Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mmmm...Daddy

Penelope is in a snooky mood today, but just now, she did something really cute. I have my phone's sound on (which is unusual) in case anybody from the doctor's office calls. Whenever I get a text message or chat, Homer Simpson's voice says, "Mmmm...text."

A few minutes ago, it was a message from Derrick, saying he was on the way home from his meeting. "Daaaaaddeeee!" Penelope said happily pointing to his picture.

Then when I was changing her, he walked through the door. Penelope looked up from the changing pad and said to him in this weird, Homer Simpson voice, "TEXXXXXT!"

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rambling

Well, I just had a soft tissue scan of my neck. I'm also having some blood work done. Hopefully, by Friday morning at the latest, we should have a clearer idea of what's going on. I hope I don't have cancer or some other horrible thing. I'm trying not to dwell on it, but it seems very weird to me. The experience was fairly painless, although the dye IV does make you feel like you're peeing your pants--but I sort of enjoy that kind of thing. Just kidding.

Sorry, I'm in a weird mood. I want to blog more, but a horse is attacking me. (The horse needs its diaper changed, but it is firm in its denials.)

In the car today, Penelope went berserk. She wanted to stay and walk outside in front of the doctor's office (as she and Daddy had been doing).

Daddy said, "I think somebody needs a nap."

"NO!" yelled Penelope.

"Does Mommy need a nap?" he asked.

"NO!"

"Does Daddy need a nap?"

Penelope smiled wickedly.

"Oh, Daddy does need a nap? Is Daddy in a bad mood? Does he need a nap to make him nicer?"

"Uh huh," said Penelope.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sigh

Reading over my last post, I notice two things:

1) I nearly always forget the question mark when hurriedly typing a rhetorical question.
2) I sound insane. I can't help wondering how long it will be before everyone stops caring, and I'm left alone with all my crises. I just feel so frightened and confused. I can't trust anyone or any thought. I feel done. But the day disagrees.

A Terrible Day

I am terrified, depressed, discouraged, unsettled--you name it. I couldn't even keep it together during today's appointment with the physical therapist.

He says it's not my neck, but my throat feels swollen to him.

Now there is a huge red spot in my eye. Maybe the little vibrating probe things he put on my neck broke a blood vessel.

I am so scared. I really have no words. What else can cause that type of pain for months and months? The medical doctors say it is in my neck, and the physical therapist (who was very thorough and calm) says it is in my throat.

I may have an allergy to Advil, explaining why my sore throat/neck/ear turned into severe pain and nausea when I moved my head and neck, and why the skin is peeling off my face. I asked the doctor initially--when he told me to take four three times a day--if I could be allergic to Advil. I mentioned the suspicion that it was making the roof of my mouth sore and raw. He said an allergy wouldn't manifest in that way. I still am suspicious, though, and the flaking red skin, sore neck, and headache are all symptoms of ibuprofen overdose.

I'm terrified I'm going to die. I have an appointment tomorrow with the MD again, and maybe he will order some tests, but I am really deeply frightened and on the verge of totally falling apart. I don't want to die. We'll have to take Penelope with us tomorrow because Mom and Dad will be in Dallas. I don't want her to get sick. I made her a flu shot appointment today. I need Derrick to be there because I have so many issues I want to address.

The whole thing is becoming overwhelming to me. I am deeply afraid. When I googled my symptoms before, two kinds of hits came up--that muscle and throat cancer. Reflecting, I don't see how I can't be allergic to Advil. I haven't taken any since Saturday. On the days when I was taking it, my neck was so fragile that if you touched it, there was immediately pain.

If it were all in my mind, shouldn't the pain go away. But it is very specific and in a place where no one can see because of my tonsil. I can't describe the horror I felt when the physical therapist said that it wasn't my muscles. We were so sure about this last thing. It fit all the symptoms--every one--and I developed the symptoms months before discovering the diagnosis, so it couldn't have been my mind playing tricks on me. I thought this time for sure we'd discovered the problem.

I feel really scared and desperate, and I don't know how I'm going to keep it together until I get some answers. I'm at Mom's house now, but she and Dad will be gone tomorrow and Thursday. Derrick's very busy at work. I feel really overwhelmed. Everyone keeps telling me how unlikely it is that I have throat cancer. Maybe it's some kind of weird ulcer.

I wish they would just wrap me up in bandages like a mummy and then put me in a sarcophagus where no daylight can bother me. Am I stealing that notion from Sylvia Plath? I just want to be encased in something that prevents all this hysterical stream of me from leaking out everywhere and swirling away into an endless vortex of tears. My ideas, it seems, were clearer when I was stealing them from Sylvia Plath. At any rate, I feel terrified, discouraged, and uneasy. All I want to do is cry. I wish I could have an MRI and several blood tests right now and get some answers.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Baby Donald Says Quack

video

Penelope Sings

video

Not Relaxing

Derrick had a really stressful day at work and then tried to fix our hard drive and couldn't. I've been in lots of pain. On the way home, everyone was driving like an idiot. We were excited to get home and relax and watch the Bears/Packers game while we dvred The Event. But as soon as we got home, our Direct TV was all weird, showing the wrong names for shows and not having any picture. Derrick called the help line. Meanwhile, Penelope found a Coke bottle and carried it into the kitchen. I had a horrible premonition that she was going to be in the ER with horrible cuts, so I tried to sneak over to take it from her without arousing her suspicions. Suddenly, she dropped the bottle and it shattered everywhere. I've been picking her up as little as possible, but I had to pick her up then. Glass dust was all over her feet. When I got a wet paper towel to wipe them, it came up full of blood! I was horrified, but the glass dust had gotten on my hands, and the blood was mine. I couldn't seem to get rid of the dust, which was sticking to both of us. Then she pooped a lot. So this didn't immediately turn into the relaxing evening we'd been hoping for. We fed ducks with Grandma again today, and tomorrow I go to physical therapy for the first time. I'm really nervous. The pain has been getting a bit less and now only hurts in the ear/throat/neck place. I'm scared what they do in physical therapy will make my whole head hurt again every time I move.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tigger!






Yesterday, Daddy and I went to see The Town while Grandma and Grandpa watched Penelope. I'd been dying to see it, and now that I've seen it, I'm dying to see Hereafter. I'm also dying for this headache to end. I hope I don't have a broken neck or brain bleeding or something. Derrick assures me that it's just that muscle. I see the physical therapist on Tuesday afternoon. Hopefully, my head won't fall off before then. The headache has gotten worse and worse and worse and worse and worse. Nothing helps.

