Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Communication Revelations, Aural Insults, Horses In My Yard, Creepy Closure, And Upcoming Events

Communication Revelations

Bella and I are having a sick day. OK, I'm having a sick day, and Bella is along for the ride, complete with sympathy symptoms. Can't tell you how crazy I am about this little girl. Thank God I met Alex and had her and she turned out so amazingly...I am blessed. So today, we've had several instances of what seem, to me, to represent breakthroughs in understanding of language, idioms, and communication--on both our parts.

Example the first, this exchange: "Isabella, you have to get dressed right now."

"Mommmeeee, I caaaan't!"

"Actually, you perfectly well can, and you know it."

"Then I don't WANT to." AH! Fair enough, and an honest argument. That, I can work with. And after a very short, gentle discussion, she did get dressed, and everyone was happy.

Example the second: After a mind-numbing barrage of polite but never-ceasing requests to get into my very hot sinus-steaming bath with me, I had had it. Since she couldn't get into the tub, Bella kept sticking her hand in the water and splashing. I told her to quit it about 17 times, and then exasperatedly, "Bella! Seriously! Do NOT put your hand in my bath! I am NOT telling you again!"

"But, Mommy, you ARE telling me again." Ouch! Touche'. This takes me right back to Karen Pryor*, operant conditioning, and dog/horse training. If you say to a dog, for example, "Sit. Sit. Sit. SIT! SIT!" and the dog finally sits, and you say, "Good dog," you have taught the dog that he is to sit upon hearing the "sit" command no less than 5 times. I should really re-read Karen Pryor* and apply those concepts to my child. They work well enough on Alex, when I can remember to use them. (Think I'm kidding? See the footnote.)

Example the third: After seeing her sticking her fingers, for no discernable reason, into my glass of milk, I sputtered, "BELLA!" at which point she snatched her hand away and took off running. She came back in while I was cleaning up the splatters, and I said, "Why did you do that? Don't act like you don't know better that that!" And she answered,

"Yes, I think I DO know better. I promise I won't do it again."

Hey, we may be getting somewhere with this parenting stuff!

Aural Insults

My ears. My ears are just assaulted and insulted repeatedly throughout the Arkansas allergy seasons, which are pretty much year-round. They never get a chance to recover, my ears. I'm allergic to all forms of pollen, as well as dust, hay and mold...and I have horses. And dogs, who while they themselves are hypo-allergenic (yaaay, poodles!) do go outside and frolic in the spring greenness, then come back in and pollute my airspace with whatever has adhered to their furry little bodies. Plus I live in the area that is designated by the CDC as the "most allergenic" spot in the U.S. Wheeee! But that's why it's SO pretty here, you know? And this time of year? ALL cars and trucks are the same color, no matter what their paint-job--greenish yellow! The pollen coats every surface like a light dusting of snow. It's a real shame, because in other parts of the world, this would be the time of year that you would throw open your windows, and revel in the perfect temperatures and fresh air! Why, you'd picnic! You'd play lawn games! You'd dry your sheets outside on the clothesline! Of course, I am speculating all of this, because OUR reality is that we are sealed up as tightly as possible inside, with the air-conditioner and our air-cleaners running at full-blast.

Anyway. The drainage is of epic proportions. It's like water, and in the words of my doctor, is "sheeting" constantly down the back of my throat. Sometimes (and I only share this for the edification of those of you who live in low-allergy areas, curses upon your blessedly clear heads), you swallow so much--I hate this word--mucus that you actually have to vomit. Lovely, eh? And in my case, with my tiny nostrils and sinus cavities, it backs up into my ears. And that creates pressure. And that HURTS. Usually, the doctor looks in there, and reports that my eardrums are bulging outward from the pressure of the fluid behind them. THIS time (yesterday), he said the eardrums were actually being "sucked back" against the tympanic bone, or something like that, because of the chronic congestion in my sinuses, which is creating a "reverse pressure" like a vacuum. LOVELY. And it hurts even MORE.

So I went to the doctor yesterday, and got my usual Prednisone dose-pack for 5 days, the magic elixir of cough-suppressant/antihistamine/decongestant, and more Nasacort nasal steroid spray. And I promise, this time, that I am going to be religious in the twice-daily sinus-cleansing with my Neti pot...heck, I'll even post pictures of that process, because if you haven't seen me pouring a solution of warm water and non-iodized sea-salt through my head, well, you can't say you've really lived. But this time, I got a referral to an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor, not giant walking tree) guy, because I am seriously ready to put some tubes in my adult ears. Does anyone out there have ANY experience with this? Tubes in the ears of grown-ups? I've been at the point, pain-wise, that I just want Alex to get a needle and poke a hole in the eardrums to let the fluid out and relieve the pressure. And no, he steadfastly refuses to do it, so no concerned emails about the state of my eardrums are required.

