Saturday, November 29, 2008

Oh yeah?

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Okay, she's not really doing what it looks like she's doing. I mean, she is, but actually, she hurt her finger and was showing it to her daddy who, of course, grabbed the camera. You have to admit it's funny . . . in a disturbing sort of way.

I'm sorry, I've just never outgrown that adolescent brand of humor :D

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving


It was a really nice holiday . . . pretty much perfect, in fact. Thanksgiving dinner delicious and low-stress thanks to Marie Callender's, and we had the opportunity to catch up with some old friends, Oskar and Michelle, whom we haven't spent time with in far too long.
Today has been a lazy day. Black Friday? Bah. No thanks. I'll do most of my Christmas shopping online, thank you very much. Kevin is at his cousin's today, and the littles have spent a good part of the day playing out in the backyard. I got a jump start on our family holiday card today, which is usually a project unto itself every year. Maybe we'll get some Christmas decorating done this weekend (yayy, still two more days left in the weekend!). This year we are caving in and buying a fake tree. I've always been a die-hard fan of live Christmas trees, but it's hard to justify it anymore - they cost too much, die too quickly, make too much of a mess, and yeah, I feel bad being part of the masses that kill a beautiful living thing for something so superficial. So a fake tree it will be from here on out.
And that's all for now!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankfulness and a confession

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(The raspy voice in the background is moi . . . day 3 of laryngitis.) Lilah, I'm guessing, is thankful for the nap she is taking right now (I'm thankful for it too!) . . . oh, and breakfast, lunch, and dinner . . . and snacks (the girl likes her food). Finn is thankful for boobs.

Confession: I don't cook Thanksgiving dinner. Two years ago I went out on a limb and ordered the whole shebang from a local restaurant, and I've never looked back. I don't enjoy cooking and I'm not all that good at it anyway. This way is better for everyone involved. It tastes better, it minimizes my stress level, and it probably costs less than it would if we bought everything individually and cooked it all ourselves. Some friends are coming over in a little while to share in the festivities with us. We are a house and family of plenty, and for that I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Buggin'

We received a notice a while back from Annabelle and Daisy's preschool teacher that she was going to be performing an "assessment" on each of the kids. I'm still not exactly sure what the purpose of the assessment was - to assess kindergarten readiness? I'm thinking not, not so early in the preschool year anyway. So probably just to guage where they're at with general social and acacemic skills to see what their strengths and weaknesses are.

So we got the girls' assessment reports back today. Both were okay and contained some nice comments from the teacher about how well they play with other kids, follow directions (Annabelle?!), sit and listen when appropriate (again, Annabelle?!), etc.

I was actually a little nervous about opening the envelope containing Daisy's assessment. Who knows what I was going to find in light of her "issues" (phobias and speech). But all in all, it was very similar to Annabelle's and very positive . . . except . . . EXCEPT, the teacher wrote that Daisy can only count to 5 (!!) and she did not check the box on "I recognize my name." What?!? Now, I have to assume that her failure to check that box was an oversight - there's just no other explanation for it. Daisy most certainly knows her name, and often corrects me when I call her by one of her siblings' names (which happens about 48 times a day - I figure at this point, all their names are pretty interchangeable). Also, I asked Daisy to count for me after I looked at this assessment report and she counted all the way to 29 with no problem. So, what the hell?

It just has me thinking: firstly, an assessment is only as good as the person performing it. Also, what does an assessment really say about any person? Really? It only says what that person can do at that exact moment. It says nothing about who they are or what they're capable of outside of an "assessment" environment and out in the real world. And why does this bother me so much? Well, because it's my kid, first of all. And second of all, I know that we're going to be faced with countless assessments like this concerning Finn over the years to come, and it just hurts me somewhere inside that a child can supposedly be reduced to a written assessment like this that really gives a very one-dimensional portrayal of them - and yet, so much weight is given to these reports.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Writing as punishment

Joey got in trouble yesterday. He and the girls were fighting . . . err, playing, out in the backyard and I heard Joey yell at one of them, "I HATE YOU!!" What?!? That kind of talk doesn't fly around here. So I went down and marched him upstairs and told him he needed to write a whole page for me about why it's wrong to say something like that. Here's what he wrote:

1. It's really mean to say that.
2. It hearts people feelings a lot.
3. You should never say I hate you.
4. You will get in big troble.
5. It's really mean.
6. It's a mean sentance.
7. It will make you cry.
8. You sould say your really really sorry.
9. You will get a punishment.
10. You'll get a spanking.
11. You'll get hot soss on your tung and it will heart.
12. It's mean.
13. You'll have to hug and say sorry.
14. You will get yelled at.
15. You will be sorry.
16. They'll say something mean back.
17. It's not nice at all.
18. They won't like it.
19. You should never say something mean like that.
20. You'll have to write something nice.
21. You'll get something taken away.
22. It's bad.
23. You'll get a timeout.
24. And say that's in troble.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blah

That's how I'm feeling. Blah. Run down. I think I'm on the verge of getting sick. I feel it settling in my chest and my voice is going hoarse. I'm about due - it's been nearly a year since I've had anything.

