Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spinning, Stimming, Whatever

No, not the exercise class. Ha, hahahaha. As if.

No, Olivia has discovered spinning in place, or more specifically, spinning in the middle of the kitchen while Tom and I are trying to get dinner around each night.

She loves this. She loves to spin to the point that she falls over. She just lays there, dizzy for a minute and then gets up and does it again.

Let me say right here that this could very well be something that has nothing to do with 5p- Syndrome. I currently hold the record in my family for standing and spinning for three hours. My cousins were no competition at all when I was eight years old.

So I hesitate to call this behavior from Olivia stimming. I think she just likes the feeling of being dizzy. And she likes the attention she gets when she’s in the middle of the kitchen and both her parents are trying not to trip over her.

Alyssa just rolls her eyes and goes back to watching Fetch with Ruff Ruffman on PBS.

One habit that I do fear is stimming, though, is her newest thing of twirling her hair. She’s not quite pulling it out again, but she’ll twist huge chunks of hair around her fingers. Seeing her do that stresses me out to no end because it takes me back to the days of pulling. She doesn’t do it often but when she does, I bite my tongue to stop myself from telling her to stop and drawing attention to the behavior.

I don’t mind if she stims, because if she is doing it, it’s because she needs to but I wish she’d leave her hair alone. I realize it’s just hair and we’re in the stage right now where it’s being proven that it grows back but…I don’t have a good reason except that I just want her to leave her hair alone. So there.

But the spinning…so fun for all, except those of us tripping over her while holding a bowl of hot tomato soup. That’s no fun at all.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Freak Out

Alyssa has decided that being freaked out is fun. She loves to read books about ghosts or haunted areas in Ohio (she gets these from the school library.)

She’s fascinated by the books I read, such as Mrs. Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I just finished that one and she loved the freaky pictures throughout the book.

I’m now reading Dean Koontz’s 77 Shadow Street and she keeps asking what’s happening, why that happened, what is going to happen.

I don’t mind telling her these things except…the freak out. She is now scared to go upstairs by herself. At night, if we’re all in the living room and she has to go to the bathroom, she turns on the kitchen light, the hall light and the bathroom light. The downstairs half-bath is all of ten feet from the living room.

And honestly, if that were it, I still wouldn’t be bothered.

What gets to me is that her freak outs are interfering with my life. I know! A mother having to deal with her child, the horror.

But seriously. These nighttime trips to the bathroom with her because she’s afraid to go alone? I’m over it.

So we’re cancelling the reading of anymore books about ghosts or haunting and I’m not answering any more questions about the books I’m reading.

I’m all about the fun of being scared. I love horror movies and scary books (hence my reading of a book written by Dean Koontz.) But at nine, Alyssa obviously isn’t ready for this and as her mature mother, it’s up to me to set limits. We just won’t tell her that it’s mostly because her freak outs are inconveniencing me, right?

Monday, February 27, 2012


These days, Olivia is fascinated with all things ballet. She has a charm that used to be on a necklace that is two ballet slippers. She carries that charm with her everywhere. She won’t even consider having it put on a necklace or bracelet. No, she wants to hold it, thank you very much.

While holding her ballet slippers charm, Olivia prances around the room doing little movements that are similar to what she must think a ballerina does. She flicks her leg into the air behind her, her arms out for balance. She spins a little and kicks up toward the front with her other leg.

It’s actually kind of adorable. Except for that part where she calls out every three seconds, “Okay everybody, I’m going to do a ballet show. Watch. Mommy, watch! Daddy, I’m doing a show, watch! Gram, stop talking, and watch me.”

Yeah, that gets old. And yet, we all stop and watch every single time.

I am looking for an area ballet class for Olivia. I’m torn between telling whomever we choose as a teacher about her syndrome.

When she took gymnastics two years ago, I told her coach, Miss Maggie, about the 5p- diagnosis. I did this because I wanted the coach to understand why I felt the need to be in the class with Olivia. I also wanted her to understand that at that point, O had only been walking for about six months, so she needed to understand Olivia’s limits.

Now? I’m considering just letting a ballet teacher think that maybe Olivia is just a sort of clumsy five year old. I’d kind of like to see how she does with someone who doesn’t know something is wrong. Does that make sense? And if it makes sense, is it fair to some unsuspecting ballet teacher and to Olivia?

I want Olivia to have all the experiences other, typical kids her age have. I want her to try things and succeed and I want her to try things and fail. I want her to learn what she can do and what her limitations are. But I fear that telling every single person who comes in contact with her about her syndrome, that we’re setting the limits before Olivia even has a chance to try things for herself.
Sometimes, I find myself telling random strangers about 5p- because I’m so damned proud of Olivia and how far she’s come and how well she’s doing and how hard she works. But I’m beginning to wonder if I’m not doing her any favors by telling everyone about her medical diagnosis before they even have a chance to get to know her, Olivia, a five year old dynamite of a girl who dazzles us with her wit, her humor, her joy of life.

So…ballet class. To tell or not to tell, that is the question.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Calling it Good

As noted yesterday, the refrigerator is clean. And as of noon today, the basement stairs have been vacuumed.

I'm calling it a good weekend.

Even though the kitchen floor didn't get mopped and the upstairs bathrooms didn't get cleaned, I'm still calling it good.

Both girls got their hair washed today, the laundry is mostly put away and the cat is fluffy and no longer smells likke poop. That's definitely a good weekend.

Speaking of poop, Olivia finally managed a really big poop after working at it for two days. She's GOT to feel better which without a doubt means we've got it good.

I filled my car with gas today and managed to do so for under $50 (okay, so it was only 30 cents under $50 but I'm still calling it good.)

Tom and the girls let me sleep until 9:30 this morning and then, while he was off at antique stores and visiting his brother, I snoozed again in the recliner for about 45 minutes while Alyssa watched a movie and Olivia sat on my lap playing iwth a doll. That is absolutely my definition of good.

While there were moments of frustration and annoyance, I'm choose, today at least, to look at the good instead, to concentrate on my successes instead of my failure. Sometimes, it's more important to be my own biggest cheerleader than my own worst critic.

Today, I cheer.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Making Messes

This morning started early, with Olivia waking up at 5:30, which, to be fair to her, is the usual wake up time during the week. But it's painful when she does this on a Saturday, a day when we don't have to get up. I managed to convince her to lay there for another hour but by 6:30, her growling stomach convinced me that it really was time to get up.

