Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Always Amazing Me

I know I’m supposed to think that my kids are amazing but this past week has shown me once again how sweet, how thoughtful, how simply amazing my girls are.

The loss of Orville was very hard for Alyssa. She still gets quiet and sad throughout the days and nights. But the same night we had to tell her about his death, she came down from her own grief for a minute to say, “I would have hated to have to be the one to tell me.”

Her ability to come out of own sadness for even a moment and acknowledge that her dad and I had a hard task was heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. Her maturity in the midst of sadness is beautiful.

Olivia’s empathy as her sister sobbed was incredibly sweet. Let me remind you that Olivia is not a fan of animals and yet she cried over Orville because she was sad for her sister. She knew how heartbroken her sister was and it broke her own heart to witness that sadness.

While I’d give almost anything to go back and change last Thursday, to wait a half hour before letting Orville out of the barn or hold him tight until it was time to go to school and work, I can also acknowledge that losing him has given us all a moment to hold tight to each other.

We had a very gentle weekend, a time when we were all just together, just present. WE were all a bit more soft spoken, a little less likely to snap at each other. We understood that we were all a little shell-shocked and we remembered to make kindness a choice.

Monday, October 26, 2015


This weekend was all about distractions. We tried to find things to do to take our minds off the fact that Orville is no longer with us.

I picked up a pizza for dinner on Friday and when I got home, Tom already had the oven preheated because Alyssa had asked to go to the high school football game with her friends. We had maybe an hour before I needed to drive her into town (a whole four miles) to meet up with her friends.

It was good for her to get out and hang with good friends who care about her.

I picked her up at around 10 and she asked if she could sleep in my bed again that night. I told her I would love that and we headed up to go to sleep, holding hands and not saying much. No tears were shed but I know we were both aware of why she needed to be extra close to me.

Saturday was our usual library, lunch, grocery shopping but we also threw in a stop at Rural King (a local farm supply store) where Alyssa spend the cash her Pawp gave her for getting all As on her report card (two of those A s were A+, we’re very proud of this girl.) She got two new Schleich horses. Honestly, I was surprised there were any that she didn’t have, considering how expansive her collection is. But she did manage to find the male and foal to one of the female horses she already has. She likes to complete families. She’s sweet like that.

Then we headed to Hobby Lobby where we found a few frames for the pictures of Orville I’d printed off the day before. Just a little something to help us remember him thought right now, it feels like we will never forget.

When we got to the grocery store, my mom called me to let me know that a few of my cousins and aunts were coming to her house for the evening. One of my cousins was in town from New Mexico and was hoping to see as much of the family as possible. My grandma’s 90th birthday just happened to be that day too so it was one big celebration.

The girls and I went over that for several hours that evening, again thankful for the distraction.

On Sunday, we realized that it was the last day for our local Corn Maize (seriously, that’s how they spelled it) and Alyssa really wanted to go. I decided to indulge her. It gave us a reason to be outside, away from the house and the chance for some physical exercise. We all needed it.

We put up the cross that Tom made and I held Alyssa. She didn’t cry but she did need me to hug her for a long time. And that was okay. I will hold that girl from now until the end of time if she needs me to.

We’re facing her grief head on even as we find distractions to help her get to a point where it just doesn’t hurt quite as much. I ask her how she is, she hugs me tight and we move on.

My cousin Aaron said once, “Pets are just a future tragedy.”

He was right and yet…we’d pick Orville all over again if we could go back.

And right now, Bomber, the betta fish seems to be loving being the favorite (only) pet in the family. He pretends not to see the food Alyssa drops into his bowl so she’ll stand there and point it out to him until he deigns to eat it. Bomber is over five years old and so gross and yet I really hope he hangs in there for at least another five years. I should probably google the lifespan of betta fish just so I have that knowledge.

Well, that was depressing. Trusty old Google just told me that the average betta fish lives in captivity for three years, five if it has received good care while at the store and up to seven if very well cared for. Huh. I guess our well water is doing old Bomber some good. I hope so because I kind of need this disgusting fish to hang out with us a little longer.

Friday, October 23, 2015


We adopted Orville from our local animal shelter almost four years ago. It was a Friday; Friday the 13th to be exact. He was a beautiful black cat and I was morbidly excited to be adopting a black cat on Friday the 13th. I’m weird like that.

