diabetes." he hops up, grins slyly and says, "Oh...I dos."

I have to admit as weird as this is (and it is pretty high up on the very long list of strange stuff Hudson does) it entertains the holy heck out of Connor.  It is like a walking, talking, dancing version of what not to do as a Type 1 diabetic and it never ceases to make us laugh.  Should we be encouraging this behavior?  Undoubtedly not.  But to quote the immortal Hudson Hill....

 "Oh...I dos."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Family that Plays Together...

So, we've been trying to institute family game night around our house and so far it has debuted to mixed reviews.  You might be wondering what kind of parents have intentionally denied their children family board game time, but as with most weird stuff around here, there's a story there.

You see, Matt and I have several unwritten rules in our marriage; things that weren't officially part of our marriage vows but should have been.  The top two are as follows: 1) I promise to limit my own personal access to any and all microphones and 2) we will not play board games together.  Why no board games?  Well because one of us is grossly overcompetetive and the other is (in my opinion) flippantly accusatory.  True story: the last time Matt and I played a board game together was with my future in-laws in 2003.  Or as I like to call it, The Great Trivial Pursuit Witch Hunt of 2003, in which my integrity was called into question over a single card.  It started off so innocently: What is the state snack of Utah?  To which I instantly replied: Jell-o (followed by what might have been considered a celebratory in your face dance).  All hell then broke loose because apparently there is no possible way I could have known the state snack of Utah despite iron clad anecdotal evidence that included Bill Cosby, the 2002 Winter Olympics and a Today show segment (hosted by Katie Couric for crying out loud). Needless to say my multi-faceted, higher level explanation did not go over well.  I can't say I directly blame Mitt Romney, but if it comes down to him or Dr. Heathcliff Huxtuble, well...you know.
Anyway, I was accused of cheating, as if I spend all my free time reading Trivial Pursuit cards for fun.  I really and truly think the people in my life completely underestimate the sheer volume of absolutely useless knowledge I carry around in my brain. Sometimes I'm surprised I don't stagger under it's weight.

Flash forward to 2012, the board game moratorium has continued, an unholy and fragile alliance formed between my husband and I in order to protect our children from emotional trauma.  Don't get me wrong, our kids can play games with each other or they can play games with Matt or they can play games with me, we aren't cruel after all.  But as children are apt to do, Connor started questioning why we all just can't play together.  Enter a little game called Headbandz.  Connor loves this freaking game.  It's like 20 questions, but with the addition of individual headbands each player wears holding a picture card.  Then you have to ask someone questions, trying to determine what picture you are wearing based on their answers.  Fine.  There is no game board to overturn in anger, no currency exchanging hands and no random trivia.  We thought we were safe.  Enter Hudson.

Now, Connor has owned this game a while and Hudson has expressed zero interest in playing, but now that he is 4 entire years old, he has to participate in Headbandz.  Since he has observed us playing in the past, we thought he had a pretty firm grasp on the question/answer format and we all quickly chose a card, loaded it into our headbands and gathered around to play.  It was like an episode of Leave it to Beaver....for about 7 seconds.  We started with Hudson.  I gave him some sample questions just as a reminder (Am I an animal?  Am I something you can eat?  Do I make noise?) and he nodded with a serious look on his face and whispered, "I ready."  After staring at our headbands for what seemed like hours he asked, "Am I aaaaaaaaaaa..........light bulb? "  No, you are not a lightbulb.  To which he replied, "Cause you are!"   Okay, time to revisit the concept.  No announcing what anyone else has on their headband. One new picture card for Mom and we're back to it.  Hudson's turn came around again and he seemingly went into a trance.  After forever he asked, "Am I aaaaaaaaaa....how you say it???? You know... it so beautiful?  I am aaaaaaaaa....flower?"  Nope, you are not a flower.  Cue immediate, uncontrollable laughter. I turn to look at Matt, wearing that ridiculous headband and he said in a defeated voice, "I'm a flower right?"  Yep.
As Hudson is up doing his victory dance in celebration of being able to identify what the rest of us have on our cards (because who gives a crap what he is actually supposed to be guessing) he announces, "I so awesome at this game!  I winned it!" Cut to Connor losing it.  Mr. Perfectionist had reached his limit and proceeded to flip out on his brother's blatant disregard of both rules and good sportsmanship.

