Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

This morning the first thing Alyssa asked when she woke up was, “Today’s New Year’s Eve, isn’t it?”

When I answered in the affirmative, she let out a whoop and declared, “I’m going to eat all day long!”

Olivia joined in the celebration and said, “Me too! Let’s start with donuts!”

So they did.

See, Alyssa is an evening snacker. She would snack up until her eyes slammed shut if we let her.

But we don’t because, well, duh, it’s not good for a body or a body’s teeth, to eat all evening long.

So the kitchen closes around 8:30 each evening, much to Alyssa’s disgust and annoyance.

But Tom told her last week that on New Year’s Eve this year, she could eat all night if she wanted to. And she’s been counting down the days (much like Ryan Seacrest is going to count down the seconds in about fourteen hours) until today, the day when she can snack all night long if she chooses.

So that’s our plan for ringing in the new year. We’re doing to watch back to back to back episodes of Quantum Leap and eat and eat and eat until we pass out in a carb-induced coma. Is there anything better to do on a Wednesday night?

I think not.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Balancing the Workload

As mentioned yesterday, we’re doing a lot around the house to make it, umm, better, cleaner, more organized.

And by ‘we’ I mean Tom is doing a lot around the house to make all of the above happen.

And this bothers me. IT makes me feel like I’m not doing my part in taking care of our home.

I appreciate so much all that he’s doing and I don’t think he feels like he’s doing more than I do but I feel that way and it makes me cranky and resentful.

We’ve painted the ceilings in every room on the first floor. And this is not a case of the royal ‘We’. I mean, we both actually picked up a paint roller (not the same roller at the same time because, eww, that would be stupid and awkward and make the painting take forever) and rolled paint onto the ceiling. It was not fun but the ceilings look ever so much better. For reals.

The painting of the ceilings took place after Tom laid new flooring in the entry, hall, kitchen and dining area. The installation of the flooring necessitated the removal of all the trim in those rooms. So while the trim was off, he painted the walls.

I think I painted a tiny portion of the kitchen. Maybe a sixteenth of the room. I don’t know. It definitely doesn’t feel like I did much. Read, it doesn’t feel like I did enough.

I find myself trying to justify the fact that he painted almost everything by pointing out that I put up the Christmas tree all by myself and I bought all but two of the Christmas presents we gave away (he bought two mats from Menards for J and D, his sons) and I wrapped all those presents.

I also baked an insane amount of cookies, brownies, fudge (wait, you don’t bake fudge.) I also cooked all the meals while I was home for five-day weekend.

But that doesn’t actually make me feel any better. I also managed to watch the entire first season of Quantum Leap and have started the second season. So yeah, there is a lot more I could be doing except I don’t want to. I want to watch the dreamy Dr. Sam Beckett leap from life to life, putting right what once went wrong.

I know. I should probably grow up.

But painting is boring and besides, Tom’s basically got it all done, so there is that.

I want to find a way to feel balanced. I want to figure out how to contribute to the family as much as I think Tom contributes. But I also kind of want to figure out how to do it without having to expend much more energy than I already do.

Sigh. Maybe I need an attitude adjustment rather than an energy boost. Something to ponder as I fire up the next episode of Quantum Leap (first line of this episode: “Oh my God, I’m Popeye.”) Ha. Hahahahah.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Taking the Tree Down

So the Christmas tree came down yesterday. I felt almost bad about it. Partly because yesterday was only December 28. Another reason I felt a little bad about taking down the tree is that I had four boxes of Christmas decorations that sat waiting to be unpacked and placed about the house.

We didn’t get much out and up other than the tree.

Tom’s been doing some home improvement stuff for a couple of months and everything felt really hectic. The trim is off all the walls in the kitchen. The pantry door is currently leaning against a wall in the living room. The furniture in the family room is in the middle of the room as Tom paints the walls.

But the girls didn’t seem to mind. The tree is the main decoration and once the star was atop the tree, everyone (read: Olivia) was happy. See, the tree needs to be up so that the presents can go under it. Duh.

The rest is just extra and when you’re eight and twelve, the extras aren’t that big a deal. I feel like they cut me a break this year. I’m grateful for that.

Maybe next year the house will be in a better state and we’ll get everything out.

But for now, the tree is down for another year and everyone is glad to have the front window back. Olivia asked Tom this morning when he was going to move the rocking chair back to the window. She likes to lounge in that chair and let the sun warm her while she reads. She’s a girl after my own heart.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Team Work - The Episode with the Barf

I’d been asleep for about a half hour last night when I heard the dreaded sounds of gagging and puke hitting the sheet as Olivia struggled to sit up in her bed and spew copious amounts of vomit on every single blanket, sheet and pillow in her bed.


Ahem, I mean, poor baby. I got her out of bed and helped her to the bathroom, dropping chunks along the way.

I helped her rinse out her mouth and then started the bath. There was puke in her hair, all over her pajamas, everywhere. She couldn’t go back to bed like that. I put her in the warm bath and then stripped her bed, being careful not to dribble anymore of the nastiness around the room than we’d already spread.

I got Olivia some juice, asked her if her stomach still hurt, washed her hair, got clean pajamas for her and helped her dry off and put on those pajamas.

She was pale but not running a fever so I got a bucket and then put her in my bed. She fell back to sleep almost instantly. Puking and then middle of the night bathing is a lot of work for a frail eight year old.

She slept soundly all night with nary another tummy rumble.

This morning the first thing she said to me was, “Can I go tell Daddy that I barfed last night?”

Ha! It might have been the most exciting (and disgusting) thing to happen to her this month. Poor kid.

Tom took the news well, though he did tell her that she should settle in to rest on the older, crappy recliner rather than on the nicer, newish couch. She ignored him, getting all comfy on the very couch Tom tries to preserve, even three years into owning it.

I reminded him that she’s puked on that couch before and that he’s proven he’s a pro at getting red puke stains out of the upholstery. He reminded me that he’d been able to do that because I’d been there to tend to Liv while he took on cleaning duty.

He’s right. When the kids puke, my first inclination is to take care of them. His first instinct is to clean the furniture.

We agreed that we make a pretty good team.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Good Mother

About a month ago, Tom, the girls and I were at a birthday party for Tom’s grandson. It was a family/friend party and the kids were running around, flipping on mats, wrestling, etc. You know, all the usually things kids do when they get together.

I was sitting next to my step-daughter-in-law’s grandmother (that was kind of like saying I heard a story from the cousin of my best friend’s sister-in-law’s neighbor’s grandson, wasn’t it?)

Anyway, this woman and I were making small talk and she glanced over at her granddaughter, who happens to be my step-son’s wife. Let’s call the granddaughter/wife K. K was sitting with her oldest child, the birthday boy, as he opened the presents people had brought to the party. They were reading each card before he opened the present attached.

It was a sweet moment between a mother and her child.

K’s grandmother leaned over and said to me, “She’s such a wonderful mother. Her children know so much love and yet they also understand boundaries. She makes them mind while reminding them of her love every day.”

I hope with all my heart that K’s grandma tells her this. It’s great that she whispers it to distant relatives at parties but I hope she’s says those words to K.

Every mother deserves to hear that someone out there thinks she’s a wonderful mother.

Honestly…I’ve never actually heard those words from someone close to me.

I doubt myself as a mother every single day. I worry that I’m too lax, too strict, too lazy, too busy, too tired, too involved, not involved enough.

Sure, I’ve read the words here, from friends and strangers alike, who tell me they think I’m a good mother through reading the snippets of our life that I choose to share.

But those closest to me, my husband and my mother, for example, have never said those words to me. I think (I hope?) they assume I know they think I’m a good mother.

But I don’t know this. I suppose if they thought I was a terrible mother they’d intervene and keep my children safe from me. So I can assume that since no intervention has ever happened, they think I’m at least good enough to keep mothering?

I don’t know.

What I do know is that mothers need to hear these words. They need those closest to them to say the words, “I think you’re a wonderful mother.”

We moms are often so hard on ourselves. The voices in our heads are so shrill and uncompromising. It would be nice to mute them every once in a while by hearing from those we trust, those we respect that the voices are wrong, that we’re doing this important job well.

If you know a really great mom, please tell her. Tell her how great she is, tell her how much you admire and respect the job she’s doing raising her children. Let her know that you see how hard it is and that she’s amazing just because she keeps doing it day in and day out.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Minecraft; Punniness; A "Funny" Dad

Alyssa and Olivia tried to explain to me what Minecraft is all about.

“Mom,” Olivia said, “it’s more than just breaking blocks. You build stuff out of blocks too. And you’re a block head!”

Alyssa laughed and agreed, “And the animals are blocks too. Weirdly, “ she continued, “the younger animals have bigger heads than the adult animals.”

“So their heads get smaller as they get older?” I asked, confused.

“Pretty much,” Alyssa shrugged.

“And the animals are block heads too,” Olivia laughed, loving her own joke so much she couldn’t stand it.

Yeah, I’m all clear on the lure of Minecraft now.
While we shopping last weekend, the girls and I were looking for my mom.

We passed a rack of Christmas-themed shirts. Olivia started giggling. “Did you see that shirt?” she asked through her laughter.

“I didn’t,” I said. “What was so funny about it?”

Still laughing, she said, “It had a dog on it and it said, ‘Bah hum pug.’” She laughed harder and asked, “Get it? Bah hum…PUG!”

She found that pun so hysterical she had to share it with my mom and even attempted to explain it to Alyssa, who wasn’t laughing and, as far as Olivia was concerned, must not get the joke.

Upon Olivia’s second attempt to explain how funny the shirt was, Alyssa snarked, “Yes, Livie, I get it.”