Anyway, we loved the movie. Then we came home expecting to find Penelope, but instead, we were greeted by Tigger. Penelope loved the costume Grandma and Grandpa had picked up for her. I took several cute pictures of her, until she wandered into the hallway, grabbed her crotch, and exclaimed, "Pee pee!" Apparently, she'd taken it upon herself to pull her diaper off, so it was loose inside her bunchy costume, and she was soaking wet.

We had a nice afternoon with my parents. While Penelope hug-a-bugged, we watched The Spiral Staircase, and then we all had football stew and banana cream pie, courtesy of Mom.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

wow

I'm trying to upload these adorable videos of Penelope, but Facebook is being weird. Meanwhile, Derrick came down and helped me try to ease the eye pain by helping me do the stretches. That is definitely the issue, the stretch made the right side of my neck and head hurt unbearably, and now I think I might throw up--although it did get rid of the eye pain, though that may be coming back.


My stupidity continues

Yesterday after our walk with Grandma, I was in so much pain that I tried to do one of the stretches I found on a website. My neck did stop hurting on the right, but I immediately got a stabbing pain around my eye on the left side of my face. (The pain on the right side did fade for several hours, though.) I'm freaked out about this because it reminds me of the first time my eye hurt on the right, and gradually gave way to face pain and numbness. I'm frustrated and upset. The whole time I've been telling people about my fall and every doctor has told me that the other issues have nothing to do with that. Really?

I went kind of berserk last night and wound up crying face down on Penelope's butterfly. She was very eager to comfort me and tried all of the games we play to cheer me up. Then upstairs, she found her little rubber duck and a big jar of Tums. She kept saying, "Oh no! Duck. Sick. Meshun!"

We forgot her shoes over at Grandma's house, so we've been playing inside today. I took a pretty cute video of her trying to revive a "kick ick" by casting a spell on it. She's been wanting to put her witch hat on Minnie.

Now we're watching Alice and eating broccoli.

"Our broccoli is almost ready, Best Friend," I told her excitedly--only to discover to my great shock that she was already sitting on the couch stuffing fistfuls of broccoli into her mouth. Apparently, she'd stolen it from the plate of broccoli cooling in the center of the table. She's so tall!

Derrick just got home from his lunch meeting and told us good bye as he went upstairs to his office. Penelope didn't look away from the TV, but she said, "Bye bye! Mwaaaa!" and blew a big kiss.
She's a cutie.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sternocleidomastoid??

Not sure what to do. I haven't taken any Advil since Sunday night, but I'm in so much pain right now. Interestingly, since I stopped taking Advil, my nose stopped running. Is that because it's more inflamed and the snot can't get out? But that seems odd because it's open and clear on both sides. My face hurts so unbearably, and it's even turning into a headache now.

Maybe I'm just insane. I've had to lift Penelope a lot today--in and out of the stroller, high chair (that kills me) and bath tub. I think it was actually the high chair that caused the problems. I was reasonably okay this morning, but I've been in lots of pain since after lunch. Of course, I also ate--which always causes problems.

Here's the webpage I found: http://www.round-earth.com/SCM.html.

I think I have injured my sternocleidomastoid. But what's weird is these symptoms are so exactly like mine and also match what happened. I mean, it all started a few weeks after I fell and had a concussion. My head bounced, so presumably, I hurt my neck. I don't understand why the description is so apt and I was able to find it online, but no doctor has ever suggested it.

I also don't get what's up with me and Advil. Maybe I should take Tylenol. I guess I need to call the physical therapist. I feel awful. It wasn't so bad this morning, but the headache has become quite unbearable. It's a weird headache. It only hurts on the right side like everything else.

Turtle

I wish I'd gotten some video of Penelope and my turtle. I have a little turtle I got from the Natural History Museum in Washington D.C. I think that's the right museum--the one with the Hope Diamond. He was so cute. She found him this morning, and I couldn't seem to get him away from her. She kept running around saying, "Turtle! Turtle! Nap! Nap! Cute! Heavy." She was very happy.

After our walk, she found him again and broke one of his legs somehow. She came running up to me. "Oh no! Turtle! Broke! Fick! Mama fick!"

"I can't fix him, Best Friend," I said. "Daddy will have to glue him."

I put him in the kitchen drawer, but she saw me and opened it and got him again. She's so tall! Now he's in the spice cabinet. Hopefully those little ants won't eat him. Penelope lamented his loss very theatrically (as she does everything) for several minutes.

More Fun with Mommy and Penelope

Last night, I Googled my symptoms and found that they correspond perfectly to a muscle injury caused by whiplash and aggravated by poor posture--i.e. sitting with the head tilted to one side in front of a computer (or in my case using the phone while Penelope naps in my lap). I showed Derrick. He was amazed. It causes like every symptom I'm experiencing. I forgot which muscles they were now. I'll have to find the page again because my computer crashed. I am using a different browser since I was informed that uploading a one minute video to facebook would take an estimated time of "infinity remaining/infinity." That didn't seem promising.

Meanwhile Penelope and I have had a delightful day. We woke up, cleaned out her stroller, and took a walk down to the park where I let her get out and run around for the first time. Then we came home, had "roni" for lunch while we watched "Himmy." Now we are watching "Aaaaheeece" in Wonderland and uploading videos of the "baby." And one of us is "BURP"ing a lot for some reason.

Penelope seems to have developed a post-traumatic stress type reaction to the duck biting video, so we've stopped watching that one. She started sobbing last night, and I kept reminding her that it had not hurt at the time. She responded with an impassioned reinactment of what had happened. She kept screaming, "HONK," millions of times, then clutching her finger and sobbing pathetically. So we're not watching that video any more.

Currently the burp machine wants some milk. She's calling it. It sounds like she's hog calling, the way she's making "mi-ilk" into two syllables and going up at the end. Since she's started saying second syllables, she's made many one syllable words into two, too. She now often says "pinkie" and "milky," and, the weirdest, "NO-ah," instead of "no."

She accused me of being a "witch" while I was making lunch because the macaroni started boiling over. Then after eating, she began to bang her high chair tray with her spoon.

"Are you done?" I asked her.

"No-ah," said Penelope.