He was a gift for Alyssa on her ninth birthday, which was the very next day. She was so excited because he was her very first pet, if you don’t count the fish we’d had over the years, which she didn’t because, duh, you can’t pet fish.

Yesterday morning Orville was hit by a car and killed.

Tom called me at work. He’d moved Orville from the middle of the road and was preparing to bury him. He told me he was going to wait until I got to tell Alyssa. We knew she was going to be heartbroken.

Throughout the day, I’d catch myself fighting tears as I thought of my little girl finding out she’d love her beloved kitty. He could be such a brat when he ran from her but he did it because he knew she’d chase him. He loved her so much and was always ready for a snuggle and a belly rub.

Alyssa did take it very hard when we told her. She held onto me and sobbed throughout the night. She went through our computer files and found pictures of our sweet Orville. She changed the background on the computer to show him at his fluffy best. She found a picture of her holding him and made that the background on her tablet.

She loved him so much and is very sad that we’ve lost him.

As I hugged her, telling her how much I loved her and how sorry I was, I reminded her that he’d been a very well loved cat. He’d had a great life with her, always well treated, always loved. He was an excellent mouser and was probably hit as he was crossing from our yard to the neighboring field to look for mice. He didn’t suffer. There was no blood from the accident.

I don’t think this helped her so much as just having my arms around her, holding her tight and letting her feel whatever she was feeling. I think we’re going to be talking about Orville a lot in the coming days, weeks, whatever.

Olivia never really liked Orville. She’s afraid of animals, even ones as sweet as our Orbit. (We called him that sometimes…) But as she watched her sister sob Olivia’s eyes teared up and she leaned against me.

She said, “I’m sorry Lyssie’s cat is gone. I didn’t even like him but seeing her so sad it breaking my heart.”

Oh my lovey girl! I didn’t know how much Olivia would understand about Orville being dead but I’m so proud of her for understanding her sister’s sadness, her grief.

I held both my girls tight and whispered to them that I was just so sorry.

Alyssa pulled herself out of her sadness enough to ask why Liv was crying.

I told her, “She’s sad that you’re sad. But don’t worry about her. You are not responsible for her feelings. You just feel what you feel and let me worry about her.”

She nodded and leaned into me again.

As we fell asleep last night (Lyssie slept with me so we could be close) I whispered a prayer. I asked God, the Universe, anyone who was listening, to please, please, please let this be the worst, hardest thing she faces for a long, long time.

Death is a part of life. I get this. But it’s so hard to watch your child grieve.

I know that people tout losing a pet as a rite of passage. I get it. But I still hate it. I hate seeing her hurt, I hate seeing her in so much pain and not being able to fix it.

I asked her last night if, knowing she’d lose him after not quite four years, would she adopt him anyway?

“Of course I would,” she said strongly. “He was meant to be ours, even if we didn’t get to keep him as long as we wanted to.”

Wise words from my sweet twelve year old. She’s already seeing that even when we lose the thing we love, we don’t lose the love. We don’t lose the memories. We don’t lose the good that we gained from having him in our lives for those four years.

We loved Orville so much and he brought every single one of us (even Olivia, maybe) joy and happiness and comfort. He will be missed.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

When I'm Gone

I only go away from my family once a year. Any other time of the year that I happen to go anywhere, I take the girls with me.

So it’s rare for the girls and Tom to be home alone without me. But they’ve done it eight times now, and so they’re getting good at it. Or, you know, they’re resigned to the fact that it will happened once a year and so they deal.

The tradition that Tom and the girls have come up with is that when I’m not home, they all get to sleep downstairs in the living room. Tom brings O’s mattress down and A sleeps on the couch.

They are also allowed to eat pretty much anything they want anywhere they want all weekend long. According to Lyss, they were also allowed to watch as much television and play on the computer and their tablets with no limit. Which, okay, that’s awesome because it means they’re having too much fun to miss me.

Though Alyssa did vent a little last night when she muttered a bit about him getting on her about eating at the computer desk. “He never said a word about when you were gone.”

Maybe when I’m there, Tom feels like I’m already so soft that he has to be tougher to counteract my softness.

Who knows? I’m just glad they have fun and get along so well when I’m away.

For the record, there was plenty of soup when I left on Friday.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Girl and Her Braces

So yes, Alyssa got her braces on yesterday. Wait, she actually got braces on her top four front teeth. The rest…do not have braces. But she’s adorable with those four all braced up.

