Life in Bits

Janiel Miller - Mom. Writer. Distractifier.

Tag: Birthday

Almost Born on the Fourth of July! Partay!–REDUX

This is supposed to be a pic of my kid wearing red/white/blue when she was a baby. I can't find it. So you get me. Looking very natural with a flag across my chest. It's how we roll, baby.

Okay, I just came back and re-read this post, and it was like, the most nauseating thing ever. I nearly died. ME! ME! GIVE ME WHAT I WANT FOR MY BIRTHDAY! I KNOW YOU ALL WANT ME TO HAVE IT! YOU'RE WELCOME! I'm VIM-ing just a little. (VIM – Vomit In Mouth)

I can only plead enormous lack of sleep, and temporary insanity. My apologies to any of you whose brains fell out while reading. 

What I really wanted to say was this: I grew up LOVING the 4th of July because I was almost born on it. I also spent a number of years living near our nation's capital, and my father was in the Air Force. Star Spangled Banners and Freedom's Call rang in my ears every where I went. Even at the movie theater.

Every movie on our air bases started with the audience rising for the national anthem, accompanied by a patriotic film montage (complete with subliminal messages to get you to go to the snack counter–flowers and fireworks exploding just like popcorn. Fountains that looked like streams of 7-UP. It was awesome!) We said the pledge of allegiance before class every day of the school year. I died of shock when my dad retired and I attended public school for the first time. Where did my flag and song and founding fathers go? 

Not that they disappeared entirely. They're still out there. It's just that unless you're in the military or a brat of a military enlistee, I don't know if you get the Baptism by Patriotism we always got. I mean, we used sit on the Jefferson Memorial steps in Washington D.C. on July 4th to watch fireworks and see them reflected in the tidal basin. How much more patriotic can you get?

So. I am a Yankee Doodle Dandy. I do love to have a day off on my birthday as I said in the original post. But I love it because it makes me feel free. And I can have that in this country, all the way to my bones. I'm grateful.

For purposes of contrast between the state of my brain when I try to write a post at 1:00 in the morning and when I've regained my faculties the next day, I think I'll leave my original blech post below. But be warned: if you read it you may come out of it with PTSD. 

If nothing else, I urge you to scroll to the bottom and watch the clips of some of our greatest American entertainers. We do sort of rock, Americans.

Hearts, my friends!

Original Icky Post Starts Here:

I was supposed to have been a Yankee Doodle Dandy baby. Yep. My original due-date was July 4th, 19–er–SomethingSomething. But I was too busy having my heavenly going away party to notice I had totally missed my shuttle-launch into mortality. When I finally did notice, I couldn't flag down another ride until 3 days later. And by then the party was over and everyone was tired of waiting. So I didn't get nearly the fanfare I was hoping for.

This might explain why each year on my birthday I want something BIG. Something SPECIAL. I want to be QUEEN FOR A DAY. So each year instead of presents I ask for a day off to do whatever the stink I want, no questions asked. Sort of a "What Happens at the Mall Stays at the Mall" kind of thing.

It used to be too hard for people to do for me. You know, they had to set aside their plans and totally sacrifice for what I wanted. But I learned that if I screamed at just the right decibel and kept a precise psychopathic glint in my eye things suddenly worked out. Now my huz and kids are totally behind me on Janiel Day.

I've had some dandy birthdays. One year I shopped all. day. long. and noshed Mrs. Fields Triple Chocolate Chip cookies as I strolled, nearly throwing them up afterward. It was so awesome!

Another year I watched movie after movie with a friend at the theater until our brains were buzzing and we couldn't feel our tongues anymore from Movie Popcorn Butter Exposure. And loved every minute of it. Felt like I was fifteen again.

Last time I did it I actually spent the whole day at my husband's office in a little cubical just writing. No interruptions. No demands. No throwing up. Got my entire book series outlined. I hearted that so much.

This year I want to do all three things: shop, watch movies, and write. Don't know if it will happen. But that's what I want. No presents. Just the day. And I would be so dearly grateful to my little famdoozle for giving that to me that I would cook whatever they want for dinner every night for a year, even if it was Frooty Pebbles.

We live in a country where dreams come true, right? I can wish for this, right? And stick my laptop–open to this post–on my husband's chest when he wakes up tomorrow so he'll GET THE HINT, right?

This is what I am going to do. And I would appreciate it if you all would send telepathic peer pressure to him so he'll find a way to make it happen for me despite his freaky busy schedule. I'll invite you all to my next book signing if you do, and give you free cupcakes. Or after-dinner mints. Or mint-flavored toothpicks. When that book signing happens. 

In the meantime, to get you into a patriotic mood for my big day, here are some true American Greats to feast your eyes and ears upon: James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy, the astonishing mind-bending thigh-wincing Nicholas Brothers, and my beloved favorites: Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor. They're all classics. I'll leave them playing here while you send your brain-waves to my family. Enjoy!

For James Cagney click here! (Video embedding is disabled so you'll have to click on the link. But it's worth it just to see Jimmy Cagney dancing and speak-singing. Who knew?)