I greeted the day feeling motivated. I'd planned to clean out the fridge this weekend and that's just what I did.

It was quite a chore that took quite a bit of time and attention.

As I was cleaning, Olivia was making messes.

Did I mention at the beginning of the school year she hated scissors? She refused to even try to use them. She hated the way they felt in her hand and she hated trying to use both hands together to hold a piece of paper while cutting.

But now, six months later, she's become a cutting maniac. Just a couple of weeks ago, I found strands of her hair beneath the table at my mom's house. O had cut her own hair. Not enough to make it obvious but...damn! We've just gotten past the pulling thing, please let's not experiement with self-styling here, kiddo.

She's promised never to cut her hair again and because I know how important using scissors is to her fine motor skills, I have to trust her.

So this morning, as I was throwing away food that expired back in 2010, she was sitting on the living room floor with a pair of scissors and several magazines.

I waited to vacuum until after she was done cutting. I thought. But you know what? These are the kinds of messes I don't mind at all. We've worked hard for her to get to the point where she CAN make messes with paper and scissors. I'm not going to take that away from her just because I don't want to clean up a mess.

So tonight I have a sleeping little girl, a pile of cut up magazines and a clean refrigerator.

I'm calling it a successful Saturday.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sleep Talking

Tom is an intense person. He’s intense when he’s awake and when he’s asleep. He’s a very hard worker and he takes his work, whatever that might be at the moment, very seriously.

Which is why he never really shuts down.

Back when he was working in management at Walmart, he often talked in his sleep about work. He’d mutter something about moving the skids. Then he’d get angry in his sleep and say, “No, not there! Over there!”

I’d always just say calmly, “Okay, I’ll move them.”

That seemed to sink into his unconscious mind and he’d settle again, content in the knowledge that the skids were going to be moved.

A few weeks ago, he actually woke himself up by talking in his sleep. He was talking about calories and fat grams. When he woke up and saw me looking at him, he smiled sheepishly and said, “Oh crap.” Then he turned over and went back to sleep.

This intensity is something he passed on to both Alyssa and Olivia. Neither of them talk in their sleep nearly as much as he does, but they do both do it on occasion.

Last night Olivia was muttering in her sleep. At first it was intelligible, just whimpers and whines and a few sounds of frustration. Then she finally said quite clearly, “No! I don’t want it.”

I rubbed her hair back from her face and said gently, “You don’t have to have it.”

It worked the same way my comments work with Tom. She settled back down and stopped fussing in her sleep.

I love that I can comfort my family even in their sleep. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right in the grand scheme of things.

Of course, during their awake hours, they’re all three still very intense and during those times, my gentle words don’t always make quite the impression I’d like them to make. So sometimes, I just shake my head and walk away when one or two or even all three of them is (are?) in an intense mood. I just let it ride and know they’ll work it out.

I do so love the sleep talking, though, because sometimes it gives me an insight into what’s really going on in their heads. When they’re sleeping, they don’t have the filter that sometimes hides the intensity during the day.

Does that make me something like a peeping Tommie? Maybe, but I’m kind of okay with that. I’ll take whatever I can get to understand them all a little better.

And no, I don’t think I’m much of a sleep talker. Or if I am, I never say anything interesting enough for anyone to remember and tell me about the next day. Hmmm...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Notes to Self

-Two donuts for breakfast are not a good idea. It gives me a rush of sugar that my body is no longer used to. I don’t want to get used to it either because that will mean I’m on the road to regaining the weight I lost over the last few months.

-Caffeine consumption on the weekends is a bad idea. It just leads to a withdrawal headache by Tuesday afternoon. Abstain, self. Seriously.

-My real husband is not responsible for things he does in my dreams. Just because the dream husband is a shit doesn’t mean that I can be mad at the real husband when I wake up.

-I do not have to accept every single invitation I receive to dance marathons. It is okay to decide that driving four hours for a five minute speech is too much to ask of my family. I’m grateful for the invitations, truly, but I’m getting to the point that I feel guilty when I can’t accept and I’m going to just go ahead and get over that right about now.

-Speaking of guilt, Self, as husband does not feel even a smidge of guilt when he leaves the entire evening routine to me, from dinner and homework up to and including stories, tooth brushing and carrying a sleeping Olivia to bed, I refuse to feel guilty for leaving the morning breakfast/oral hygiene routine to him. So, Self, stop feeling guilty for not feeling guilty. Do you even realize how stupid that is? Seriously.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Defining 'Special'

I think every first born who is old enough to do so, anticipates the birth of a subsequent sibling with a bit of anxiety, excitement and wonder.

I know that when Alyssa was just three and a half and was anticipating the arrival of a baby sister, she probably pictured a chubby, cheerful two year old who was ready to play with ponies with her and watch movies and have fun.

She did not expect the sickly, screamy little creature that stayed in the hospital for eleven days after birth. She didn’t anticipate a mother who was coming and going all day every day in those first couple of weeks, who was so tired and overwhelmed by the NICU and the needs of her family at home that she sort of lost her mind for a little while.

She definitely didn’t expect a little sister who wouldn’t walk for the first twenty-nine months of her life, who wouldn’t interact in any significant way with her until she was at least three years old.

None of us anticipated this.

But we got it. And we rolled with it. We barreled through Olivia’s first few months of screaming. We started therapies and found therapists who told us that Alyssa was going to be Olivia’s greatest teacher and who let her play with the toys they’d brought for O’s therapy sessions.

I held a screaming O in one arm and read to a quiet, thoughtful Alyssa who was snuggled in the other arm.

And they grew and Olivia started crawling and walking and talking and interacting.

These days Olivia interacts with her sister in much the same way any other five year old would with her nine year old sibling. There are squabbles, there is competition for my attention.

Alyssa mentioned at the beginning of the year that there is a boy in her class who has special needs. She actually used the phrase ‘special needs.’ I asked her what that meant.

She shrugged and said, “He has a teacher who is in our class who works with just him.”

That was it. He had an aide and that signified to Alyssa that he had special needs. I’m sure she’d heard those words thrown around our house often in the last five years.

I asked her if she realized that Olivia also has special needs.

She tilted her head and said, “Why?”