I’m actually glad we’re doing this now, when so many of her friends and classmates have braces. She feels like she fits right in. As we were driving home yesterday, she kept looking at herself in the mirror and saying, “I actually look kind of cute with braces.”

Gotta love a girl with confidence, right?

And you know what? She really does look cute. I think the braces actually make her look closer to her actual age of twelve going on thirteen instead of sixteen going on twenty-seven.

She amuses me so with her obsession for oral hygiene and her fascination with everything orthodontia related.

She came to me after breakfast this morning and gloated, “I had ice cream for breakfast. I told Dad my teeth hurt and he let me have ice cream.”

Then her face changed to a grimace and she added, “But he did make me drink a glass of milk.”

I laughed, “Doesn’t he realize that ice cream is basically frozen milk?”

“I know!” she smiled, showing all four braces. “I tried to tell him that but he didn’t go for it.”

To add adventure to braces, she got the braces yesterday, and today is picture day for her school. Just kind of figures, huh? But that really doesn’t seem to bother her. She’s all for posterity and recording these events as they happen.

Ahh, the fun of being a child of the technological/information age. Too bad they haven’t figure out a virtual way to fix deep, crossed bites yet other than good old fashioned metal braces that get glued to ones teeth during adolescence.
(Or, you know, when a person is 27, whatever.)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

When the Going Gets Tough

When Olivia was a baby, my friend Julie (everyone say hi to Julie) suggested to me that I join the support group she’d joined years before when her daughter was a newborn in the NICU.

I went to the site, read a few stories and told Julie that I didn’t fit in at that site. I told her that Olivia was only in the NICU for eleven days and she didn’t seem to have any major health issues at that time, other than the near-constant screaming…oh the screaming.

Julie gently told me that there is no such thing as ‘only’ when your baby is in the NICU. She asked me if I’d expected my full-term pregnancy to end with a baby in the NICU.

Well, duh, I replied, of course I didn’t expect my full-termer to end up in the NICU. She was the result of a 41 week, 2 day pregnancy. I thought I’d bring home a giant, healthy baby and all would be well.

Instead, my five pound, two ounce baby was taken three hours after her birth from the hospital in which she was born to a larger hospital an hour away where they had a NICU that could help her.

Julie pointed out that the whole reason I belonged to the group she’d mentioned was because my pregnancy didn’t end the way I’d expected.

Hers didn’t either. No one expects to give birth at 25 weeks. No one expects their baby to die at any point before or after birth.

And yet so many women I’ve met through this group have experienced just those things. We’ve all come together to support each other when things don’t go as planned.

I’ve been a part of this group since the early months of 2007. Back then we didn’t know that Olivia has 5p- syndrome. We didn’t know why she cried all the time, why she was born so small for her gestational age, why she had trouble breathing when she was born. We didn’t know why she had low muscle tone and didn’t sit up until she was a year old, didn’t crawl until she was 17 months old, didn’t walk until 29 months.

But even without knowing why, the women (and men, there are a few men) were so supportive of my struggles. They read my vents about sleep and feeding. They shared their own fears and celebrations. Together, we all felt so much less alone.

This weekend, I get to go to Chicago and see all these amazing people. This will be the seventh year I’ve been lucky enough to attend the conference known as ShareUnion. It’s a place for real hugs to replace virtual ones. It’s a place where it’s okay to try ugly tears. It’s a place for laughter, healing, community such that I haven’t known since my days in Residence Life in college.

I will be forever grateful to Julie for leading me to this place, these people. My people.

Because you know the saying, right? When the going gets tough, the tough create a support group.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Kindness Is a Choice

Alyssa friend Nora is a very nice person. She’s pretty much kindness personified.

I think it makes Lyss a little crazy when I talk about how kind Nora is. And I get it. I mean, who wants to be compared to someone who seems like they only have one setting. And honestly, I’m sure Nora has her moments of frustration and annoyance. If I lived with her I’d probably see it as much as I see Lyss’s annoyances.

After Nora and Delaney left last weekend, Alyssa was being less than patient with Olivia. Now, let me state right here that Olivia can be quite a pill. She can be irritating and frustrating and even infuriating. Heck, I’m not always as kind and patient as I’d like to be with her.

