Monday, December 31, 2012

With a bang AND a whimper

Katie is miserably sick with a cold, alternating between fitfully dozing and screaming her lungs out, and it is looking to be a very, very long last night of 2012.  Which, for the record, is the herpetic sore on the story of my life.

Because I am facebook friends with various relatives and older, dignified people, I could not give 2012 the full sign off there that I wanted to, so without further ado, let me just say here:

2012?

GOOOOOOOOOOO

FUUUUUUUUUUUUCKKKKKKKKKKKK

YOURSELLLLLLLLFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF.

in the ear.

with a rusty tent pole.

I will not miss you. I will not pine for you.  You are the worst, stupidest year ever.

The End.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Suck it, Dummy.

I went back to the doctor today (who shall henceforth be known as Dr. Stupidhead.)  I *thought* my appointment was with my regular doctor, but when I got there, nope, Dr. Stupidhead.  Sigh.  FINE. 

I took my seat in the waiting room, and I waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  And after an hour and fifteen minutes, went to a room, where the medical assistant told me there were two people in front of me and one of them was a new OB visit.  AWESOME.

So I waited and waited and waited some more.  And contemplated leaving.  But I stayed, because I actually had questions for change (more on that in a minute.)  And two hours after my scheduled appointment time, my REAL doctor walked in the room.  Turns out she had a break between deliveries and heard they were massively backlogged and came over to help.  This was extra-awesome because I know that a doctor who is two hours behind is not going to actually LISTEN to what I have to say, she's going to spend the appointment stressing about how far behind she is.  So: yes, awesome.

But before I could even get to my questions?  She pronounced my weight gain, and I quote, "Perfect."  It took all my self-control not to be like, "I KNOW, RIGHT????" 

Suck it, Dr. Stupidhead.

Anyway, my questions today: just this morning I had my second classic migraine (aka migraine with aura) of this pregnancy.  I used to get them when I first started getting my period, and then I got them allll the time, with super-bad visual auras, but prior to Stosh, it had been close to twenty years since I had one.  I had a visual aura a month or so ago, right before bed, but I went to sleep and woke up feeling fine so I didn't think too much about it.  This morning, I had a mild headache and felt really thirsty, but nothing out of the ordinary until suddenly I couldn't see.  And the harder I tried to see anything, the less I could see it.  Like right after you look at a bright light, except I hadn't.  So I chugged a bunch of water, took two extra-strength Tylenol, and when in the office and closed my eyes, at which point I could clearly see a whole laser light show- red, blue, yellow flickering snake-light string of lights.  After about half an hour, it seemed to mostly go away.  I felt off for the rest of the day- really exhuasted, like after you puke a lot? (Sorry, gross, I know.)  Like that.  Not as bad as the migraines I used to get, but pretty bad.  My doctor said my blood pressure was perfect and there's no protein in my urine, so no worries.  Perfect.

My other question was about the super intense braxton-hicks contractions I had last week, which I thought were probably illness/dehydration-related, but a few of them were really breath-taking, so I was a little nervous.  She wanted to do a quick cervical check, which was completely perfect and therefore totally reassuring. 

So.  Even though it was light when I got there and dark when I left, it was a good appointment.  And Dr. Stupidhead is a big dumb smelly stupidhead.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

32 weeks and change: come see my immensity

I had a doctor's appointment at 31 weeks and was horrified to learn I had surpassed my TOTAL weight gain with both girls by five pounds.  With nine weeks left to go.  Which?  Is still not a terrible total, truly, but knowing how I carried every last ounce of Katie-gain until I weaned her, and how truly irritating that was, I was seriously annoyed.  When the doctor (who is not my regular doc, just one of the docs in the practice) came in, I jokingly said I wanted her to tell me the baby is YOOGE, and that is why I am gaining so much weight.  She said he is probably not (without even looking at me) and that I probably need to eat fewer carbs.  Then she measured and found me measuring about 32 weeks and said, nope, you need to exercise more, eat fewer carbs, and stop eating when you're full.

A) OH IZ DAT HOW DAT WERKS?  GOOD TOO NO.

B) we'll just pretend that Katie measuring one single week behind wasn't a cause for multiple growth ultrasounds and say that measuring a week ahead doesn't mean he's on the beefy side.

C) SERIOUSLY, BITCH?  Do you SEE my total weight?  Because it is actually still within healthy BMI range for NON-PREGNANT women of my height.  So suck it.

And I also realized that I started out this pregnancy significantly skinnier than I started the other two, so even though I will still end up much higher than I did with the girls, it is not QUITE the cause for annoyance I originally thought.  Because, thanks to the massive stress around G's seizures and general overall health, I started out this pregnancy with a BMI of about 19 (yes, I actually went back and calculated it when I realized I was pissed off by her comments).  Stress will do that to a person (sidenote: anyone who has ever been told to just relax and you will get pregnant, please do feel free to use me as an example as to why they should go piss up a rope.  Really.) 

So annoyed.

I have also been fighting the cold that ate Cleveland for the last two weeks, so it's really been fun times up in here.  It started as this godawful spasmodic cough that kept me up all hours of hte day and night and eventually migrated to my head, where it has robbed me of all sense of smell and therefore taste for the last week, and it does not appear as though it will return in time for Christmas eve dinner tomorrow, so I gotta tell ya, I'm not the most pleasant company these days.

I probably need more brownies.

Anyway.  This is what I look like right now.  I am enormous, there is no denying that.  But try to tell me that's not a big baby.  JUST TRY I DARE YOU.

Stosh:
Katie:
 Gracie:




It's the first picture where I remember Katie finally passing up Gracie's bump.  I definitely pass up both with Stosh, though.  BOYS.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Four

Four years ago today, it was gray and sleety and hideous outside, and I stared out the window and thought, I cannot believe I am going to take this baby home today.  Have I lost my damn mind?

We could have stayed another night.  We hadn't slept in days, we were having some significant breastfeeding challenges (to say the least, ugh), and I. was. freaking out.  But?  The nurses we'd had weren't exactly helping with any of that, so it seemed to make just as much sense to go home as it did to stay.

Today, it is gray and cold and rainy (but not quite sleety!) and the house is full of toys and stickers and tiny Barbie shoes and cardboard and plastic and packaging and two extremely exhausted children.

I will take today over four years ago every single time.

There's so much I could say about the past year here, but you know, it really sucked and was filled with so much worry, ranging from neurotic anxiety to balls-out terror, that I'm really ready to just leave it where it is and look forward to this year, and let Gracie do the talking. This is stolen from Pinterest and my friend Jess.

