Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another Reason I Hate Working Outside the Home

Alyssa's school as having track and field day today. Her old school didn't do this.

My school always did this and I loved it. It was an excuse to get out of the classroom, to go outside and run and play.

Parents were invited to go and watch their kids participate in this event.

I told Alyssa I'd try to be there.

But today is the last day of the month, which means that work is busier than ever. Which means that I'd have needed to be finished with my work by noon.

It could have happened. If the stars had aligned, if our UPS driver had been on time. If there hadn't been twice as many boxes as usual delivered.

If our accounting department hadn't take over our data entry system for over an hour between 11 and noon.

But what it really comes down to is...if I didn't have to work in the first place, I could have been there.

But I wasn't. And that makes me sad. I wanted to be there. She wanted me to be there. Instead, I was away from both her and Olivia, working, making money to pay our mortgage, providing insurance, blah blah blah.

We all know the reasons we have to work. It's nothing new.

Once upon a time, Tom and I were watching some news show special about a couple whose son had been injured in the line of duty. He'd come home with a severe head injury and several other medical issues. They both quit their jobs to look after him.

Tom and I looked at each other, confused. Both? Seriously? Why?

And during the course of the show, it was told that this couple and their son were now in financial ruin. They were on the verge of losing their house, they didn't have insurance. They were looking for help to support themselves and their son.

My response was, "If they hadn't BOTH quit their jobs, they wouldn't be in this mess." Because honestly, why did both of them need to quit?

The new commentator said that their son needed round the clock care. But really? Come on, you know he had to sleep at some point. And if one of them had continued to work, they'd have insurance, they could hire a night nurse, whatever.

So while I'd LOVE to be at home with my girls, I can't. We have a house to pay for, food to buy, children (and selves) to insure.

And I'll be honest, it pisses me off that others don't feel this sense of responsibility. That others expect the government to take care of them when they CHOSE to quit jobs. I know, the reason was honorable. But in the end, are they really taking care of their son or even themselves?

So I missed track and field day. Big deal, right? She'll have more and I can plan better in the future and attend. But she'll never have a FIRST track and field day. And the coming years aren't really guaranteed to us, are they?

The life of the mother who works outside the home is one of sacrifice. I knew this when I chose to have children knowing I'd have to continue working.

So I'll stop bitching and go hug my daughters, whom I don't see nearly enough of day in and day out.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Blue Competitive Pottying

Alyssa has two days of school left. Two days of second grade. She's beside herself with excitement. Had we not had a boatload of snow/fog days this year, she'd have been done last Thursday.

I didn't tell her that, though. Why dampen her enthusiasm by telling her she'd already be on summer break were it not for crappy winter weather over which she had no control?

No reason, that's why.

Anyway, in celebration of school being almost done, we did something unusual. Something I honestly never thought I'd do for my eight year old.

We dyed her hair blue.

Wait, before you all have a stroke, we didn't dye it all blue. We just did streaks, and most of the streaks are on the underside of her hair. I pulled the top up and clipped it, keeping it out of the way as I put the blue dye on her hair in hightlight-like streaks.

Of course, Olivia had to get her ends tipped in blue, because, hello! If you're doing something fun with one child the other feels a sense of entitlement to just the same kind of fun. O's tips didn't end up quite as blue as A's streaks, though, so there's that.

The fact that they've been watching the movie Aquamarine in almost constant loop is what made Alyssa ask for the blue hair. In this movie, Sara Paxton plays a mermaid with very blond hair with blue streaks. So...

Blue hair. It's a semi-permanent color, so by August and third grade, it should have faded/washed out.

Anyway, blue hair. Yay, right? Sort of cool even if it is buried in the rest of her hair.

After their bath in which they got the bulk of the blue rinsed out of their hair, the girls were picking out what they were going to wear between bathtime and bedtime and Olivia announced, "Lyssie has more tank tops than I do."

Huh? This was her first comment that indicates that compares herself or her things or anything else to Alyssa.

I laughed and assured her that her sister does NOT have more tank tops than she does.

She shrugged and declared, "She has more shorts than I do, too."

Well, okay then. Whatever, kiddo. But still, I like this awareness. I like that she's observing things and making comparisons, even if they aren't always favorable. This is a good development, even if it will probably lead to annoyance for me. Though it is hard to be annoyed with this face for too long.

And bigger still...she told me she had to potty today. Last year at this time, Olivia was doing well with the potty thing. 5p- kids are notoriously late potty trainers. Four is actually pretty early but...we decided to try. And last summer was great. She could go to town in underwear and either tell me when she had to go or hold it until we got home.

The winter was tough. She regressed a lot. To the point that in the last few months, she's been back in pull-ups pretty much full time because, well, it wasn't worth the frustration.

But today, after bath, we were all outside. She was in a pair of shorts very similar to her sister's shorts. They were playing on the swingset. Olivia cam up to me after sliding down the slide. She looked a bit frantic. She cried, "I have to pee!"

So we raced in and she went. It was big! I made a big deal, doing the potty dance, clapping, telling her how proud we are.

She'll go when we ask if she has to go, but often doesn't bother to tell us even once her pants are wet.

So big day all the way around.

Blue hair, competition with her sister, potty training step. Yay.

Ohhh, and summer has officially started. We had our first watermelon today. Very, very nice.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


There is something theraputic about baking cookies. Especially cookies that you know your children will devour, cookies that they stand around the kitchen waiting for the first cookie sheet full to be pulled from the oven.

Those kinds of cookies.

I'm making today be simple. Simple pleasures, simple chores, simple sugar cookies fresh from the oven, sprinkles already baked right in.

It's the simple things that make me happiest. Simply sitting on the couch with my girls watching movies like Aquamarine, Barbie's A Mermaid's Tale.

Folding and hanging laundry can take on a simplicity that makes it easy, less like a chore and more like folding love into the very fabric of our lives.

I need to simplify.

I need to declutter, both literally and figuratively.

I need to yell less and bake more.

I need to exercise more and eat less

I need to scold less and hug more.

I need to step back and figure out which simple things make me happy and do those things more often and stop slogging through the tougher stuff.

Sure, some of the hard stuff has to be done, it just does. It's a part of life. But those things don't have to always take priority. Sometimes, they can be put off in favor of sitting on the deck while Olivia climbs and slides, climbs and slides and Alyssa jumps and swings over and over again.

Taking a few minutes to just be, to breathe and be grateful can do a lot for putting things in perspective. It can help the anger drain, help to make it less a raging fury and turn it into a warming campfire over which we could roast marshmallows.

Each day is a chance to change, a chance to make different choices. And today, good choices have been made. Even the choice NOT to share my lunch with either child today. I know, the shame. Except...they'd just eaten three peaches and a can of soup between them. Sometimes, Mommy needs to eat her lunch all by herself. But just sometimes.

And a shout out to Lauren: Excellent advice on the issue of volume control. We've set it at 30 on the computer. And Alyssa understands (for now) that it shouldn't go above that. The next time I have to remind her of that, I hope to be able to do so calmly, kindly, even as I'm putting a post-it on the computer with the number written with a Sharpie. Thanks for that, Lauren. You're the awesome kind of mom I hope to be when I grow up.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Last night, after making dinner, cleaning up the kitchen, giving the girls a bath and then settling in, Alyssa was playing some game on the computer.