But whatever it was that Olivia was doing seemed to me to be fairly trivial and so I said to Lyss, “You know, kindness is a choice.”

Of course she rolled her eyes at me and sighed. Because, yeah, she’s twelve and that’s an annoying thing to hear your mother (or anyone, probably) say.

So at that point, I laughed and said, “I give you permission to use that line on me when I’m being less than kind.”

“Really?” she said, obviously surprised by my generosity.

“Sure,” I replied. “But you have to say, ‘Mumsy, kindness is a choice.’”

She laughed at my idiocy and declared that she would do just that the next time I was irritated by either her or her sister.

And you know what? I hope she does. I hope that in the moment I can use the pause that the comment will create and calm down, relax a little and choose kindness.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Always Changing

One of the best things I heard at the 5p- conference we attended back in July is that our kids continue to learn and grow and mature no matter how old they are.

One of the speakers mentioned that his daughter is 23 and she was speaking better at this year’s conference than she did the year before and infinitely better than she had at the one the year before that.

I see this with Olivia. I see her growing and learning and maturing.

Of course, I also hear her arguing and resisting change and trying to wheedle her dad into giving her what she wants.

But the arguing, the debating, the wheedling, those are signs of growth too. She wants to be independent but she also likes to have us take care of her. She wants the privileges of being almost nine but also wants the babying that comes from still being just eight.

For the record, last night’s math homework was done in about eight minutes. It was painless for both me and Liv. And no, it wasn’t painless for me because Tom helped her. I helped her and if every night was like last night, I’d be happy to help her every single night.

Alas…we’re undergoing growth and the ensuing pain that accompanies it.

There’s change happening everywhere and I’m glad to say that most of it is being embraced. We’ll see where this next chapter takes us.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Pumpkins, Pizza, Movies and More

So the Social Skills Event happened.

The girls and I hit town early on Saturday to make sure we were home with plenty of time to clean up any stray toys that made it from upstairs to downstairs before their friends arrived.

The night before The Event, I stayed up and cleaned the bathrooms, took laundry to the basement and picked up most of O’s ‘junk stashes’. I didn’t want to be racing around like a fool right before the girls were due to arrive the next day.

Their mom was bringing them between 3:30 and 4:00 on Saturday afternoon. O was beside herself with excitement. She was planning things to do with every minute that her friend Delaney was going to be there. She was even trying to plan what Lyss was going to do with her friend Nora. Because Lyssie isn’t always as patient with her sister as I’d like, she snapped at O to stop trying to plan her time.

Ha, silly girls, with the planning and thinking they have free will. We’d bought pumpkins and webbing and spiders and pizza. I had their entire evenings planned to the minute, bwahahahaha.

Okay, so maybe not. I’m not really THAT mom, just a little bit That mom.

So Mrs. Porch arrived with Nora and Delaney and A and O were ecstatic. We went out to greet them and Delaney was sort of clingy with her mom. I heard her whisper, “I don’t want to spend the night.”

Her mom hugged her tight and whispered something back to her.

I decided to speak up, “How about if you just hang out with us for a little while and if you want to go home later, we can call your mom and she can come get you? We’re going to carve pumpkins later.”

That perked the kid right up and she peeled herself out of her mom’s embrace and joined Olivia in a happy dance around the yard.

Mrs. Porch thanked me and started telling me all the things Delaney would need that night. Then she stopped herself and said, “Sorry, I’m coming across as overprotective, aren’t I?”

Ha. Hahaha. I actually did laugh even as I said, “Overprotective? Have you met me?”

This got a laugh out of her and seemed to ease some of her nervousness and she quickly made her exit after saying goodbye to N and D one more time.

After that, it was one activity after the other. They had a fabulous time and I only had to urge Liv to talk to her friend a few times before her nerves settled enough for her to actually act like a normal kid instead of a maniac.

When Mrs. Porch texted me at 10:30 to let me know she was home from her own event and see if I needed her to come get Delaney, I was happy to inform the worried mom that her girl was sound asleep.

I’d planned for the little girls to sleep down in the living room with me and have the bigger girls sleep upstairs in the girls’ bedroom. I put on a movie for the littles and laid out blankets for them to lay on while they watched. I figured this might actually make bedtime less stressful for D. And it worked!! Go me.