Now it was really starting to feel like a Hill family game night.  Because we are grown ups, Matt and I each took a boy and tried to impart some quality parental wisdom.  You know, the good stuff like patience, winning with class, cheating with class, restraining oneself when one gets the urge to slap the headband off of one's little brother.   I felt like Matt and I were totally channeling Claire and Cliff minus the shoulder pads and funky sweaters.  After the group therapy session it was decided that our family is taking a little sabbatical from family game night at least until we find "our" game.  That elusive game that challenges our intellect, inspires healthy competition, yet doesn't lead to tears or blood shed.

It's out there.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I Gots a Hole in my Face Mom.

Last Thursday I got the news that Hudson had been injured at school.  Apparently while walking out to the playground, he wasn't paying attention (big shock) and a gate swung back and hit him.  If my little puddin' pop was an average sized child it would have undoubtedly bounced off his chest, but since he is nugget sized the gate latch hit him square in the forehead.  Ouch.  He was of course, quite upset but got over it remarkably fast.  He was back to eating gold fish in a matter of minutes.  The school nurse (or lady doctor as Hudson refers to her) recommended an urgent care visit and some stitches.
So off we went.  On the way out I asked Hudson how he was feeling. He sweetly replied, "I gots a hole in my face, Mom."  And that is exactly what it looked like, a hole right below his double cowlick, the area of his head I like to refer to as the dead man's zone because no hair dares to grow there.  I know in my heart there will be no hair coverage for this scar.

We arrived at the urgent care and went right back to see the doctor.  Hudson was having an absolute ball.  He had never seen such a wondrous, magical place.  Everything was amazing from the paper on the exam table to the books in the waiting room.  I really started to wonder if that gate had damaged his brain, because in all of his four years Hudson has never willingly or openly adored a piece of printed literature.  Scary stuff.  Hud was a champ while the doctor irrigated his newly acquired hole, keeping up a steady monologue of odd statements that kept the doctor laughing.  When the doctor backed up to examine the wound, Hudson looked down at the table where the saline had dripped off his head and down to the paper and said, "Oh my gosh......someones tee teed on this table."  The doctor laughed and said, "Oh that's just water."  To which Hudson replied in the most solemn voice, "No, it's not.  I can't know who did it, but someone peed here.  That disgusting."  Things kind of went down hill from there.

The doctor decided that it need one or two stitches to pull it all back together and went to get ready.  Hudson decided to check out the room and became obsessed with this poster on the wall.  He begged me to take his picture reenacting the scene. Yes, he wanted to take his shirt off, but no, I didn't allow it.  I have some standards. They're low, but they're there. But just wait, it gets weirder.
Hudson Hill, Electrode Placement Model
When the doctor and nurse came back in to do the actual procedure, he gave me the rundown on my role.  He said they would need all the help they could get to hold him completely still, especially while they were injecting the anesthetic.  His exact words?  "Get wherever you need to be to hold him, straddle the table if you have to."  Pause here for my hysterical laughter.  Yes, I have the sense of humor of a 15 year old boy, and second, I don't care if they were performing open heart surgery on my child, there was no way I was straddling that table.  After we cleared up that little issue and I finally stopped laughing, I perched myself on the edge of the exam table and held both of Hudson's hands.  I have to say, he didn't move a muscle when they did his first shot, but he was plenty ticked.  He yelled out, "HEEEEEEYYYY!" in his angriest voice.  But he didn't move.  After they were done numbing him up, he got ready to start stitching.  All of a sudden, Hudson yelled out, "Mom!  Kiss me!"  I quickly replied that I could give him a kiss when the doctor was finished, but that just wasn't good enough, "MOM!!!  Kiss my wips!"  Um, I love you Hudson, but I can't right now. "GIVE ME YOUR WIPS!" By now both the doctor and nurse are laughing out loud and when combined with the fact that I laughed like a mad woman at the word straddle, I am sure they had us pegged as a family full of stone cold perverts.

After what seemed like the longest 90 seconds of Hudson's life and one, count it, one stitch later we were done.  I am pretty sure that he might have needed two based on an earlier assessment, but I think that doctor wanted us out of there.  Hudson sat up, looked at the doctor and said, "I is so mad at you right now."  Then hopped down and walked out.  

