Tuesday, March 31, 2015

On Each Other's Team

So Alyssa has this animosity toward her dad that I just don’t get.

Wait, let me take that back. I guess I do get it. I get that she feels like he gets on her about the smallest things and that he takes on a ‘mean’ voice the first time he tells her to do something, even if it’s something she’s never been asked to do before.

I’ve talked to him about this. I’ve reminded him that we can’t expect her to know things we haven’t taught her. We can’t get mad at her for not doing something we didn’t ask/tell her to do. And we have to remember that she’s twelve, she needs to be reminded to do things because, well, twelve year olds are intrinsically selfish and self-centered. If it doesn’t affect them, they’re not going to remember to do something. It is up to us to help them work on that selfishness, to help them see that the world isn’t all about them and that they need to look beyond their own wants and needs.

So yeah. Anyway...she’s sort of annoyed with him most of the time, even when he’s being his most pleasant.

When I was sick a couple of weeks ago, Alyssa was particularly protective of me. Anything Tom said was misconstrued by her as an insult to me or somehow offensive to me.

I wonder, sometimes, if her need to defend me against her dad comes from some deep down feeling in her that I don’t defend her against him enough. Hmmm, something to ponder.

But when she was arguing with him that weekend, I tried to weakly intervene, reminding her that we’re actually all on the same team. We’re all on the same side. I’m not sure she believed me but I tried.

And I continue to try. I hate that Alyssa and Tom aren’t closer. I hate that she feels like he picks on her, or like he babies Olivia. I hate that she doesn’t feel like she can talk to him the way she talks to me. I’m so, so glad she feels like she can talk to me and feels close to me but I want that for him too. I want him to take the time to get to know her for the amazing, smart, funny girl she is. I hate that he mostly sees the sullen twelve year old she can be. I feel like that’s the only side she shows him because it’s the only side he looks for.

It’s tough.

I will continue to remind them both that we’re on each other’s team. We’re all on the same side. We’re all Team Ordinary. It’s us against the world so they both better figure it out and get on board, is what I’m saying.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Off to the Movies

Olivia and I went to see Cinderella yesterday at the theater. We’d planned to go the week before with Ayssa and my mom and a couple of my aunts but O and I were down for the count with whatever sickness descended upon our house and so we sent a healthy Alyssa off with Gram and spent the day on the couch/recliner.

But we’re all better now and so we headed off to the movie. Olivia was so excited to have a date with Mom.

Alyssa was scandalized that I was letting Olivia go out in public in pajamas. And worst of all? The pajamas O was wearing didn’t even match. She wore a pair of minion pants with a Sponge Bob shirt.

I’m kind of relaxed about that sort of thing.

First of all, she’s eight. Who cares? Second, I counted no fewer than ten people in that theater wearing sweats. What are sweats but pajamas people consider a bit more acceptable in public? She was comfortable, which is important when you’re eight with the attention span of a typical five year old and are being asked to sit in a dark theater with twenty or so strangers (and your mom, of course) for a couple of hours.

I asked Alyssa why she even cared since she wasn’t going with us. She shrugged. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

For what it’s worth, I did brush O’s hair, so there’s that.

And why didn’t her pajamas match? I’m glad you asked. They didn’t match because laundry is a bit of a mess these days after my weekend of being sick. Everything is washed but nothing is put away. We have at least three baskets full of clean laundry sitting in the basement waiting to be folded and put away. I did actually put away a few loads through the week last week but none of her pajamas have made it to her drawer with their match. Weird.

So we made do. And hey, on the positive side, the minion pants and Sponge Bob shirt were both yellow.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spilled Milk (Spoiler: She Cried)

With all the medication having to be swallowed around here, Olivia has developed a new and improved love of milk.

Tom is thrilled beyond words.

I’m, um, happy she’s happy? Yeah, that’s it; that works.

So the evening that Tom headed to Urgent Care I got dinner around for the girls. O’s medicines suggested being taken with food to help ease potential stomach aches. After dinner, I got her both medicines in the appropriate doses and a cup of milk so she could take it all.

My first mistake was giving her the milk in an open cup.

Yes, I know. She’s eight. But she’s used to cups with lids and/or straws. My bad.

So there we were, at the table. She’d taken both doses of medicine and I was about to take the cup of milk away when she said she wanted to sip some more of it.

I knew…I KNEW I should have taken the milk right then and put it in a more user-friendly cup. I flipping knew it. And yet…I turned away as she picked up the cup.

The instant my back was turned, I heard the cup hit the table and the milk spill all over the table only to run off the edge onto the floor.

Let me state right here that I know I didn’t react as well, as lovingly as, as patiently as I could have. I know this. In my defense, I was still feeling like crap and I was tired and I knew that since Tom was officially ‘sick’ I’d have no more rest for the rest of forever.

But I got a couple of towels and started to clean up the mess, muttering things like, “I knew this would happen. I knew it! Livie, you’re eight years old, what the heck?”

As soon as she dropped the cup, Olivia said, “I didn’t mean to!”

