The Bad Mommy

I work only to pay for his therapy later.

Location: Novato, California, United States

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Answers to Reader Questions

My friend The Queen asks:

So it begs the ultimate question, if a cat throws up under a bed, does
it make that horrible hacking sound? And if so, do you really have to clean it
up? And finally, how can I train my cats to throw up under the bed, instead
of right in the middle of where I walk every single day only to have me STEP
in it!!!! (ok, so that was 3 ultimate questions.)
1. Yes, gentle reader, when the cat pukes under the bed, I do hear that horrible hacking sound. But only at 3 am when I am sound asleep and can't wake up and place the sound until it's far too late to grab the cat and toss her outside.

2. No, I am not required to clean it up. Since the spouse has proven himself quite capable of sleeping through two full years of the wonder baby waking up at least once every night, he can certainly sleep through a little cat hacking. I go back to sleep. By the time I wake up in the morning, it is all simply a bad dream. And really, we won't be moving the bed till we get ready to buy new carpet or move out of the house. Either way, why waste precious knitting time cleaning some place that nobody but the cat ever goes anyway?

3. No, you can't train the cats to puke in the place of your choice. You have forgotten the key element of the cat/human relationship: Your CAT is training YOU. Be honest: Haven't you become more careful about where you step?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Round Two

So I gave Maggie her antibiotics last night but this time I didn't give her any food afterwards. She kind of gagged for a minute and M said "Is she going to throw up?" I said "probably" and went on about my business.

He "suggested" that I go after her but I decided that if she walked into the back of the house and I didn't SEE (or hear) her throw up then it wouldn't be an issue.

Besides, in that part of the house, the cats only throw up under our beds.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Stop Me Before I Write to Ask for the Pattern...

From the Sydney Morning Herald, April 7, 2006 edition:

Knitters Save Endangered Penguins' Lives

A worldwide army of little old ladies has found some far more appreciative recipients than grandchildren for their handknitted woollen jumpers.
Their loving efforts to help sick little penguins off the southern coast of Australia have given new meaning to the term penguin suit.
About 26,000 little, or fairy, penguins - which at up to 33cm tall are the world's smallest penguin species - make their home on and around Philip Island Nature Park, a major tourist attraction about 80km south-east of Melbourne.
Each evening at sunset, up to 2,000 penguins swim ashore at Summerland Beach and waddle up to their sand-dune burrows, delighting more than half a million visitors each year.
But every month, nature park volunteers find one or two penguins covered in oil.
And occasionally a major spill leaves hundreds in peril.
A German shipping company was last year fined more than $1 million for a 2003 spill at Philip Island that covered 12km of the coast, coating 24 penguins and killing three.
It was the latest of about half a dozen significant spills to have plagued the area in the last decade, including one in December 2001 that coated 360 penguins and another in 2000 that affected more than 200 and killed 12.
It's at these times that the grey army's knitting skills come in handy.
Usually the little penguins' dark blue waterproof feathers keep their skin absolutely dry and able to cope with the bitterly cold water of Bass Strait.
But the oil - as well as its removal process - interferes with their natural insulation, and the penguins, who swim straight to shore after encountering a spill, are usually cold, hungry and highly distressed when they are found, program coordinator Lyn Blom said.
Despite the volunteers' best efforts, until a few years ago casualties were high.
But that changed in 1999 when the nature park put out a call for knitters to turn their attention from snowflake sweaters and tea cozies to penguin jumpers.
The doll size, tight-fitting 100 per cent wool sweaters keep the penguins warm during the rehabilitation process and stop them preening and ingesting the poisonous oil, and lifts their survival rate to about 98 per cent.
Getting the jumpers on can be a struggle as the one kilogram animals are more feisty than they look, Ms Blom said.
"They look small and cute, but they have small person syndrome and they can be nasty," she said.
"They peck and they fight. You have to be pretty strong to survive in the ocean, they have to be pretty savvy and look after themselves and they do."
Distressed penguins might not care about the latest vogue colours, but that doesn't stop Ms Blom's troop of committed volunteers - mostly ladies in their "autumn years" with plenty of spare time - letting their creativity swim free.
The knitters continually push the fashion envelope with matching bride and groom outfits, AFL teams, and, from one elderly English woman, "the whole Manchester United soccer team".
Ornate jumpers with accessories the penguins might catch their bills on are used to dress stuffed penguin toys and are sold in the gift shop to raise money for the penguin rehabilitation centre.
Jumpers arrive in packages from all over the world, but the needles fly fastest in Canada and the United Kingdom, with United States and Norway also proficient pullover producers, Ms Blom said.
East Ballina local Theresa Robertson recently added about 15 of the "fancy" variety to Ms Blom's collection.
"I did a Balmain black and gold jumper, because I'm a Balmain rugby league fan," she said.
"I did all the clubs in Sydney, like the Penrith and North Sydney clubs. My husband told me the colours. They turned out really nice."
"I thought it would be nice to see all those penguins in all those little club jumpers, them running around in the football club colours."
The retiree and experienced knitter made one jumper a night sitting in front of the television. Each takes about four hours.
But the most prolific donor is a woman from Port Augusta, who has knitted 10 jumpers every fortnight - 260 a year - for the past three years, while members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Coffs Harbour recently passed the 1,600 mark.
And after the BBC put out a request for penguin jumpers, Ms Blom said she picked up three whole bails from customs.
"People really get into it," she said.
"Lots of lovely old ladies love it when people ask them what they are knitting, and they say `it's a jumper for a penguin'.
"Once the word goes out, you get plenty of helpers. The knitting needles started and they've never stopped."
© 2006 AAP