Twenty Questions for Gracie on her fourth birthday:



What is your favorite color?   purple
2. What is your favorite toy?   LaLaLoopsy singing doll
3. What is your favorite fruit?   grapes
4. What is your favorite tv show?   Spongebob
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?   macaroni and cheese        
6. What is your favorite outfit?   Pajamas! (said with gusto. Mama’s girl.)
7. What is your favorite game?   Tag you’re it get me (commonly known as Tag)
8. What is your favorite snack?   fruit
9. What is your favorite animal?   tigers
10. What is your favorite song?   ABC
11. What is your favorite book?   Magazines (Hilights High Five. Again:mama’s girl)
12. Who is your best friend?   Lucy
13. What is your favorite cereal?   Honey Cheerios (honey nut cheerios)
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?   Play on the slide
15. What is your favorite drink?   Apple juice
16. What is your favorite holiday?   My birthday (heh)
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?   Daddy and mommy
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?   cereal
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?   pizza
20. What do you want to be when you grow up?   A nurse

Happy birthday, Gracie.  I love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pictures

About a month ago now, the girls and I went to their cousin's birthday party at an art/play space.  It was right in the middle of nap time, so both girls fell asleep on the way there, but Gracie woke up in good spirits, excited to paint and play.  She was a little sleepy/out of it, but happy.  The kids started by painting picture frames, and then they were organized for a group picture.  G was quiet but content, got in line, and was paying VERY close attention, trying to do everything absolutely right, sit exactly where she was told, and listen for more instructions.  So when they told the kids to say cheese, she immediately complied.  And only half of her face moved.  The other half was virtually frozen.  This is not *exactly* new- her facial weakness never went away, it's definitely worse when she's tired, and, as her neurologist pointed out, best when she's expressing genuine emotion.  It's never good right when she wakes up.  So it shouldn't have shocked me.  But seeing her, so intent on being part of the group, and seeing how very, very obvious the facial weakness was, felt like being slapped.  With a brick.  I pretended to busy myself with Katie, who was not in the picture, and very helpfully feeling quite fussy after her own premature awakening (HA.  as if she normally cares.), and it was a good excuse to walk away and talk big gulping breaths and stop crying already, SERIOUSLY.  I have no idea if Gracie noticed or not.  She will one day, and so will other kids around her, and that's all I have to say about that.

While I was driving home, I realized that the pictures they took at school, which I'd been so, so excited to finally see, might not be something I wanted to see after all.  I mean, it's highly unlikely that a photographer she's never met before is going to elicit a genuine smile.  So I waited on pins and needles, bracing myself for the worst, telling myself it was okay, we have plenty of pictures of big, genuine smiles, and it's just one silly school picture.

When I was unloading her bag after school today, I saw the envelope with the pictures.  I actually held my breath as I slid them out of the envelope.

And I haven't stopped staring at it since.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

28 weeks, blah blah blah

please God, let this baby weigh close to nine pounds....


as compared to Gracie:
and Katie:





Goodness gracious.

How does this compare otherwise to the other two?  I am not entirely sure because I am too distracted by the fact that SERIOUSLY, Katie has been possessed by a rapidly-cycling bipolar hyena and it is taking all my energy to try to figure out how the hell to make her stop screaming every hour in response to various offenses, such as: being given milk, having milk taken away, having her pancakes cut up, having her pancakes left whole, being given a blanket, having said blanket taken away, the wind, the barometric pressure....what have you.  And then all of a sudden, she'll be like this, which is also the only way she ever is when she's around other people, so everyone thinks I'm just being crabby:



(which, for the record, I am SO CRABBY, but also she is like a rapidly-cycling bipolar hyena.)  Also, I have a damn cold, which, actually, as far as me and colds during pregnancy go, it is pretty awesome that I made it this far before I fell victim to the evil rhinovirus, but it is still no fun to be 28 weeks pregnant with your third child and sneezing all the time.  I AM JUST SAYING.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Weird.

Since we turned the clocks back, Katie woke up at 4:15 and G was up at 5:30.  Don't worry, this is not going to be yet another post about sleeping.  Rather, I am explaining why, in spite of the fact that I am in possession of functioning eyes and ears, I'm still allowing my children to watch Barney.

Because, seriously.

Although, I stand by a previous statement made (not here, but still) that this show is less annoying than the Fresh Beat Band.  I will not be swayed on this topic.

ANYWAY.

I'm really, really, REALLY tired, and irritable, and dreading the thought of making it all the way to bedtime on a day that started at 4:15, so my kids are watching Barney.  And I think it's a perfectly valid choice.  We were actually watching something else, when the PBS Kids preview window popped up with a picture of Barney and Katie LOST HER MIND.  Which is really weird because we never, ever watch this show.  G watched it all the time, but we've kept K away from it.  THEY JUST KNOW.  He hypnotizes them.  Anyway, G was on board with Barney and it meant I got to sit on the couch and stare into space and drool a little bit, so, you know, win-win.  The weird part was that it just happened to be a rerun of the episode that we kept on the Tivo for something like fifty years when Gracie was Katie's age, because she loved the songs in this one so much.  And it didn't just bring back memories, it brought really, really strong feelings.  It's, like, the television version of Proust's madeleine.  Gracie fell in love with Barney right around the time that I decided maybe- mayyyybe- I did not suck at the whole motherhood thing.  Which is kind of funny, since letting your little kid watch not just tv, but BARNEY, often enough that they have a favorite episode, is kind of an epic fail.  The irony isn't lost on me.  Whatever.  My POINT is that I was already feeling exhausted and impatient and not super awesome at this gig, and seeing Barney and Riff sing about ducks was a good reminder that there was a time when I was even WORSE at this!

Wait, that's not really my point either.  Look.  I don't think I HAVE a point.  I'm really tired, okay?  I saw an old episode of Barney and it brought back lots of old, intense memories.  Try not to be jealous that I wrote this and not you.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The answer is Motrin. Mostly.

A few nights ago, utterly broken by fatigue, it occurred to me to dose Katie with Motrin before bed in an attempt to not die of exhaustion.  Also because it got cold really fast here so I can't make her sleep in the car.