As I knelt on the floor to sop up the milk, I glanced up and saw Olivia looking across the table at Alyssa, smirking. Olivia was SMIRKING as I cleaned up the puddle of milk on the floor beneath the table and her chair.

That smirk set off a grenade of fury inside my head.

I stood up and smacked my hand on the table beside her and said quite loudly (but not screaming, no, not screaming or even really yelling), “This. Is. Not. Funny!”

I watched Olivia’s face crumple and the tears start to fall. Then I went back to cleaning up the floor, this time not so quietly. I talked and talked and talked about how I was still sick too and I was tired and I wanted to sit down and rest but I couldn’t, could I? No, I couldn’t because I had to clean up messes made by other people. I even said, “You know, Liv, I’d love to comfort you right now, but I’m too busy cleaning up this mess.”

It was ugly. I’m not proud of myself. I had an internal dialog going the entire time my verbal rant was going on too. The internal dialog was telling me she didn’t do this on purpose, she was still sick too, she was probably smiling because she was nervous about the stupid spilled milk.

Finally, my internal dialog was louder than my verbal rant. I started saying, “And poor Lyssie is sitting over there thinking, ‘Okay, Mom, she gets it. Let it go already. You’ve said everything that needs to be said. Stop with the complaining already.’”

I saw Alyssa fight a smile as I turned my inner dialog into what I thought she might be thinking.

Olivia had already moved to the couch where she had to recline and recover from her hurt feelings. When my tone changed from one of anger to one of almost apology, she called, “Will you come and sit by me?”

I calmly replied, “I can’t quite yet, I’m still cleaning this up. But I will soon.”

She hiccupped (she’s a bit of a drama queen, even though this time it was sort of justified) and said, “Okay.”

By the end time the mess was cleaned up everyone had calmed down and it was just one more memory of mom losing her shit for a few minutes before coming to her senses, apologizing and moving on.

I’m really lucky that my kids are so forgiving.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I.E.P. Meeting: Take 2893

I met with Olivia’s teacher, principal and therapists on Tuesday to discuss plans for next year. She’s heading to second grade. First grade has been awesome from an academic standpoint. Her teacher is thrilled with her progress.

I’ve been to more IEP meetings than I can count at this point. It’s not that big a deal. I feel lucky to be able to say that. I feel so, so lucky to feel like the school and I are on the same team, Olivia’s team. We all want the best for her. We all want to challenge her and yet not push her so hard that she shuts down.

The OT spoke first. She talked about Olivia’s weak little hands and how hard writing is for her. Yep, got it. We see this at home too. Coloring is something that can strengthen O’s hands. Awesome, right? Sure, for me and Alyssa. We love to color. Olivia isn’t as big a fan. Guess why…yep, weak hands. Coloring is hard work. Looks like someone will be getting some Frozen coloring books in her Easter basket.

The PT was next up. She said that while she’s keeping Olivia on for one more year, she isn’t sure how much farther she can take O. Olivia is very functional at school. She has no trouble keeping up with her peers when they’re walking down the hall from one class to another, she can keep up in gym class (if she’ll stay on task) , she can hold her own at recess when the kids race to the swings. All of this points to a strong core and excellent gross motor coordination.

I always kind of figured a kid who can do no-handed flips has pretty darned good gross motor skills. But sure, why not keep at PT for one more year, right?

Next came the ST. Ahh, speech therapy, how we love you. Olivia has excellent expressive and receptive language skills. Where she is weak is in socialization. She CAN do it all, but she doesn’t always choose to do it. She’s perfectly capable of interacting with her peers. She’s done it in the past. But she doesn’t choose to do so on a regular basis. If given enough time, like up to five minutes, Olivia WILL respond to a peer when greeted or when playing a game. But how often do we have five minutes to wait for her to say hi?

So for next year…Olivia will be heading back to the regular classroom. Her teacher and therapists feel like she needs more opportunity to interact with her peers than she’s gotten this year with the placement she’d had. Her academic progress is great but her social life, such as it can be in first grade, isn’t where they’d like it to be. They want her, we all want her to make friends. We want her to talk to her classmates, to interact, to play, to converse.

She’ll continue to receive some help from a one on one aide to keep her on task when in the classroom but she’ll not be pulled out of the classroom for special instruction more than 40% of her day.

I’m still processing it all, to be honest.

Last year I lamented the loss of the social time that came with her being in a self-contained classroom.

This year I’m lamenting the one on one time she’s losing by being back in the thick of a typical classroom.

I can’t seem to be satisfied, can I?

But I take comfort in the fact that she will be monitored and these things are never set in stone. We can adjust it as we go, as she indicates it needs to be adjusted.

Olivia is amazing. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s sweet. Her classmates want to know her. They want to interact with her. So we’re giving her the opportunity to do just that. And if she starts to lose ground academically, we’ll make adjustments as needed.

She’s got a great team behind her, at home and at school.

She’s going to be fine, we’re all going to make sure of that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Another One Down

You are NOT going to believe this.