Olivia raised her eyebrows and inquired, “Then why aren’t you laughing?”

Alyssa just rolled her eyes.
We’ve received a few packages from Amazon in the past couple of weeks as online gift orders are filled.

Each time a new one comes in, Olivia will ask, “Who is that one for?”

And Tom will inevitably answer, “That’s top secret.”

Exasperated, Olivia will tell him, “Dad! I’m not asking what it is. I’m asking who it’s for!”

This exchange is often repeated several times before Olivia gives up and finds me to ask who the package is for. I’m not nearly as ‘funny’ at Tom is and usually just give her a straight answer the first time she asks.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Alyssa made this picture the wallpaper on my phone a few days ago.

When I really looked at it, I was surprised to see how much she actually looked her age, instead of several years older, as she usually looks in pictures these days.

See? She doesn’t always look like a sullen teenager. Sometimes, she just looks like an eleven year old who is happy to have a unicorn that’s bigger than she is.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Not-So-Restful Weekend

Whew, I feel like I needed to go to work today just to get a break.

This weekend felt like it sped by, what with shopping with my mom and the girls on Saturday, a family gathering on Sunday and baking during the very few downtimes we managed to find.

When I finally sat down yesterday evening to watch Once Upon a Time with Alyssa, I felt like I’d been going all day long. Why does being in a car for over an hour each way tire a body out so much?

But cookies were baked (and eaten, which is the best part), fudge was stirred, gifts were exchanged and hugs were shared.

When we got home baths were taken, books were read, backs were scratched and little girls slept.

All in all, a pretty darned good way to spend a couple of days.

This morning when I woke her up, Olivia mumbled, “Is today Monday?”

When I told her it was, she groaned. Then I told her that she only had this week before she got two whole weeks off for Christmas break.

That woke her right up. She said up and gave a vigorous, “Yay!”

Do I know how to turn a frown upside down or what?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Least Blurry of All the Blurries

I took probably a bazillions pictures of Olivia on Monday evening before her program, hoping for just one decent picture.

That child...she loves to pose silly and go all Top Model on me.

But it wasn't her fault most of the pictures didn't turn out. It seems I'm a crappy photographer. Ah well.

Here's the least blurry of all the blurry pictures I took of her that night.

She's cute even when she's slightly blurry and being silly.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Finding Her Star

We put up the Christmas tree on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Olivia was beside herself with excitement over getting to put on the first ornament.

Alyssa was too busy playing a game on the computer to get too excited but once I pulled her away from electronic devices, she participated pretty well.

All was well as we strung lights, hung bulbs and snowflakes but toward the end of the evening, we still hadn’t found our star.

Olivia couldn’t stand it. Where was the star? What about the star? Why hadn’t we found the star yet and put it on the tree?

I have five boxes of Christmas decorations. FIVE. I know, it’s ridiculous. I was lucky that the first one I opened contained the ornaments for the tree.

But it took me several days (you know, what with having to leave the house for work and all) to go through the rest of the boxes.

And of course the star was in the fifth box. Of course it was.

But all is well in Miss Olivia’s world. The star has been placed on top of the tree and Christmas can commence.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Olivia had her Christmas program last night at school. Tom had to be away from home around the time the girls would have gotten off the bus, so they got off at my mom’s instead.

When I arrived to pick up the girls, my mom informed Olivia, “Livie, if I thought you’d actually sing at your program, I’d come and watch you.”

Olivia smiled at her and said, “I’m not going to sing, Gram.”

And she didn’t. She stood there on the risers, a fellow first-grader on her right and a second-grader on her left. She didn’t make a single movement to any of the songs, her lips didn’t even pretend to move along with the lyrics. She stood there and I think she might have even yawned once.

It was sort of hilarious.

But then it got kind of sad when we got home. See, several kids in each of the grades (grades one through four performed) were selected to come down from the risers to sing into the microphone.

When we got home, Olivia asked if we still had an old microphone Tom picked up at an auction (seriously, I think almost everything in our house is something Tom picked up at an auction…)

She wanted it brought up from the basement so she could sing into it.

My girl wants to be more outgoing. She wants to be the kid picked to do a solo but we all know that even if the music teacher had chosen her, she wouldn’t have been able to bring herself to actually sing in front of all those people.

I was that shy kid too. Granted, I didn’t also have 5p- syndrome hampering my goals to be a star but I wanted to be noticed without having to do the actual work it takes to get noticed.

She wants to stand out, she wants to sing into a microphone but only on her terms. And in the end, that’s okay. She’ll work it out, one way or another.

But hey, she rocked her blue dress as she stood on that riser and yawned while all the other kids sang and danced their hearts out.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Dress

Olivia has a program tonight. She asked me last weekend what she was going to wear to her program. I know. It appears this child is all about fashion. I honestly don’t know where she gets this.

Seriously. I’m not so much about fashion. I just want to wear clothes that don’t pinch or dig or look stupid. You know?

So we went to Kohl’s on Saturday to look at their dresses.

Olivia was trying to describe what she wanted in a dress.

She told me, “I want something with sparkle. What is that thing that hangs from the ceiling and spins and the lights shine on it?”

“A disco ball?” I suggested.

“Yes! I want to look like a disco ball,” she clapped her hands in glee at the idea of finding a dress that resembled a disco ball.

Huh. Okay, then. We looked.

She found a blue dress with a short-sleeved fur-type jacket that is worn over it.

Not quite sparkly like a disco ball, but beautiful enough for my girl.

She decided that the blue dress was IT.

Alyssa tried to talk O into a red dress, you know, since this is a Christmas program. Olivia would hear nothing of it. No. She wanted the blue dress. She also declared that she would wear it with white tights, thank you so much.

Alyssa rolled her eyes and Olivia clapped again when I agreed to buy her the blue dress.

I don’t think the fact that the color of the dress was sort of an “Elsa blue” had anything to do with her wanting that dress, do you?

Friday, December 5, 2014

When It's Not One Thing, It's the Other

Is there some law of nature that says when a child is doing one thing well, they have to do another thing badly?

Seriously, I want to know.

See, here’s the thing…I hesitate to even put this in writing because I know there is something out there just waiting for me to write this out so they can cackle with evil glee and flip a switch that will make things horrible again. But…here goes…Olivia has been sleeping well lately.

Yes, I said it. I wrote it. She has slept through the night, in her own bed, for the last three nights and it has been glorious. Then angels have been singing, the birds chirping and the sun shining brightly every single day that this has happened.

But, perhaps because of that wonderful sleep, her eating habits have gone to hell.

For reals. She’s horrible at breakfast, her lunch comes home half eaten and I have to tie her to her chair in the evenings and force-feed her the dinner I slave over.

Tom is at the end of his rope where breakfast is concerned. He’s just about had it with her. He keeps threatening to make me feed her breakfast, which, no. How is that punishment for her? It’s not, it’s punishment for me because it means I’d have to get up at least twenty minutes earlier so that I could fit everything in if I’m feeding her breakfast as well as showering, getting her dressed, doing her hair, packing her lunch, making sure her backpack is ready, blah blah blah.

No. I’m not doing that and he can’t make me. Even his taunting little comment about, “So you don’t want to feed your daughter?” isn’t going to work. I feed that child every single night. I pack her lunch every single day. I FEED my child. He can feed her too.

So yes, things are tough right now when it comes to Olivia and food.

Basically, she’s being a brat. As soon as we relent and let her be done with whatever meal she’s supposed to be eating, she’ll ask if she can have chocolate.

I know! Obnoxious much? Of course we don’t give her chocolate but that doesn’t motivate her to eat the toast we put in front of her at breakfast, or the grapes I packed for lunch or even the mashed potatoes swimming in butter and gravy for dinner.

I know this is partially due to her age. At eight, she wants more autonomy, she’s pushing the rules and trying to figure out what she can get away with. It’s driving us all crazy.

But hey, she’s sleeping great! If I’m being perfectly honest, I’ll admit that I’ll take the good sleep over the eating any day. Why? Because when she’s sleeping badly, it’s all on me. But the bad eating? That stress is spread out over both me and Tom. And I’m all about equality in a marriage.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Light and Fluffy

I’m not feeling all that light and fluffy today but I’m going to try and fake it until I make it (tm Lauren.)

On the note of light and fluffy, the girls’ school is hosting grandparents/friends days tomorrow and grandparents or friends are invited to the school in the morning to watch some programs, listen to the bands and eat lunch with their hosts.

Olivia can barely contain her excitement over this.

Each evening this week she’s asked if Grandparents Day is the day after the day after tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow or yes, even this morning, she woke up with the words, “Is Grandparents Day tomorrow?”

She’s reminded me at least three times this week to call Gram to remind her about Grandparents Day.

Last night just before she fell asleep, Olivia asked me if she was wearing a dress to school on Friday. “It’s Grandparents Day,” she reminded me.

I told her that I’d laid out an outfit she got from her Auntie Janet for her birthday, the one Olivia insisted on changing into during her birthday party because she loved it so much. She grinned and rolled over to go to sleep.

She so very much into clothes these days. I lay out clothes for the week on Sunday afternoon but at least twice a week, she’ll look at the clothes I’ve put out for her, grimace and ask why I picked such boring clothes. I was still laying out Alyssa’s clothes last year, I kind of thought I had a few more years before I was dealing with two picky fashionistas.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Three Strikes

So this morning I was brushing Olivia’s hair, as I do every morning because and she was telling me that I was killing her, killing her DEAD with all the brushing.

Tom admonished her, “Stop whining!”

