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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Does This Count?

Does this really count as the "first snow" of the season? The wee ones seemed to think so. Dear Daughter was beside herself until we got her outside to check it out (complete with her snow pants on), and Dear Son kept squealing, "Snowman! Snowman!" He calls snow "snowman" whether a real snowman is involved or not.

Daughter got busy trying to make snowballs, and Son wandered around jabbering about his new "ploots" (boots) until the snow melted in the late morning snow.

Personally, I don't think it counts if you can see as much grass on the ground as you can see snow, but I wasn't going to poo poo the kids' fun, so I went along with it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

In Which Daughter Demonstrates the Annoying Influences of the Media

It would seem that my dear four-year-old daughter absorbs far too much media advertising during these days of shopping, shopping, shopping, and all the holiday hoopla. I really can't figure out the source from which she absorbs this stuff. She is only allowed an hour of tv per day, up to two hours on an off day or on a dreary, cold, or rainy day. This "tv time" consists of the Noggin Network or PBS or a kid-friendly video. I never have the tv on outside of this time except after the kids are in bed. It would be pointless anyway, as the kids would hijack the tube as quickly as they hijack my jacuzzi bath. And so Dear Daughter gets virtually zero television commercials (except when I'm away at work and Husband indulges the kids in SpongeBob on Nickelodeon). Daughter, in fact, never experienced a single television commercial until sometime during the past year, and when she finally was exposed to them, they really agitated her! She would be in the middle of a show and suddenly a commercial would break through and she would come unglued wondering what happened to her show and when it would be back. She would whine and nag and cry until the show returned, so it's not like she was even listening to them. And yet somehow, she absorbs this stuff from somewhere.

As I was driving this morning, I listened to her chattering away from the middle row of the family mobile. She was jabbering about some "make believe" toy that she was conjuring up in her head. She was very clear with me that this was not a "real" toy, but just one that she was "imagining." Her description went on for several minutes in great detail. I confess, I had begun to tune out and was instead thinking about the tasks on my "to do" list for the day. Then I heard her voice kind of trail off and there was a brief pause before she punctuated her narrative with a matter-of-fact, "Batteries not included."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hijacked Again!

This is what happens when my jacuzzi gets hijacked by the wee ones.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Didn't Get the Memo

The kids both slept in until 8:45 this morning. That is unheard of, and I really wish I'd gotten the memo. I could have used a few more zzzzz's myself.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"Boo Boy"

The bittersweet is back. Son likes to be just like his sister, and so he has recently decided that he want to play with play dough at the table while sitting in a booster seat just like "Sissy." I purchased one for him that is just like his sister's (to avoid the battles they tend to have over who gets what when) and we used it a few times when he wanted to do play dough. We've still used the highchair for meals. Tonight, however, Son asked to use the booster chair at dinner time. He looked so precious sitting up at the table in a regular chair. I asked him if he thought he was big stuff and commented wistfully that he is getting to be a "big boy." He replied, "Yeah! Boo boy" and repeated throughout the meal that he is a "boo boy." I felt that knot in my stomach that always means that I am about to be required to come to terms with how fast my babies are growing up.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thankful for the Important Things

I know it's been awhile since I've updated. It's been hard to stay on top of the basic requirements of daily life these days. Extra stuff like blog posts get shoved to the bottom of my mental to do list. Work is busy for me, and this is good thing with all the expenses and new purchases that have come with our new home and five acres. We planted four new trees in the past two weekends. It's taken two weekends to get them in the ground as we had to slam through two to three feet of near solid rock with a pick ax to get the things in the ground. Hopefully it will be worth it in the upcoming summer when the trees should begin producing just enough shade to give hope for the following summers. Dear Husband and I have made the informal goal of planting four largish trees every year from now until we feel "wooded" enough.

It's gotten very difficult for me to manage the portion of my "career-by-a-thread" that requires me to manage all my own administrative duties, and to do it from home with a four-year-old and almost-23-month-old under foot. They are both quite demanding of my every second of time and have an uncanny way of getting themselves worked up into some form of crisis whenever I have to be on the phone with a client or case worker or insurance company for more than thirty seconds. Trying to stay on top of Daughter's homeschooling on top of the rest has gotten difficult. Many days I feel like a failure in every arena. If I put work aside for Daughter's school, the stress builds up and the work piles up and I can't get back on top of things. If I put Daughter's school aside for work, I feel neglectful, despite the fact that she is barely four and not even required to be enrolled in school yet. She likes school and thrives on the intellectual stimulation. She can write the entire alphabet, capitals and lowercase, and numbers through 50. She can count to 50 (obviously, if she can write to 50) and read simple stories of primarily three-letter words. She is beginning simple addition, and she loves the nature and plant science units we've been doing. We are also studying dinosaurs and space (planets, stars, the moon) and ocean science because she is fascinated by them all. Her vocabulary continues to explode and she typically spouts interesting facts at random. Today she informed her Sunday School class that the human body is made up of primarily water. At least I know she didn't get this from SpongeBob as we were talking about it just the other day. As we left Church this morning, she announced that she was "in the mood to do something more exhilarating," and a week ago she woke up one morning and immediately began telling me all about how she's had trouble falling asleep the night before and had to "banish" the dreams from her head in order to sleep. I interrupted her to inquire if she knew what "banish" means, to which she appeared a wee bit annoyed (she doesn't like to be interrupted) as she matter-of-factly stated that "banish" means "to get rid of" which she informed me in a tone of voice that echoed the sentiment, "don't you know ANYTHING?" before she returned to the story she was originally trying to tell me. I'm not sure that "banish" is a word even I would use in casual conversation, but leave it to my precocious daughter to weave it into her everyday preschool jabbering.

