Monday, June 7, 2010


You might have been able to tell that I have a mild obsession with food. I don't discriminate; I will eat nacho cheese for my first course and chateaubriand for my second. You can imagine my surprise when Matt said we were going to Second Empire on Friday for my birthday. I would have been happy with Taco Bell! But most definitely not as happy.

So I did what any fat-loving American would do and ordered foie gras for the first course and duck breast for my entree (because I had already killed the bird). And citizens of California: I don't want to live there. Ever. I am cool with the whole Governator thing and all your funny smelling pharmacies, but I draw the line at a state that is making sweet, sweet duck liver illegal to serve.

Now my real birthday was actually Saturday. We were able to enjoy some time outside, though ridiculously hot (like scotch bonnet hot), at a friend's sixth birthday party. I kept losing Nat and Dan, but I always figured they would turn back up. It was Eve we had to keep an eye on.

As anyone who has ever knocked on my front door knows, the second it opens, my children make a run for it. I have no clue where they think freedom lies, but apparently it is across my next door neighbor's front yard and directly to the sidewalk leading out of the neighborhood. This happens eleven times out of ten.

Eve made a run for it every three minutes at the park that day. I'm wondering if I could get an electric fence and collar for her. But a really cute collar, like one you'd put on a French poodle.

The one place that we found Eve wouldn't run away from (too much) was the sandbox. And this is where we enter Awkwardville. Scene: a mother and her young child are playing in the same area and Eve darts away. I made an off-handed comment about Eve loving being out of her bubble. As soon as I said it, I realized this would open up a whole conversation about cancer. But there I was, having to field questions.

I didn't particularly mind the questions at all. I guess I need to work on how I say things, because this girl thought I had literally put Eve in a bubble. Like a Lifetime movie from the 80s.

But the most uncomfortable part for me was when the mother turned to her son and said, "This little girl was sick but now she's all better! We were wondering why her hair was so short. She's a girl!"

So my second-worst fears were realized: people think I gave my daughter a Dumb and Dumber haircut.

I had to jet after that conversation, because we were on our way to...

Drum roll please....

Sesame Street Live!

It was an awesome birthday. And I'm not being sarcastic. We got these tickets for free through Duke. They were donated by SAS, and they were box seats. Which was awesome, because if there weren't massive amounts of hot dogs, I wouldn't have stayed focused for the whole show.

We got to enter through the VIP entrance and then headed up to the VIP elevator. I'm not used to being a VIP; the closest I have gotten is VIC, and that's only good at Harris Teeter.

In the elevator, a mother got on with her daughter. I was pretty sure I had seen the mother at clinic before, but couldn't be certain. I really wanted to make some kind of joke about Eve and her daughter going to the same hairdresser, but felt I outta wait until we went to the same suite. Some people don't think that kind of stuff is funny. They are the same ones making foie gras illegal in California.

I did determine my dream job is the VIP elevator operator. From what I could tell, you get to sit on a stool and watch television in the elevator, and then push some buttons when someone gets on. I don't care how much it pays. I'm applying.

Nat and Dan were in the front of the suite watching the show. How do you know your child needs remote control-detox?

Natalie: Can I tell Elmo something?
Me: Sure.
Natalie: [SHOUTING] Elmo, PAUSE it! I gotta go potty!
Me: This isn't TV, Natalie. They can't pause.
Natalie: Elmo, then STOP while I go pee!

Back at home again, Matt prepared my birthday cake to the Christy Griffith specifications: one box Pillsbury Funfetti cake and one can Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip icing, made in cupcake form. It's my birthday and I can eat what I want. dye #40.

Kids in bed, my birthday dinner of choice is being whipped up my Chef Matt: fried eggs (heavy on the salt and butter), hash browns (scattered, smothered, and covered), and bacon (the key to a long life). And don't forget the toast to sop up those runny yolks, because if the yolks aren't runny, what's the point? I don't want to be able to devil my fried eggs.

Some wine (to offset the cake I ate) and some Mad Men and I was a happy, sleepy camper.