We have a third infection in our house.

Three quarters of us are now on antibiotics. Half of us have had a prednisone shot and a different half (but not the other half…hmmm) are taking oral steroids as well as their oral antibiotics.

I am not going to say which of us is still holding strong for fear of karma, et al. but she is trying to stay well until spring break. She figures if she has to get sick, it may as well be during scheduled time off school as she’s going for perfect attendance this year and really, REALLY doesn’t want to miss a day.

I’m beginning to think that a deep cleaning of our house isn’t going to cut it. We need a fumigation or something. Perhaps we should just burn the whole thing down and start over.

I feel awful for those of out there who deal with chronic illness. Just two weeks of nastiness and I’ve had it.

I know we all managed to figure out how to handle whatever we’ve been given but gah! Will this winter ever end?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Deep Cleaning

Our house has become the sick house lately. I can’t wait to feel well enough to give it a deep cleaning.

The carpets need to be shampooed because I know there is no way Olivia managed to get every drop of the puke the was expelled from her stomach over the last seven days into the bucket that has been her constant companion.

The kitchen floor needs to be swept and mopped. I think there are still sticky places from there Olivia spilled 7-Up the night she first started vomiting.

The couch and recliner in the living room all need to be sprayed down with an entire bottle of Fabreeze, but only after they’ve been disinfected since Olivia and I spent the entire weekend lying around, asking Tom for frozen Cokes and strawberry ice cream.

I’m lucky that Tom stayed on top of the laundry. Well, on top of it to the point that it’s washed and dried. It still needs to be folded and put away. It’ll happen…eventually. Maybe after my next nap.

All the bathroom floors need to be mopped because I’m pretty sure I managed to throw up in every single one of them at some point during the weekend. And as much as I tried, I probably didn’t managed to aim accurately every single time.

Same goes for the toilets because, yeah, ewwwww.

I want to change the sheets on all the beds just because it feels like we’ve been sick forever and everything needs to be washed just to clear the air in the entire house.

It snowed here yesterday; to the point that the ground was actually covered with snow this morning. When Olivia and I were leaving to go to the doctor yesterday, she looked up at the gray sky that was spitting snow all around us and declared, “What happened? Someone stole our spring!”

Yes indeed, some has stolen our spring. And yet, it’s predicted to reappear tomorrow when the temps are supposed to reach a high of 58. We’ll see.

Until then, we’re going to continue to hunker down in our filthy house and rest just a little longer.

Friday, March 20, 2015

She Beat Me to It

I was all set on Wednesday night to get home, lie down and rest the entire evening.

See, I’d gone to the doctor that day and was ‘officially sick’. I got to call in all the favors and just sit around, no cooking, no parenting, just resting, getting well, if you will.

Except no. That’s not how the evening was going to play out.

Before I even got to play my trump card of having a prescription of antibiotics and receiving a shot while in the doctor’s office, Tom told me that Olivia had something to tell me.

Olivia was in the living room, wearing a pair of pajamas, settled in the recliner with a blanket and, wait, is that a bucket? Oh dear, it is a bucket.

I went in and kissed her head and asked what was going on.

“I barfed,” she told me cheerfully.

Alas, that would be the last cheerful thing she’d say for the next twelve or so hours. She threw up pretty much every twenty minutes or so for the next few hours, than finally, thankfully, fell asleep.

Instead of getting to settle in and bask in my own sickness, I did three loads of laundry, made dinner for Alyssa, checked Alyssa’s homework, fetched cups of water for Olivia when she was awake and washed out her bucket more times than I want to count.

We knew she wasn’t going to school on Thursday and as much as I wanted to stay home with her, there were a few things at work that had to be done so I called my mom and asked if O could go there for a few hours until I could come get her and take her home for the afternoon. Normally, Tom would just stay with her but he had somethings to do outside the house that couldn’t be changed either.

Olivia was thrilled to spend the morning at Gram’s with the promise that I’d be there by noon to take her home.

We were both happy to get home where we both napped for a few hours and then the puke-fest resumed.

More blankets, pajamas, sheets and towels were washed and buckets were rinsed.

But, good news, we’re both on the mend.

Times like this make me realize how lucky we are to ‘only’ be dealing with these random illnesses. My sympathies go out to those who deal with chronic illness. I can only imagine the stress involved in situations like that.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Owning My Ignorance

Last weekend my car told me that it is about time for the oil to be changed. Isn’t it lovely that my car can tell me such things?

I mentioned this to Tom as we sat around the kitchen table enjoying some pizza with Alyssa, Olivia and Jeremy, Tom’s oldest son.

I asked if we trusted the WalMart oil and lube center to change the oil in the car.

Tom and Jeremy shared a look and agreed that no, we do not trust the WalMart oil and lube department to change the oil in this newish vehicle.

Tom told me to call our local Chevy dealer and schedule an oil change. While I was at it, he said, I should also tell them that we need to buy a bracket to affix to the front of the car to hold the license plate. Ohio require license plates on the front and rear of vehicles.