So what does it look like now?  Well take into consideration we are still growing out Hudson's last self hair mutilation, it doesn't look good.
I like to think that it looks like he's been in a bar fight and after someone knocked him unconscious, they cut his hair with a dull butter knife. In other words, just another day in the life of the puddin' pop!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Hudson!

Well our baby is turning 4 and while that in some ways seems shocking to me, I also know that he has lived a whole lot of life in 4 short years and every minute of it has been an adventure.  To celebrate our little Mr.Fat Cheeks, I decided to compile a list of Hudson-isms that really capture his spirit while sometimes simultaneously striking fear into the hearts of his parents.

1. Hold on, I gotta call somebody.
Seeing Hudson talk on his imaginary phone to someone is both adorable and slightly worrisome because nine times out of ten he is talking to Jayden the Red Power Ranger and his calls usually end with him giving Hudson some kind of mission that entails a battle to the imaginary death.  During these battles any one of us could be collateral damage so we find it best to steer clear whenever he is taking a meeting on the phone.

2. They's got tigers in there?
Ah tigers, Hudson's kryptonite.  Whenever we want him to rethink a decision to venture into an unknown place we just casually mention that we heard there might be tigers.  It puts an immediate stop to whatever plan he was concocting.  It might not terminate it indefinitely but it at least slows his roll.  There is visible brainstorming in which he weighs the pros and cons of what seemed like a fun idea versus the chance of running into a tiger, his apparent nemesis.  For example, he and his brother wanted to ride the kiddy haunted house at the state fair.  I did not.  I told Hudson he would probably be scared. He replied, "Why?  They's got tigers in there?"  Yes, yes they do.

3.  I do this myself.
Hudson "do everything" himself, whether he is actually capable or not.  Lack of confidence is not one of Hudson's problems.  Lack of actual skill to back up that confidence is another matter.  Hudson is the best runner, swimmer, dancer and ninja in the whole entire world.  Why in that aforementioned world would he ever need assistance?  There is a certain little swagger that accompanies Hudson Hill.  Emphasis on the little.  He is tiny but that personality enters a room about five minutes before that little body.

4.  I got an idea!
I wish I had a picture of Hudson's face as he says this particular phrase but it is always so fleeting.  There are always raised eyebrows along with a single index finger in the air pointing to what I imagine is a single illuminated light bulb. Hudson gets an idea about 20 times a day and those ideas are most likely dangerous but seem like boatloads of fun.  For example, the day he got an idea to ride the garage door all the way to the top and then dangled like a tiny doll while laughing like a mad man.  Or the day he got an idea to cut his own hair.  Or the day he got that same idea and cut his hair again (see #5 on the list).  Hudson is definitely an idea man and his ideas are generally hilarious.  Well 70% hilarious and 30% heart stopping.

5. Mom!  I need the scissors (pronounce see-zors)!
Enough said.

6. Where's my Connor?
Hudson is a fantastic little brother and adores his big brother.  He wants to do everything like Connor, but with an added twist of his own.  He misses his brother when they are watching TV in separate rooms and over the last six months has shown so much compassion towards Connor.  Connor only has to mention that he doesn't feel good and Hudson will race over to grab his diabetes bag.  He pretends to wear Connor's pump (which he firmly believes connects to his belly button) and always uses a really low voice when emulating his big brother. "Look mom, I'm Connor.  I so big and I gots all my medicines." Hud is our comic relief and we can't imagine not having him around to booty dance for us when Connor has a sad day.

7.  I'll be right back.
This particular Hudsonism could mean that he is simply headed back to the toy box, or it could mean that he is headed to Neverland.  To be honest, it's usually Neverland (Peter Pan's Neverland, not Michael Jackson's).  Hudson spends a large part of his day in another world.  He doesn't think that he's a hero because there is no thinking about it. He IS Peter Pan or Spiderman or Captain America or anyone else who seems ready to save the day.  He is constantly on the look out for bad guys or damsels in distress, preferably both.  He has this fantasy of fighting a bad guy in order to "gets myself a girl," who he will then "kiss with my mustache." Not his lips just his mustache.  That is going to be one lucky lady.

