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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bird Poop on Oven Mits???

Zoe has a new fascination with bird poop. This whole thing started when we had a bird family take residence in a new nest built on top of our front porch light. This porch light, mind you, is right by the front door. As you can imagine, a nest containing a mommy bird and her four babies leads to a pile of bird poop on the front step. I really didn't have the heart to give the birds the "boot," much as I hated dealing with the mess on the step, especially after peeking into the nest one day and seeing the four little fuzzy baby birdie heads poking out the top. So we just dealt with the poop. I would tell Zoe, "Don't step in the bird poop!" Every time we exited or entered the front door, Zoe had to point at the mess and proclaim "Bird poop!" I tried a variety of different methods to clean it up. One day I got out the hand held broom (which looks like an oversized brush) and dust pan to sweep it all up. I then left the broom/brush on the ground and took the pan full of poop to the trash bin to dump it. When I turned back around, there was Zoe trying to brush her hair with the broom as she stated "Brush!"

Another time I was trying to herd Zoe out the front door to go meet her Daddy at his office so I could head to work. Zoe had just awakened from her afternoon nap, and I had just enough time to get her dressed and ready to go so I wouldn't be late. I had made a fresh loaf of bread in the bread machine while Zoe napped, and had cut a slice for her to take in the car for a snack on our way. She clutched her bread in her little hand, and I clutched arms full of other stuff...Zoe's juice cup, my water bottle, my purse, my laptop computer, and of course Zoe's beloved "Taggie Book." I also had keys in hand ready to lock the door as soon as we could wedge ourselves out of it. As I pulled the door shut, I suddenly realized we had forgotten one very important item: Zoe's hat. We don't go anywhere without it, lest Zoe come unglued. I quickly surveyed the cirumstances. If I left Zoe standing outside while I went in to grab it, she would probably pitch a fit. However, it had taken me ten minutes to get her out the door in the first place, and I was fast approaching the "I'm going to be late" mark on the clock. I also had my arms so full of gear and assorted items that I could not gracefully, in any sense of the word, quickly duck back inside and find an appendage with which to grab the hat. "Oh shoot!" I muttered (being careful not to say "Oh crap!" although I really wanted to say at least that much and preferable something much more crass). I quickly told Zoe I was going to grab her hat and be right back. Quick as a flash I was headed back out the door just as Zoe was trying to make her way back up the front step to the door to check on my progress. Next thing I knew Zoe had tripped and was lying in the pile of bird poop, her little fist still clutching her bread, trying to protect it from the fall. This time it really took all my self control not to say "Oh crap!" and much more colorful things!

I had now reached the "I'm going to be late" point, but much as I was tempted to, I couldn't just haul my child, covered in bird poop, to her Daddy's office and let him deal with it. Besides that, her bread, which she so lovingly tried to protect, had also managed to reach the bird poop mess. Fast as I could, I dropped everything right in the doorway and swooped her up under my arm, her arms and legs flailing as she wailed, wrenched the poopy bread out of her hands before she tried to take a bite, and held her over the sink to wash her down before I could finally get her and all the gear loaded into the car. Of course I had to also pause long enough to cut her a new slice of bread.

Yes, bird poop was becoming an everyday phrase, not to mention an every day occurance around our house.

A couple weeks later, I walked in the door after spending an evening at work, and Zoe ran to greet me with an oven mit. She had been in the kitchen "helping" Daddy. She exhuberantly pointed at a stain (which was actually spaghetti sauce, mind you) and proudly announced, "Bird poop! Bird poop!" "Oh dear," I said wearily to my husband, who was smirking in the background. "How did we manage to get bird poop on the oven mit?" Although I was certain that Zoe was mistaken about what the stain on the oven mit really was, I think I would not have been surprised if Brian had said it was indeed bird poop and had some crazy tale about how this may have happened. I have to admit, ever since Zoe joined our family very little surprises me anymore.

Going to the Park

Here's a couple for Great Aunt Pat...all decked out in her purple outfit and sunglasses. We were getting ready to go to the park where Zoe loves to "slide!"

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

"Doo-la-la" Dancing

How's this for a "charm-yer-socks-off" grin?

A few days ago, Zoe started saying, "I love you." Of course we immediately called all Zoe's grandparents so she could tell them all over the phone.