It worked!  It actually worked!  She slept thru the night and woke at a normal hour.  And the other two nights since then, too!  She's had a bit of a runny nose and I think I finally (FINALLY) see her lower lateral incisors coming in, so she has plenty of reasons to not be sleeping well.  And she has a fully erupted molar on the right that was probably bugging her as it shimmied its way toward daylight.  We never knew when Gracie was teething until we saw new teeth in her mouth, so I tend to forget about teething, which I think probably bothers Katie a lot more.  The only problem is when to stop giving the motrin, because, seriously?  I am not sure I can give up sleeping thru the night and sleeping until the hedonistic hour of 6:30 this often.  So I gave her some tonight, because she did still kind of have a runny nose and also because her gums look thin, but no teeth in front.  So hopefully she'll sleep well.

....if she ever falls asleep.  Because it is now nearly 9pm and she is sitting up in bed, singing songs to herself.  And a few minutes ago, was standing up, waving her hands over the edge like she was casting a spell.

SERIOUSLY??????????  *I* want to go to bed!!  *I'm* tired!  And I napped during her nap today, which means that it is official and my toddler needs less sleep than I do. 

I TOLD YOU GUYS SHE WAS FREAKY.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Yes, well, someone should find it funny.

So Katie is the worst sleeper in the history of mankind.

No, really.  She is.  Weissbluth, Ferber, Karp, your next door neighbor's shaman- she is resistant to ALL of their sleep training methods.  She'll fool us, and sleep like a normal human for, like, a week.  I mean, a human who doesn't get very much sleep for their age, but she'll do it.  And just as we start to exhale and think, FINALLY, she has decided to join the human race- BAM! Waking every day at 4am!  Screaming all night long!  Then all day because the stubborn little turd is exhausted! 

But the bullcrap she pulled this weekend really takes the cake.  Waking from 12:30-2:30 friday and saturday, and only going back to sleep when I spent half the goddamn night sleeping on the floor next to her crib.  Which is all kinds of awesome at six months pregnant, let me tell you. Stephen tried rocking her and got her to sleep but she started screaming like a banshee in the Irish highlands the minute he dared to put her down.  So last night, when she started screaming at 12:30?  Oh, it is ON. IT.  IS.  ON.  So I reattempted Ferberizing her.


And that was as successful as one would imagine.

So Stephen took his pillow in her room and made his own attempt.  But by then she was pissed off and overtired and amped up and stayed awake, all told, from 12-4am.  At which point I took her downstairs, gave her motrin (maybe her teeth hurt? I don't know.  I just know this crap has to STOP.  Like, NOW.) and she finally passed out and fell asleep.

So naturally, it was not her older sister (who is my favorite because she's not a sociopath hell-bent on my destruction) who woke up as I was walking out the door at 6:20 to leave for work.  Oh no.  She was sleeping like a totally normal human.  The toddler who only slept maybe four hours last night?  SHE was awake.  And this is the picture I got two minutes later on my phone.

Proof: for all the dumbassese out there saying, "ohhh, she's just a BABY, she's not doing it on PURPOSE."  CLEARLY YOU ARE STUPID SUCKERS.  KNOW THE ERROR OF YOUR BELIEFS.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

24 Weeks: Stosh-style

This entry is several days late.  Why could that be, when I am so fond of baring my belly and posting it for the world to see on the internets...oh yes that is right I feel like shit on a shingle.  How could I forget?

Stosh, ever courteous, is determined to make this pregnancy the most miserable, horrible, all-around godawful nine months of my liiiiife, in order to prevent me from being sad and pining for another pregnancy when we are, in fact, DONE, upon his arrival (as I am absolutely the type to ignore the fact that pregnancies result in babies- who often don't sleep, in our case, who ultimately become children, and find myself longing for just one more chance.)  He has fully ensured THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN.  I am not glowing or blissful or any of that crap.  I am a hot mess.  My hair continues to fall out and my skin is breaking out and I have restless legs and insomnia and horrible nightmares and reflux-y heartburn and STILL, good CHRIST, with the nausea, and I can barely sit without getting winded, much less run, the ONE THING that often clears my mind and makes me feel human, and I cannot seem to stop eating in spite of the aforementioned troublesome symptoms and you know....yeah.  Whine whine whine.  I KNOW, OKAY?  I know.

(I'mstillfuckingmiserable.)

Wanna see how enormous I am this time?  because I am entirely enormous.

Stosh: he is big.  please God, let him be big....

Gracie: she was reasonably big...ok...
Katie: oh my hell, look at THAT.  ...though she was admittedly petite...
Why did I carry  my first baby the lowest of all my pregnancies?  Isn't that weird?  Though it is good to see the comparison between all three, because it reminds me that Katie was very misleading as a comparison- the wee baby whose lack of growth inspired multiple extra ultrasounds.  And, for the record, the baby whose weight gain clung to me like a barnacle on the rudder of the Titanic. So that is also reassuring.

Whatever, I have to take it where I can find it.  Now if you'll excuse me, I need to writhe around in bed and complain about how horrible I feel and how I can't sleep.  It's all very fascinating.  My husband is a lucky, lucky man.

Monday, October 15, 2012

REDEEMED.

So.  THAT was unpleasant, no?

WELL.

I actually heard back today from the executive director for our branch of the Y.  It was exactly, precisely, perfectly what we needed to hear.  She was profusely apologizing, told me it was the first thing she started working on when she got in and read my email this morning.  She contacted the sports director, they were both horrified by what had happened, it is not the way they do things.

In short: recreational gymnastics is recreational.  It is not like swimming, where the kids are required to show certain skills before they move up to the next class, or like the higher levels of gymnastics, where they have to prove they're capable of the executing the skills before they can participate in another level.  It's not pass-fail.  They're preschoolers.  They don't work for the class, the class works for them.  Instructors are supposed to talk to every parent at the start of class to determine if there are any special needs, fears, etc.  If a child appears to be struggling, there should be ongoing discussions about what needs to be done to meet that child's needs so they can fully participate.  And never, under ANY circumstances, are adolescent coaches to be having conversations with parents like the one that happened on saturday.

The two directors actually went back and reviewed the footage from the gym on saturday (!!!*), watched Gracie, saw nothing that would exclude her from participating by ANY stretch, and also determined who it was that approached me.  She is no longer teaching the preschool class.  They will be doing some individual coaching with her and she will be pulled to do something else (well, that was implied.  Or maybe she's fired?  I have no idea and I didn't ask.  But OMFG SRSLY: what sixteen year old takes THAT into her own hands????  BRASS BALLS.  WOW.  I'd like to meet her mother...) 

I was asked to please, please bring Gracie back for the last two classes of the session, and also told that, if I was willing to try again, we could take the next session for free.  We would have new coaches, and if I saw someone in particular form a strong bond with Gracie, I should let them know so they can permanently assign them to her group. 