What didn’t work was having the bigger girls go upstairs. Nope, they wanted to sleep downstairs too. So D slept in the recliner, Nora slept on one end of the couch. Lyss and Liv slept on the pile of blankets on the floor and I slept on the other end of the couch. (It’s a U-shaped couch, no toes were in any faces at the time of this Social Event.)

It was a miserable night for me. Tom was in the family room and his tv was on all night long. It was loud and annoying. I got up at 2:30 and turned it off. He woke up at 3:00 and turned it back on but thankfully he turned down the volume. I could still see the flickering lights but at least the noise was gone.

And on top of the television, Olivia fussed off and on all night long. Ugh. Poor kid. She was worn out and overworked from having a friend over. Social Events are hard work for the socially challenged.

But in the end, I’d called it a success. Nora and Delaney slept all night long and were cheerful the next morning. Their mom picked them up at 10:00 that morning and everyone was happy with the success of our very first social event.

We will not, however, be repeating this sort of event any time soon. As much fun as it was and as great as the Porch girls were, adding two more kids to the mix is a lot of work and I admire those parents who do this sort of thing with/for their kids more often. Once in a great while is enough for us.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Social Skills Event

Tom and I try to take turns being calm and patient with the girls. When I’m at the end of my rope and about to tie it into a noose, he’s calm and relaxed, able to joke around to bring me out of my frustration.

Last night when I got home, he was the one who’d just about had it with Olivia. She’s in an arguing phase, as in, every single thing someone says has to be met with an argument from her. It’s infuriating and yet, at times, amusing. But we absolutely have to be in the right frame of mind to find her near-constant arguments amusing. I told Tom four years ago when Olivia was five that at some point, the arguing was going to stop being cute. Did he believe me? Nope.

And here we are.

So yes, he was annoyed with her last night and I had to break it to him that we are having guests in the form of a twelve year old girl and an eight year old girl over on Saturday afternoon. These girls are also spending the night with us that night.

Tom feels like until Olivia is feeding herself consistently and not arguing as much, she should have friends over.

Except…that seems mean. I mean, let’s work on one thing at a time and to take away friend time, something she NEEDS, feels excessive.

I suggested to him that instead of thinking of it as giving in to her desire to have friends over, which, to me, is a huge accomplishment on her part, he should think of it as Social Skills Therapy. Yeah, that’s how we’ll frame it. Having a typical peer over for several hours and into the night will be good for Olivia. She needs to be around her peers more, to talk to them, to interact with them, to learn from them.

So tomorrow night, we are not having a sleep over; no, not at all.

We’re having a social skills event. And everyone is going to be happy and have a fabulous time, damn it.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Last Night

Last night was…sad. It was hard. There were tears of frustration and sadness.

In an attempt to be honest here I feel like I need to write about the hard stuff even as we celebrate the good, awesome things happening in our world.

See, Olivia’s homework is my responsibility. Tom doesn’t even want her to open her backpack until I get home so we can work on her homework then. Last night I was tired after a day at work. I was already a little stressed and as I sat there, trying to get her to focus on her math, which is so, so hard for her, I was complaining under my breath that homework shouldn’t sit solely on my shoulders.

Alyssa was at the table with me and Olivia. She heard my comment. She agreed that her dad should have to take on homework duty a couple of nights a week.

Then, she muttered, “It’s hard because she’s dumb.”

Oh my goodness. I’m surprised my head didn’t fly off my neck at how fast I swiveled to look at Alyssa. I think she realized what she said a millisecond before I hissed, “That is a horrible thing to say.”

She dropped her gaze and mumbled an apology.

Olivia asked what Alyssa had said.

I told her it didn’t matter because it was a mean thing to say and I wasn’t going to repeat it.

Then Olivia and I went back to her homework while I fought tears.

See, Olivia struggles with basic math facts. It’s very hard for her and we have to go over it over and over again every single night. But she’s not dumb. She tries so hard, she wants so badly to understand it. And so I work with her, I keep trying to figure out new ways to teach her old things.

But I worry so much about the big bad world being mean to my sweet girl that I when I heard her own sister say that about her, it broke my heart.

Now I realize that siblings say mean things about each other all the time. Heck, Olivia tells Alyssa she has a big butt all the time and it never triggers the kind of emotions the ‘dumb’ comment did last night. And honestly, if Olivia were typical, the ‘dumb’ comment probably wouldn’t have bothered me the way it did last night. But O’s not typical and we all know it. And there lies my fears, my angst.