"When will you be done?"

Penelope quickly dumped out all her macaroni and put the bowl on her head like a hat. She threw out her hands with a showy flourish and said, "DA!"

"Penelope!" I said.

"Funny!" she reminded me with a grin. Then she took the bowl off her head and said, "Done."

Monday, September 20, 2010

so angry

I'm frustrated. I don't know how it happens. I even bring Derrick to appointments and it still happens. I mean, I have ear/throat pain only on the right when I eat. This leads to soreness, popping, and numbness. About five minutes after I stop eating the pain moves from the throat and ear to the surrounding neck. Why does that happen? The ENT says its because the Eustachian tube is still recovering from the sinus surgery. But I had the surgery in July, and the pain in the throat and ear started right before we went to Disneyland the first week of June.

Chex Mix

Eating Chex mix with Penelope is so funny. I always tell her, "Help yourself, Pooh," because she always does anyway. She's like Helen Keller. She pretty much hogs it all, except the M&Ms. Yesterday, she'd get so excited and yell, "MM! MM!" But invariably when she picked it up, she'd sigh, deem it, "old," and reject it. I guess the M&Ms look fishy to her because they've been cooked in the oven.

Since I'm not sure if it's Advil or Chex Mix, I've not had either today, but I was eating plain Crispex and candy corn just now (a balanced breakfast). Penelope accidentally stretched out her foot and kicked the plate over onto the floor.

"Why did you do that?" I wailed.

"Aksh!" Penelope pleaded.

"Oh, it was an accident?"

"Oh, sorry!" said Penelope, and I felt like a huge jerk.

She climbed off my lap, said, "A mess," and started to pick up the spilled cereal. I joined her. (She's not really as helpful as she intends to be, but it was a sweet gesture.)

Last night at bedtime, I realized that I'd left an old glass of tea on the bedside table, so I put it up on top of the highest bookcase where Penelope couldn't possibly spill it--unless of course, she shakes the bookcase, which will probably happen.

The glass was the first thing she noticed when she woke up this morning. "Tea!" she yelled, pointing up at the bookcase.

"Yes, I know," I told her. "Mommy put her tea on top of the bookcase."

Penelope grinned and said, "Crazy!"

Complaints

I am so frustrated and upset and discouraged there are just no words. I'm furious. It's been a pretty good day, except I guess I'm getting a cold again because my nose has been stuffy and runny all day. That's infuriating. I know you get more colds when you have a little kid, but I think you should get more than 2-3 days between them, which is all I ever get. Plus, Penelope is never sick. It all seems very suspicious to me.

All I do is make the wrong decisions. I was so exhausted tonight. I fell asleep about eleven, I think. Then around 1:30 or 2:00, I woke up in the most extreme and horrible pain. It was all getting worked into a dream about who to start in fantasy football as I rolled around on the bed changing positions.

It was this stabbing, excruciating pain in my back, plus reflux, and nausea. I went to the bathroom which did not help much. I woke Derrick because I was so freaked out and thought my kidneys were exploding. I showed him where it hurt, but when he touched, the pain kept moving. We came to the conclusion that I'd been sleeping with my arm in a funny position and was having a muscle cramp in my shoulder. I'd only taken four Advil twice because I didn't want any more than that. I hadn't had any since 7:00 pm.

I wasn't going to take any more in case my kidneys were exploding, but when Derrick rubbed my back, the pain seemed to be actually in the right shoulder. We reasoned through it together. The Advil didn't bother me when I took it with dinner at 7:00 pm. Why would it be bothering my stomach now? It seemed to be muscle inflammation. Maybe the Chex mix I made this weekend and ate earlier was causing the reflux. I took two Tums and three Advil (because four is too many, but I was in really severe pain and couldn't lie down).

I tried. I'm just in so much pain, and when I lie down, I get so cold, like I'm freezing. Everything burns and my stomach and back hurt so much.

To review. When I went to the doctor I had pain off and on every day that appeared to be in different places in my neck on the right side. It got worse when I ate, and my ear popped and throat hurt. Once the throat pain and ear popping start, the pain gradually moved into the neck and stayed there. That has not changed. At the time, I sometimes had to cough because of drainage, though not often.

Now. For the past two nights, I have been unable to sleep, awakened by physical pain, nausea, reflux, stomach pain, back pain. My throat is now sore from reflux. My stomach aches unbearably. I spend all night in the bathroom or wishing I were dead, and I have a stuffy/runny nose. That's so frustrating, too, because it's not been runny like that for some time.

Also, I still have the neck pain.

I'm so glad I go to the doctor. It obviously helps so much. I'm even more irritated because I really need to sleep. This is the second night of disrupted sleep. At least last night I got 4-5 hours. Tonight is worse. I don't think I'll ever be able to go back to sleep. My stomach pain is unbearable and the back pain hasn't eased up. I should not have taken the Advil. Too late. Plus, I'm freezing, almost to the point of shivering. I feel like I'm going to die, which is melodramatic of me. I got up to write this just because I couldn't stand the agony of lying there any more.

I'm really frustrated.

On the plus side, my ankle doesn't hurt at all even though I've twisted it four times since Friday.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lions

Derrick said if the Steelers won, their defense would have to do it. I was pretty confident they could. Now I'm thinking they might win it without even a quarterback. They'll just snap it to Mike Tomlin, and he can hand it off. I'm becoming a huge Lions fan since having Jahvid Best (or Beast, as I affectionately call him) on my team.

Grayson has disappeared upstairs. He doesn't seem in the mood to read. Penelope was, though. She really wanted to read James and the Giant Peach based on the fact that there's a picture of a kitty on the first page, but before long we switched to Big Dog, Little Dog.

She keeps demanding to go "night night," but she really wants to go upstairs and play with Grayson. She calls upstairs "night night."

Reading


Derrick doubts the Steelers can beat the Titans without Ben.  We'll see.  Meanwhile, I'm excited to read to Grayson.  I'm giving him these options:

James and the Giant Peach

The Forgotten Door

The View from the Cherry Tree

All the Lovely Bad Ones

We'll see what he picks.

Frustrated Mommy and the Cute Children

I am so frustrated. I'm in excruciating pain, and if I don't go back to bed soon, I'll be exhausted all day because the sun will come up and I won't be able to sleep.