I tried to explain about chromosomes and how Olivia is missing part of one of hers. Alyssa didn’t quite get it. I reminded her of O’s early issues, the late crawling, the late walking and talking. I reminded her about all the therapists.

She shrugged and said, “Ehh, so what if she didn’t walk as soon as Jaxon did. She’s still a really annoying little sister.”

My heart burst with love in that moment. I wanted to high-five her and say, “Sing it, sister!”

Because that right there is what I always pictured when I thought about a sibling for Alyssa. I wanted her to have an annoying little sister.

And she does. She treats Olivia the way most other nine year olds treat their five year old siblings. With indulgence one minute and distain the next. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Tom and I talked a little more this morning about Olivia's school options for next year.

We're coming to a point of peace with whether she goes to kindergarten or preschool next year. We know that when it comes to her school, we have some options and it's up to us to make sure her needs are met in either classroom.

What we want most for Olivia is for her to be happy and challenged but not challenged to the point that she gets discouraged and gives up on the whole thing.

She's a stubborn girl. She's also vain. She wants to have fun and she doesn't like to do things that are hard for her. And yet...she's already proven in her five little years that she can do so much, even the hard stuff, if she works hard enough. We, Tom and I and her teachers, whomever they might be, have to figure out how to make the hard stuff fun so that she'll still want to do it even though it's hard.

Like tracing and cutting. She's come so far in just a few months with those things, things she didn't even want to attempt back in August.

We want Olivia to be happy. We want that for both of our girls. We want them to feel like they're contributing and making a difference. We want them to reach for their fullest potential and to KNOW they can reach it. We want them to dream and fight for their dreams.

So after a few tears last week, I'm getting to the point where I know that no matter which route Olivia's schooling takes, it's up to me to make sure she gets what she needs. I'm her mom, that makes me her greatest advocate. I'm lucky to have a strong partner at my side as we fight for our girls' rights, their dreams, their potential.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Being Olivia

My mom is having new carpet laid in her house this week. That means that they tore up the old carpet over the weekend. We all went over there yesterday afternoon so that Tom could climb into the crawlspace beneath my parents’ house and run cable from one corner to the other so they could move their television across the room once the new carpet has been installed.

The current lack of carpet left about an inch to maybe an inch and a half step up from the sub-flooring in the living room to the wood floor in the kitchen.

Olivia tripped on that ‘step’ three times in the two hours we were there.

At least she knows how to fall these days, in that she actually puts her hands down to catch herself before her face meets the floor. Before gymnastics, that didn’t happen, which is how she hurt her right front tooth several years ago.

A doctor we were seeing before we even got O’s diagnosis once described her gross motor issues to me.

He told me to imagine trying to drive a car and having to think about every single thing you’re doing at every single moment. From the minute pressure you put on the gas pedal to the ever so gentle adjustment of the steering wheel, to the glance in the rear view mirrors, etc. Imagine actually having to think about those movements all the time.

That’s how it was for Olivia as she was learning to sit up, to crawl, to walk, to fall even.

None of that came naturally for her. She had no natural reflexes for catching herself when she fell. She had no natural instinct for crawling or walking. She had to learn every single one of those skills. She had to think about every single movement she made as she taught her body to do those things.

She has muscle memory, though, so once she learns a skill, she remembers it and doesn’t have to relearn it. We’re grateful for the small things.

But that little lip that stuck up took a few crashes for her to learn to step up a little higher as she ran through the room. She had to slow down, take higher steps, watch where she was going. I think we ended the day just a couple of bruises but this morning when we got back to Gram’s house, O remembered that ‘step.’ And she watched for it. She learns. It’s just too bad that sometimes she has to learn the hard way.

But all this is part of why writing, cutting, jumping, climbing have been hard for our girl. She has universal low muscle tone. That means every single muscle in her body is weak. That means the big ones and the little ones have to work harder than yours or mine do to do the same things.

But she does them and she works so hard to learn everything we all take for granted.

Last night at dinner, she was sitting a little too close to the edge of her chair. She fell to the floor mid bite of her tomato soup. She got up, picked up a napkin, cleaned up the soup from the floor, threw the napkin away, climbed back into her chair and resumed eating.

A few minutes later, she ‘fell’ again. This this fall sounded different from the first. Tom and I exchanged a glance. The second call sounded much more controlled than the first. She’d let herself fall that time. I think she was trying to get a reaction again. But we were impressed with her ability to fake a fall at all. She controlled her little body and fell to the floor in a way that didn’t hurt her.

She’s come so far in these last five years and I have no doubt that she’ll come a lot farther in the years to come but I don’t want to take away from how hard she’s worked to get to where she already is.

My girl is a superhero, plain and simple.

And that sister of hers? The one I called a jerk last week? Yeah, her? She’s a superhero too because when she looks at her sister, she sees a little sister, your average, every day, annoying little sister. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Wasted Weekend

My weight loss has stalled. Of course, that's mostly because I haven't been able to stay away from the chocolate covered raisins.

But this weekend I've found the perfect appetite suppressor. Stomach bug. Ich!

Our house has been infested. It started with Alyssa last week. She was home from school on Monday and Tuesday. Olivia was home from school on Wednesday and Thursday. And yay, I got it on Saturday. So far Tom's managed to avoid the whole thing.

He was totally the hero yesterday, though. After I laid around on the couch for all of yesterday he sent me to bed at 7:30 last night, keeping the girls downstairs for a 'camp out.'

I slept uninterrupted for 13 hours. It was lovely. It was also needed. Today was much better. Though I really didn't get nearly enough done considering I lost most of yesterday.

Major subject change: I'm still working on the whole school thing for Olivia. But I'm trying to come to peace with whatever happens. I want to be peaceful without being passive, if that makes sense. I have a couple of more calls to make before giving up on the preschool route.

We'll see.

We'll also see if I can make up for time lost to stomach ick in the coming week. That laundry isn't going to fold itself and the vacuuming elves seem to be on strike. Damned elven unions!

Friday, February 17, 2012


I called Alyssa a jerk this morning. And to be honest, she was being a jerk and so sort of deserved to the title.

But it felt wrong, calling my child a jerk.

She’d been laying on the floor and managed to snag Olivia between her (Alyssa’s) feet and was holding her (Olivia) there even though O was fighting her, crying to be let go.

I told A to let her sister go three times. I told her that O was going to fall.

