Monday, September 28, 2009

update on girls

I have been unable to post lately, since I keep finding myself too angry, anxious, or tired to share the thoughts bouncing in my head. For example, tonight when I came home my husband had been trenching the back yard to install a conduit for electricity for the new garage, cut a sprinkler line, and had to shut off all the water while he fixed the pipe. Immediately Claire and I were desperate for water, just because we had none, had to squabble over the half liter bottle I dug out of my gym bag out in the car, and then I had to cook and clean up without water. So I will simply update the blogosphere on the girls. Easier and more palatable.

Here they are in all their sisterly glory, posing on the sofa I was getting rid of, Claire was quite concerned when I told her I was getting rid of furniture as well as getting new things - I'd asked her to pick up toys with me to clear a path and she said "Mama, if they take these toys with the sofa I'm going to be very mad" quite matter of factly. She spent the rest of that day speculating what I'd be getting rid of next, including Hannah.

The face of an angel hiding the secrets of the universe. On Sunday she saw a picture of Barack Obama sternly observing an Israeli-Palestinian handshake of suspicion. We had a nice time when she asked me "What's Obama doing" and I gave her a brief lesson in the intractable nature of mid-East politics. She skipped off singing her newly minted Obama song, which made me glow with pride. After I sorted out all the girls' summer clothes she spent the rest of the day asking me what she could wear for fall. Today she told me "I don't want to go to my birthday, Mama, because I want to stay new." She has been very concerned about being old, and thinks avoiding birthdays is the way to handle the issue. Middle aged women might agree.

Hannah is as always charming, charming, charming and binky flinging just for fun. And she wants all the broccoli. I am fairly certain she is saying "bo" for book, and I think I heard her say "no" but I wasn't sure why. Despite balance and strength issues she is actually able to stamp her tiny foot in aggravation.

Alien daughter mind-melt vs. infantile death grip. Death grip wins.

Come closer, might I poke you in the eye or examine your teeth? Using my super sharp claws? Look into my eyes. Do you feel sleepy? Look deeper, deeper. I'm going to head bang your mouth! Squee!

OK, I have to go worry about how I can't refinance my mortgage due to plummeting home values, wonder why I have booked a family trip in late October as the suspected pandemic might hit full swing, and obsessively Google vaccine related issues on an internet bogged down by everyone else doing the same damn thing. Please excuse me.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Helping out, husband style

I am too tired to drink more, I really am. Could I beat him into compliance? So, we have very different ideas of what we should do on a Saturday, and my idea never includes playing video games while I ignore the children. He'd done a fair bit of outside work, I'd done child wrangling and house managing, and I thought the kiddos deserved fresh air on a lovely day like today right before the end of summer. I asked him to join us in a jaunt to the park. He preferred to stay home and rest. He would then need to leave for ninety minutes to pick up the boys. I said I'd rather the whole family got to play. I suggested he might work on the dinner before he left so I would not need to cook everything after I got back from wearing out the girls, after he had his moment of peace. He asked what was on the menu and graciously agreed. He could start cooking while being peaceable, as I do every night while I simultaneously pump milk and entertain the littles. I told him we'd have pasta with garlic, shrimp and parmesan cheese and steamed brocoli. When I got home he was pleased to tell me he had helped, as he had boiled. the. water.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Haiku Friday: Mornings at my house

Morning beverage
Coffee, milk or apple juice
a drink must be had

not much time to spare
not everything is scheduled
someone has to poo

my husband sleeps late
yet reads the morning paper
I scream about time

I eat the breakfast
not because it tastes just right
set an example

we are not too late
gathering up all the things
someone has to poo

I say it each day
tomorrow I'll do better.
On time once last year!

Join us at Jan's for more 'ku.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Do they make a splint for my psyche?

