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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Schmoozing

I suppose I've been a bit on the short tempered side these days. It seems like my house is always a mess. I can barely ensure that one mess is cleaned up before the kids have created three or four more messes within seconds. Dear Husband is in the middle of a pet project involving reconstruction in our home that has dragged on for nearly two months now. I have way too many things to get done at any given time and never enough time to do them. I'm working extra hours as I transition into a different clinical practice, and the bodies that govern managed health care are making the transition a constant source of stress for me. My reimbursement by these companies is slow at best, and on indefinite hold at worst. My kids, who were once routinely admired by the grocery bagger at the local food mart for their great behavior, now act up so badly any time I take them anywhere that I am constantly embarrassed and mortified when I step foot in public with them. Additionally, they are making certain that Dear Husband and I never get an uninterrupted night of sleep as Dear Daughter gets up in her sleep and wanders into our bedroom with various dramas that apparently play out in her dreams (as if the drama when she is fully awake is not enough). She apparently has no memory of these 2 am dramas the next day, but Dear Husband and I certainly do when we are yawning and rubbing our eyes the next day (and the next and the next). Dear Son also gets up in his sleep with an unconscious mission to join us in our bed in the wee hours each morning. If Dear Husband has the energy, he takes Son back to his bed. I never have the energy. So we share our bed with an octopus each night. One that likes to squirm and twist in his sleep a lot and sleep horizontally across the mattress. I, of course, always get the feet end kicking me in the stomach or the ribs or the butt in my face, while husband gets the charming little baby face.

I had a mountain of various stuff piled on the kitchen table today as I tried to prepare lunch for the wee ones. Actually, none of the stuff was mine; it was all the kids'. As I stood with plates in my hands and no room on the table to place them, I felt my head might explode. The kids quietly and solemnly gathered their stuff and busily put it away before returning to their respective chairs to receive their plates for lunch. It was silent as I took my place next to Dear Son, and we all munched awhile without a peep.

Then Dear Son eyed me from the corner of his eye and timidly stated, "I like your hair!......(long pause)" I snickered despite myself and felt that warm fuzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach towards my child as I smiled at him and replied, "Thank you!" He smiled to himself and then paused another moment before timidly asking, "You happy now?"

So thereyago. My not-quite-three-year-old boy has already begun to figure out how to schmooze the opposite sex.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Froggies and Other Stuff

In case I've left ANY room for questioning on this matter, let me clarify: HE'S ALLLLLLLLLLLLL BOY!!!!!

This is the "froddy" (froggy) Dear Son recently adopted. I think it's actually a toad, but he doesn't know the difference. Besides, it's more fun to say "froddy" than it is to say "toady."

Could he be any more delighted with himself? I was most impressed when, after fondling, dropping, fondling, dropping again, he finally announced that he was going to "Put the froddy in the drass" (Put the froggy in the grass). You may remember that this was the routine in my previous post about Dear Son's love affair with fuzzy caterpillars. This meant he was showing compassion towards the poor thing (nevermind the incessant fondling and dropping), and wanted to return him to his family. Every day since, Dear Son has begged--beeeegggggggged--to go outside and find a "froddy" pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze!

Dear Husband had some luck finding the little baby froggies in our wood pile.

We had a field trip to the zoo recently with our homeschool co-op. When we reached the reptile house and Dear Son saw the various turtles behind their glass enclosures, he was beside himself begging to "touch him." This was due to the fact that a few weeks ago we found a turtle in the yard and it became Dear Son's best companion for the entire morning.

Did I mention that he is ALL BOY?!!??!?!

So far, no snakes. And so far, no "froddies" discovered in the clothes dryer.

Posting has been slow, I realize. Things are a bit busy around here. We are buzzing with homeschooling. I was undecided how structured to get with Dear Daughter on this yet. She just turned five after all. She would have been in Kindergarten per state standards except she missed the age cut off by three days. We've only homeschooled rather loosely so far as I wanted her to be a kid and not be concerned with stuff like school until she had to. And yet I've discovered that she does better with the structure. She is more than capable of a regular school schedule. She does well when pushed a bit towards her potential, and she loves to learn. I had decided at the beginning of the school year that I would review Kindergarten with her and not rush into first grade. That just wasn't working, however. She remembered everything from last year and was whizzing through a week of school in a single day. So I gave in and bumped her into the first grade curriculum I had waiting for her. The only area she is not quite in first grade level yet is math, and she is only a few weeks away from completing Kindergarten math.