She didn’t let go and O fell. Olivia cried. She didn’t cry for long but the fact that she cried out at all meant she’d been hurt. Olivia is pretty tough and a few bumps and bruises don’t usually even register for her.

Once Olivia crawled away from Alyssa, I swatted Alyssa on the butt and said, “Why didn’t you let her go? Why do you have to be a jerk!?!”

It hurt Alyssa’s feelings and she pouted for about five minutes.

I made her come over and apologize to Olivia and hug her. Alyssa did it tearfully.

Then I apologized for calling her a jerk. But I then qualified my apology by explaining what had been jerky about her behavior.

Then I ended the whole scene by saying, “You won’t do that again, will you?”

She shook her head, saying she wouldn’t hold on to her sister again to the point that her sister fell and hurt herself.

It’s frustrating when my kids do something that I feel like they know better than to do. It makes me think maybe I’m not doing my job of parenting them very well. I mean, isn’t the actual job of parents to socialize these little beasts into people who can go out into the world and make good, decent decisions that won’t do more harm than good?

So why did she hold onto O until she fell? I don’t know. I don’t think she does either. She was caught up in the moment of trying to make O do something she didn’t want to do. And in that moment, as far as A was concerned, might made right. So we talked and we hugged and I went to work.

Olivia is getting more vocal these days when Alyssa does something she doesn’t like or appreciate. I’m so grateful for that. I want Olivia to speak up for herself. But I also want Alyssa to stop before she does something less than pleasant and consider the consequences of her actions. That’s another part of parenting that’s frustrating. Teaching these kids that the choices they make don’t just affect them.

Gosh, this mothering thing is tough. No one ever told me how hard it was really going to be.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Four Days

Apparently, that’s how many days Olivia misses the cut off for preschool for next year.

I’m not saying she won’t be in preschool next year because I’m currently waiting for a call from her teacher’s supervisor to discuss this very issue.

But I’m already borrowing trouble and am feeling very stressed and irritable about this situation.

Let me be blunt. Olivia is not ready for kindergarten. She will not be ready for kindergarten when August rolls around. She just isn’t. She’s not ready for the academic aspect that kindergarten brings. She’s not ready for the heavy focus on fine motor skills. She’s not ready to be in school all day.

She’s not ready.

And I hate that some arbitrary date is going to perhaps push to into something for which she’s not ready. I know that we have other options of they decide to be shitty about the preschool date. I know that. But right this second, I don’t want to consider those options. I want her in the preschool class she’s been in this year.

She’s thrived in this class. It’s a small class (ten students to two teachers), the teachers are amazing, Olivia fits in well with the other kids and her teachers so far seem to get her. She’s doing well. So she’s still not really interested in writing, we’ll get there. We have to give her time.

What makes me crazy right now is this feeling that by pushing kindergarten, the school, the state is setting Olivia up to fail. And that pisses me off! She deserves every chance to succeed and if she goes to kindergarten next year, I fear she’ll hate it. She’ll be overwhelmed by the work, overwhelmed by the time she spends in school, overwhelmed by the fact that one teacher is expected to teach 20+ kids and she’ll get lost in the pack.

And she’ll shut down and decide that she can’t do it and that will be that.

Again, I know I’m borrowing trouble because we’re nowhere near done with the negotiations yet but I fear the worst. Isn’t that the old saying, prepare for the worst so you won’t be disappointed? Something like that.

I spoke with her teacher this morning. She’s lovely. She’s the one who suggested I speak to the supervisor. The supervisor is supposed to be my link to the state, so we’ll see. Mrs. F also encouraged me to be persistent/aggressive as I attempt to work with the supervisor. Mrs. F agrees that O needs another year in her class. I appreciate that.

The subject of school budget and funding came up while I was speaking with Mrs. F. See, she can’t actually tell me anything. She’s not really even allowed to tell me that she doesn’t think that Olivia isn’t ready for kindergarten. She did say that she doesn’t know if funding is one of the things that might be keeping O out of her preschool class next year.

I said that if funding was the issue, the school might want to consider the fact that if Olivia is pushed into kindergarten next year, I’ll be asking that a one to one aide be provided to help Olivia succeed at school. Talking about funding issues, right?

Mrs. F was glad that I knew about the possibility of requesting such a thing. Again, she couldn’t tell me about it but she can agree with me when I bring something up.

It’s so frustrating when our kids’ rights and needs are pushed aside because of bureaucracy. I don’t want Olivia to be a statistic. I want her to succeed, I want her to reach her greatest potential and I’ll do whatever I can to help her do just that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Art of Marital Communication

It’s only taken me ten years to figure Tom out but at last, I have done it.

My mom invited us to her house for dinner last night. It would be me, Tom, the girls, my brother, his son, his girlfriend, her daughter and my mom and step-dad.

Tom did not want to go.

I said, “Okay, don’t go.”

He hemmed and hawed all weekend long about how Valentine’s day dinners aren’t nearly as important as a family dinner at say, Christmas or Thanksgiving.

I told him he was right and he should stay home.

He tried to come up with excuses as to why he wouldn’t be there.

I agreed that each of his excuses were fine and we could say whatever he wanted as his excuse. I even suggested that we not make an excuse and just say he had a lot of work to do.

As of Tuesday morning as I was herding the girls out the door on the way to Gram’s house, he was suggesting that I drop the hint to my mom that he might be taking a trip to see J and D (Tom’s sons) who live over an hour away. That would mean he might be home in time for dinner.

I nodded and said, sure, I could mention that.

I didn’t mention it.

When I got to work yesterday, he’d sent an email. It said he’d be at the dinner that evening. He explained that there really was no reason for him not to go to the dinner other than his anti-social tendancies.

I smiled at my computer screen as I read the email. I’d known it would come to this. I knew that if I just agreed with him and told him over and over that he didn’t have to go to the dinner, he’d figure out on his own that he should go.

And he did and it was lovely.

In the end, everyone has more fun when they’re doing something they decided they want to do rather than something they feel they’ve been forced to do.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Tom and I aren’t the most romantic couple on the block. We just aren’t. And that's okay with us.

Last week I asked him, “Yeah, so we’re not going to actually do anything or buy each other anything for Valentine’s day, right?”

He sort of snorted and just shook his head. We agreed years ago that we wouldn’t waste money on greeting cards because, duh, you just throw them away after reading them. Who wants to have a giant stack of old cards? Not us.