I told him, “She can’t. The poor child has three strikes against her. One, she’s a girl. Two, she’s eight years old and three, she’s my child. Whining is just part of her DNA.”

Then I gave him an apologetic smile and continued to kill my child dead with a hairbrush. Then, when her hair was as dead as I could make it, I braided it in the hopes of stalling future killer tangles. I braid it almost every day, though, and so far we haven’t really managed to figure out just the right braid to keep the tangles at bay. Poor kid.

I’ve offered to cut her hair off but she never takes me up on it. Honestly, if she did, I’d hesitate to do it anyway because, well, girls in our family have long hair until they’re old enough to actually take care of their hair themselves, at which point they get to decide what style they want. And that’s that.

So for now, we deal with whining and ‘killing’ each and every morning. You’d think Tom would be used it after all these years. Alas, he’s not and I’m beginning to think he’ll never build up a higher threshold for the whining. I think sometimes it must suck to be him.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holding Her Back

I occurred to me today that we have not once attempted to teach Olivia to tie her shoes.

She’s eight years old.

Are we holding her back?

Do we, subconsciously, want to keep her helpless and dependent on us?

I want to scream, “No!” in answer to that question but I’m not so sure.

She’s our baby. She likes being the baby and we like having her as the baby.

But are we being fair to her? To us? Probably not.

That makes me sad. I want so much for Olivia. Most of all, I want her to be and do all that she’s capable of being and doing.

And I firmly believe she’s perfectly capable of tying her shoes. Which means we’re holding her back because we haven’t bothered to even try to teach her.

And let’s not even talk about her feeding herself. She’s able to do this. She even actually does it on occasion. But it can take forever for her to eat a meal when she feeds herself and so for the sake of time and less mess, Tom or I tend to feed her more often than not.

This is not helping Olivia develop life skills. It’s not leading to independence. She needs for us to let go, even just a little and let her be eight. Yes, I’m preaching to myself here.

I’m going to try. Tonight we’ll have our first lesson of shoe-tying. It ought to be great fun for all.

Monday, December 1, 2014

There Is No I in Team (But There is One in Whine)

I’ve said before that my husband and I will never go on the Amazing Race because, well, with our temperaments, we’d either end up divorced or one of us would end up dead and the other in jail. And, worst of all, America would hate us. Nobody wants that.

See, we’re pretty good as a team as long as we’re not actually working on anything together.

This past weekend we painted the ceilings in our house. Yeah. It went as well as one might think.

I started in the living room above where the tree would go because the girls really wanted us to get the tree up and decorated. Tom ‘supervised.’

He kept saying things about starting at a specific place and going in the same direction the entire time. I finally asked him if he wanted to demonstrate.

He didn’t.

I asked him what I was doing wrong. He got annoyed and said he just needed to leave.

I might have cried a little because I have sensitive feelings and they were a little hurt. Yeah, that’s just an awesome trait, isn’t it? I confess that I even annoy myself in moments like that, I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be Tom.

Let me put it this way. I don’t take criticism well and Tom doesn’t tend to give constructive criticism, even though he thinks it’s constructive, it just sounds critical to me.

In the end, we got it all done and no one was killed or even injured. Feelings might have been bruised when I dared to paint where there was no tarp but even the carpet survived that near-catastrophe.

Note to self, wait until he’s gone to attempt any more home improvement projects.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


A few weeks ago Alyssa asked me what I’d buy here if we won the lottery.

I thought for a minute before telling her that honestly, her life wouldn’t change all that much if we won the lottery.

(For the record, we don’t even play the lottery, so winning is not an option. The girl just likes to imagine a scenario where we could/would buy her a horse.)

She asked me why her life wouldn’t change.

I explained that she’s got a pretty good life right now. Sure, we refuse to buy her a cell phone or a lap top but that’s because she’s eleven years old, not because we don’t have the money for it.

I told her that we’re incredibly lucky to be living a life that allows us to provide her and her sister with all their basic needs and still have a little left over to occasionally buy them the things they want.

She started to argue that we never buy her anything she wants when I pointed to the combat boots she was wearing. She didn’t need those boots. She wanted them and I was able to get them for her.

I’m so incredibly thankful for this life we’re living. I never want to take for granted the privilege we live with. I know how lucky I am that I don’t worry about which bill to pay this week. I don’t have to put all the bills in a hat and draw to see whether we’ll have electricity or gas money this month.

Tom and I work hard but more than that, we’re very lucky to live in the place and time in which we live. We’re lucky to have the means to provide for our children while hopefully instilling in them the need to continue to better ourselves, to work harder for an even better life.

I did tell Alyssa that if we ever did win the lottery (really do need to start playing) her life wouldn’t change much but mine probably would. If we won the lottery, I could stop working. I could volunteer at her school and embarrass her every single day.

She stopped asking for a horse at that point and left the room in a huff.

I wonder if it was something I said.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Birthday Party

Olivia’s birthday happens to fall on Thanksgiving this year so we decided to throw her birthday party on Sunday, the 23rd just to avoid all the confusion of a party disguised as a Thanksgiving dinner.

We had it at Jungle George’s again this year. It was such a success last year that we couldn’t justify not doing it again.

There are so many great things about having a party somewhere that is not our house.

One: We don’t have to clean. Right now our house is a disaster because Tom put in new floors in the entry, hallway, kitchen and dining area. All the trim is currently off the walls in those areas because yes, I’m going to paint. I really, truly am. And so there is dust and crap everywhere and the door to the pantry is in the living room and the table is covered in the stuff that usually sits on the pantry floor and so yes, it would not have made sense to have a party at our house at this time.

Two: The location of JG’s is much closer to Tom’s sons’ houses than our house is. It’s about a half hour away from J and D as opposed to an hour and fifteen minutes, which means they can bring their kids to the party and we all get to see each other for a couple of hours.

Three: I don’t have to clean up after the party. I pay JG to pay people to do that. Everyone wins.

Four: The kids can run around like maniacs for a couple of hours and no one is worried about anything breaking. Again, everyone wins.

This year we invited sisters who are in A’s and O’s class, so they’d both have a friend there as well as their niece, nephews and cousins. It was great fun.

Olivia was in Frozen heaven with a new Elsa Barbie, a Kristoff doll, a pair of Frozen pajamas and a blanket with a scene from Frozen on it. So much Frozen!!

Do you want to build a snowman?


Of course we’ll still make a big deal of Miss O on her actual birthday but I think her party was a big success. She slept well that night, after all the driving to and from West Lafayette and then the enormous fun that is being the guest of honor at a birthday party.

Eight is going to be awesome!

Monday, November 24, 2014

That Time Mapquest Sucked

There’s this road in Indiana called the Hoosier Heartland Highway. It was created to take the place of Old 25. Whatever. That road sucks.

It sucks almost as much as mapquest sucks.

Those two things, the Hoosier Heartland Highway and mapquest conspired to turn what should have been a three hour drive into a four and a half hour drive for me and the girls this past Saturday. There are some funky roads in Indiana down around the Logansport area. Just saying.

And about that damned Hoosier Heartland Highway; would it kill the person in charge of roads to put up a few signs on that road? There is nothing there. Seriously…nothing. No signs telling you where you’re going and how far you have to go to get there. There are no gas stations, not signs of life whatsoever. It’s a horrible road. Well, except that it’s new and so the actual act of driving on it is fairly pleasant. But if you need to pee or ask for directions, forget about it.

It was just a really long day.

Thankfully, we left for the PUDM (Purdue University Dance Marathon) with plenty of time to spare so we made it to the opening ceremony and all was well but we were frazzled.

When we left the building the dance marathon was being held it was dark. I’ve driven from this particular building to the hotel quite a few times over the last few years but this time…was different.

I got turned around, I made a wrong turn, there was a freaking car that wouldn’t get off my tail and I’d had it.

I finally turned into a parking lot just to get away from the car behind me and get my bearing and that damned car turned in too! I parked so they could go around and guess what? The car that had been behind me parked right next to me. I was starting to freak the hell out when two women got out of the car and pranced away, obviously heading out for a night out. Ugh!!

So I still didn’t know where I was but needed to not be in that parking lot.

Alyssa and Olivia were trying to be helpful but yeah, they’re eleven and eight, so not so much navigators.

I found Grant Street, headed the way I thought the hotel would be, found a parking garage, started to pull in, realized I was trying to enter the exit, stopped myself from doing that, might have sworn and Olivia laughed at my attempt to enter the exit.

I found an alley. AN ALLEY with a road sign that said I was about to turn on to Grant Street. Yes! That’s where I needed to be. But which way did I need to go?

I rolled down my window (much to Alyssa’s discomfort) and called out to a male/female couple walking past. I asked them if they could tell me which direction I need to go to get to The Union. They pointed and told me it was a block away.

I turned in the direction they pointed and found myself at the intersection of State and Grant. Somehow, I’d gotten on the other side of State Street. I still don’t know how that happened. Ugh!

But alas, we made it to the hotel, Olivia took a bath and ate some cheddar bunnies, Alyssa took a shower and ate some blueberries.

I declared I should never, ever be allowed to drive again and watched a little Property Brothers before we all fell asleep.

Sadly, my self-imposed driving ban lasted about twelve hours before I had to get back in the car and go back to the dance marathon.

After two hours there, we got in the car AGAIN to drive back to Fort Wayne where we held Olivia’s birthday party at Jungle George’s. Great fun was had by all and there were no more driving mishaps.

We even managed to navigate the Hoosier Heartland Highway with no more frustrations. But that doesn’t make up for the fact that there are no road signs on that road. That needs to be addressed. For reals.