Hannah gets her orthotic brace today at the local Shriners hospital I can't really explain my tension and fear filled reaction except that having a brace will make cerebral palsy seem so much more real, like suddenly we are an ad for Easter Seals instead of just a family. So far Hannah is incognito, and among her peers at the nursery, there are two kids in her group who are also not walking, although they both crawl and pull up well. I don't mean to say that having people know she has a problem is the issue because that is simply not as important to me as that she is making progress to do as well as she can to have the brightest future. But, but, but having a brace on her wee foot makes this seem so much more real, that we can't just pass as a family whose child isn't fast to hit milestones but faces no barriers. Last night as we worked our wee exercises (camouflaged as play as always) Hannah pulled herself up to a stand for the first time, so the time is right to stabilize her foot to give her greater abilities. I know the purpose of the brace is positive but I also know I am going to cry, again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

State Fair - a state of affairs

Come little children of all ages, let me guide you through the highlights of the Utah State Fair. I am obviously a plaster pig with artistic proclivities. Obviously.

Here is a sampling of what we have on offer at the State Fair, along with carnies, deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Twinkies, a sideshow act claiming to feature an actual live human being, and nearly forgotten musical acts from every era and genre.

Here we have Ms. Potato Face.

Baa baa black sheep, covering up her wool, and resting while observed by small children.

Some people eat too many curly fries at the Fair, and have to rest.

More resting.

Horns are often bigger than you might think.

She only looks like a gourd.

The butter cow. Ten thousand heart attacks in one refrigerated display case. The best part of the state fair, every year.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Haiku Friday - I just got back from the periodontist and boy is my jaw tired; or - if it ends in "ectomy" it has to be bad

fully as bad as it sounds
dag nab it, this hurts.

My jaw is crooked
with the hot and hard swelling
I don't look like me

With extended jowl
I look like George Washington
just call me Fathead.

My tongue is worn out
chasing the stitches and wounds
examining all.

fully as bad as it sounds
you should use more floss.

Come join in for more 'ku at Jan's.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Destruction, chaos, and the brink of financial ruin, I kind of love you

I couldn't put this post up yesterday because, hello, destruction on September 11, not cool and all that. I did think sorrowful thoughts though, and when I woke up I checked online news first thing to see if any anniversary events of violence were ongoing, because I worry about such things. I thought sorrowful thoughts about us all collectively, and about a friend who was activated right after and served in Iraq and who, I think, has suffered for the experience and I am sorrowful for her pain. However, the demo man was scheduled and wanted to begin ripping down the old to make way for the new. Our man has not been busy in recent months given the lack of new construction and fewer folks remodeling their homes, so he was ready to start right away as soon as he could organize the men, machines, and dump trucks.

I loved the sounds of my trashy old building being smashed to smithereens. It amazed me that the wood crunched so in so satisfying a way, and sounded not unlike dry tinder under my feet on a walk in the woods.

The man in the bobcat could not stop smiling as he pulled the building down. Neither could I! I was filming the demo process for my kids to see later and I kept finding myself shouting "Sweet" or "I am so glad they started they work when I could take the day off" or "Honey, the kids will love this" and really meaning that I loved it and couldn't get enough. After he pulled the whole building down I was tired, as if I'd done it myself.

City building officials have been incredibly aggravating. This project ups my debt level to heretofore unknown levels.

I am doing the dance of joy.

We borrowed the money for this part of our project eighteen months ago, before the crashiest part of the economic crash. We meant to do the garage last year, but were sidetracked by the length of time it took us to finish the basement, redo the main bathroom and have a baby with greater than expected needs. Had we not financed it then, we might not have been able to, given the drop in property values. Did I wonder about the wisdom of completing the project? Well, yes, but I got over it. I noticed yesterday as the old garage was demolished, I had no misgivings at all about these expenses, and it was pretty liberating. I can hyperventilate some about expenditures. Twenty years ago I might go clothes shopping to blot our some emotional upset, and feel a little sick as I charged my way through comfort buying but it never stopped me. When I got student loans I worried about the mortgage on my head. When I purchased my first home I had many sleepless nights thinking about how I could possibly borrow so much. Somehow yesterday I felt no such misgivings, and I still can't figure out entirely why.

Am I happy to pump thousands of dollars into the local economy? Am I a good neighbor, showing my civic pride in improving my home for the betterment of my community?

Really, I just like covered parking.