8.  I need my soups!
This particular saying ties in with #7.  Hudson is never fully dressed for the day without a costume or suit  (or as he says it, soup).  These suits can be real or imaginary, he isn't picky.  Currently in my car, I am carrying both a pirate and peter pan hat, tall boots, three swords and an astronaut suit.  We are a couple of clowns and an elephant short of a traveling circus  These suits make Hud feel awesome and out of all the memories I have of my boys being weird, one I desperately hope I can still remember at age 80 will be Hudson putting on his imaginary suits, armpit length gloves included.  Another would have to be when as part of a consequence, I required Hudson to take off his imaginary suit while he was in time out.  Hilarious and effective.

9. That's my favwite!
Here's the thing with Hud, everything is his favorite.  Everything.  This particular saying can apply to anything from the salad bar at Cici's to a t-shirt he has known all of 2 seconds.  I love this enthusiasm.  He feels exuberant joy over the most mundane things and I think that is wonderful.  I don't get it, but I think it's wonderful.  It's hard for me to imagine walking around the world and at every new/old/cool/weird thing I see proclaiming, "That's my favorite!"  If you ask Hudson what his favorite color is he will say, "Red. Blue. Red. Yellow. All of them!" and then laugh hysterically.  

10. Close your eyes, Mom!
My favorite of all Hudson sayings because I know that whatever situation I open my eyes to, it will always include a sweet little boy wearing a giant smile.

Happy Birthday Hudson!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The R.M.S. Connor

Last month Connor's school had a book fair and he wanted to spend some of his birthday money there.  Fine with me, and after some serious thought the decided $10 was a good amount  (the kid is stinking rich) and I told him he could spend it on whatever he wanted.  Over the years I have witnessed many a school book fair and figured my child, like so many before him, would succumb to the siren song of novelty erasers, giant pencils and other various cheap artifacts that seem to physically cry out to students at these events.

So I was surprised when he arrived home with the most depressing book ever written plus 82 cents in change.  Screw the 100 dollar bill shaped erasers, we were now the proud owners of "Heroes of the Titanic."  He was giddy with excitement and couldn't wait to shower, get in pajamas and cuddle up to read about the greatest maritime tragedy of all time.  Every night we took turns reading about a different hero plus tons of random and apparently intriguing facts about the Titanic.  But here's the deal, I am a person that doesn't even like to watch the news before falling asleep because it could potentially be too sad, so it was a real downer to fall asleep with thoughts of under used lifeboats rowing away from screaming passengers trying desperately to stay afloat in icy waters.  There.  See what I mean?  Depressing.

I have never been so happy to finish a book, but in typical Connor fashion the obsession was only beginning.  Bring on the research!  "Mommy, the Titanic had 20,000 glasses on board.  We only have 17 glasses."  or "Mommy, where are our au gratin dishes?  I want to see if they look like the Titanic's."  I had to break the news that not only were ours dissimilar, they didn't even actually exist.  I mean really, what if my children went around boasting that they ate out of au gratin dishes?  How pretentious.  I draw the line at individual souffle cups because those are clearly a necessity once a year when they get used to hold Easter egg dye.

All of this interest culminated last week, as most things do at our house, with a two man show.  Connor decided that he and his brother would be reenacting the heroic story of Jack Phillips and Harold Bride, the two telegraph operators on the R.M.S. Titanic.  (Ever wonder what R.M.S. stands for?  Well, guess what?  I now possess this knowledge! The Titanic was a Royal Mail Ship and guess what else, there were heroes in the mail room too!) But back to the show, Connor, as director, assigned parts.  He was going to be Harold Bride the young operator who had always dreamed of life as a wireless operator and Hudson would be Jack Phillips, Harold's boss, mentor and friend.  As we do not actually own a telegraph machine it was decided that messages would be written on paper and then physically thrown across the room to symbolize the passing of messages across the Atlantic.  Connor told his brother that their ship was going to hit an iceberg and it was their job to write "help notes" to send/throw across the ocean so other ships would know to come get them.  So far, so good.  Hudson began writing "his letter" (a capital H) all over the paper.  Side note:  Hudson is exceptionally good at writing the letter H.