Friday, November 21, 2014


A few nights ago we were all sitting at the kitchen table finishing dinner when Tom noticed some ink on the table.

He glowered at me and the girls, wanting to know who’d written on the table.

Olivia said, “I didn’t. I was writing on paper and it went through the paper to the table.”

I assured him, “It will come off. It always does.”

He rolled his eyes at the implication that there is often ink on the table.

Whatever. I finished dinner and cleared the table.

The next night as I was washing dishes, Tom called from across the room, “You were right, the ink came right off the table.”

“Awesome,” I replied.

He continued, “I cleaned it off this morning.”

Ahhh. Okay. I got it. “I forgot to wipe it off last night, didn’t I?”

He nodded, “I kind of thought you wiped off the table every night.”

Ha! I actually did laugh at this. I asked him, “What gave you the idea that I did that?”

I looked around the house. Right now it’s pretty cluttered due to some home improvement stuff going on. We don’t live in filth but I could definitely be a better housekeeper.

My comment actually got a smile out of him.

We do our best but there are always places we could improve.

I keep telling him that if we don’t laugh at how similar we are to the Hecks from the tv show The Middle, we’ll cry.

I mean, we don’t have a hole where our kitchen sink should be, but there is definitely room for improvement when it comes to clutter. I’d say our house looks ‘lived in’ but that implies a sense of comfort and really, there are just piles of crap that need to be cleaned up more often than they are.

Soon. I promise. Right after I paint the family room, dining area, kitchen and entry way.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Can someone please save this little boy?

His name is Devine.

He needs a home. He's only seven years old. He needs the therapies that Olivia needed, he needs someone to take him home, to love him and to let him show them what he can do. Just like Olivia needed that.

I wish we were a family for whom adoption was an option. But we're not. But I know there are people out there, amazing people who are looking for an amazing child to bless them and their home. Do you know where his mommy is? Are you his mommy?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Potatoes

Ahh yes, the potatoes. Julie mentioned the giant mounds of shredded potatoes from our breakfast at Denny’s last Sunday. It was insane how many potatoes they piled onto each plate.

See, I don’t really eat potatoes, especially not for breakfast but Alyssa likes hash browns, thanks to my mom, who convinced Miss Picky Eater to try them a few months ago while at McD’s.

‘Hash browns’ are on the Denny’s menu. They come with almost everything on the breakfast menu. I don’t usually get them but I did this time because I figured Alyssa could eat them. I got her a side of bacon, one scrambled egg and a ‘hash brown’ of her own. Except Denny’s hash browns are not an oval of potatoes that come in a handy paper envelop the way McD’s hash browns do.

Denny’s hash browns are an enormous pile of shredded potatoes. Yes. Enormous.

So there were several piles of shredded potatoes among the six of us eating breakfast. Some of those piles did not get eaten because there were just so many.

Another thing I forgot to mention in the original post about our big, amazing weekend at IU was the cookie.

It was an enormous chocolate chip cookie with purple frosting spelling out Happy Birthday Olivia.

She loved it.

We decided to save the cookie for Tom. Olivia declared, “Daddy would love to eat this cookie with me.”

And she was right. He most certainly has loved eating that cookie with her. In fact, they’ve been eating that cookie for the last three nights.

Last night, Olivia got the piece of the cookie with the O. She was so excited. She looked at the cookie after Tom cut her portion out of it and told us, “Now it’s just Happy Birthday Livia.”

I asked her when she got so smart. She rolled her eyes and ate her O.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

We're All Tired

So, the last two nights have had Olivia sleeping all night long; in her own bed. I know! Wonders never cease.

Anyway, travel exhausts her and so she’s been sleeping well. But during our awake times, everyone in our house is cranky these days.

Tom is laying new flooring in our kitchen/dining/entry areas. He’s cranky.

The girls and I have traveled almost 500 miles in the past four days. We’re tired and cranky.

When we got home last night from my mom’s (I have to go there to watch the latest episode of The Walking Dead every Monday evening; Olivia takes a bath there while I watch, it keeps her from seeing the zombies and other crap an eight year old shouldn’t see) Tom was almost done with the floor for the night.

We both said a few things and he said, “Don’t get mad. Remember that we’re all tired.”

We said a few more things and I reminded him, “You can’t get mad. Remember, we’re all tired.”

And then we kissed and made up.

See, we’re lucky we are self-aware enough to be able to actually say things like that. Of course, there are times when we aren’t aware of how cranky we are and we just get pissy with each other.

But last night the tiredness wasn’t so great that we were overly mean to each other. Sometimes, reminding each other that we’re both tired is our way of saying, “I love you.” That and sometimes taking the girls from one room to the other so one of us can have a moment of peace and quiet. It’s the little things, I tell you.

Another sign I was tired was that I couldn’t even stay awake long enough to watch Scorpion last night.

It appears from this post alone that I watch a lot of television. It’s true. I do watch a lot and we don’t even have cable.

But even I, television addict that I am, can decide that I’m just too tired to watch. That’s when we know that it’s time for a time out for me. Or, you know, bed.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Giant Unicorn

That kind right there kind of describes our weekend. It was a giant unicorn kind of weekend.

My mom and I took the girls down to Bloomington to attend the Indiana University Dance Marathon.

It was amazing as usual.

This was the first year that Olivia was sponsored by a sorority. Let me say right here that every other sponsor (ie, the Alumni Association) has been wonderful and generous. But the girls of Delta Phi Epsilon went all out. They were generous beyond belief. They made this weekend more special than ever for both Olivia and Alyssa.

I have pondered over the years how hard is must be to be the typical sibling of a child with special needs, especially a child like Olivia, who’s special needs aren’t really that apparent. I worry that Alyssa feels lost in the shuffle that is our celebration of Olivia.

But the ladies of DPhiE made sure Alyssa felt as special as her sister this weekend.

When we walked into our hotel room on Friday night, we were greeted by a giant unicorn. As in, this thing is almost six feet long. It’s HUGE.

Olivia looked at it like it might pounce on her and eat her head. But Alyssa’s eyes widened, her face lit up and she pounced on the unicorn (which she names Sparkle Eunice) before it could pounce on Olivia. Olivia grinned as she watched Alyssa fall in love. Olivia then promptly forgot about the giant unicorn in the room and found the rest of the stuff that had been left for her. She found Chap Stick (one of her very favorite things) and nail polish (another of her faves). She found a Frozen coloring book and several candy bars. And not the little regular sized bars, oh no. The ladies of DPhiE gave her the GIANT candy bars, one Hershey Milk Chocolate bar and one Hershey Cookies and Cream bar. She was in sugar heaven. She also got some gummy bears and several other edible items.

But that wasn’t all.

When we arrived at the Tennis Center the next morning and there was more stuff! There was a sheet hanging on the wall with Olivia’s name and a unicorn. Olivia loves finding anything with her name on it. We got to take that sheet home with us and my mom plans to make a quilt out of it.

They had decorated an A and an O for the girls to hang in their room. Someone had painted a scene of Elsa which was beautiful.

There was also a two foot stuffed Olaf. I know! Again, Alyssa was so, so excited.

Olivia? She’s not so much into stuffed animals of any kind. But she sure loved watching her sister get all excited about those things.

She also got some feather boas. Craziness in such a good way.

We stayed many hours, told Olivia’s story on stage and then went home to sleep off the adrenalin buzz.

Olivia took three baths during our two nights/days at the hotel. I watched some HGTV and we messed around with her sleep number beds. Have I mentioned before that I hate sleep number beds? I’m sure they’re awesome for other people but I have never found a number that is comfortable for me. Seriously, never.

In the end, the only number that mattered was the 3.2 million dollars that IUDM raised for Riley Hospital for Children. How flipping amazing is that? They are changing the lives of children at Riley and the lives of those children’s parents and siblings.

We are so lucky to be a part of such a phenomenon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Too Tight!

Anyone who has done any research on 5p- Syndrome knows that people with 5p- are going to have issues with their speech.

Some of this research even says that afflicted people will be non-verbal. Period. As in, this syndrome takes away any and all ability to speak.

Parents of children with 5p- in this day and age will tell you that the research isn’t true. Some of our children can and do speak very well.

My daughter is one of those lucky kids who has found her voice and uses it often.

Just this morning when I was putting her shoes on her (almost always a production) she shrieked, “Too tight!!!”

I sighed and took the shoe off and loosened the laces before stuffing her foot back in.

But you know what? Instead of sighing at her, I should have thrown Olivia a damned party. My child, the one who isn’t supposed to be able to speak, at least according to research that is probably 40 years old, can tell me when something is uncomfortable. She can tell me when she is sick, what hurts, if something is bothering her.

She can tell me about her day at school, a time when I am not with her.

I worry so much about Olivia and the possibility of mistreatment. It is so easy for less than ethical people to victimize children like mine, children who often can’t tell anyone that someone is hurting them. But Olivia can tell, she can tell me if something is wrong, if something is happening that hurts her or makes her uncomfortable.

I know how lucky we are that this is the case. I am so grateful for this.

I can’t imagine not hearing her voice, not knowing every single though that goes through that beautiful brain of hers.

So even when we’re rushed in the mornings, trying to get everything done before the bus arrived, I want to take a moment and bask in the sound of her beautiful voice, her words, her thoughts, even if she is shrieking at me that her shoe is too tight or that I’m ‘killing’ her as I brush the tangles from her hair or even that the shirt I picked for her to wear is too boring.

How amazing is it that this morning she asked me why I’d picked out a boring shirt instead of a tunic? I didn’t even know she knew the word tunic. She probably heard it from someone at school and used context to figure out the meaning. But however she worked it out, this morning she used the word properly as she scolded me for not picking out a tunic and instead picking a boring shirt that ended at her hips instead of skimming over them.

