Monday, April 18, 2011

Snap, Crackle, Poop

My life is poop.

I can see my mother now, 60% chuckling, 30% embarrassed and 10% nervous about where I am going with this. At family dinners, especially when non-family members are present,  I tend to whip out "bowel" talk .To which she always responds, "Gosh girl, I don't know where you learned to talk so uncouth."  To which I always respond, "I learned it all from you Janet." Or "Janice" or "Janine." Her whole name is just Jan with no middle name; hence the reason I always spice it up. And no, I learned it not from her.


Shamefully I tell you, we are a divided household...Julius does in fact say "fart", all the while I say "toot". We do not agree with each other's lingo. Fortunately, Jet sides with Big Mama on this. Benjamin can choose when he is aware of the gas coming forth from his chunky and cellulite infested hiney. Speaking of the beast, it's absolutely astounding to hear the powerful gaseous combustion that can come from a wee baby. It can shake the house and last for what seems like minutes. All the while they are sleeping or staring off, having no clue that they are the reason for the roaring laughter.

The older I get, the more and more I find myself acting like an 8 year old boy. If you were a fly on the wall in our home, you would think you had 4 young boys living under the same roof. If I ever do anything that Jet is proud of me for, he responds with, "Good boy Mommy!" I keep thinking to myself,  "Self, you are a 28yr old woman, when will you become ladylike and prim?" I don't know.

What I do know is, everything in this house always gets brought back to poop. If there is a foul smell, no matter how it smells, the question, "what smells like poop?" is asked. If someone has bad breath, the comment made is, "Your breath smells like death mixed with poop." Popcorn is poopcorn. Soup is poop. Poptarts are pooptarts. You get the picture. Having 2 little boys in diapers, we are always dealing with poop, and there are always musical toots being released into the atmosphere. Don't worry, not from me. Although the 3 boys rip them left and right, I will not in front of Julius. I need to keep some attraction going. I stick to belching. I make up for the lack of intestinal gas with esophagus gas. I strive to be like my sister who can burp like nobodies business.

I cannot take credit for the title of this blog. I received this in a text from my sister Rachel's boyfriend, Daniel.

Daniel trying to kill me.

 Although he is in a different walk of life from us, his life also revolves around poop. I dedicate this blog entry to him, and to my Uncle Buddy who owns Appalachian Pumping in Boone, NC. Call him for all your septic tank needs.
I very much enjoy hanging out with Rachel and Daniel. My sister is the youngest one, yet she is the most mature acting and usually doesn't add much to our convos on poop and toots. We have come up with many fun phrases for these activities. We often refer to tooting as "cracking joints." So in this case, you can always blame the gas on your arthritic knees, stiff neck or misaligned back. Last weekend we all ate Indian food together. What text did I receive from Daniel that night? Great question, I'm dying to share. "My curry left in a hurry." Did appreciate this text? Absotootly I did.
The lovely couple.

A few weeks ago at the dinner table, Jet sat there tooting. The kind that keeps going and going. We were laughing hysterically because A. it was funny and B. we were impressed. Then he turned red trying to get more out because of our reactions. He then said, "Mommy now you toot." So I made a fake sound with my mouth. To which he responded, "No mommy, toot from the penis." Now we know where he thinks they come from.
Jet trying to toot from the penis.

I am going to leave you with "Linger" from the Cranberries. This was a music video we made in 2007 while living in San Clemente,CA. I do hope you enjoy. Thank you.

 P.S. Janine, I kept it clean and vague, all for you. I love you dearly.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Buon Compleanno

Can you guess who this hunk is?

You guessed right! It's my favorite full blooded Italian man, my father.
Papa' as his children say.
 Nonno as his grandsons say.
Lovey as his wife says.
A.C. as his friends say. 
Uncle A as my friends say.
Andrinano as the telemarketers say.
Adrian or Adriano for anyone in between.

On April 14, 1947, in the Province of Genoa, Italy, in Isola del Cantone, Adriano was born. This was a very good day. Today he turns 64; he barely has any gray to show for it.

Nonno and his 3rd grandson Benjamin.

Some facts about this man:

 His accent is still as thick as when he first learned English.

He loves soccer.

He is very funny without trying to be.

He loves flannel shirts.

 He became a U.S. citizen in 1983.

 He is the most generous man you will ever meet. He would give you the shirt off his own back. If  he wasn't wearing one, he would somehow still give it to you. I wish I was like him. Sometimes he calls me stingy or the "bag lady" because of my cheapness and frugality. I can't help it, my 3 role models are Robert Kiyosaki, Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey. (In another post I'll tell you how I am going to be a millionaire by the time I'm 30)

I've been a bag lady for as long as I can remember.