Today was a busy day: stripping beds, laundry (which is endless around here), Target, book store, grocery shopping, baths. Thank goodness Michael cooked. I'm glad it's a short week this week.

A fly on the wall

"Finally, in reply to Jen's comment - YES Lisa is AMAZING - the house is always clean, the kids great, etc. I know I always feel like I must be doing something wrong when I can't keep my 2 kids under control and my house clean!"

My good friend, Lisa B., left this comment on my other blog.


Sigh.


It's just not true. I know this is said from love, but it makes me feel like a fraud. Why do people think this about me? It's a rare day that I truly feel like Super Mom. Most days I feel like I'm failing in more ways than one, and every single day I start the day off vowing to be a better mom than I usually end up being.

My house is not always clean. I am fortunate enough to have a housekeeper who comes once a week and does all the heavy cleaning: mopping, vaccuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, dusting, etc. (okay, she breaks things and lies about it too, but let's not go there right now). Aside from that, the kids trash the house every day. There are usually toys and books and games littered across the floor from the playroom to the bedrooms to the living room. I am an anal retentive control freak, that is true. So I do make sure that things mostly get picked up by the end of the day (so they can start the whole mess over the next day of course). But it's just not true that my house is always clean, and for some reason a lot of my friends have this misconception. Also, my kids are not always great. They're at heart all good kids (well, except for Annabelle who I am convinced is the spawn of the Devil), but they fight and bicker and whine and talk back and do all the bratty things that everyone else's kids do. And I yell. You could reasonably call me Old Yeller. I yell and I use ridiculous threats ("If you don't stop that right now, I'm never going to feed you again!" . . . and then I have to remind myself that by law I must feed them . . .). And I spank. Which I was never ever going to do. (And by spank I mean giving a good solid swat to the butt, not beating the crap out of them with a belt or kitchen utensil like my own parents did . . . but I digress.) There are days that I become so overwhelmed and frustrated by this whole mom thing that I close myself in the bathroom and cry (I don't know why I bother with the bathroom - the kids just barge right in usually). When I see Michael's car pull into the driveway every evening, I swear I come close to crying actual tears of relief.

Anyway, my house is like everyone else's house pretty much. It might be true that I put my best foot forward when other people are here, and maybe that's where the impression of Super Mom comes from. But if you could be a fly on the wall in my house for a day, you would quickly see the truth of the matter.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Seeds

Ever since I started documenting our family's life since Finn's birth in Finnian's Journey, people have told me that I ought to write something for real, like a book based on my blog. Actually, I've been told even before this that I should look into getting published, like when I used to write essays on motherhood for my MOMS Club newsletter.

I'm not blogging about this here to brag. The truth is, I have a lot of doubt about my writing abilities. Have you seen some of the other stuff out there? Seriously. The stuff I write pales in comparison to even some of the other blogs I follow. I think I have a pretty good handle on sentence structure, and proper grammar and stuff like that. But do I have the ability to move people with my writing? To hold someone's interest through maybe a few hundred pages? I don't know. I'm told that I do, but the doubty voice in my head usually says "Oh, they're just being nice." Jennifer Graf Groneberg, the author of Road Map to Holland, even commented on my blog today that she thinks I should write. But gosh, really? Does she mean it?

But.

I've actually (secretly) fantasized about being a published writer for many years. I used to fantasize about writing a novel. I could come up with these (I thought) great story lines in my head, but I could never get past the outline stage. I don't think I have the imagination to perform real character development, plot, and all that.

Essays, though. I can write about things that are in my head, things that are in my heart, things in my life. True things. Maybe that's my niche.

I would love to have my own experience with Finn and his dianosis published. Imagine thousands of other people reading it and benefitting from it in some way. Wow. But I don't know if I really do have the talent necessary for anyone to actually be interested in publishing what I have to write. I even asked Michael today what he thinks. And that was hard, to bring myself to ask him, "Do you think I can write?" because (a) I think he's a brilliant writer, although a completely different sort of writer, (b) I value his opinion too much to not be hurt if he said "no," and (c) asking him is akin to presuming that I do have some talent, which feels weird. Anyway, he said, yes, he thinks I can write, and even that it's worth at least looking into getting published.

I don't know, though. Where would I even start? I haven't a clue. But the seeds are there.

Friday, November 21, 2008

"Pregnant Man"

I just read that "he" is pregnant again. You know, that "guy," Thomas Beattie I think his name is. Okay, here's the deal: a woman who has her breasts removed and takes male hormones to achieve a deeper voice and facial hair does NOT a man make. She's still got a uterus and all her outer girlie parts. She gets pregnant and gives birth. That is a woman, not a man. Men have penises and testicles and . . . well, and no uteruses or vaginas.

I have no problem with the moral aspect of her/him (?) raising kids. Whatever. If the kids are getting love and all the other stuff kids need, I think that's just dandy. It just rubs me the wrong way - as a woman - to hear and read this person called the "Pregnant Man" and to be touted as some medical marvel, the first "man" to ever get pregnant and give birth. She's not a man for crap's sake!

Thank you.

I'm It

Since the kids are all still napping, I'm indulging in the moment by stuffing my face with brownie bites left over from my book club meeting last night and participating in one of these silly, fun questionnaires:

1. Who was your 1st love? His name was David C. We were both 11, and he was the first boy I went steady with, which basically involved holding hands and calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend. He stole a necklace from his mom and gave it to me. He also bought me a goldfish which I ended up having for a couple of years until it died. He wanted to french kiss me and I was absolutely appalled at the thought of someone putting their tongue in my mouth, or vice versa. He broke up with me (perhaps over the tongue thing?), and we moved away shortly thereafter. He was the first person I was truly heartbroken over. I remember crying my eyes out and honestly feeling like I was never ever going to get over him. It all seems so quaint now.

2. Do you still talk to your first love? Nahh. I never laid eyes on him again after we moved, and that was 30 years ago.

3. What was your 1st alcoholic drink? Unless my dad gave me beer when I was a tot (which wouldn't surprise me, but which I also wouldn't have any memory of), my first alcoholic drink was something my friends and I called "Jungle Juice" which basically was whatever hard liquor could be found in a parent's liquor cabinet all mixed together. It tasted something like gasoline. I was 13 years old, and I got drunk - the first time I ever drank. Sad.

4. What was your 1st job? Aside from babysitting, my first real job was at Barro's Pizza. Which made me feel very cool. Way cooler than my friends who were wearing polyester uniforms and working at McDonald's.

5. What was your 1st car? A 1972 Dodge Dart, given to me by my great aunt. Turd brown with a white vinyl top. I named it Spanky.

6. Whose the last person you text today? I haven't texted anyone today. The last person I texted was Michael, yesterday.

7. Who is the person you first thought of this morning? Gosh. I don't know. My first thought was not about anyone. My first thought was "Shit, it's 5:30 already?" My second thought was "I gotta pee!" When I eventually got around to thinking about a person, I'm sure it was Finn.

8. Who was your 1st grade teacher? I honestly can't remember. We moved pretty much every year when I was a kid, so every year it was a new school, sometimes two different schools in one school year. I can't remember many of the teachers I had.

9. Where did you go on your 1st airplane ride? Nevada, and it wasn't until I was about 25 years old.

10. Who was your 1st best friend & are you still friends with them? Gosh, hard to remember. I remember a blond girl named Robin in very early grade school.

11. What was your 1st sport played? I didn't participate in organized league sports growing up, but I played a lot of baseball out in the street with my brothers and the neighborhood gang. I can still throw a ball and hit a ball pretty well.

12. Where was your 1st sleep over? Not counting relatives, the first sleep over I remember was at a school friend, Heidi's house. I remember she was this little thing with red hair and she was allergic to dairy.

13. Who was the 1st person you talked to today? Kevin and Joey. As in, "Time to get up for school!"

14. Whose wedding were you in for the 1st time? My mother's second wedding. I remember she put all this hideous blue eyeshadow on me. But it was the '80s so . . .

15. What was the 1st thing you did in the morning? Went pee.

16. What was the 1st concert you went to? Ratt.

17. What was your 1st tattoo or piercing? I believe it was for my 6th birthday. My mother sent me down the street to a neighbor's house (by myself) to get a home ear-piercing job. The woman put clothespins on my earlobes to numb them (didn't work) and then stuck big sewing needles through my earlobes. I later added additional ear piercings myself. My first tattoo was of a butterfly on my hip to symbolize the changes my life was undergoing after my first marriage ended and my first husband died. It was sort of my statement of independence since I had long wanted a tattoo and my husband had always told me that he would divorce me if I got one. It was also in memory of my dad who had passed away; he had a butterfly tattoo on his back. I added a smaller butterfly not long after to represent Kevin, since he and I were going through a lot of transformation together at the time. After Lilah was born 2 years ago, I got a tattoo on my arm of two intertwined hearts representing me and Michael, and 5 flowers underneath, one for each of our children. After Finn was born, I had a flower added for him.

18. What's the 1st foreign country that you went to? Mexico.

19. What was your 1st run in with the law? Well, I got caught shoplifting at Mervyn's when I was 14. Security grabbed us right outside the store (my girlfriends and I were stealing bathing suits) and hauled us upstairs to the business office and called our parents. But no police were involved. Does that count? I've never been arrested, and the only ticket I've ever gotten was for tossing a lit cigarette out my window when I was driving on the freeway.

20. When was your 1st detention? I really don't remember ever getting detention. I was a pretty good kid in school.

21. Who was the 1st person the break your heart? Definitely my parents.

22. Who was your 1st roommate? Living away from home roommate? Kelly.

23. Where did you go for your 1st limo ride? To the church for my step-sister's mother's wedding (convoluted, eh?)

I tag you!

Ssssshhhh . . . do you hear that?

It's the sounds of quiet. Of four children napping while their two older brothers are at school (Daisy and Annabelle actually asked to take a nap when I got them home from preschool!). It's the sound of Mommy eating her lunch in peace without having to give half of it away to little mooches. Do you hear that tapping? It's the sound of Mommy typing on her laptop. And it's the only sound in the house!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yee Haw!

Joey's first grade class had a Hoe Down this morning, complete with square dancing and chili and corn bread afterwards.

I cannot, to this day, go to any school function for my kids - whether it be a performance like this, a parent/teacher conference, or Open House - without crying. It's something I've always been rather embarassed about. Sometimes it feels like there must be something wrong with me, that seeing this part of my children's lives, that is somehow separate from me, always brings me to tears. Another mom who was there today, though, explained it in one word to me: pride. And it's true. I just feel so proud of my kids, of who they have become, who they are on their way to becoming, and seeing their life at school is such a bold illustration of that.


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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happily Ever After

I've been thinking lately about my life, as it is right now. Actually, I think about it a lot. Having been through some really hard times in the past, I try to make a point of taking a moment every day to reflect on all that is good in my life. But being that it's the season to acknowledge what we are grateful for, I wanted to put it into written words.

Happily ever after. That's what I'm living. That's not to say that everything in my life is perfect. Far from it.

My dad died almost 10 years ago, and I still miss him terribly. My kids will never know him, and that is something that makes me very sad. I don't have a relationship with my mother . . . it's just an impossibility that I accepted a long time ago. I am also estranged from a younger brother whom I grew up being extremely close to. Michael and I had a baby this past summer who was diagnosed with Down syndrome.

Those are the big minuses at this point.

But.

My dad still lives in my heart, and in my children. I see little glimpses of him in a gesture here, a facial expression there. I have wonderful, loving friends who have become like family to me. Finn's diagnosis hasn't turned out to be the tragedy I anticipated. I love him with all my heart and can't imagine him not being a part of our family. I have a houseful of kids - something I longed for for so many years (even if they do drive me to the brink of insanity pretty regularly).

I have a husband who I just can't say enough good things about. He's my best friend. As cliche and contrived as that sounds, it's the truth. He's loving, devoted, honest, and loyal. He's the first person I want to talk to when something happens, big or trivial. He makes me laugh until I cry. This is not blissful newlywed ignorance talking. We've been married for almost 7 1/2 years. We've had our ups and downs. We've worked very hard to have a good, strong marriage. There are still - and always will be - hot button issues between us, emotionally charged things that we do not see eye to eye on. But we know how to weather the down times and come back together even stronger.

I don't know what the future holds for me, for us. I know very well that things can change in the blink of an eye. We still have the teenage years to look forward to with our kids (and Kevin is fast approaching that stage). I have three daughters who will be hitting puberty just as I'm probably going to be hitting menopause - fun times! My biggest fear is losing Michael. He doesn't take the best care of himself, and is a prime candidate for a heart attack at some point. I worry a lot about that.

So, no, life is not perfect . . . but it is perfect, with all of its imperfections. This is my happily ever after. I'm living it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kid Stuff

On Daisy:

I sent this email to Daisy's speech therapist this evening:

Hi Tara - I meant to get this note to you all day, and the day just got away from me. I wanted to let you know that Daisy won't be at school tomorrow (Wednesday). The preschool class is having live animals in the class, and Daisy would never be able to deal with that. (Has any progress been made with the school psychologist, by the way?)

I wanted to tell you, too, that it already seems as though Daisy is making some progress with some of her sounds! She is able to say the F sound and the L sound when I work with her on those. When she's not conscious of it, she still defaults to her substituted sounds, but when made conscious of it, she can do it. I'm so pleased.

See you on Friday!

Lisa M.

Her response:

Lisa - Thank you for letting me know. I too see a difference right away. During speech on Friday I did initial benchmark testing with Daisy while we waited for the other students to arrive and she was able to produce the/f/ sound in all positions of a word with 85% accuracy. /L/ was the sound we targeted on Friday. At first she was struggling to find the correct place for her tongue but by the end of our session she was doing it correctly without any cues from me.

I have told the psychologist (several times) the problem is that he is only here on Tuesdays. He did get to meet her on Friday for a short few minutes during our speech session since he was here for an IEP meeting. He is planning to give you a call to get some more information, however it won't be until he is back here on Tuesday (next week).

Daisy is very smart. She takes to new strategies so easily. I am confident that this early intervention will result in great gains and she most likely won't need speech for very long. Her language (comprehension and expression) skills are very strong. There is no concern in that area.

I am glad to hear that you are seeing progress already. See you on Friday.

Tara

I really am so pleased. The note back from the speech teacher was very reassuring.

As far as the issue with the live animals . . . well, Daisy is an extremely phobic little girl. She's afraid of a lot of things - any kind of animal, insect, or creature that's not human, plus a whole host of other things. She started manifesting these fears when she was around 2 and all this time (as with her speech issues), we waited for her to outgrow them. Her phobias have gotten to the point of interfering with normal activities (for instance, walking to school to pick up Joey inevitably involves watching Daisy get hysterical because we almost always encounter somebody walking their dog; she can't attend birthday parties or playdates at someone's house if they have pets; she refuses to use the bathroom at school because she's afraid of the loud flushing the public toilets make; and the list goes on). I don't know why she's afraid of so many things. (A friend of mine actually asked me once, "Do you think Daisy is like that because you're such a clean freak?" Seriously. I'm still not over that one.) She's never been harmed in any way by any of the things she's afraid of, so it's a mystery as to where these fears come from. It's only been recently that we've realized she's not going to outgrow these issues - not without some help. It's hard to accept that as a parent, but of course we want (and are willing) to do whatever needs to be done to get her over these hurdles. So we're trying to get the school psychologist to step in and if he can't help, at least point us in the right direction. Because the truth is, she's never going to be able to go to kindergarten next year if we can't get a handle on some of this stuff.

On Kevin:

I had to explain rape to Kevin today. Why? Because he really wants to read To Kill a Mockingbird. And I want him to, and I believe he's mature enough. He's a lover of literature like his mom, and I want to nurture that love. And To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic and one of the best books ever written, and it will likely be required reading for him in a couple more years anyway.

But yeah, it was a little uncomfortable explaining that term to him. My explanation was short and sweet and I've left it up to him as to whether to go ahead with the book now, knowing that there is some adult subject matter contained in it. He still wants to read it. And you know what? I think he's really going to like it.

My boy is growing up.

I wonder how many 2-year-olds Susan has raised . . .

I realize that the fact that I am currently working on my fifth 2-year-old probably conveys that I am very new to this ;)

Look how cute!!!


Bottom row, third from the right. That's my hubby in second grade :)

Reminds me so much of Joey now.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ever feel like you've taken it up the wazoo??

In addition to my adventure at the Social Security office this morning, I discovered today that the person who somehow got ahold of my debit card number last week actually made a bunch of charges that went through before my card was cancelled. Over $500 in unauthorized charges. All made at different gas stations in NEW YORK!! I'm guessing they were just withdrawing cash. I made a fraud claim with my bank and, fortunately, they will credit the money back to my account and investigate. I hope they catch the F-er!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fire Season

As I posted here yesterday, fire season is in full swing here in our neck of the woods.

When I got up yesterday morning, it was so beautiful outside . . . the sky was this pristine blue, and I was inspired to get outside and take a few pictures:



When I took the above pics, I didn't even realize that the fires had already started in some neighboring towns. By late morning, though, this was the scene:

Michael was across town, much closer to where some of the actual fires were, and took these from thr truck:




This is in front of our house:



By early afternoon, everything had a yellow/orange cast to it.

This is the middle of the afternoon -


Michael and I actually went out to dinner last night. I felt weird about it. It was nice to get out, but I felt a little guilty going out for dinner when people not too far away from us were losing their homes. The air quality was (and still is) just terrible. There were ashes visibly floating around in the air and everything smelled like heavy smoke. The downtown area where we went for dinner was virtually deserted.
This morning there were ashes everywhere. You can see it all over Michael's car and my truck:





Friday, November 14, 2008

You and Your Two-Year-Old

Congratulations! Your child is now two years old. This is a time of significant growth and learning. Your two-year-old is learning about the world around her, and how she affects it. More specifically, she is learning the most efficient ways of getting her way . . . about EVERYTHING.

Skills of a Typical Two-Year-Old:

~ Empty a typical bookshelf, drawer, or cabinet that silly parents have not childproofed in 10 seconds flat.

~ Place at least a few of the items that belong in said bookshelf, drawer, or cabinet into the black hole that every home containing a two-year-old possesses, never to be seen again.

~ Scream at a pitch that is likely to shatter glass . . . or at least be heard by various neighbors who will wonder if the child is being harmed. This pastime is a favorite as both an expression of unhappiness, and as a boredom-buster.

~ Flush the toilet. Over and over and over and over.

~ Drink water out of a big girl cup. Or just pour it out on the table or floor.

~ Wrap herself around your leg, impeding your mobility. This skill apparently needs to be exercised only when you really need to have the use of both legs, as when you, the adult, need to pee, when the toddler's infant brother's cries have reached a fever pitch, or when the kitchen is on fire.

~ Fancy herself a budding fashionista. In other words, at age two, if your child is a girl, she is probably already demanding to pick out her own clothes. A sundress on a 50-degree morning? Her favorite pink coat with the fake-fur trim on a 90-degree afternoon? Dress shoes with sweats? Go with it. Pick your battles.

~ Refuse to sit in a stroller.

~ "Spaghetti Legs" - this maneuver is a favorite among the toddler set. It involves collapsing her legs under herself when you, the adult, are attempting to lead her by the hand. This move results in your dragging her across the ground by the hand because her legs have ceased to function. This works well in public locales. Pay close attention to the looks you will get from the people around you.

~ "Flop and Drop" - this is related to "Spaghetti Legs" but takes it another step. This involves making her entire body limp and boneless. This maneuver is especially effective in busy parking lots and other dangerous, public places, and even more so if you, the adult, are also carrying an infant on your person.

~ When said two-year-old employs the Flop and Drop, you, the adult, will be forced to pick her up and carry her. At this point, she will probably arch her back, thereby throwing her body weight backwards, as she is being carried, against her will. If she falls and injures herself, it will be your fault.

~ Coloring with crayons. Or with markers if she can find them. In coloring books. Or on walls. Furniture also makes a nice canvas.

~ Addressing you by "Mommy." Relentlessly. As in, "Mommymommymommymommymommymommymommymommymommymommymommymommymommymommymommymommymommymommmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeee?!?"

Just wait for Three!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hair

Annabelle twirls her hair with a finger. It's a habit she's had since she was a baby. She mostly does it on one side in the back, but every once in a while she'll twist up a nice corkscrew right up front making her look exactly like a human unicorn. Anyhow, the problem with this little habit of hers is that she twirls these beastly knots into her hair which can only be remedied by cutting them out, and eventually that one side in the back is shorter than the other side and I have to even it all up and give her a good trim all over. (This is why Daisy has long hair and Annabelle has short hair.)

So tonight after her bath, I decided it was time for a trim. She decided it was NOT time and proceeded to go into hysterics. The entire time I was trimming (I'm no hair-stylist, but fortunately curly hair is forgiving), she was crying and saying over and over "Mommy, don't cut it all off, don't cut it all off!" And I suddenly had this vision of her future self in some therapist's office with red, swollen eyes and balled up tissue in her fist, relaying some sad story about how her horrible mother once cut all her hair off in a fit of rage when she was a little girl, like a scene from Mommy Dearest. (Do I have a wild imagination?)

So I just wanted to show for the record that I, in fact, did NOT cut all her hair off:


Pretty cute, actually.

Breaking News

Well, the proof is in the pudding, I'd say. The domperidone I've been taking for 3-going-on-4 days now seems to be doing its work. I definitely notice an increase in my milk supply, and Finn has gained 4 ounces in the last 3 days (after only having gained 4 ounces over the previous 12 days). He's finally broken through 11 pounds and weighs 11 lbs. 3 oz.

Woot!!

My Magical Superhero Powers . . .

. . . are contained in the kisses and bandaids I dole out. Who knew?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Not the best day

Social security was a bust. I got there, with Lilah and Finn in tow, and there were at least 30 people ahead of me, sitting in the waiting area waiting for their numbers to be called. There was just no way in hell I was going to sit there (actually stand there, as it was standing room only) for that long. I don't know what I'm going to do. Michael took care of Lilah's after she was born. Maybe I can get him to take care of Finn's too. Or I'm just going to have to go back and wait at the door before they open. Blech.

As for Elisa, the cleaning lady. I am so pissed. I've been all nervous about confronting her about the broken picture frame. So I left it sitting on the dining room table today so she couldn't miss it and then I said to her, "Oh, by the way, did this fall off the wall when you were here last week?" She looked like a deer in headlights and she said "Umm, no." I was floored. I didn't even know what else to say. I just said, "Oh, okay." I figured she would get defensive or something, but I really really didn't think she would just blatantly lie to me. I could give a crap less about the picture frame (although it cost me $30 to replace it, but whatever), but the fact that she would break something - I'm sure accidentally - and then not say anything to me about it and THEN lie to me! It really is so obvious that it happened at her hands. The kids can't even reach it, so I know it wasn't them. I've been nothing but good to her. I'm not demanding, I never ask her to do anything extra, I never complain about the things she misses, I gave her a really good holiday bonus last year - and this is what I get. And I am kicking myself because it's probably at least partly my fault for not showing a little spine. I don't know what to do. M thinks I should just fire her, but honestly I just think I'll find more of the same elsewhere. This is someone who came highly recommended to me by a neighbor who has used her for several years. If that kind of recommendation results in this, I guess you just can't trust anyone.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

On tomorrow's agenda -

- Social security office. Ugh. 'Nuff said.

- Confront cleaning lady about breaking stuff. Actually, it's not the actual breaking of stuff that bothers me (yit happens), it's the breaking of stuff and then not saying anything to me about it. This has happened a couple of times. The latest was last week, the day after she had been here I noticed that a large photo collage we have hung on the wall was a little cockeyed, and on closer inspection, I realized the whole damn frame was broken and the glass had a crack in it. It clearly fell off the wall and she clearly put it back up and then didn't say anything about it. So I'm bothered by this. And I have to say something to her about it tomorrow, which I hate.

In other news, I forgot to mention that somebody got a hold of my freakin' debit card number and tried to use it at a couple of different gas stations in NEW YORK!!! Seriously! I got a call from the fraud prevention department of my bank yesterday alerting me of this. So I had to have my debit card cancelled and have to wait for a new one. In the meantime, I guess it's back to the old-fashioned way of paying: writing checks :/

Grounding = Torture

Torture for me that is. Kevin is grounded for 3 days as a result of fighting with his brother a couple days ago (certainly nothing new), which involved door slamming, stomping, and generally unnacceptable behavior on Kevin's part. So I grounded him from phone and leaving home (except for school of course) for 3 days. And I am finding that I am the one who feels punished because today is a school holiday and all he's done for most of the day is follow me around whining about how bored he is. I suspect he's trying to break me, see if he can make me so miserable that I give in and tell him to go play at Daniel's house or something. Not going to happen. But still, this stinks.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Domperidone

Woo hoo, my domperidone came in the mail today! Well, actually I had to run down the street after the mailman for it because he left a slip at my door telling me I had a package and would have to pick it up at the post office in a couple of days since I missed him. Thank goodness I caught him - I've been anxiously awaiting this stuff, hoping it will be the resolution I'm looking for, and since my milk supply is already taking the expected monthly dive, the timing couldn't be better. Finn's weight gain seems to be at a virtual standstill again - he's only gained 4 ounces in the last 12 days, and has been stuck at 10 lbs. 15 ounces for the last several days.

Stay tuned.

Goals this week

~ Make my own cafe mochas at home. After all, we have a perfectly good espresso machine sitting on the counter collecting dust. Maybe I'll put all the money I save in a piggy bank :)

~ Get on that elliptical machine a few times this week, and while I'm at it, do some crunches. Time to stop whining about my post-partum body and do something about it.

~ Make a decent dent in Robin's book club pick already!

~ Go to Social Security office to obtain social security number for Finn. I'm dreading this. I'm going to have to take Lilah and Finn with me and likely sit for god knows how long waiting. Ugh. But it has to be done.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lazy Saturday


I love the weekends. I love not having to set my alarm for 5:30 am (yes, that's what time I have to get up during the week to get all the wee ones fed, dressed, and to school on time - yeesh, you'd think I have a full-time job or something!). I love lazing in bed with my husband and one or more of my kids on Saturday morning. I love spending the entire day in my jammies once in a while, and not stepping foot outside the house. I love letting Michael do the cooking on the weekends (he's better at it than I and enjoys it more than I too).
All this refuels me for the coming week, which is inevitably here before I know it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The cost of living . . . well?

I have a Starbucks addiction. Every morning - and I mean every single morning, 7 days a week, 365 days a year - I get a Grande Mocha, no whip, from Starbucks. I've been drinking cafe mochas from Starbucks on a daily basis for over 12 years now. I actually sat down yesterday and came up with some frightening numbers:

$3.55 . . . the cost of one grande no whip mocha
$24.85 . . . the cost of a week's worth of grande no whip mochas
$1,292.20 . . . the cost of a year's worth of grande no whip mochas

This is a startling number. I think this is more than we pay for our combined auto insurance for a year.

Over the last 12 years, the cost of my addiction has fluctuated, since Starbucks occasionally raises its prices and for a time I was drinking a Vente Mocha with an add shot every day, and for a time I cut back to just a tall mocha every day. But I think it's safe to say that over the last 12 years, I've spent somewhere in the neighborhood of . . . gulp . . . $12,000.00 on effing coffee!! And that's not even factoring in Michael's coffee. He gets regular coffee from Starbucks (although he claims not every day) at the cost of $1.60 a cup. I don't even want to do the math.

This got me thinking about the other ways I treat myself. How about the $75ish I spend every month to get pedicures and my nails done? And how about the $30ish we spend every week on pizza night?

It's certainly nice that we can afford these things, but man. Just think if this money went into a savings account instead. Kind of depressing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Good Day

Everyone I've run into today has had a smile on their face, and morale seems to be way up this morning after last night's election results. When the election was called last night, I could hear all kinds of car horns honking outside - it sounded positively festive. You can almost feel hope in the air.

In addition to Daisy's first speech therapy session going well, I put $60 into my gas tank this morning and it actually got me a full tank! That hasn't happened in I don't even know how long - a looooong time, that's for sure.

As I was walking to school this afternoon to pick Joey up, a woman whom I've never met before caught up with me and told me how she sees me all the time walking to school with my kids and how "wonderful" a mother I seem to be (her word, not mine), and how well I seem to have it all under control. Honestly, I was like "Ummmm, you sure you have the right person?" Okay, even if she is seriously deluded, I'll take the compliment. I wish I could say that I was above needing outside validation, but I'm so not.

And the best news of all is that my friend Laurie's son Dylan, who had open heart surgery yesterday, is fighting the good fight and showing everyone what he's made of.

A good day, indeed.

Daisy

Daisy started speech therapy this morning. At 4 years old, she has a very large vocabulary, but has a lot of difficulty with several sounds - enough so that it makes it difficult to understand her. We kept thinking she'd outgrow these issues (along with all of her phobias, but that's a whole other can o' worms), but she hasn't, so we had her assessed by the school speech pathologist/therapist recently who recommended speech therapy 2 - 3 times a week. So we're starting with twice a week and this morning was her first session. I got a short email from the speech therapist saying that Daisy was a little shy at first but warmed up quickly (I was worried about how she would do being separated from Annabelle) and did very well with the exercises. So, woo hoo for Daisy :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why?

Why another blog? That's a good question. It's certainly not because I don't have enough to keep me busy as it is. The truth is, I've become somewhat addicted to blogging (let's not explore the psychology behind that!), and neither of my existing blogs seems like quite the right place to blog about every day stuff. Finnian's Journey is devoted to Finn and Down syndrome, and I'd like to keep it that way, at least for now. I need that place to go to sort through the myriad of feelings I still wrestle with concerning his diagnosis and prognosis, and just to document his progress. My other blog, Diary of a Frazzled Housewife, tends to be on the ranty side and there are things in it that are not fit for public consumption, so it remains a private blog, open only to a few invited readers (whom I trust still like me in spite of all my neurosis). Maybe some day they'll all find a way to merge into one big This is My Life blog, but for now, I feel better compartmentalizing to a degree.

I don't promise excitement or lots of juicy, thought-provoking stuff here. Maybe some, but mostly it'll just be a place to chronicle my chaotic life as a wife and mother of a whole lotta kids :) People often say to me, "I don't know how you do it." Well, stick around, and you'll see how I do it. It ain't easy, it ain't always pretty, and I don't profess to always do it well. But, my kids laugh a whole lot, and I take that as a very good sign.