She’s always listening, always learning, always taking in the happenings of her world. She’s always putting her own spin on what she’s seeing, hearing, learning and then she puts back into the world for the rest of us to appreciate her brilliance and wonder at her awesomeness.

Monday, November 10, 2014


Last Friday was my birthday. After renewing my driver’s license I was able to go to lunch with Olivia. She’s always so excited when I can join her for lunch. I’m so lucky to be able to do this every so often. I’m sure her teacher appreciated the extra time after the regular lunch time when she’s usually with Olivia coaxing her to eat some of her lunch.

After lunch, I went to my mom’s house where she surprised me with a new sewing machine. I know! So exciting. Now I can actually sew stuff myself. Let me tell you how excited I was when I managed to thread my first bobbin and then thread the needle for the first time.

Those first two pieces of material that got sewn together will always be special. I hope to gain enough momentum to sew some pajama pants for the girls for Christmas this year.

I picked the girls up from school, fed them dinner and then my mom, Alyssa and I went to a movie. It was fun.

So here I am. Forty-four as of Friday. And you know what? My forties have been pretty great. I feel so lucky to be where I am right now. I’m working on getting comfortable in my own skin, whatever that means. I’m learning from my girls every single day and that is such a blessing.

And get this…after over eleven years of marriage, my husband and I still like each other most days. I know! That’s pretty awesome if you ask me. Love? That's kind of a given, but actually liking each other? That takes work.

So yeah. Forty-four.

Four is my favorite number (yes, I have a favorite number ,what of it?) So I figure that the year I have two fours in my age must go down as being the best year yet.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Being Heard

So there is something that I do that drives my husband crazy. And I’m trying to figure out how to stop doing it because I understand why it bothers him. But it’s so, so hard to fix it when you’re the mom.

Example: This morning, I asked Tom if it was raining. Before he could even answer, or perhaps as he was answering, I was yelling at the girls to stop pestering each other.

He got all pouty because I didn’t listen to his answer to a question I asked.

I know. I can’t help it.

Sometimes, he’ll be talking to me and I’ll actually be listening. But then one of the girls (or, more often than not, both of them) will call out to me and I’ll stop listening to Tom so I can listen to them.

This makes him pouty too.

I get it. I really do. I understand how frustrating it must be to be talking to your spouse and have them stop listening in the middle of your sentence because the children have suddenly become more important.

But see, the thing is, they sort of are more important. At least, they are right this second. They’re needs are usually pretty immediate.

Here’s another thing, I’m the most important person in the house to all three of them. I don’t say that with conceit so much as with a sense of being overwhelmed. When any one of them has something to say, they want to say it to me. When they have big news, I’m the first they want to tell. I’m lucky that way. But I’m also only one person and when three people, two of whom are children, are vying for my attention, someone has to get the short straw. And more often than not, it’s Tom.

And he’s the adult, he can wait.

Except when he can’t. Because it really isn’t fair for him to always be last on the priority list. I know this and I’m working on it. I really am, even if he sometimes can’t tell.

I’m not sure he sees the times when he’s talking to me and one of the girls will come up and start to talk, at which point, I put up a finger to shush and stall her and continue to listen to my husband.

Because he has things to say, important things, things that he deserves to have heard by his loyal and dutiful wife. Or, you know, me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Baby

Tom asked me this morning if Olivia is really going to be eight this month.

Yes. Yes, she is really going to be eight years old this month.

He expressed his surprise at this confirmation. Not because we wonder where the time has gone. We’ve definitely been here, present, all these years and while, sure, they’ve flown by, I can also see the lines of every single one of those eight years on my face.

Instead, the reason it seems so outrageous that our baby is almost eight years old is because, well, she’s still such a baby in so many ways.

See, Olivia is really easy to baby. She’s got this delicate, baby-like air too her. She seems to fragile even though she’s not really. She’s sweet, sassy and loves to have others take care of her.

Yeah, we’re a couple of suckers, is what I’m saying.

Here’s the thing…Tom or I still feed Olivia her meals at home.

At Gram’s house, Olivia feeds herself perfectly well. But at home, when we sit down to eat, Olivia will look at her plate, look at me, look back her plate and say, “What about feed me?”

And yes, it’s a cleaner process for either me or Tom to shovel the food into her mouth.

So our eight year old is still very much our baby. And it’s our fault.

We’re not doing her any favors at all by doing this. I know this. I also know that we need to just get over the issue of the mess and just make her feed herself.

And we will…on November 28, when she’s really and truly eight years old.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Alyssa is on a hug fest these days. She’s almost constantly asking for hugs.

I stop whatever I’m doing each time she asks for a hug and I hug her.

I told Tom this morning that he needs to do the same.

Yes, she asks for hugs at inopportune times but these hugs mean something. I think they’re her way to making sure she’s important enough to us that we’ll give them no matter what else is going on.

I get it. She’s at an age where she can feel herself pull away from us and that’s scary.

I took her to a Halloween party last weekend. She’s been to this friend’s house a few times, to other Halloween parties, in fact. When I took her when she was in second and third grades, I stayed at the party. We missed the last two years’ parties and so this year, when I called to RSVP, the friend’s mom let me know that I was welcome to stay if I wanted.

I laughed, thanks her and said, “I think Alyssa’s at an age where she actually wants me to leave.”

And she is.

Except when she isn’t.

She wants to be all independent and tough and awesome but in some ways she’s still my little girl, my child who still needs hugs from her parents.

I reminded Tom this morning that as her father, he needs to give Alyssa appropriate male affection because if he doesn’t, she could very well go looking for male affection and it probably won’t be appropriate.

He looked skeptical but then appeared to agree. We’ll see.

My girl is at a tough stage and it’s only going to get tougher but she’s smart, and she’s logical (when she’s not overly-emotional.) She’s also willing to talk to me when things are bothering her, a thing I do not take for granted. I know how lucky I am to be this girl’s mom. I just hope I don’t screw it up too much.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Already Behind

So we’re heading into our busy season. I should probably but the word busy in quotes because compared to other families (I’m looking at you, Julie and Riley) we’re not really all that busy but compared to our own, more sedate schedule, the coming months are going to be busy.

And here I am, already behind on the laundry and dirt patrol of our house.

Last weekend we were only gone one day and things got away from me.

This coming weekend should be okay, Alyssa has a party on Saturday but it’s only a few miles away and I can drop her off and pick her up instead of staying with her like I did when she was in second grade (can you say hover?)

Next weekend is my birthday. Yay me!! But it should also be fairly easy to stay on top of our weekend chores.

The weekend after that the girls and I will leave on Friday afternoon (I’ll pick them up from school) and we’re head to Bloomington for the IU dance marathon. We’ll be gone until Sunday afternoon. Guess what the laundry will be doing? Accumulating. I know, so sad.

The weekend after that, we leave on Saturday morning for West Lafayette for the Purdue dance marathon. We’ll come home on Sunday but before we can actually come home, we’ll stop in Fort Wayne for O’s birthday party. Yay her!! Tom will meet us there along with all her little guests. Fun.

The following weekend is Thanksgiving and O’s actual birthday. We usually put the Christmas tree up on the Friday or Saturday following Thanksgiving, so that’ll be fun and messy. But still fun.

Then it’s December and the real fun begins.

I don’t know when the laundry is going to get done. Or the carpets will be vacuumed, or the floor swept. But fun will be had and memories will be made. In the end, that’s all the counts.



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I Worry and Worry and Worry

When Alyssa was younger, I worried so much about how having a sister with a rare syndrome would affect her. I worried that Olivia was so needy at times that Alyssa was being pushed aside, her needs neglected because her sister’s needs seemed greater.

I worried that Alyssa would feel as if her sister received preferential treatment, that Alyssa would feel like she’d been pushed aside as her sister was celebrated and treated with tenderness.

I worried that they wouldn’t have a good relationship because what if Olivia couldn’t relate the way Alyssa needed her to. I worried that Olivia’s status as a child with special needs would push Alyssa to the background and make her feel invisible.

I worried that I could never be enough for both of them, that they’d both always need more from me than I could give. I worried that when I was doing something for one of them, the other would feel neglected or less loved.

I worried and worried and worried.

And they just kept growing and doing and learning and becoming these amazing people that I love so, so much.

Olivia is still kind of needy at times, but Alyssa has developed a maturity that allows her to wait until Olivia’s needs (or wants, yikes!) are met and then she voices her needs reasonably and I do my best to meet them.

At eleven years old, Alyssa is very capable of doing a lot of things for herself. She packs her own lunch each day, she showers without help, she folds towels and clears the table. She does her homework with minimal help and she knows what she needs to take to school each day and does it.

But each evening, after I’ve read to Olivia and settled her to sleep, Alyssa will call out, “I miss you.”

And that’s my cue to go sit with her. Sometimes she sits with her feet across my lap, other times she just leans against me. She even likes to lay with her head in my lap sometimes. I love this quiet time with her, time when we’re both a little sleepy but still totally there with each other. We talk about the day, about her classmates/friends, sometimes about what’s happening on whatever we happen to be watching on television. We laugh, we tease, we connect.

I watched my girls together and realize that I should never have worried about their relationship. They love each other so much. They also know exactly how to push each other’s buttons. They’re sisters, they fight, they laugh, they tease, they team up against the parents and I am so grateful for it all.

Will this stop me from finding new things to worry about? Probably not, but it helps to keep the worry in perspective.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When the Doctor Listens

Alyssa has had the sniffles for about four days. Olivia told me on Sunday evening that her ear hurt. I noted the date just in case we ended up at the doctor later in the week and I had to report when her symptoms started.

