Saturday, June 30, 2012


So that post a couple down where I say I've outgrown my scatterbrainedness (I know that's not a word, I make it up, so what?)

Yeah, that post.

It appears I have not so much outgrown it.

I'm still a scatterbrain. And sort of an idiot.

Remember that post even farther back where I blather on about the community pool only seven miles away and how expensive it is this year as compared to that one?

See, it's not so much more expensive.

Actually, the prices this yaer are exactly the same as last year.

But the prices at the community pool in Montpelier, Vermont have gone up. A lot. Especially if they're compared to the prices of the community pool in Montpelier, Ohio.

Go figure.

It appears you sort of have to put the state in the search engine if you're looking for a community pool in Montpelier. Because, duh, there are more towns named Montpelier than the small one in Western Ohio.

I know, everyone knows that, right?

Except, apparently, me.

This morning I decided to do a quick search to be sure I had the right times for the pool. We were going to cough up the $16 dollars for the family day-pass and make a day of it.

Except, when I got to the site for the Montpelier, Ohio pool, the prices were the same as last year, $2 a person, all kids under six get in free. What the heck?

I retyped the search, sure I was missing something.

Yes, I'm obviously missing a few brain cells. I finally found the site for the Montpelier, Vermont pool and found the outrageous prices. Damn, I feel bad for those who want to swim in Vermont! Come on down to Ohio, folks, it's much less expensive to live (and swim) here.

And yes, several weeks ago, I even CALLED the pool to confirm that their residential prices were only for those who lived in the city, not those who lived in the county or even state. I'm sure the kid I talked to thought I was a real moron when I asked whether or not it applied to Ohio residents or just Montpelier residents. He was kind enough not to point out my idiocy, though. Come to think of it, though, had he pointed it out, it might have saves us weeks of angst over the cost of the pool.

Yes, I called VERMONT. I wondered why Montpelier would have a different area code than the rest of the towns in this county. Again, duh.

Julie, this reminds me SO much of our race across Houston because, yeah, Houston has two airports. Note: If you click that link, use the calendar to search for October, 2008, scroll down about three or four posts to the post titled Team Big Idiots. That was us.

But in the end, Julie and I made our flight and today Tom,the girls and I enjoyed a lovely day at the pool for only $6 for the four of us.

I kind of love it when my scatterbrainedness (there's that word again) works to my advantage.

Friday, June 29, 2012

More than a Syndrome

I am part of a couple of groups on FB for parents with special needs kids, parents with kids with 5p- syndrome, parents of kids with ‘invisible’ disabilities.

I read the comments and the cries for help. I post when I can in hopes of helping some poor parent out there who is in the first weeks/months of receiving the diagnosis.

What I most want to say to these people is to breathe. To take a breath and look at your child. This child will surprise you in so many ways.

I’ve said before that I feel lucky that we didn’t get O’s diagnosis of 5p- until she was over two years old. Because of her age, I never felt like her diagnosis took over and that I ‘lost’ her, the girl I’d thought I was having.

She was just Livie, that beautiful little girl with the amazing curls and big blue eyes. So what if the test showed she was missing part of that fifth chromosome? At that point, it didn’t change anything.

I love her developmental pediatrician. I feel like we were so blessed to be placed on her patient list. She specializes in Down syndrome so she understands that no two individuals with a syndrome are the same.

I loved that she told us that at the appointment where she gave us O’s diagnosis. She reminded us that Olivia, at two years old, was already doing better than the research said she was supposed to be doing. Dr. S gave us our daughter’s diagnosis, but she didn’t take our daughter away at the time.

And I think that’s what happens so many times when parents receive a diagnosis like 5p-. They feel like they’ve received a syndrome and lost the child they thought they were having.

But every single person with 5p- is an individual. He/She is special, amazing, beautiful in his/her own way. These beautiful people are more than their syndrome.

Olivia is more than her syndrome. Most of the time, quite honestly, I don’t think about 5p-. I just think about my girls, how proud I am of both of them. How they both surprise me every single day.

5p- is not who Olivia is. It may be in her chromosomes but it does not define her. It does not make her less perfect than any other child. She’s my Olivia, the child I sometimes consider bribing with a donut just for two minutes of quiet. She’s got a lot to say, that girl. 5p- hasn't taken that away from her. It didn't change her from the moment before hearing the diagnosis to the moment after. She's still Olivia, she's still my daughter, a child I wanted so much before she was born, a child I wouldn't trade for all the chromosomally typical kids in the world.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Most mornings, Alyssa wakes up and hits the floor running. She has a couple of chores each morning that she’s really good about. She had to feed Bomber, the red betta fish and make sure Orville had food and fresh water.

She then starts gathering the plethora of items she wants to take to Gram’s each day. It’s not as if my mom doesn’t have her own collection of toys, games and assorted items to keep the kids occupied each day. Oh no, that’s not the case at all. Alyssa just wants to be sure she won’t get bored.

The thing is, she rarely even opens the bag of stuff she takes each day. But does that stand in her way of schlepping it back and forth each day? No, no it does not.

And see, she’s so preoccupied with which horses she might want to play with and which game she might decide she needs to try and teach Olivia and Jaxon to play, that she forgets the more fundamental things.

For example, on Tuesday, she and my step-dad had to make a run to our house (only three miles away, remember) so Alyssa could get a swimsuit. She’d worn every single one home and had none at Gram’s in which to swim.

So on Wednesday, I grabbed one of A’s suits and put it by her shoes so she could take it with her.

When we arrived that morning, I told my mom proudly that Alyssa had brought a swimsuit that day so she and Pawp would have to drive over and get one. Alyssa gave me a look of shock. Then she shook her head. “Maybe it’s in the car?” she suggested doubtfully.

It wasn’t. She’d left it laying right where I’d put it. I think she might have even had to move the suit in order to put her shoes on. She’s lucky Tom decided to make the drive over and take it to her later in the day.

This morning, though, was even worse. It’s Thursday so the girls are spending the night with Gram because Jaxon is there and, well, that’s just what they all do on Thursday nights these days. I packed bags for both A and O with pajamas, clothes for tomorrow, etc.

Alyssa packed a separate bag of stuff.

She also went out and played with Orville for a while as Olivia and I continued getting ready to leave.

We headed out the door and caught Alyssa on her way back in. She didn’t go back in, she just climbed into the car and off we went.

As we were getting out of the car at my mom’s Alyssa opened her door and then stopped, looking down at her feet.

The child had forgotten her shoes. Her SHOES!

She laughed at her own scatterbrained behavior and then stopped suddenly, remembering that she can’t ride her new-to-her bike without shoes. She looked at me with near-panic. I told her I’d call her dad and see if he was planning another trip that would take him anywhere near Gram’s house.

She relaxed. Alyssa knows her daddy. If she needs something, he’ll find a way to get it to her.

And he did. I called him and shared the new of our shoeless daughter. He said he’d make it over there at some point but wasn’t going to drop everything right that second and take it to her.

I thanked him and suggested that this is normal nine-year-old behavior. I hope that’s what it is. Poor girl. She’ll outgrow this flightiness, right?

I did.

Sort of.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


A few weeks ago, my mom and Olivia were out together, just the two of them. Olivia loves one on one time with any adult she can get. Wait, that’s not true. She loves one on one time with me, Tom or her Gram anytime she can get it.

So while they were out, my mom stopped at McD’s. She asked Olivia if she’d like a cup of ice cream with some chocolate syrup on it.

Olivia stared at my mom for several seconds before asking with perhaps a little too much attitude, “Gram? Do you mean a chocolate sundae?”

See, there are so many things I don’t think we give Olivia credit for. She gets so much more than anyone realizes.

But she can’t always articulate everything that is happening in her head. Sometimes she’ll start to say something to me and then, halfway through will shake her head and say, “Never mind.”

Whenever she does that I try so hard to get her to try again but she’s to the point where she knows if she can get her thoughts out or not and often will just not even try if she knows she can’t say it exactly the way she wants to say it.

It makes me sad that she can’t share all her thoughts and ideas.

But then I remind myself of how lucky we are that Olivia talks to us at all, let alone talks as well as she does. Most kids with 5p- (Cri du Chat) aren’t verbal, they can’t talk to their parents and siblings and peers. We’re so incredibly lucky that Olivia does what she does, says what she says.

But…like all humans, I want more. I want more for her. I want her to be able to say what she’s thinking, what she’s feeling. I want to know where it hurts.

Those moments, though, where she surprises us with what she knows and her awareness of those around her who might, just might, be simplifying things a bit too much for her liking? Those are some of my favorites. I hope she continues to surprise us, to prove all the research and doctors wrong and shows the world what I see, an amazing, beautiful person who has so very much to offer.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Wonder

I often wonder if my girls know how much I love them.

I wonder if they know how special they both are to me.

I wonder if Alyssa knows how much I adore having her climb onto my lap as I read library books to Olivia. This is what I dreamed about when I found out I was having a second girl. One in each arm. I know these days of A wanting to sit on my lap are number and so I treasure each and every evening when she climbs up too, happy to listen to books written for kids half her age.

I wonder if Olivia will ever know that she’s a little different from her peers. In so many ways, she isn’t, she’s just your typical five year old, but I know that in other ways, she’s behind, she’s not quite where her peers are. I kind of hope she never realizes it and yet…I know that the higher functioning she is, the more likely she is to grasp the differences. It’s a double edged sword and I’d do anything to protect her from both edges.

I wonder if my mom realizes how grateful I am that she’s there for my family. She’s so incredibly good to us, all four of us. She and my step-dad go above and beyond what grandparents are expected. I love that my girls get this multi-generational upbringing. They are so lucky and I wonder if they even know that.

There is a lot I wonder about, but this I know: I am one incredibly blessed mommy.

Monday, June 25, 2012

In the Moment

I’m trying to become one of those moms who is always in the moment, right there, taking in the joy, the fun of each day.

That said, I have to admit that sometimes it’s hard to be in the moment of watching the girls swing outside (because they don’t like to be out in the backyard alone even though it’s very private) when there is laundry to be folded, a dishwasher to be emptied, etc.

The thing is, there is always going to be something that needs to be done. There are closets that need organized, and a playroom that desperately needs cleaned. There is a pantry that needs decluttered and several junk drawers that should be reassigned as something useful. There’s that car that filthy both inside and out (what IS that funky smell?)

And yet, this past weekend we went to the beach, went grocery shopping where Olivia got a Barbie coloring book for $1 and some new crayons for fifty cents. After I put the groceries away, she and I sat down and colored for a half hour before she got bored and went to find something else to do.

We also went to see Brave. We met a friend of Alyssa’s from school and that meant that of all the five times that Olivia had to get up and use the restroom, Alyssa never once had to get exasperated about missing the movie. Her friend and the friend’s mom were sitting with us and so A was able to stay with them.

I was glad to be able to be in the moment while at the theater, patient with each bathroom trip, knowing how lucky we are that O can tell me when she had to pee and hey, as far as Olivia was concerned, Brave was boring. I liked it well enough but unless it’s a movie starring Barbie, O’s just really not all that interested.

And while the car didn’t get cleaned and the closets didn’t get organized, the laundry got washed, dried, folded and yes, even put away, the floor were vacuumed, the fish and cat were fed ( as were the children, several times even.)

All this happened between moments of being there, of sitting with Alyssa and listening to her read a Junie B. Jones book aloud, coloring with Olivia, letting her pick out crayons and tell me what to color and when. The girls went outside with me while I hung towels on the line and they swung or chased Orville or just played in the damp towels.

We were all in the moment and I feel so very lucky to have these moments in which I bask in the beauty of my sweet girls.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Back in high school, one of our teachers called one particular classmate Eileen. Her name was Cheryl.

But whenever she had a question for this teacher, she always leaned against his desk or his chair. He found this irritating and began calling her Eileen to remind her to stand up straight.

I need to start implementing the Eileen rule.

My children lean on me all the time. Seriously, all. the. time.

It drives me crazy.

If I'm at the computer, they're both right there, leaning against the chair in which I'm sitting.

When I'm picking strawberries, squatting down to reach them, Olivia leans against my back, making my already precarious balance almost non-existent.

At dinner, if I happen to eat after them, which happens often because I usually feed the girls together and help Olivia eat (only because it helps her eat more than she'd eat if I left her to her own, capable devices) one or the other child almost always leans against me, wanting to tell me some story or joke or even just be touching while I attempt to eat.

It drives me crazy.

Then there's the leaning against the grocery cart. Ugh!

But the worst leaning incident? When I'm on the flipping toilet. I know, right! I just want to be left alone to do my business and yet there she is, Miss O, leaning against me, waiting for me to finishing so we can do something exciting, like laundry.

The leaning is exhausting and irritating.

I think I'm going to take a leaf from Mr. Smith's book and start calling for Eileen whenever a child is leaning against me and I'd prefer she not do so.

I'll let you know if it works.

I will say that while it did work to make Cheryl stand up and stop leaning at the moment, it didn't actually make her not lean to start with.

With that in mind, maybe I'll just start carrying around a spray bottle and squirt the offender when it happens. Hey, if you can train cats that way, why not kids? Kids are smarter than cats, right? Right?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ted Shackleford

In honor of Ted Shackleford's birthday, we're having cake this weekend. Seriously.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Tom works from home. He does an excellent job of managing his time so he can help us get out of the house in the mornings and he’s ready for us to come home in the afternoons, his job that day done and put away, if you will.

Over the years that he’s worked from home, he’s had countless (at least ten?) people ask him if he’d do them a favor that involves the work he does from home.

He’s tried very hard to avoid this. After all, if he were to take the time to do the favor, he’s taking time away from his actual job, which in turn, takes away from the income he is earning to support his family.

My sister called last night and asked if Tom was still doing what he does.

I hesitantly said yes because I knew what was coming.

She and her husband need some fast cash, she said. She quickly told me that what she wanted to sell was legal but…she isn’t as competent as Tom must be to do this kind of thing.

I told her that Tom prefers not to take on projects for other people. I explained about how this is his JOB, not some fun hobby for him.

She hemmed and hawed and suggested I just ask him.

I agreed, already planning how I’d tell him about the conversation, planning to make sure he knew I didn’t expect him to actually do this.

Turns out that what she wants to sell isn’t even allowed to be listed on ebay, so that’s that.

But sometimes it’s hard for people to understand that what he does pays our bills. He’s not sitting around searching for things to do. He’s got his items, his priorities and in the end, taking care of our family is the top priority for him.

I’m ever so grateful for that.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


We received the final written report from Olivia’s team in the mail recently. This is the same paperwork I received when I attended her IEP meeting back in May.

I read through it again last night and a few things stood out for me.

The first is that her preschool teacher described her and her behavior as often being ‘strange.’

Strange. I think a word that might be a little more insulting would be weird. But maybe just a little. Strange is…vague. I wish she’d given examples of this ‘strange’ behavior.

She did go into detail about how Olivia sometimes ignored her peers and passively defied the teacher and her aide.

I wonder…is this really ‘strange’ behavior, though? I mean, surely this teacher has dealt with such things before.

I realize that as the parent of a special needs child I have to get used to hearing things like this and seeing them written about my child.

But I don’t think she’s strange. I don’t think her behavior is all that strange. Then again, I’m not in a classroom with ten other kids, attempting to keep them all on task and dealing with one little girl who would prefer to go off into a corner by herself than participate in circle time.

Maybe she is strange.

I don’t want that for her. Strange feels lonely to me. Odd, weird, creepy, all those things have such negative connotations. Strange does too.

I want what every parents wants for their kids. I want both A and O to be happy, to have friends, to have a life beyond home and their immediate family. I want them to feel fulfilled in whatever they choose to do, whether it’s school, extracurricular activities, after school jobs, careers, even friendships. Whatever. I just want them to find things that bring them joy. And ‘strange’ doesn’t feel joyful to me.

And the thing is, Olivia is joyful. She has so much fun and laughs so hard that it’s hard to separate her from joy.

But I don’t think her teacher ever saw this.

I hope her teacher next year sees it.

When Olivia was one year old, she began therapies. She had four therapists. Her adored three of them. These three therapists saw O’s joy, they saw how hard she’s willing to work to achieve something. Her occupational, physical, and speech therapists clicked with her almost immediately and we were all sad to see them go when she aged out of First Steps.

But that fourth therapist? The developmental therapist? She and Olivia did not click. Ever. Olivia only saw her for a year. This woman was perfectly lovely. But Olivia never really liked her. After a year, the DT decided that she wasn’t really bringing anything to Olivia’s development. She didn’t feel like Olivia needed her. Olivia agreed. We broke ties with her when O was two. She never got to see Olivia’s joy, her drive, her independence. And I think that’s because Olivia chose not to show it to her. She didn’t like the DT and she wasn’t interested in showing her all she could do.

I wonder if maybe Olivia never clicked with Mrs. F. Maybe she didn’t work hard in preschool because she didn’t care if Mrs. F wanted her to do things.

I know I’m probably grasping at straws but I can’t help but hope that Olivia clicks with her kinderkids’ teacher next year and that this new person can bring that joy to school that Olivia lacked last year.

Olivia’s PT, OT and ST at school all reported a very different child from the one her teacher said she saw. Of course, these three people worked one on one with her, which may be part of the problem. Maybe it’s the classroom setting and not the teacher.

I guess we’ll see come August. I really, truly hope and pray we can find a way for Olivia to find joy at school.

I’d hate for another year to be wasted in the world of strange. The very thought breaks my heart.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Imaginary Jaxon

I’m not sure the typical age for imaginary friends but O’s age for them is about five and a half years old. Last night, she was in the throes of imaginary play and her friend was Jaxon, her very real cousin.

My youngest brother had an imaginary friend from about three until he was at least six. His name was Jan Ban. He was very naughty.

Last night, Imaginary Jaxon was quite naughty too. Olivia giggled often as she relayed his antics to us. First, he wouldn’t eat his dinner. He kept throwing it on the floor. Then, he climbed out the dining room window so he could go swimming.

Tom and I played along, often reprimanding Jaxon for these behaviors, reminding him he was too young to swim alone and that he needed to keep the window closed because it was too hot outside.

At one point, Tom had just about had enough of Jaxon’s rudeness and told Olivia we were going to call Jaxon’s dad to come pick him up.

Olivia put her hands on her hips and informed Tom, “Daddy, Jaxon’s dad is at work! That’s why he’s here and spending the night.”

She asked me over and over again if Jaxon could go to Gram’s the next morning. I told her that he could go only if she was willing to share her car seat with him. After all, a four year old can’t ride in the car without being in a car seat. She was fine with that, she declared she’d just sit on him.

I know how very lucky we are that Olivia speaks at all and that she’s speaks as well as she does. And I am so grateful for her imagination. With that said, I feel guilty for sometimes asking her for just two minutes of quiet. My girl has a lot on her mind and she wants the world (or at least me and Tom) to know about it all.

Conversation in the Car

There are only three miles that separate our house from my mom’s house. But these three miles often give me and the girls the best chance of the day to really connect and catch up after spending over nine hours apart.

Sometimes, not having to make eye contact makes conversation a little easier. Sometimes, we can just be silly and unwind during that drive.

Other times, though, the conversation is just awful.

Scene: The three of us in the car, two miles from home. I’m speaking in a horrible accent reminiscent of the week I once spent in Brooklyn in the mid-90s. I ask, “You want I should make you some dinner when we get home?”

“Mom!” Alyssa laughs, “stop talking like that.”
“You know I never listen to you,” I retort, the accent still strong and very annoying, even to my own ears.
Catching a glimpse of something on the side of the road, my accent slips and I say, “Hey look, at that cat, he’s very orange. Oh…no, kitty don’t!”

I swerve into the other lane of the road because there is no oncoming traffic. But am unable to move my tires far enough that the darting cat can avoid them.

Thunk! The cat ran under my rear passenger tire.
“Oh crap!” I say, not really thinking, just reacting, “I smashed the kitty!”

Alyssa, horrified by the events of the past ten seconds, laughs at my little monologue, “Oh Mom! You…” She’s laughing, I think, because if she doesn’t, she’s going to cry. “You said, ‘Look at that cat, it’s orange…oh no!”

She wasn’t amused by the squishing of a cat, but she couldn’t stop laughing at my own reaction to it.

It’s not funny that that orange kitty ran under my tire. I feel awful about it. For the record, there are miles of fields and farm land between our house and my mom’s. I hope that cat was a field cat or someone’s barn cat, not some little kid’s pet.

It doesn’t make his death any better, except I can comfort myself that there isn’t some little kid running outside each night calling, “Peaches! Here kitty, kitty!” and getting no sweet orange cat running to him for dinner.

Damn, I feel awful about that poor orange kitty.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Or We'll Just Go to Gram's

So that whole lake versus pool thing? Yeah, that’s silly. The lake can be lovely. Sitting in the sand instead of baking on cement? It’s got its charms.

And my whole mindset of, “We HAVE to by the season pass or we’ll never go!” Yeah, again with the silliness.

In the end, last night, I took the girls to my mom’s and we just swam in her pool. Now there’s a compromise, huh? Free pool swimming, only three miles away from home, no fish or worms or snakes swimming around you, clear water and if you’re Olivia and it’s 7pm, free food because Gram can’t stand to see her sweet Livie go hungry. (Don’t tell her we showed up knowing O would be hungry because I couldn’t bring myself to come up with dinner plans…kidding…sort of.)

While we were there, my mom mentioned that Jaxon will be at her house Thursday and Friday, which, she said, means that the girls can spend the night on Thursday again.

This might become a standing event. Can you even imagine? An evening without a shadow? An evening to eat the dinner I want, in the peace I crave, an evening where Tom and I can adjourn to our separate corners with our separate televisions and BOTH watch something not mandated by a child. (I know, we’re so romantic, aren’t we?)

I love being this close to my mom. I love that these are the things from which memories are made. I love that my girls are getting the benefit of being so close to their grandparents. There’s a lot to be said about multi-generational families. We’re really very blessed.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Pool

We discovered the public pool last summer and it was awesome.

We live in an area where there are a bunch of lakes, which is nice and all but the pool…oh, the clean smell of chlorine, the crystal clear water, the way, when you take off your swimsuit there is no dirt, no ‘sea’weed, the lovely firmness of the cement of the pool is so much better than the muck at the bottom of most lakes.

Oh and there are no fish or other creepy crawlies in the pool.

Sure, sure the lake is free and all that but…I like the pool.

And sadly, the price of admission to the pool has gone up this year.

Last year, it was $2 for anyone over six years old. All children under six got in free.

This year…it’s $6 if you aren’t a resident of the town in which the pool sits. We live eight miles outside of time. Bummer. That’s $6 per adult and $3 for children under 16. Or, you can pay $16 for your family for the day.

There’s also the option of the family pass, which is $166 for non-residents. That’s us. That would mean we’d HAVE to go to the pool at least 11 times this summer to justify paying that kind of money just because it would mean that 11th trip was ‘free.’

I know, this is such a silly issue when there are people in this world who don’t have clean drinking water, etc. I get that. I realize this isn’t even so much as a problem. Because, wahhh, do we go to the free lake or do we pay for the pool. Everyone should have this dilemma.

And we don’t NEED to go to the pool. But I want to. We want to.

So we’re figuring it out.

We’re not a family that drops over $150 just to go swimming, usually. And yet…I think we might be on the verge of becoming one of those families. Because, as far as I’m concerned that pool? It is just so much nicer than the lake.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Single Blue Balloon

We were invited to a birthday party today at one of the area roller rinks. Alyssa loves to rollerskate and Olivia can be heard announcing many times around the rink that she's an excellent skater herself.

The family that hosted the party is lovely. They have two girls who are similar in age to Alyssa and Olivia. Alyssa and J were in kindergarten together and J's mom and I clicked that year.

Even though A and O attend a different school these days, we've stayed close with the family.

The party was three and a half hours long, which, when you're rollerskating, flies by.

As we left, all the kids were given a balloon.

Olivia chose red, of course and Alyssa got her favorite, blue.

We were in our car, ready to leave when the birthday girl and her family began loading their van.

The little sister, A handed her balloon to her dad so she could climb into the van. I'm not sure how it happened, but her balloon popped. And she lost her sweet little mind.

She was already so tired and this was the last straw.

Alyssa, Olivia and I watched as A's mom picked her up, trying to console her. There was no way that little girl was going to be okay with this event, not in the near future.

I looked in the rearview mirror and caught Alyssa's eye. Without a word from me or her, she nodded and handed me her balloon.

I got out and offered A Alyssa's blue balloon. At first, A backed away, shaking her head. But then she realized what we were offering and she took the balloon. She was still unhappy, but I could tell that the episode was going to end much sooner now that she had a balloon in her hand.

J asked if Alyssa didn't want her balloon. Alyssa called from the car (because she'll speak to her peers but not her peers' parents) "I want it, but I know she wants it more."

That brought tears to my eyes. It made me prouder of my girl than I think I've ever been. Her compassion, her love of others, her selflessness. Her maturity in knowing that her single blue balloon meant more to that poor, tired six year old than it meant to Some people never reach that level of wisdom.

And because balloons are fragile things, O's red balloon popped the minute we pulled into the driveway. And her response? Laughter. My girls are absolutely going to be just fine.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Little Things

Whenever Jaxon spends the night at my mom’s house during the summer, Alyssa assumes she’s going to stay too. And it seems to be okay with my mom, she’s never said differently and I know that if she didn’t want A there, she’d let me know.

So when I arrived to pick the girls up on Wednesday afternoon, Alyssa raced out to meet me at the car, announcing that she was spending the night the next night.

I laughed and said, “Oh, okay.”

Olivia hung back, watching and waiting. Later that evening, as I was packing a bag for Alyssa to take the next day for her over-nighter with Gram and Jaxon, Olivia watched, quiet. Finally, she asked, “What am I going to do?”

I pulled her close and said, “You get to come home with me.”

She smiled and went about her business.

The next morning, Alyssa was gathering horses to take for the day and night at Gram’s house. Olivia quickly found her new favorite swimsuit and asked me what she could put it in. I handed her at Walmart bag and she happily stuffed the suit in the bag, asking with a grin, “What do I look like?”

I replied with a question of my own, “Do you want to look like you’re spending the night at Gram’s?”

She nodded, slung her bag over her shoulder and made her way downstairs to show her daddy that she looked like she was spending the night too.

I dithered about it all day long, wondering how to broach the subject with my mom. See…I kind of hate inviting myself to anything and I felt like if I brought it up, I was sort of inviting Olivia to stay over instead of Olivia being invited by the owner of the house.

See what I mean?

Except, this is O’s grammy, she loves O as much as I do. I knew that if I told my mom about the morning conversation, she’d tell me, that, duh, of course Olivia can stay.

But she hadn’t said that the day before when Alyssa was going on and on about staying. And I do know that Olivia can be more work than Alyssa and Jaxon, though not more work than the two of them combined. Hmmm….

When I got there yesterday afternoon, I was greeted with poop in O’s swimsuit and an invitation to stay for a spontaneous birthday party for my mom. Yes, her birthday is Flag Day, cool, huh?

So I cleaned the poo, brought in gifts and during one moment when my mom and I were alone, I told her about Olivia’s comment from that morning.

And it went just like I thought it might. Of course Olivia could stay. She is just never as out and open as Alyssa is in her desire to spend the night. If O wanted to stay and be with A and J, it was fine.

After dinner I went home and gathered O’s pajamas, clothes for the next day, her purple blankie and her soft Rapunzel doll.

When I got back, I was once again greeted with poo. Oh, dear sweet Heaven, kid! I cleaned her up AGAIN, this time putting her pajamas on her. She was thrilled to see purple blankie and Rapunzel.

I didn’t get home until almost 8:00 but when there are no kids in the house, 8pm feels early and the evening stretches out like a long, leisurely summer evening just begging for a bit of basking.

I did stop by my mom’s house this morning on my way to work. When I told Tom I was going to do so, he was a bit surprised. He did tell me to tell the girls he said he loved them.

When I arrived, my mom was already up with all three kids. She greeted me at the door with a smile and said that Alyssa had just asked if she thought I’d stop by before going to work.

I’m really glad I did. While I know the girls love spending nights at Gram’s, it’s also nice to start the day with kisses from my girls, knowing they knew that I was thinking of them and wanted to see them. These are the little things, those nights with Gram, the mornings I stop just to kiss them good morning and good bye in the span of 15 minutes, that build beautiful memories. I hope.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Alyssa and I were watching Secret Millionaire last Sunday evening. We enjoy the show because it reminds us that there are ways in which we can enrich the lives of others if only we look around us.

Anyway, one of the millionaires was talking and he used the phrase, “Chuck and I’s dream…”

And I snorted and called him an idiot.

Alyssa asked me why he was an idiot.

I launched into a spontaneous grammar lesson (you remember that one about how the pronoun I is never possessive, right?) and she listened, taking it all in.

I gave her the example of taking away the other subject/object in the sentence. I asked her how she’d describe a dream she’d had.

She tilted her head and said with a question in her voice, “My dream...?”

I clapped and said, “YES! You’d say MY dream. And so this guy on tv who was talking about his dream with his friend Chuck, should have said, ‘Chuck’s and my dream…”

She nodded wisely and said, “Ooooh, I get it.”

Yes, she gets it. Too bad so many people don’t.

I realize this is such a stupid thing to be bothered by but I can’t help it.

Recently I received an email at work. The end of the email had the following sentence, “If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact myself.”

Myself? Seriously? OMG!!!

The fact that people write/say this thinking it makes them sound more intelligent makes me want to cry.

I know, I know, if this is the worst thing I’m dealing with in my life I’m pretty darned blessed. I get that, even as I wipe away tears at the injustice of the slaughtering of the English language.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Olivia has always loved baths. When she was an infant, I often joked that she was the cleanest baby in the state of Indiana because there were days when I gave her up to three baths. This was because the only time she wasn’t crying was when she was eating, sleeping, or bathing. And the sleeping part? Wasn’t often enough in the early days.

She still loves her bath time. She often asks to wear a swimsuit so she can ‘swim’ in the bathtub.

Last night was one such ‘swim.’ First, though, she had to get in the tub without the swimsuit so we could wash the red paint off her hands and stomach. Why did she have red paint on her hands and tummy? Because we’re going to a birthday party this coming weekend and the birthday girl asked for pet rocks instead of toys as presents.

So A and O are painting rocks. And since O’s favorite color is red, she painted her rock red. She also painted her hands and her tummy red.

So into the tub she went to wash off the red paint. Once she was clean, I let her put on a swimsuit. Do you know how hard it is to put a swimsuit on a child who is already wet? It’s tough. But we managed it.

Then I went about my business in the bathroom while she ‘swam.’ For those who worry, I never actually left the room, but our bathroom is big enough that the tub can be out of sight even to someone still in the room.

So yes.

At one point, I realized she’d been quiet for several minutes so I called out, “Livie? You doing okay?”




“Whatcha doing?”


Now, whenever Olivia shushes me, I know she’s up to something.

I peeked around the corner and flipped right the heck out.

She was holding a bottle of shampoo upside down, squirting the last dredges of into what was now slimy water. Because you see, this bottle of shampoo? It was purchased just last Saturday. It had not yet been used. Not once.

She’d poured the entire bottled into her bathwater. Some of it had made it on her head, though. Perhaps a third of the contents of the bottle, in fact.

I took the bottle away from her and said (probably more sternly than necessary), “You are not allowed to have shampoo by the tub EVER again.”

Her face crumpled and my heart broke. I can be such a bitch sometimes.

And the biggest thing is that this was my fault. She’s FIVE flipping years old. She saw a bottle of shampoo, knew how to get it open and went about opening it. Who can blame her? I shouldn’t have been around the corner. I should have been right there.

I’ve learned, though. Shampoo will now be used as it is meant to be used and then put out of reach. Foam soap? That can be used up as much as she wants.

I rinsed her hair and soothed her tears. I told her I was sorry I’d gotten so angry and that even when I’m mad I always love her. I also told her I was sorry that I had left that shampoo right there was temptation.

She seemed to forgive me after I dried her off, helped her put her jammies on and gave her a bowl of corn flakes before bed.

The moral of this story? Even the tear-less formula of shampoo can sting little eyes when it’s used by the bottleful.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Residual Anger

Way back before I even met Tom, I told some guy after the second date that I didn’t want to go out anymore because he lived 40 whole minutes away from where I was living at the time. This put him, oh, probably a 35 minutes’ drive from my work.

I rue the day I told that fib. Okay, it wasn’t exactly a fib. Because I wasn’t into him AT ALL, 40 minutes was too far to drive to see him. But then, five minutes would have been too far to travel to see this guy. But the distance was a nice, inoffensive excuse and it worked.

Alas, I went on to meet Tom, a guy I WAS into, who lived 65 miles away. Ohh, karma kicked my ass hard on that one.

When we first met, Tom told me he was willing to relocate. He realized that we lived pretty far away from each other.

Then…in the throes of new love and generosity and momentary stupidity, I saw how close he was to his older kids, two of whom were still in junior high/high school at the time he and I moved in together, and I told him I couldn’t take him away from his kids. I told him I’d commute.

I’d like to go back and slap the shit out of my younger, stupider self.

He held me to that. We bought a house that was about twenty minutes from where the kids lived with their mother. It was all of ten minutes from their school. It was an hour and ten minutes from my work.

We saw them, maybe, three times a year during the entire eight years we lived in that house.

When Alyssa was an infant, she and I commuted together, every single day. And oh, how she cried. She cried and cried and screamed and sobbed the last fifteen minutes of every single drive. And I seethed. I fumed. I cried hot, angry tears at having to put my baby through the torture of that drive on the mere chance that her older siblings would deign to remember that their father lived close enough to visit.

Alyssa was eight months old when I’d had enough and started staying at my mom’s at least one night a week. By the time Olivia arrived three years later, we were staying at my mom’s up to four nights a week (if winter weather looked iffy) and were just going home to Tom on the weekends.

It worked but it was stressful. And I was angry about it pretty much all the time.

We moved almost two years ago and I now drive 18 miles to work each day. And that’s nothing! It takes me all of twenty-five minutes to get to and from work. We’re very rural around here so a 25 minute drive to work isn’t anything at all.

When we moved, though, my anger didn’t just disappear. I still often found myself seething and fuming over minor issues, wondering where this fury was coming from.

A couple of weeks before school let out for summer, I told Tom how grateful I was to him for all the work he does with the girls each morning before school and work. He does the majority of the morning routine with them. I get them dressed and send them to him for breakfast, tooth brushing, shoes, jackets, etc.

He shrugged and said, “It’s the least I can do after all you’ve done over the years when I wasn’t around to help out more. After all the driving you did, I think breakfast is a pretty simple chore.”

And I felt something hard and mean unfurl in my chest. I felt lighter, more appreciated than I’d felt in years.

Just his acknowledgement that I’d worked hard, that the girls and I had sacrificed and he KNEW it meant so much.

I feel like that one comment on his part went further than a year’s worth of therapy could have done to undo the years of residual anger I’d felt over having to commute and be home part-time. It really is amazing how far a little appreciation can go to soften that knot of anger and resentment.

Monday, June 11, 2012


At each of the IEP meetings I’ve attended at O’s current school, the school psychologist has been there too.

And each time, he’s told me that because 5p- is such a rare syndrome, I’ll have to be the expert on it during those meetings. I will have to educate them all.

And well…I’m no expert on 5p- but I do feel like I’m becoming more of an expert on my daughter. Make that, my daughters. Because even though she’s got the typical number of chromosomes, Alyssa needs an expert too. She needs an advocate, someone who knows her better than anyone else and who is willing to step up and step in when she needs a little backup. And damned if I won’t always have my girls’ backs.

As I perused F-Book this weekend, I went to the support page for families with children with 5p-. One mom is new, her daughter is only two months old and she’s facing all the fears that come with finding out your baby has a rare chromosomal disorder.

She asked a question about the size of the deletion in our kids and how that tends to affect each child.

All the comments were kind and as informative as possible. I was able to tell her where O’s break is on chromosome five (she’s missing the area from 5p12.33 to 5p15.2 for anyone who wants to know. Her deletion is 13.58mb in size.)

I was also able to tell this sweet mama that at five years old my daughter can hold verbal conversations, she can walk, swim, run, jump, dance and laugh.

I hope I gave her hope. But I also hope that I and all the other parents who are on that page reminded her that her daughter is an individual. She’s going to learn and grow at her own pace, but she will grow, she will learn, she will laugh and most importantly, her life will be important.

I am not an expert on 5p-, but I am an expert on Olivia. I can tell you about that ticklish spot at the back of her neck. I can explain the softness of her weight she she’s sound asleep and I carry her to bed. I can describe her shy smile and the embarrassed press of her finger to her lips when she doesn’t want you to realize that she’s going to close the toilet lid because her sister forgot to do so and it drives her crazy, even though that very craziness embarrasses her.

My expertise is not limited to Olivia. I can tell you all about Alyssa too. I can tell you that every single night at 7:30, she’s going to want to eat a pickle. She loves pickles, much to her father’s disgust (he thinks there is absolutely no nutritional value to the pickle. I tell him to stow it, she could have chosen a worse favorite snack. I just make sure she drinks some water after her pickle to counteract the sodium.)

Alyssa still loves horses and wants one desperately and yet, she’s old enough these days to understand that we can’t afford such a luxury. She has fun, silly sense of humor that hides behind shyness. She’s quietly proud of being one of the ‘smart’ kids at school. She shares easily with her cousins but not so much with her sister. And that’s okay because that’s where she’s most comfortable when it comes to marking what’s hers.

The expert? That’s me, if you’re asking about Alyssa or Olivia.

I’m still learning about 5p-, though. Mostly how it affects my girl, however. But that’s only because I’m learning that it seems to affect every single individual differently. The size and location of the deletion doesn’t seem to really correlate with the delays that individual may or may not have. It’s one more reason to take our sweet babies home and love them and let them show us what they can do. Expect extraordinary results but give them all the tools they’ll need to reach them.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Phoning It In

Alyssa has asked for the last six months or so about when she’ll get a phone of her own.

Oh, how I laugh when she asks that. One reason I laugh is, duh, phones cost money and girlfriend has no money. Hahahaha.

The other reason I laugh is that Alyssa hates talking on the phone. So why would she want/need a phone? One word: games.

She’s discovered that there are some nifty phones out there that have *gasp* games and internet capabilities on them. Neither Tom nor I have such phones, boring parents that we are. But my brother has one such phone and Alyssa is in awe of it. She fights with my nephew for this phone whenever my brother is around.

Yesterday while waiting in line at Taco Bell for my lunch (what?) my phone rang. I looked at the number and recognized it as the home phone of one of Alyssa’s friends. I ignored the phone, collected my lunch and exited the building.

Once I was in the car, the phone rang again. It was the same number. This time I answered.

Alyssa’s friend Abby asked in her sweet little nine year old voice, “Is Alyssa there?”

I gently told her that I was at work and that she’d called my cell phone. I promised Abby that I’d have Alyssa call her at 5:00 that evening, which was the soonest I’d actually be with Alyssa that day.

When I got to my mom’s house to pick the girls up, I told Alyssa that her friend had called her. She grinned. But when I handed her my phone so she could return Abby’s call, Alyssa paled. The mere thought of dialing that number and asking whomever answered if she could speak to Abby terrified her.

Like I mentioned, Alyssa hates talking on the phone. She always has. As a very little girl, she never wanted to ‘chat’ with my mom or Tom on the phone. She’d listen and maybe nod a few times but she wasn’t one of those kids who wanted to sit and jabber into the phone.

I finally offered to call Abby’s house for her. I told Alyssa I’d call and ask for Abby and once she was on the phone, I’d hand the phone back to Alyssa. She was all for that.

And it once it was Alyssa and Abby on the phone, they talked for almost 15 minutes.

I’m not sure I did myself any favors by pushing Alyssa into making that phone call, now that I think about it. But I’m glad she got to talk to her friend and that she’s one step closer to getting over her phone aversion. I think.

It’s probably for the best that most of her friends’ parents still have landlines from which those friends can call my cell. We wouldn’t want these 4th graders to figure out that they can text each other, would we? The very thought makes me shudder.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

As Requested: Photographic Evidence

And here she is:

Is it Katy Perry? Snow White?

I think maybe Wonder Woman as a preteen.

And then there's her little sister. With red tips in her hair that you can't really see all the well in this picture but she's standing over my shoulder waiting to see if I'm going to post a picture of her too since I've just posted two pictures of her sister. Ahh, sibling rivalry at its best.


I didn’t sleep well last night. When I went to bed, I was tired but not really sleepy. I’ve had a cold since Sunday. It started as a cough and sore throat and moved swiftly into sinus congestion and more coughing.

Anyway, when I got to work yesterday, my boss suggested I go get something for the congestion. I guess I sounded that bad. I got some decongestant from the pharmacy. Yes, that kind of stuff.

I took at early in the day and got through the day at work. While reading to Olivia yesterday evening, I realized that the congestion was coming back. So around 8:00 I took another.

It didn’t occur to me that the ‘non-drowsy’ formula would actually turn out to be ‘no-sleeping’ formula.

I know I must have slept but I was definitely awake more than I was asleep through the night.

The freaky thing is that I was twitchy. I felt like my legs needed to be moving every few seconds. At one point, I realized the fingers of my left hand were clenching and unclenching over and over. If this is what it feels like to be high, I think I’ll pass on a second trip, thank you very much.

On the bright side, I took that stupid decongestant last night at 8:00 and even now, at almost 2pm the next day, I’m STILL not tired. Weird.

And hey, look at that, the congestion is still gone too. Wheeee!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Doing Our Best

Parenting is hard work. We all know that. We all know that in the end, if we did our best, that’s all anyone can ask.

Every stage of parenting has its challenges. That infant that won’t sleep? She will get bigger, eat more and sleep longer. Really.

That toddler who loves to throw food on the floor just to see the mess it makes? He probably won’t still be doing that when he’s fourteen.

The five year old who unrolls the toilet paper just to see it pool on the floor? She’ll outgrow that one. I hope.

The point it, every single age has its own irritation.

And we all do our best to face those irritations and get past them.

So I mentioned that Alyssa wanted to dye her hair black, right? I thought about. I considered the precedence we might be setting. I pondered the ramifications of saying yes versus saying no.

I wondered if this was something I wanted to fight or if I wanted to embrace her desire for change and independence.

In the end, I bought a hair dye that will wash out in 28 shampoos and we did it. We colored her dark blond hair black.

She loves it. She is ecstatic that she not only looks like Katy Perry on a good hair day but also like Snow White. She actually likes the Snow White comparison more than the Katy Perry one.

In the end, I decided to go along with the black hair thing for several reasons. One, hair is such a temporary thing. It will grow/wash out. We can change it tomorrow if she wants us to.

Two, this is one of those things where I thought it was more important to her that I say yes than it was to me that I say no. I know sometimes we, as parents, get caught up in doing things our way. It can be so easy to set random rules and declare them to be ‘the way it is’ and expect our kids to just go along with it because we said so. But sometimes, rules need to be reconsidered, discussed.

That doesn’t make me less a parent that the one who declares something like, “You cannot dye all the hair on your head until you are 18.” And is never willing to even discuss this rule.

Three, I hope that by agreeing to let my nine year old dye her hair black (the box declared this a ‘soft black’ which…is that different from a hard black? I don’t know.) I am setting up a world in which she can come to me about everything, the big things and the small stuff. I want her to know that I’ll listen, I’ll consider her feelings and thoughts. I’ll be there, no matter what she has going on. I hope that I am showing her that she doesn’t have to sneak around, she can bring things up and we can discuss them. And in the end, I hope that I am showing her that by talking to me, she and I can make decisions based on what is best for her. Not based on rules I might have made when she was a toddler but rules based on who she is as an individual with feelings, thoughts, opinions of her own.

I want her to talk to me so that she’ll also listen to me. I want to leave the door open for things that might come up and when those things do come up and she comes to me, I want her to know that when I say no to a request, it’s because it’s important that I say no, not because I want to be the boss of her.

All this is not to say that the parent who does make the rule that there will be no hair dyeing in their house until their children are 18 year olds are wrong either.

What works for me and my child might not work for them and their child. Heck, what works for me and Alyssa might not work for me and Olivia.

In the end, I would like to think we’re all just doing the best we can. Like I said, that’s all anyone can ask of us.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Retrospective Happiness

I remember hearing someone say that happiness is something you experience in retrospect. That one never really knows one is happy until they look back on a time in their past and see that, yes, at that time, they were happy.

I don’t agree with this. I think we can and should embrace happiness right now, in our present. I think happiness is something we can grasp and hold on to. It is also something we can choose.

When I first heard the theory that happiness only exists in retrospect, I was in college. And I was damned happy at that time. I loved my college years.

I had a few tough years after college but these days, I’m happy again. And I know that being here, in the moment, especially with my girls, gives me great joy.

Yesterday Tom took the girls to the lake. I met them there after work. The water was very cold and no one was really swimming. When I arrived, Olivia was thrilled to see me because it meant we could all go to the playground. She’d been waiting for me to get there so she and Alyssa could divide and conquer the parents.

We all ended up over on the play equipment. I followed Olivia up and down the steps, across the bridge, down the slide (she did it herself, thank you very much) and then back up the little steps that were shaped like leaves.

In those moments there at the park, I was there. I was with my family, catching Tom’s eye when one of the girls would call out, “Mom/Dad, look at me!” We were both in the moment, rejoicing in our good fortune to be the parents of these amazing little girls.

Our happiness is right now, not two years ago. We embrace the challenges and the joys that come with the day to day work that is marriage and parenthood.

And we’re lucky to be able to do so.

I hope I can look back often and realize that I was happy in those moments and that I knew it.

Monday, June 4, 2012


Tom likes to make sure Olivia is paying attention so he often mispronounces words just to see if she’ll corrected. She almost always does. She can’t stand it when he called her Lucky Charms “Charmed Luckies.”

Whenever she declares that she likes something, like her water at dinner or the ceiling fan for making a lovely breeze, Tom will ask her if he can marry it.

She almost always replies with a shrieked, “No! It doesn’t have any arms.”

Apparently, arms are necessary for matrimony.

Tom has a radio that he play every day during his morning exercises (he starts working out at 4am. I sort of hate him but then I remember that I’m glad he’s a morning person because I can send the girls down to him on the weekends and get a whole two more hours of uninterrupted sleep.)

One morning, I turned the radio off because it was driving me crazy to hear two televisions and a radio making noise, noise, noise. Tom knew I’d turned it off and he didn’t care. But he asked Olivia if she did it. This question infuriated her.

She put her hands on her hips, turned to face him and informed him, “I am not old enough to turn off your radio!”

We’re getting a lot of attitude out of that one these days.

Of course, one of my favorite things to hear these days is from Alyssa. It always comes from the bathroom, where Olivia has followed Alyssa in to make sure the toilet lid gets closed when use of the toilet is finished.

I have heard Alyssa say in exasperation more than once, “Livie! I’m not even done peeing yet. You can’t put the lid down until I’m done peeing.”

So much fun to be had when you get to be the fly on the wall.

Friday, June 1, 2012

This and That

Olivia and I have this game we play. It started a few months ago.

Every time she’d ask me to carry her, I’d ask her, “What am I, a taxicab?”

She’d giggle and say no and this would progress to me asking if I was a school bus, an airplane, a pack mule, etc. She loved this game and if I ever forgot, she’d remind me whenever I picked her up.

Recently, I’ve changed my question.

These days, when she asks to be carried, I reply with, “What are you, two years old?”

Usually, she laughs and says no, she’s five!

The other night, as I picked her up to carry her upstairs to get pajamas, I asked the question.

This time, she put her head on my shoulder and said wearily, “I’m five, but I’m very, very tired.”

I love this response so much. She wasn’t apologizing for wanting to be carried, just explaining that sometimes, even a five year old needs a little lift.

Now the summer break is here, we’re instituting Daddy Day again. This gives my mom a bit of a break from childcare and it gives Tom and the girls a chance to just hang every Monday.

Alyssa’s not amused by this decision but since we didn’t ask her opinion, no one is bothered by her dissention. The only reason she is annoyed by this is because it means that on Mondays she can’t spend the day in Gram’s pool. Poor, deprived child.

Speaking of Alyssa, she wants to dye her hair black. In case anyone has forgotten, she’s nine. NINE years old. And she wants to dye her hair black.

I’m all about self-expression and giving kids a bit of space to be themselves, but black?

I told her we’d think about it and see if we can find something very, very temporary. I won’t let her start school in the fall with black hair. That is not the impression we want to make on her fourth grade teacher.

But honestly? It’s just hair. And I think things like this are pretty harmless. Right now, she has red bangs and the ends of some of her hair are red. Not red as in auburn or strawberry blond. Not a red that would occur naturally. No, this is fire engine red. And it’s not a big deal.

I’m hoping that by being open to things like this, to keeping her talking to me and reminding her that she can come to me about anything, that in the years to come, she’ll continue to talk to me about things like black hair, friends, boys and all the things that come with those things. Even the scary things like drugs, alcohol, and yes…sex. I want her to know she can talk to me. I want her to know that she can’t freak me out. So black hair? We’ll see. We’ll keep talking about it.