Jeremy mentioned they’d do a 78 point inspection while the car was on the lift for the oil change.

Tom asked if we’d be charged for that.

Jeremy, a mechanic, laughed and said, “No, it’ll be ‘free’. But it’s only free because they’ll tell all the things that need to be either fixed or replaced.”

Tom told me to ask about that when I called and see if it would be something they’d and then add to the bill.

At this point I asked, “Will they change the oil even though we didn’t buy the car from them?”

Tom and Jeremy again exchanged a look and then Tom laughed. He looked at me like I was a little bit stupid and said, “Yes, I don’t think they care that we didn’t buy the car from them.”

Now, see, this is where I’d normally lower my head, be embarrassed that I didn’t know something that was OBVIOULYS common knowledge and try to disappear.

This time, though, I said, “Hey, it’s a valid question. I don’t know how these things work. I’ve never owned a car that was nice enough to need to have the oil changed by a certified dealer.”

I was owning my ignorance. I don’t know this stuff and because I don’t know, the only way I can learn about it is to ask. I wanted to model that for the girls. I want them to not ever be afraid of asking a questions just because they might look stupid.

Tom, to his credit, stopped laughing and admitted that it was understandable that this wasn’t something I might not know. He then asked if I wanted him to call and make the appointment and ask about the bracket for the license plate.

I nodded gratefully. I hate calling for those kinds of things.

But you know what? I don’t know everything and I fully admit that. I want to be comfortable asking about something I don’t know. I want this for my girls too. I want them to feel free to ask about something they haven’t yet learned.

One reason I love the character of Beca in Pitch Perfect. This girl never one apologized for not knowing something. She owned it and asked, out loud, in front of however many people were around when she didn’t know something.

I want to be that girl. I want to ask without fear of shaming. And I want that for my girls. And when someone tries to shame me for not knowing something? I refuse to own that shame. I will own my ignorance but there is no shame in not knowing something you haven’t learned or been taught. Not all knowledge is common and it’s okay to ask about something you don’t know.

It really, truly is.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Home Birth

I get it. I do. I understand why healthy women who have had perfectly healthy, typical pregnancies would want to labor and deliver at home.

My problem, and this is MY problem, I fully admit to that, is the fact that if Olivia, who was a full-term baby born after what we thought was a completely uncomplicated pregnancy, has been born at home, she’d have died.

There you have it. She would have died if she hadn’t been born in a hospital with several medical professionals and all the accompanying equipment around to save her life.

She would have died.

That statement takes my breath away.

Okay, so maybe because I was 36 when Olivia was born, I wouldn’t have been a good candidate for a home birth anyway. So there’s that.

But not every mother out there who is pregnant with a child with an undiagnosed chromosomal disorder is ‘advanced maternal age.’ And we all know that not every potential medical complication is diagnosed prenatally.

Maybe I know too much about what can go wrong. Maybe the circle of friends I have is a small sample of the number of women who give birth every day and we’re just on the bad side of the statistics.

I hope for the very best for everyone woman who chooses a home birth. I hope they get the blissful, uneventful labor and delivery they hope and plan to have.

I know for sure, though, that if Olivia had been born at home, even with a competent, experience midwife, she would not be here today.

For us, the hospital was the very best place to be, even after a relatively uneventful, ‘normal’ pregnancy. She’s here because she was born in a hospital with nurses available to help her breathe until a neonatologist could arrive to transport her to a bigger hospital with more specialists to help her get well and come home.

I apologize for the judginess of this post. I know that there are successful home births taking place every day. I’m so, so glad for that. I’m glad for every healthy baby born, whether they’re born at the hospital or at home.

I’m just also really, really glad that Olivia was born in a hospital because we had no idea she’d be as sick as she was but since she was sick, she was born in the best place possible for her, a place where people were prepared to give her the care she needed so she could live.

Monday, March 16, 2015


We survived a tough weekend. Well, honestly, it was probably only tough for me. I was impatient, grouchy, tired.

Okay, so my excuse is that I’ve got this annoying cough that keeps me awake at night and makes me worry about peeing my pants during the day. And wow does that thought make Olivia giggle.

The real reason is I’ve stayed awake too late the last few nights (but not last night, so yeah, I’m learning) reading. I know, so irresponsible.

But whatever. The excuses are what they are. The results are what is so bothersome.

My patience is so thin and poor Olivia is on the receiving end of my impatience.

I’m lucky that her feelings aren’t hurt easily.

It’s her sass that got to me this weekend.

She’s taken to barking out one word orders at me. It’s making me crazy. Even when I’m not tired, I’m known to give her a stern look when she does this but this weekend when she’d snap, “Smudges!” and hold her glasses out to me, I’d bark back.

I was heard saying a lot of, “Livie! Stop ordering me around. Stop barking single words at me and expecting me to drop everything just to serve you.”

This sounds so horrible when typed out but that child, that mischievous little girl just fights a smile whenever I snap back at her.