When I got home last night, I found Olivia curled in the recliner, a blanket covering her. I kissed her forehead and found it hot to the touch. Alyssa insisted on taking O’s temperature and reported that it was 101.2.

I went out to find Tom, who was on scaffolding with her brother, putting siding on our detached garage. Yeah.

I told him I was taking O to Urgent Care. He asked why. I explained her fever, her sniffles, her ear pain from the night before.

I told him, “I can either take her today or you can bring her in on Wednesday afternoon when she’s suddenly worse.”

He nodded that taking her to the doctor right then was the right decision.

I packed Olivia and Alyssa up, made a stop at my mom’s to drop Alyssa off (the power was out at our house, she would have been stuck inside a dark house while Tom worked outside) and then O and I made our way to Urgent Care.

After a 45 minute wait in the waiting room and a half hour wait in the examination room, the doctor finally came in to look at her.

She examined O’s ears, listened to her heart and lungs and then let me talk a little bit about O’s history.

She finally said, “If this were a typical child, I’d probably tell you she’s got a virus and send you on your way. But you know her better than anyone and if you think she’s just going to keep getting worse, I’ll write you a prescription for an antibiotic. You can wait a few days to start giving her the medicine to see if she kicks this herself but from your description, that’s not going to happen.”

The clouds parted and the angels sang as the miracle of a medical doctor actually listening to a parent, taking that parent’s knowledge of her child into account and admitting that she might not know that child as well as the parent does sank in.

I was amazed that she was so willing to take Olivia’s history into account instead of just looking at her clear ears, her deep, non-raspy breaths and her steady heartbeat. She acknowledged that we’d been down this road before and my knowledge of my child and her health trumped the symptoms of the moment.

There are doctors out there who care about the people they’re seeing. We met one when Olivia was two and a half and we met another last night. I was so, so grateful to this doctor who looked at my child and saw not just another number to get in and out the door. She saw a little girl who has a mom who knows her very well. She saw a child with a rare syndrome (this doctor had never before seen a person with 5p- syndrome) and acknowledged that perhaps, as the mother of this child, I just might actually know more about her and her syndrome than the doctor herself did, since I live with Olivia and how 5p- affects her.

I gratefully took my child and that prescription home. I didn’t fill it last night. I decided to go ahead and wait.

This morning, Olivia spent the day with her Gram and I took her prescription to the pharmacy. Her fever was lower this morning, but still there. She was full of pep and energy but when she breathed near me, I could smell the sickness in her. We’re starting the antibiotics this evening.

Monday, October 27, 2014

I'm the One Who Fell in the Lake

My grandma turned 89 this past weekend. We drove up to Battle Creek, MI to celebrate with her. We, this time, is not the royal we so much as all of my grandma’s living children and their children and their children’s children.

Yeah, there were a lot of us in my aunt’s house, is what I’m saying.

My aunt’s house is on a lake. Okay, so it’s not ON the lake, but the backdoor opens and if you take about ten steps out onto her deck, you’re almost IN the lake. So yeah, there was water right there, water that little girls were yearning to throw sticks and rocks into.

I took the girls out to ‘look at the lake’ a little while after we arrived. Jaxon, my nephew, wasn’t there yet so the girls played with sticks, tossed fallen leaves into the water, and just enjoyed a very mild October day in southern Michigan.

Before we left that morning, Olivia asked to wear her Elsa dress to the party. I figured, what the heck, she’s already been trick or treating (yes, our town had trick or treating on October 25. Why? I don’t know, they’re stupid, I guess) and so I let her wear it.

I did take extra clothes, though, just in case she wanted to change at some point in the day.

We got there, the dress and hair caused exclamations of joy and delight, the water was appreciated, lunch was eaten, Olivia decided she wanted to change out of her dress and into the warm pants and shirt I’d brought for her and then…Jaxon showed up.

The girls wanted to show him the water. Olivia kept telling Jaxon that Alyssa was going to throw him in the water. Then she’d laugh like a maniac and tell him she was just kidding, that Lyss wasn’t actually going to do that.

Out we went to toss more sticks and rocks into the water.

My aunt’s deck is built up to a sea wall which has a step about three feet down. That step is about two inches above the water. Last summer, when the lake was higher, the step was actually under water by about two or three inches.

Olivia had climbed that sea wall countless times earlier in the day with no trouble at all. She refused help from me whenever I offered it. She was fine with climbing up and down, thank you very much.

I watched her climb up to get another stick and then, I watched her start to climb back down the three foot step. I watched her slip and tumble. I watched her roll across the step and plop right into the water.

I was about six feet away from her when she started slipping. I was stepped down off the sea wall and onto the step when she made her first splash into the water. I was pulling her out of the water before she even had time to stand up in the eighteen inches of water that lapped against the step.

She shivered and said, “My shoes are full of water.”

I put her on the sea wall and then onto the deck and told her, “Baby, your entire body is soaked, not just your shoes!”

But she couldn’t stand those wet shoes on her feet. While my cousin Aaron went to get her a towel, I took her shoes off and poured the water out of them. When the towel arrived, I helped her out of her clothes and into the house, where we dried her off, put her clothes into the washer and put her dress back on.

She declared, “I’m not wearing any underwear!”

I told her that if she didn’t tell anyone, no one would know. She giggled.

We waited for the wash cycle to be done with her clothes and it was time to go home. Her shoes were still soaked so she had to be carried to the car.

Alyssa was not amused by this entire spectacle. She kept saying, “I’m the one who has a bad cold, why is she the one being carried?”

Liv would answer, “Well, I’m the one who fell in the lake.”

By the fifth time this answer came, Lyss was over it.

When asked if falling in the lake was kind of fun, Olivia nodded with a sly grin. If I hadn’t been there to see it happen I might have thought she’d done it on purpose.

When we got home the first thing Olivia told Tom was, “I’m not wearing any underwear because I fell in the lake.”

Alyssa’s eyes might have rolled out of her head if they weren’t stuck in there from all the snot in the poor girl’s sinuses. You’re welcome for that image.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Plain Old Boring Shirt

I lay out Olivia’s clothes for the entire week every Sunday afternoon. This is a left over habit from when I was packing for myself and the girls each weekend when we had our nightmare commute.

It just really makes things easier to already have clothes laid out. No arguing, no thought, just grab the next outfit and make it work.

Except, this morning, I started to put a black and white striped shirt on Olivia and she groaned, “Why do I have to wear a plain old boring shirt?”

I thought this was a reasonable question so I said, “I guess you don’t. We can go pick out a different shirt if you want.”

She didn’t actually want. She wanted to sit in front of the space heater while I went and picked out a different shirt. Thank you very much, the end. Except not the end. As I left the bathroom, where she sat in her black pants in front of the space heater, she ordered, “Get me a shirt with a picture on it.”

Aye, aye, Captain!

As bratty as it sounds here, it was actually fairly amusing this morning. She’s just such a girlie girl, so very much all about being pretty and presentable.

I picked another black and white striped shirt, but this one had glittery red letters that spelled out, “Love to Shine.” She was thrilled with this pick and agreed to finish getting dressed.

There is one thing about Olivia that can be counted on and that’s the fact that she believes in the motto, “The fancier the better.”

And I love that about her. She notices everything fancy. I can count on her noticing if I wear earrings because, well, I rarely wear them so when I do, she’s the first to see them and mention how pretty they are. She’d wear lipstick every single day if we let her (we do not.)

Each morning she asks me how I’m doing to do her hair that day, hoping for some sparkle or fanciness to dress up her day.

I hope she never changes this about herself. I hope she always finds joy in glitter and rainbows.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Shaking Things Up

When I got home from work yesterday evening Tom informed me that the girls wouldn’t be hungry for dinner at the usual time. He’d waited to feed them snacks after school and so they needed a little time before dinner.

“Okay,” I said. “We’ll just go up now for Liv’s bath instead of waiting until after dinner.”

Olivia was thrilled with this shake up. She loves bath time and is always willing to change up the schedule if it means bath time is now instead of later.

Alyssa joined us in the bathroom, which was unusual. She’s usually either outside with Tom or on her tablet. But this time, she got out her horses and played with them in Olivia’s bathwater while I folded towels.

Olivia loved the extra attention she got from her sister so much she ended up soaking Alyssa and the bath rug. But a little water never hurt anything and fun was had by all. A lot of water? That can do some serious damaged but a soggy rug wasn’t anything to get annoyed over.

After O’s bath, Alyssa figured since she was already wet, she’d shower before dinner.

In the end, dinner was only about a half hour later than usual and it was lovely knowing that bath and shower were out of the way for the evening.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to shake things up.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Every Kid

I ‘shared’ something on Facebook this weekend that was so awesome. It is something I’d like to print out and hand to every single ‘well –well meaning’ adult I encounter with my kids.

Most especially, I’d like to print it out and hand it to the librarian at our local library who is constantly trying to get my girls to talk to her. You know the one? The one who will stoop down and point to her eyes, telling Olivia, “I’m speaking to you. Not your mom.”

This woman is so sure that my kids are spoiled brats that just need to be taught manners. She has no clue what Olivia has overcome just to speak to me. She has no clue that there are doctors who said my child would never speak at all so her ability to talk to those she’s most comfortable around is a miracle. The fact that she doesn’t talk to a woman she sees every few weeks does not indicate brattiness on O’s (or A’s) part but instead a shyness that is difficult to overcome.

Ahem. Sorry, that woman just makes me crazy with frustration. The girls have gotten to the point of pretending to look at CDs while I check out the books if that particular librarian is working the check out desk.