For those family members who are interested, here are the things Zoe is doing academically:
She is learning how to count money and do simple subtraction. She is writing complete sentences and reading complete books (such as Dr. Seuess classics). She is learning about weather in science, and can explain the progression of how rain ends up as water that pipes into homes in the city.

She turns anything she can into an art project. We keep an entire chest of drawers in the kitchen filled with art supplies so that she can help herself anytime she wants and sit at the kitchen table for her creations. We also have an art station in the downstairs office where she can plop down and create to her heart's content.

She has begun piano lessons and is a natural at keeping a steady rhythm.

And she is beginning her second year of ballet and tap lessons.

She has "wowed" he teachers at co-op that have all approached me to inform me that she is way beyond the lessons they have prepared and the abilities of her peers in her class. I assure them that I already know this, and that perhaps they can just do their best to challenge her. I get her the other days of the week and can teach to her level. I mainly wanted her to have the experience of learning with other kids her age and developing socially in a setting like that. She would be absolutely BORED in public school. After all, they want her to be enrolled in pre-school this year and made it clear that they would not consider any other alternative.

I'm not sure what the future holds, but I'm pretty sure that my daughter will never be able to make good use of public education (no big surprise there). This will make things quite interesting for the forseeable future.

In addition to the homeschool routine, I am continuing to manage my part time career. I have not quite phased all out of the teen group home, but this is on the horizon as I build a practice at my new clinic. Currently, I am researching and preparing for an adult Bipolar psychoeducation and process group that I will launch next week. I am also coveting that doctorate degree I've not been able to pursue. I haven't yearned for it in the past as much as I've begun to yearn for it recently. I don't see myself being able to pursue it until the kids are at least near highschool as long as we are homeschooling. They require too much time and attention, and besides, they are my first responsibility and top priority. If they weren't, I'd have had that doctorate in the bag already. If I ever reach a point that I can pursue it, the deciding factor will be how much the degree will cost versus whether or not I will be too old for it to pay off.

I surived a week of single motherhood while Dear Husband was gone to Las Vegas last week. It was work, not pleasure (for both of us). I make a horrible single mom and have deep respect and empathy for moms that are full time single moms, perhaps while their husbands serve in the military. My own mom did this while my dad served in the Navy, and for the life of me I cannot imagine how she (or anyone) does this!

So thereyago--an update and a brain dump all in one. Efficiency has become ever so important in my life these days!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Canadian Caterpillar

Dear Son discovered furry caterpillars last week. We've long known of his fascination with worms, so his excitement over the furry variety was not a surprise. He could not have been more excited as the little thing wiggled and tickled as it crawled on his hand.

It reminded me of my childhood days when I would take country walks with my grandmother. She lived on a farm in rural Iowa, and we would walk the dirt roads in mile increments. She also gave me a brown paper lunch size bag to carry along as I loved to collect pretty rocks as we walked. I'm guessing my age in these memories to be around 4 or 5 years.

One day as I walked with Grandma, I discovered a fuzzy "teddy bear" caterpillar. I was so attracted to its fuzziness and felt some sort of ownership over it, and so I placed it in my paper bag. The one that already had a dozen or more pretty little rocks in it. Needless to say, by the time we got home, my pretty rocks were covered with green caterpillar guts, and my fuzzy little "teddy bear" caterpillar wasn't so fuzzy anymore. I think it must have been traumatic in order for me still to remember it so vividly 32 years later.

Dear Son "mothered" his caterpillar for a very long time, wrapping his little fist around it and carrying about lovingly. Transferring it from one hand to the other, dropping it on the concrete driveway from time to time and then snatching it back up and rollling it about in his hot little fist some more.





Dear Daughter was equally fascinated with it, and begged her little brother for a turn to hold it, and then after finally talking him into it, chickened out. She did work hard at picking grass blades for him to eat and hide in, though.

I finally grew concerned that the furry little critter was getting lethargic and it would soon be fondled to its death, so I suggested we let it go back to the grass. Dear Son was not too sure about this suggestion until I finally said that I thought the caterpillar might be sad because he misses his Mommy and Daddy. Dear Son looked very very concerned with this thought, and wandered to the grass where he lovingly set the limp creature back in the grass.

He squatted in the same spot for several moments and watched until the caterpillar found its way into hiding among the blades of grass. Then he turned to look at me with a mixture of sadness and hope as he inquired, "Caterpillar not happy?"

