Friday, March 30, 2012

It's All About the Girl

You may have noticed the last couple of posts have been centered around Grayson.  You may have not, I'm not sure I did.  At least not right away.

Truth is Abby and I are at an impasse.

I know.  She's three.  What kind of impasse are we talking here.

It's a Girl Impasse, I'm afraid.

I think the complicated relationship between mother and daughter starts at birth.  Or at least ours did.

I was quite sick when I was expecting Grayson but was absolutely going to die from poison coursing through every ounce of my body with Abby.  The hormones made me throw up so much I gave up trying to get leave the bathroom but instead camped out with my toilet while Grayson (not yet 2) ate applesauce from the jar.  With probably his fingers.

 My big boy

Then we cut out the middle man and finally got a PICC line put into my arm so I could both eat and drink through a tube so it could stop coming back up my throat.  It's not morning sickness at that point.  It's hyperemesis and it's the reason we will never hear the pitter patter of more baby feet around here.

 Infamous PICC line= the reason me and new baby Shriver are still here-4 months of it and its out now! ) Hyperemesis can kiss my a$$

When she was born, we had about one hour of blissful sleep and then the screaming started.

This child screamed when she was awake, before she ate, after she ate, and any time in between.  Getting her to sleep was an act of God.

The night she screamed for seven hours straight was the same night we decided she was suffering some horrible ailment and only qualified doctors at the ER could help.

All the nurses whispered, "colic," as we rushed through the door.  They were right.  Abby was perfectly healthy other than not being at all down with existing outside the womb. 

I had a nervous breakdown.  Andy probably did too, I don't know.  I'm not sure we knew the other one was even in the house at that point.  All we could hear was the screaming.

Even though we had the "diagnosis" we still didn't have the answer.  Abby still hated oxygen and other earthly realms.  She was fighting mad and still screaming.

Finally, my friend Monica sent me the blessing of Dr. Harvey Karp's Happiest Baby on the Block.  His 5 steps to soothe a baby were the absolute only thing on this hemisphere that got Abby to stop screaming.  If you know anyone who knows anyone who might need this book, buy it for them.  It saved my life and probably Abby's too.   

Everybody in our family and our extended family had exhausted arms and worn out eardrums until we all were proficient in swaddling, shooshing, bouncing, and holding sideways.  I know, it sounds insane but I swear on my life it works.  In fact, it was the ONLY thing to work.

Needless to say it was a rough start.

We made it through though and somehow she turned two.

Now she's three and she is testing me to the limits again.  She is loud.  All the time.  She is whiny.  Constantly.  She is a dichotomy of dirt and glitter, co-dependence and oppositional defiance, of ballet and a mosh pit.  She is Yin and Yang all wrapped in one little amazing body. 

Abby is something to behold and always a delicious surprise.  I just wish I had Cliff Notes to help me out because I am utterly spent from being 12 steps behind her.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bird Feeders

What began as a keep-the-kids-from-self-destruction-while-I-cook-dinner activity turned out to be pretty cool.

The kids chose materials thoughtfully and according to what they felt the birds would like.

Grayson's birds must be of northern descent (notice the snowflakes) and have allergies (yep, that's a tissue.)

Abby's are more a southern breed with an appreciation for Easter pastel and googly eyes.

Both are creations almost ready to occupy our backyard as soon as I brave up and cut feeder holes into the plastic.

Or maybe I can jam some Christmas lights in there and call it shabby chic.
We're down with the shabby,

still working on the chic.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Resuscitating My Machine


I think I almost did myself in, you guys.

I almost wallowed in caffeine, lost sleep, and skinny fat for too long.   I almost forgot that I was a machine.

Most of the time we walk around feeling like ghost bodies encased in a big fat fuzzy cloud brain instead of hard bodies controlled by an acute thought of precise action.

(Or maybe that was just me in my Starbucks haze.)

The last month and a half in the gym have reminded me I am first a system of movable parts, second the brain that guides it.

Since having babies my hamstrings and quadriceps have been tossed to the curb left for dead.  Let's not even talk about biceps or stomach muscles.  Not only were those left for dead they were found by turkey vultures, picked to smithereens by time and most definitely Easter candy.

Bathing suit weather has made me hyperventilate for years.