He is the best cook ever. I'm not talking about your generic Italian spaghetti and meatballs. I am talking about real authentic from the motherland food that nobody can duplicate. If you asked me where my favorite place to eat was, I would simply reply, "The Conti home fo shizzal." If you enter that house, you will not leave hungry. If you were full when you got there, you will leave disgustingly full. No matter if you say you've had enough, you will not get heard. Another heaping of food will get loaded on your plate. When you are done, you will hear espresso being made in the percolator and will be served a latte that Starbucks cannot compete with.

1999 making homemade ravioli. Our family tradition at Christmas time.

He gets words frequently wrong and has us cracking up often because of the misuse and phrasing. He has no idea he's being so hilarious. Some examples(read in Italian accent): Trader Joe's is always Traders Joe. Squirrel Lake park is Lake Squirrels. He adds H's where they don't belong and removes them from where they do. Eggs and ham would be heggs and am. When asking Julius about the Wii he said, "Julius, are you going to go play with your Wii?" When talking to him about the Geek Squad he said serious and matter of fact, "I always see these geeks driving around. So what, do I call them and then the geek will come to my house?" Or when talking sincerely about their neighbor who lost her job he said obliviously, "She got laid" to which my mother replied, "Laid off Adrian, she got laid off."

He is the best vegetable gardener out there. If you go to Renfrow's in Downtown Matthews and ask the owner if he knows my father, I bet you he would reply, "He's the most knowledgeable man out there when it comes to gardening." Thankfully we get to benefit the reaping of  his plentiful bounty. Swiss chard, endive, arugula, peaches, figs, green beans, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers to name just a few. Lots of herbs as well. "Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme." Yes I'll be going to Scarborough Fair.

Myself displaying some crops that were yielded in our backyard in South Florida.

Giving a speech at my wedding he said (in accent again please), "Sometimes Carey,  she can be a little, how you say, bitchy..." And to say the crowd and I were rolling would be an understatement. And yes, he can get away with it because he is foreign, has an accent, is my father, and sometimes, it's true.

He has always been the most hard working man and has done everything and anything to make sure we were provided for and taken care of. He has never put himself in front of any of us.
A.C. and I hanging on a bench in Ronco Scrivia, Italy.

I could go on for days talking about this great man but I must wrap it up somewhere. This all to say, HAPPY BIRTHDAY FATHER! I love you! We all do!

I know it's predictable but if the song fits, sing it!. "...Doing the garden, digging the weeds, Who could ask for more? Will you still need me, will you still feed me, When I'm sixty-four?..."
Grazie' Paul McCartney.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pipsqueak: Mothering a preemie

If there are any lessons I've learned from birthing a premature baby, it's pack my bag as soon as the pregnancy test reads positive, and check myself into the hospital when I get a sore throat because with my history, it probably means I've gone into labor.

In labor. 

But seriously, In the words of Nora Jones, "You humble me Lord." Why did he humble me?  I'll tell you. I had the best experience with labor and delivery with my first son. While in the hospital he barely left my arms. I nursed him, changed him and loved on him every second. It was an instant bond. Deep in my mind I always thought, "Sucks for those women who don't get this same experience, I guess I am just a strong woman who has strong healthy babies, the NICU is for weak mamas who have weak babies." COL. Pride comes before the fall.

When Benjamin was born and taken to the NICU, I felt very weird. Now what the heck are you supposed to do? I had this uneasy pit in my stomach. When I wasn't pumping, was I allowed to just go to the NICU and hang? And then what was I supposed to do when I was in there? Talk to him while he was slept in his "cage"? And about what? It's way more natural to do that when he's in your arms, but another when there is a glass separating you and your sweet tiny monster.

"Uhhh, is this right?"
And don't worry, I got my nappy hair cut the day after I left the hospital thanks to looking at this picture.

Fortunately we had lots of good folk come visit and  it helped pass the time. I did feel guilty for not being in with him when I was hanging with friends, but like I said, what was I to do in there? I hated that I couldn't hold him anytime I wanted, and that I was not the one feeding him and changing him. I felt worthless to my child, he had no need for a mother when he had nurses taking care of him. It was weird that he was my baby, yet I felt like I needed to ask permission before I did anything for him. Example: On his third night on planet earth, I went to see him and hold him skin to skin. At this point they were feeding him my breastmilk through a tube that went down his nose. Instinctively he started slamming his head against my chest in search for a boob. He found it and went to town sucking away. Nobody ever gave me permission to breastfeed him. I was so scared the nurse was going to come behind the curtain and we could get caught, and then we'd both get in trouble. I fessed up to the nurse. We didn't get in trouble after all. They removed the tube and he's been a boob man ever since.