Finally, when she’d issued one too many one word orders at me, I told her, “I am not going to respond to you when you do that. If you want something from me, you have to use full sentences, phrase them as a request and say please.”

I don’t think she believed me but after the third or fourth time of being ignored, she figured it out and stated her request in the manner required for acknowledgement.

Ugh! So much work!!

I know. I’m sorry for this Monday whine. I got a little more sleep last night than the nights before (I didn’t let myself read at all, lest I become too involved in the book again.) but the coughing going on around here kept me up even if the reading didn’t.

Here’s hoping for a more restful night with less fussing on the part of the mama.

Friday, March 13, 2015

These Girls

They frustrate me to tears sometimes.

They make me breathless with laughter and speechless with pride.

They test the boundaries of my imagination and sap all my energy resources.

They have made my life joyous, complicated, fun, stressful and everything in between.

They are the reason I get up every single day, the reason I go home each afternoon. They make every single day an adventure and I’m so grateful to be along for their journey.

These girls…they’re my dream come true.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers

Wow, thank you so much Robin for tagging me. I am so honored by the inclusion I don’t even know what to say.

The Rules:

Link to the person who nominated you.

Add the award logo.

Answer the questions your nominator asked.

Nominate 10 other blogs. (I only nominated six, I’m so bad at this sort of thing. Sorry.)

Ask your nominees 10 questions.

1. What is the craziest thing anyone has said to you about trying to conceive / being pregnant / parenting?

When I was pregnant with my second daughter a co-worker who had raised one daughter kept insisting that my girls would hate each other. This woman had an only child who also had an only child, she had no clue how siblings interact and yet during my entire pregnancy, she continued with the dire predictions that my kids would hate each other. For the record, my girls at twelve and eight are pretty fond of each other.

2. If you were an animal, what would you be?? And what animals would you never want to hang out with?
I think I’d be a bird of some kind because I’ve always wanted to be able to fly. I would never, ever want to hang out with worms. They’re the grossest animal in existence. Ick!!!

3. Where do you keep your go-to stress snack?
Hidden in my sock drawer so no one else in my family can abscond with it when I’m not looking.

4. If you had a whole day just to yourself, and money / travel / other people’s schedules weren’t an issue, what would you do?
Sleep. Seriously. My girls were (and still sometimes are) horrible sleepers. I feel like I’ve been sleep deprived for twelve years.

5. What is your favorite terrible TV show? When do you get to watch it?
America’s Next Top Model. I watch it with my twelve year old after the eight year old is asleep. So much drama, so much angst in the world of modeling. Ha!

6. When was the last time you got to take a nap during the day?
I think it was actually a couple of weeks ago. I got home from work at 5:00, laid down on the couch while my husband watched news and the girls hung out. I actually slept for a half hour before realizing that dinner wasn’t going to make itself.

7. What foods do you dislike (if any)? Why?
Seafood of any kind. I just can’t stand the smell of it to get to the point of tasting it. And shrimp and lobster both look like giant bugs. Gross.

8. What is your favorite color to wear? Is it your favorite color or just in clothing?
Red. I learned in high school that I photograph best when I’m wearing red. Red isn’t actually my favorite color but it is my favorite clothing color for me.

9. Do you believe in horoscopes? What’s your sign? Does it describe you?
I am a Scorpio and I feel like some of the descriptions of those born under the sign of Scorpio do describe me but the cynic in me also thinks that you can twist almost anything to make it fit anyone. So no, I don’t really, truly believe in horoscopes.

10. If you’re feeling bad, what do you do that always cheers you up?
Talk to my mom. She’s awesome and I try really hard to be as good a mom to my girls as she’s always been to me. She listens so well and even when she doesn’t understand, she never judges.

I am nominating:







I hope I’m not cheating or something by stopping at six nominees. I just…well, I’m only nominating six so there you have it. If you’re not nominated but want to answer the questions, please do and say you’re doing so in the comments if you want. But no harm if you don’t want.

My 10 questions:

1. What do you consider the greatest stressor in your marriage/relationship?

2. How do you combat the above stressor to make sure your marriage stays strong?

3. How do you manage that thin line between allowing your child(ren) to express their individuality/independence while keeping them from being hellions/rebels, etc? (I’m thinking of my current struggle with Alyssa and her desire to wear more makeup than I’d prefer.)

4. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Why?

5. If you were given the opportunity to travel to another planet to help colonize it, taking your significant other and child(ren) with you, never to return to Earth, would you go? Why or why not?

6. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you achieve that goal?

7. If money/jobs were no object, where would you live? Do you live there now?

8. Star Wars or Star Trek? (Sorry, my Geek is showing.)

9. What was the last song/cd you bought?

10. Daylight Savings Time: Yay or Nay?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Daylight Savings Time is Bullshit

Yes, I said it. And I mean it. I hate daylight savings time. I grew up in Indiana during the time that Indiana didn’t observe daylight savings time. It was glorious. Sure, half the year our neighbors all of five miles away were an hour ahead of us but big deal, we just figured it into our plans.