"Wait," Connor interrupted, "I haven't told you the surprise yet!"  At the word surprise, Hudson dropped his marker, hopped to his feet and covered his eyes with his hands, clearly expecting some kind of gift to appear.  Connor sighed and pulled his hands down.  "No Hudson, it's just words.  A word surprise.  Listen to me, we are both going to work really hard sending our messages but only one of us gets to stay alive."  insert dramatic pause " And it's going to be me."  Hudson studied his brother's face for a minute and then said, "I be dead?"  "Yes, Hudson, we both make it to the lifeboat but when the Carpathia picks us up you are already dead.  You just didn't make it. But don't don't be sad, you saved lives!  You sent messages until the very last minute!  You are a hero!"  Hudson, now warming up to the idea of his heroic demise shouted, "Oh yeah baby!  I be Supa-hero and then I get dead!"

And there you go.  Cue the music (inexplicably "Route 66" from the Cars soundtrack) and this show was underway.  I have to say it was one of their better performances.  Hudson only broke character twice, once to do his infamous booty dance (which looks exactly like it sounds) and the second time at his death scene when he chose to spice things up by eating an imaginary poisoned apple a la Snow White and then collapsing on the floor.  End scene.

And that folks, is how history comes to life.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

An Aggressive Zoom.

Last month two semi devastating things happened to me. I turned 30 and my driver's license expired.  Really, I was fine with 30, but the driver's license broke my heart.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to renew it online which meant that I had to give up the best picture of all time.  Seriously, the photo on my license was probably one of the best pictures of me ever taken, which was kind of a shame that it was wasted on a little card that people rarely saw. but I loved it.  Oh, how I loved it.  I was a 23 year old newlywed, tan and skinny.  Now, well let's just say things look quite a bit different.  I had to come to grips with giving up this photo and let's face it, people were starting to question if it was really me whenever they asked for ID and frankly that is embarrassing.

So I hit the DMV determined to make the best of this new picture situation.  I actually brought a hairbrush and make up with me and spruced myself up in the parking lot, which in retrospect now seems sad.  I also wore the exact same shirt from my 2004 picture.  Yes, you read that right, I have and still regularly wear this one fantastic black sweater.  I've actually owned it since I was a sophomore in college and love it like a child.  Bottom line: I spent more time planning this one excursion to the DMV than I spent planning the birth of one Hudson Hill.  I was ready.

I got to the counter (A female clerk!  A good omen!) filled out my paperwork and then it was picture time.  I told the nice lady the whole story and how nervous I was about the new photo.  She stared at me for a second and then told me to stand in front of the blue screen.  Now, knowing that in terms of picture taking (and maybe just life in general) the farther one stands away from me the better, I backed myself so far against that screen that I literally pushed into a man seated at a desk behind the screen taking his commercial license exam.  I should have felt bad especially since I had already overheard that he was on his last attempt at this test after two previous failures, but I didn't have time to dwell, that lady was ready to click! One slight head tilt, smiley eyes and a millisecond later we were done.  I rushed back over to the counter and asked if I could see the picture.  She kindly agreed and turned the monitor to me.  I about fainted. It was the most hideous photo I have ever seen.  I don't know if you know this about me but I suffer from a debilitating disease called Fat Face.  It is kind of the long lost 3rd cousin twice removed of unfortunate diseases and no one is hosting a celebrity filled telethon to raise money for it's eradication, but trust me, it's real and it's tragic.  To rub even more salt in the wound the clerk then created a split screen of my last photo and my new one for comparison.  Even she said, "Yeah, that's just not great."  At least we were on the same page.

I took a deep breath and went into damage control. I told the lady, "Okay, I think this is fixable.  I feel like the camera was zoomed a little aggressively.  See on my last photo, it is shot from the collarbone up.  The new one starts at my double chin and that is never a good place to begin a photo. You can't see any of my sweater.  Also I'm thinking I should have pushed either one of both sides of my hair behind my ear. What do you think?"  I then demonstrated both a one, then two sided hair tuck.  She was quiet for a minute and then said, "I think both looks better.  You see more of your face."  Okay, now we were in business.  I moved back in front of the blue screen and said, "Thanks so much!  Remember the farther away the better."  She looked at me like I was nuts and said, "Oh, there's no retakes.  It's a done deal."

What. The. Crap.

I felt like I was in the twilight zone.  Had we not just had a lengthy conversation about what I could have done to make that picture better?  A conversation she willingly participated in?  And for what?  Nothing!  I signed off on the worst picture I have ever taken and then was forced to pay for it (that really hurt).  I left feeling demoralized and discouraged and added the DMV to the list of places where a piece of my soul has died (it's now #2 behind Chuck E. Cheese in case you are wondering). Matt tried to encourage me by saying that it would probably look better on the actual license.
Well guess what?  It doesn't.

