Humor is also a way of saying something serious. - T. S. Eliot

Monday, May 30, 2011

If You Build it, They Will Come

I do believe in fairies, I do believe in fairies, I do, I do, I do, I do believe in fairies...

We decided we needed a fairy garden.  We felt really lucky when we stumbled upon Fairy Homes for sale at Bachmans.  We set up the house, but went back for the little table and chairs as well as mini chalkboards and mini flower pots. 

The woman ringing us out asked Sophia if any fairies had come to live in the home, yet.  Sophia softly admitted, "No...But I haven't looked today, yet."  

This weekend the fairy garden was finally completed.  I'm not writing much tonight, just posting some pics for family and anyone else...then headed up for the nightly tick check and bathing of the girls. 

We also planted our first veggie garden.  Mom found a little container garden to put on the lawn -- a good size for us beginner gardners.  We planted: cantaloupe, green beans, red and yellow peppers, sugar snap peas, pumpkins, lettuce, carrots, radishes, chives, lavendar (actually that is in the fairy garden), and dill.

Gram - I think if you click on the individual pics, it will enlarge them for you????

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blueberries with Legs

If I don't blog now, I don't know when I might get a chance to do so.  And since I've become mostly a mom-blogger without any time for indulging in more creative-type writing, I feel less pressure to sit here and try to form something perfect versus just writing about our goings-ons this past week.

  • I fed the girls blueberries at breakfast.  Seeing something on the floor, we all just assumed it was a blueberry; however, Ella inspected it closely and announced that the blueberry "has legs!"  It is May here at our house and that means that all the ticks that live in the preserve behind our home hitchhike on Mocha and land in our home.  Apparently the tick overindulged a bit, sucking enough blood from Mocha to become the size and color of a blueberry.  Of course I called my sister in law and left her a message since we are both hugely fascinated by the gross things in life. 
  • Andi wore a lady bug backpack for three days straight.  The only time it came off was when she was in the tub.  I tried to take it off to go to bed and she yelled at me, "I NO LIKE MY BACK PACK OFF!"
  • Andi succeeded in something I had not.  I was desperately seeking chocolate this week and had not found any. We try not to keep junk food in the house which is mostly a good thing, but some weeks I really hate myself for not buying indulgences like M&M's, etc.  Anyway, I sat upstairs sorting laundary, enjoying that all three children were quiet.  When I came downstairs, I found this....(Note the backpack)

  •  I promptly picked up the phone and told Andi's grampa that he is NO LONGER allowed to bring my children GIANT chocolates filled with caramel.  (He won't listen, he knows I'm all hot air.)
  • The girls lost the remote.  After 15 minutes of looking, Dave went up to Ella, who was in bed, and asked her where it was. She responded gruffly, "Try looking somewhere you haven't looked, yet!"
  • Sophia and I spent til 1AM at Children's Hospital -- she had strep for the 3rd time in 4 weeks.  We are off to her regular pediatrician this week to figure out why this is happening and if and what we need to do to address this problem. 
  • Ella and Andi pulled a piece of furniture over -- my wall now has two huge holes in it.  The hole from Ella's head slamming into it after a trip down the stairs when fighting over a purse with her sister last year....
 The hole from Andi and Ella pulling over a piece of one was hurt...
  • To finish off the week, Ella had her dance recital and Bobo came up just for the day in order to watch Ella's 2 min performance. Ella told me when she went to bed that she couldn't fall asleep because "I am so excited about my recital.  I am going to dream about sleeping on the stage."  Apparently, she loved performing.  How sweet...