Monday, April 24, 2006

Oh the Humanity

Our middle cat, Maggie, has been suffering from kidney problems for about a year and a half. We have an IV bag in the bathroom with her name on it and as frequently as we can stand to torture her, we give her subcutaneous fluids to help keep her health(ier). It pisses her off, but it does work.

I took her in to the vet for her annual checkup a couple of weeks ago and she had gained back one of the pounds she had lost the year before (she's almost 7 lbs now, compared to almost 9 lbs at her healthiest). It was also clear that she really needs to have her teeth cleaned. A little bit tricky for a cat with kidney problems. So the vet ran $180 worth of lab tests to make sure could handle the anesthesia and then called to schedule the teeth cleaning appointment - which will probably run another $200. On top of which, he said to give her antibiotics for three days prior to the cleaning.

Her appointment is Thursday, so tonight was the first night for the antibiotics. The Tech at the vet's office suggested refrigerating the medicine so that it would taste less bitter. I put a very small amount of very cold medicine on my tongue tonight and couldn't get rid of the taste fast enough. (Yes, I know the package says "for veterinary use only" but I HAD to know.) I don't even want to think about what it would taste like warm.

So I lure Maggie into the kitchen, pry her mouth open (she may be sick but she's not stupid) and squirt the vile antibiotic down her throat. She makes the same gagging noises I did and gives me the look that says "I can't BELIEVE you did that to me. I'm the NICE cat. Why not do it to Max? At least he's done 50 things to deserve it."

The guilt! On the spot, I open a can of the good cat food and spoon some into a bowl for her. Anything to get rid of that awful taste. She has a couple of bites and then goes to sit in front of the heater.

Ten minutes later, I hear her coughing and look over just as she pukes. On the new carpet. Under a table in a hard to reach spot.

So here's my dilemma: Do you suppose she got ANY of the antibiotic into her system in that ten minutes? Should I try giving her another dose? Will that just cause her to puke again? How important is it anyway for her to have three days of antibiotics before the dental work? Is it more harmful to miss the antibiotics or keep puking?

The horror. The horror.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

My 15 Minutes of Fame

The Marin IJ ran a nice article on knitting groups in general and Marin Fiber Arts' Knit Night in particular and yours truly got her photo in the paper. This link is only good for a couple of weeks but in the meantime, I snagged a copy of the photo!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Happy Birthday

Nine years ago yesterday, M and I got up early and, along with my parents, drove to Marin General. We arrived as a couple and four days later we went home as parents. As trite as it sounds, it all seems like it was yesterday. And yet 9 years from now C will be a senior in high school with one foot out the door on his way to college.

Even with all the normal ups and downs and in spite of frequently feeling inept as a parent, I've got to say that parenting is the best job I've ever had and is certainly the most rewarding. C makes me laugh really hard at least once every day and sometimes makes me cry (but in a good way). He's a great (not so) little kid and we are the luckiest parents in the world. On a good day, we even remember to tell him that.

Here's to the next 9 fabulous years - Happy Birthday C!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Some Finished Objects

A few of the knitted items I've been working on recently.

Baby booties - I'm obsessed.

The ones on the left are in Lorna's Laces superwash merino sport weight.

The ones on the right are Lorna's Laces Angel (angora/merino).

Great little pattern I picked up at Stitches West.

I need to get a lighter shot of these. It's a little hard to tell from this that they're not a pair!

The top sock is Socks That Rock in the Fire on the Mountain colorway.

The sock on the bottom is Cherry Tree Hill. I can't remember the colorway at the moment.

This photo was taken awhile ago. In real life, the top pair got finished yesterday (!). The bottom sock is still a singleton, but the mate has at least been started and is a couple of inches along.

I need to talk M into taking more photos of finished objects so that I can post them!