Son is going through a thing where his daddy, The Chosen One, is even more preferred and chosen than before. Last weekend when both Husband and I got up with him on Saturday morning, Son snuggled up to his daddy on the couch and ordered me to go back to bed. This is the thanks I get for packing on 50 pregnancy pounds with him and ultimately developing a thyroid condition that makes it hard not stay fat, being unable to sleep for more than three hours at a time for nearly a year throughout the pregnancy and first few months of his life, going through several hours of labor that made me wish to die before ultimately having to repeat the process of having my abdomen sliced and pried open to pull his nine pound body through, and then enduring seven months of breastfeeding that was not just about being the only one who could get up all night to feed him, but was also akin to nursing a high-powered shop vac. That kid had some wicked suction and liked to do his thing in 10 minutes flat from day one. I only gave up at the point that I developed a clogged milk duct and the standard advice to continue nursing through it lead to pain and bleeding that once again made me wish to die. There's also the daily intensity he puts me though while his daddy is blissfully at work and unaware, which could be soothed a bit by being "chosen" even every once in awhile. Husband reminds me every so often that Daughter stuck to me tighter than Velcro for the first two and half years of her life. I often longed for the break I never got with her. You'd think I'd just enjoy the "break" now. Yet the rejection of my own child is painful. On the flip side, Daddy, being the "Chosen One," gets to be the one that soothes Son back to sleep lately as he is going through some sort of thing where he is waking up nightly again in the wee hours.

Dear Son has also reminded me of my status as an "Old Mom" when I was enjoying a nice snuggle time with him a couple mornings ago (his daddy was at work--that's when I get the snuggles by "default"). He was studying my eyes and then pointed his little finger at the side of my right eye and stated, "Mommy...eye...tracked!" "Tracked" means "cracked." All his hard "k" sounds come out like "t" sounds right now. I was a bit puzzled at first until I realized he was calling the wrinkles around my eyes "cracks." And so I am not only a rejected mommy, I am an OLD rejected mommy with wrinkles as deep as cracks in my face.

I have to finish, though, with the perspective I gained at the end of the week when I was invited to participate in a fund raising event for a child in our community who recently died of an untreatable brain tumor. She died last month, less than three weeks after her third birthday. I read her entire web journal, written by her mommy, describing the trials they went through beginning with the clues that something was wrong when the child was 16 months of age and began having tremors and oddities with her gait. From this point until several weeks before her death they went through countless blood tests and transfusions, MRI's, different types of chemo, at least two brain surgeries, and routine trips hours away to receive care at St. Jude's Children's Hospital, and watched their daughter suffer unbearable physical pain and more hell on earth than anyone, let alone a child, deserves to go through, only to ultimately be told that the tumor was continuing to grow despite it all and that there was nothing more that could be tried. She was given weeks left to live. And then they watched her die. I weeped as I read, and as my own children's faces passed through my mind. I weeped when I held my baby boy the next day when he wanted me to snuggle him to sleep in my arms. As I felt his little body relax and slip into slumber, I tired to imagine what it would be like to hold my child this way, knowing he would die, and I couldn't. I tried to imagine what it would be like to bury a child and to continue living in the emptiness and quietness of the home we had shared (she was this couple's only child). The pain of the mere attempts to imagine it overwhelmed me, and I wept some more. I lingered a little longer that day with my dear son asleep in my arms, and when I finally laid him in his crib to finish his nap, I lingered awhile and looked at his precious little body sleeping peacefully. I then rushed to my daughter and held her as I cried some more. I was unable to explain to her what I was crying about. The best I can do in response to the impact of this family's story on my life is to hug my children tighter and tell them every day how thankful I am to have them in my life. This is something I did regularly even before, but now the intensity and urgency of it is greater. Simply having them in my life to kiss and hug and laugh and play with makes all the rest not nearly so significant. And it puts a spirit of thankfulness in my heart that is quite appropriate for the season.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween Indulgence

Here is the evidence that I indulged my children in some Halloween fun despite my disdain for the holiday.

Dear Daughter couldn't have been any more excited. She even won a costume contest (so what if she didn't have a lot of tough competition with only four other kids in her age group to compete against).

I knew Dear Son wouldn't last five minutes in a costume, so he just got to be a "puntin," which is how he pronounces it.

Off the topic, we are amused that lately Son has taken to shushing you if he doesn't like what you say. For example, if you tell him it time to change his stinky pants, he sticks his chubby finger up to his mouth and assertively states, "Shhh!!!!"

If he really doesn't like what you are suggesting to him, he'll go a step further and after the finger goes up to his mouth he'll say, "Shhh! Listen!!!!!" and then he tries to change the subject.