Monday, August 24, 2009

Earrings and a new puppy

So two big things have happened in the past few weeks. First, Chunks-a-lot got her ears pierced!! Although she had absolutely no idea what it meant to have her ears pierced, she just beamed at the idea of having "earrings just like mommy's"! I was a little apprehensive as I held her in my lap in the "ear-piercing chair" at a Claire's store in our local mall, but I knew she would be delighted at the final product. We picked out some cute pink, flowered earrings and away the lady went with her ear-piercing gun. The whole situation lasted less than a minute and Chunks started crying immediately, but the moment we handed her a mirror and she saw those sparkling earrings in her ears, the tears just melted. She was so proud of herself and showed off her new earrings to anyone that looked her way!

Although it was exciting just for the fact that it was a little milestone in her life as a girl, it was also exciting for a different reason. Just the fact that her immune system was strong enough for us to even consider this was enough to delight my soul. A few months ago, ear piercing would have been out of the question as it would have put her at risk for developing an infection which could have landed her in the hospital. Unfortunately, when you are on chemotherapy, life just doesn't get to be normal. And as silly as it might seem to be overjoyed at something as simple as pierced ears, it's just another wonderful thing she gets to experience in her newly-normal childhood!

Our second big thing that has happened recently is we got a brand new, baby puppy. My mom and I have been tossing around the idea of getting a puppy for awhile, but never seriously pursued it. I mean, you've got the potty training, the crying at night, the chewing on everything, all of the stuff that can drive you crazy with a new little pup. Not to mention that I am currently "life-training" a toddler which entails many of the same lessons, potty training, crying at night.... maybe not so much the chewing thing. Well, blame it on puppy-fever but at some point we changed our minds and just randomly decided that we were ready. My husband didn't really seem too bothered by our decision because my mom and I had already decided that we would share the responsibility of the dog. That way, neither one of us would get too overwhelmed with the day-to-day care of a new puppy. So last week we got a 6 week old little girl and named her Bella. She only weighs a pound and a half and is probably the smallest dog I have ever laid hands on. Talks-a-lot loves her because she will snuggle up in his lap but also loves to pounce on her toys which absolutely brings him to tears with laughter. Chunks-a-lot, on the other hand, started off adoring her but has now decided that she is scared. It all started the first time tiny little Bella discovered Chunks-a-lot's tiny little toes. Then she discovered that biting them was just as enjoyable as looking at them. This led Chunks to believe that Bella, her adored puppy-friend, was going to actually eat her. So constantly throughout the day I am having to remind my little Chunk that she will not get eaten by a one pound puppy.....I've yet to convince her.

But again, as exciting as it is to have a little puppy in our house again, I'm just overjoyed that we are at a place in our lives where this can be possible. No fear of germs, no fear of sickness, just enjoying the simplest things that I used to so often take for granted. And at the end of the day as I look at my beautiful daughter, earrings in her ears, running from her toe-eating puppy, it brings tears to my eyes as I watch her finally enjoying her childhood for what it is....for what it always should have been. They might just be earrings and a new puppy, but they're such a reminder of the beautiful miracle of life that God has blessed us with.

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Daddy Dizzle"

**Disclaimer--this post is in no way, shape or form meant to poke fun at any culture, race, ethnic group or any other group of people whatsoever. I do not judge or look down on any person or person(s) who might choose to use the following "lingo" as a part of their everyday vocabulary. Also, this post is quite full of "quotation" marks...***

Okay, I've admitted it before, I am not always the best parent. And it's not for the reasons that you might think, I say this because I sometimes find myself giggling at things I shouldn't.