We're finishing the class out and signing up for the next session.  I told her a free class isn't necessary- I really, really don't want her to think we were looking for something free, I don't want to take away from the message here, that things should NEVER be handled this way.  She kept offering and we came to an agreement- I'm going to register and pay the same way I always do.  If things are not going well, we'll withdraw, and I'll go directly to her for a refund.  The other fact of the matter is that we can pay for our classes, and not everyone who goes to the Y can do that.  It just feels really...wrong.  And greedy.  So we'll do it this way.

I should have known.  I really, really should have known.  Gracie's safe place to be a regular kid was, is, and always will be her safe place to be a regular kid.  I should have known!  But oh my god, can you even IMAGINE acting that way when you were a teenager?  I seriously still can't fathom the balls on that girl, having that conversation all on her own.  SERIOUSLY, people.

Last night, Gracie was stomping around the house in her new pink cowboy boots, and asked me if she could wear them to gymnastics next time.  I panicked, froze, and didn't know what to say, so I told her gymnastics was over.  She scrunched up her face and said, "Mama, NOOO!!  Next time, pweeeease?!??!!"  And I'm not going to get into the ugly thoughts I had about certain former coaches of hers.  Because it actually feels so much better to know that I'm going home tonight and telling her, silly mama! I was wrong!  Gymnastics isn't over yet!  And YES, you can wear your pink cowboy boots.  (even though you can barely walk in them because seriously, you are your mama's daughter and the future of gymnastics is not in your bones.)

*OMG, the Y has VIDEO FOOTAGE of gymnastics class!!!!  WHY is my first thought, "holy crap, they video tape that?  Please God tell me I didn't pick any wedgies in front of the camera...."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

When Parenthood Hurts

A few months after we seemed to have Gracie's seizures under control, I signed her up for ballet class with her BFF.  It...did not go well.  She was still too hyper from the meds, the timing was terrible (right after her nap, and since we were still in the old house, she had to wake up early from her nap, get dressed in a leo and tights- NO THANK YOU- and get in the car to go.)  We went twice and stopped.  She had fun once she was there, but she wasn't participating super well, and it wasn't fair to the other kids in the class.  If she noticed, she never did say.

Now that we've moved and things are even better, BFF's friend suggested gymnastics.  Saturday mornings! Perfect! Gracie was all-in.  Awesome.

The first class was, well, a disaster.  I was sitting off to the side with Katie and the other parents, and unsure how long I should let things go before intervening (it's hard to tell in those settings!  especially because she tends to do better for strangers than for me, which I think is pretty typical.)  The teacher is extremely young, we're talking about 15 or 16, and was clearly frustrated and irritated by her, and did not find her remotely charming.  It kind of sucked to see, but I could hardly blame the girl.  I left the class figuring we'd give it one more shot, but if it kept going like that?  We'd be gymnastics drop-outs. 

But then! It got better!  She started listening and staying with the group.  She had to be reminded to wait her turn in line, but, you know, they're three, all the kids need that.  (There are four kids in the class, two of them are her friends from playgroup, which I think helped.)  (I hope you're noting all of these details.  They're rather important to the plot here.)  She was terrified of the high bar and going all the way over the vault, but we had lots of pep talks about not crying, just sitting to the side, telling the teacher no thank you, etc.  She wasn't disrupting the other kids, let's just say I wasn't looking into the 2024 Olympics.  And the stuff she liked?  Oh my god, she LOVED it.  From day one, she could somersault down the wedge without any help.  She LOVED running in the little foam hamster wheel.  She was so proud doing jumping jacks with the rest of the class, and bear-crawling across the parallel bars was one of her favorite things ever.  As long as she wasnt' scared, she was HAPPY.  She's had four classes now, and she has two left.  I was kind of on the fence about the next session- the stuff that scares her, really scares her, and it was just hard to be sure that the good outweighed the bad.  And, well, I don't like her teacher.  Who isn't mean to her, per se, but doesn't really like her, either. To me, it's obvious, but G is entirely oblivious, so I also wondered how much that should matter.

And then.

After the last class (which included some tears and a bathroom break, so not a gold-star kinda day, to be sure), the teacher came over and asked if I was Gracie's mom (as if she didn't know.)  I slowly said, yessss, as I wrangled Katie off the equipment (another reason I hesitated to sign up for the next session, the girl wants nothing to do with sitting on the sidelines).  She said, "So. Are you, like, signing her up for the next session?"  And knowing this conversation was going nowhere good, yet stunned she would choose this venue for the conversation, with every other parent and child in her class surrounding us, plus every family for the next class as well, with both girls running around, and with the ADULT coach standing twenty yards away, taking no part in this conversation, I said, "Well, um, I don't know, maybe nooooot...."  and she said, "OK, because there are two classes left, and if you want to sign her up again, you'll need to put her in parent-tot.  Because of her...abilities."  And you know, I have absolutely no idea what I said to the little...thing.  I honestly don't.  I know it was nothing bad, and I probably said ok, or something along those lines, but I truly do not remember, as the heat and anger and sadness and embarassment swirled around my head and I swallowed the pure, mama bear rage that bubbled up in my throat.  BFF's mom just stared at me, stunned, and said, "...what just happened?" And when I told her, the mom of G's other friend from playgroup said, "Wait, WHAT????"  And I repeated myself, packed us up, and got ready to leave the gym.  Absolutely nothing good could come from going over this topic.  BFF's mom was turning purple with anger at that point, and already planning not to re-enroll BFF (which is just crazy, because BFF is a really awesome gymnast and the little punk-ass teacher actually really loves her and seriously).

And I went downstairs to work out, and decided we wouldn't finish out the session.  I'd ask for a class credit for the last two classes, we would find something else to do, we would never, ever, EVER enroll in gymnastics again.  And as the adrenaline rose (working out when angry can be a good thing OR a bad thing...) I felt the angry, frustrated, sad tears bubble over and jumped off the elliptical and went in the hall to collect myself.  Wher eI promptly dissolved into hitching, ugly sobs.  Because it makes me so MAD and so SAD.  She's not disrupting the class.  She's not going to be a gymnast, but they're THREE, for fucks' sake.  Why do they give a shit if she's in this class or the baby class? And why didnt' they ASK me, so we could have a conversation about how much better she behaves when I'm NOT involved, and how much she loves being in the class with her friend?  And why is the very first conversation they're ever having with me the one where they're telling me we're not welcome back?  And why is a fucking fifteen year old having this bullshit conversation with me?  And why can't my baby catch a fucking BREAK already?