I reassured him that the caterpillar was going to find his family again and would be happy. This seemed to satisfy him, and we went onto something else, such as two-year-olds do.






Dear Daughter followed me to the clothesline, yammering about the caterpillar and whether or not he was happy. Weary of her non-stop jabbering and questioning, I replied rather shortly, "Not if he doesn't find his Mommy and Daddy!" Daughter was quite concerned as she stated for the 100th time, "...but WILL he?" and without waiting for a response added "Do you think his Mommy and Daddy moved to Canada?"

Huh? I had no idea where this came from. I have no memory of ever talking about Canada, and didn't know my just-turned-five-year-old even knew there was a Canada.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Not So Secret (or Divine) Ya Ya Boobie-hood

I checked into the radiology department bright and early at 8:30 am. I was instructed to fill out some paperwork, sign my rights away on a carbon form and wait a long time in the crowded lobby. Then I was called to a cubicle where my demographic information was reviewed before being dismissed back to the crowded lobby to wait for another long time. After a total of at least an hour and a half of waiting, two of us from the crowded lobby were called to accompany the medical assistant through the big door where we were introduced to a small waiting area where there was a secret society of three other women already waiting and dressed in hospital gowns, their civilian clothes showing from about the knee down. The assistant acknowledged to me that she knew this was my first time, and then she issued me specific instructions on what to do next. All the other women somberly exchanged knowing glances with one another, and I began to wonder what I was getting myself into. I was instructed to enter the little privacy booth and disrobe from the waist up, wipe off any deodorant and perfume, and put on the hospital gown, and I was issued a locker with a key to store my belongings.

I had no idea what to expect at my first mammogram appointment, but I don't think it was this.

I stood in the privacy stall feeling a little nervous, and having flashbacks about that late winter night almost three years ago when I entered Labor and Delivery Triage in a state of hard labor and was sent to the bathroom with a hospital gown and a plastic shopping bag in which to store my clothing. I wasn't sure how I was supposed to accomplish this in my condition, but I had to move quickly in between contractions as when those contractions came, I could barely stand.

This time the hospital garb was an odd shaped garment with three arm holes. I began wondering if there was something else no one had told me about what happens to women when they turn 40. I put this mysterious garment on the wrong way four times before I finally figured out how to wrap one of the arm holes around me twice.

I re-entered the secret area where the four other women sat, and searched their somber faces for reassurance of some sort. I perched on my chair, thinking this was like joining the society of the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Boobie-hood. I thought about addressing the group with, "So...come here often?" but I instead I offered, "Boy, I feel like I'm in the 'club' now!" Mercifully, the others giggled. I added, "So this becomes a once per year thing, huh? I thought the other yearly exam was enough." The others giggled again, knowingly. I was "in," I thought to myself. "I'm a 'boobie sister'!" I was assured by the others that there was still much more to come with this induction party.

Next I found myself in a dim room exposing myself to two radiology techs and allowing one of them to attach some super duper adhesive pasties to my nipples. Yanking those things off later was no party either. Then my breasts took turns at being yanked, stretched, and smashed in ways that I didn't think were humane, let alone possible. I was told to stand on my tip toes, stick my butt out and tilt my head while draping my arm casually across some big machine and allowing my breast to be smashed in a vice grip. Then I was supposed to talk casually about the weather during all this perverse activity. Dear God, when I was sure that they couldn't smash my breasts any tighter, they clamped that vice down a couple more notches. Finally, I was told to hold my breath (I didn't need any coaching on that one). The best part of all is when the tech was smashing my breast in her machine and warning me not to be surprised if I get called back in for a repeat because this is a baseline and the radiologists won't know what to compare it to.

I met up with one of my new boobie sisters in the lounge of the secret society on the way to get dressed again. She asked how it was, and I responded that it was quite the induction experience, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to be a boobie sister any more. She added that there has only been once so far that she has not been called back in for a re-do on her x-rays as there is always some problem with how the techs did this or that or because they couldn't see clearly enough.

When I exited the building, with my breasts burning and aching, I immediately called my dear mother to question why she had not given me a better warning of what I was about to go through, and thanks a lot for not making sure to warn me to bring some deoderant along. I then phoned my husband and said, "Don't EVER EVER complain to me about turning and coughing. Just sayin'." Then I drove to the closest Stuff Mart to buy more deoderant. I still had a 10 hour work day in front of me. I didn't want to deal with burning, aching breasts AND stinky body odor.