I told her to turn the volume down like I always do. I don't know why she has to have the sound up so high every single time she plays games but I am constantly telling her to turn it down. I fear what the teenage years are going to bring.

I must have been harsher than I realized because Tom called me on it.

He said something off-hand about her blowing off the times when I yell at her.

I didn't think I'd yelled at her. But I might have. I was tired. I am always telling her to turn the computer's sound down, yes, I might have snapped the order at her.

But see, his comment just told me what I'd already feared. That I'm harder on Alyssa than necessary, harder than she deserves. She sometimes gets the brunt of my frustration, my annoyance.

And most of the time? She's not even the one that has frustrated me. She is just the one who happens to the very next thing that grates on my last nerve.

That's so unfair.

I love this girl so much. She makes me life so good, so amazing. I would die for this child.

But actions speak louder than words and while the words 'I love you' flow freely in our house, I sometimes wonder if she feels my love as much and as often as she hears of it.

So I didn't defend myself when Tom said what he said. I got reflective, I thought about his words and my own actions.

And today, I have been softer, gentler with both girls. I've been slower to react, thinking a few minutes about what is is they're doing that might be annoying me. I've given myself time to think before speaking, time to actually respond with appropriate emotion rather than jumping all over them when they do something that is completely age-appropriate.

I'm trying to be the kind of mother I always thought I'd be rather than the shrieky, annoyed mother I'd become.

They deserve this. I deserve it.

I'm angry about a lot of things right now. I've got a lot of work to do on myself. But these girls? They are two of the most precious, most important things in my life. And they deserve to know that, by word and by action.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Yesterday was Olivia's second to last gymnastics class of the season.

The girls ran a timed obstacle course, they did a standing long jump, a high jump and were timed as they ran about 200 yards.

And...Olivia was comparable to the girls in the class. She was the slowest in the obstacle course but that's partly because she needed help with a couple of the obstacles. She doesn't have the confidence to walk across the beam yet. So I help. She also can't quite jump off a mat that is about two feet off the ground.

But the other things? She was right up there. She even ran the 200 yards faster than a couple of the other kids.

I know, I know, this isn't a contest. They weren't running to 'win.' But, when it was all over? I felt totally like Olivia was a winner.

Two years ago, this child was JUST starting to walk. Yesterday? She RAN. She jumped on a trampoline. Not just jumped, she jumped backwards down the thing, kept her balance the entire way and then turned around and did a somesault.

My child. My child who, if you read the all the research online, wasn't suppposed to walk, let alone run and jump. My child, who is supposed to be weak and not speak, did a chin up (with a little help) and skipped from one end of the gym to the other. She laughed and asked her coach if they were going to get medals.

And they did! She was so proud of this medal. See, Alyssa's got several medals because she's played soccer for a couple of years. And this was O's first.

She wore it all evening and then wore it again this morning to Gram's house, announce to one and all that it was HER medal for gymnastics.

Yesterday? She was just one of the girls, one of the beautiful little girls who got a medal for running and jumping and playing.

I love moments like that, moments when she's just one of the kids. They happen a lot these days. Her doctor was right. She's showing us what she can do. She's showing us there isn't much she can't do.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

I went to our local Great Wall Chinese buffet place and got myself WAY too much food to go. Ugh!! Now I feel gross.

I sort of hope that the mosquitoes that have been having a go at my daughters feel the same way.

I hope those buggers feel bloated and gassy and sort of like they might like to throw up just to feel better.

The last month of so of almost non-stop rain has really made for fertile breeding grounds for the mosquitoes here in the Midwest.

I kill several on me each time I'm outside but so far I've had no noticable bites.

Alyssa and Olivia? Those poor things are just bumpy and itchy and miserable.

Olivia, the queen of no self-control, has scratched herself bloody in a few places.

This afternoon, before I went and picked up too much food for my lunch, I made a quick trip to the local WalMart for mosquito-bite supplies.

First, I actually bought repellant because, duh, what better way to deal with bites than to avoid them in the first place, right? Right.

I even went so far as to get repellant with Deet. I know. It's bad. But it's also very, very effective. And after I'm done writing this little piece of brilliance (ha!) I'm going to go google deet and see what makes it so bad. So yes, even though I don't even know why it's bad or how it's bad, I bought it. Because it not only repels mosquitoes but it also repels ticks. Because ticks? Ugh!!!! Nasty little suckers.

Because there are already bites covering much of my girls' bodies, I also bought Benadryl cream to help with the itching. I hope it actually works. They seem to be affectived by the fact that the bite happened, so knowing there is cream on the bite might not take away the emotional itch they seem to suffer from.

And for Olivia's bloody arm? I got some gauze and self-adhesive bandaging. Bandaids irritate her skin, just making the wound bigger and bloodier and just plain worse. So we're going to wrap the worst of the bites in gauze and hope her itchy little fingers can't make their way under it in the dark of the night.

I'm hoping to shut down the mosquito all-you-can-eat buffet that are my daughters.

Note to mosquitoes: I'm doing this for you. I don't want you to eat so much that you feel like crap for the rest of the day. I can't seem to do this for myself, so I'll help you show a little restraint.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Not So Special

I get asked often by a few of the 'special needs' moms I know how I'm doing. They want to know how I'm really doing.

And I know what they're asking. They're asking how I'm doing as a special needs mom. Not as a regular old mom, not as a woman, but as a special needs mom.

And to be honest, I never quite no how to answer.

Because, really, as far as the special needs thing goes? I'm fine. I'm good. We've got this thing down.

Except then I remember that Olivia isn't really all that special needs. She isn't.

She walks like any other four year old. She talks like most four year olds. She eats like a thirty-six year old. She tattles on her sister, she pours water on the floor during bathtime, she's just Olivia. So she isn't quite potty trained. Big deal. It doesn't really add much stress to our life.

So while I might have issues with myself, with my own image, with my sense of self and importance, the special needs thing? Isn't such a big thing.

This is not to belittle special needs. Because I know it's a big deal. The thing is, I know that there are a lot of kids out there with much bigger needs than Olivia.

She's just my kid.

I've never introduced msyelf as a mother of a special needs child. I'm a mother to two girls. I'm the mother of an eight year old and a four year old.

That's it. My girls are my life. I love them like I never imagined I'd love anyone. I'd die for them even though they can drive me nuts.

But that doesn't make me any different from any other mother out there.

When we realized that Olivia wasn't hitting her milestones like she should have, I never thought of her as special needs. Sure, she was delayed, but she was my girl. She was special because she was mine, not because she didn't walk until she was almost two and a half years old. This didn't make her more special in my eyes than Alyssa is.

So really, when it comes to parenting my kids, both of them, I may have my doubts as to my inherent abilities, but I'm good. I'm fine. Neediness and all.

Because in the end, loving them is what matters. Loving the heck out of them.