But this year? I'm taking my body back.

Along with weights, cardio, and even the occasional medicine ball to bring back my machine, I am no longer able to go without a meal.   

Fat must not get that hungry but muscle?  Holy cow is that stuff made of the munchies.  But not Cheetos and brownie dough munchies.  Muscle wants raw vegetables, cottage cheese with peaches and lately a whole lot of broccoli and chicken.  Muscle is a sixteen year old just home from basketball practice, raiding the fridge.

The best byproduct won't be getting to wear a bathing suit without that little skirt bottom this summer.  It is the fact I can think like my old self without cobwebs of fractured ideas to murk up connectors and receivers.  So many times I started conversations and abandoned them willingly because the effort was greater than the result.  My social self was mired in fatigue and Pop Tart crumbs.

My physical body could hardly will itself off my own driveway as my sharks children circled and begged to go to the park.

My machine needed serious attention and for the first time in a very long time, I'm beginning to feel like myself again.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Stand Down

The parenting curveball comes out of the blue.

Just when things are running smoothly, the curveball gets thrown and you are searching your character and taking polls across a panel of family and good friends for the best ways to proceed.

I think we got our curveball.

Recently in a social setting I've seen Grayson struggle with sticking up for himself.  He sends a message ("Stop it, I don't like that."), the message is received, and the non-desirable behavior continues instead of desists.

Right.  That's life, irritating things are going to happen.  People won't always listen to you.  Frustrations will occur in friendships.  His life right now is interacting with four to five year olds working through their own developmental stage, odds are things like this are going to happen a lot.  For all I know there is a mom out there blogging about how my son irritates the ever loving stuffing out of her boy.  It's all a matter of perspective.  On an intellectual scale, I appreciate this.  As a personal aside, I can also appreciate how his actions may even be inviting such behavior.  Adults don't always read social cues well or treat each other with the utmost respect so why should I expect children to have that capacity?

Also, I completely understand intervening every time he needs me to make it stop is not ultimately helping him.

Yet his pleas to help him are hard to ignore.

I want to coach him through this the right way.  As parents, we become fortune tellers who can't help but constantly zoom ahead and picture our children with their scruffy bedheads navigating themselves through a summer camp away from home, a board meeting in Colorado, a marriage in their future.  It will eventually be up to them to sort through the minutiae and figure out the best way to proceed. 

But the mommy in me is having a hard time standing down when I see it happen in his current social circles.  It's so difficult to not come to his rescue after several of his own attempts have gone ignored by a friend.  Sometimes I just do.  Sometimes I swoop in and save.  Shame on the mommy.

We've had the talks about tone of voice, choice of words, walking away.  He is getting stronger than he once was in that department.  Maybe this won't be an issue next week much less by kindergarten but I worry.  (And maybe most likely this is a much bigger deal to me than it is to him.) 

As his mommy I wear a cape and will save him every time but as his fortune teller I must resist the urge to do exactly that.

Standing down has never been so hard.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Important Things

My grandparents had a canvas poem hanging from a nail in our house for years and years.

There were two little Precious Moments looking kids painted on the canvas next to the words.

From the time I learned to read, I read and reread this canvas until I could recite it myself.

Then my brain got filled up with unrequited love, philosophy papers, IEPs, and grocery lists.  The poem I once knew by heart was leaving me behind to scramble after it like a lovelorn twenty-something at the door of a Greyhound bus.

It was almost gone forever.

But Google found it.

After three or four nights of typing half incorrect stanzas into the search engine, the real deal finally popped up.

I'm never letting it go again. 

It will be forever immortalized on a new canvas (or wood depending on what I can find at Micheal's.). 

The important words will again be memorized by my own children who will sound out the words at first and their resolve second.

As adults they will search their version of Google to help them remember the imporant things.

And come to realize not much in that department has changed from when they were little.

Children Learn What They Live

If children live with criticism,
They learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility,
They learn to fight.
If children live with fear,
They learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with ridicule,
They learn to be shy.
If children live with shame,
They learn to feel guilty.
If children live with tolerance,
They learn to be patient.
If children live with encouragement,
They learn confidence.
If children live with praise,
They learn to appreciate.
If children live with approval,
They learn to like themselves.
If children live with acceptance,
They learn to find love in the world.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Just Most of the Time

The one cool surprise about parenting is the friendship part.