Taking four Advil three times a day is the most retarded treatment for anything. The only thing it seems to help is the ankle I keep twisting over and over again. Yesterday, I had horrible, excrutiating pain on the right side of the throat/neck in the usual place, despite all the Advil. Today, for a long part of the day, I had mild pain on the left side in the same place for some bizarre reason. And I've been getting more headacheas (which were not a problem before) since being on the Advil.

And now--I am having TERRIBLE reflux. That's never usually a problem. The last time I had reflux like this was the week before our Disney trip earlier this summer. At the time, I was taking three Advil three times a day for foot inflammation. That pain in the right side of my throat, between my tonsil and ear was excrutiating then and hurts like hell right now. So I guess I can expect that to continue for a week.

I have never heard anything as retarded as taking Advil when you're not in pain. I mean, I wasn't in any pain Thursday morning (the day I was calling yesterday above), and then I took four Advil, and an hour later, I started to have excrutiating pain that lasted all day!

I don't know what to do to get this reflux to go away. I came downstairs to eat a piece of bread (that's the only thing I could think of. I can't drink milk. I'm lactose intolerant). I"m so frustrated. My stomach hurts so much, and my back hurts. I probably drank too much decaffenated iced tea tonight, but I've been having so much problem with dehydration, leading to constipation (and what I thought might have been the start of a bladder infection). I guess that's not good for acid levels. The reflux keeps coming and coming. Twelve Advil a day is too much! And what good is it? If anything, it just makes things worse.

Plus, I really feel like there's a lesion in between my throat and ear--like maybe on the back of my tonsil. The ENT can never see my throat in the place where it hurts because every time he looks, he can't see around my tonsil. But perhaps it's like an ulcer caused by reflux.
But I seriously do not know what to do. I cannot make the reflux stop.

But that doesn't usually happen. Every time I have reflux I am definitely aware of it, so it's not like something that secretly happens all the time. Even in my sleep, I notice it.

I am so frustrated! Between reflux from Advil I have to take when I'm not in pain and all the drainage (which always gets worse when I take Advil, too--I think because it reduces the swelling in the sinuses), my poor throat/ear will never get better. And if taking an anti-inflammatory affects me in this way, my neck will never get better either.

The doctor asked if I had a problem taking Advil, like a sensitive stomach. Because of what happened in June, I thought I did, but Derrick said I didn't. I guess I need to decide these things for myself, but I was so distraught that week in June, that I thought perhaps I had wrongly attributed the stomach issues to the Advil.

Basically, I'm just going to have throat and neck pain on the right side for the rest of my life, no one is ever going to see anything wrong, and I'm never going to find a doctor I trust again. That's a major issue. Why don't I trust the doctors? But how can I help second guessing advice that gives me non-stop reflux and intestinal cramps. I feel like I can't win. I tried to stay hydrated and to eat enough today--now I have reflux. Previously I had insanely dry mouth (which also caused mouth and throat soreness) and constipation.

I'm just really frustrated. And also, I'm supposed to sleep on like no pillows. That's really great if you're having non-stop drainage and reflux.

I'm so happy otherwise. We've been having a great weekend. Grayson's been a lot of fun, and Penelope's been very cheerful (as usual), although she was heartbroken when she found a dead "kick ick" in the kitchen. She bent down, telling him, "Hop! Hop! Hop!" and touched him with her finger. He didn't move. I got suspicious, confirmed he was dead, and threw him away in a napkin. She became horribly distressed and sobbed and lamented the "kick ick!" I don't know if she thought she'd hurt him by touching him or if she thought I was punishing her for touching him by throwing him away. She was so sad. Throughout the evening, she'd sporadically stop whatever she was doing and wail, "Oh no, kick ick!" and then she'd go look for him in the spot where he'd been in the kitchen.

We took her new jumper off so she could eat cupcakes, and then she refused to put any clothes back on. At one point, she yelled, "Poop!" and ripped off her diaper (which was full of the same), and started to run. We were all horrified.

"You should get a video of this!" yelled Grayson in delight as Derrick caught her and held her up in this really weird position so her butt wasn't touching anything while I clumsily attempted to wipe her and reacted perhaps too hysterically when I seemed to be making things dirtier instead. It was gross, but he was right. That video would have been funny.

She wouldn't put a shirt on all night because Bubba took his shirt off. Then at bedtime, I finally convinced her to wear her Minnie Mouse shirt. She then surprised me by bringing me her "shores" too.

She was not in the best mood at the reunion. For one thing, they put us in a photo booth and took our picture, which she did NOT like. Then all she wanted to do was run in the opposite direction that we wanted her to go.

She'd been in a bad mood to begin with, possibly because she woke up earlier than usual. Then she didn't like her little dress. Then she wanted to wear my "purrs." She went on and on about them. They were "balls." They were "petty." But I didn't want her to choke. She got really mad at me, and I got really frustrated and asked, "Why are you crying?" and she gave me the look of death and screamed back like I was an idiot, "PURRS!"

She did, however, love the rubber duckie she got as a party gift, and Grayson enjoyed his grape snow cone.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

NICU Reunion
















"Cuckcates!"
















Raining in the Bathtub Pix












Raining in the Bathtub!

I was already dressed for the NICU reunion, so I gave Penelope a bath without bathing with her. Daddy helped, too. She's old enough now that she really can bathe alone, but I wish she wouldn't stand up so often, and I may continue bathing with her when Derrick's not here because it's easier to get her in and out of the tub that way. Derrick made it rain in the bath tub!

My ankle recovered from it's little twistiness very quickly, but just now while I was trying to wash blue icing of Penelope's face, I stepped backwards onto one of her wooden blocks with that foot, and it made it feel kind of messed up. There's not that much pain--yet, but it feels weird and kind of numb.

Meanwhile, we're watching Season 13 of The Simpsons. We missed out on the cupcakes at the reunion, so we picked up some on the way home since Grayson was really disappointed he didn't get one. Penelope's so funny. She calls her pink blanket "pinkie" and her yellow blanket "bankie." She's happily playing with the duckie she got at the NICU reunion.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Photographic Evidence

Well, now that my eyes have adjusted and are no longer blinded by the flash, I have learned one interesting thing from those pictures--there is pizza sauce all over my face.