Watching The Middle last week, when Frankie and Mike agreed to celebrate the big heart day with a bucket of chicken, sweats and television in separate rooms Tom and I made eye contact over the heads of two little girls and smiled. Yes, that described our perfect V-day celebration.

Another way we celebrate our love for each other is to greet one and other with a nod and a, “S’up.” Which we learned from Sheldon and Leonard on Big Bang Theory.

Gosh, we watch too much television, don’t we? But it’s fun! And that who s’up thing? It cracks me up every time. And the fact that Tom goes along with it? The most romantic thing EVER as far as I’m concerned.

Last night, we were watching The Voice together after the girls we asleep. What? I’ve already admitted that I realize we watch too much T.V. Give me a break.

Back to The Voice. It was a lovely hour and a half (he slept through the first half hour.) We laughed, we shared jokes at the expense of the contestants and the judges (damn, Cee Lo is creepy! And yet hysterical.) Again, it wasn’t traditionally romantic, but it was us, being together and I loved it.

So color me surprised this morning when I was greeted by flowers at the door as the girls and I were heading out of the bathroom after our baths/shower.

Sometimes my guy really does surprise me and yes, even someone like me, jaded and cynical (ha!) can be moved by a vase of red roses.

Happy Valentine’s day all!

Monday, February 13, 2012


Holy crap, you guys!! Check out Liv's new 'do:

To any new readers who are thinking, “What’s the big deal? The kid is five years old, why wouldn’t you be able to braid her hair?”
Because of this:

My girl pulled her hair out of her head for almost three years. She finally stopped doing it last fall. I didn’t even realize she’d stopped until I realized how long her hair had gotten.

We went from this when she was two years old:

To this, when she was about three, after a year of pulling.

To finally this, which is when we used clippers to cut her hair to about a quarter of an inch long in an effort to even up the sides (she only pulled the left side.) We also hoped that by making her hair too short to pull out, she’d stop the habit.

It didn’t work. She needed to stop sucking her thumb to stop pulling her hair out.

But now we’re at braids. And I know it’s just hair but…when you’re a little girl, you want to be pretty. And as beautiful as I think she is even with shorter than short hair, I know that society can be cruel and I want to help my girl avoid as many cruelties as I can. So if longer hair is possible and it’s what she wants? Well, we’ll do all we can to help her get there.

And those braids didn’t last long. I made her promise to leave them in long enough to show Gram and that’s just how long she left them. As soon as my mom gushed over how cute they were, Olivia was yanking out the elastics that held the braids in place and was then running her hands over her head in an effort to get the braids out. Because she’s five and while she loves having enough hair to braid, she doesn’t want to actually cooperate and leave the braids in. Oh no, that would be too much to ask.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


This morning started rough. My mood was less than pleasant and I could barely stand myself let alone subject my family to my foul mood.

After breakfast Tom said something that irritated me. The fact that I was irritated annoyed him and so on and so forth.

Then I realized what the date was and ahhh, hello PMS. I haven't seen you in such a long time. Please don't stop by again anytime in the near future, thanks so much.

I needed to go back to Walmart this afternoon because when I got home yesterday my car was smoking. I'd had my oil changed yesterday and I figured they'd spilled some on the engine. Tom checked the oil after the car had cooled and found that it was over-full.

My suspicion was confirmed by the very gentleman who'd changed the oil yesterday. He apologized profusely and said he'd drained some of the extra oil from the whatever it is that holds the oil.

All is well.

While in town, I checked out the Midol and found that it's only active ingredients are pain reliever and caffeine. Hah, I can do better than that.

I bought a frozen Coke from Subway and a couple of chocolate caramel eggs.

Oh yes, I feel so much better now that I've self-medicated with caffeine and chocolate.

I have a feeling PMS is going to wreak havok in my 'healthy eating plan.' I hope it's gone tomorrow and that the good old Mirena kicks in and keeps it at bay for the next five years. I hate myself when I feel this way.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Boy

My nephew was born eight days before Olivia's first birthday. When he was born, on this due date of all things, I knew this kid was something else.

I also knew that at some point, he'd pass Olivia in milestones. I wondered if that would bother me. When Jaxon was born, Olivia was just starting to sit on her own. She was nowhere near crawling, though. Walking was in the far future. She'd just started therapies with no actual diagnosis in sight. All the therapists and doctors at that time weren't so much worried about diagnosing her as they were about treating her symptoms of gross hypotonia and physical delays.

Jaxon continued the trend he began when he was born on his due date by meeting every single one of his milestones by the book.

And I'll be honest, there were moments when it stung to see that boy doing everything he was supposed to be doing when he was supposed to do it but mostly, I was thrilled for my brother. I wanted his child to be typical. I wouldn't wish delays or problems on any parent/child.

Olivia actually did start crawling two whole months before Jaxon did so, hey, she beat him at that.

But when he was thirteen months old and taking his first steps while she was twenty-five months old and still crawling, well, I accepted that he was leaving her behind.

Except...he didn't.

She watched him. She saw what that boy was doing and she learned from him. My mom watched them both and while they were there at her house, Olivia watched Jaxon stand up in the middle of the room with nothing to pull himself up and she learned from him. She saw him doing things it didn't occur to her to even try and suddenly, she wanted to try.

All the therapists we had in our home that first year told us that Alyssa would be the best teacher/therapist Olivia would ever have.

And they were right. But they didn't count on the boy. That boy who challenges Olivia still, who is there at Gram's house when Olivia gets home from school, who is so happy to see her, who greets her with an enthusiastic, "Puke!"

No one told us how much he'd teach her, how much he'd challenge her with his very typicalness.

She loves that boy with all her heart. He's her partner in crime, the source of great hilarity and hysteria. They're best friends and even now, at four and five years old, he hasn't quite left her behind. Yes, he runs faster and jumps with more surety, but she's got him when it comes to grammar and getting the jokes Gram plays on them both.

I don't think my brother will ever know how grateful I am to him for that boy. I know, I know, he probably didn't have Jaxon just for me and my girls but hey, this blog is all about me, so I'm going with it. We're so glad for the boy. He brings balance to our very female home, he makes the girls giggle with his awesome boyishness. He teaches Olivia that there are things she can do that she wouldn't consider trying without him as the example that they're possible.