My sweet friend Casey who came bearing gifts of what I needed most, coffee, turquoise earrings and lip gloss.

The first time I went to see him in the NICU I felt a bit low class. Having stated in a previous post, I showed up at the hospital with only boots and no socks on. Before I walked to see him, I changed out of my gown into comfy pants, the last thing I wanted to do was put those stupid boots back on to walk down the hall. So, I tried to go in barefoot with my pants covering up my feet so they wouldn't show. At soon as I stepped in, in a matter of seconds, I was caught, semi made to feel like trailer park and given surgical slippers. I promised the nurses I had shoes on the way and I wouldn't do that again. When I went back later that night, with rainbows on, I got to hold him skin to skin for the first time, he was so stinkin sweet and small weighing in at a mere 4lbs. 8oz and 18inches long.

I pretty much had it together while I was in the hospital because I was distracted. My last day there, I went in to say good-bye to Benj and tell him that I'd come back to see him tomorrow. I felt ok until a nurse said to me, "Don't worry dear, this day is the hardest." Oh shoot, I'd been too busy to think ahead. My heart started to race because it hit me, I was going home, without my baby. I wanted to get out of there before I started crying. I speed walked out to the parking lot, as fast as you can walk 2 days after having a baby. Julius had pulled the car around for me and when I saw him, I had my first breakdown.

I proceeded to visit Benjamin twice a day. I had many great people come to the rescue and watch Jet so I could go see him. It got way more comfortable fast. When visiting him, I would change him, take his temperature, nurse him and snuggle him skin to skin and sing to him. With all the songs constantly in my head, I only had 2 that ever came to me while rocking him. "Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow." And one my mom always would sing to us. It's John 3:16 with her own music, and you fill in a name. "For God so loved Benjamin, that he gave his Son, that if Benjamin would believe in him, he would not perish but have everlasting life."

I felt torn because when I was at home I felt like I needed to be with my baby. When I was at the hospital I felt like I needed to be with my husband and toddler. At home, I was hooked up to the pump constantly. The hospital had asked me not to bring anymore of my milk up there because they had enough, and my freezer at home was overflowing. Yes, the overflowing freezer that everytime you opened it, a milk rock hit your foot. The overflowing freezer that when you saw your spouse go to open it, you would cover your ears because you knew something would be spewing from his mouth. The overflowing freezer that you sent your guests to get something out of just to make it awkward for them as they try to fit everything back in there that fell out. Anywho, I started dumping my milk because I had nowhere else to put it. Until I thought, "Why spend lots of money on organic milk for Jet when he can have something much better, and free?"  And so it was routine, as soon as Jet saw me sit down in the chair in my bedroom, he would literally sprint to the drawer in the kitchen to where his sippy cups were, grap one and run straight back to the bedroom. He would wait patiently while I pumped and as soon as I was done, he would grap the pump bottles, unscrew them with my help, and pour them into his cup so intensely. It was hilarious everytime. Call me the Dairy Queen. Jet would walk around holding the pump parts to his chest saying "Boobies boobies." One time I caught him doing it with kitchen funnels.

So, ten days after Benj was born they told me he was doing great and would be going home in just a couple of days. We were shocked. I had pictured us bringing home a bigger and chunkier baby. So that Saturday morning, when he would have only been 34 weeks and 5 days in the womb,  he got to come home with us. We had a nurse come out and check on him every few days for a couple of weeks to make sure he was growing and maintaing his temperature.  I wasn't supposed to take him out because it was RSV and flu season, but poor Benj came home to a house full of three sick people. Within days he caught a cold too but got over it pretty quickly. Nothing brought me greater joy than getting to suction his nose with the bulb syringe.

Holding his hermano for the first time. Don't worry, Jet has had a haircut as well.

In just over 2 weeks of being home, Benj was 7lbs and not so preemie size anymore. I still wasn't supposed to take him out too much, but that was fine with me because it gave me an excuse to not shower or put on make-up and stay in sweats all day. Unfortunately I can't seem to break that habit now and it's been months, except I do go out in public. Poor husband.

The king at 13 weeks. He obviously doesn't miss a meal.

So there ya have it. "This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long...!
I love him so much!