So I tucked that little friend behind my old license and plan on showing it only under threat of arrest.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Hair Apparent

As most of you probably know, in January, Hudson cut his own hair.  Not just a little bit, a lot.  Right in the front.  Actually, if you want the specifics, he removed his double cowlick down to the scalp.  He thought it looked awesome.  Standing in front of the bathroom mirror brushing his teeth those were in fact his exact words, "Oh my gosh.  I looks so awesome."
The hair massacre of 2012
You might be wondering what kind of parent leaves her child unattended with scissors and to that I say, "This kind of parent and you have obviously not met this child."  He is always on the lookout for "fun" and even though we try our darndest to keep sharp objects out of his reach, he has a special gift for finding them out.  So after the great hair massacre I was faced with the dilemma of fixing his handiwork.  This was tough and we got a lot of suggestions the most common being buzzing it all off.  This wasn't going to work for me.  I have spent over three years cultivating one of the the strangest heads of hair you could ever imagine and finally got it long enough and trained enough to lay flat.  No way was I starting over on that hot mess.  I decided that I could just wait it out.  After all, when he ran around outside and the wind blew, you could hardly tell that he was missing at least 1/8 of his hair.  Plus he's super cute, so that has to count for something.

We lasted almost four whole weeks and it started to feel like we were living that old adage, watched pots never boil.  Apparently watched hair never flipping grows.  So the day after Valentines I decided to take him in and see what could be done.  We went to our usual place and while Connor was getting his straw toupee trimmed, Hudson took a seat in the adjoining chair.  His conversation with the stylist went like this.  "Hi Hudson, did you cut your own hair?"  "I did.  I do so good."  "Well it looks interesting, can I trim it up for you?"  long pause for a moment of quiet reflection "I trim it now.  You give me scissors?"
Oh good grief, I felt like it was time for me to step in before he batted his eyelashes and she handed over the scissors.  This might be the right time to mention how my three year old pronounces the word scissors.  If I have to make a comparison, I would say he sounds exactly like the Taco Bell chihuaha.  See-zors.  As in, "You give me see-zors?" There, I wanted you to have that visual, now back to the salon.  I could tell that this poor girl was feeling stressed even though I tried to be very upfront in my expectations.  I wasn't looking for a miracle, I just wanted some blending.  She got to work and it hadn't been five minutes of snipping when she stopped and announced, "I don't think I can do this.  It is just too short in that one spot."  Again, being the laid back and no-pressure parent that I am, I reminded her that we just wanted her to try her best and frankly the last person that cut it was a three year old, so really our standards were pretty low.  After a couple of more minutes she brought in a couple of more ladies to consult.  So at this point Hudson is lapping up the attention with a spoon while three women fawn over him and rub his head.  They decide that maybe cutting it dry would help, so out came the blow dryer.  This entertained the crap out of Hudson.  Once dry, the analysis continued along with a few tentative snips of the scissors.  No wait, it definitely needed to be wet again.  Snip....snip.  It was taking forever and frankly by now Connor and I were over it.
I think you can tell by her hand that she is worried.  Hudson on the other hand, not so much.
After another ten minutes she turned to me and said, "So, do you want to keep the sideburns?"  For some reason I found this question hilarious and started laughing like a lunatic. I told her if it was possible to transplant the sideburns to his forehead then please by all means go for it, if not then I consider sideburns to be the very least of our problems.  On it went, this never ending haircut.  She kept muttering to herself and I could tell we were slowly breaking her spirit.  We seem to have a natural talent for spirit breaking and sometimes it truly doesn't feel like a complete day unless we have made someone question their life's calling.

Finally!  She finished/gave up and whirled him around along with the disclaimer, "I am so sorry this is the best we can do, but I think it looks ok?"  Hmm, I thought ok was a pretty generous adjective to describe what was happening on top of that little angel's head.  Was it worse? No. Was it better?  Absolutely not.  It was just a whole different kind of bad.  Now instead of a big chunk of hair missing, I had just paid $16 (plus tip) for my preschooler to sport a five-head.  You know a forehead that is so gigantic it has to be called a five-head?
The five-head
So we are back to waiting for tiny blonde hairs to grow.  I am not that great at patience and it certainly doesn't help that every time I look at his hair this is what I see.....
  It's uncanny, right?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One Boy: Extra Sweet

I was looking through Connor's note drawer, the place he keeps his beloved lists and journal pages and found this one sitting on top.  "Two weeks of Diabetes."  Those four words pretty much say it all.  As if I could forget any of the days, minutes or seconds that have passed since we got the news, and as you can probably tell from the note, Connor hasn't either.