Why do they have to change their behavior because she’s so rude?

Anyway, the post I shared said this:

And I love it. I love that it points out that just because a child doesn’t react the way someone thinks they SHOULD, the child isn’t necessarily being rude or hasn’t been taught manners.

We’re doing the best we can around here. Olivia is absolutely doing the best she can.

This weekend, Alyssa has a friend over. Olivia TALKED TO that friend. She didn’t ever say S’s name but she did speak directly to her, calling her “Lyssie’s friend” whenever she wanted to get S’s attention. Last year O would only speak to A’s friends by talking through either me or Alyssa. Now? She’s talking TO them. This is awesome. It’s a step. We’ll get there, and we’ll do it much faster if nosy librarian’s would mind their own business and just check out my damned books.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Feeling the Love

My mom dropped O’s Halloween dress this week. Big surprise, she wants to be Elsa for Halloween. She and the rest of the under 10 girls (and probably some boys, no judgment here) in the U.S.

The dress turned out beautiful. My mom said it was the hardest thing she’s ever sewn in her life. And my mom has had quite a bit of sewing experience.

Olivia loves it. She loves it so, so much.

When she tried it on she twirled and danced around the room, declaring, “I feel so beautiful! And magical.”

Then she tried to freeze her sister because, well, duh, that’s what Elsa did. Though Elsa’s freezing of Anna was accidental, I quickly reminded Olivia. She giggled and went back to spinning.

Later, after O’s Gram had left and Alyssa peeled herself off the floor to which she’d fallen, bereft that Gram had to leave at all, I helped Olivia out of her beautiful dress and into her pajamas. She settled in to bed, waiting to be tucked in. I leaned in to kiss her and she looked dreamily into my eyes.

She then said, “I feel so loved.”

Awww, my heart might have burst into a million pieces right there.

I told her, “You are very loved. I’m so glad you can feel it.”

“I do,” she nodded. “I know I am loved because I have a Gram who makes me beautiful dresses and a mom who reads to me and a dad who feeds me breakfast every day.”

That girl. She surprises me every single day. She is so loved, adored, cherished. I’m so, so glad she feels it and can articulate those feelings.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Conference Time

It’s that time of year again. I got the form in O’s folder to schedule conferences to meet with the girls’ teachers.

I debated whether or not to even bother meeting Alyssa’s teacher. These poor souls sit there and try to come up with constructive criticism to make it worth us even meeting. In fourth grade, A’s teacher told me that Alyssa could work on her handwriting. Her handwriting. That was her biggest complaint about Alyssa.

Last year, the teacher didn’t even bother coming up with a complaint. She said, “I wish I had twenty more kids just like her. My days would be perfect.”

It’s nice to hear.

Tom often says he doesn’t believe she’s that good at school because she gives him a lot (A LOT) of attitude at home. But I believe it.

I believe it because I was that kid in school. If there were rules, I obeyed them. If there were kids who didn’t have friends, I played with them at recess. But at home I was meaner than shit to my brother. I was rude and obnoxious to my grandmother. I was safe at home and so I let my rage fly.

At school, I kept it together, I did everything that was expected from a ‘good’ kid.

Alyssa’s the same way. She holds it together at school and when she gets home, her stress can be freed. And poor Tom gets the brunt of it. I’m working on both of them to figure out how they can communicate with each other a bit more constructively.

So why do I meet with Alyssa’s teacher? Because I’m that mom. I want to know how she’s doing even if I’m pretty sure she’s doing well. I also want to show her teacher that I’m involved, that I’m there, I’m part of the team and I am supporting my child’s education. Yes, I care what the school thinks of me. I can’t help it.

Olivia’s teacher has been great about communicating with me all year already so there shouldn’t be any surprises during our meeting but I’m going to that one too.

I want to hear her say to my face that Olivia has come REALLY far this year. I want to be able to share with her how much I appreciate ALL that she’s doing and will do for Olivia. O’s growth, both social and academic, is astounding this year. And I feel like it’s all because of Mrs. A and how she’s connected with Olivia. I want her to know that I see that and it means the world to me.

Yes, conferences can be stressful but they can also be very informative and they’re a tool to helping my girls make the most of their time at school.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Frog People

I was probably about six years old when I started dreaming about the frog people. My cousin Chet and I would be on an island where we were being chased by frog people. That’s the best way I have to describe the things that were chasing us. They had green skin, looked like frogs and wore cloth diaper-esque clothing over their privates. They carried spears and laughed as they chased us.

We’d always make it to the edge of the island, where we could see another landmass across the water. On that other shore stood our mothers and siblings, waving to us, calling out to us to make our way to them.

I had this dream many times as a child. I convinced myself that if I slept on the outside of a bed, rather than against a wall, I’d have the dream. I was also sure that if I slept holding my mom’s hand, I wouldn’t have the dream.

I mention this because we had five whole days in a row of Olivia sleeping through the night, in her own bed and it was awesome. Seriously, those who are not chronically sleep deprived do not have a clue as to how amazing it is to sleep five whole nights, IN A ROW, without someone, anyone waking them up even once.

So yeah, she’s slept well for the past week or so. Except the night before last, when she woke up at 11:30 to join me in my bed after she had to potty. I know, I should be happy she’s waking up to pee at night, right? Okay, I am. Sort of.

Last night, though, Olivia started in my bed, and again, she slept all night long with nary a peep.

As I drifted off to sleep, I remembered the comfort of my mom’s hand when I was Olivia’s age. I wondered if my mom often felt the same frustration and exhaustion when she dealt with me and my frog people.

I realized how amazingly patient my mom was. How I never knew if she was exasperated with my need to hold her hand as I fell asleep.

And I vowed to be a little more patient with Olivia on the nights she starts in my bed and even the nights she wakes me up and ends in my bed. She could have her own version of frog people dreams, dreams that haunt her, that freak her out, that make her need my nearness.

If I’m able to be half the comfort to my sweet girl that my mom was to me, my job is absolutely worth the almost eight years of sleeplessness I’ve experienced.

Monday, October 13, 2014

One Last Day at the Park

The weekend before last, Alyssa asked on Sunday afternoon at about 4:30 if we could go to the park. I glanced at the clock and told her it was a little late in the day to do something like that, that dinner was going to need to be started soon, baths/showers needed to happen, blah blah blah.

I told her that the next nice weekend that occurred during which we didn’t have a bunch of other stuff to do, we’d go to the park. (Our weekends are filling up as we get closer to the holidays.)

On Saturday, we had to go to Huntington to a baby shower for Tom’s youngest son and his wife (the son’s wife, not Tom’s wife. Duh.) We left home at 11:00 that morning and got home at about 8:30 that evening. Yeah, long day. No park for us even though the weather was absolutely wonderful.

Yesterday morning, the first thing Olivia asked when we got up for the day was if we could go to the park.

I looked outside, was a blustery wind blowing and told her that if it warmed up, we’d go.

She watched the wind all day, wishing it away and hoping the sun was doing its job of warming up the air outside.

At 2:00, Tom came in, watched his favorite tv show (the weather channel) and said that if we were going to go to the park, we should probably do it in the next hour or so.

Alyssa raced to get dressed, Olivia let me put some annoying socks on her poor little Rapunzel feet and off we went.

We ended up spending over an hour at the park, first dodging what Alyssa called annoying seventh graders and an even more annoying classmate of hers. We had the park to ourselves for most of the hour, running, swinging, falling off the teeter totter, sliding down slides, climbing back up slides and pretending we were a wolf pack and one of the climbing areas was our den.

After the park we went to the local dairy treat and were happy to see that we’d made it for their last day of business for the season. The girls enjoyed their ice cream even though Olivia had to eat it with a sore knee. She tripped right outside the Dairy Treat and had to be carried to a table where her ice cream was delivered to her by a concerned sister.

It felt good to be outside, enjoying what is left of the sun as it weakens with each passing day into winter. The girls needed the fresh air (so did I) and the exercise. I love having these moments in time when memories are being made, when moments are being taken to just be together, to enjoy each other, to remember that we actually like each other as much as we love each other.

Friday, October 10, 2014

When One Becomes Five

About a week ago, I had my annual physical with my OB/GYN. I know, TMI. But it pertains to this story.

While speaking with the nurse practitioner, I asked about getting Alyssa the HPV vaccination. Ginger, the nurse practitioner (not her real name but very similar to her real name, which is even weirder than Ginger, just saying) said that their office doesn’t administer the vaccine but that our family doctor, who happens to be in the same office area does.

She also emphasized that it is very important to get the three shots that give this vaccination before a girl (or boy, boys are encouraged to be vaccinated to…end PSA.) is sexually active. I told Ginger that Alyssa is eleven a couple of times but she kept coming back to the emphasis that it needs to happen before sexual activity. Yeah, I finally said. I know, which is why I’m asking about it now, when sexual activity is the last thing on her mind. She’s ELEVEN and still thinks boys are gross, thank you Lord!

So I made the appointment with our family doctor.

I gave Alyssa a heads up about a week ago, letting her know she had to go in and get a shot because it was in the best interest of her health.

She wasn’t happy with me but got over it pretty fast. MY girls are pretty cool about this kind of thing. They understand that sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do because it’s for our own good.

The morning arrived and Tom gleefully reminded Alyssa that he’d be bringing her to town that afternoon so I could take her to the doctor to get her shot.

She frowned at him as only a preteen girl can frown at someone and went about her day.

I left work about a half hour early, met Tom and the girls at O’s eye doctor to get her glasses bent a little to fit her face better.

Then we headed off to our family doctor where Alyssa was all ready to get her shot.