I guess I just thought that someone who lives with Olivia must see how hard she works, how much she’s already overcome and would never, ever utter such a thing, especially not when she was right there and could hear it. I’m so glad she wasn’t paying attention to us and didn’t hear it. But what about the day she does hear it from a peer or a stranger who happens to see that she’s ‘different’?

Obviously Alyssa’s comment hit a very raw, very deep nerve with me. I try so hard to keep Olivia dressed nicely, her hair brushed and braided, her face clean because I know that society is kinder to people they perceive as caring about their appearance. I also know that society is kinder to more attractive people. It just is. And so I do what I can to make sure she encounters more kindness than cruelty. But last night, it felt like we were slapped in the face with cruelty right there in our own home by one of our own.

I know that Alyssa didn’t mean to hurt my or her sister’s feeling. She was feeling the frustration that pulsed through the room. She wanted math homework to be done too so we could move on to more fun things, like watching the Brady Bunch or just hanging out instead of hearing a near constant, “Okay, Liv, what’s one less than five? Okay, what is six plus four?”

I emailed O’s teachers this morning to let them know about my concerns with math. I wanted to be sure they were aware of how hard we’re working at home and let them know that we’re hitting a few walls. I also wanted to check in with them to see how she’s doing at school.

Math at school is hard too but we have an amazing team working with Olivia and together we’ll find a way to help her succeed.

And tonight, Miss Lyss and I will have a talk about kindness and how much words can hurt. And I’ll work with Livie on her spelling homework and her math homework and we’ll get through it because what else can we do?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"This Is Where I Sometimes Lose the Parent"

That’s what the nurse who was putting an IV in Alyssa’s arm yesterday said as she punctured my child’s skin with a needle.

I nodded to let the nurse know I’d heard her but kept my eyes focused on Lyss’s face. The nurse had told A to look at me rather than her or the needle as the IV was being placed.

We were at the oral surgeon’s office where they were prepping Lyssie for surgery to remove seven baby teeth. I know!! It’s crazy that those suckers hadn’t come out already.

After she finished the procedure, the nurse asked me if I was okay. I looked at her blankly. Why wouldn’t I be okay? I mean, it’s not like she’d given me an IV or was pumping drugs into my veins. She explained, “Some parents have a hard time seeing their kids like this.”

I shrugged. Then I thought maybe she was getting the impression that I didn’t care about my daughter so I explained, “This isn’t about me. I’m good. I just want to make sure she’s okay.”

The nurse seemed surprised by my stoicism. I went on, “Her little sister spend eleven days in the NICU. I had to watch three nurses hold my five pound baby own while a fourth nurse attempted to replace an IV. It took them three tries. My baby screamed the entire time. One of the nurses told me I didn’t have to be there. My daughter had to be there, so I did too. This isn’t nearly that stressful but I still want to make it about Alyssa, not about me. I promise you, I’m not going to faint.”

The nurse, who happened to be quite pregnant, nodded, accepting this long-winded explanation. I’m sure she’s heard it all, poor girl.

About a half hour later, I was being led to the recovery area, where Alyssa lay on a bed, her mouth filled with gauze. The nurse was there making sure A was waking up okay. She went through the after-care instructions and changed Lyss’s gauze in front of me so I could see what it took. She told me to not watch the gauze because it was going to be bloody even if there wasn’t much bleeding.

“So really, I should be checking for pooling blood in the wound sites rather than relying on the gauze to know if the bleeding has stopped?”

She nodded. “You really do have this,” she said, satisfied that I really wasn’t going to pass out at the sight of my child’s mouth blood.

I did have it. I was sorry that Alyssa was in pain. I felt a twinge of guilt that I’d been the one to make the decision that this had to be done but I was okay with taking care of her now that it was done.

I know there are people who get queasy at the sight of blood and/or needles. I get that. But I also think that as a parent, we have to suck it up and remember that our children need us. This procedure was going to be tough enough on my girl without me being a stupid baby about blood and needles.

So yeah. She got seven baby teeth removed yesterday. She stopped needing gauze in her mouth after an hour. She was eating another hour after that.