The next morning, we went down to the New Hope Valley Railway to celebrate another birthday. Again, habanero hot, but once we got on the train and it was moving, it proved to be an awesome ride. Afterward, we made plans to go out to Red Robin for lunch with the birthday boy. Red Robin is the loudest restaurant on earth. It is a great place for kids because if when they scream/whine/cry, the next table can't hear them. Almost like eating lunch at a WWF show.

We would have made it there, too, if Natalie hadn't fallen in the gravel parking lot and gashed up her knee. Well, I guess we hadn't been to urgent care in a while. They were probably missing us.

Nat was terrified all the way there. "I don't want to go to the doctor! I want to go home and get a band aid!" My speech of, You'll thank us later when you don't die of sepsis didn't seem to make much difference to her.

Luckily we could bypass all the paperwork since I had taken Natalie to this particular urgent care last year when Daniel stuck a pearl into her ear. She tried to be brave while the nurse cleaned the laceration, but it was obvious the child was in pain. Fortunately, the nurse put on some numbing gel before getting back in there to clean. Where was the numbing gel when I was a kid? I was stabbed in the knee with a pair of scissors once, and the only form of anesthetic I got while I was getting stitches was a very large woman straddling me.

After her knee was numb, Natalie was full of quotables. "You know who else can heal besides doctors?" Nurses? "God." I'm surprised she said God and not Jehovah, because she read an entire book of Bible stories, circa 1978, that came from Jehovah's Witnesses. The book is also complete with my youthful illustrations in pen, like a pretty flower drawn with David and Goliath, or a pretty flower drawn next to lines of slaves in Egypt.

The nurse and doctor went to town trying to clean this nasty cut. Two pitchers of some sort of cleaning solution and a surgical sponge later, Nat's cut had opened up even wider. But she felt great. "I have a secret, Mommy. Remember how I was scared to come in here? It's not scary at all!" Great. Now I'm going to have to put Emla cream on her arms and legs before she gets all her shots for kindergarten.

The doctor used some Dermabond to glue it back together and then our old friends, the Steri-Strips, went on top. Nat was told to keep her leg straight as much as possible and not to run around. No baths or swimming pool. No extra-long Mommy-length showers. For a week. Good golly, Eve's surgeon used Steri-Strips on her and said she could go jump in a pond after two days. But, I will follow the orders because I am not a doctor. I am just a mom who is getting a little too used to urgent care.

So, today I managed to keep Nat from running around the house. We did crafts. We read books. We watched TV. And what should happen when I sauntered out into the garage to pull out some frozen ziti for dinner? She runs. She surfs on a boogie board. She falls down on the knee. She says, "Uh-oh."

Apparently "Uh-oh" is 5-year-old code for, "my wound is bleeding."

Back to urgent care.


  1. All I can say is that if I ever find a contest for parents of the year I will most def. be nominating you and Matt. I mean SERIOUSLY!

    I am counting down till the 26th. Can't wait to see you all.

  2. Kimberly and Benjamin SchoolcraftJune 8, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    You should seriously seek out a publisher! There are so many families dealing with similar situations and throughout this entire process you have embraced each ordeal with such grace, love and laughter. I am sure your share fair of tears have been shed, but you are truly an inspiration! I continue to keep you and your family in my prayers! It was wonderful seeing all of you at graduation! Benjamin LOVED your owl cake and when he saw the rainbow one he informed me that I had to make that for him! :)

  3. Christy, you make me want to have children. Am I crazy? :) Love, Becca

  4. Happy Birthday. Loved the Second Empire.

  5. I gasped when I read that she was on the boogie board, because as a mom, I knew what was coming next...the "uh oh". How is Natalie doing today?

  6. Robles Family- we are looking forward to coming up, too! My kids believe the only C.E.C. is in Waldorf. I have not corrected them.

    Kim- good luck with the owl cake! I like to call it "an exercise in tedium."

    Becca- yes, you are quite crazy. But then again you have to be a little bit crazy to be a mom and live to tell about it.

    Kristal- thanks! It's always a treat going there.

    locnlovely- Nat's fine today. Urgent care couldn't do anything for her so they just gave her the "don't do anything physical" speech. Which I'm *sure* she understood because she RAN in through the door and started JUMPING up and down that she had to be still for a few days or else her knee wouldn't heal. Then she danced out of the kitchen and started a game of tag.