Oh, and while we were cataloguing health issues, I got referrals for a reproductive endocrinologist (raging endo is back with a vengeance, I fear), and an orthopedist (hips are loose and painful, and my Frankenfoot is beginning to swarm on me). Apparently, my warranty has run out.

Horses In My Yard

I just have no other choice; it's the only place on the property with grass. Of course, this means horse-apples in the yard, which is every dog's delight, but worth it for me if my horses can eat as they were intended to. We live on the side of a stinking ROCK now, and no one, I mean NO ONE has any hay. If you are IN the state of Arkansas (Kari??), and you know ANYONE who has any round-bales, PLEASE let me know. I have called everyone, and no one has any hay until the spring cuttings which are still several weeks off. Even though I'm feeding grain like crazy, up to 150 lbs./day, I'm watching my horses lose weight due to lack of forage. Going from 10 acres of Tifton 44 Bermuda to 5 acres on the side of a mountain is not good for anyone except the Shetland pony. So the horses are grazing around the swingset, and far from resenting any poop-scooping I may have to do, I'm grateful that I have SOME grass I can offer them.

A Creepy Sort Of Closure

Many of you will remember that just at the time we moved, our old gal Rosa died. It was already a time of high stress for me, and just put me really on edge. Her last foal was thankfully past weaning age, but it was a hard thing getting him to leave his mother's body, and it was just sad and heartbreaking all around. But somehow, at that time, I had the presence of mind to have Alex pull a small handful of mane hairs from her body before she was buried (once I managed to get the baby safely away and moved over here, I couldn't bear to go back to where she was until after she was buried), and bag them. I can't believe, looking back, that I even thought of it.

Arabian horses, in order to be registered, must now be DNA-typed, using hair samples. It used to be that they were just blood-typed, which was simpler and cheaper, but less accurate. But during the time between Rosa's previous foal and this last one, the DNA requirement has gone into effect, and you have to submit 25-50 mane hairs, with the root intact, to the Registry for DNA typing. So yesterday, I went by the old house on the way home and picked up the bagged hairs, and came home and filled out the paperwork. I had been putting it off, because, well, it was sad and sort of creepy. But now it's in the mail, and Rosa's last foal will be able to be registered. I think he will be "Music ofthe Night," in respect of his "Phantom of the Opera"-style facial marking. There's a nice sense of closure there, and a nice colt that does honor to his pedigree and the Great Ones that he represents.

In Other News, I do have plenty of soap, at least for another day or two, if the orders maintain the pace they've had. Of a total of probably around 600 bars, over 400 have been sold since I posted about it the other day. After these are gone, I'll start the new batches, develop a logo, and make this into a full-blown side business. isabella soaps is going to be a reality. Going over the inventory and wrapping bars, and using the product myself, I'm very pleased with what I create, and I think you will be too, if you have some coming.

And I'll save some to use as prizes in the upcoming "Lost Blogs" GBBMC contest that begins next Monday, which is my OTHER other news, and on which I will elaborate later. Basically, this blog space will be given over for 5 days to a "guest blogger," whose identity you will have the chance to guess, based on the posts I make as this person. Comments will be closed for those posts, and if you have guesses, you will have to email them to me, so as not to give hints to anyone else. Everyone who guesses correctly will win a prize, with a special prize going to the FIRST person who guesses correctly, and I will not divulge the answer until the end of the week.

It's gonna be fun, stick around! And if YOU'D like to play along as a "ghost blogger," contact Kevin A.S.A.P. There are 37 participants so far, and it's shaping up to be a HOOT! And it's all to benefit and promote awareness and hopefully sales of the latest book of fellow blogger Paul Davidson:

The Lost Blogs: From Jesus to Jim Morrison--The Historically Inaccurate and Totally  Fictitious Cyber Diaries of Everyone Worth Knowing
The Lost Blogs: From Jesus to Jim Morrison--The Historically Inaccurate and Totally Fictitious Cyber Diaries of Everyone Worth Knowing

*Karen Pryor wrote the best book on the practical use of positive reinforcement EVER, and it works on anything with a brain, from chickens to spouses. Have I ever lied to you?