Zoe is at that stage where she loves to be naked. At bathtime she carefully calculates things just right so that as soon as the last stitch of clothing comes off, she becomes the frenzied toddler streaker, bolting out of arm's grasp as fast as she can before someone sticks her in the water. Chasing her does no good, as that only adds to the toddler glee and encourages her to continue the naked sprinting and hide and seek antics. Just as you round the corner to catch her, she tears off the other way, with naked buns flashing you. Giggling and shrieking, she hides behind the chair in the corner of her room, peeking out long enough to say, "Whatcha doin'?" and then ducks back into her hiding spot.

When bathtime ends, barely out of the water and wrapped in a towel, she manages to repeat the streaking scene, leaving the towel lying in a bunch on the floor. She prefers to air dry. Upon her escape, she usually shimmies her naked little body up on Mommy and Daddy's bed and begins the wild, naked Doo-la-la dance. It begins as a slow lap or two around the king sized log bed and then picks up pace little by little until she is twirling in toddler glee shrieking "Doo-la-la, doo-la-la!" as she goes around and around. She falls hard enough to practically bounce back up in the correct position, hardly missing a "doo-la" beat.

This really does look like it would be therapuetic and a liberating release of all kinds of tension. Perhaps adults should take more lessons from uninhibited toddlers. If we all stole a few moments of naked doo-la dancing now and then, there would probably be a lot less road rage and stress-related health issues in our society.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

A Little Bragging

I have been teaching a friend's 8-year-old daughter piano lessons in exchange for some babysitting time for Zoe. Zoe has really taken a liking to this friend of mine, Elizabeth. Elizabeth calls Zoe a "genius" as she also has a nephew a month older than Zoe who is nowhere near Zoe in his cognitive abilities. The other day Elizabeth and Zoe were coloring while I was giving Elizabeth's daughter a piano lesson. Elizabeth later told me that she was drawing a circle, and when she told Zoe that was what she had drawn, Zoe told her "No, it's an oval!" Elizabeth said she had to concede, as it was indeed an oval, even though she had intended to draw a circle. I guess there aren't many 22 month olds who can correctly identify not only circles, squares, and triangles, but also rectangles, stars, hearts, ovals, and even pentagons.

I'll also add, while I am at it, that Zoe has known all her colors for well over two months, including brown, black, pink, gold, etc. Several weeks ago, we were playing with her sidewalk chalk and she pulled out a peach colored piece and she correctly labeled it as "peach" (not pink) even though I have NEVER taught her that. I figure that is something that Grandma H must have taught her.

As long as I am bragging, I will tell you about Zoe's developing math skills. She can typically correctly count to 5 and then get random numbers all the way up to 10. At least until recently. Recently, Grandpa H bought her some flashcards to practice numbers and counting all the way up to 20. Now Zoe can say all the numbers up to 20, though not all in the right order. She does, however, continue to count to 5 correctly, and always knows that 11 and 12 come after 10. Go figure. I swear, this kid grasps things after only a single exposure.

I don't think I've mentioned that she began singing a couple months ago. It is about as sweet as sweet gets. It started out as random little melodies in this sweet little girl singing voice...bits and pieces from songs like "Lullaby and Goodnight" "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Rock a by Baby". Now she sings "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" beginning to end correctly and "Rock a by Baby" beginning to almost end correctly. If she ever misses words or replaces words, she still always gets the melody and intonation correct. She also started singing "Skip to my Lou." She loves it when I sing the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know it" with the words "If you're Zoe and you know it" when I get to "...say I am..." Zoe belts out a resounding "I am!"

Have I exhausted my bragging rights once again?

Update on Zoe's Medical News

We took Zoe to see her orthopedist last Monday. I was a bit taken aback when he rather quickly stated that he felt we needed to proceed with surgery to remove the second lump and he wanted to schedule it next week. We asked for a second opinion before jumping into it, and he set us up with a referral. The second Dr. said she would wait a bit to see if there is any change and follow up with another visit in 4-6 weeks. If it grows in the meantime, definitely surgers, otherwise we could consider an MRI before surgery if it is not shrinking.