It also turns out that I'm not very good at the "secret" part of being a boobie sister.

The only good news in all of this is that I hopefully will not have to be re-inducted annually for another four years. That, and hopefully the results will be negative. The experience surely was.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Point of No Return

Five years ago I had already begun to dread the day my firstborn would enter the gates of Kindergarten. She has now arrived.

Here are my darlings on their first day. They are beginning a once per week day of home school co-op. I was going to teach one of the four hours in my daughter's room, but plans changed. I handed her over that morning to the hands of complete strangers. I expected her to love the classroom experience, and she did. I also expected her to be the youngest in her class, at having just turned five years old a month ago. She is one of only two girls in her class, and the other little girl is actually three weeks younger than her. Both of them are apparently at the top of the class in their abilities. My hope is that they become kindred spirits, as Dear Daughter badly needs a little girlfriend. I'm just thankful that there is another girl in her class, as the main reason I got us into this co-op scene was for Daughter to build some friendships. I was disappointed to see four boys on the roster and only one girl besides my daughter.

I get to spend the entire co-op day in the 2/3 year old room. This is honestly NOT my cup of tea. I would MUCH MUCH rather teach college psychology. However, I don't have the time to plan lessons even for a high school level course at this stage of the game in my own life.

Dear Son did fine on his first day, but I'm sure this is largely because I was there with him the whole time. As soon as I got the kids home from school that day and got Dear Son down for his nap, I had to head to work. Dear Husband later told me that our son went to his backpack at least once that evening and announced, "I wanna go to co-op again!"

So far, so good. All except for the part about how my oldest baby has now crossed the threshold. *sigh*

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Glimmer of Hope

I don't often talk politics. In fact, I hate politics. However, as I've grown older over the years, my love for my country and my concern for the future of my country has deepened and matured. I'm sure my longing for a great future for my children has played heavily into this.

I have had a sick, sick feeling in my gut for months as I've watched the presidential election unfold. In fact, I've never despaired and feared for my future, my children's future, and the future of America as much as I have during this period of political chaos.

When most concerns me, is that when politics come up in my random discussions with young people in the range of 18-25 years of age, they unanimously and blindly support Obama. A gentle exploration into their reasons for supporting Obama is frightening. They say things like, "I don't want some 'old guy' running our country," "Obama supports legalizing marijuana," "Obama wants to end the war," and similar sentiments that are so vague and uninformed. It amazes me how many people are mesmerized by smooth talk and "stuff" that apparently sounds good at first blush. Dear God, help our country!

I don't want any more of my rights and freedoms in this great country taken away from me. I want a country in which I have the right to decide what the best way is to educate my children. I want a country in which I have the right to quality health care. I want a country in which I am free to build a business or a career and reap the financial rewards of my blood, sweat, and tears. I don't want to live in a country where Big Brother reigns and my rights and freedoms dwindle. Lately, I have feared that my own idea of the "American Dream" is a long lost ideal.

Throughout the recent politicl turmoil, there was no doubt that McCain would get my vote, though it was not because I was super excited about what he would do for our country. It was more about NOT casting my vote for Obama, for whom I have zero respect. The more Obama talks, and the longer the craziness of the presedential politics rages, the greater and greater my disdain for him grows.

And yet, something stirred inside me this past week with McCain's selection of Palin for his running mate and her speech that followed. I immediately respected her character, admired her poise and her authenticity. I watched her entire speech with a growing hope. I stayed up again last night watching McCain's speech, with that glimmer of hope growing.

For the first time during this political storm, the fear, despair, and sickness in the pit of my stomach are overshadowed with hope that despite the current state of our country, some good things can happen if McCain and Palin win the election.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Photo Shoot


Dear Daughter finally got her five-year-old photo shoot. She LOVES LOVES LOVES being in front the camera. She always has. The photographer couldn't stop photographing her at her two-year-old sitting. Each time the flash went off, Dear Daughter would shriek, "That's ADORABLE!" at herself. Not much has changed since then.

Dear Son has never much liked the camera. Until tonight. He couldn't wait to get in the pictures and get posed up just so.

I thought doting family would be curious to see the pics, so hereyago!





































































I typically like to avoid the camera, which explains why there hasn't been any pics of me on this blog for over a year, and before that well over a year. This is prolly all you'll get of me for at least the next year.