Looking Forward -- The Week Ahead

  • This is the twins last week of preschool and the thought of it has nearly made me want to cry and fight it away not wanting it to leave and give way to the summer which will lead to kindergarten which, for me, equates the end of their babyhood.  But then I became hooked on reading about a mom who just gave birth to a little girl last week after her husband died suddenly last fall.  This mom is also preparing to say good-bye to her son who is dying of brain cancer.  She will not see him age and as I realized that fact, I suddenly became excited about watching the girls grow into children.  I realized what a great gift it is that they will soon turn 5, then six and so on...Here is the blog if you'd like to follow this mom on her incredible journey: Click Here
  • Memorial Day is coming -- and so are Uncle Pancake and Aunt Header who can braid hair and indulge the girls in cupcakes and cookies while Uncle Pancake accompanies daddy to a Twins game. 
  • While I try to progress plans for a class I am teaching on Present Moment Parenting, as well as clean the house, and write a parenting article for a local parenting website, my heart is going to be with my gramma who said good-bye to her gentlman friend tonigh.  The good thing about gramma is she stays in shape and takes care of herself.  The downside to all this, is that she has now had to say good-bye to two "great men" -- one was my grampa and her husband of 50? years...the second was her companion/boyfriend for the last 8? years.  His death was quick, but comfortable in a hospice setting, and she was able to sit by his side.  I am sending her peace and comfort. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Growing up: First Earrings then Training Wheels

Yesterday when the girls weren't asking the neighbor if they could help her plant her flowers or play with her new puppy, playing in the other neighbor's backyard, or chasing their 10 yr old idol around the cul-de-sac, they were talking Dave into taking off their training wheels. 

While Sophia was the first to walk, which then inspired Ella to walk...Ella was the driving force for Sophia starting to ride her bike.  Their twin-ness definitely pushes them to acheive...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Squeamish Meets the Piercing Nazi

Earlier this week, Ella came to me and told me she wanted to get her ears pierced.  I hadn't introduced this idea to them because I'd be just as happy if they never had pierced ears.  In fact, I wish I never would have pierced my ears.  I am such a squeamish person, in fact, that one time after changing my ear rings, I passed out cold on the floor.  I woke up to the ER nurse who lived next door to my parents shaking me awake.  Once my eyes were opened and I was sitting up, she laughed and said, "she's just fine" and headed home. 

Like hell I was.

Over the last year or so, when the girls would ask to get their ears pierced I would deter them with realistically explaining the process, "You will have to get a big needle pushed all the way through your ear.  It's really sharp.  It will hurt.  Would you still like to go?"

But lately, their friends have been getting their ears pierced and telling the girls it isn't so bad.  Not only that, but we happened to be shopping in Claires a couple weeks ago and every person that walked in was getting a piercing.  The twins stood and watched and no one cried.  Must not be so bad.  They looked at me and said they'd like to go ahead and do it. "Let's not make a rushed decision," I had told them, and then bought them stick-on earrings and we left.

But last Thursday, my luck run out.  And as a mental health practitioner, I knew my luck ran out when I ran through the assessment of risk with Ella who had awoken me very early to tell me that today was the day she got her ears pierced.

Whenever I had a suicidal client, I'd do a risk assessment.  Did they have a plan? A mode? Access to the mode?  I wanted to know how deeply they had planned the whole thing out.  The more well thought out, the higher the risk. 

So I started assessing Ella's risk for getting a piercing...
"When are you doing it?"
"When today?"
This afternoon.
"Where are you planning to go to get it done?"
To the mall.  At Claires.
"Do you know what earrings you want?"
Yes.  I'm getting the blue flower ones like Lucy got.
"Are you sure?"
Yes. C'mon. Get up.

Not only was Ella high risk with a well thought out plan, she had made a pact with her twin sister, Sophia. 

I began wondering whether I would pass out at Claires and if so, how long would I be out for?  Would the girls stay with me?  Would it be a big scene?  Was there anything I could do to avoid passing out?  Maybe I should go with someone else -- nah, let's not have witnesses to that potentially embarrassing wuss moment that I can thank my dad for.

So we headed to Claire's, I signed all the paper work and Ella hopped in the chair without a second thought despite me pleading with her to re-consider.  The woman offered to let Ella hold a bear or mommy's hand.  Ella refused it all.

The piercing began and ended within a minute.  Ella looked at me with wide eyes and said,

"Take them out. Now."

Before I could say a word, the soft-spoken Claire's employee channelled a voice from the deep and told her, "The earrings are in.  Here. Have a sucker.  Hop down.  Next!"

Ella turned red....then white....then she pinked back up and was fine and smiling.

Sophia looked more fearful, but she was still determined.  She sat in the chair and wanted to hold my hand.  Damn.  That meant I had to watch.  Not only did I have to watch her bravely sit there without even a peep while her ears were pierced, I then had the woman thrust cotton balls on me telling me I had to disinfect their newly pierced ears. 