And eventually I pulled my shit together (hormones are a cruel mistress), got the girls, and came home and emailed the member director at the Y.  The place that was her rock, OUR rock, when everything was so shitty and awful.  Telling her I think this was handled in a spectacularly horrible fashion.  That we won't ever be signing up for another gymnastics class there EVER, and that I honestly don't know if we should show up for the last two classes or request a credit- because I don't want that...thing, anywhere near G, with her shitty attitude and lack of adult input.  But I also don't want to punish G, who LOVES going to class. Who is SO PROUD every time she does something new.  I still haven't decided.  Part of me is hoping that she'll tell me the teacher said we shouldn't come back and they're giving us our money back, pro-rated.  Part of me knows that will just fill me with sadness and rage all over again.  And if she says it's up to us, I really don't know what we'll choose.

I know that she wasn't bothering anyone- I had no problem taking her out of ballet when I felt like she was.  I know that she's had a really shitty, difficult year, and I just want something to be easy for her, and if it can't be easy, then I want her to have fun. 

That's all.  And I let a little punkass sixteen year old ruin the weekend for me.  Which is pretty pathetic when you think about it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Just Another Day in the LIfe

I keep getting irritated with myself for not updating my blog more frequently.  I think, you are going to regret this one day.  You will wish you recorded more.  You will miss the details.

But really?  There's just nothing to say.  We get up.  Some days I go to work, some days I get to stay home.  Gracie goes to school.  She loves school and seems to be thriving.  We eat lunch.  We play outside.  We nap (my childrens' sleep needs remain woefully small in comparison to my own, don't ask me what THAT crap is about).  We are having beautifully quiet, uncomplicated days and because I am not a writer, I just don't have that many interesting things to say about it.

Stosh (the official nickname for baby3.0, although I am beginning to worry it's going to stick after he's born, since G has taken to telling everyone who will listen that her baby brother Stosh is living in mommy's tummy) continues to make me nauseous, exhausted-but-sleepless, gives me dreams both vivid and grotesque, is moving and shaking more and more every day, and is generally working hard to be sure that the end of my reproductive career is met with relief instead of tears.  (which, seriously?  who are we kidding?  it's ME.  I could puke every day, ten times a day, for nine months, and there would still be great weeping and gnashing of teeth when the bakery is officially and definitely closed.  THAT'S HOW I OPERATE.)

Things are quiet.  I am not complaining.  It makes for a boring blog, but it's better than the alternative.  FO SHO.

Sorry.  Lame update.  Here.  Watch Katie dance.





Friday, September 28, 2012

It's That Time Again....

20 weeks!  As compared to Gracie:

And Katie:




Biggest yet, I think?  Hard to tell! If I weren't so lazy I'd line them all up, but that's the closest we're getting.  Gracie was the mushiest, for sure, and I look the leanest with Katie, which is funny because I gained the most with her.  I forgot to mention yesterday that this baby is BIG- measuring a full week ahead on almost every measurement, with these huge, gangly legs and feet almost as long as his legs.  It'll be interesting to see how that goes as we move through this.  Especially since I already feel like my tailbone is perpetually bruised, and based on how his head already was yesterday, I'm not expecting that to improve until after he pops out.

Of course, we could speculate about whether I am carrying this baby like a boy or a girl or more like Katie or Gracie but OH WAIT WE ALREADY KNOW HE'S A BOY.

So instead I'm just going to look at the pictures and just ask myself how similar he is to each of the girls.  The pregnancy is already a lot more like Gracie than Kate, except Now! With more vomiting! And nausea!  And irritability!  And you know what else is awesome?  you know how pregnant women are supposed to have thick, shiny, amazing hair?  I am currently half bald.  The hair still in my head is brittle and frizzy, like I had one too many perms and then didn't get it cut.

In other words: Stosh is going to be the easiest baby ever.  I JUST KNOW IT.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

That Really Does Happen

Back when we found out the caboose was on the way, I told Stephen it was up to him whether or not we found out the sex at the 20 week ultrasound.  He kept telling me he didn't know if he really wanted to know or not.  I sort of assumed he'd decide he wanted to know, but I wasn't sure.

Our twenty-week ultrasound was supposed to be Tuesday afternoon, but a last-minute work change bumped it to this morning, two days later.  It was all kinds of stress getting down there- height of rush hour traffic, Stephen had to drop G off at preschool, so we had to drive separately, ugh.  It sucked.  We were both late- I was just a few minutes late, but S got stuck in extra-hideous traffic and didn't get there til after the tech started scanning the baby's head.  She asked us if we were finding out, and I looked to Stephen.  He told me to decide.  Seriously?  Yes!  He swore he did not care, either way was fine.  Ok, I said, we're not finding out.  I love the anticipation, I love the big reveal in the delivery room, I love everything about waiting to find out.  It's so awesome.  I highly recommend it.

Anyway.  She continued scanning, and absolutely everything looked perfect.  Of course, just like every other ultrasound we've had, there were certain shots she couldn't get for anything.  This time, the baby's face was smashed firmly downward, and no matter how hard we all tried, there was just no imaging that baby's lips.  She got a partial shot (and omg so freaking cute, the little nostrils, come out here so I can eat you!), but finally gave up.  At that point, we'd seen everything, Stephen left to get Gracie from school and I sat with the strip of awesome ultrasound pictures the tech handed me, waiting while she had the peri double-check the images.