Random Thoughts

I'm glad Grayson chose to watch Ponyo (even though I wanted to watch The Princess and the Frog which we haven't seen, and Derrick wanted to watch ID4 which Grayson hasn't seen). We watched this in shifts when Penelope was a baby, and I'm liking it much more this time. I may have been distracted before because there was a woman there with a baby in a dinosaur receiving blanket they use at the hospital. The baby was tiny and couldn't have been more than a couple of weeks old. Certainly it had no awareness of its surroundings. I was very irritated by that the whole time.

I'm so weird. I was worried my eye was turning red because it looked funny in the bathroom (but I think it's just the light in there). So I took a picture of it with my phone. But I can't see because I'm blinded by the flash. Half the pictures on my phone (literally) are of my eyes. That's about 300 pictures.

This movie is making me want to watch Howl's Moving Castle. Last night, Derrick and I watched Murder on the Orient Express in honor of Lauren Bacall's birthday. Tomorrow there's a NICU reunion from 11:00-2:00. Hopefully sleepy pants will allow us to make that. Penelope has been eating "MMs" as she calls them. Looks like she has a blue beard! These and other random thoughts brought to you by Sarah.

This morning, Penelope laughed out loud in her sleep. Then she reared up and started raising and lowering her arms, yelling, "Hip! Hip!" But suddenly, she blinked, seemed dazed, and then became horrified as reality hit her. "NO!" she wailed, flopping back down and shutting her eyes tight.

"Best friend?" I asked. "Are you ready to wake up?"

"NOOOOOOOO!" wailed Penelope, throwing her arms over her eyes (the way she does when I ask to change her diaper).

"Do you want some milk?" I asked.

"MMs! MMs!" Penelope groaned melodramatically.

I've been in so much pain today. I'm beginning to wonder if I have carpal tunnel from using my phone while Penelope naps. Hee hee. I've just had to do a quick emergency edit. I need her to start taking a nap somewhere besides on my lap. Yes, that will work.

But how will I accomplish that?

Oh yesterday--so funny--I went to Walmart with Mom, supposedly to pick up a mailing envelope, but truly to look at everything in the whole store. In the front, they had a display of discounted toys, including Bond Girls Barbie dolls. Mom seemed skeptical when I mentioned Pussy Galore Barbie--but there she was! Name on the box and everything. The Halloween costumes for adults were also kind of weird. Why is it that men get costumes like ninja warrior, and women get giant cupcake? Looking at all the stuff reminded me of the first Halloween Aimee, Derrick, and I attempted to take Grayson trick-or-treating at the outlet mall.

When you'd ask him what he was, he'd tell you, "An inja."

Penelope had a really awesome time at Walmart. She saw pumpkins, costumes, cat food, Hallowen greeting cards, balloons, and decorative sprinkles. She was so happy she kept laughing out loud, like, "Oh, Grandma, you take me the most exciting places!"

Depressed

I hate trying to upload videos on this blog. I have been trying since last night to upload Penelope's first haircut, and I've had it. I'm also irritated because I woke up with almost no pain this morning, but I had to take four Advil because I'm supposed to take them with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the doctor said. Ever since taking the Advil, I've been in terrible pain. That place in my throat/ear/neck feels like it's going to explode. That doesn't even make sense. I asked if I could be allergic to Advil, and he said it wouldn't manifest in that way.

So I don't know.

My ankle is much better today. It's still a little sore, but not too bad. I feel like my ear is going to explode into my neck and then fall off. Forgive me if I'm bitter or disillusioned, but it seems to me that unless you are a baby, going to the doctor does absolutely nothing for you. I was in a pretty good mood last night because although I fell off the sidewalk and hurt myself, at least I got a video clip out of it.

That's gone today, though. This Advil makes me so sick to my stomach, and I'm not allowed to take any all night. I'd so much rather take two every four to six hours than four every six to eight. I hate everything.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mommys says a bad word

I fell off the sidewalk for the second time in five minutes!
video

Murder on the Orient Express

Penelope is so cute. She's staggering around the house in her witch hat cackling. A few minutes ago, she tried to plug Daddy's belt into the outlet again. I finally realized she always tries to plug it in because it has a metal prong and looks like a cord.

I want to take videos, but I twisted both my ankles while trying to take video of her and my parents on a walk to the mail box. I twisted one on the way down (which I think is actually sprained) and the other on the way back (which is captured on video). It's kind of a funny video. Penelope's being all cute, and I'm complaining to Mom, "I'm sure before then I'll sprain my other ankle," and then it ends with me careening off the sidewalk, yelling, "DAMMIT!!!"


Pondering

While I was at Walmart with Mom and Penelope this morning, I didn't buy a gingerbread ghost house kit, but I would have if I'd had any money. I think that would be something fun to do with Grayson during football on Sunday. Maybe we could read a book, too. Last year I got to read him Bunnicula. He's much more receptive to participating in my dumb little projects if football is on, and he can't watch TV or play video games. What could we read this year?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Crazy Dreams

I've had the craziest dreams lately!

Last night, I dreamed we went to a hotel next door to Disneyland, but I had a sore throat. A doctor told me, "Well, no wonder--you have all those crickets in your mouth!" They were stuck to the roof of my mouth. There kept being more and more and more. The doctor explained, "They're being born in there. Bugs must have laid eggs in your face." I was like, "I knew it!"

And then, he told me, "A doctor told you you were healthy? Do you know you need careulon to live? And you're operating on four percent."

I was like, "Well, at least we can go to Disneyland."

"No," said Derrick. "I don't want to right now. I'm busy counting the crickets."

I was really disappointed.

In last night's dream, I begged Mom to take me to the library so I could do really important research, but when I got there, all I did was find different Donald Duck books for Penelope.

The night before, I dreamed that I was in a play, but the actors kept dying, and they had strange neon blue marks on their legs. The director told me, "This is the mark of Zeus. That's why we cast you--because you're the only one who knows what it means."

I was like, Uh oh! and wondered how long I could leave him with the mistaken impression that I knew what was going on.

Oh yeah--and every time that I have a dream lately that features Mom and Penelope, my late grandma is also in the dream. We know she's dead, but she interacts just like the rest of us. My other grandma had a stroke yesterday--and my sister got rear-ended on the highway, so it was a very stressful day for my dad...and my sister...and my grandma. For many people, really...