Watching our children forge bonds with children their own age is not painful like I was once worried it might be. 

The toddler years scared me silly..  I was beginning to think the whole staying-at-home gig was rotting all of our brains.

Something about the preschool lobby made them feral and completely uncivilized to the point of tears.  Mine.

Many days did I "have an appointment" or phantom playdate just so we could get out of earshot of the innocent parent/child conglomerations I so envied.  Their kids would smile at each other or sit nicely playing with the bead table together.

My kids acted like their skin was aflame with flesh-eating buzzards.  Upon being faced with conversation and a possible new social situation, my own gene pool would wail and moan like heartsick baby whales.  Except not baby whales, more like mortifying and embarrassingly loud baby whale larvae (which is really called a calf or a cub or still something cute so my analogy sinks like big rocks.)

Regardless, I just knew I was doomed to years and years of SitterCity and cheap wine.

But then the baby whale calf cubs grew up. 

They made friends.

They dropped their tadpole tales and sprouted sturdy "please" and "thank you" legs.

They worked through anxieties and figured out laughter, fun, and playing chase are the sparkly jewels of friendship.

In fact, what once was our super sensitive boy (who would sooner drive himself into the backs of my knees over speaking to "new" people) is now a proficient communicator.

He will occasionally complain of a migraine, shortness of breath (Broadway, Baby), and/or a multitude of displaced social agony burrowing in his innards.

But now we know what's up.  He's unsure.  Of himself.  Of the stranger.  Of what to expect from both.

With a quick conversation about unnecessary worry bugs and nervousness, we can bring him out of his tunnel vision of unknowns and into the lightness of making new friends.  Not always, just most of the time.

Goodbye Berringer, Hello Little League.

I have to thank Grayson's friends for much of this.  There are a few boys and girls who have literally held his hand leading him to the playground to play afterschool.

In turn, it has forced me to be more social and accept the fate of making small talk in skin that may or may not be freshly washed.

I still prefer to hide in the bathroom in my nude face and sweat drenched workout clothes but the faculty is starting to wonder what kind of meth I'm selling in there so I force myself out of the shadows.

Not always, just most of the time.

 You gotta have friends.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Bubbles

Man this has been one crazy busy week. 

Thought I'd have more time to devote to the bloggity but that wasn't in our cards.

Between being a month into personal training, nursing "ego" wounds with heating pads, and this gorgeous beautiful freakish March weather that demands us outside until dinner time, downtime has been spent on other things.

Like bubbles!

Happy Friday to you all. 

Hope you're outside playing in bubbles (bubbly then?) until dinner time.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hot Syrup


When we arrived at the park on Sunday a most heavenly scent lured us from the parking lot.

 Hot maple syrup.  Sausage.  
Breakfast in the woods.

We could not clamber fast enough to the pancake tent. 

First stop was the How To exhibit.

Two women were showing us how they tap trees, collect syrup, and cook it down to its most celestial forms.  Did you know that maple candy is what happens last when all the liquid evaporates and nothing but the sugar remains.  It was $15.00 per bag.  Which was fortunate because that seemed too steep a price to pay for more junk in my trunk.


And the angels sing.
The Pancake Cabin!
The origin of heavenly hot syrup love.

Kid Approved.

Not so much canine, though.  

 I stayed outside with Sadie Girl while the hungry ones dove face first into gigantic homemade pancakes inside the magical smoking house.

I tried to convince her we had it better outside near this sparkling lake but she was not impressed with our crystalline surroundings.

 She was not impressed at all.

 Sadie (and maybe me too) spent the whole hour staring at the elusive pancake building that seemingly swallowed her entire family whole.
 She (we) didn't smile until they returned...with pancakes.

And sausage.

Next up was time to play on the rocks...even though there was a perfectly great playground less than 8 feet away.

Kids preferred to helicopter with Dad and sun on the beach with Mom.

Which was more than okay with Mom and with Dad.


Abby has informed me that I am to sign her up for Rock Climbing and Sand Castling class this summer. 


I will see what I can do.

If not, I can always look for Flashdance Class.

And perhaps a dog obedience class too.

Ah, who am I kidding...

We love 'em naughty around here.