I don't know how long Stephen had been gone when I finally started looking at all of them.  Face, hand, profile, gender shot...WHAT.  Yep.  I couldn't even pretend it was something else.  Butt, partial femur, and plain as day, dangly boy parts.  When my heart started beating again, I started frantically assessing the situation.  I needed to tell Stephen.  I did not want to tell him over the phone.  What the FUCK, how did this HAPPEN???  oh my god, it's a boy.  it's a boy!  obviously.  So, so obviously (he clearly has my modesty, is all I'm saying).  The tech came back in the room and cheerfully told me everything looked fine, and I just needed to come back for one picture of the baby's lips.  Laughing freakishly (I mean, really.  this totally insane, mirthless but neverending laugh-like noise), I handed her the strip of pictures and said, "Um.  What's this?"  Grasping at straws- ANY STRAW- that I was wrong (although I knew I wasn't, because, see again: so obvious.  and anyway, even if she hadn't screwed up like that, the full-body profile shot right next to it clearly shows the cord, and the baby's junk totally separate, so it would have been ruined anyway.  it was destined, written in the stars.)  She immediately flushed, started stuttering, and looked like she was going to puke all over the room.  "Um, ok, wait, is this your name??"  She asked.  NICE TRY, SWEETHEART.  Still making that completely freaky laugh-sound, I said, "Yes.  That's my name.  And I actually know what it is.  It's, um, kind of obvious."  And she looked like she was going to cry, and said, "Oh my god.  I have never done this before.  I have never, ever done this before.  I can't believe this.  This has never happened.  Oh my god."  And while she was saying that, she tore off the gender shot and crumpled it up in her hand.  I said, "well wait, give that to me!  My husband wasn't here anymore when I found it!" And she snapped her head up and said, with eyes like saucers, "Don't tell him!"  Then I started laughing for real and said, "I can't do that!  Honestly, it's okay.  I swear.  It happens!"  And she said, "Not to me, it doesn't!  Oh my god!"  At which point, I couldn't take it anymore.  Seriously, woman, you could have told me something far, far worse than the sex of my child at this ultrasound.  So I looked her straight in the eye and said, "Ok, seriously?  This ultrasound scares me half to death.  I barely slept last night.  I KNOW that you can find awful things here.  He is healthy and really, really, REALLY, that is all that matters.  OK?!"  Because, honestly.

So then I went to check out and schedule the follow-up, completely and totally in a TIZZY.  I can catch up with Stephen!  I can meet him at school while he gets Gracie and show him the ultrasounds then.  Maybe I should stop and get a blue cupcake like when people do the gender reveal that way!  (and if we were going to find out, wouldn't that have been fun?!)  Blue balloons?  GET ME TO HIM NOW.

...So naturally he called about five minutes after I got in the car.  And it alll spilled out.  "I was racing to get to you because I didn't want to tell you on the phone but I have to tell you that she messed up when she gave us the pictures and the very first picture on that whole strip of pictures was the gender shot and..." "WHAT IS IT????"

"...it's a boy."

"it's a BOY?" (when you imagine this, please hear his voice going up a full octave on the word boy.)

"yes.  it's a boy."

We toyed with the idea of keeping it a secret from everyone, but then we wanted to tell Gracie and honestly, how the hell am I supposed to keep a story like THIS under wraps?  Girl, please.

And, you know...I am so excited the baby is a boy.  It's the cherry on the icing on the cake.  I am HUGELY relieved that the baby looks healthy.  I know very well that many people leave those ultrasounds with their heads spinning and their hearts broken.  But damnit, that's not how I wanted to find out.  I didn't WANT to find out ahead of time.  I would have been okay with it, but it's not my first choice.  And my absolute last choice was to find out by myself, after Stephen left, and miss out on the look on his face when he first heard he was going to have a son.  The good thing is, I don't tend to perseverate on things, so I will probably never mention this again.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

18 months

You know how, once your kid hits about two, and especially when they're behaving badly in public, everyone and their brother will walk up to you and say, "Just wait.  Two isn't terrible. Three is the REALLY terrible age.  Nobody tells you that."  Which, A) thanks, it's really helpful when the kid is acting up to be told this is nothing, and B) ...dude.  Seriously.  EVERYBODY tells you that.  I have no idea why people seem to think this is some big fat government secret.

ANYWAY.

My point being, everybody tells you three is bad.  After two kids, though, I now believe that 18 months is the secretly difficult age nobody tells you about.  Neither of my girls have been particularly good company at this age.  Tantrums, hitting, screaming, all of it.  And, I mean, yes, of course, it's also a super fun age, because it's when they start to get so clever and mischevious and you can see the gears turning in their brains as they figure out how things work and they're still chubby enough that you want to eat their cheeks.



Katie IS 18 months old.  She is the little girl with the little curl.  She tilts her head back and giggles from the depths of her belly.  She runs away every. single. time. she sees me holding clothes and makes me chase her all over the house to get her dressed, laughing the entire time.  She climbs on EVERYTHING- the toilet, the kitchen table, the windows- the kid is a monkey.  And when she's mad?  Well, let's just say they can still hear her in our old neighborhood, as she flips herself backwards and wills the tone out of every muscle in her body.  It is, um, it's something else.



Sometimes I forget she's only eighteen months old, because she understands every single word we say.  She doesn't talk much, but I think it's just because she's stubborn and doesn't feel like it.



She still only has six teeth!!  wtf?!  I don't know.  She looooves junk food.  She does not love vegetables.  And...shhhhh....she seems like maybe she is possibly learning how to sleep like a normal human.  I have thought this before and then she was all, yeah, psych, make with the 4am Wonder Pets, lady, pronto.  But really, it's abbout time and I do think we are getting there.



She obviously has no way of knowing how much her life will change by her second birthday.  And much  more than I did with Gracie, I worry about how she'll react when there's another baby in the house.  She already doesn't like to share my attention- if I"m putting Gracie's shoes on, she come over and crawl into my lap and hug me and try to keep me from paying attention to anyone but her.  She's like a cat.  Sooo, yeah, that should be interesting.  I actually keep thinking, I can't wait for her to turn two, because Gracie was such a fun two year old, but then I think, oh, but things will be so different and I want to sop up every last drop of just the two of them between now and then.  So even though I'm not always great at it, I'm working hard at not wishing the days away.

Except when she's boneless. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Preschool!!!

I realize this is a big fat cliche, but how is it possible that my little colicky, angry ball of scream is big enough to go to SCHOOL?  Actual, real school, where other big kids go, where she learns things and gets homework (which is optional but earns her a STICKER if she does it)?  HOOOOW???

She was really excited for her first day.

It is probably not normal, how much I love this picture.

She actually really was.  She just hates having her picture taken with a white hot rage.  Until she's in the right mood.  You know, when you totally can't see her cute outfit.

I mean, okay, this is really cute, but come on.  See above.  I'm just saying.
These pictures were actually taken on her orientation day.  That was...interesting.  Because once we got there, AGAIN, with the picture-taking.  I had met with the staff a week earlier, to talk about her seizures, and when they mentioned there would be pictures, I said, ohhh, yeah.  She HATES that.  Just to warn you.  And I hoped maybe she would be in the right mood for it, but alas.  She was not.  And when the secretary wanted to get just the totally perfect picture, the kid lost her patience.  And started running in circles around the room.  And tried to knock the cross off the wall.  And the holy water.  It really was one of my top parenting moments.