He's just so seriously awesome.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Plight of the Working Mom

I’ve been really lucky in that ever since Alyssa started school, I’ve been able to be at every school party, event, function, blah blah blah.

I’ve even planned a few of these parties, enlisting the help of other available moms along the way.

The girls’ Valentine’s Day parties were today.

I planned Olivia’s party, again with the help of other preschool moms.

But I didn’t get to go to either party because of a work commitment that came up after I’d committed to participating in/planning these parties.

And so I did what any busy work-outside-the-home mom does. I asked my husband and my mother for help.

I planned Olivia’s party, calling other moms (I’d say I called other parents except they were all moms so…I’m not discriminating against dads here, just calling it like it is) and asked one of them to bring drinks, asked another to plan a craft/activity, asked another to bring a snack. I planned a craft too, one that involved cutting because Olivia hates cutting (except when she’s cutting her own hair. I know! We’ve moved beyond pulling and settled into cutting, nice.)

I bought treats and Alyssa and I put them into cute little bags with hearts all over them.

And then, one day when my mom and Tom were with me in the same room, I cornered them and asked them if one of them would attend Olivia’s party and man the craft table and the other would go to Alyssa’s party and hand out treat bags.

They agreed, I got up early this morning to come to work an hour early due to that unforeseen commitment I couldn’t get out of and they attended the parties and everyone is happy.

Well, except me. I really kind of wanted to go to those parties. It’s a perk of being the momma, don’t you think? But again, in the grand scheme of things, missing one party out of years’ worth of parties isn’t that big a deal. There will be more and I’ll get to go.

I called my mom and asked how the party went. I’m happy to report that three dads were at the preschool party. Go dads of preschoolers!!

And dads of third graders who step in when mom has to work. My husband really is one of the good guys.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Little Things

Last night as I rocked her to sleep, I realized I could feel swelling in O’s neck. Her cold wasn’t getting better. It wasn’t going to go away on its own. Not this time.

I told Tom, who was sprawled on the couch with Alyssa draped over him, that O needed to see the doctor today.

He nodded, not questioning my judgment.

This morning we all rolled out of bed and began our morning routines.

It was understood without words that O would stay home with Tom and I’d call the doctor’s office at 9am to see what time they could get her in.

He fed the girls while I packed Alyssa’s lunch and he watched for the bus with them as I drove off to work.

I called him after talking to the doctor’s office and scheduling an appointment for 1:30. I assured him that there would be no forms. He hates forms, detests them, thinks of them in much the same way I think about grody things like worms or shrimp.

He called about an hour before the appointment, asking where I’d put the flexible spending credit card.

Hmmmm, I thought. Then I remembered and saved the day. But while I was thinking, I offered to just meet him and O at the doctor’s office and we’d just use my copy of the card, which was safely ensconced in my wallet where all good credit cards should be.

Once he’d found his own copy, it was decided I would not make the three mile drive from work to the doctor’s office to pay for the co-pay.

But then I remembered that I needed to go the bank for work anyway and since the bank is next door to our doctor’s office, I’d just stop in and say hi.

I got there and Tom was being handed four forms by the receptionist, who was telling him that they’d joined a physicians group and that was why the forms were necessary.

The look of relief on his face when he saw me made me laugh. Again, I’d saved the day.

But really, he was saving the day. He’d brought our sick little girl to the doctor at my request. He’d fed her breakfast and lunch and dressed her warmly for the drive and there they were, two of my very favorite people in the world, both so happy to see me.

It really is the littlest things that show how much we love our people. Filling out forms for a husband who is form-phobic. Staying with the sick child because your wife has to punch a figurative time clock. These things matter. And tonight, I’ll remind him of how much HE matters.

I’m one of the lucky ones and I’m glad that I know it.

PS Thank you, Lauren for the wise advice on teaching O to blow her nose. I do think, though, that if we decide to go the straw route, I'll set a few aside that are only for putting up our noses. You're seriously some kind of awesome.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sniffle Sniffle Snort

Olivia has a cold. It’s really just the sniffles actually, though she did run a low grade fever on Sunday night/early Monday morning. But nothing since.

She went to school yesterday but came home so pale and sad looking (not that she looked sad herself, but looking at her red nose and pale face made me sad) that, combined with her sniffling and snorting through the night, we decided to keep her home today.

My biggest gripe when this kid has a cold is: How do you teach someone to blow their nose if they have no instinct for the act?

I’ve tried to demonstrate the act for her. I’ve explained the act of BLOWING air out of one’s nose versus sniffing air INTO one’s nose but she doesn’t get it.

Now, to be fair, I think Alyssa was about seven before she figured it out.

But Olivia would feel so much better if she could just blow the freaking snot out of her nose. Instead, she sniffs and wipes and snorts and rubs and it just turns her nose and cheek and even her eye red from all the rubbing of noxious snot across her fact.

It’s gross.

Tom has taken his turn at trying to teach Olivia how to blow her nose and like me, he has gotten nowhere.

My mom has tried too. Olivia doesn’t even want to try. She just continues to sniff.

I feel bad for her even as I’m exasperated by the fact that I just know how much better she’d feel if she could blow her nose!

And I know this is such a minor complaint and yet…seriously, how do you teach a child to blow their nose? I really want to know.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Way back when Olivia was an infant and we realized that she wasn’t meeting her milestones the way she should have been, I knew we were still on the lucky side of the statistics. I knew even then that things could be so much worse.

Even when she was screaming for months and months and months (six to be exact) I knew that it would be okay. I remember telling people exactly that. I kept telling anyone who could hear me over the screaming that it was going to get better. Maybe I was saying it out loud to anyone who would listen because I needed to hear it myself, even if I was hearing my own voice say the words.

And it did get better. Her doctor finally believed me that she was in pain and we started her on Zantac and two months later, she stopped crying and the projectile vomiting stopped. She started eating better, she started growing more and things got better.

I knew then that we were so very lucky.

I have a cousin who had a daughter who is a year and ten days older than Olivia. Before S was born, her mom knew there were problems. At her 17 week ultrasound, they saw that S had hydrocephalus. At her 22 week ultrasound, they found that S had problems with her heart.

It was decided that even the hospitals in Fort Wayne weren’t equipped to help S at birth so a c-section was scheduled to be performed in Indianapolis so that S could be rushed directly to Riley Hospital for Children right after birth. Her mom knew, even before S was born, that she was having a child who would have special needs.