Except…we were ushered into the consult room where the nurse looked over Alyssa’s records and informed us that Alyssa was behind on a couple of other vaccinations and did I want to just get them done today?

She told me that in Indiana all sixth grade students need to be vaccinated against Tetanus and Meningococcal.

Alyssa’s eyes widened and I saw that she was fighting tears. As the nurse spoke, her face got more and more tense.

“So we’re talking about to three shots at this point?” I asked, giving Alyssa my most sympathetic look

The nurse said, “I’m not done. She’s also due for an MMR booster and her HepA booster.”

Alyssa made a choking sound. “Five?” she said, incredulous at this news.

I mean, seriously. Can you blame her? The poor kid has herself all pumped up to receive on shot and she’s hearing this nurse tell her she needs five.

“I’m sorry,” the nurse was kind enough to say. “But yes. Five.”

I asked, “Is there any reason we shouldn’t give her all five today? Is it bad for her to have all of them at once?”

The nurse told us that there was no reason not to give her all the shots that day. They wouldn’t interact, she’s young and strong. It was better to get it all over with.

Alyssa maintained her composure, not even a single tear made its way out of her eyes.

The nurse left for a few minutes and then came back with reinforcement. She’d brought another nurse with her so that they could do the shots together.

She got two shots in her right arm and three in her left. She remained calm and barely flinched with each of the five shots.

And get this. When we left the doctor’s office, Alyssa was kind enough to tell me that she didn’t blame me for allowing this to happen. She blamed the nurse for bringing the awful news about needing all five shots.

Then, in her graceful way, she admitted that now that it was all over, she was glad we’d gone ahead and done it all at once instead of spacing them out over the next few weeks.

I didn’t have the heart to remind her that we’ll be back in a month and then again in six months for the next two HPV shots. That reminder will come soon enough.

Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do because it’s for the greater good. This time, it was for Alyssa’s greater good. Even she understood that.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

New Normal

A new mom posted on the 5p- support page on Facebook last night. Her one month old daughter has been diagnosed with Cri du Chat.

This mom is devastated. She’s crushed that her child has received this diagnosis. She’s saddened by what she feels is the loss of all the dreams she had for her daughter, the loss of the child she thought she was having.

I get it. I get that feeling of loss, that feeling of sadness, that worry about the health of her baby.

But I didn’t say that when I responded to her post. Instead, I told her that she’d find new dreams, that with therapies and lots of love, her daughter would show the world how amazing she could be.

I also posted a picture of Olivia. I couldn’t resist.

I go all Pollyanna and often think that if parents of brand new babies just diagnosed with 5p- syndrome could just see Olivia, hear her voice, watching her run and dance and join her in a moment of laughter, all the sadness they’re feeling will melt away.

I know that seeing how awesome my child is won’t necessarily erase the fears and sadness new parents feel as they start the journey of parenting a child with special needs but I do think that if they can see someone (like us) a little farther down the path than they currently are, if they can see us living and loving and laughing and experiencing joy and hope and happiness, it might bring them at least a little comfort, the idea that maybe this new normal they’re facing isn’t all gloom and doom.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Stories from First Grade

The other night, Olivia was full of energy and sass.

She’d had quite a day at school and seemed eager to tell us all about it.

“Today we had some third graders in our class,” she said. “One of them was crying and so the rest of us went to the sensory room to have a snack.”

“Did you guys leave the third grader alone in the classroom?” I asked.

“No,” she said, reaching for a pen with which to doodle. She tells some of her best stories while she doodles. “A teacher stayed with the third grader. I think the third grader was throwing a fit.”

“That poor third grader,” I commented. “She must have been having a bad day.”

“A really bad day,” Olivia agreed.

Olivia’s teacher is the special education teacher and is certified to work with kindergarteners through third graders. I love this teacher and hope that Olivia gets to work with her for as long as O needs to do so, up to and including third grade. Mrs. A has brought Olivia so far already this year.

Late that evening, Olivia asked me, “Do you know the Macarena?”

I smiled and said that I did know the Macarena.

She asked me to do it with her, but to a new song.

So as she sang the months of the year, we danced the Macarena together. It was awesome.

She informed me, “We can also do the Macarena while singing the days of the week.”

Good to know.

The sponge that is Olivia’s brain is soaking everything in these days. Her handwriting has improved immensely from last year to this year. It’s like she’s grown three years in just a couple of months.

This is the year we actually get to hear stories from Olivia herself about what happens during the school day. She tells us about what her teacher wore that day, to which students might have talked to her. She laughs at jokes she heard during the day and retells when she gets home.

Last night as I was washing dishes after dinner, I heard Alyssa and Olivia in the living room. Olivia was reading a book to Alyssa. Yes, that’s not a typo. OLIVIA was reading to Alyssa. It was so, so great. She put emotion into the words she was reading aloud to her sister. They giggled and shared glances as Olivia read the story.

It was a beautiful moment, one out of so many we get to enjoy these days.

Like Olivia, I’m soaking it all in, marveling at how lucky we truly are to all have each other in this moment in time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What Does It Mean?

I am part of a pretty amazing community on Facebook for parents, siblings, teachers, grandparents, anyone who loves someone with 5p- syndrome.

I read the celebrations and pride in parents’ voices as their kids do things doctors told them their children would never do.

I read the prayer requests as children are hospitalized or having procedures done to help them live a better, more comfortable life.

I read it all and I watch my girl run and flip and dance and stomp around in plastic high heels, laughing as her sister tackles her to the ground.

This past weekend, I was reading one such post and Alyssa came up behind me. She read what I was reading and asked why I was reading about it.

I told her that the child I was reading about had the same syndrome that Olivia has.

Alyssa looked over at Olivia, who was reading quietly for once.

I could see the confusion on A’s face. I said, “You know she has 5p- syndrome, right?”

She nodded. I’d told her about O’s syndrome over the years, explaining it as simply as possible in the beginning, getting more specific as they both got older.

Alyssa finally said, “I know she has it what does it mean?”

What does it mean? That was a really good question. As far as Alyssa is concerned, Olivia is a little sister just like every other little sister out there. She pushes buttons, she irritates her big sister, she gets into her things and makes messes. She gets her big sister in trouble by crying out when they’re ‘playing.’

I told her, “For Olivia, it means she needs a little extra help when it comes to a few things. Remember that she didn’t walk right away the way Jaxon did? Remember that she didn’t talk as soon as he did?”

Alyssa nodded, taking it all in.

I continued, “It means she’s a little weaker, that’s because of low muscle tone, which means her muscles don’t have the strength yours do. She can make them stronger, though, by eating right and exercising. It means when she gets a cold it takes her a little longer to kick it than it takes your or me.”

Alyssa was listening intently, glancing over at her sister every so often and then back at the computer screen where a sick child’s picture caught her attention.

“But she’s not sickly, Mom,” Alyssa told me.

“We got lucky with Liv,” I replied. “You’re right, she’s not sickly. She’s remarkably healthy. She’s never needed a feeding tube or surgery of any kind. She does well with therapies and we have great teachers working with her. And…she has you. You’re the best teacher and therapist she’s ever going to have. She thinks you’re the best, most amazing person in the whole world. She wants to be just like you.”

Alyssa beamed. I’ve told her these things before but I don’t know if she’s ever really gotten it before.

For us, 5p- doesn’t really change anything. We think Olivia’s pretty great and we know how lucky we are that she’s so healthy. She’s strong, she’s incredibly smart and she’s getting sassier every single day.

What does it mean? It means we celebrate the milestones a little more, we grasp those miracles and hold them a little tighter. We watch her a little more carefully and beam with pride a little more brightly.

Monday, October 6, 2014

New Glasses

I picked up Olivia’s new glasses last Friday after work. I wondered how Olivia would do with her new glasses. I worried she’d constantly pull them off her face, put them down somewhere, try to flip with them on. You know, all the crap that can and does happen when kids wear glasses.

When I got home and pulled them out for her to try on, she was almost vibrating with excitement.

I let her put them on and asked her if they helped her see.

She stood there for a minute, looking around. She pulled the glasses down her nose so she could look over them. Then she slid them back up and gasped as she looked out the window at the tree in our front yard.

“Everything looks different,” she said in awe.

We asked if she meant different good or different bad. She shrugged and said, “Just different.”

But after a weekend of her wearing her glasses, I’m going to go with different good because I didn’t have to nag her even once to put her glasses back on. She wore them from the minute she woke up to the minute she laid down to go to sleep.

My dad came over that night and he was happy to see Olivia at her most animated. She ran around the room, danced, sang and talked almost non-stop. He didn’t realize how well she speaks because she’s usually so quiet when he’s there.

Tom is very worried about keeping the glasses on her face. He wants me to find some kind of strap to go behind her head to keep them on her.

My mom declared that to be a horrible idea because she thinks it will make Olivia look like a dork (that’s a quote from Gram.)

I decided to wait and see. The glasses have fallen off her face twice so far. Once while at Kohl’s because some clothes hit her in the face. The other time was when she was putting on a crown and had her head tipped forward to get her hair just right.

I know. What can I say, she’s a princess through and through. Example of her princess tendencies: Her glasses frames are purple. She insisted on wearing purple all weekend so that her clothes would match her glasses.

I hope she continues to like them, to be cooperative about wearing them and be as confident as she has been so far.

I’ve talked up how cute they are, how great it is that she can see and how much I love seeing her wearing them.

I wore glasses for about a thousand years (okay, so it was more like 26 years, WHATEVER!) and I hated them most of the time, except for the fact that they helped me see.

But I never had glasses that make me look this cute: