Navigating the NICU.

This guest post is from Tricia who blogs at Stream Of The Conscious and has twin boys aka the muppets who were born at 27 weeks gestation.

The little hummingbird was in the NICU for different reasons but when you, your family, and your child go through this experience, I feel like there’s an instant bond with others who have had children in the NICU.

While my husband and I had a less than desirable experience when our daughter was in the hospital because of many things, I told Tricia that it helps to know someone had a positve experience despite the circumstances she was under.

Reading her blog FAQ about her twins is an absolute must. It had me smiling and laughing the whole time. The muppets turned a year old at the end of May and Tricia wrote her sons a beautiful letter about the journey from the time they were born, through their stay in the NICU, and when they came home.

Q and A with Tricia.

Elle: If the zombie apocalypse happened tomorrow, which weapon would you want to have to fight these brain eaters?

A. a flame thrower.

B. an unlimited supply of ninja throwing stars.

C. a chainsaw.

D. a shoelace because you’re bad ass.

E. other and what would it be?

F. none of the above, I want to be a damn zombie!

Tricia: Is this a trick question? The answer is obviously A. Threaten me and my family and you’re going down in a fiery ball of defeat.

It will be like fireworks of victory. Unless…unless you’re actually a zombie trying to figure out what my methods of battle are. In which case the answer is B, Ninja Stars. Pay no attention to the bright orb hurling toward you…

Elle: If you could be stuck in an elevator with anyone, who would it be?

Tricia: This is cheesy but that’d be my husband. He’s figured out the magic trick of keeping me calm (a VERY impressive feat) and is handy enough to figure out how to MacGuyver us out of the stuck-y situation without letting us plummet to our death.

And yes, that’s instantly where my mind is going to go the second the elevator stops – even if we’re 3 feet off the ground floor.

Elle: If you could drop everything and go anywhere (real or fantasy) in the world, where would it be?

Tricia: Maui = Paradise. Perhaps with a stopover at See’s candy first.

Elle: Which would you rather win? An Oscar, a Grammy, or a Tony.

Tricia: That’s easy, Oscar. I’ve had my acceptance speech written since I was 7. I’d like to thank the Academy for recognizing how fun it would be to translate my novel into a screenplay and letting me be the head writer.

I thank all of you for this Best Screenplay Adaptation award. Look boys! You have a brother!

Elle: A favorite non-mommy activity?

Tricia: Sleep. Oh doesn’t that just sound divine right now?

Elle: What’s a favorite book that you like to read to your kids?

Tricia: “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” was our theme/NICU mission statement. I would read that book to them daily, showing them the brightly colored pages through the plastic walls of their isolettes.

Their favorite part of the story were the depictions of food the little caterpillar ate his way through. As they got bigger, I’d tickled their tummies when we came to the page stating that the little caterpillar was now a big fat caterpillar!

Elle: What kid’s cartoon or character makes you want to bang your head against a spike?

Tricia: This may be considered blasphemy but I’ve gotta go with Elmo. It’s that song. “Elmo’s Song. LaLaLa” (Repeat ad infinitum…)

You know what, I’d like to change my answer to question No. 1 again. I’m going to lock the zombies in a contained room and repeatedly play “Elmo’ss Song.” I give them a max of seven minutes before they decide dead is the way to go (as opposed to undead).

*Elle’s note….I’ve heard that song 20 billion times and the first few times were cute but now I’d like to take that song and unleash a bunch of wild dogs on it so they’d rip it to pieces and nobody would ever have to hear that song again.

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In Tricia’s words.

I write stuff for a living. But I never thought I’d end up a mommy blogger. A world-famous Newbery Medal recipient, sure – but it instead appears my writing talents have headed down the road less traveled.

It was always my dream to be a writer. By day, I’m a corporate writer; by night, I’m working on the next Great American Novel.

My twin boys were born at 27 weeks gestation weighing 2 pounds. I held Caden in my arms for no more than 10 seconds after his birth. I watched Logan get wheeled out of the operating room wrought with tubes and encased in a plastic incubator.

They were born 12 weeks too soon. And then I passed out.

I didn’t get to meet my muppets the day they were born. I spent hours shivering uncontrollably in a recovery room – demanding water from a nurse who tried my patience to its last nerve by insisting on following medical protocol instead of catering to my thirsty whims.

Five hours after they were born, my husband was indoctrinated into life as a NICU parent. He was crying when he came back, but he reported they were doing amazingly well. There were so many wires…

Today they’re 14 months old, living up to their nicknames of Search and Destroy. And I write about them.

~~~

Doing Time: Navigating the NICU

*Below is a plethora of unsolicited advice: Doing time in the NICU is rough. It’s overwhelming.

Most new parents expect to leave the hospital with their newborn days after giving birth, dazed and confused about what to do once they get home. But what about the parents who return home while their newborn remains behind in the NICU?

There are numerous articles deciphering the medical technology NICU parents can expect to encounter, but many of those parents then wonder what they can do to help nurture and bond with their child.

I asked our NICU nurses for their thoughts and advice. I could give my perspective adnauseam – but I thought answers from the other side would be equally beneficial. 

Walking into the unit will overwhelm you. It will slowly become routine – but it will not get easier. Even going back to visit with two healthy jumbo tots stillelicits a visceral reaction.

Our nurses assured us that their team do not expect the newly frazzled parents to remember all of the information being thrown at them.

That little tiny person covered with wires is going to be taking up the vast majority of your attention. And the stress of giving birth at any time during the gestational period leaves little span left for attention.

Our nurses suggest that parents write down all of their questions. Bring them back later, your nurses will be happy to answer all of your questions to the best of their abilities. And don’t worry about asking the same questions repeatedly.

Aside from the fact that they answer those questions for a living, you won’t remember what you’ve asked anyway. Nor will you remember the answers for several weeks – there is a lot to process. A lot.

The machines, blinking numbers, beeps, alarms – they will scare you. They will create a Pavlovian response that causes you to frantically turn looking to see breaths whenever you hear a similar tone. But the nurses know those suckers backwards and forwards.

Your job is to focus on your new child. As the days, weeks, months drag on into what seems like eternity, those beeps and alarms will become nothing more than background noise. Background noise that will forever scare the bejeezus out of you.

And soon you’ll have the knowledge on how to silence those alarms – and not by simply pushing the “defer” button. No matter how many times you want to leap out of your seat and throttle the monitor with it’s beeps and numbers with their peaks and valleys.

But you’ll learn to gently stroke your baby’s back, encouraging your little fighter to breathe. Breathe damnit, breathe!

If your nurse isn’t right there to greet you, there will be another nurse to welcome you. Despite your fragile mental state, your nurse will be focused on making sure your physically fragile baby is stable. 

The nurses are not ignoring you – but for the same reason you’re there, that little child is everyone’s first priority.

Despite your irrational preemie-parent wishes, you will have a few different nurses taking care of your little one. It may be frustrating at times but they are all trained RNs (registered nurses). They are all capable of taking care of your precious darling, and regardless of how much like surrogate parents they become – the hospital keeps sending them home to sleep.

That being said, do not be afraid to express your questions, qualms or concerns. You are the parents; if you don’t “mesh” with a nurse, it is your right to speak up. No one is going to “take it out” on the baby – who, let’s face it, they like better than you anyway.

From the nurses point of view, they’d appreciate the acknowledgment that many of them have been doing this for a very long time. The muppets primary nurses had 18 and 16 years of time in the baby growth correctional facility.

So, chances are there is a reason behind their request on how to interact with a baby busy trying to master the concept of breathing in and out, over and over – forever.

Listen to the nurses when they explain what the prima donna preemie like or dislikes. For example, you’re going to want to hold your child as soon as possible – and reassure them that you’ll be there to protect them and make all the bad things go away. Sometimes a little one is just too fragile and they may not be able to tolerate such strenuous stimulation.

Neither your child nor the nurses intentionally try to hurt your feelings. Instead you can simply be there for them, by placing your hand gently over their tiny body and quietly talking about mundane daily life and all there is to experience on the outside.

By the same token, try not to freak out if it feels like the nurses are pushing you to hurry up and parent. You’ll be standing over the intimidating isolette (likely fighting the guilt about how you couldn’t prevent this situation), and sending every vibe of good juju you can muster.

The nurse will turn to you matter-of-factly, point to the stash of diapers that would comfortably cover about half of your pinky finger and ask you to change your baby. Don’t worry -the nurse will be expecting your terrified look of incredulity.

Maneuvering around all those wires and Barbie size limbs is scary, but if your nurse didn’t think it was safe to do so, they would not ask.

It’s your baby no matter the circumstance. You’d likely still be totally freaked out with a healthy 40-week newborn in the Mother/Baby recovery room. So now’s the time to step up. Your nurse will be there if you panic, but they’ll let you take charge to the best of baby’s ability.

Nurse June spent a lot of time staring at us while we were in the NICU. “Well what do you want me to do? Their your kids – you deal with them.” I’d like to take this moment to reiterate how much we love Nurse June. Even if she did collude with the muppets to save all poopy blowouts for our arrival.

Even though your baby is premature and lives in their own personal condo at the moment, you are now a parent. Just as if you had brought home a term baby, it is time to jump right in and start parenting. It may be a bit more challenging for you but you have to jump in and just do it.

What is entirely within your control is to take good care of yourself. A sick mommy or daddy will not be able to give their preemie the best love they deserve.

Yes, it is heart-wrenching to walk out of that unit once you’ve experienced love at first sight but a new mom needs to rest and take care of herself first so she can heal quickly and concentrate on her baby. When you are well rested and healthy, you’ll have every opportunity to participate in your infants care.

I was so eager to be there for the muppets, I practically passed out – sprawled flat across the NICU floor – because I couldn’t be bothered with the fact that six weeks of strict bedrest and a c-section does not one flight-of-foot make. The blood meant for my brain diverted itself to a more convenient horizontal layout. Gravity, thou art a cruel mistress…

By far, the biggest challenge you will face is the loss of control of the whole situation. No matter how much you are involved in your baby’s care, no matter how much time you spend in the NICU or how much juju you have to spare, you will have no control over your baby’s condition. Zero, zip, zilch.

Trust me and the nurses I spoke with about this missive, if they could control anything health related, tiny babies would never be sick and NICU nurses would spend their days restocking burp clothes in the hospital store room. Okay, I made that last part up. They’d probably all find different jobs.

It takes nine months for a baby to grow up big and strong in their mommy’s tummy. Well, it’s supposed to anyway. So it is reasonable that it will take time for your baby to reach ideal healthiness outside of the womb.

The general timeline you can expect to hear is that your child will be ready to go home around your actual due date. Patience and understanding is a big part of being a preemie parent. Clearly, this was an area I did not excel at. Breathe damnit!

Now for the hard part. As much as we all want to believe our little miracles are merely a “feeder and grower,” chilling with some new NICU friends who want the same for their babies which is for them to get bigger and go home, some little ones are sick. Sick babies means wires. Wires means procedures. Procedures mean panicked parents.

The medical staff is not alienating you nor plotting against you, when they ask you to step away from the unit so they can work on your child.

Our nurses have assured me they do not enjoy poking babies with IVs the width of sewing thread or drawing blood of which they have precious little. But they do it because it needs to be done for your little one’s ultimate homecoming. And it’s generally not ideal to have a parent already on the verge of a nervous breakdown hovering (or more likely, hyperventilating) over their shoulder.

One, it’s going to be a giant pain in their tushy if they have to extricate themselves from a sterile environment to deal with fainting mommies and daddies. Literally. These nurses deal with tiny patients. Mommies and daddies are giants.

Two, procedures don’t leave warm fuzzy memories which then rapidly raises the guilt quotient. “Procedures” in general are icky. When was the last time your doctor called you and you announced to the world at large,“Goody! I get a procedure today!”

NICU nurses chose their profession. They fall in love with our miracles. They cherish our angels and stay by their side through the long road ahead – for baby and parents. They worry about them on their days off. They will call the unit, “Did they finally poop on their own?” “Did they eat all their milk via thenipple or are they still gavaged?” Each preemie milestone is celebrated, just as Mom and Dad rejoice.

NICU nurses become family. The muppets nurses’ still follow their progress (God Bless social media) and they will be beside them next month, celebrating a successful first year.

One final word from the NICU nurses. The Internet is a fabulous tool. It makes researching info on anything a cinch. But learning the definition of a tool, condition, or disease is only part of the education (even when the Internet provides seemingly perfect results – like this blog).

The answers are never black and white. Every child is unique.

~If you would like to write a guest post about anything you want, whether or not you have a blog, please email me at elle dot mommyhood at gmail dot com.

Comments { 4 }

Totally confused.

I swear I know how to take the birth control pill. There have been times when I’ve forgotten to take it and the next day I’ve doubled up. Not long ago I thought I might be pregnant so I did what anyone would do.

I took the question to Twitter and mentioned that while I feel like I might be, I’m on the pill so I can’t see it being possible. I was expecting people to say there’s no way I could be but that didn’t happen.

I heard from people, including a few dads, who had gotten pregnant while on the pill. Obviously, the dads I heard from weren’t the ones who were pregnant. I took a pregnancy test 2 days later and it was negative.

I thought it was for the best because not only am I dealing with depression, as much as I want another baby I can easily wait another year, maybe longer, to have a second baby although my years to have another one are dwindling quickly.

I got sick last month and then got that awful sinus infection that I’m still dealing with and waiting to get the approval from my insurance to get a CT scan so my ENT doctor, Dr. Cool, can see what’s going on.

I was also put on antibiotics and then a week later a second one. I completely forgot that when you’re on the pill you need to have back up birth control when taking antibiotics and I feel so effing stupid right now. I’ve taken 3 pregnancy tests. Two were positive and one was negative.

On one hand I really don’t think I’m pregnant but on the other hand it’s possible. Basically, I’m totally confused. When I was pregnant with the hummingbird I had what I thought was pms and I was cramping a lot but then I found that when it came to me at least, pregnancy symptoms can be similar to period symptoms.

I’ve never had a miscarriage that I know of but that’s something else I’m worried about. I had been bleeding for a day and a half over the weekend. I’m wondering if that could be why 2 tests were positive and one was negative.

The first test I took that was positive was at 11:30 last night and I was freaking out. I was thinking of how I’m taking an antidepressant, had been on pain meds for my insane sinus pain, and an anti-anxiety med and how they could cause harm. My husband was thrilled not! when I woke him up an hour later freaking out and then telling him I might be pregnant.

I’m taking another test tomorrow morning and I’m thinking whatever it says, it will be best to go and see my asshole primary doctor so I can get a blood test to be sure either way.

I want another baby more than anything. It took me almost 14 years to have the hummingbird (that’s for another post). I can honestly say that if it’s positive or negative I’ll be happy either way.

I didn’t plan on actually making this a post but when my hubby came home tonight, I had just started having a panic attack and the best way I know how to deal with one is to take my mind off of it or write things down because I know it can help.

I also overshare because hell, I figure others have been in similar situations and I like to think I *might* help even a tiny bit if someone out there knows that someone else has gone or is going through the same thing.

So now I wait.

*Update. I’m going in for a blood test this morning but even with a rush on it, they said it can take up to 3 days so I might not find out until Monday. The 4th pg test I took earlier this morning was negative so now I’m even more confused. Quick, someone get me a brownie from the stress of not knowing. :^)

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A peace offering.

Back in December I ordered the book, Love You Forever, online. It was going to be a present for the little hummingbird and it looked like such a sweet book.

Then I read it and towards the end I found it creepy. The mom drives across town with a ladder strapped to the roof of her car and breaks into her grown son’s house to check on him.

Yes, I get it. I check on the hummingbird countless times at night and my heart will break when she moves away from home. Excuse me a sec.

*CRIES* *SOBS*

Ahem. I understand the sweetness of the book but I wrote a post in January and made fun of it anyway.

The always awesome Teri from Diary Of A Mad Hatter (back then she had the blog The Momsmith) has been kinda sorta haunting me about it since because she loves the book. I can’t even go on Pinterest without her reminding me. *sniff*

I noticed this on Pinterest a few days ago…

With this from her….

I know some of you hate this book…I’m looking at you @Elle Davis but I love it!                   

So, Teri, here’s a peace offering…..

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The End.

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The little hummingbird is a girl who wears many hats.

*I know I’ve posted every day this week but I promise this will be my last post for a few days….maybe.

My daughter LOVES hats. It’s common that she’ll put on her pink knit hat or her whimsical orange and pink hat as soon as she wakes up. Usually when she’s playing, she’ll grab one of her many hats and put it on her head.

Her love of hats was something that my hubby and I didn’t notice until one of us took off a hat she had on because we were putting her to bed and she freaked.

It’s like her blankies. We didn’t realize she was so attached to them until one day I put the one she had taken out of her crib and set it back down, then all hell broke loose.

Another whoopsie parenting moment; she calls her blankets “b” and we’re pretty sure she’s been saying it for a while but only made the connection last month that all this time she’s been asking for one of her beloved blankies.

Some of the hats the little hummingbird wears aren’t actual hats. She basically wears anything for a hat, including an Easter basket that she loves to play with and uses as a purse, shorts, pants, and anything else that will stay on her hummingbird head.

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An interview with a 3 time Tony award winner who’s gobsmacked. Okay, she’s not really a Tony award winner.

*Melissa, who wrote a guest post July 24th, is back and was a great sport when I had the idea to do a spoof celebrity interview instead of the guest blogger Q and A that I usually do.

I’ve read one too many celeb interviews where they try to come off as regular people but end up seeming even more out of touch with reality.

~~~

My editor at Barely Relevant magazine had some trouble getting this interview with Broadway actress and singer Melissa Glitter. She had to reschedule the interview the first time because of dehydration and exhaustion.

The next time we got a call from her agent, Sammy Slappy, saying that we had to reschedule for another time because Melissa had to get a 3rd surgery on her nose for a”deviated septum”.

This time it seems things were going as planned and we made our way to Melissa’s vacation home in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica.

Melissa is a 3 time Tony award winner for The Walk Of Shame, You Damn Bastard, and the critically acclaimed My Milkshake Brings All The Boys To The Yard. You can hear Melissa singing the jingle, Every gift begins with Kay, in the jewelers current ad campaign.

She was the inspiration for the 2001 movie Glitter and while it wasn’t a hit in the States, it found an audience in Morocco which might have had something to do with them dubbing the dialogue from Titanic into the movie.

Ms. Glitter has her upcoming album, I’m Awesome And Will Totally Over Sing The Shit Out Of These Songs, coming out next month. So far reviews have been mixed. Jason Bahls from Let’s Disco Magazine has said “Not only does Ms. Glitter totally over sing the shit out of these songs, she sounds like an alley cat in heat combined with a pissed off goat.

Her love life has been anything but boring. This is a little known fact but she was married to Guy Ritchie for two years, before his marriage to Madonna. Melissa went on the rebound and after a weekend in Las Vegas and too much Peach Schnapps, she found herself married to Kevin Federline.

While she says they tried to make the marriage work, she filed for divorce 2 months later. She shocked several with her next two marriages since they were with men outside of the industry.

Her third marriage was to Albert Mojito who ironically was a bartender at Applebee’s. Unfortunately, the marriage only lasted 5 days. Melissa met husband number 4, David Dudd, at Disney Land while he was playing the role of Sneezy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Mr. Dudd is currently trying to sell what he says is a racy video which includes him dressed as Snow White and Melissa allegedly dressed up as Kermit the Frog.

When I arrived at Ms. Glitter’s home in Costa Rica, her new boyfriend of 2 weeks, Marc Anthony, was laying in the buff by her pool. It’s the infamous pool that Melissa only allows to be filled with water flown in from Poland Spring, Maine and blessed by her agent, Sammy Slappy.

Melissa and I sat down to have a lovely chat in her armadillo room.

Barely Relevant Magazine: So, you’ve been with Marc Anthony for two weeks now and I just saw you on Letterman the other night and you were saying the two of you are talking about marriage already.

Do you have any qualms about marrying so soon after your 4 other marriages didn’t work out?

Michelle: Absolutely not. I’m so in love with Marc and I’ve never been this happy before. I see myself spending the rest of our lives together. I think it’ll be helpful that he already knows what it’s like to be married to someone more talented than he his.

BRM: I’ve recently seen photos of you while you were in Haiti. One showed you giving back by holding a hammer during the construction of a new school. I found that to be so brave as there was wet paint and you were wearing a to die for pair of Manolo Blahnik peep toe ankle boots. I also saw you in a photo giving a piece of gum to your assistant. I have to say, that was so touching to see.

What other photo ops, I mean efforts are you making to help those less fortunate than you?

Melissa: Well, I don’t like to brag about helping those in need but just this morning I was looking for my 7 For All Mankind skinny jeans and my maid was only able to find my True Religion jeans and had the audacity to tell me those will be fine.

I told her that they weren’t the same and I needed my 7 For All Mankind skinny jeans in the sunrise seranade wash and the other jeans weren’t the right color and would clash with my red Jimmy Choo shoes. Most people would have fired her on the spot but all I did was throw my Blackberry at her.

My maid saw it coming and ducked so it missed her but I think she’s learned her lesson and I feel tremendous pride in my effort to teach those less fortunate that you do not mess with my jeans that cost more than some make in a week.

BRM: What would you like people to know about you that they might not know already.

Melissa: I want people to know that I’m just like them. I’ve heard rumors that people think I’m a diva but really, what diva would sing at a benefit concert in the rain, refuse to go on stage until they received the sparkling mineral water that was requested beforehand, hold up the concert for over an hour until they got the correct sparkling water, and sue the promoters for refusing to pay me for all of the trouble. These are problems people face everyday and they would do the same thing.

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Gobsmacked 2 

by  Melissa

I am the working mother of two boys, whom I affectionately refer to as Elder Goober, 7, and Younger Goober, 4. I blogged about how Elder Goober sometimes leaves me gob smacked at what he is capable of. Recently, Younger Goober did it too.

Younger Goober is at that stage where he sees “bad guys” around every corner. Fortunately, he single-handedly has all of the powers usually spread among Ninjas, Power Rangers, Knights and Ben 10. At the same time, he still scared of the dark and being alone. Yes, I was the one that wrote to Target inquiring whether a line of bedtime tranquilizer guns—either for use on the pre-school set or their parents—was forthcoming.

As a result of his fears, the other day he required my assistance to go upstairs and get dressed. His room, though it was morning, was “dark,” and there was no one else upstairs and so he couldn’t possibly go there alone. To add insult to injury, he claimed he was so tired he couldn’t possibly ascend the stairs under his own power. I had to carry him.

Apparently, he had used up almost a full day’s supply of energy eating breakfast, brushing his teeth and fighting with Elder Goober and he hadn’t even gotten to school yet. I get it. While I didn’t want to carry him, I did have to appreciate his prioritization skills.

I weighed my options: I could lug 40 pounds of squirmy, boyhood up the stairs or yell at him to no avail for 10 minutes and then do it. I’m all about efficiency so I hefted him onto my hip and up we went.

I swear he gained about 5 pounds with each step we took. It didn’t help that his death grip on my neck was threatening my air flow. Fortunately, at about the third stair, he released his chokehold to pat me gently on the check.

“Don’t worry Mommy,” he reassured me, “I’ll always be here for you.”

“Great. Thanks,” I huffed, heart melting.

“If there are ever any bad guys, I’ll get them dead for you,” he explained as I staggered up the final two steps.

It was a good thing that we had reached the top of the stairs because once again I was gob smacked. His young mind was simultaneously able to hold two paradoxical concepts—that he is a budding superhero who will slay bad guys for his Mom and that he needs her help to go up stairs and get dressed—with no effort whatsoever.

I’d like to think he has a bright future ahead of him as a quantum physicist, but I suspect the elasticity of his mind is unique to those with one foot firmly in Little Boyhood and the other in Big Dudeworld.

Isn’t it fabulous?

~If you would like to write a guest post, whether you have a blog or not, email me at elle dot mommyhood at gmail dot com.

**I am very pleased to announce that Ryan Ann from Live, Laugh Love, Bake, who did a guest post in July, will be doing biweekly posts of baking recipes along with other cool things that she comes up with on the Rock the Oven page as well as contributing posts to This Is Mommyhood. Yay!

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10 things you don’t know about me.

I wasn’t going to post today but was tagged by Not My Year Off and Jayne from Mum’s The Word to tell you 10 things you don’t know about me. This is going to be really hard since I tend to overshare so I’ll see what I can come up with.