Oh hell. 

I'm getting woozy.

Once again channeling the voice from the deep, the Claires employee told me to clean her ears..."now!"  There's nothing like someone having very high expectations and demands for me -- a compulsive people pleaser -- to whip me into shape and get my blood flowing again. 

I didn't pass out.  The girls were grinning from pierced-ear to pierced-ear.  We headed to Dave's work to take him out to lunch and show him Ella's blue daisy earrings and Sophia's "diamonds."  She tried to pick the 1 ct "diamonds" but I told her she needed to stick with something smaller.  Later, she contentedly told me,

"I love diamonds.  They are my favorite.  I don't like little ones.  They are puny and hard to see.  I like the big ones."

Me, too.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Strep, Nice Weather, Friendships, and Mother's Day

Yesterday was our first warm day of the season.  The thermometer at our house said 87 degrees.  Sophia has always been hot.  Even in the dead of winter, she went to school in short sleeve shirts.  So yesterday when she alternated between wearing a tankini or knee socks, bermudas, and a sweatshirt she warmed in the dryer, I just attributed it to her being cold from playing in the water table and sprinker. 

Monkey see, monkey do.

Playing in the rice and bean container.

Sitting in a favorite toy -- the water table, "Our butts are hot!"

By 4 PM Sophia had the lookThe look is a combination of sunken in eyes, dark circles, and a flushed face/ghost white face.  I knew her sisters had a cold, but I also knew that strep was going through their class room -- which, by the way -- Sophia started three weeks ago.  I also knew that her little boyfriend had been out for nearly a week with a tummy bug.  My heart started racing as her odd behavior regarding temperature began to add up. 

"Does your throat hurt?"

She nodded yes, and the strict plan I had for accomplishing overdue business plans and balancing the checkbook went out the window.  In a matter of 10  minutes I finished making homemade mashed potatoes, fruit smoothies, found a sitter, and shuffled Sophia out the door to the ped. Thank goodness the roast was already made -- sometimes life does work out nicely like that.

When she gets strep, she ends up in the hospital 1 in 4 times.  Time's a wastin'. 

They did the culture, and yes.  The child had strep again.  They brought out the penicillin shot since we all knew she'd only throw up any oral meds.  She is her mother's daughter in that respect.

I spent the night managing my stress level by power washing the side of the house in a thunder storm and arranging taxi rides for Ella to and from school.  Thankfully, Ella has a play date this afternoon which will allow Sophia to reign over the TV. 

I have to admit that for all the bitching I do about living in this city, we do have the nicest neighbors.  I am finally getting the hint that they will bend over backwards to help us out.  All of our children play together well into the evening, playing in "Lexi's park" (her backyard swingset), biking, scootering, and kicking balls around the cul-de-sac.  My girls are the youngest, and the older neighbor girls accept them into their playgroup and watch out for them.  (Which also gives the girls and I a break from one another -- thank frickin' goodness).

Not only are the people on our cul-de-sac becoming people that I rely on, the girls have made friendships with a great handful of children at school.  It's funny how the girls have befriended other children whose moms are either preschool teachers or mental health professionals.  I can't help but wonder if the moms and I having similiar professions and parenting styles is what also draws our children together.  By now, the end of the school year, we've settled into a nice routine of play dates between the homes...and while I know that the girls will make new friends next year, I feel a little sad to see their preschool year ending -- and possibly the sweet little friendships with these kids dwindling as they go their separate ways.  The moms and I have committed to nurturing their friendships as best we can despite parting ways educationally.  We'll see what happens, and for now, I'll just enjoy the sweetness of their friendships and be grateful that I am finally finding some friendship possibilities.

Aside from strep throat and colds and sweet preschool friendships, we also discovered Chuck E. Cheese.  I had never thought to take the kids there...but no worries.  The girls took me out for lunch on Mother's Day at Chuck E. Cheese.  I was treated to a serenade by a robotic mouse, mediocre pizza, and the opportunity to watch Andi nearly beat up another toddler who dared to sit in the ride she was on, "That MY Chuck E. Cheese!" she yelled as she swatted and kicked at anyone who tried to take her out. 