To say life at our house has changed would be an understatement.  Even though I have lived with Type 1 Diabetes for almost 15 years, Connor's diagnosis at the age of 5 hit us like a physical blow.  Yes, I know there are way worse things in the scary world of childhood illness and yes, we know that it is a completely manageable disease, but it still hurt like a punch in the face.  Even though the symptoms were classic and we could not think of any other reasonable explanation and in my heart I knew what the doctor would say before we even stepped into that exam room, I cannot express to you how desperately Matt and I wanted this to be a fluke thing, a virus, a random infection but not diabetes.  I think it is a innate feeling in parents everywhere to want better for your own children than you had.  I don't talk about my diabetes a lot, in fact as little as possible because it is something I live with every day and I don't ever want to burden anyone else with it or have people feel like they need to feel sorry for me, because they don't.  I just never wanted this life for either of my boys.  Don't get me wrong, I have a great life, but there is never a single day where I don't think about diabetes and it's impact on my life.  No matter how hard I work at it or how easy I make it look, it is still a burden, some days more than others and now my baby is shouldering that same burden but on a much smaller and bonier set of shoulders.  In a way, I feel like Connor got cheated.  I got fifteen years to be a carefree, sometimes stupid kid without a lot of worry in my life.  Connor got five and that doesn't seem like enough.

Connor, in his usual fashion, has really impressed us over the last two weeks.  He has been so incredibly brave and understanding beyond his years.  Four days after his diagnosis he was doing all of his own finger sticks and giving himself his five daily injections, which completely blew our minds.  He came downstairs one morning and announced that he would be giving all his own shots from now on. Why?  "Because I'm a man, Mommy."  As happy as we were for his independent streak to come out, it was another tiny crack in my heart, because he isn't a man, he is a little boy doing grown up things.  After giving both his morning shots in his legs, he looked up at us and said, "I knew it.  It hurts way worse when you and Daddy give them to me."  Ouch.  Literally.

We are slowly getting out of survival mode and moving towards a new normal.  Connor is back at school, a place where he finds immeasurable joy, and most of our days have been happy.  He is becoming pals with the school nurse and he told me yesterday that she is working with him to teach him everything he already knows.  "Mommy, I let her tell me even though I know how to do it all, because it makes her happy to show me."  That's my boy!  We are carefully navigating the sometimes stormy emotional waters of a five year old diabetic and though those sad or mad (or "smad" as my preteen husband has named them)  moments have been blessedly few so far,  they have served as reminders for his dad and I that no matter how mature he is or how ridiculously high his IQ, in that freakishly tall body still beats the heart of a five year old who wants answers and explanations that don't exist.   Man, that hurts.  But the good news is that it hurt a tiny bit less today than yesterday.

So thanks to everyone for all the sweet messages and prayers, we have been more flaky than usual in responding, but we saw and appreciated all of them.  And thanks to our friends that didn't look horrified when we showed up places looking like hobos and spontaneously started crying.  I am proud to say that I only cried in front of 3 out of 4 of my bosses.  That 4th one was a major test in willpower and I made it!
And for those of you that might be worried that this major life change might have squeezed some of the weirdness out of our oldest child, I saved this last story especially for you.   So the last step in insulin injecting that Connor isn't doing by himself is actually putting the insulin in the syringe, but he has been dying to do it.  He walked up before dinner last night and said, "Mommy, I really want to do this all by myself, can I please put the Maxima in the needle?"   I paused, thought for a second and said, "Can you put the what in the needle?"  He stared at me like I had lost my mind and said, "The Maxima. That is what I started calling the insulin.  So can I do it or what? Me and Hector are starving!"  I glanced over at Hector/Hudson and he gave me a dirty look and said, "Where the maxima?  I so hungry!"  Oh that crazy Carlos, why go weird solo when you can drag your brother along for the ride?

Long live the Maxima!