And last night, after yelling at Olivia for the eleventy-hundreth time for dumping cups full of water on the floor, I put her pajamas on her, braided Alyssa's clean hair and snuggled them both as they fell asleep, singing softly and holding hands.

There's something special about that. something needy. But special needs? We all have them to some extent. It doesn't make us any more special than anyone else in this big, crazy world.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, Alyssa came home with an invitation to a birthday part for her seat-mate on the school bus.

This little girl is in kindergarten but I think having her on the bus made Alyssa's transition to riding the bus smoother, so I emailed her mom to let her know we'd be there.

But the email bounced back to me, undelivered.

Ugh! That meant I'd have to pick up the stupid phone and actually talk to this woman.

Which, in the end, was a good thing because the day I finally managed to talk myself into calling, she and her daughter, the birthday girl, were on their way home from the doctor with a diagnosis of strep throat and a postponing of the birthday party.

She gave me the new date and time and I assured her we'd be there.

Except, I told her Alyssa would be there.

And on Saturday, Alyssa was there. Along with me and Olivia.

See, I'd planned to drop Alyssa off at the pavilion where the party was being held and then walk with Olivia the hundred or so yards down to the park and wait out the party.

But instead of that happening the gracious mother offered all three of us food and drink and cake.

And who am I do turn down cake? No one, that's who. We all three very much enjoyed our cake.

After food was eaten and presents were opened, all the kids and several moms headed to the park that O and I had intended to visit all along.

A good time was had by all.

This was the third invitation Alyssa has received in her first year at this school. And we've RSVP'd and attended each event. I decided when she received her first invitation that we need to reach out. We need to accept these things and attend so that we'll make our place in our new community.

Yes, I have a boatload of family around but there's more to most social lives than family.

And it's been good. The parents have all been very nice about me sticking around. They seem to understand that Alyssa's shy about being left and I'm neurotic about leaving her.

So there's that.

As we were leaving the party, I thanked the mom for letting me and Olivia stay. She was sweet. She said she was really glad I'd brought Olivia and wouldn't have had it any other way.

I like this place. I'm glad to be back and I think we're going to stick around.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Moving On

Well, that was self-indulgent. So much so that I can't bring myself to even go back and read it. So please forgive any typos because I won't be editing. I feel like if I went back and read what I wrote yesterday, it would all be a bunch of "Wah, wah, wah..."

And let's move on, shall we?

Alyssa had a tough time going to sleep last night. See, she was excited about today. This evening she has her last gymnastics class of the season and it's "Bring a Friend" night. Because her friend S's mom is awesome, S is going to class with Alyssa.

But that's not what got her so excited. It's the fact that S is going to ride the bus home with Alyssa and spend an hour or so at my mom's until I can pick them up for gymnastics.

I know! I love how kids this age pick the sweetest things to make into a big deal. S will get to sit with Alyssa on the bus. They'll be together for HOURS. Alyssa's worlds will be coliding. Her school world, her bus world, her gymnastics world. It's almost too much for one little eight year old to take.

I sometimes have to get all maudlin and stupid in order to bring myself back up with a little perspective.

My cousin's daughter is a Riley kid too. Sabella was born a year before Alyssa. It's actually kind of cool because we have three November babies all in a row. Sabella was born in 2005, Olivia in 2006 and Jaxon in 2007. We've had their birthday parties together the past couple of years. Someday one or more of them is going to resist this tradition but for now, it's great fun.

Anyway, Sabella had to take a trip to Indy. She was having trouble with her feeding tube.

And...that right there says it all, doesn't it?

She's five years old. She has a feeding tube and so many other issues.

And here I am bitching about being fat and having a thin husband?

So yeah, I got over myself last night and am feeling much better today.

And I pray for sweet Sabella and her strong, amazing mother. When I think of what they go through every single day? I feel less like bitching about hairpulling and tedious potty training issues.

We're lucky. I know that.

I'm lucky. I've lived a very, very good life and I'm incredibly blessed to have done so.

Yesterday, at one point I declared, "I'm running away."

I was actually feeling good and was teasing.

But later in the day, Olivia came up to me and leaned against me. She whispered, "I don't want you to go away."

I was confused. I hugged her and told her I wasn't going anywhere.

She told me again that she didn't want me to go away.

And then I got it. I remembered what I said. I picked her up, snuggled her sweet, small body against mine and said, "If I ever run away, can I take you with me?"

She smiled and then said, "And Lyssie?"

I nodded. "We'd definitely have to take Lyssie with us. I don't ever want to be far away from you two. How about we take Daddy too?"

With that, she was satisfied. I wasn't running away. And if I did? I was taking the whole family with me. Because it wasn't even them I was running away from, it was my own foul mood.

In the end, I just had to ride it out. Stay afloat until it receded. With my sweet girls' help, it went away pretty quickly. Like I said, I'm very, very lucky.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I have been in an extraordinarily bad mood all day.

I'm annoyed that my husband is so much better at losing weight than I am.

I'm frustrated that I'm a horrible housekeeper and an even worse mother.

It's just been rotten.

And I know it's me. I know that I am the one who puts these thoughts, these frusrations in my head.

I know I could choose to have a better day. I could choose to go for a walk or a run and NOT be miserable and fat.

Except...I am. Miserable and fat, that is.

I feel like being thin would make everything else more forgivable. How insane is that?

My weight is not connected to my inability to keep the living room clean. It's doesn't make me more or less patient with my children.

But the thoughts in my head tell me that if I were thinner, things would be easier. If I were thinner, it wouldn't matter quite so much that I don't vacuum every day. I wouldn't be bothered quite so much on those days hwen I'm not nearly as gentle and loving as I should be to my girls.

So today I brooded. I cried. I annoyed the shit out of my husband who is so exasperated with me and my stupid, stupid mood.

And yet I think to myself that if I were thinner, my moods wouldn't bother him so much. I probably wouldn't even have these moods if I were thin.

It's all so stupid. Intellectually, I know it is.

But there it is. This mood is here, it's weighing me down more than my gigantic butt. It's making me sad and mad and annoyed with myself as well as everything and everyone around me. It's not fair to any of usl.

And just now? I yelled at the girls. They're running and being silly and just enjoying each other's company. Every mothers' dream, right? Except with every lap, they have to stop and slam themselves into me and that's so damned annoying. So I told them to leave me alone for just a minute.

I feel awful about that too.

I'm a crappy mother, an awful wife. I'm not much better as a friend, daughter or sister for that matter.

I need to figure this out, though. For the girls' sakes if not for my own. I hate myself these days and that is no way to live.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

That Girl

When I decided to sign Olivia up for gymnastics classes in lieu of private or even school sponsored physical therapy, I knew I'd have to sign Alyssa up.

How could I tell my older daughter that she couldn't take a class that others her age were taking when her little sister was taking such a class? How could I have told her that, hey, you're 'normal', you don't need therapy, you're already coordinated and strong?

I couldn't. And I knew the class couldn't hurt her. It would probably even help her.

Alyssa's always been coordinated and strong. She walked at ten and a half months old. She's always been very confident about what her body could do.

But again, just because she had these things going for her, I couldn't deny her gymnastics classes.

I've worried probably a bit obsessively these past couple of years that Alyssa could get lost in all of Olivia's 'specialness'.

I kind of figured putting them both in gymnastics was sort of a benefit to her for having a special-needs sister.

Like Olivia, Alyssa had a gymnastics recital this past week.

And like Olivia, Alyssa was amazing in it.

She's so attentive when listening to her coach. She stands there, all straight and strong. She looks the coaches in the eye, she listens and then she tries to do what they ask of her.

She was this way during soccer too. She was always right up front, trying to get the coach's attention so that she'd be the first one picked to go in and play.

I love this about her. It's SO different from me and my own lack of atheletic prowess. I took a few tumbling classes and even a karate class (I took it because of a boyfriend but my very mild sense of competition pushed me to be better than he was. That boded well for the relationship.)

I was the kid in gym class during the war ball (dodge ball to anyone outside of north eastern Indiana) games who waited until a few people had been eliminated and announced that I'd been hit by a stray ball. I hated war ball.

Alyssa LOVES dodge ball. She says she's not so good at the throwing part but she's most excellent at the dodging part. I love that.

My girl has mastered handstands, carthwheels, one-handed cartwheels, backward rolls. She's able to stay in sinc with the other girls and listens to the musical cues.

They were awesome. I know I'm a little biased but SHE was awesome.

My girl is growing up and finding her own way.

I'm just lucky to be along for the ride, to be allowed to hold her as she falls asleep every few nights. I love that even as she grows up she's staying my baby just a little longer. My high-flying, cartwheeling baby who loved being up there performing for an audience.

Friday, May 20, 2011


My girls had their gymnastics recital last night. It was great. They had so much fun and loved the noise, the crowd, the act of performing.

After Olivia's class did their routine I sat with her and the girls off to the side while the older groups performed. O's class is made up of little girls ranging in age from a young three to almost seven.

Note: Alyssa's class performed too but I think Alyssa deserves a separate post about how amazing she was.

When Olivia and I were finally able to join Tom and my mom in the stands my mom mentioned that Olivia didn't really need me out there to help her with the routine, she just needed my physical presence to reassure her emotionally.

And it made me wonder. Am I holding her back? Did my presence in that class help or hinder her?

Honestly, her physical skill level was pretty even with most of the other girls. She somersaulted as well as the one before and the one after her. She cartwheeled about as one might expect a four year old to cartwheel.

I held her hand while she stood in a circle with the other girls and then when they skipped around the mat. But I didn't help her with her actual gymnastics skills. She did all that herself. And she was GOOD. As good as any other four year old might me.

So...she hasn't actually needed me out there all this time, has she? Have I been out there in class with her for me? Have I made her special needs into my own special needs?

I wonder.

She is starting preschool in the fall. And we'll probably put her back in gymnastics in the fall. And for those classes coming up in about four months? She'll be in the class by herself.

It's going to be tough, I know. She's not used to doing things without the mama. But I don't want to hinder her. I don't want to hold her back. I want to support her, I want her to know that I'm always there, cheering her on but that I can't always hold her hand.

Obviously, I can't go back and redo this past season of gymnastics. But it makes me wonder. It makes me second guess myself. It makes me doubt my instincts when it comes to Olivia.

Alyssa is a shy kid. She had a tough couple of weeks when kindergarten started. But she's great now. Yet...I probably coddled her too. And that doesn't help anyone.

Come fall, O won't be able to be coddled anymore. And I feel bad now that I didn't just push her out there in January when we started this new, non-mommy and me class. but she wanted me. And I'm a push-over. So I was there, holding her hand, even though she proved last night, it wasn't about her physical limitations. It was about my own desire to hold her close, to protect her, to take on her challenges.

I can't do that forever. I can't be the one who learns the skills for her.

She proved to all of us that she's fine. She'll be fine, as long as I can step back and not stand in her way.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Silent Support

Tom doesn't talk much about Olivia's special needs. Well, unless he's bitching about the cost of gymnastics. But over the past six or so months I just ignore that, so he hasn't said much on that subject lately either.

He were there in the beginning for her therapies so he gets that it's important. He just doesn't like paying for it. Her early therapies were through First Steps which is Indiana's early intervention program.

Because Tom has worked from him since before O was born, he was the go-to person for two of her four therapies. He was there with her when the therapists showed up and he saw what they did and heard their explanation for how they helped.

So while he does tend to spout off about the cost of gymnastics, he does get that it's beneficial. He just doesn't talk about Olivia's 'special' needs very often. As far as he's concerned, she's his baby, his little girl that needs a little extra help going up and down the stairs, his child who happened to get therapies for three years. No big deal.

There's this robin that keeps building a nest between our eave spout and the siding on the garage next to our front porch.

Tom's been loathe to tear down the nest because, well, he's a nice guy and thinks birds have a right to have a home out of the wind and rain too. I know. Sweet, huh?

This morning as we were loading the car before school, Alyssa happened to go outside garage while waiting for the rest of us to come out and get in the car.

She saw a broken robin's egg laying on the sidewalk beneath the nest. Inside the broken egg was a partially formed bird fetus.

Tom scowled at the poor little thing and then up at the nest.

He said, "There must have been something wrong with the baby bird. The mother bird kicked it out of the nest."

I asked if he was sure the egg hadn't just fallen out.

He shook his head. "That's the third egg she's kicked out."

As he picked up Olivia and started to strap her into her carseat, he muttered, "That's it. I'm tearing that nest down."

I asked him why.

He closed the car door next to Olivia and said, "If that mother bird isn't willing to take on a special needs baby bird, she isn't welcome in our yard."

Just...let that sink in for a minute.

He was saying that the mother bird was basically aborting her eggs mid-development because she sensed that something was wrong with the bird inside. He was also saying that that was wrong.

This is the most he's ever talked about advocating for special needs of any kind. So he was talking about special needs birds rather than children. Big deal. I got it.

And I love him that much more because of it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Olivia eats all the time.

Seriously. She's always hungry. No, really. Always.

Just the other day Tom mentioned that Olivia eats more than any other four year old he's ever met. Yes, he's actually met a few.

And she's actually got fairly sophisticated taste buds. She likes things that I, in my infinate maturity, refuse to even try, like shrimp and fried squash.

She will happily eat my hot and sour soup on the days I'm willing to share it rather than hoard it quietly in a corner, slurping madly and licking the bowl (me, not her.)

But we'll have dinner at 5:30 and not a half hour later, she's declaring she's hungry. And it's not that she's bored. When given food, she eats large quantities.

So we feed her. A lot.

I don't know about any other 5p- kids out there. Is this something that just comes with the syndrome? Or is it just my kid?

Alyssa? She's an evening eater. She'd go hours after getting up each morning before eating but once 4pm rolls around, she ravenous for hours, eating and eating and eating.

Sadly, Alyssa tends to prefer the food typical to her age group, such as macaroni and cheese, hotdogs, baby carrots, bologna and pickles.

Olivia likes her dads lentils and peas, fried potatoes and onions, meatloaf, oatmeal (ugh!!) and chili with lots of crackers.

Does a high tolerance for spicy foods come with a high tolerance for pain? Olivia has both so perhaps.

Alyssa has neither, so there's that.

These two little girls (one at 64 pounds and the other at 34 on a heavy day) eat like sixteen year old boys. Too bad neither of them can use the microwave like a sixteen year old boy. Wow, my life would be so much simpler if I could just say, "There are Hot Pockets in the freezer, go fix one for yourself."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


It's not a word those of us with 'special' kids hear very often in conjunction with our kids. Except when we do.

We got a letter yesterday from Olivia's developmental pediatrician. She saw her almost two weeks ago. Her doctor specialized in Down Syndrome but since there aren't many (any?) doctors who specialize in 5p-, we consider ourselves lucky to have drawn this doctor when we first asked for a referral to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

And she always remembers Olivia even though we only see her once a year these days.

At her last appointment, we discussed potty training.

I mentioned that we'd never gotten that kidney ultrasound that Dr. S. wanted almost two years ago.

We got it that day.

The letter we got yesterday stated that O's renal ultrasound showed 'normal kidney function.'

Which...yay!!! How awesome is that?

Seriously, I got so lucky with Miss Olivia. Her heart is perfectly normal, her kidneys are normal. Her brain is normal.

Everything about this kid is normal except that one little deletion in that fifth chromosome.

Heck, even her behavior is normal these days. In that, she's a normal, stubborn four year old who wants to do what she wants when she wants to do it.

Which means that right now? She wants to wear pull-ups because it's too time-consuming and boring to pee in the potty.

She proved last year that she can tell us when she has to pee and that she can hold it until she's on the toilet. But she's regressed.

And it's behavioral. Which is normal.

And for that? I'm grateful. Isn't that what we always want? Normal? Each parent who hears that something is wrong with or different about their child just wants normal. They just want their child to have normal challenges, a normal life.

Right now, we've got that.

Who knows what the future will bring?

For now we'll take the normal, even if it brings tantrums and stubbornness and frustration because in the end, it's what we wanted all along.

Monday, May 16, 2011

More Boring

My car is a mess.

Wait, that doesn't quite capture the nastiness that is my car. It's more like a dumpster with wheels and an engine. A dumpster that requires gasoline to keep moving.

It's awful.

Right this minute there is a pile of popcorn on the back seat beside Olivia's carseat. We went to Rural King on Saturday and since they give away bags of popcorn to customers, both girls had have some. They each got their own bag because heaven forbid they share.

And more than half of O's bag ended up on her lap and in her carseat and then, finally, on the seat beside her.

It's nasty.

But I'm just as bad.

There are three books on the floor of the front passenger seat, two jackets on the front passenger seat, countless York peppermint patty wrappers, a couple of empty Coke cans.

See, we lived in my car for so long. Okay, wait. That sounds bad. We drove many miles each week in that car. We never actually, literally, lived in it. But we were in it a lot. And we took snacks with us. And drinks. And toys because an hour and a half is a long time when you're under ten years old. You get bored. You try to entertain yourself.

You annoy your mother. And so your mother brings lots of toys in hopes of being less annoyed.

Except...the mess! Egads! I'm so very tired of the mess.

Every weekend I plan to clean out my car.

And so far? It hasn't happened. It doesn't just need decluttered. It needs vacuumed, shampooed, probably de-bugged. It's just gross.

And yet, cleaning out the car is SUCH a boring job and so I find other things to do, like folding laundry while watching Star Trek. Way more interesting and fun than cleaning out the car. And besides, it was cold and rainy this past weekend. Who wants to clean out a car when it's cold and rainy? Not me.

So we wade through the garbage, we step around the Happy Meal boxes and throw out the buns that Alyssa refuses to eat (she prefers to just eat the hamburger patty with cheese.) Every so often, I toss a handful of fries out into the yard, thinking of them as bird feed rather than garbage. But soon? I really, truly have to clean it out because...well, because I'm an adult and sometimes we just have to do the boring jobs, even when we don't wanna.

I'd like to say that once I've cleaned out the car there will be a new no-eating rule. But we all know that's not going to happen. Even living within twenty miles of work and extra-curricular activities, my girls would starve to death if I tried to make them wait that long to eat. At least, that's what they think and when they're hungry? They're annoying.

And I've already gone over how I feel about that.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Season changes bring about boring but necessary chores. My girls are both growing like crazy these days and so I finally went through their clothes this weekend and pared down their wardrobes into categories in which every single item actually fits them.

When we used to commute each week I'd spend most of every Sunday afternoon figuring out what each of us was going to wear for the rest of the week and then packing those items.

That is one bit of organization I've managed to hold on to even though we no longer spend three or more nights a week away from home. I still lay out (or hang) each outfit for each day of the week. It saves SO much time each morning when I don't have to argue with either girl (Olivia!) when it comes time to get dressed.

But lately, I've had to wade through piles of clothes in front of each of their closets to just get to the clothes hanging there. I also had to filter through the pants Alyssa has either outgrown or refuses to wear (jeans? NO!)

So this weekend I filled a smallish box with clothes for Olivia to grow into and a huge box to either be donated to Goodwill or sent back to Huntington to Gracie, my step-son's daughter. She'll be two next month, but I'm not sure she'll actually be able to get O's hand-me-downs much longer. Jeremy and his wife have managed to have very big (healthy big, healthy!!) children even though J and K are such tiny, tiny people.

Go figure.

Anyway, it's nice to be able to walk into their room and know that their closets are organized, that each item fits and is actually something they'll wear.

Boring? Yes, but so satisfying. Sort of like painting the bathroom.

Too bad I can't convince myself to get busy and just do it more often. It always feels so good to have jobs like this done.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


The lovely Tiffany commented on my post titled Choices before Blogger went down. I was lucky enough to read the comment before it was deleted by Blogger.

That comment made me think. It made me realize that I'm shallow.

I really hope that I don't offend Tiffany by what I'm about to write. That is not my intention at all. She made me think and made me face my own faults and so, with that preface let me say:

I am shallow. I don't really care all that much about health and feeling good as far as eating right and exercising go. I WISH those things were important enough to me to make me get up each morning and workout. I wish that I worried enough about my health that I ate a salad for lunch each day instead of something from Taco Bell.

But I'm not that good a person.

See, my doctor takes blood every year and tests it. My choleserol is fine. It always has been. Might it not always be? Sure, and that's what I should worry about. But I don't. Not yet.

But being thin? The thought of that sometimes motivates me. The thought of looking good in a pair of jeans and feeling pretty make me want to exercise. The goal of lowering my already normal blood pressure doesn't do that for me.

So while I know that my health and my own well-being are the reasons I should workout and eat right, those things aren't as high on my list as looking good.

I'm shallow. I wish I weren't. But I am. There it is.

Isn't there something about facing your faults and overcoming them? Maybe?

Thursday, May 12, 2011


There is a peach tree in my mom's back yard that is in full bloom. The bright pink blossoms thrill Olivia every single morning as we drive up my mom's driveway.

Yesterday morning, the first morning the flowers were fully opened, Olivia glanced out her window and gasped, "Look at Grammy's tree! It's pink!"

Ohh, how that girl loves her pink.

She asked, "Why is Gram's tree pink?"

I smiled as I unhooked the clasps on her carseat and told her, "Because it's a peach tree and those flowers might become peaches."

"It's so pretty," she sighed with contentment.

If Olivia had her way, the whole world would be covered in pretty. Everything would be soft and warm and pink and smell like lilacs.

This morning, just one day later, she again sighed with happiness when she saw the peach tree. "Such a pretty tree," she said as she walked up the ramp to go in my mom's house.

I love that she gets so much joy out of the pretty things in life. I love that she finds prettiness in just about everything. Blue flip-flops with a pretty jewel at the toe? Awesome.

Purple shorts to go with a white tank top? So stylish and perfect for her.

I love watching discover pretty things, watching her find the pretty in everyday moments. Dandelions are aplenty right now in our yard. Olivia loves these 'flowers.' She picks a bouquet of them daily for me. This amuses me so much. I love dandelions too, if only because they bring my baby such joy.

Here's to finding the pretty every single day, in the simplest things like a peach tree or a dandelion. Here's to living like a four year old, finding everything fresh and new even when you see it every day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Yesterday after I walked Alyssa to the bus, I went back into my mom's house and spent about ten minutes with her and Olivia before heading to work.

My mom was watching Good Morning, America and on the screen were these very thin women. And instead of saying something snarky about the skinny bitches, I said, "You know? Those women are thin because they choose to be."

And I stopped.

They choose to put themselves and their health first, at least part of the day, and make good choices. They probably work out every single day. They probably eat very well-thought out meals and they take care of themselves.

They make the choice to be healthy.

Just like I can.

I can make different choices.

I can.

Each morning starts with a choice.

I can either get up when the alarm goes off and start the day with a twenty minute walk or I can hit the snooze five times and then get up frazzled, already late and race through the morning routine like an idiot.

This morning? I only hit the snooze three times. So I wasn't running late before I even got up but I didn't get up and walk either.

But you know? I don't feel guilty for that choice. I own it. I made it. It was my choice.

I had to run to the store yesterday afternoon to get cereal for Alyssa's breakfast this morning.

For the last, ooh, two or so months every single time I went to the store, I left with at least four full-sized peppermint patties. I know. And I tended to eat them all in the next twenty four or so hours.

Yesterday? I chose not to buy any peppermint patties. I made that choice. And it felt good.

I am in control. I can choose.

I don't want to diet right now. That is my choice.

But just because I'm not on a diet doesn't mean I need to eat like a ten year old who's parents left her alone for the first time EVER with a pantry full of junk.

I can not diet and still make good, healthy choices.

So I'm choosing (at least for now, this is probably going to be an every-changing ongoing project) to let go of the guilt I feel for the choices I make and just make them, knowing that tomorrow, or heck, even five minutes from now, I'll be faced with another choice, another chance to make a better one.

Tomorrow I might even choose to get up with the first alarm. But then again, I might not. That is my choice and I'm glad to get to make it, to own it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thumbs Up

So the question of the day: How does one break a child of thumb sucking?

It's not quite like a pacifier, which can be 'lost' or sent away to soothe some baby who doesn't have one of their own, or even thrown away.

The thumb is just there, waiting to be sucked.

At least Olivia's is. She loves that thumb of hers.

But I think that the thumb sucking contributes to the hair pulling and we'd like to stop both of those habits if possible.

But how?

I loathe the idea of putting tobasco sauce on her thumb, which has been the most common bit of advice I've received. Ugh! That just seems mean. I don't want to be mean to her.

The other night as we sat and rocked, I said gently, "How about we try not to suck thumby?"

She tried. Ohh, how my baby tried not to suck her thumb. She tried so hard. She laid there against my chest, her head down, her right hand at her side. She turned her head back and forth, looking for a comfortable position.

Finally, about five minutes after my suggestion, she bent her head down and slipped her thumb into her mouth.

I pulled her face up and said softly, "It's okay. You don't have to hide. You can suck your thumb tonight. I'm not mad."

And she snuggled in with relief and was asleep two minutes later, her thumb slipping out of her mouth on its own moments after that.

I don't want to break her. I don't want to stress her out. So how do we do this?

After I'd suggested she not suck her thumb but then said it was okay if she did, her left hand never ventured up to pull her hair. So there is that.

We tease her often about the thumb, often asking if someone else can suck on it for a bit. She laughs and plugs it in tighter to keep it away from other people. We try to make light of it but it's tough.

I'll keep trying to gently suggest that she try to go a bit longer each time not sucking and see what happens. Hey, preschool starts next fall. Perhaps peer pressure will kick in. Except...I don't want her to be teased for this.

Maybe we'll make it a home-based habit. I'll see if I can make that stick.

One day at a time, right? One milestone at a time.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I babysat for my nephew this weekend. When my brother called last week to ask me if I could watch his son I completely blanked on the fact that he was asking me to babysit on the Saturday before Mother's Day.

I know!!

See, he managed to catch me on a Tuesday afternoon at the park. In the freezing cold. Alyssa was at soccer practice and because I'd left Olivia at home with Tom the evening before due to a two-hour gymnastics practice, I felt like I should take her with me. She and I froze on a bench for forty minutes before she was willing to even try to play on the playground equipment. Once I got her to try? She didn't want to leave.

She and I happened to be at my car looking for yet another jacket for her to wear (for the record, she ended up in two hooded jackets and a quilted vest by the time practice was over) when my phone, which had been in the car, rang.

Stupidly, I answered.

And I agreed to babysit. On the Saturday before Mother's Day.

Now I know you're thinking, "Big deal. So you babysat your nephew on Saturday? What does that have to do with Mother's Day?"

Well, whenever my brother asks me to babysit, it's assumed that his son will spend the night.

And that means I won't get to sleep in because Tom's is more than willing to care for his own two children while his wife sleeps in but not for one more child for whom he did not agree to babysit. Not that he's in anyway unkind to Jaxon but he doesn't want to be responsible for him. I don't blame him.

All this (9 paragraphs? Really? Wordy much?) is to say that I was already a bit cranky about the whole babysitting thing when my brother dropped his son off. Please, though, never fear, no three year old (or four or eight year olds) were abused due to this crankiness.)

I even snottily said to my mom earlier in the day, "Why can't Jaxon's MOTHER take care of him this weekend? That way she could wake up to her the joy of her SON on Mother's Day?" Alas, she's young and sort of stupid and self-centered enough to not choose to do so.


Having that third child there just reinforced for me the wisdom of our decision to stop at two.

Oh the noise! The chaos of dinner and bathtime. The annoyance at bedtime when Jaxon and Olivia wouldn't stop giggling. Okay, that was sort of cute at first but after fifteen minutes and countless, "Shhh, it's sleepy time you guys." It got old.

I love having him there. I love watching him and Olivia interact. When they're not fighting with each other (which is hilarious, most of the time) they're conspiring against Alyssa, which again, hilarious until she runs after them, screaming at the top of her lungs, intent upon bloodshed.

Yes, it was fun. But I sure was glad that his dad decided to show up early (9am) to pick him up.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Last week at work we had an inventory. This is a busy day, but busy in a different way then regular work days. On these days, I actually join my co-workers in the breakroom during lunch rather than sit at my desk and eat while I work.

There were about five women sitting around the table I had joined. One of those women was youngish (late twenties?) She's been married for a couple of years but hasn't had children yet. She said something about not wanting to give up her entire life and so waiting to have children a few more years.

The rest of us joined in, sharing in how kids definitely do take over your life.

I'm a good one for talking about the negatives of motherhood. I'm good at concentrating on the menial, tedious parts of day to day life.

I felt bad when lunch was over and we all went back to our counting because I'm sure we left this young women with the impression that if we could go back and undo our mother status, we would.

But I wouldn't. I would not change my daughters for anything in the world.

They are amazing. They enrich my life so much even when I'm bitching about having to get a bowl of ice cream. I'd dig ice cream out of a tub for hours a day if necessary to keep my girls happy and healthy.

The good moments, the sweet times make the tedium worht it.

I said something that afternoon about mothers having a high tolerance for bother. And we do. We can ignore the annoyances when they're interspersed with tiny arms wrapping themselves around your neck and a sweet little voice saying earnestly, "I love you, Mommy."

When your big girl asks softly each night, "Will you hold my hand and sing to me?" that takes away the frustration of the day. It makes the ice cream request worth it.

To all the moms out there who wash load after load of laundry, make meals that go uneaten, drive their children to and from activies day after day, week after week, month after month without (much) complaint, Happy Mothers Day. I hope this day reinforced to each of you that it's worth it, every sacrifice is rewarded exponentially. The love in their eyes, the joy in their voices, the sweet little arms hugging and the hands clasping each night make everything else pale in comparison.

We are the lucky ones. We are the moms.

Friday, May 6, 2011


My daughters bring me much joy, as most of these posts show.

Sure, they provide plenty of annoyance, but their kids, that's just what they do.

But what happens when daughters grow up but never really mature?

See, my step daughter has issues.

We love her so much but sometimes it's really hard to like her. She makes very, very bad decisions. At twenty-four years old, she still can't think beyond the next four seconds. She can't made decisions about anything other than what she wants right this second.

It's so frustrating because she always expects someone else to clean up the messes she makes, to pay for the bad decisions she made.

At eight and four, Alyssa and Olivia aren't ready to make real decisions. Yes, Alyssa can decide what to wear but she often has to be advised as to which jacket to wear to school each morning.

Olivia? Would wear a tank top in the middle of February if we let her. But we don't because we're her parents and we make the important decisions for her. We will let her choose between appropriate items of clothing but we don't let her go all willy-nilly into her closet and pick whatever she wants.

But with my step-daughter, we don't have that power.

All we can say to her is, "If you make this decision, you are on your own. Don't come crying to us when it backfires, expecting money or a bail out."

But she does. She calls and cried and begs for money.

And I see how much it hurts my husband. I see how desperately he wants to help her because this is his daughter, he remembers her when she was four and when she was eight and he loves her to the ends of the earth.

But he's also so very fed up with her sense of entitlement. As if he owes her a better life than that which she's choosing for herself.

We try so hard to give our daugthers the tools to grow and learn to make good decisions. We try so hard to teach them lessons and teach them consequences.

But how do you do that with an adult child who never seems to learn?

He asked me tonight if it would be a bad thing for him to tell her not to call him anymore if she's just going to ask for money.

I want to support him. I am on his side. I told him that he has every right to do just that and to not feel guilty for it. He gave her the tools she needed to make the right decisions. She chooses not to use those tools.


Not him. Not me. We need to stop paying for her bad choices.

But it's hard to say no, even to your adult child, when they hurt, even when it's their own damned fault.

Not sure where we're going here just hoping we're doing a better job the second and third time around with daughters. Setting examples, limits, experiences where they learn that there are consequences to the choices they make and THEY are the ones who have to live with those consequences.

It's not easy, but it's all we can do right now.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Olivia has entered the question stage.

She askes questions about everything these days. Yesterday a few of her questions were:

"Why does Gram's car have wheels?"

"Why does my shirt have short sleeves?"

"Gram? Where is my Rapunzel dress?"

"Mommy? Why is our house so messy and we can't find my Rapunzel dress?"

Cute, huh?

Sure, until the fifteen thousandth question of the day. Actually, then it's still kind of cute.

My biggest complaint about my very verbal child is that she often says, "Mommy?"

And when I say, "What, Sweetie?" She just looks at me, as if she were just making sure I was paying attention. UGH!!!

This morning she asked:

"Why is my Tangled shirt sparkly?"

"Where is my old headband that is yellow with a bow?"

"Gram, what is your favorite color?"

"Why is the sun shining so bright in your car, Mommy?"

All very good questions. Also more reason for me to be grateful. She can communicate, she can let us know what's on her mind. I realize how lucky we are that she speaks so well. Please, please know that I get that even when I'm gritting my teeth when she says, "Mommy?" one more time.

Alyssa has always been very verbal. This child was speaking in full sentences at 15 months and full paragraphs with footnotes at two years.

Last night, I was feeling out of sorts. I was tired and my back hurt from almost six hours in a car. I just kind of wanted to be left alone.

Except, with two small children and a husband in the house, that isn't likely to happen.

At 7:40 Alyssa asked if she could take a bath.

I REALLY didn't want to go upstairs and sit in the bathroom for a half hour or more while she and Olivia swam in my tub. But how do you say no to such a request?

I don't, that how. So up we went. And obviously if A was taking a bath O was going to be rigth there with her. I think that Olivia might be the cleanest child in all of northwestern Ohio. She takes a bath almost every morning and often throughout the day at my mom's. She loves her bath.

After bath was over at 8:05 and both girls were jammied up, we headed back down stairs. I'd already washed A's lunch dishes, so I thought I could join the family in the living room for the rest of The Middle.

The instant I sat down, Alyssa asked for ice cream.

Ugh!! Yes, I was so very, very annoyed. But I got her the ice cream. I took it to her and started to sit down when Olivia handed me the uneaten half of the cookie she'd been holding. She said, "I want ice cream too."

Egads! Would this day never end? I wondered in disgust as I spooned up ice cream again, this time stirring it up so she could feed herself.

Tom took O's bowl from me and tried to feed her. She didn't want to be fed the ice cream. She's FOUR, she doesn't need to be fed like a baby.

He handed me her bowl, thinking she'd eat it if I fed it to her. Seconds after he handed me Olivia's bowl of ice cream, Alyssa moved from her end of the couch to my lap, making it impossible for me to feed anyone anything.

I just sighed.

Alyssa turned back, patted my cheek and said, "Poor Mommy. You need a good night sleep."