The twins enjoyed themselves, but Andi...well...It was like she had been exposed to cocaine.  Her first hit of Chuck E. Cheese sent her on such a high that she didn't want it to end and going back the next day wouldn't be soon enough.  The violent tantrum she threw warranted me nearly unable to physically get her out the door where Dave was waiting in the car.  The person working at the door had to lure her out with a lolly pop.  Talk about rewarding naughty behavior!

Within 5 minutes of getting into the car, she was too pooped to party any further...

Aside from Chuck E. Cheese, because I know my gramma is reading this (Happy Mother's Day to her)  and wondering what else went on, we shopped for flowers for the fairy garden we are planting, BBQ'ed steak shish-ka-bobs, shared cupcakes, rode bikes, and opened presents (which were stuffed in giant easter eggs -- Daddy and the girls may not know how to use wrapping paper, but they do know how to make use of what they've got.)  The girls gave me a nightgown -- I haven't had anything but an oversized t-shirt for 4 years, and a pair of capris and a t-shirt.  I was impressed with daddy/daughter shopping given that it all fit, matched, and I wasn't too embarrassed to wear it in public.  (Was that ungrateful and rude to say?)  I didn't mean it that way....I truly was impressed.

 And last, a few other pics from our Mother's Day Lunch....

Any now if you all will excuse me for a week or so...I have to get caught up on other stuff and am going back underground, AKA, offline.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Who Our Young Children Like Most

I am so bummed that my evening job ended -- and not just because of the nice bit of extra money a stay-at-home mom like me was able to bring in.  But bummed because I absolutely love reading what these children write about.  Not to mention all the free chocolate, tea, hot cocoa, pizza, cookies, etc., as well as the genuinely nice group of people that I work with and for. 

The other essay topic that these non-English speaking 3rd-5th graders had to write about was "Who you like most."  One child spoke of gratitude towards a mother for carrying her all the way to the doctor when she broke her arm.  The family had no car. Awww... While many wrote sweet essays appreciating the hard work of their parents and the love they felt from their parents, others wrote about crushes or teachers who taught them how to read/write/speak english/multiply/divide/appreciate history, etc.  And one, I'm quite certain, was after my own heart when she wrote,

"Do you have someone you like?  Well I don't.  I have seen no cute boys.  The ones I see have spots on their shirt or dirt on their pants.  That's disgusting.  Sometimes I even see them spitting on the grass and the floor. Gross."
"Justin Bieber is not hot, but in his movies he does the famous hair flip in SLOW MOTION!!!  If it wasn't for his hair I wouldn't like him."

"I really love this girl in my class.  Her name is Sally.  She is so pretty.  I just fall in love with her.  Why do I like her you ask?  Because she is cute, smart, intelligent.  Describe her you ask.  Well, she is mexican, she is smart girl.  I can't last a minute without her."

"There is this girl in my class.  Her name is Wanda and she is very awesome.  When the wind blows it's like everything stops and shes the only person there.  When she walks, she moves like an angel.  When she talks her voice is like a song to my ears."

"My mom is the most person on earth.  She spent $1000 on clothes video games for me.  She also takes me to the coolest places ever.  She loves me the most in my family. My mom is the coolest mom ever.  P.S. I made everything up.  But she is cool.

And finally, one little girl writes about betrayal from the person who she USED to like most -- her "bff."

I am going to summarize a bit because the essay was so long that the child actually ran out of paper.  Here goes....

The little girl lost her favorite book.  She looked all through her desk, then told of going home and searching through her whole house, her back pack, and then told of waking up and coming back to school the next day asking her "bff" if she knew where the book was.  The "bff" claimed not to know where the book was.  The child then went to her teacher who then went through every desk in the classroom.  The last desk searched was the "bff's."  The teacher pulled the missing book out of the "bff's" desk and,

"I took it back and said we're not bff's anymore. Then she (the bff) grabbed my book from me and tert it up so I told her me and her had to go..."  