A little history first, I often poke fun at my mother.....can you believe it?! I find it quite entertaining to introduce new phrases to her and get her to repeat them. They always involve some sort of "street lingo" or slang that requires a certain air of roughness to pull off. For instance, the word "holler" which actually sounds quite southern, has now become "Holla" in some social circles. My mom (also known in this blog by the name Chocolat) had quite a hard time throwing down a good "holla" and it became a big joke. Talks-a-lot happened to be present the first time I got Chocolat to say "holla" and he found it so hilarious that he would shout it out quite often. Sometimes not at the best moments. I also introduced a variety of other phrases which include but are not limited to, "true dat" and "most def". Now, let me be sure to say that I actually do not use these words/phrases on a daily basis as part of my vocabulary but what I have found is that when little ears are listening, things get repeated. So as Chunks-a-lot has come along and gotten a bit older, she has decided to participate in these fun times.
Recently, Chocolat and I were discussing the trend of adding "izzle" on to the end of different words. Like, "for rizzle, "down at my hizzle", "for shizzle", "you're the bomb bizzle". I got Chocolat to say a few of these choice phrases and the kids found it very did I. Now my husband, Lips, does not always find this stuff amusing as this type of jargon makes no sense to him. And, understandably so, he sometimes gets onto me when he hears Talks-a-lot walking around yelling out, "Holla, true dat!". So knowing this, we put the kids up to something. We told them to greet daddy that next day with a "Yo, yo, yo Daddy Dizzle, you're the bomb bizzle!". The next day as he hugged both of the kids, they let it lose on him. Of course, Lips gave me the "eye" but smiled and giggled with the children as they "izzled" him to death. Unfortunately, this "izzle" business has continued and seems to be worsening. And I am sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I turn red with laughter each time I hear it. The icing on the cake? Little Chunks-a-lot in all her chubby glory has now started frequently calling her daddy, "daddy dizzle". And as much as he would love to shake his head at me in disappointment, who could really resist giggling at something like this:

Friday, August 7, 2009

The terrible somethings..

Sometimes as I rock my little Chunks-a-lot to sleep, I rest my hand on her hand, gently running my fingers through her hair as her eyes become heavy. As weird as it might sound, I often think about how there is something inside of her head; this tumor, this malignant mass of cells and it almost makes me nauseous just thinking about it. It drives me crazy to know that this tumor is just sitting in there, invading her precious little brain and I can't do anything about it. I can't see it, feel it or control it, yet I have to live with the fact that it could actually take her life. It really drives me crazy.

A few weeks ago, our little Chunky Monkey started displaying a change in personality. She became irritable, angry, had emotional meltdowns at the slightest provocation and we were concerned to say the least. We have been told countless times by her doctors to be on the look-out for any type of behavior or personality changes, as this could indicate tumor growth. The days seemed long and stressful as we tried to deal with her behavior and seemed to get nowhere. I felt torn as a mother. I know the correct way to discipline a child and I understand how important it is to implement strong rules and boundaries from a very young age, but how could I be firm with her when there is this awful chance that her behavior was completely out of her control? I went day to day, back and forth with my emotions, never really knowing how to respond to her outbursts and feeling a constant mix of frustration and compassion for her. Fortunately, she had an already scheduled MRI scan at St. Jude's set up for August 6th. I was somewhat relieved to know that at least by then I would have some answers as to what was going on with these changes we saw in her.

It's interesting how much lighter I felt when we got the results back from her MRI scan. My level of stress and frustration went from a 10 to a zero. She was fine, the tumor was stable, nothing had changed. I have never been more excited to admit that my little Chunk is going through the terrible two's!!! I kind of wondered if that's what was going on with her sudden "behavioral changes" but we just couldn't be sure. Now that I know she is only acting out for the simple fact that she is a toddler, it has become much easier to handle. I never thought I would look forward to dealing with these hard years again, especially after Talks-a-lot really put us through the ringer during his toddler years. But I find myself embracing these difficult days because they are absolutely and perfectly normal! Even today as she fell into one meltdown after another, I found myself smiling just a little bit each time. Not because it was funny, because (trust me) it wasn't, but because she is being the little 2 year old that she is supposed to be. She's mischievous, a little sneaky, emotional and opinionated and I love every bit of it. As long as she is healthy and that monster of a tumor within her stays asleep, then I can handle the rest. She may really put us through it some days but I'll still go to sleep each night with a smile on my face. Not because the day was easy, not because her attitude was pleasant, but simply because, in my opinion, everyday that is normal is nothing short of a miracle.