1. When I was 13 and living in Los Angeles with my sperm donor bio dad, he came home one day and said they were filming something at a small grocery store down the street. We went and the director let me be an extra. The scene had me walking down a store aisle. I tapped my then step-brother on the shoulder where he was crouched down and looking at something. Then we walked down the aisle and around the corner. I’m sure the movie is sitting on a shelf somewhere or had been thrown away years ago.

2. The director wanted me to audition for a film he was directing after that one and gave my bio dad his card. It never happened because of #3.

3. On one of the strangest nights of my life, my bio dad and now ex-stepmonster ex-stepmother had one of their typical huge fights and he left the house, bringing me along. We drove to a hotel for the night and had passed a Burger King that had several people standing on the sidewalk with signs. Then we saw they were filming cars going through the drive-thru.

After we checked into the hotel, we walked down the block to see what was going on. We found out they were filming a commercial but they were using non-union actors so there were protestors. My bio dad pointed out a guy and told me his name. He said he was the guy from Taxi. I never watched that show but because I’m the queen of useless information, I knew that Tony Danza and Danny DeVito were in the show. The guy he pointed out wasn’t either one.

The bio dad said it’s Jeff Conoway and I had no clue who it was. If only he had mentioned he was also in Grease. We ended up hanging out with Jeff Conaway and his then fiance for about an hour. They were talking about the union versus non-union issue and my bio dad mentioned the director that wanted me to audition for a film.

Jeff and another guy who was a producer for some kids show told us that there should be a SAG number or something, can’t remember exactly what it was, on the card to show this director was in the union. My bio dad took out the buisness card, saw that he wasn’t in the union, and ripped up the card.

I was 13 and had dreams of being an actress since I was about 3 or 4 years old so I didn’t care at the time that the director wasn’t in some union.

4. I have 3 half-sisters. The one I’ve mentioned on my blog before is my half-sister from my mom and former stepdad and we were raised together. As crazy as we can make each other, I would do anything for her. My other two are my bio dad’s daughters. One he had with his now ex-wife and I haven’t seen her since she was 4 years old. The other was from his now ex-girlfriend and I’ve never met her.

Because my bio dad and his girlfriend at the time were deemed unfit (that’s an understatement) my ex-stepmom ended up raising my youngest sister and those 2 sisters were able to grow up together. I’ve only talked to them on FB a few times.

5. Needless to say, I have a crazy and very complicated family tree.

6. I love celebrity gossip and subscribe to Us Weekly even though by the time I get the magazine the gossip is old news. I have one window on my computer open for gossip sites that I check throughout the day. While TMZ used to be where I got my online gossip fix, I found the gossip site dlisted a few years ago and have been hooked since. I love the way the guy writes but it’s probably not everyones cup of tea.

7. Since we got our cat Maisy back in March, she’s been waking us up super early in the morning and it’s been driving me crazy. We just started shutting the safety gate at the top of the stairs at night to keep her out so we don’t have to wake up at 4 in the morning but sometimes we forget.

8. It takes me at least an hour to fall asleep no matter how tired I am or even if I’ve been woken up in the middle of the night. I’m envious of those who are sound asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow.

9. I’m an insomniac and a night owl. I love the quiet of being up alone at night but dread it in the morning.

10. At this very moment I’m watching the movie Up and it’s wonderful because I don’t have the interruptions I did when I first saw it with my mother-in-law.

I’m tagging the following bloggers but I always feel weird and pushy when I tag someone so it’s okay if you don’t do the 10 things. I should have had that be one of the things you don’t know about me.  :^)

1. mommymetamorphosis

2. Coffee with Cheryl

3. The Bright Side

4. Cajun Asian Chronicles

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Bill the squirrel and his big nuts vs. Caillou.

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*Permission is given to copy and/or print this. xx

**I’m going to be daring (for me anyway) and show my scars in a post I’m doing. If anyone else wants me to add their pics on the post (it can just show a close up of it, a small section, or the whole scar, whatever you’re comfortable with), email me (elle dot mommyhood at gmail dot com). It can be a scar you got from anything and please explain what it’s from. You can be anonymous.

Also, please don’t be embarrassed. I want this to be about embracing what we think are imperfections. xoxo

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