But now? I live in flipping Ohio, a state that has always observed the dreaded DST and work in Indiana, a newly added DST observer.

And it sucks so many donkey balls. It just does.

I know. I KNOW there are people out there who love the added hour of daylight at the end of the day. Those people are probably the ones on the far eastern side of their time zone.

Some of us here on the far west of the time zone feel differently. Having it be light out at almost 8pm in flipping MARCH is horrible.

All this week it’s been a nightmare to get my girls out of bed each morning. And my kids are morning people. They love the mornings. They’re insane, I admit, but they do so love their mornings. And yet the last three days have seen me actually starting to dress Olivia as she lay snoozing in her bed, oblivious to the deranged woman taking her pajamas off and putting her clothes on.

Alyssa just slumps around her bedroom like a zombie, trying to prop her eyes open long enough to find a belt for her jeans and a shirt that isn’t from the pile of dirty clothes on the floor of her closet.

It’s awful.

Last night at 7:30, we were settling in to read and Olivia asked why we were reading when it was still day time. I explained that even though it was still light out, it was actually almost bedtime and she gave me such a look of disbelief I’d have laughed if I hadn’t known I’d still be trying to get her to settle down and go to sleep at 8:30, which meant we’d have another tough morning this morning since she can’t seem to fall asleep when the light is filtering in through the closed curtains.

When Tom told the girls to put their coats on so they could go wait for the bus this morning, Olivia once again pointed out the midnight dark sky and asked why they were going outside to wait for the bus in the middle of the night.

It’s so confusing!! If we must do this DST thing, why can’t we wait until mid-April, when the sun is actually rising at a decent time?

Or hey, how about we just decide to make DST our year-round time and no have to deal with these horrible adjustments twice a freaking year?

Now there’s an idea that I bet every single parent in the world who has had to deal with these issues has wondered since the beginning of DST.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My Insane Imaginings

I fully admit to being a bit of a hoverer when it comes to my mothering techniques (though I have to also confess that my husband actually doesn’t think I hover quite closely enough to our children*…I know, right?)

So when the mother of one of Alyssa’s friends called me last week to invite Alyssa to a birthday even for said friend, I accepted but with much fretting. See, the birthday event was going to be in Fort Wayne, a good hour drive away from our house. And the mom was going to pick Alyssa up, drive to Fort Wayne, take Alyssa and Friend ice skating, then jumping at a trampoline place, THEN to dinner and THEN to a hotel where they’d be able to swim.

This meant Alyssa would be out of my hovering zone for a full twenty four hours.


The mom called me again on Friday afternoon to confirm pick up time and drop off time. Pick up: 11:30 on Saturday morning. Return to home: 4:00pm or 5:00pm Sunday afternoon. That meant MORE than twenty four hours of Alyssa being out of my hover zone.

My fretting went through the roof.

But it got worse. See, when the mom showed up on Saturday morning, she didn’t have her child with her. This was a mom I’d spoken to all of two times on the phone. I’d never seen her at the school, I’d never met her face to face until she was walking out the door with my child to drive away with her.

As they did drive away, my imaginings went through the roof. What if this wasn’t actually the women to whom I’d spoken twice earlier in the week? What if she was some deranged kidnapper who was driving off with my daughter, never to be seen again?

I realize how insane and ridiculous this all is. I do. And yet my brain wouldn’t stop.

I started thinking about the return home being late and wondering how late was late enough for me to start calling together the search party. By then, she’d have been gone from our house for at least thirty hours. A lot can happen to a person in thirty hours. A lot of miles can be traveled in thirty hours.

I barely slept Saturday night as horrible scenarios played out in my imagination.

I felt like I could finally breathe when she walked through the door at 3:55 on Sunday afternoon.

Yep, they were EARLY. And I was so, so grateful.

I know I have a lot more weekends like this. I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like when she goes off to college. I’ll probably lose my mind.

Though, rereading this, it seems I might have already done that.

*The fact that my husband doesn’t think I hover closely enough was brought home to me when Julie and I were emailing back and forth and I shared a comment Tom made one evening when I was giving Olivia a bath.

During her bath, she made quite a mess with water on the floor. I was fussing at her and when we got downstairs, Tom asked what all the fussing was about. I told him about the water on the floor and he said, “I would have thought she couldn’t get water on the floor with you being right there to keep an eye on her.”

When I told Julie this story, she read his comment as sarcastic because, well, Julie knows me and knows how closely I hover over my children.

However, he wasn’t being sarcastic at all. He was comment on the fact that I obviously wasn’t watching her closely enough if she’d been able to make a watery mess on the floor.

Julie has seen me in all my helicopter parent glory, I think she couldn’t believe it was possible that anyone would think I don’t watch my kids closely enough and Tom didn’t think it was possible for Olivia to make a mess if I’d been watching her at all.

