Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Look at This

Photographic evidence of Ella's shoe addiction.

The only reason she isn't wearing that pair of black Nike flip-flops you see in the picture with her is because Aunt Becca brought her four pairs of plastic, dress-up deathtraps shoes. Otherwise, she basically greets Aunt Becca with, "Aunt Becca! Take off your flip-flops!" And then wears them until Becca wrestles them back from her. She especially loves the gold ones from Old Navy.

I've lost count of the number of times she has busted her boohonkus in these new shoes, but suffice it to say that somewhere around number 5, I stopped being concerned and just started laughing. She tells me that one pair is less slippery than the others, but I'll just have to let her believe that because it isn't true. The only safe place for her to walk in them is the carpet, but any girl knows that carpet doesn't make a good clomping noise.

Now that she has four pairs of her own high-heels, she makes me put mine on and clomp around the house with her (she usually just wears mine when she feels like clomping).

Luckily, these are classified as toys, thus they live in the toy box rather than in the already too-large jumble of shoes in the floor of her closet. Yes, she keeps her shoes just like her mother, probably because I'm the keeper of the closet.

Incidentally, my system of shoe organization is the number one reason Dave and I cannot share a closet ever again. He likes to keep his all neat and orderly, in matching pairs, lined up in rows, front to back. (What's wrong with him?) Me? I enjoy foraging on hands and knees, deep in the bottom of my dark closet for a matching shoe. It helps me remember the other shoes I haven't worn in a while.

And so, as it stands, EGR now has four pairs of high-heels, 10 pairs of flip-flops, 5 pairs of sandals, a pair of tennis shoes, a pair of boots, and a pair of Crocs. She might really have more shoes than me - but not more than Aunt Becca, whom I think she is striving to be like.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm All Princessed Out

Ella's 3rd Birthday Cake
And, thankfully, I think Ella is, too.  She's been doing a lot of un-princessy stuff since her party Saturday morning. Things like working at the McDonald's drive-thru and taking her new baby, Aurora (she just calls her Rory) to use the potty. Rory really does use the potty, so I usually have to assit her while Ella uses the potty by herself.

Here are some pictures from the party, and a few from our vacation 2 weeks ago.

 Luke was happy to be a pool ornament as the party got started. I plunked him into his float and let him go, and he happily drifted all over the pool for quite a while.

Luke, as a pool ornament

We have a giant, inflatable seal that we pull out for occasions such as this. Aunt Becca asked me, as she watched the inflation of said seal, "Which one of your children is big enough to use that float?" Neither. It's for their father.
Dave, wrestling the seal

I think Luke had a good chat with Pop the Pop while he was in pool. You can note his love for sunglasses here. He also grabbed Aunt Becca's off of her face the minute he woke up from napping on her.
Luke, chatting with Pop the Pop
Eatin' pizza
 Pizza is one of Ella's favorite foods. There was a moment that I came back to my chair beside her to find Luke, snacking on a whole piece all by himself. As the story goes, he tried to steal some cheese off of Ella's, so Dave gave him a piece of his own. He worked hard on it;  the evidence was all over the deck. 

This picture was taken at Waterville. I mistakenly believed that the kids were too young for Waterville. I was wrong. There was even a slide that was Luke-sized.

At Waterville, climbing the duck slide

They both had a blast, and I think this helped Ella get over her issue with water in her face since there was no escaping water in the face.

Ella, loving Waterville

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Who is the 3 year old EGR?

Who is the 3 year old Ella?
She’s not this person.
Ella Grace, minutes old

She’s not this person.
EGR, at her first birthday party

She’s not this person.
Ella, 2 years old, meeting her new baby brother

She looks like this…
Ella, a few weeks ago, much too big for the baby swing

…but, she’s more than just a pretty face.

At three years old, she is now fully potty trained. Even for poop. It’s been a week since she’s asked for “a diaper to poop in.” It’s been 3 weeks since she actually had a diaper to poop in. I’m ecstatic about this.

She recently started gymnastics as her first organized extracurricular activity. She goes twice a week and she loves it. It’s a good way to break up the summer monotony, and we’ll see if she wants to continue in the fall when school starts back.

She loves school. She asks weekly when she is going back to school, and in the interim, she teaches her babies and does crafts at Grandmother’s house several times a week.