Our Funny Moment

The funniest thing happened yesterday. I was squatting in front of the shelf, looking for some books to read to Penelope. Suddenly, I got a little lower and felt something bump against me. I looked down, and there was Penelope's head. She had crawled over so that her head was right between my legs. I looked down with my head without moving my body, and when our eyes met, and I realized she was the one down there, we both burst out laughing at the same instant. She had this crazy face--a big, open-mouthed grin. It was like she was surprised, too, but she must have realized she was down there. We both laughed out loud for a really long time, like a whole minute. It's hard to explain why it was so funny, but we just died!

She laughs that same way when she watches the video where she goes upside down and then crashes into me. She finds that even funnier now than when it happened.

A Brief Update

Today I went to the doctor, who told me to take four Advil three times a day with meals for a week and recommended a physical therapist. I've not gained any weight, though we haven't walked all summer. My temperature was 98.5. He thinks the problem is tendon/muscle related and should improve after a week of Advil and some physical therapy.

We've been at Grandma's all day, and now a certain somebody is demanding "baby" videos.

We just had tacos for dinner--except Penelope who had black beans and dill pickle chips.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jabbering

video

Cookies! Cookies! Everywhere!

video

Okay, I've let her have ONE Oreo today! I don't know how she keeps finding it. Similarly, she's had one tortilla, and you can see that it keeps showing up, too!

Upside Down!

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Abraham Lincoln

video

Monday, September 13, 2010

Witchy

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Bites and "MMs"





The Moment it Happened






I actually took a picture of the moment Penelope's hand got covered in ants, and I didn't even know. The last first two pictures below are the last I took that night she went outside. I feel like such an idiot. When you zoom in on those last pictures, you can see the ants all over her hand which means she got the bites during the very last minute she spent outside. How frustrating!


Penelope's Little Trick


After the Bath


Penelope: TADA!!!!!

Stubborn

video

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Breasts and Bites


It's naptime for Penelope (and Derrick) and I'm watching the Seahawks shred the 49ers and the Rams hold their own against the Cardinals, though I guess I could watch the Eagles as my second game again now that Derrick is sleeping.  Sam Bradford is intriguing of course, but so are those pretty green throwback uniforms the Eagles are sporting.  I'm slightly mad because I decided to start Hakeem Nicks but couldn't decide if I should bench Ward or Crabtree and then suddenly it turned 12:00.  I was mad at the time, and it's only gotten worse.  (Little did I know I should have benched Andre Johnson!)

Last night on a crazy whim we got takeout chicken tikka massala.  Penelope didn't care for that but loved the naan.  Then we watched a weird Netflix double feature, Catch 22 followed by My Summer of Love.  I've long wondered how a movie of Catch 22 would work--not nearly as funny as the book and kind of heavy handed.  MSOL on the other hand was much easier to watch but so--what, light handed? mamed?--that at the end, I thought, Hmm.  I'm sure from the music that you have a point, but what is it?

Penelope (whose bites are looking less ugly) has developed an endless fascination with watching videos of the "baby" aka Penelope.  We're hoping this may lead to her letting us take more video of her.

Last night she willingly performed by putting on the witch hat Grandma bought her and parading around the room cackling theatrically, but it was dark and the TV was on, so in half the videos all you can hear is air raids and in the other half, all you can see is Emily Blunt's breasts.

Speaking of--I always tell Penelope that a cow makes her milk in her udder ("What a nice cow!") and when she was a little baby, I made her milk in my breasts.  Recently she discovered a drawer of old slow flow nipples and bottles.

"That's how you drank your milk when you were a baby!"

So that night she lifted up my shirt and said, "Baby!  Milk!  Suck!  Bres!"  To my great amusement, she was holding up an old slow flow nipple, trying to attach it to my breast!

She is very fond of lifting my shirt or patting my chest and lamenting woefully, "Oh no!  Bres! Bite!"  (Usually she picks the wrong one.)

Then she gazes down at the palm of her hand (though the bites are on the other side) and wails, "Bites! Bites!  Mean!  Mean! Mean!  Bugs!  Mean!"

I wish my neck would stop hurting.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Eye


My eye is red again today.  It hurts a lot. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bites

I'm very depressed about the pain in my neck/ear/throat. It gets worse when I eat, and at least part of it is in the mouth. I suppose I just have some kind of muscle/bone damage in the neck. Maybe my neck was injured when I fell last year, and it's aggravated since Penelope has gotten so heavy. I just know that it's constantly there.

I've had a cough for over a week now, and there were just a few days between when it started and my last cough. I have constant drainage. And I have ear popping, fullness, and pain, and mouth rawness, and a strange feeling in the side of my throat when I eat, and a weird sensation like my face is partially exposed all the time.

I don't know what to do about it. I'm frustrated and sad. I feel like it shouldn't be bothering me. I should just ignore it. But it's always there. I've been to the doctor so many times, and no one cares. It makes me feel so tired.

In other news of my terribleness, I thought it would be fun for Penelope to play in the back yard while Derrick grilled burgers tonight. Grandma and Grandpa just got her some new size 6 converse sneakers. She's so cute in them. I thought I'd have her model them for Daddy, and she had a blast running around in the yard for 5-10 minutes. She fell down a couple of times, but got right up and started running again.

When I got her back inside, I noticed for the first time that something was wrong. At first I thought it was a rash, but instead it was lots of bites. She must have fallen into an ant hill. She had bites all over one hand and a cluster of bites around the opposite knee. I freaked out, but Derrick said that even though they looked bad, they didn't hurt her that much.

As we got ready to eat, Penelope stared down at her skin and wailed, "Oh no! Bites! Bites!" She wailed and carried on quite a bit, but when she pointed to the "bites," she wasn't actually pointing to places where she'd been bitten, so I think she was mainly reacting to my hysteria.

She's been fine all evening, although we've been watching Better off Ted on Netflix streaming, and she's not been delighted about that. Every time an episode ended and the Twentieth Century Fox logo came on, Penelope threw up her arms and yelled, "Da!!!" (her version of "tada!"). Then she got mad when another episode came on. But now she's watching an episode of Mickey Mouse before bed.

Crazy Things

My sister's been having mouth pain and fever on and off for a while.

Guess what?

She cut a tooth! It's crazy because she's going to be 26 this fall. But there you go.

Maybe a tooth is going to grow out of my neck. It feels like that.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bres


Lots of Penelope's animals have been complaining of a sore "bres" today, and she's been anxiously inquiring after my breast and making lots of sympathetic hoo sounds at it.  In the bath tub, she patted it gently and said, "Oh no, bres!"  Of course, she had the wrong breast, but she is definitely sorry, although possibly not quite clear on what actually happened.

