Sunday, February 28, 2010

Believing in Miracles

Hi everyone,

As most of you know, my boys came into this world facing odds against survival, born four months prematurely, at less than 1.5 lbs. each. And despite their rough start and a few bumps in the road, today they are wonderfully normal, crazy toddlers who keep me hopping.

The Charlotte chapter of the March of Dimes asked me to share the boys’ story at last week’s kickoff for the 2010 March for Babies. Honestly, I don’t think back to the boys’ first six months very often. It’s just not easy.

I’ve always wondered why the boys had to go through everything they did. Very few of us will experience in a lifetime the volume of medical procedures these little boys did in the first six months of their lives.

I’ll never have the answer to that question, but the one thing that gives me some comfort is knowing that we can use the boys’ story to raise awareness about prematurity and in particular, organizations like the March of Dimes.

I am confident that my boys are as happy and healthy and normal as they are thanks to the research funded by the March of Dimes.  The 2010 March for Babies is on April 24th this year in Charlotte. We’d love it if you would walk and celebrate with us!!! Join Team DEFKAHN 3 and help the March of Dimes continue its efforts to give babies like mine a fighting chance.

Our team link (with the boys’ story and donation info) is at

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support...

Love, Raizel (and Brian, and especially, Zach, Charlie & Coop)

And now, a word from Cooper

Hi.  I'm Cooper Kahn.  Please help me.  There are unspeakable and strange things happening at my house.

A demon dog keeps pooping in front of me.

And daddy keeps calling himself Bork the Horrible and me Olaf the Goatsmasher.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Midget Mobile and the Mud Monster's Trip to the Bank

I am such a snob.

Three years ago, I would have told you that I am SO not ever driving a minivan. Now, I’m a minivan snob. I love my Odyssey, and I miss her dearly.

I asked the boys the other day what happened to Mommy’s van. Charlie said, “Van got boo boo.” Cooper piped in “and Mommy cried.”

The boys’ version of what actually happened isn’t so far off. The part they left out is that about two weeks ago, we got rear ended twice and got stranded on an icy road -- at night, during a ice/snow storm (yes, here in Charlotte!) I didn’t just cry – I panicked. It was just me and the boys, stranded, jutting out in an intersection, on a road that had been shut down on one side by 4 other car accidents (the ice and snow made the road practically impassable). For two hours I held my breath praying that no other cars would slam into us. (And because there were 3 boys and only 1 me, I couldn’t take them out of the van either). The happy ending to this story is that we were rescued by one of Brian’s partners who lived nearby (thank you Scott), and the boys and I were fine. Actually, I think the boys enjoyed the adventure. They got to stay up WAY past their bedtime, after all…

Back to me being a snob... So while the van is in the shop, I’m stuck with a rental made for midgets. I can barely squeeze into the back to the third row, let alone while manhandling a toddler refusing to get into his car seat. Jeesh. Counting the days til I get my van back. I’ll never speak ugly of her again.

And while I’m being a grouch, let me tell you about my afternoon.

When the boys got up from their naps, it was a balmy 53 degrees outside, and I even saw sunshine. Let’s go to the park!! The boys were super excited. We loaded into the midget mobile, and off we went. But by the time we got to the park, it was pouring, and I swear the temperature dropped 10 degrees. We sat in the park’s parking lot for a few minutes:

Me: Sorry boys! We’ve got to go back home. It’s raining and cold!

Charlie, Zach, and Cooper, in unison: NO!! Park!! Play at park! Park Park Park Park!!”

Me: But it’s cold and rain---


OK, fine. See how much you like being cold and wet. I gave them 3 minutes, tops.

We were there at least 20. Maybe 30 minutes. They didn’t seem to notice the rain, and Charlie refused to wear his hood the whole time. They kept telling me that the slide was wet, and Zach kept pointing out that Charlie’s hair was wet. Go figure.