She’s quite the artist – painting and gluing all sorts of things. She’s decently good at it; she has a good eye for color. I was amazed when I saw the chicken and the turtle she painted for our collection of yard animals. (She also has a duck, a bulldog, and a frog that live in our flower bed, all named and cared for regularly when we are outside.)

Speaking of color, she has become very particular about her clothing choices. Everything must match (to her standards). I pulled out a pair of hot pink shorts and white t-shirt with pink on it. She insisted it did not match and she needed a hot pink shirt. That’s what she got, with a pink, beaded ponytail holder and pink jelly shoes. Then she observed the rainbow on her shorts and informed me that it did not match her shirt because her shirt had other things on it, not a rainbow. (I can remember acting exactly like this when I was little.)

She’s definitely dramatic – able to create real tears and puddles of drool when the occasion calls for it.

She’s an excellent waitress. She waits an entire room full of tables every night before bed; she never forgets an order or a customer’s name and her manners are impeccable (Which we get to hear other times, too!). It’s funny and hilarious, and Dave and I laugh every night while we listen. She also styles hair and doctors babies and animals in her spare time.

She is the Seatbelt Police. Dave is notorious for taking off his seatbelt before we turn into our driveway, or failing to put it on until we are down the street. She calls him out every time, and does frequent checks to make sure we are wearing our seatbelts.

She’s an amazing big sister. She knows the boundaries we’ve set for Luke, and she’s right there sounding the alarm when he crosses them (“NO, Luker! We don’t play with the plugs!”). She feeds him bites of Cheerios or Goldfish in the car because he can’t quite work the snack trap himself yet. She loves to cuddle him when she’s feeling cuddly. Oh, they already fight, but she’s doing a good job of handling those situations the way we’re coaching her. (i.e. She doesn’t always run over him with her car when he tries to climb in, sometimes she just gets out and goes to another room to play by herself. She doesn’t always snatch the toy she wants out of his hand, sometimes she distracts him with something else first or just waits for him to move along on his own. We’ve only caught her picking him up by the neck once, but really, he was in her way.) Seriously, though, she loves him so much and he loves her right back. I hope we can continue to nurture that relationship as they get older so that it’s more cooperation than bickering.

She talks a lot. A lot-a lot. Sometimes my poor, introverted soul can’t handle the amount of talking she needs to do and I long for the peace of bedtime or my drive to work. The rest of the time, I love talking with her and listening to her talk with others and in play. She uses logical reasoning, she’s funny, and she’s asking the hard questions (about God, and death, and divorce, etc.). She is generally empathetic if someone is hurt or sad, and she worries about others (and herself, too, of course!).

She drives me batty with her 3 year old attitude and her flair for dramatic wailing, and then she turns over in bed to snuggle me and murmurs, “Mommy, I love you so much” just as she’s falling asleep. And, I fall in love with her all over again.

She changed me for the better three years ago today.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Letter to Fisher-Price

Dear Fisher-Price,
I greatly appreciate your Biblical Little People playsets; they provide a wonderful way for my children to play through what they are learning about in the Bible. My daughter loves her Little People Nativity set, and I love that she can play with it all over the house without worrying about breakage or choking. Even the Baby Jesus deserves a ride on the Christmas carousel occasionally, right? It always makes us sad when we pack them up and store them under the house until next Christmas, but we can relax knowing that Mary will take good care of the Baby Jesus during the long hot summer, stuffed in a cardboard box.

Last week, on our family vacation, we acquired the Little People Noah’s Ark set. We love it, too. The animals come in pairs, even the ladybugs painted on the zebras’ behinds and the birds roosting on the elephants’ heads. The ark is large enough to hold all of the animals and Noah inside, or a few of them can snap onto the deck so that they don’t fall off and drown in the First Flood. However, there is one flaw in your design. It was brought to my attention by my (almost) three-year-old daughter in the following conversation.

Ella: Mo-o-om, Noah needs a wife.
Me: (thinking she was on another cleaning spree) A wipe? Okay, I’ll get you a baby wipe in just a minute. Will a wet paper towel work?
Ella: No. A wife.
Me: A what?
Ella: Noah needs a wife.
Me: Oh. A wife! Hmm. Well, there wasn’t a wife in the box.
Ella: Why?
Me: I don’t know.
Ella: He needs a wife.