And the Nicholas Brothers. They'll blow your mind. They were amazing:


Finally, my darling Gene and Donald–the man's men of dance–in a rousing routine from perhaps the most perfect movie musical of all time, Singing in the Rain:

There. You feeling all patriotic and Americanized and proud? Good. Now send those vibes to my huz so I can partay hartay on my birthday.

Much obliged.


A Christmas Stocking Full of Baby. Yeeouch!

Seventeen years ago on Thursday I went into labor. A week early.

This year we are celebrating the birth of my eldest son almost a week early again. Because I'll be gone on the momentous occasion. But it's kind of the kid's own fault. If he hadn't been so anxious to get here all those years ago, he'd have been born on Pearl Harbor day instead, and I'd totally be here for that.

But no. The little dude was so excited to bust into this world that he had to arrive ahead of schedule. And bless his fuzzy little head–which seriously looked like he was wearing a toupée–he hit the ground running, and had kind of a lousy first month. That's why I'm getting him an über-cool present this year. I figure it's time to make up for the stress.

So. Seventeen years ago this Thursday:

I was in my kitchen overlooking a gorgeous valley, doing the dishes while my three year-old daughter danced around between my feet. I splashed suds and wondered why my nesting instinct hadn't kicked in yet. Maybe it only did that with first children.

I seriously had none of that going on this time. I wasn't anywhere near being ready for this little baby. I mean I had his room set up and some adorable little boy clothes hanging in the closet. I had a name picked out. But I still had baby-buggy-loads of testosterone slamming through my body in preparation for the little tyke. I had read that that's what happens when you make boys. Your body creates the testosterone. And let me tell you,  I WOULD run over you in the parking lot if you got in my way.

I figured all of that would calm down and I'd start decorating and cleaning things before this boy thought about arriving. But I only had a week, and nothing much had changed. Probably he was going to be late. I mean, my daughter had been late (still is, bless her), why not this guy?

So, I scrubbed and sudsed and washed and dried and OW! Jeesh. What was that? OW-W! Man. I must have eaten something funny. Serious pain was stabbing my stomach-tal area. Actually, slightly lower than that. Huh. What had I eaten for lunch?

I knew it wasn't labor. My daughter's birth had started slowwwwwly. In fact so slowly that I wondered if my labor was going to be pain-free. A question my doctor answered by saying, patiently and without cracking the slightest smile into the phone, "Um,  no, Mrs. Miller. Labor almost always hurts." No way in heck was it labor this time though. I mean, this was beyond painful.

Plus it was sudden. First time around I had laughed when I thought about women in movies going on their merry way then suddenly grabbing their bellies and screaming "THE BABY'S COMING!" Labor so wasn't like that. It didn't just slam into youuuuuOWWWWWW! Man! This really HURT. Maybe I should call my husband.

So I did. I rang Bruce up and told him not to worry, I wasn't in labor, I was in food poisoning. I was just going to shower and see how it went. He was quiet then told me that maybe I should call my OBGyn. I snorted and told him I was a week early and I'd done this before and I THINK I know what having a baby feels like. Then he did something brilliant. He said,

"I know. You're probably right. But you know? I'm just a guy and I get nervous about these things. Would you call him and let him know just in case? To put my mind at ease?"

Eh. Why not? I mean, that's a reasonable request. So I said I would, then hit the shower. I remember clutching the soap dish, bending over, and breathing in sort of a Lamaze -like fashion in order to deal with my food-poisoning-induced lower abdominal pain and near inability to stand up. Good heavens! You eat one little peanut butter and mayo sandwich, you pay for it through the gut!

Well, I finally got myself out the door and to the doctor's office–which happened to be right across the street from the hospital. I rolled my eyes over my husband's worry the whole way there. Then I was ushered right into my doctor's office. I had called ahead and told them that I wasn't in labor but my husband wanted to be sure. They said they'd see me. Just to make him feel better.

So, I went in, told the doctor once again that I wasn't in labor–after he helped me uncurl from the fetal position, then had the exam. I remember the doctor looking calmly at me after he was done and saying, "You're right. You didn't need to come here."

"I knew it," I said.



"Are you sure?" I mean, seriously? It was just a little food poisoning.

"Well, no. I mean we could always keep you here and let my nurse deliver your son."

"ACK! Never mind! I'll meet you over there."

"That seems like a good idea. Can you drive?"


"Oh. Right. I'm on my way."

So, I called my hub during the minute it took me to change parking lots, and he got there just in time to almost catch our son. The boy had been facing the wrong way and did a little damage on the way out. But he was so happy to be there he baptized me with his little sprinkler system as soon as the doctor had him in hand.

And he was gorgeous. Donald Trump-hair and all.

The hospital sent him home in a Christmas stocking. He went back the next day with breathing issues, and spent a month dealing with that, thrush, jaundice, and a rather annoyed circumcision. But, that little dude brought a bucketload of sunshine with him and it still hangs around him most days. 

So, all in all, I'm pretty happy it wasn't food poisoning.

Happy Early Birthday, boy!

Wasn't he purty?


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