That Olivia, though, she can make a mess in the time it takes me to turn around to get a towel out of the linen close, with is all of ten steps away from the bathtub.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Living Long and Prospering

I’m a Trekkie. I can’t help it. I grew up watching TOS with my dad. It was one of our bonding moments each week when The Enterprise showed up on screen and we’d hold our breath to find out which rerun was playing.

I watched a little of Next Generation to say that I love Captain Picard and loathed Wesley Crusher but not enough to have a favorite episode.

I watched the first couple of seasons of Voyager with my friends Marc and Kevin in college. It was a standing date. Marc would record (on VHS!!!) Voyager each week and Kevin and I would join him Sunday afternoon to watch. It was awesome. Perhaps it was the company of those two that makes Voyager my favorite Star Trek series.

Of course then there’s Enterprise. How can I not love that show? I mean, Sam Freaking Beckett was the first captain. Okay, so they call him Captain Archer but we all know that Scott Bakula is Sam Beckett and that’s all there is to it.

But of all the characters in all the series that ran over the last 40+ years, Spock was always, ALWAYS my favorite. He was fascinating. He was half human, half alien, which made him mysterious and so, so cool. He infuriated Doctor McCoy, which was so much fun. His cool eyebrow raise and calm exterior hid awesomely green blood and a capacity for loyalty that all humans should strive to achieve.

News of Leonard Nimoy’s death made me sad and yet watching all the snippets shown of him in the ensuing days has been enlightening. He lived long and he prospered. He had passions that he followed and he stood for ideals. He didn’t want to be known as ‘just’ Spock, at least not in the beginning but then he embraced the ideals of Spock and that’s kind of awesome.

When I first heard they were remaking or, rather rewriting the history of the TOS characters, I worried. I mean, how in the world could Zachary Quinto be expected to do justice to the character of Spock. Leonard Nimoy WAS Spock.

But because I can’t help my geekiness, I watched the movie and it was so much fun. Zachary was no Leonard, but he was fine.

Lately, with all the news about Leonard Nimoy’s life, Olivia has been trying to do the Vulcan hand sign. Her hands are weak, her fingers don’t like to separate the way. I tell her to keep trying but then remind her that it doesn’t really matter if she can’t do it. But I kind of love that she wants to.

Don’t we all kind of want to impart some of our own geekiness onto our kids? Isn’t that part of living long and prospering? No? Just me? Okay then. Oh well, live long and prosper anyway.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Hello Friday...POST-IT Emergency

Olivia was so excited this morning to wear a new shirt, on that has “Hello Friday” printed on the front. Not only does this girl love new clothes, she also loves Fridays, so this shirt was so awesome at capturing so many things to love.

Alyssa is being picked up by a friend and the friend’s parents for an overnight trip to celebrate Friend’s birthday.

She’s spent the night with several friends so this shouldn’t bother me. But instead of going back to Friend’s house, this family is taking my child to a city where they will ice skate, jump on trampolines, go out to dinner and then stay in a hotel with an indoor pool.

The dad is only going to be around for the ice skating, trampoline jumping and dinner parts of the day. The mom, sister, Friend and Alyssa will be doing the hotel thing sans father.

I know that since I’ve been trusted to take a couple of A’s friends with us to places like Cedar Point for several days at a time I am being hypocritical for worrying about this trip but a mother’s worry can’t be bothered by things like that.

Of course she’ll be fine. She’ll have a fabulous time and I’ll hold my breath until she is dropped sometime Sunday, all in one piece, safe and sound.

We interrupt my sad-cow lamenting over my baaaybeeee going off with virtual strangers (I have not actually met any member of this family, not even Friend, which I think is what bothers me the most about my daughter getting into a vehicle and driving off with them for an overnight trip to a city over an hour away.) to shout to the world that this morning there was a…

POST-IT emergency!!

I know. The horror, the tragedy, the unfairness of it all.

Our office supply closet was OUT. OF. POST-ITS. Someone had taken the last three inch by three inch pad of the self-adhesive papers and not told me about it.

Which means that someone in our office went to get some Post-Its, found there were none and sprinted to where I was working to tell me of this disaster.

I was actually doing something I do every single day, a job that HAS to be done. I told this person that I would be going to a place where Post-Its are sold in a couple of hours and until then he’d have to use scrap paper.

He just blinked at me. “But I need Post-Its and there are none in the closet,” he said.

It occurred to me that I probably had a pad of Post-Its in one of the drawers in my office. I off-handedly mentioned it.

The dude’s eyes lit up and he offered to go get them.

I knew he’d never find them in the mess that is my desk drawers and, well, I don’t like people going through my desk when I’m not there so I sarcastically asked, “Do you want me to stop what I’m doing right this second and go get them for you?”

And get this…he said yes. He was so desperate for those damned Post-Its that he wanted me to stop what I was doing, walk from one end of the building to the other, get him those Post-Its and then I could go about my own work.

I was so disgusted and yet…I wanted him to go away, so I gave in, went and got the flipping Post-Its, refrained from throwing them in his face and went back to work.

On the bright side, dude hasn’t bothered me anymore today.