You Be The Judge

Finally following up with that photo of Mad Max that I promised some time ago. You be the judge: Run in with another cat or victim of a facelift gone bad?

Hurricane L

Having our friend L with us has been a reminder of what age 3 is like.

C: "Mom, I think that if you hooked wires up to him, he'd generate electricity."

L doesn't just wake up in the morning. He WAKES UP. There is no transition time. He's either asleep or he's awake. He comes out of the bedroom smiling from ear to ear and then RUNS all over the house a couple of times just to see if anything has changed since the night before. Then he takes his vitamin (like he needs one) and brushes his teeth, all the while providing commentary on which teeth he's brushing (advice: stand back a couple of feet). Then he runs down the hall to the bedroom where M and C are still lying around, bleary eyed, and jumps up onto the bed with them saying "Come on, let's go, let's GO." Then he jumps down onto the floor to do his "hiccups." (He can do several in a row- it's pretty impressive. If I tried to do one pushup at these days it would probably land me in the hospital.)

At this point, I had to leave for work. C looked up, moderately alarmed. "You're LEAVING?" I think school looks better to him than ever before.

Monday, April 17, 2006

We're Grandparents!

M's daughter, N, and her husband, R, had their first child, a girl, Saturday morning. After 13 hours of labor and after reaching full dilation, poor N had to undergo a c-section when A insisted in trying to exit sideways. Everybody is fine, although N is understandably pooped. She did a great job though:

And here's the proud papa:

Awesome, huh? Don't they do nice work?

This grandparent business is really cool. All the benefits and all of the sleep, too! Everybody's really excited. C thinks this uncle business is pretty cool too:

Notice the little knitted hat. This grandmother thinks that knitting baby stuff is great - pretty much instant gratification and even if it's a little big you KNOW the kid is going to grow into it.

One Lump or Two?

Our three-year-old friend L is staying with us for a few days. He normally lives with his cousin (M's daughter) and her husband but since they just had a baby (!),

he's staying with us for a few days. We put him in with C last night. They were very sweetly cuddled up when we went to bed around 11. At around 3 am, C came in and got into our bed. This morning when we got up, I asked "What happened? Did L get a little wiggly last night?"

"No, Mom. It was just like there were two big LUMPS in my bed."

Me: "L and what else?"

C: "No, Mom. It was L's head and L's butt."


Want to see some more photos of the new grandbaby? Here they are anyway!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Short Term Memory Loss

I MEANT to write about this last week.

It's late. It's a school night. C has finally gone off to bed when I hear the pitter patter of size 5 feet in the kitchen.

Me: What are you doing up?

C, as he comes into the family room and sits down with a bottle of water: Hydrating.

Really, you'd think I'd be used to these kinds of utterances but I still find myself at a loss for words.

How Do I Love Thee?

C and I have an agreement. When we go to the fabulous Dr. Insomnia's, after he has something reasonably healthy he can have a small serving of the new gelato they're now serving.

We were there Wednesday morning and he chose a pumpkin muffin and a glass of milk. Given a choice of non-fat or whole milk, he chose non-fat. The Bad Mommy was a Happy Mommy. Afterwards, he had a small cup of mango sorbet. He had had the chocolate gelato last time so I asked him which one he liked better.

"Mom, you know how you always say you love Dad and me the same amount but in different ways? That's how it is with chocolate and mango."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Which One of Us is the Bad Parent?

M took C on a cub scout overnight on the USS Hornet a couple of weekends ago. A fabulous time was had by all - especially me, who had the house to myself for 24 hours and enjoyed dinner out with some of the other moms whose kids and spouses were spending the night on a steel boat on the bay on a windy night.

One of the events M and C attended while shipboard was the telling of ghost stories about the Hornet. No big deal at the time, but our normally very grounded and pragmatic child has been having a little trouble going to sleep ever since, particularly when he's been overly tired.

Things were exacerbated Sunday night when he was also dealing with the switch to daylight savings time, and having fallen asleep in the car for about 45 minutes that afternoon. After over an hour of trying to go to sleep without success (and now in tears) he came into the kitchen to ask for help.

I was ready to give him some children's Nyquil, which always conks him out pretty well, but M vetoed the idea. Instead, I grabbed my bottle of B-12 tablets and handed him one, saying that I always found that they made me a little sleepy (a complete fabrication, I confess) and that maybe they'd help him fall asleep too. He popped it in his mouth and was asleep in ten minutes.

Last night he came back out five minutes after going to bed, having totally freaked himself out again about those stories ("They took place somewhere were I actually WAS"). I didn't even hesitate this time. Handed him a pill and walked him back to bed. Five minutes later, he was fast asleep. His only question: "These aren't prescription are they?"

You can't OD on B-12, can you?

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