She makes me look good, and she loves Obama

My niece, my fabulous very nearly fourteen year old niece, won a statewide essay contest on the nature of community and the meaning of the concept of neighborhood. Today she read her essay at the annual conference of the sponsoring state and local government association.

To me, what means more than the essay that might inspire local government officials, or be shown to other students as an example of winning, or be passed around the neighborhood by the people who are the village who help raise Jax, is what this means to my family, because Jax's success reflects on me and will inspire my girls.

I have never been proud of what status we did (or did not) have. My parents earned very little, lived in poorer middle class neighborhoods, and could not provide higher education to us or even dance or music lessons when we were little. Education was encouraged but never assured to us. My family is full of genius but with little to show for it. My sister and I are the exception with graduate degrees each. We've always raised Jackie that she can do anything, and will do the same for Claire and Hannah. I hope they always believe.

When my niece met local officials at the conference today, she dropped my name as a professional they would know. But now I can drop her name when I see them next. At the city council meeting I'll say "and you've met my niece, who won the essay contest and wowed you all with her wit and confidence and poise." We will bootstrap on each other! My niece! And me! Both succeeding! I don't think she knows it, but she pushes my family out of the realm of "odds are they won't" to "damn straight they will."

I remember winning a prize or getting good grades and getting encouragement from some teachers who might reach out to a child of lesser means to tell her she could, should, and would succeed. I didn't always believe it, and I didn't care about it when I dropped out of school. However, I did go back to school. Those nudges to move forward in life can stay with you. And the people who know me and who know Jackie will now think we were fated to do well because we come from successful people.

So when someone, a President of the United States for example, or a teacher or neighbor or mentor, wants to encourage a child, let them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Haiku Friday - and down it goes

A man and machine
can pull down a whole building
in just a morning.

Splinters and dust fly
I watch with delight
as my garage collapses

The wood and metal
come apart with less effort,
wires are stronger.

For two butterflies,
the vibrations and chaos
passed without notice.

I'll add pictures later. Please join us with haiku at Jan's.

Monday, September 7, 2009

According to the girl in the know

Dinosaurs are big. They are scary and they say this "RAAAAAAARR!" So you have to stay on the school bus if you see one. But Miss Melanie has a gun and she will kill the dinosaur.

I knew that Claire knew about dinosaurs, because here in Utah we have a bounty of fossil sites so all kids' museums have related exhibits. I knew Claire learned that all dinosaurs were dead, although we have not talked about extinction, per se. And I can see that a well meaning school bus driver would want to reassure the kids in her care that she would take care of them should any unexpected and dangerous situation arise, such as, say, a dinosaur attack. I did not know Claire knew the word gun.

Last night, at a birthday party for one of her school classmates, while seated near the cake as it was being served, Claire asked the friend's mommy "Do you have a husband?" "No" said V., "but I'd like to have one." "You'll have to go get one" Claire helpfully suggested. "Where should I go to get a husband?"

"Go to the desert. You can get a husband in the desert."

Roll this way

As you read this post's title, sing it to the tune of "Walk this way, walk this way" complete with the stylized screechy guitar riffs . . .

Hannah, Queen Hannah, the lamb of babyness, rolled her skinny white bum over from back to front today. Both directions. Over and over. Just because she can. See the proof?

I've been told by the therapists in the know that hemiplegia kids are prone to not crawling, my guess is even when one sided weakness is not severe, it is still different enough to make any such moves feel unreliable. I've been told with how much she hates being on her tummy she really might not crawl but would go to walking so we do PT moves that gear up for both. However, a girl that goes on her tummy voluntarily might just feel so inclined. Hannah has been going from tummy to back for a couple of months just from spite and aggravation, but until today never went back to front with purpose. Today she casually rolled over, looked to me for some glory and acclaim, then reached for a toy and hung out. Hung out on her tummy. Pushed buttons on the cash register and used a credit card. Ahem. See that baby? That girl is mine.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Haiku Friday - School Daze

The week whizzes past
I cannot keep track of all
the school days in flux

Even wee babies
switch teachers in September
it is gain with loss

I am pleased with growth
but saddened my preschooler
needs me so much less

The kids and the place
are now rapidly changing
we long for pattern.

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