And when I went out during my lunch? Damned if I didn’t buy every single package of Post-Its that were in stock at Meijer.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

One Step Forward

So yes, she’s still only twelve and yet just this morning I did a ‘face inspection’ and sent her right back upstairs to wash her face. To her credit, she didn’t stomp up the stairs or roll her eyes at me. She went up willingly and came back down a few minutes later.

In the con column of that interaction, she appeared to be avoiding looking at me fully when she came back down. I asked her to look at me, she did and I saw that while she had washed her face, there were still remnants of makeup beneath her eyes.

She said, “I did the best I could.”

Yes, she probably did. Tonight, I’ll take my moisturizer and a washcloth to her face again. And I’ll do it cheerfully, with no anger or frustration.

Last night she was playing around with her makeup and I asked her, “Are you putting on a bunch now hoping it won’t all wash off when you shower so you will be able to wear what’s left over to school tomorrow.”

She attempted to look innocent, as if such a thing had never occurred to her. Alas, to her dismay, I am on to her.

She’s great about putting her dishes in the sink and rinsing them off. Now, though, we’re working toward, if there is already soapy water in the sink, she needs to actually wash her dish instead of rinsing it and putting it in the adjacent sink. Yeah, it’s a work in progress. But it’s only been two nights she was asked to do this. I’m a bit more patient than her dad about this. I keep reminding him that positive reinforcement will go so much farther than negative. He’s a work in progress too.

I think she feels micromanaged by her dad. I get that. I also think that sometimes, as an almost-teenager and even as a teenager, it’s a parent’s job to micromanage you. But I get why this makes her crazy. I’m working on that one too.

Apparently, we’re all works in progress.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Olivia loves the weekend. I mean, duh, right? Who doesn’t love weekends?

Every morning during the work (school?) week, she asks what day it is. I always answer her with a question of my own, “What day do you think it is?”

She always tells me the actual day of the week, because, again, duh, she knows her days of the week. Then she’ll do a quick count in her head and exclaim, “Only two (three, one, you get it) more days until Friday!”

Then I ask, “And what comes after Friday?”

“Saturday,” she shouts happily because we all LOVE Saturdays, the day we go to the library, to lunch and to buy groceries. We sometimes get wild and crazy and insert a stop at Kohl’s or the Pickle Factory in there between lunch and the grocery store. We’re unstoppable in the fun department.

Sundays are our day to stay home, the girls stay in their jammies and we all just sort of settle in. I finish up the week’s laundry; Olivia takes a bath at some point. Some weeks I’ll bake some cookies or get ambitious and make potato soup or chili.

Last Sunday I was doing something on the computer and Olivia came up beside me to lean against me. She sighed and muttered, “Why do the weekends go by so fast?”

Oh sweet baby, I thought. You have no idea.

Instead of saying that I hugged her and said, “They really do go too fast, don’t they?”

She nodded and then cheered up when Alyssa came in to the room and offered to wrestle.

Yes, these years (especially the weekends) are flying by but I’m doing everything I can to savor each and every day I get to enjoy these amazing girls while they are still my very own.

Monday, March 2, 2015


Las Saturday afternoon Olivia asked me, "What is a syndrome?"

I pondered how to answer this in words my eight year old would understand.

I finally told her that a syndrome is a combination of symptoms that people had in common.

I know. What a stupid answer, huh? What can I say? She caught me off guard.

She followed up the first question with a second, “Do I have a syndrome?”

I knelt down beside her. “You do have a syndrome,” I told her. “You have 5p- syndrome. It means that when you were born you were tiny, you had trouble breathing and when you cried you sounded like a kitten.”

Her eyes got big, “I did?”

“Yep,” I hugged her and then meowed in her ear a few times, eliciting some giggles.

Tom stood off to the side, listening to our conversation. When Olivia skipped off to do whatever it is that she’d decided to do, he nodded at me, gave me a gentle smile and went about his business too.

It was a sweet exchange between Tom and me. We’ve never actually talked much about O’s syndrome. It’s just part of who she is. It’s not all she is but it is part of her. I think that him being there for so many of her early therapies helped him come to terms with her needs better than he would have if I’d been the one home for therapies while he worked.

Olivia hears everything we say these days and she’s obviously heard me mention things about syndromes. I’m not sure she realizes yet that she’s different from her peers but that time will come at some point and we’ll try and be ready. Right now, she’s just happy to play in the snow with her dad and her sister, to drink hot tea and play with sparkly things.

I know that there will be more conversations about syndromes in the future. I hope I manage them a little better than I did this one but maybe with as much calm and reassurance. Having a syndrome doesn’t define her. That’s what I want Olivia to know.

It doesn’t label her; it doesn’t limit her; it doesn’t make her less than anyone else in this world. It’s just a syndrome, just a combinations of symptoms that come together to make her a little more special than the rest of us.

Today she’s wearing a shirt that has sparkly letters spelling out, “I’M SO FANCY.”

Truer words were never ironed onto a tunic.