Both Dr.s are stumped over what the second lump is. The second Dr. agreed with our regular Dr. that the orignal lump is a hemangioma. She said nearly all hemangiomas disappear entirely by the time the child is 8 years old, if not sooner. Both Dr.s agreed that the second lump does not seem the same in character as the first one--does not look or feel the same. However, they both also said that it is statistically practically unheard of to have two different issues going on on the same finger like that. Since they don't know what it is, removing it seems a reasonable treatment. If Zoe were older and able to hold still for 40 mins for an MRI, that would be an easier option to see if we could get more information. Since she would have to be sedated for that anyway, the first Dr. felt that we should just go ahead and do the surgery. The second Dr. felt that she could be sedated and probably not need a tube in her throat and all that and do an MRI before considering surgery. I don't want to put her through both of those experiences, though.

Both Dr.s also say they would not remove the original lump, which is quite small at the present. Removing both of them will increase the trauma and scarring to the finger and pose greater chance of malformation as Zoe grows. The second lump is over a nerve, but both Dr.s felt the likelihood of nerve damage in surgery was small. The second Dr. felt that if we did surgery, it is unlikely that Zoe would suffer permanent damage to her finger due to malformations from the scar tissue as she grows. It is on her right hand, and she is already clearly choosing to be right handed.

We will follow up in a few weeks pending that the lump doesn't grow larger. And meanwhile, we keep praying that God will simply heal it.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Zoe's Summer Fun

I know posts have been few and far between lately. Seems that it's been one thing after another since returning from our trip out of town a few weeks ago. The largest issue that seems to overshadow everything is this deck project that seems to be taking forever to get done. We've also had some distractions with another growth suddenly and mysteriously showing up on Zoe's finger. It's the same finger that has the original growth, but this one is on the inside of the hand. I couldn't get the orthopedist to see her inside of three weeks, and the family practitioners don't know what it is. So we've had no choice but to wait three weeks to see if the orthopedist can help us find some answers. Her appointment with him is Monday, so I will keep you posted.

Then we've had a scare with Old Man Frederick who suddenly wasn't acting right. An emergency trip to the vet and a couple follow ups has brought us to the conclusion that his kidneys, which we've known for 3 or 4 years, are failing and his potassium is low. Also, he may have some arthritis setting in or some other cause of inflammation in his muscles or joints, and borderline high blood pressure. The vet says he is still very healthy and in great shape for his age. Eighteen cat years is equivalent to 86 human years, after all. The vet thinks Frederick still has some good years left in him yet. We'll see. For now, he's on a pretty good medication regime, if we can get him to take them. He seems to be back to "normal"...such as "normal" has been for him for the past couple years.

In addition, for those of you that I have not personally told yet, I am nearing the twelve week mark in my second pregnancy. My intentions to tell family personally have been good, but I just can't seem to get around to getting things done these days, including making any extra phone calls or writing letters. I've been in that thoroughly exhausted phase for the past several weeks, but I think I'm finally coming out of it.

As a Medicaid provider in my counseling practice, I've been bombarded with new stringent guidelines and a ridiculous amount of documentation in order to obtain approval to bill for services. For one particular family I see I had to produce no less than 50 pages of documentation in order to get approval. That has consumed a large portion of my time in the past couple weeks.

And if all that hasn't been enough, the photo blog provider I've been using has been making constant changes to their site and their programming. This means every time I log in and want to upload photos, I have to relearn their requirements to get the job done. Then I run into an endless array of "bugs." The current one seems to be that I cannot post multiple photos to this site using their system unless I want to post tiny thumbnails. That's why this post and the previous post contain separate photos.

In short, Lately I've been tired, frequently overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, tired, annoyed, and did I mention tired?

But, this site is supposed to be about Zoe, not about now that I've vented mostly about my own issues, I'll at least include a line or two about Zoe. I'll try to say more about Zoe next time I can steal some moments.

The weather here has become warm and beginning to enter the muggy phases of summer. Until today I would have described things as relatively mild. Today was sticky. We got Zoe a new swimming pool since the last one spent time in the living room last winter and developed some air leaks. This one is a bit larger, and Zoe is more than excited about it. She also loves to spray things with the garden hose and fill up her little watering can and water anything she can find (that was the best $1.50 I've spent on Zoe in awhile!) Most afternoons following naptime, she dons her new Winnie the Pooh swimming suit, hat, and waterproof soccer sandels and runs around outside, in and out of the pool. It gets interesting when she dips in the pool and then, still dripping wet, dips into her Crabbie sandbox. She looks like a little breaded chicken strip when she's done. But she loves to be sprayed with the hose, so I just hose her down good before letting her back in the house.