But it's all been better since then!  Her first week was a smashing success. She sang the ABCs and did art projects and something about the teacher letting her choose a book? Or something?  The details are fuzzy, because she doesn't really like to recap such things for me.  The one nugget I did get today was when I asked if she ate her snack, and she told me, "Oh, yes!  I had yogurt raisins and pretzels and apple juice because that is what you sent me!"  Which, in case you can't figure out from the context clues, I ALREADY KNEW.  Sigh.  But she lights up when she talks about school, and even though there were many, many children clinging and screaming at drop-off today (and LOTS of echoing off marble walls), she repeatedly pushed me away and told me good bye.  Um, okay?  Honestly, it was great.  So not complaining.

Katie had some fun while G was in school, too.  She made a beeline for the playground and we spent half an hour running around, climbing stairs and sliding down slides and jumping on the bouncy bridges and having a generally awesome time.



********

There is so, so much I didn't blog about, with all the craziness around the move.  The move!!  Ahhh.  It went as smoothly as any move possibly can, and we are so happy here we can't even believe it.  We keep saying to each other, "hey, guess what?  we live here now."  

We ate all kinds of food that didn't involve chick peas that I never got to tell you about and now I know you are SO SAD!  But don't worry, I took one picture! 

roasted edamame and carrots!  A reasonable hit.

I am no longer so nauseous that I wish for death.  It is a welcome change.  I have only gained seven pounds at 17 weeks, which is really fine but low for me so I am addressing that by eating burritos multiple days per week and tonight, eating an entire box of butterscotch pudding.  I don't even LIKE butterscotch pudding.  WTF? I do not know.  This baby mostly adores fried potatoes with ketchup and Mexican food.  But apparently also pudding. Old lady pudding.

And also Katie is 18 months old now.  There is just too much to say about that, so she gets her own post soon.  Tomorrow, maybe? I hope so.  Let me just give you the tease now: she has the gross and fine motor development of a 5 year old and the intellectual development of, well, an 18 month old.  It is just as awesome as it sounds.  And trust me, she agrees, with the screaming and the arching and the boneless and the TOTAL PISSED-OFFED-NESS for many hours of most days, except on days when she actually sleeps, when she is the happiest, most sunshine-y child you could possibly imagine. I'll let you guess how often she DOES actually sleep.

let's just say the Vincent Price bubble beard is....apt.  Right now she's plotting how to get me to wear a cursed tiki doll around my neck.

Friday, August 17, 2012

And also we are moving.

Because really, what else is going on in our lives?

Seriously, yes, it is always a stress to move, but this is so, so, so good.  We NEED to move.  This neighborhood is just...not working.  It's just not what I thought it was (I can't necessarily speak for Stephen, but I know he's been dying to get out of here even longer than I have.)  We are going to be in a much more residential neighborhood, closer to our families, better schools, our church, etc.  This is a GOOD thing.

...but if wouldn't be me if I weren't overthinking the bejesus out of it, and being hormotional on top of it isn't helping (because although this pregnancy feels shockingly similar to Gracie, I am shocked- SHOCKED- by how maudlin and weepy I have been.  And as someone who is maudlin and weepy at baseline?  It's just ugly.)  I know I've covered this before.  And I'm not sure I can explain it any more clearly than I already have.  Except maybe that it's not about the house, even.  I mean, it IS- like I said, this is where we became parents, and that's no small thing.  But before we ever knew Gracie was coming, before we were married or even lived together, Stephen lived in an apartment around the corner.  And we used to drive around the neighborhood and point out all of the Victorians with big porches where we imagined we might live one day.  It was the perfect neighborhood, halfway between work and family, still close to the fun, young neighborhood where I lived and Stephen would eventually move.  I didn't just think we would live here, I thought we would make a life here.

And SERIOUSLY- let me just say again that this is all silliness, because this move is SUCH a good thing and SO necessary, and such a massive relief and will eliminate so much stress and frustration and bring us so much happiness.  When I try to put my finger on it, I don't think I'm sad as much as wistful.  Because, sorry, but I have to quote Liz Lemon for just one second, I swear (I'm already being completely smurfy so WHY NOT), when she and her boyfriend decide to have a baby together and she says to herself, "Life is finally happening!!"  This neighborhood was where life was finally going to happen.  And now life IS happening and I could not be happier (well, I would like to sleep a bit more.)  So even though the neighbors sucked and the garage got tagged and the mice made themselves comfy here, and even though this is not where our lives will still be, this is one of the places where our lives started*, which is worth remembering.  (also: YIPPEEE!!!!  we're moving!!)  (* the other place is the condo where we lived before G was born, but I don't even NEED to celebrate that place because it was awesome and celebrates itself and we only moved because it was too small.)

not visible in picture: 42 metric tons of plastic, board books, and dog hair.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hello There, I am still alive.

Which the vast majority of you know, but for the scattered handful that did not: Hi.  I'm still alive.

It's been a crazy few months.  Gracie had her overnight EEG, we learned a few things, we increased her meds. 

You can tell this was a far less traumatic experience than her first EEG, since her "pretty blankie" (heavy quotes) is wrapped around her head not to look like a turban, and not by accident (as I really suspected), but because she was pretending to give herself sticky wires.  So, yay?  She has to have another EEG in a month, so hopefully we are on the path to this just being like a visit to her much-adored pediatrician.  I know some people find it so sad when their kids find things like this to be routine, and I have to say I do not get that.  Maybe because Gracie didn't just fight us, she kicked and screamed and bit and looked wildly around the room for an escape, and why the HELL would I want that to continue?  Why WOULDN'T I want this to be routine? 

So anyway.  Since then, she's had one small staring spell, but has not had a grand mal seizure for six weeks and THAT is something, right there.  I still snap my head around anytime she sighs heavily, gorans, or, you know, makes any kind of odd noise, but fortunately, I'm not greeted with blue lips and clenched fists lately.  So to say things are much, much better is the understatement of the century.

So why haven't I been blogging?  True story: you know how sometimes when you're pregnant (if you've been pregnant), you find yourself intensely repulsed by peanut butter, or ketchup, or strawberries?  About six weeks ago, I found myself utterly incapable of even opening this page.  Looking at the link in my drop-down menu made me dry-heave. 

That's right: the caboose is on the way.  And has brought with him/her THE worst morning (HA bullshit misnomer) sickness of any of my pregnancies.  And in addition to near-constant gagging, an inability to drink plain water or even THINK about touching food that isn't an eggo waffle or Progresso 99% fat-free minestrone, apparently this baby has a blog aversion. Who knew.  But now that I am only sick in the evenings, and am once again able to handle food products, I am also finding myself able to blog again.  Which is good because I would really kick myself if I didn't document any of this.  IT'S JUST BEEN SO FUN.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Seventh Verse, Same as the First

Gracie had another seizure saturday morning.  I can't get into what that one was like, except to say that I'm reasonably sure she was at least partially conscious for part of it and nobody should ever have to stand helplessly by while their child's eyes widen in terror, over and over again.  Though certainly plenty of other people have.  Nonetheless, I'll be ready to buy that brain bleach whenever they come out with it.

Every. Fucking. Time. I let my guard down and think we have this squared away, this happens.  First, the facial, oh, it's probably Bell's palsy.  OK, no it's not, but her MRI is fine.  OK, one seizure, but her EEG is normal.  Fluke? Who knows.  Two more seizures, ok, we have to treat her.  OK.  Lots of kids have seizures and need to be treated and outgrow them, some really quickly.  Two MORE seizures.  OK, she just needs a higher dose, and a boost, we started her really low.  Now I am out of excuses.  Now I am petrified and my mind is going places it shouldn't go because nothing good can come from it.

The seizure guru is meeting with us tomorrow, in advance of our video EEG on friday.  I would prefer to wait until friday, rather than putting G through the trauma of two separate hospital visits, but multiple people seemed to think that there might be some benefit from coming tomorrow, so fine.  I'll come.  And we'll see.

I desperately, desperately want her EEG to show something, anything.  For the doctor to say, oh yes, of course, she just needs this drug instead, and we'll revisit things in a year.  And send us on our way.  I am worried it will be entirely normal and we will not know a single thing more than we know right now, and we will just have to throw darts at the dart board and hope we find something that works.  

I desperately, desperately want Gracie to stop having seizures, to never feel that terror again, to never miss another playgroup, and to start preschool in the fall without worrying that she'll miss a day a week, or worse, be seizing too much for them to even let her attend. 

And I desperately want to sell our house and move because even though I am still pissed off at God, I told him I would stop asking to sell our house if G was okay and she is decidedly not so He owes me.  If he's not going to help her stop seizing, then he should at least help us be closer to our families and the Y and her hopefully new school in the fall.  He owes her that much.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Oh my god, kid, SERIOUSLY?

Gracie got a hair cut today.  She's actually usually done well with it, but lately she's been so obsessed with long hair, I was a little nervous about how it would go.  I spent a lot of time telling her that we had to cut it so it would grow faster (which is not a lie!), and she actually did okay.  She was CRAZY hyper and they had a really hard time sitting still, but we got it done.  Afterwards, she got to pick out a toy, and she randomly chose an oversized clear purple die with a regular die inside that rattled around (die, as in, one of dice.  I keep feeling like that word is unclear.)  Anyway, we got our balloons and lollipops (SERIOUSLY, this place is like Disney World) and were on our way.  We stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and got on the expressway to go home.

And of course- OF COURSE- within minutes of getting on the expressway, I heard her screaming from the back seat.  I whipped my head around, fully expecting to see her seizing.

Oh no.  She was not.

She had taken her oversized purple die and shoved it in her mouth, where it got stuck and she could not get it out.  She was freaking. the fuck. out.  And hello, ME TOO.

So I pulled onto the shoulder (which is not really a shoulder on the Kennedy, right?  It's like a passing lane.  You take your life into your own hands there), half-crawled into the backseat, and started trying to get it out.  It wouldn't budge.  She was freaking out and smacking me away and screaming and I had to keep ducking her blows and reaching for it.  When I finally really got my hands on it, I thought, holy shit, I am going to have to either break her teeth or dislocate her jaw to get this out.  Somehow, I managed to hyperextend her jaw juuuust far enough to get it out, at which point she started screaming full voice and I nearly vomited with relief.

If she had pushed her tongue back even one inch further, she would have turned blue before I got it out.  I don't even want to think about how long it would have taken me to figure out something was wrong. 

It's that fucking Keppra.  She is SO frigging oral when she's in this manic stage.  Just a few days ago, I took away her plastic Dora ring because she kept putting it in her mouth and I was worried she would swallow it or have a seizure while it was in her mouth.  She licks, she bites, and she puts all kinds of things in her mouth.  Including one stupid oversized purple die, which is now in the garbage.

But on the plus side, she was not seizing.  Win?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hopefully They'll Be Able To Tell You Why

Since this phrase has been repeated many, many times by well-meaning people who only want the best for us, and especially for Grace, I'm going to put on my nurse hat for a minute.

Grace has seizures because Grace has a seizure disorder.  That is the "why".

Or, as far as we know at this point.  And hopefully it will stay that way.

Thus far, we have not uncovered anything else that could be causing her seizures.  Her neuroimaging is normal and the very cursory bloodwork we've done has also been normal.  I am not entirely ruling out a separate cause for both the facial weakness and the seizures (at this point, we're operating under the belief that the seizures cause the facial weakness, because it makes the most sense, but I can't let my guard down on that because I control the universe and continuing to keep a low-level worry in the background, like the apps that run continually on your phone with some work but not TOO much, will keep it from being anything else.) 

This is good.

Most times, when seizures are secondary to another problem, that problem is a very bad one.  It is almost always a bad thing to have another reason to have unprovoked seizures (meaning your electrolytes, your blood sugar, and your body temperature are normal, to name a few things, and you have seizures anyway.)  The only "good" secondary cause I can think of for seizures would be a minor cortical dysplasia that is easily resected without complication.  And even that requires brain surgery, sooo...yeah.

Sometimes, there is a family history of seizures- there is a relatively strong genetic link, so when a family offers that an uncle or a grandparent also had seizures as a child, we nod knowingly and feel unsurprised that the child also has seizures.  That is not the case here, as far as we know.  That is not the case plenty of times.  Only sometimes.

Think of it like diabetes.  If you knew someone who's child was diagnosed with diabetes, you might ask, why did they get diabetes?  And maybe there is a family history, and that is the "why".  Maybe they have a secondary cause, like a pancreatic tumor.  Many times, it is just the luck of the draw.  They have diabetes because they have diabetes.  And six months later, you probably don't wonder, "OK, but why haven't the doctors figured out why she has diabetes??"  She has it because she has it.  This is very similar.

One way it is very different is that many kids outgrow seizures. Some very quickly.  Some take longer.  Some are not that lucky and they do not.  Of course, we hope hope hope that Gracie will outgrow this, sooner rather than later.  And in the meantime, we're looking for any answers we MIGHT find, about how best to treat the seizures so they stop forever.  Hopefully we find that answer sooner rather than later, too.