The nurse was right when she exclaimed how mature Lyssie is. She came through this like a champ. She stayed home today because there’s still a little pain and the swelling is worse today than yesterday but she’ll probably go tomorrow. And in two weeks, her braces will be put on her teeth. We’re moving things along on the orthodontic trail. And no, even that isn’t about me.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Twelve Years

We have a twelve year old girl in our home and as of Sunday, October 4th, Tom and I have a twelve year old marriage.


My mom took the girls for a bit over the weekend so Tom and I could have some time to celebrate our anniversary.

As we sat around our empty house debating what to do with ourselves, we mused that it’s very nice that we still like each other after all these years. And it is. I like that we still make each other laugh. I like that I still think he’s a good kisser. I like that we both want to be good to each other and to take care of each other.

We found ourselves laughing over how nice and quiet the house was since Liv was at her Gram’s house. Livie, oh that girl; she keeps us on her toes. She’s got so much to say and wants to make sure she says it to everyone.

We mused at how lucky we are that she can tell us everything that’s on her mind but also how nice it was to have a couple of hours of not actually hearing her thoughts.

I won’t say that twelve years ago I married my best friend because, yeah, that’s not really what happened. I got lucky in that I married someone that I still like twelve years after we said vows to love each other forever but best friends? Nah. I reserve that for my girlfriends and yes, even my mom.

He’s someone I want to make laugh, someone I like coming home to everyday. He’s fun and sweet and yes, even infuriating at times. He’s human, just like I am, we have our good days and our bad days. We’ve weathered tough years and I’m grateful that we’re currently sailing through a pretty good one.

I’m glad to have him by my side as we parent these two amazing girls, as we grow older every single day.

Here’s to the next twelve years.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Favorite Kind of Kid

I’m getting better at asking for clarification when someone, anyone, asks me a question that I don’t understand.

So when Lyss asked me last night what my favorite kind of kid was, I quipped, “A sleeping one.” Then, after she got over her outrage at the fact that Liv was sleeping and thus must be the favorite, she asked again.

The second time, I took her a little more seriously and said, “I don’t even understand that question.”

She thought about how to clarify it but couldn’t quite figure out how to ask what she wanted to know. She said, “Do you like babies best or little kids?”

Ahh, I thought. I get it.

“No,” I told her. “My current favorite kind of kid is the twelve year old and eight year old varieties.”

She grinned with satisfaction. But then she wanted to know why that as the case.

I returned her smile. “I like the ages you guys are now because you’re way more fun now. Babies are boring and needy. They’re lumps who poop and cry and sleep, or in the case of you and Liv, lumps that poo and cry and I tried to make sleep.”

And honestly, the more I thought about it, it’s all true. I mean, sure, I knew that’s what she wanted to hear but I really do love the ages the girls are right now. They’re independent, they’re self-sufficient (for the most part), they can talk to me and tell me if something is bothering them and they can do fun things like go to movies and restaurants without it being a huge production.

These girls are both as such awesome stages right now. They’re people with thoughts and feelings and worries and imaginations and stories and experiences. They talk to me all the time and while it might get tedious sometimes, most of the time, I marvel at amazing they are, how awesome it is that I’m there to hear their thoughts, their ideas. They’re mine as much as I’m theirs and I like to think that we’re all so very lucky to have each other.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

No, Seriously!

I feel like my job as the parent of an almost-teenage girl is complete as of a couple of weeks ago.

We were heading into our small-town grocery store because we while we didn’t need a bunch of groceries, we did need a few specialty items and I’m willing to pay the outrageous prices charged at the locally owned store and save myself twelve miles (one way!) of travel.

So we’d parked and I helped O out of the backseat of the car. Lyss was at the front of the car waiting for us and for some reason I quoted a Monty Python bit. You know the one about the newt? Yeah, that one.

As I got to the “Well, I got better…” part, Lyssie hissed, “Mom, seriously!”

Which, hahahahaha. Oh yes, I’ve so wanted to hear that from at least one of my daughters. It was glorious.

See, the grocery store is in the same town as the girls’ school and A knew that there was the very real possibility seeing someone she knows, someone she might actually not want to hear her mother being ridiculous.

I laughed through the entire store as we picked up bacon bits and Dr Pepper and a gumball for Liv.

My work here is almost complete. Now, in just a few years I just have to manage to elicit a similar reaction from Livie and we can all retire to a lovely condo in Florida.