By the time O was born, I’d seen S’s mom deal with three surgeries, a feeding tube, a stint, a colostomy bag, and a plethora of other issues that would cause anyone not trained in the medical field to shudder. H was and still is amazing. She basically had a two month old child for over a year, getting up every three hours around the clock to ensure her child’s needs were being met.

So a little screaming from Olivia? I could take it. I’d seen a beloved cousin take that and more for so much longer. And I knew it was going to get better.

I’ve formed some amazing friendships through the special needs community. I’ve found some seriously inspiring parents via Facebook and even right down the street. I’ve met some amazing teachers who inspire me to be a better parent and advocate for my kids.

But there are levels of special and even in this community sometimes I feel guilty even saying that Olivia has special needs. She can walk on her own, she can eat on her own, she can go to the bathroom on her own (at least to pee, we’re working on that other, messier function.) She actually sleeps fairly well these days, knock on wood. She can go up and down stairs by herself, though she’d prefer that I carry her, thank you very much. But I think that’s because she’s the baaaaybeeee more than anything.

We deal with IEP meetings and a few doctor appointments every year or so but nothing compared to some of my friends, who have to fight schools and doctors and therapists for every single thing their children need.

I just have to remind myself every so often how very lucky we are. Things got better. And they continue to do so. And for that, I’m so grateful and feel just a little guilty.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Alyssa’s been extra clingy lately. She’s asked to have someone go with her upstairs anytime she needs to go get something. She wants to follow me down to the basement each time I go to transfer laundry from the washer to the dryer.

She turns on every light in her path on the way to the bathroom and when I do give in and go upstairs with her she wants to hold my hand during the climb.

I asked her last night what was wrong. This had been going on for about a week.

She shrugged at first. I recalled her description of a bad dream she had the night before and suggested that perhaps she’s finally old enough to be too young to watch House reruns with me on Saturday nights.

She said no, it isn’t House.

She finally admitted that her fears are from a book she got from the school library about ghosts. This book described ghostly activity from state to state and it gave definitions for ghosts, poltergeists, etc. When she first showed me the book I didn’t think anything of it. I don’t tend to police her reading material. She’s usually a Junie B. Jones kind of reader so I figured anything branching out from that wasn’t a bad idea.

I was wrong.

No more books about ghosts for her. At least not until the fifth grade.

Last night she needed me to lay next to her as she fell asleep. I don’t mind this so much. Really. I can move as soon as she’s asleep. But when I had to do it for something like this? It’s just silly.

I didn’t tell her the fears she had were silly, though. I just explained that ghosts aren’t real. I told her that the things she read about are unsubstantiated and most people go through their entire lives without ever seeing anything that even might be a ghost. I’m not sure she was comforted.

I also promised to stop saying things in a creepy voice like, “Don’t be afraid little girl.” I am ashamed to admit that I’m guilty of that one. I’ve probably scarred her for life.

I’m also not so sure about the House episodes. I think it might be time to cut her off. Part of her bad dream the other night was that she was viewing an autopsy and the top of the man’s head had been cut off. Yeah, that happened in a House episode we’d just watched.

Parental discretion, indeed.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Feeding Frenzy

So there is some sort of athletic event this weekend. Whatever, is what I say.

But! I am actually kind of glad for this because it is giving us an excuse to go on a feeding frenzy. It's just going to be me and Tom and the girls but we're having all kinds of yummy food today, just because it's a Sunday and it's February and hey, the ground isn't even frozen.

So I've already made two kinds of cookies (sugar and chocolate chip for those who want to know.) I've got honey bbq meatballs in the crockpot. There will be some boneless buffalo chicken wings going into the oven soon as well as an artichoke spinach dip. We're going all out.

Tom announced earlier, "I'm going to bed fat tonight."

Ha! Welcome to my world, I though.

In an effort to make the most of her Sunday at home, Alyssa hasn't bothered changing out of her pajamas. Olivia is dressed but she's laid around the house all day, sort of like a slug. But an awfully cute slug at that.

We'll probably all end up in a carbohydrate coma by the end of the evening. But it will have been worth it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Thanks for Ruining my Saturday, MOM!

That's what Alyssa said to me after four hours away from home today. We had to go to the grocery store and while out of the house, we went to DQ for lunch, then to Rural King because Alyssa wanted to see if they had baby chicks for sale. Not that we'd have bought a baby chick, we don't want to spend that much for a special snack for Orville, after all. But she just wanted to look.

There were no baby chicks but there were new Breyer horses and Alyssa begged for one. She didn't get one. I told her we'd start a wish chart for her and she could earn points for doing things like putting DVDs back in their case without being told and eating her dinner without being nagged, etc to earn points. We could assign a certain number of points to specific treats, such as a Breyer horse or a watch, which is something else she wants and when she earns the assigned points, she can get the treats.

She wasn't amused. I didn't care. I'm tired of having a nine year old who things that just because she wants something, she's going to get it.

After Rural King we went to Walmart to pick up our groceries and supplies for the girls' Valentines Days parties which is this coming Friday.

Then we had to go to Meijer because Alyssa needs new pants and we hated everything at Walmart.

So, when I figured it all out, most of the four hours we spent away from home was spent doing things Alyssa wanted us to do or things that were specifically for Alyssa so when she said, "Thanks for ruining my Saturday, MOM!"

I replied, "You're welcome."

And I said it with a smile.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Life Coach

I had to sit through a webinar yesterday that discussed how our insurance company is going to help us all become healthier and happier.

Okay. One incentive is a possible $130 earned by doing a biometric screening and a personal health assessment, all through our health insurance. The biometric screening does a blood test which tells us our cholesterol, our glucose and some other numbers I don’t care about. I know.

After we do the screening and the PHA we have a chance to earn another $130 by participating in “Wellness” events.

Whatever. No big deal, any of this.

What got to me, what made my shoulders tense was the mention of life coaches or wellness coaches. See, when we’re taking the PHA online, we can check a box that says we’re interested in receiving health and wellness advice from a one to one wellness coach.

Ugh, the very thought makes me cringe.

When I told all this to Tom this morning, before I even told him my feelings about a life or wellness coach, he got this smile on his face, telling me without words that he thinks the idea of a wellness coach is a dandy one. I kind of wanted to smack him.