And so it went as I tried to find something to fill the wife’s place in the ark, but alas, I had not packed even one Polly Pocket or miniature princess in our four bags of toys that we brought on vacation with us. I even offered up the new Weeble to stand in as the wife, but that was unacceptable.

Then she brought to my attention the real flaw in the ark. There was a picture stuck inside it – of Noah and his wife. Now, I’m willing to overlook the technological inaccuracy of the suggestion that a photograph of Noah and his wife actually existed and hung inside the ark at the time that the Lord told Noah there was going to be a floody-floody, but did you really have to include a picture of the wife you failed to include in the playset? I can’t even substitute another toy for her because we don’t have a princess with gray, curly hair and head band.

So, Fisher-Price Toy-making People, I appeal to you: Please, please create a wife for Noah. If you’ll do that, I promise to donate my set to the local church nursery and buy a new one, wife included. Better yet, could you just mold one extra while you are re-engineering the set and send her to me? I don’t think I can continue to have the “where is Noah’s wife?” conversation for the next five years.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011


We are loading up our train and heading to the beach in the morning. As far as my mind is concerned, this day is already over (which probably doesn't bode well for work productivity, and I really need to be productive today).

This has been one crazy week. Let me lay it out for you.

Monday - Ella had her first gymnastics class. She LOVED it. We didn't have any of the usual nervous, "I don't want to go" conversation. She woke up ready, giving me instructions about which shorts and t-shirt she would wear. She had so much fun in class, so we went ahead and signed her up to go twice a week for the summer.

Monday evening, I checked the mail and found a collection letter for a Children's hospital bill. It should not have been in collections because I was waiting on them to charge my insurance for it.

Monday night, Dave found two fleas on himself that had jumped off the dog. Since she's been scratcing like mad and we are sending her to a friend's house for vacation, I decided to go ahead and bathe her (not a small event in our house) and put her Frontline on her. The poor dog was covered in fleas. I had no idea. She always scratches a lot when the weather gets hot, and she'd had her Frontline, so I wasn't expecting so many fleas. I decided we needed to flea bomb the house and wash all her bedding.

Tuesday - I called Children's and found out that they had indeed charged the insurance company and this was the remaining amount that wasn't covered. It would certainly have been nice to have known that a month ago when I made the first phone call about said bill, you know, before they threatened to collect. Anywho, I paid an unexpected, multi-hundred dollar bill over the phone and transferred some money from savings.

Dave forgot to get flea bombs, so we decided to wait and do it when we leave for vacation Saturday morning.

Wednesday - There was no hot water. Tuesday night, I scalded my hands doing dishes, Wednesday morning, nothing. I packed my things and went to Grandmother's early to shower because starting the day with a cold shower is just the best way to piss me off.

The dog was still scratching like mad, so I decided to call the vet's office and get the flea pill (Comfortis). I told Dave to go ahead and buy the flea bombs while he was at Lowe's getting new heating elements for the hot water heater. I spent 20 minutes and $220 in the vet's office on the one flea pill for Georgia to take that day, and a six month supply of flea prevention for her and the cats because obviously the Frontline wasn't doing it's job anymore (and thankfully, I had used the last one on Georgia so there wasn't any left to waste).

Dave and my dad fixed the hot water heater, the kids got their baths, and as I was heading to bed, I got a text message from my boss: "Dress for clients tomorrow, you'll need to attend a meeting to answer some technical questions." What a lovely, unexpected surprise.

Thursday - I attended the meeting, and thankfully, the head of development was also there so he spent an hour fielding questions that I would have been answering. I didn't have to say a word. Finally, a break.

Thursday afternoon, I went to the dentist to get my permanent crown on my baby tooth. Yes, I still have a baby tooth, and in an effort to save it for a few more years, it now has a crown (because it's falling apart "but the roots look good"). It wasn't the most traumatic dental experience I've had, but it wasn't fun either. This is the same tooth that started my dental anxiety years ago when it broke in half, wouldn't go numb, and the dentist (not the dentist I use now) blew cold air onto it. Regardless of the fact that it's twenty some-odd years old and "most baby teeth lose some sensitivity after that long", this one has not.

Georgia went to Grandmother's with the kids Thursday because I set the flea bombs off in the house, and while she was there, she was involved in a multi-dog/kid collision, resulting in an injured foot. I don't think it's serious, and I think if she stays off of it, she'll be fine. She's in the kennel today, so hopefully it will be much better this evening and I won't have to worry about leaving her with a hurt foot.

Thursday night, Ella did not fall asleep until 10, thanks to the pre- beach excitement, I think. I still needed to pack for myself after bedtime, and it was so hard not to just go to sleep in her bed. She was so cuddly last night.

Friday - So far, I sent a bottle to Grandmother's with no liner (we use Platex Drop-ins) and Luke needed it for the morning nap because the cup still isn't good enough for naptime some days. She had to go to my house to get some liners. I've just been sending an empty bottle in case they need it because he drinks the majority of his milk from a cup now. Hopefully, the rest of the day will pass quickly and smoothly. I have to finish the packing and we'll load the car tonight after bedtime so we can leave first thing in the morning.

So, the bills are paid, my house is flea (and other bug) free, the dog is recovering, the cats are deflead for the month, the hot water is working, and I have a "new"old tooth that feels much better.

Who knew vacation was so much work? (I think I said that last year.)

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

What else do I read?

I read a lot. It's my favorite pastime. I don't have a lot of time to read, so I squeeze it in whenever possible - in 3 fifteen minute pumping sessions while I'm at work, sitting in endless lines of traffic at redlights, after the kids are in bed, you get the idea. I read non-fiction and fiction, but I tend to only write about the non-fiction I'm reading. That's because I'm usually learning something I can apply to my life immediately, and I feel like I should share some of what I'm learning with others who might be in similar situations with their children, pregnancies, or whatever. And, I'll admit, it's also because I have an English degree and I feel like I should only write about fiction if it's A Great Work of Literature. I confess, I don't read too many of those these days - not the classical ones, anyway. I've read several novels lately that I loved and do think they are great works of literature, but their authors aren't dead yet so I don't know if they count.

Also, I just read a lot more non-fiction these days. There are a couple of reasons for that.
1. When I was pregnant with Ella, it quickly became apparent that my psyche was very sensitive (Doesn't that sound all gypsy/hippy/crunchy/feel-good?). Seriously, there wasn't much fiction I could read that didn't disturb my gestating mind. I had the saddest, most disturbing dream I've ever had while I was pregnant with her, and it was directly related to the novel I was reading at the time. I put the book down, right in the middle of it, and never picked it up again. In fact, I think she was several months old, maybe even nearing a year, before I picked up another novel. I just couldn't do it. After that experience, I've been very careful to protect my mind when picking a book to read. Non-fiction is the safest.

2. When I'm reading fiction, I am a fool. When the story grabs me, I cannot put it down. Case in point, I just finished Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen, last night. At midnight. I get up at 5:15 every morning. I have a baby who still wakes up to eat at night. That's not enough sleep. Especially when I do it two nighs in a row - as I did, the last two nights. For that reason, I limit myself to when I read what.

So, what fiction have I read lately?
Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen - I loved it. It's about a 90 year old man reliving his days working with a circus during the Depression (in case you are one of the rare people who haven't heard about it, like me). Jan gave me this one last weekend, and I'd only heard of it a couple of days before that.

The Confession, by John Grisham - It's about the death penalty. It was a very thought provoking read, though I thought he dragged the ending out a little too long. Dave and I generally read whatever Grisham writes, so he passed this on to me when he finished it (after he placed his own book order on Amazon!). Actually, we made a deal, I would read The Confession if he would read The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins - I sped through these books; they were very entertaining and thought-provoking. Also, in case you live under a rock, like me, it's a trilogy set in the future after the fall of the United States. It reminded me a lot of that short story, The Lottery, we read in school. A fellow reading friend sent these to me just as I was getting ready to find them for myself.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Annie Barrows - Set in post-WWII England and the Channel Islands, it's a collection of letters that tell the story of the German occupation of Guernsey. I loved this book. Rebecca gave me this one to read in the postpartum days after Luke was born. I put it on hold (see reason #1 above) until recently.

Shoot the Moon, by Billie Letts - This is author of Where the Heart Is, so when I saw the book lying in the freebie box at work, I took it. Dave read it in a weekend, and since he's usually a page-counter (He reports his progress in a story by page number.), I knew it was good. It didn't let me down. It's a fast read about a cold case murder, told from the perspective of the long-lost child.

Dead Reckoning, Charlaine Harris - I love Sookie Stackhouse and her world full of supernatural creatures. This is the latest in that series. It was entertaining but seemed a bit slower that the previous books. Dave gave me this one for Mother's Day (courtesy of reading friend mentioned above).

Those are the novels I've read since January-ish, I think, but there are several authors and books that I read over and over again.
- The Harry Potter series - This is a modern Great Work of Literature; J. K. Rowling is a genius. I've never seen the movies and don't intend to because I'm afraid they will ruin the books for me.

- Pat Conroy - My favorites are The Prince of Tides, Lords of Discipline, and Beach Music. He is deep, dark, and funny all at once and he makes me feel like I'm in the story with him.

- Nicholas Sparks - Who doesn't love a good love story occasionally?

- The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells - I don't know how many times I've read this and it's way better than the movie.

- Toni Morrison - I love her; I think my favorites are Sula and Song of Solomon.

- Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown for sheer entertainment - but not the ones that are straight romance novels, I like the mystery/thriller/suspense they write.

There you have it. Happy reading!

Monday, June 06, 2011

There's More To It Than a Round-Headed Baby

Disclaimer: This post includes nitty-gritty details about things that happen to the female body after childbirth - specifically, mine. It’s TMI and it uses technical terms for female private parts.

It’s no secret that I had my heart set on a natural birth, the first time and again for the second time. It’s no secret that I was extremely disappointed when both of my “births” ended up being surgical procedures rather than births. I don’t even think of them as births. Because they weren’t. They were surgeries. It wasn’t the power of my wonderfully made body that brought my children into this world; it was a scalpel and a room full of doctors discussing the latest beach weekend at the condo. I’m still struggling with my disappointment and my grief that I have no idea what it feels like to give birth. I’m struggling with my anger that there are so few birthing options for pregnant women in this state. I’m struggling with my doubt that I made the right decision to have Ella via c-section, which ultimately led to my repeat c-section with Luke.

I have struggled with hearing that it was the safest way; that a healthy mom and healthy baby are what matter most; that at least they had beautifully round heads.

I think I’m struggling most with the attitude that a c-section is no big deal. That it’s a routine procedure. That women have them every day and it’s normal.

It might happen every day, it might be routine, but there is nothing normal about it. And it is a big deal.

C-sections have their place in the world of childbirth. They are sometimes medically necessary, even life-saving. I don’t know that mine were medically necessary, but I made the decision to have both of mine myself so I can’t fault anyone but me for my misgivings. That didn’t stop the suck.

What I am doing now, as a matter of therapy for me and education for those who are looking for it, is writing about my experience with my second c-section. The first one was “easy”, compared to other people’s experiences (and there were many around the time of Ella’s delivery that I could compare to). The second one was awful.

These are the parts I left out of Luke’s birth story.

Regardless of the morphine pump, I was in pain from the minute the epidural started wearing off. It was enough pain that I was so fixated on when I could push the pump button again that I couldn’t keep track on the clock in the room. I had to ask someone to get my cell phone out of my bag so I would have a digital clock to look at. If I could have found a way to set a recurring alarm to go off every 6 minutes, I would have. It was bad enough that I was also keeping track of when I could have the next dose of Toradol (an anti-inflammatory) – on top of the morphine pump.

While I sat there hurting and pushing my little button (God forbid it get out of my reach, and it did occasionally what with trying to care for a newborn), I would sporadically, suddenly, unexpectedly be hit with waves of nausea so extreme that I wanted to cry with the effort of controlling it. I was terrified of throwing up. TERRIFIED. I had just had my mid-section sliced and diced and the mere thought of heaving up what little “food” (read: broth and Jello) I’d eaten was enough to make me break out in a cold sweat. On top of that fear was the fear that I would throw up all over my newborn son after I had finally gotten him to latch on and nurse (because he wouldn’t for the first 5 or 6 hours because he had a chest and belly full of amniotic fluid that didn’t get squeezed out in the birth canal). The first wave hit me after the initial crowd had left and I was alone in the room except for my sister-in-law. Thank goodness she was there because I couldn’t get up to get a cold rag or a bucket to puke in and waiting for a nurse would have taken too long. This went on with the same sense of urgency all night long. On top of keeping track of pushing the button and Toradol doses, I was also keeping track of the next time I could have Zofran (to control the nausea).

Thankfully, the nausea only last until the IV and morphine pump were removed, but the pain takes a lot, lot longer to go away. This time I was seriously wondering if I would have to get my doctor to write me a second prescription for Loritab after I’d taken the first 10 days worth at home, but it gradually subsided enough that OTC Advil handled the worst of it. (If you are wondering how much Advil a mom needs after a c-section, my experience is that two bottles is the minimum, and you might want to throw in a bottle of extra strength Tylenol so she can do the Tylenol/Advil cocktail when the Loritab and 600 mg Motrin runs out. That wasn’t necessary after my first surgery, but it was after the second.)

I was lucky in that I had stitches (at my own insistence) instead of staples and I didn’t have to worry about my incision opening or oozing or any of the other nightmares I’ve heard friends tell about. I had a brief scare of infection while I was staying at Children’s Hospital with Luke when he was 2 weeks old (trying to be comfortable on the little cot with my fresh incision and very sick baby), but a little extra vigilant wound care (soap and water wash, peroxide rinse, and Neosporin) headed that off before it necessitated antibiotics. This second time around, the top layer of my incision was closed with steri-tapes. Do you have any idea how scary it is to remove steri-tapes from a fresh (read: week-old) wound? I did it slowly, carefully, in the shower while trying not to touch the actual incision. (I still try not to touch the scar.) Again, I’m so thankful I didn’t have to have any staples removed.

After stretching your ab muscles for 10 months, having a giant needle insert a catheter into your spinal column, a 6 inch incision in your middle, and your insides rearranged, it’s hard to move around for a while. It’s hard to get into and out of bed. Lifting is impossible. I couldn’t pick up Ella for about 8 weeks. Sitting is exhausting. I quickly dismissed the thought of going to church the first Sunday after Luke was born because there was no way I could sit in a chair or pew that long.

Pooping is downright scary. Narcotic pain medicine and surgery create extreme constipation, and that combined with the lack of ab muscles and 6 inch incision making going to the bathroom a very traumatic experience. Even with stool softeners. Traumatic.

After the immediate pain subsides, it gradually fades to burning, then tingling, then numbness, and maybe, eventually, normal again. Ten months later, my incision site still doesn’t feel normal. My epidural site still aches when my back is tired, and I expect it always will since it never stopped aching after Ella’s delivery. I still occasionally get the sharp, stretching, weird pain up the side of my abdomen that I felt right after the surgery. My doctor tells me it might due to my body gearing up to ovulate again. Maybe. Maybe something’s just wrong in there.

Just a few other things that you might mistakenly believe you get to pass on if you aren’t having a vaginal birth: bleeding for 6 to 8 weeks and swelling and achiness of the vulva. I think that was what surprised me the most after my c-section with Ella. The swelling. After all, I had not pushed the baby out, but I still swelled and I still had to care for those parts with a Peri- rinse to prevent vaginal/uterine infection.

My entire mid-section from belly button to thighs was one hot mess.

A c-section might not seem like such a big deal, especially at this point in time and in this country, but it is and it sucks. A repeat c-section sucks even more.

And, what sucks even more than all of the above is that my daughter, observant, sponge that she is, believes that it’s normal for babies to be cut out of mommy’s tummies when it’s time for them to be born. We recently had a conversation about Aunt Becca’s baby being born. Ella was confused when Rebecca attended a childbirth class over the weekend to “learn how to have a baby.” Ella asked me about it the next day, and I explained that it was just a class and Becca was at home now. Then she said, “Where is the baby?” I told her that the baby was still in Becca’s tummy because it’s not finished growing yet. Then she asked me if she would go to the hospital for the doctor to get it out of her tummy. At that point, with the context of her understanding that she and Luke both came out of the big scar on my tummy, and with my wish for her to understand normal life-giving/life-sustaining functions, I took the plunge. I told her, “You know, sometimes mommies push their babies out of their bottoms so they don’t have to have surgery to get the baby out.” Exhale. She didn’t say anything then, but this morning she said, “I’m not going to push my baby out because my bottom’s just been hurtin’.” It made me sad. So sad.