Don't Shoot the Dog!; The New Art of Teaching and Training

Don't Shoot the Dog!; The New Art of Teaching and Training


  1. Look at that LOOK on your daughter's face!

    She is going to be a total heartbreaker when she grows up... that's for sure! :-)

  2. I admit it. I skipped over part of that post because it was way too much like looking up some snotty kid's nose. Ew.

  3. Dave2, she's a menace, isn't she? Hopefully, she will carry her natural-born kind, sympathetic, and generous nature all through her life, and will not actually break any hearts...at least not too badly. Sometimes I think of her as my reward for years of pain and trial. It was totally worth it.

    melissa--I know! You should LIVE it!

  4. Man, I was reading thinking, "B. needs a moment to breath." I hope your ears get better! I cannot imagine running after a little one while my ears are running. On the upside, your daughter has a very cool shirt!

  5. Oh, my goodness. I LOVE Bella's T-shirt! On the language issue, I think one of the most interesting parts of having a child will be watching their grasp of language expand.

    The reproductive endocrinologist is a great idea - I've already decided that when my endo acts up again, that's who I'll see first.

    Ooh, allergy season's there already? Goodness, it's only 40 degrees here! I feel for you. I hope the prednisone helps.

  6. I agree with the other poster, your daughter is a doll. I love your tales of struggling with her and language. She has those typical smart alec/witty/surprising statements of a child. I can really tell you care about her a lot.

  7. erin--It is allergy season here ALL THE TIME. Unless things are frozen, which happens, like 2 or 3 days each in December, January, and either February OR March, but never both. Flea and tick season is never over. Heartworm season is never over.

    And day before yesterday, when we had to work outside and in a house with no power (so no AC), it was 90. Yesterday? 65. This is the most bizarre place to live ever.

    The pred is definitely helping, but as you can see I am wired and can't sleep. I'm hoping the nasacort and Neti pot are working well by the time the pred wears off. I'm also a huge fan of the narcotic cough syrup that has the best antihistamine known to man in it, apparently.

    So yeah...maybe not well, but stoned enough to feel better. ;-)

    And the shirt came from threadbare tees, I think. And it's not even a Bush-bashing sentiment. I just want a new president, and that could very well mean the present one turning over a new leaf on certain issues regarding war and cronyism and ethics. That's all.

    Claire--I'd just like to be able to breathe through my nose, so thanks!

    Digi--someone ask me how much I love hearing from him. I LOVE hearing from him. Check out his blog if you haven't before. It's different from any other blog you've seen, I promise you that, and he is a generous and caring soul, very giving to others and sympathetic to a fault. Good people, in other words. And digi, thanks as always for the kind words about my daughter. Moms just go around carrying all this guilt, all the time, about what they might be doing wrong, or not doing that they should, or wondering if they're doing enough, and it does mean a lot when someone expresses something that says, "Hey, you might be doing all right by her." She's catching on with the words, isn't she? When she's calling me on MY misuse of them, well...I'm in trouble!

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  9. This is a GREAT post. I'm sorry sorry there's nothing going in in your life, tho....;-)

    Poke the ears. Don't take steroids. That's my advice. I went round and round with the ENT doctor and a tube is the wya to go. I didn't GET that far, but given the pain and the pressure, I was ready to stick a paper clip in there and be done with it. Steroid-like drops ended up doing the trick.

    Best to you...and the Bella stories are a panic--and I want her T-Shir, right now. She's obviously a very logical and literal girl. :-)

  10. You're right allergy season NEVER ends! Don't know about adult tubes, but they worked wonders for Kiernan.

    The hay issue, I don't know of any right off hand, but I'll call and look around and get back to you.

  11. *Sigh

    You know, I had just a moment here to read one of my faves (ummmm - that would be YOU) and then I read this fantastic post and look at my measly offerings today and just.... *sigh

    I want to be you.

    Minus the allergies PLUS an additional t-shirt in MY size so Bella and I could be twins.

  12. A play date with those two, we would NEVER stop laughing! I'm game!

  13. I agree with Erin... Bella's T rocks! I want one. But slightly larger. And I'd like it to say My Wife Wants a New President.

  14. You have made yourself sound like a very sexy gal :) ~ but I know you must be to produce a child with a face like that. Her eyes are amazing and that skin! Must be the soap. If you have any left I will order some now...

  15. Karen Pryor is the God of the marine mammal behaviourist! I used DSTD to train people at Ocean World in Ft. Lauderdale how to work with dolphins and sea lions. Fantastic book.

    I still have my well worn, fishy smelling copy and my whistle as well. (I was a dolphin, sea lion and bird trainer)

  16. First of all, how adorable is your daughter?! And that shirt, yes, love it!

    As for the cognitive leap she has just taken, er-ehm...you're saving up for law school, right? Because she parses words and phrases like my attorney husband.

    Allergy season, you have my sympathies. I live in the other area of the country where even the typically non-allergy people can't hang out their laundry in spring or fall. Me...I'm a goner.

    And seriously digging your blog! Glad to be turned on to it!

  17. I think FL is right up there with AZ in the allergy dept. We are seeing so many dog & cats right now with allergies and no rain in sight to help clear the air. I hope something helps you feel better soon.

    I can hear Bella saying those things as my niece can be just as deep. How do they figure out how to go around by a back door at this age and come up with the things they say.

    We are short of hay here also. No rain, no grass, no growing, so we are tightening our belsts or the horses stomachs:o)

    I am looking forward to my soap.

  18. Kim, we have been having rain, but it's a blessed curse or a cursed blessing, because while it washes away the layer of pollen covering everything, it also makes for fresh BLOOMS! I am investigating feeding soaked beet-pulp to make up for some forage. Do you have any experience with that? My dogs seem to have acclimated, allergy-wise, and they spend a lot of time outside (having properly-bred dogs with nice open tear-ducts helps, huh?). BUT every time I've ever imported a dog from another part of the country, they always have runny eyes and nose for the first couple of weeks upon getting here. Arkansas. It's just soooo pretty, but there's a price!

    jozet--yeah, those laundry-hangers...how do they get away with it? I had neighbors who line-dried EVERYTHING over at the other place, and it just made me crazy. Every time I would see their clothes and sheets out, I'd tell Alex, "But they're getting it all DIRTY!!!" Law school. Yeah...we're also going to make sure she knows about all the cool jobs our high-school guidance counselors never told us about, like "forensic anthropologist" and "CGI Designer." To this day Alex and I wish we were a meteorologist and an anthropologist. ;-) I love your space too, and just stumbled across it by happenstance!

    jody--isn't it the greatest book? It's worth reading even if you have no animals, because it will help you with inter-personal relationships as well!

    andrea--yes, I am a HOT babe right now. Grrrrrr. *cough* The soap can't take credit FOR the skin, but it can take credit for preserving and not drying out or damaging the skin!

    Kevin, you can just go to Zazzle and make one!

    kari--can you bring hay??? ;-)

    mochaaaaaah, you do so not want to be me right now! Actually, could you be me for a while, and lose 60 pounds or so? I'd consider it a solid, babe.

    zelda--steroid drops, you say? Sounds promising. I think I got the company wrong for the tee...I think it was called "threadless." They definitely have them in your kids' sizes! Bella got the smallest size back at election time, and has just now grown into it. And yes, could I borrow some drama? OH--you'll appreciate this. As of today, my child is suddenly with the Katherine Hepburn quips, such as, "Oh, is that right?" and "I should think so!"

  19. I have never tried beet-pulp, but we are supplementing with moistened Alfafa cubes.

  20. We are using alfalfa cubes, because that's simply all we can find, but $20/day on top of the grain expense is getting...well, unbearable. Tell your mom and sister I have horses I would gladly adopt out because I can't afford to feed them! Nice ones, too.

  21. I don't know much about little girls, allergies, or hay, but the contest sounds like fun!

  22. that bella is so going to be a lawyer.

    and make your husband post, wouldya?!

  23. Quit tempting me with the horses. I still want the "Phantom" baby, but we just don't have the space right now.

    Did you ever find out what color your ponies foal is?

  24. I swear Belinda, if that girl of yours gets any prettier you are going to have to lock her in the horse stable when the boys come a callin'! Not to mention she's smart as a whip, which means she'll attract cute, smart boys!

    I have the EXACT SAME ear problems as you. The ENT told me that my Eustachian tubes are child-sized, which is why they back up into my ears every time I get even the least bit congested. Hope you find some relief.

    We just inherited a dog and I never knew that about the sit, sit, sit, SIT thing. Makes sense. I should read that dog training book, yes?

  25. Wow. If there was no hay to be found, my horse would be in trouble, as we live in the desert and grass is non-existent.

    Anyway, I love clicker training. Works fabulous with horses.

  26. I too suffered from serial sinus infections and had sort of the opposite of your "sheeting action." My crap would dig in and never come out; my brain, head, ears, etc. felt like they were going to explode all the time. I went to an ENT who said I had a deviated septum, lots of scar tissue that was causing my sinuses not to drain and had occluded the opening to my sinus cavity. He straightened my septum, cleared out all the scar tissue and enlarged the openings to my sinus (the turbinades, I think?), and I can breath again! It helped with my breathing and being able to recover when I get a sinus infection. So, don't be afraid of the surgery...it did take me about a week to recover, but I think that may be more related to my reaction to the anethestic (sp?). Good luck! Love your ninja poodles banner!