See, I know how to be healthy. Contrary to all physical evidence, I do. I know that moving more and eating less will make a person healthier than when they’re moving less and eating more.

It’s not about knowing what to do, it’s about being motivated to do it. And having some stranger call me at random times isn’t going to up my motivation.

In fact, during that whole webinar, I just wanted a cookie. That’s what happens when someone tries to tell me how to get healthy. I’m like a stubborn four year old who’s been told she can’t have something. Suddenly, that’s the very thing I want more than anything in this world.

I think Tom would be a great life/wellness coach for people who are not his wife. I already know that if I were to let him coach my life, his first edict would be to start me on a strict cardiovascular routine. See, told you I know how to be healthy. But do I want to?

Well, okay, yes, I guess I do. But right this second? I’m not so much motivated to put the effort into it.

And no, I’m not starting a cardiovascular routine at the behest of my husband anytime soon. And I’m sure as hell not picking up a single weight, no matter how hard he pushes and cajoles. He’s felt my guns. He knows I don’t need any freaking weight training. And yet…he persists.

Told you he’d be a good life/wellness coach for someone who is not his wife.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Office Sir

On Tuesday night, the eve of a new month, Tom asked me what my February goal was.

Now, let me state right here that that question immediately put me on the defensive. It didn’t quite piss me off, but it wouldn’t have taken much to push me over the edge.

I shrugged. I said, “I guess to move past this current plateau.”

He suggested, “Maybe it should be to lose two and a half pounds a week.”

Yep. That did it. I was pissed.

But I don’t think I showed just how pissed. I just said, “That’s a good goal.”

He went on, “You know…the only way you’ll reach a goal like that is…”

I turned from the kitchen sink and looked at him. And I waited.

“To add exercise to what you’re doing with diet,” he finished.

I just stared at him. Seriously? I wondered. Was he really going to go there with me?

Yes, yes he was. Men can be so dumb.

See, he meant well. I know that. He wants me to reach my goals for myself. He knows how much happier I’d be if I were thinner, felt better, blah, blah, freaking blah.

But this? This does not help.

I stared at him for a few seconds and then said evenly, “Okay. Sure. How about you take a look at my schedule and figure out when I can add exercise to my day that doesn’t involve me getting up earlier than I do and I’ll do it.”

He rolled his eyes and said, “Well, if you’re not willing to get up earlier then it’s not going to happen.”

“Right, Officer Sir,” I said and turned back to the dishes. Because, damn it, he is right.

Later, though, around 7:15, when the girls and I came down from spending a half hour in the bathroom while Alyssa showered, when I found Tom sound asleep on the couch, I thought, “Yeah, if I could go to sleep at 7:15 every single night, I’ll be able to wake up at 4:30 each morning and workout too.”

But I can’t go to sleep that early because someone has to stay up with the girls. Someone needs to read to Olivia and check Alyssa’s homework and tuck them both into bed between 8:00 and 8:30 each night. Someone has to make sure lunch dishes are washed so they can be packed the next morning.

I guess I should change my name to Someone. Because someone has to get that stuff done and that someone is me. The only problem is that by the time the girls are asleep, someone is too tired to stay up and exercise for a half hour.

Besides, who wants to workout at 9pm? Not me. I don’t want to get all worked up, sweaty and energized just so I can climb into bed and try to go to sleep.

So way back in August when I told Tom that I was going to start a ‘healthy eating’ plan, he asked me if I wanted his help.

I told him then that yes, I wanted his support but I didn’t want him to try and coach me. Coaching just pisses me off. Whenever I feel like he’s crossing the line between support and coaching, I just smile and say, “Okay, Officer Sir.”

He usually backs off pretty quickly.

That night, though, there was no accompanying smile when I called him Officer. I almost felt sorry for him because again, he meant well. But then I had to get busy before my pity got the best of me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


The other day I realized something.

I realized my daughters adore me. They like me so much they want to be near me as much as they can. They don’t care what I’m doing, be it laundry, cooking, or hell, even pooping, they want to be with me while I do it.

And yes, I’ve known this for the past nine years but it hit me that there must be something special about me if these two precious girls, these amazing people like me so much.

When I rolled out of bed on Sunday and joined my family downstairs, Alyssa saw me first and so she and I quietly settled into the couch while Olivia, oblivious to my presence, remained on the floor by the television. When she heard my voice, though, she leapt to her feet and threw her little body at me, her grin of welcome and joy at the sight of me something to behold.

Olivia snuggled against my right side while Alyssa remained glued to my left. I smiled down and Olivia and said, “I’m done sleeping for today.”

She grinned and said, “Me too!” I kissed her head and we pulled a blanket over the three of us, just to hold in the warmth of our bodies.

And that’s when it hit me. Yes, they love me because, duh, I’m the mama and kids love their moms. But they also like me. They want to be near me, even when I’m less than pleasant to be around.

They crave my presence, my attention. When I get to my mom’s each evening after work the girls clamor for my attention, trying to out-talk the other, trying to be the first one I hold on my lap while they tell me about their day.

I must be doing something right.

Yet, I get so grouchy by the end of the day. I’m so tired and so ready for everyone to go to sleep so I can have fifteen minutes to read before my eyes slam shut. And I’m not always nice to these amazing little girls who are so sweet, so precious, so adoring.

I go to sleep most nights praying that I haven’t done irreparable damage to these girls in my snarky, grouchy moments when I’m at my wits end with all that needs to be done.

I pray that they know how much I love them, how much they mean to me even when I’m at my very worst, which seems to be so often these days.

And then I take a breath and wonder…if they love me so, so much, if they want to be near me so desperately, there must be something about me, something special, something worthy of their love. I stepped back this weekend and realized that I need to learn to like myself half as much as my daughters like me. I need to do it for them, I need to do it for me.

There MUST be something in there, something beyond this worn out shell that seems to run on empty so much of the time, that snaps at a minor request because I can’t give one more thing.

Tonight will be better. Tonight, I’ll be patient, I’ll be loving and if I feel my patience thinning, I’ll leave the room for a minute, knowing that less than half a minute after I leave, four little feet will be pitter pattering after me. And I’ll remind myself that they aren’t after me to bother me. They’re coming because I’m special and they love me and they just want to be near me.

Now…to figure out how to want to be near myself.