I am committed to educating her about the power of a woman’s body to birth and feed her baby, but I can’t help feeling like a hypocrite. How do I present to her what is normal when she had a front row seat for the abnormal? I have a haunting scar as proof that I have no idea what I’m talking about.

But they do have beautiful heads.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Kumbaya? I doubt it.

Frequently, in my morning rush to get out the door, I reach a point where my nerves and my hands become too full to hold anything else, so I strap the kids into the car and run back inside to grab the last few things and lock the door. Luke has a squeaky monkey that stays in his carseat to ease his transistion from freedom to tied-down-dom. He plays with it every day, squeaking it from our house to Grandmother's and back again in the evenings. I strap him in, hand him the monkey, then strap Ella into her seat. This morning, she was walking to the car at the pace of an arthritic, 115 year old, so I left her door open and told her to just climb in there and I'd be right back to do her buckles.

I raced around the house, locking up the dog, grabbing The Magic Blanket, turning out the lights, locking the door, etc. and when I returned to the car three minutes later I noticed the squeaky monkey was not in Luke's hand. He appeared to be patting all around his seat, trying to find it, so I did the same - and came up empty. The following conversation ensued as I strapped Ella into her seat.

Me: Did you take it from him?
Ella: No.
Me: (noticing it was stuck in the cup holder in her door, well out of his reach, grabbed it and gave it back to him)
Ella: He just gave it to me.
Me: Oh, did he?
Ella: We were sharing.
Me: Well, I'm glad he was sharing nicely.
Ella: (really getting into the mood of it) Yeah, we shared and singed songs....
Me: What songs did you sing?
Ella: (thinking hard and fast) All the songs.

Right. Luke does frequently share his car toys with her, handing them into her space for her to hold the reaching for her to give them back to him. He certainly may have given her the monkey, but I seriously doubt they went all scouts and campfires in the backseat first thing in the morning. It's just not her style.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Suppertime is Rife with Material

As a general rule, we eat supper at the table together every night (that we are home). While I sometimes miss the days of vegging with a plate of food on the couch in front of the TV, supper at the table, as a family, without the TV is important to me. It hasn’t let me down. Every one of us seems to be full of things to share with each other at the end of the day. It’s enlightening and entertaining, and I can only imagine it will get better with time.

Last night, Luke was fuss-potting all over the place, letting me know he was too tired and too hurting to be content with supper for more than a few minutes (he still managed to shovel in a whole chicken finger). As Dave tried to stuff an ice sock in his mouth to help with the teething pain (and, er, shut him up), I had to explain to him that Luke no longer tolerates help with things he thinks he can do himself so he needed to offer the sock into his hands, not his mouth. He won’t let me feed him anything with a spoon or my fingers anymore. This started Sunday morning, with oatmeal. (See exhibit A, below.) So, I was explaining about Luke’s new quest for independence and how he’s learning how to do all kinds of things by himself, and Ella was sitting in her chair at the table, contemplating. Then she asked a question that gave me a glimpse into the workings of her mind.

“Can he nurse himself?”

Hmm. Thoughts were bouncing all around my own head like a little super ball as I formulated a response. I stifled my laughter at the mental image of him nursing himself, and told her no, but he can latch himself on.

Exhibit A - Fiercely Independent

Later, as she ate a plate of seven layer salad and potatoes left over from Memorial Day, she asked, “Mama, is this like church salad?” I said, “Yes, it is like church salad.” Then she asked – guess what she asked? “Why?” Thrilled at being asked a “why” question that had a new answer, as opposed to the standard “because that’s what her mommy named her” or “because that’s how God made it/her/him”, I said, “You want to know why? Because, I know the answer to this one.” She grinned and nodded, so I whispered, dramatically, “Because I make the church salad that we eat at church.”

Supper leads immediately to bath time, during which she scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed her little body last night. (I put out a new bottle of baby wash.) As I was prodding her to finish up so we would have time to read books, she stuck her foot up in the air, five pretty little piggies wiggling at me, and said, “Mama. Smell my feet.” And so I did.

And, because I cleared of f the camera, here are a few more pictures.
Dying Eggs, before he tried to climb out of the Bumbo (which is not supposed to be used on elevated surfaces)

Swimming in the front yard
 Napping on the front porch

Bedtime is exhausting