Last night she kept "accidentally" biting her finger and bringing it to me to kiss.  I took that as an apology as well as an effort to make sure we are still on the same side.  You can definitely still see the tooth circle, but it's actually healing surprisingly well, with less pain and discoloration than I expected.

She just now--after literal kicking and screaming--reluctantly went down for a nap.  We visited Daddy in his office first, and I asked him to tell her that if she went to sleep, he'd come down and play when she woke up.

"Now, Penelope," he explained, "let me tell you what's going to happen."

"Grandma!" she anticipated with a huge grin.

I'll write later about the noisy game we played in the bathtub.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ouch!

I suddenly noticed a weird bump on my arm, but I'm pretty sure--after forcing Derrick to examine it and much fretting--that it's just the muscle, and possibly it's slightly more developed in my right arm than my left.

I didn't think Penelope was paying attention. But then she grabbed my arm and said, "Oh no! Bump!" looking very concerned. I felt bad and immediately changed the subject, telling her not to worry.

We colored happily for a long time, sitting side by side on the floor. Then she crawled into my lap, snuggled against me, and--sank her teeth into my breast and refused to let go. I reacted rather badly, screaming in horror, trying desperately to get her to let go, and then when she did, yelling, "Why would you do that?"

Then we both burst into tears, and I started to apologize to her, but Derrick came and got her and said not to apologize to her because she needs to learn not to bite. She's never done that before, but she does bite her blanket sometimes when she snuggles into it. She bit me through the shirt, and I'm sure she didn't realize she was hurting me. I guess I need to start wearing a bra in the evenings, and we wouldn't have these problems.

I don't think she knew she was biting me. I think she was just trying to bite the shirt. I thought I was going to die. It hurt so much. Derrick made her sit in the chair, and she and I both sobbed for several minutes. I picked up the sheep to examine the damage.

Okay, I meant the shirt. (We just turned on Shaun the Sheep for Penelope--and ourselves.) You can see this huge ring on the areola where the bite occurred. Well, actually, it's tiny, but it was a deep indentation, and in two small spots, the skin was kind of scraped off, and in a fairly large section, the skin was broken and there was a little blood.

Derrick pointed out that nothing bad would come of this. It would just hurt and heal. I was looking for the Neosporin. "It would be like if she bit you in the testicles!" I said, although I don't know that it would really--most importantly because a snuggling situation that leads to that would not be happening.

He was like, "And if that happened, it would hurt, and there would be nothing I could do. You can take Advil."

He was just trying to keep me calm but managed to make me quietly enraged. I found the Neosporin in the cupboard, and he found me the first aid kit from the car which has bandaids. As soon as Daddy left to find the first aid kit, Nelope toodled sorrowfully into the kitchen.

I showed her what had happened and tried to explain why she shouldn't bite Mommy.

She repeated all the words I said, "Bite, breast, shirt, blood, ouch," et al. She made a gravely concerned face during all of this, but then when I said, "You bit Mommy," she chomped her teeth and grinned, so I got the feeling she wasn't really getting the point.

Then Derrick came back and she clung to my legs and wouldn't let go.

I'm not mad at her. I mean, she didn't mean to hurt me. It wasn't even a case of biting in anger. I am pretty sure she didn't even realize she was biting me. I think she thought she was just chomping down on the shirt. Maybe she's cutting a molar. She hasn't eaten well for the past two days and was very hooey after her nap today. At least she distracted me from my arm.

Penelope Rayburn and the Witch Next Door

This morning when we were reading Donald Duck and the Witch Next Door, I pointed out that we had a neighbor who built a house on the other side of our fence. This made her most suspicious. She's kept an eye on that house all day. Finally, just now when a fresh downpour started, she leaped down from my lap and ran around from window to window yelling, "Wet! Rain! Tut tut!" But then when she got to the window that faced the neighbor's house, she said, "Witch!" So I guess she's made up her mind after an afternoon of careful study.

After that, she wanted to go outside and brought me her shoe. "Shoes! Shoes! On! Go! Rain!" I told her regretfully that her shoes no longer fit. So she found another pair and started trying to cram her feet into them, muttering, "Fit! Fit!" Unfortunately, Penelope has outgrown all of her shoes and none of them are going to fit--a concept I have yet to figure out how to explain to her. She thinks I'm teasing her, and laughs, showing me that her shoes don't fit ME, but they fit HER. She laughs, but she doesn't understand that you can outgrow things.

Outback in the Monsoon

Last night, Derrick and I went to dinner to celebrate his promotion to C2. Penelope was very excited to go to Grandma's house. She didn't want to take a nap until I promised Daddy said he would come home and take us to Grandma's house when she woke up.

"Grandma," she said, sounding intrigued.

When Derrick got home, she was sound asleep on my lap. As soon as he opened the door, she sat up, looked back at him, jumped off my lap, ran to the door, threw up her arms, and yelled, "GO!"

To put this in perspective, normally it takes her like half an hour to wake up from a nap, and she's really cranky and groggy, and also kind of confused, like my first roommate Christy used to be when one of us woke her unexpectedly in college.

Anyway, we dropped Penelope off with Grandma and Grandpa and then went to Outback. I am pretty sure it's the first time we've been since Valentine's Day when Penelope was in the NICU (and I'm trying to remember if we actually went then or I imagined it). We used to go all the time, like for anniversaries and Valentine's Day.

Hmm. Speak of the devil...

Someone is climbing me...


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gun Battle?

Penelope and I are having a very prolonged misunderstanding.

She insisted there was a gun battle going on outside when a loud truck came down the street.

"Shoot! Shoot!" she yelled. "Bang! Bang!"

"No, no," I told her. "That was just a car."

Penelope dropped her aggressive face and toddled to the door, squealing in joy, "Dad!"

"No, Daddy's at work," I told her.

She glanced hopefully up the stairs and grinned.

"No, he went away to work," I said. The air conditioner kicked on just then, so she heard a noise upstairs and refused to believe me.

Coloring with Penelope

Yesterday afternoon, I decided to color a peacock on a paper plate. As soon as I started, Penelope began coloring it with me, abandoning her own picture. I think she's noticed the pictures turn out better when we make them together. After that, I made a platenum blonde. But I forgot all about it. Several hours later, Penelope colored violently all over the plate, showing it to us and crowing, "BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!" as she clapped her hands. She's dumped out her crayons already this morning, but she got distracted by stealing the brownie. I'd put one one of Grandma's delicious leftover caramel covered brownies on a plate, and we were sharing little bites, but now she has decided to abscond with the whole thing.