She's a perceptive one, that girl.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dev Ped

We made our almost annual trip three-ish hours south and slightly west to visit with Olivia's developmental pediatrician.

She is just so wonderful. She was great the first time we met her when O was two years old, a non-walking, sickly, 23 pound little bundle of sweetness.

This is the doctor who looked at sick little Livie when I mentioned 5p- and said, "Well, I'd be really surprised if she has the syndrome, but something is obviously wrong with this baby, so let's test her."

And we did and that was that.

Today, O's doctor was so happy to see her. How awesome is that? She walked into the room with a smile and said, "I was so happy when I saw that I was going to get to see you today!"

We saw Dr. S over a year ago and whether she really remembered us or not, she pretended to and that's enough for me. I think Olivia is her only 5p- patient, so she probably is memorable for that reason alone.

She gave O a physical, asked me about any concerns and basically said that Olivia is amazing. Which, duh!! But it's nice to have a professional diagnosis of amazing, huh?

Anyway, Olivia's growth is wonderful, but not so fast as to be alarming. She weighed 34.6 pounds and is 41 inches tall. She was so very cooperative with the nurse who weighed and measured her. The nurse said, "You've done this before, haven't you?"

Can I stop here and say that every single person we encountered at the North Hospital of IU Medical Center was just amazing. They were so kind, so sweet, so helpful.

Anyway, O even sat still long enough to get her blood pressure. 86 over 55 is good for four year olds, apparently.

We discussed potty training and how we have backtracked in the past year. We discussed possible solutions (a wetting monitor that screams when wetness is there, which...yikes.) versus rewards for going in the toilet. We'd been doing most of what was suggested but the doctor did send us across the street for a renal ultrasound just to make sure our potty training issues are behavior (my bet) rather than physiological. Just knowing that her kidneys and bladder are fine will be a relief.

Once again, Olivia did amazingly well during the ultrasound, laying quietly while the tech (again SUCH a nice person) ran the wand back and forth over O's stomach, sides and back.

My mom went with us, which was a nice change. It's usually just me and Olivia, so the drive can be tedious.

As the appointment ended, I brought up Olivia's hair-pulling. Her doctor recommended an amino acid supplement. She first asked if O is on any type of medication at this time (no) and confirmed that she has no respiratory or cardivascular problems (again, no) and said that there is no reason to try the amino acid therapy. She said we should see results in four to six week and if we don't see results, to just discontinue the supplement. But she definitely wants me to share with her if we do get positive results.

I'm hoping to find the suppliment at the health food store tomorrow so we can get started on this.

Dr. S did ask if Olivia eats the hair that she pulls out. I've read on Facebook about a few parents of 5p- kids having issues with their kids eating their hair. This can cause digestive issues.

Olivia doesn't eat her hair. It actually drives her nuts to get a hair in her mouth. Her doctor was relieved to hear this.

We don't have to go back for two years unless something comes up between now and then. So yay for that, right?

The best part of the day? Olivia repeatedly glancing over at the seat Alyssa usually sits in when riding in my mom's car and saying longingly, "I miss Lyssie."

Heart? Melting.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Poor Tom

Last night Alyssa had a two-hour gymnastics class. It went from 6:00 to 8:00. She and I got home at 8:47. We were that late because we had to go through the drive-thru at Dairy Queen to get her chicken strips, ice cream and a blue raspberry Arctic Rush.

Olivia stayed home with Tom because, duh, classs until 8:00. I honestly thought she'd be asleep by the time we pulled in.

She wasn't.

She was fine, actually. That is until she heard my voice, at which point she burst into tears, threw herself into my arms and gripped my face between her two tiny palms, whimpering, "I missed you so much."

Tom rolled his eyes and said, "She was fine until you got here."

And I believe him. I believe that both girls are just fine with him until I arrive, at which point they realize they've been deprived of my presence for, well, EVER and suddenly the missing becomes too much.

A couple of weeks ago, Tom surprised me and the girls at my mom's during pickup. Alyssa glared at him and said, "What are YOU doing here?"

He just grinned at her and chased her around the room.

That was a Monday, but Alyssa's class was going to be the normal one-hour class, ending at a reasonable 7pm. So Olivia was going with us.

When she resisted putting on her shoes, I threatened, "If you don't cooperate, you're going to just go home with Daddy."

When did time with Daddy become a punishment? I felt awful immediately after I said it.

Tom just laughed and reiterated what I'd said.

I'm so lucky that he doesn't take the fact that our girls are such Mama's girls against me or them. I know, they're both just kids, but it's got to sting a little. But he just laughs it off and goes about his business.

I suppose, though, there is that perk of having all that time to himself each time I go somewhere and both kids want to go with me. Because staying home with Daddy when there's another option? Is not going to happen.

I almost feel sorry for him. Except...alone time. Hmmm, I wonder what that's like.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


The first day of a new month can signify a new beginning. For us, it signifies the start of warmer weather. Yesterday, the last day of a perfectly hideous April was equally nasty. It was cold, windy and just dreadful. Alyssa had her second and third soccer games yesterday after almost three weeks of games and practices being cancelled due to rain and cold.

So yes, May brings hope to us all.

And as far as Tom is concerned, it's the start of new health. See, he's starting a new diet today. I know...

A couple of days ago he suggested to me that I be his trainer and nutritionist. I laughed.

See, who goes to a fat nutritionist and trainer? No one, that's who. Because that would be stupid. Someone who knows anything at all about nutrition and exercise wouldn't be fat. Right?

So after I laughed I told hime he's crazy.

Then we both laughed.

But deep down, I was/am hurt. I know he doesn't mean to do it.

But I also know that he's hoping that his own diet and exercise program will spur me into action. I know this. But even know it, I don't want to diet right now. I'm not inspired.

This morning after we were all up for about a half hour, he asked the girls if they were ready to start a new tradition. That traditions would be a morning jog.

I testily asked him if that meant we were going to start getting up at 4am each day so that we could get that morning jog in.

He got the hint.

Except, maybe not. Because a little while later he asked if I was going to try and meet him pound for pound in weight loss.

OMG!!! Really? Whatever!!

"Sure," I said a bit snarkily. "Except you have an unfair advantage. You can exercise anytime you want."

He gave me a confused look.

I pointed out, "You work here at home. You can exerise whenever you want. You don't punch a timecard, you don't have a boss accounting for your time. When we're gone you have the house to yourself, for hours at a time. I NEVER had that amount of time to do whatever I want."

And I don't. And it frustrates the hell out of me that he doesn't see that.

But I wish him well in his weight loss. I do. I want him to be healthy. I want that for him because he wants it for himself.

And I want to be healthy too. But right now...it's hard. And I'd rather have a honey bun than go for a jog. Because I can eat that honey bun either in the car, or at my desk. I can't go for a jog that easily. When I'm not at work, I'm at an activity for one of the girls. Or I'm here doing laundry or putting dishes away.

There aren't enough hours in the day right now. Someday? There will be. But right now? There just aren't.

But on the bright side, I finished painting the bathroom yesterday. One coat of primer, two coats of paint and it's done. Yes, I managed to finished before May. Go me.