And that was it!  A cliff hanger!  The child had run out of room and I'll never know the ending to this drama.  (By the way, "tert" is "teared" if you didn't figure that out.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What I Learned From a Third Grader

I've been working nights for the last few weeks scoring essays written by children who do not speak English as their first language.  While I do get to read what a few kindergartners write, I mostly read essays written by 3rd-5th graders.  This job delights me.  I love reading what these children write about and it tickles me to no end imagining what is behind their thinking and writing.  Some kids absolutely amaze me with their writing creativity, others touch my heart as they write about the gratitude they feel towards their mothers and fathers.  Others make me laugh, while others touch off a sadness in me when they write about a sibling who drowned or a father who died. This job is ending in just a few days and I have loved doing it to the point that I even wondered if I missed a calling as a teacher.  Probably not, though.  I hear that you must teach children about history, fractions, decimals and exponents -- and, well -- I'm not the brightest bulb in the bathroom vanity when it comes to that stuff.

Anyway, here is a sampling of what these children have written under the essay topic: "Something New I Have Learned"

"First of all, I did not know how to cook, then I got a cup and I poured a smoothie into it.  Then I put my tongue inside the cup and put the cup with my tongue in it inside the freezer. 
Next, my mom saw me and said, "OH my gosh honey are you all right"!  Yes mom, I'm all right.  "What on earth were you doing"!  I was doing you a ice pop tongue freeze."

"Once I learned that sometime too much of a good thing is not a good thing.  Like my mom, she loves everything clean.  Who doesn't? But once there was a stain on the sofa she scrubbed so hard she ripped it.  Ice cream is a great thing but if you eat too much of it you will get a stomach ache, trust me.  I know.  Sometime something is so good you can't stop.  But if you don't stop something bad can happen with you."

"When I was in about 2nd grade I figured out India was in Asia.  When the teacher said INdia was in Asia I was shocked.  In my head I was like "I think this is all a big mistunderstanding."  But when I looked at the map and saw it was in Asia I knew it had to be true."

"OW!  I burned myself with hot oil on a heated pan.  First I wanted to touch the hot oil.  Then BANG! I got burned!  At the end I learned not to touch hot oil."  

"Don't put a pencil in your shoe.  1.  It will break.  2.  You will need to get a new pencil."

"Don't put your finger in a ducks mouth.  It hurts.  It was so so funny my 6 year old brother put his finger in a ducks mouth."

This next one I am going to summarize because she had so many things that she learned that's just best this way. 
This little girl learned: 
  • Not to chew my hair
  • not to go in the big freezer at the store for if someone shuts the door and you get stuck in there you will die
  • that I need to mind my own business.  
One child wrote about learning that his father was lazy. The child backed up the assertion with examples of the father playing video games all afternoon, watching TV, and refusing to help mom with the baby.  This was not an essay I I summarized.  But I did find it a bit funny. 

 And last but not least...

"I learned that you can NOT ride on a seahoers. becoes they are little an you are Big and hevi they are litelr than your pensole."

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pink a boooo!

Sophia, Ella and I headed to Pinkalicious, the play, last night.  We bought our tickets a while ago and the girls were looking forward to their first mommy/big girl trip.  

The play was at a children's theatre and lasted just one hour -- perfect for a little person's attention span -- and mine as well.  It had a lot of singing in it, child actors, and a lot of bright, flashy colors -- again, perfect for catching a child's attention, as well as mine.  It was cute.  Both girls were on the edge of their seat -- or the edge of my lap by the time the play was over.  As we left, I gathered their feedback, "I LOOVED IT!" said Ella.  "I want to go again!" said Sophia.  

We headed back down south to our neck of the woods and stopped at Panera for some soup and brownies.  The girls thought Panera was really cool -- it has salads?  and cocoa? and cookies? and bagels? and smoothies? and rolls?  and mac and cheese?  

I don't know why I hadn't thought to take them there before...

It's so fun exposing them to new never know when something is going to tickle their fancy and set them off in a new direction as far as their interests go.  And while I don't think I have to worry about becoming a stage-mom, I do see more plays and Panera trips in our future.  (P.S. Hi Gramma.  The girls got your post cards!)

Sophia and mommy -- Ella was not in the mood for being in pics.

Sophia and Ella waiting for the doors to open for the play. Sophia examines her new big girl necklace mommy gave her before the play.

In our seats and ready!

Finally, Ella is in the mood for a pic!

Sophia (Ella is not in the mood for a pic) home and ready for bed with her doll -- dressed in PINK!