Yesterday we had a Lie to Me marathon, and watched all but one episode of season one, meaning that we watched for roughly twelve hours. At that point, it was almost midnight, so we really had to go to bed (though it would have been perfectly fine with Penelope to stay up until dawn).

Saturday, we were going to go to the park with Grayson since the weather was so nice, but then it turned out that Penelope has outgrown all of her shoes, so we decided to postpone that trip until we get her some shoes. Just as well, really, since Grayson didn't have a scooter or bike or skates, and we were all starving when Penelope woke up from her nap.

Earlier, Penelope wanted to watch "Aiiis," (aka Alice in Wonderland). Oh, but now she is distracted by Warehouse Mouse. She's being eerily quiet. No doubt, she's trying to keep me from inquiring too deeply into her whereabouts since she is sneakily trying to eat that entire brownie.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Penelope's Firework!



Penelope colored a firework on a paper plate. She ran up and showed it to us, saying, "Boom! Boom! Boom!" and clapping her hands.

Also, she would like me to say, "Name! Name! Name! Name! Name! Black! Blah blah blah! Alice! Eyes! PPPPP!"

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sword!

Penelope really misses her brother today. She found his blue balloon "sword" over by the toy basket.

"Sword!" she exclaimed, picking it up. Then she remembered, "Bubba sword!" But then she looked worried. She looked at the door. "Bubba?"

Then she toddled over toward the door forlornly, holding out the blue balloon. "Bubba!" she wailed wistfully. She always gets so sad when he goes home.

I took the sword and fashioned it into a P, but I didn't know how to make it stay that way without popping it.

"PP!" exclaimed Penelope joyfully when she saw it, but then I gave it to her, and it turned back into a line.

"PP!" she cried in alarm and handed it back to me. "Fick!"

Derrick took over and Penelope began to lament theatrically. "Daddy's going to fix it!" I assured her.

He succeeded in making a pretty decent P, but Penelope sees it as a capital D on a stick. That thoroughly satisfied her, though, and she began prancing around the house with it. "D! D! D!"

Currently, Penelope is stuffing crayons into her sock (the sock she is wearing). I suppose I should make some effort to stop her, but I am just glad she's stopped sticking them into her diaper.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Naughty Who Never Lets Me Change Her Diaper


Crazy Penelope and Her Handsome Bubby





OH NO! LIGHT!!!!

Balloon

While picking up the lamp, I stubbed my toe and pinched my finger. Currently, Naughty Pants McGee is playing balloon bounce with Daddy and Bubby. She is shrieking with laughter.

"Wait until it pops in her face," Grayson says.

Oh no! Now all the air has gone out of it. It deflated slowly in her hands. Her face is very sorrowful.

She just toddled over to me now sobbing, "Boon! Boon! Boon! Oh no!"

"Oh, did all the air go out of your balloon?" I asked while she made disconcerted, vague little sob noises.

Peepee and Goose

That's my new idea for a cop/buddy show. I tried and tried last night to teach Penelope to say Grayson and got interesting results. The three most common pronunciations she offered were "Daze," "Jay," and "Goose." I told Derrick, "We need to give our next kid an easier name."

While I was reading her bedtime stories last night, she noticed "Jesus Loves Penny," on her blanket. I said, "Penny." She repeated, "Pen," and I told her, "Some people call you Penny. Should we call you Penny?" She looked blank. "You know how we call you Nellie?" I began, and she smiled at me, recognizing her name, as if to say, "I love you, too, Mommy!" So I guess we're sticking with Peepee Jaye for now. (She could probably say P.J.)

"OH NO!" yelled Penelope. "LIGHT!"

CRASH!!!

Excuse me! The torchea lamp fell over--thank goodness onto the couch instead of the other way onto the Penelope.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Penelope's Sucker





Derrick is Okay

Derrick is okay. He just had crud particles inside his ear, which caused dizziness, which caused nausea and other alarming symptoms. I guess they squirted water in his ears or something, and he appears to be fine. Plus, he brought me a Whatchamacallit.

Penelope stole them immediately.

"Don't worry," I told him. "She doesn't know how to open them."

Of course when we caught up with her, she had chewed through one wrapper.

"Oh, she doesn't know how to open them, huh?" noted Derrick. "She can bite."

"Well, that one's mine," I said.

"Mine!" yelled Penelope, yanking it away, and adding toothily, "Bite!"

Sick Suck Circ

Derrick is sick today, and I'm worried about him. He's at the doctor right now. He thinks it's his inner ear. Meanwhile, Penelope is in kind of a snooky mood. We were out of milk this morning, and even though I explained that to her, she seemed to take my refusal to give it to her very personally. She pouted and wouldn't talk to me until Grandma and Grandpa showed up. I asked Mom if she could bring milk, but they surprised us with all kinds of stuff, including a red balloon tied to an orange sucker.

Penelope cheered up tremendously. Against my better judgment, I agreed to open the sucker for her after they left. This made her extremely pleased. "Suck," she told me happily, and then she pointed out that her "suck" was a "circ." (Uh oh! She wants to watch Hulk again. She likes Curious George okay--now that she's over her initial disappointment that we're not watching Jackson and George videos because I'm a dirty liar (in her estimation).)

"That's right, Smart Girl!" I told her.

She was incredibly smug and even volunteered the additional information that her "suck" was "yahnge" and matched her shirt.

She's being kind of a hoo today maybe because she can tell that I'm worried about Derrick or maybe because she's been getting harder to discipline over the past week.

A few minutes ago, she dumped her bowl of mandarine oranges on the floor, just to create chaos.

"Oh my!" she said.

I was not amused. "You pick those up and put them in your bowl," I said.

"No," Penelope replied coolly.

When I repeated myself, she yelled, "NO!" and stomped her foot. This happened a few times, and I got grumpy, so she relented.

She crouched down and scooped up a big handful of oranges.

"Good girl!" I praised...prematurely.

Suddenly she stuffed this entire huge handful or oranges into her mouth and turned to face me with this pointed stare of challenging insolence.

And now, she is very sticky and requires maintenance.