Eventually I convinced them that we’d have much more fun in our dry and warm playroom. We get home, and the boys are soaked. I stripped Zach’s and Charlie’s clothes inside, while Cooper (who refused to come in and unbeknownst to me) was playing in Lake Poodah and had become soaked with mud.

It’s now 4:40. The phone rings. It’s my husband (who I really do love very dearly), telling me that I need to run over to the bank and get his passport out of our safety deposit box. (No, he isn’t fleeing the country away from us, just needed it in lieu of his expired driver’s license to get on an airplane tomorrow morning at 7 a.m.). He reminds me that the bank closes at 5.

Are you freaking kidding??

So, in about 2 minutes, I dug up the safety deposit key, threw some random clothes and mismatched shoes on Zach and Charlie, yanked Cooper out of Lake Poodah, strapped everyone into the midget mobile, and took off like a bat out of hell.

The boys were so excited! “More park!!! Yay! More park!!”

Oh dear. Sorry boys, it's just Wachovia. We arrived at 5:01, and the very nice manager let us in.  I'm not sure he knew what to think of us: a sweating and very frazzled mom, a child wearing 2 left shoes, a mud monster, and another kid trailing behind apparently looking for a slide.

When it was all said and done, the boys were sure impressed by shiny bank floors and the security deposit vault. EVEN more than the park in the rain. Maybe we can come back to the bank tomorrow, I tell them.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Some relaxing "me" time at the gym

For the past 4 weeks, I've taken the boys once a week to babysitting at the gym. This is new for us. It's taken me two-and-a-half years to get the courage to drop them off. I tried for the first time about 6 months ago, and although the boys may have been ready for it, I guess I just wasn't.

I know, I know. It's overprotective craziness. I guess that's what happens when you bring 3 one-pounders into this world. Anyway, I'm working on it. Trying to prepare myself for preschool in the fall...

But I digress. So anyway, last week it rained just about every single day. On Thursday I'd had enough of being stuck inside, so when the boys woke up I told them we were going to the "J" (that's the gym) so mommy could exercise. Suffice it to say they were not interested in that plan. But I was determined to work out, and I dragged three angry little boys out of the house. "No J!! No J Mommy!! Go go-see store -- Go li-bary -- go My Gym -- Go Tah-get! No J! Waaaaah! No J!!" It was pouring and about 33 degrees.

It's a pretty good walk (for 2-year-olds who are crying and screaming and refusing to walk) from the parking lot to the gym. And by the time we arrived, it was pouring even harder. Once we parked, I stuffed screaming Zach and Cooper into their (unfortunately) canopy-less stroller, and told screaming Charlie he had to walk. (Triple strollers don't fit through doorways, so we use a double and someone always has to walk). Zach is screaming "No J! New pants!! New pants!" (apparently your pants get wet when it is pouring rain and your stroller has no lid), Cooper can NOT believe we aren't at the li-bary and what the heck happened to his juice ??, and Charlie is having a monster tantrum and is refusing to walk. I pleaded with him for a few minutes, but we were getting soaked (no hands for an umbrella), so I picked him up like a surfboard under one arm (the one that's wasn't carrying a gym bag and a bag full of enough snacks and juice to feed a family of 12) while pushing the wayward stroller with my stomach and one hand. All while trying to look cool, calm and collected.  Ha ha ha ha.

I should mention at this point that the parking lot is directly in front of a huge glass wall, on the other side of which is a mass of people on treadmills, stair steppers, and ellipticals looking out at the parking lot. At me, soaking wet (my hood fell off and I didn't have hands to get it back on) and my meltdowning surfboard and the stroller of screams. I thought about smiling and waving to the folks on the recumbant bikes who had front row seats but decided it was probably better not to make eye contact.

So we finally get inside. Another mom coming out of the babysitting room saw me and the boys and said, "Oh wow. It's OK if you want to cry too."

Of course, once I drop the boys off, they're fine. And when I return an hour later, they aren't even that excited to see me. In fact, Charlie wants to stay longer. But Cooper still wants to get to the li-bary. Our next stop, I promise him.