Monday, August 31, 2009

Chase

4 comments:
Today was my first day watching Chase. I brought her home with me this afternoon after I worked at the Y.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just the slightest bit nervous. First, it's been a while since a small baby has been in the house. Second, while I'm completely confident in my ability to mother, it's always different when you are taking care of someone else's baby. What if something happens? I can't imagine what I'd do with myself if any child was hurt while I was watching them. Of course, my kids can jump from the roof of the house while wielding razor sharp knives. But they're resilient. I wouldn't want someone else's child to so much as sneeze because what if they did it too hard and their brain popped out of their nostrils and what if I couldn't get it back in????

I was nervous from the moment she got into my car. I looked out my rear view mirror at least three times before even backing out of the parking lot!

And the rest of the day was very similar. I made sure she was comfortable and happy and made sure that nobody touched her and that the sun didn't get in her eyes and the air didn't land on her too hard.

She was sweet as can be; a bubbly, bright-eyed little bundle of energy. It's only been one day and I've learned a lot about her:

1. She likes me. A lot.
2. She's a cuddle bug.
3. She DOES NOT like her car seat.
4. She thinks Bear is funny.
5. She hates hats.
6. It's a miracle that she doesn't have rug burn from scooting around on her butt so much.
7. She's a great conversationalist and speaks with a thick German accent.
8. She's a fan of soap operas.
9. Holding her while she sleeps makes a great excuse NOT to do laundry.

Her mom picked her up around 3 and she was sound asleep. She had been for the last hour and even though I took her outside in the sunshine, and even though there was a cool breeze and even though there were a lot of loud noises including my loud voice, and even though I was jiggling her around, the girl did not wake up. Her mom said she never sleeps in the afternoon so now she either thinks I'm her daughter's baby whisperer or she thinks I slipped some whiskey in her formula.

But it was a wonderful day. There is something so intoxicating about a small baby. The way they smell and feel and move. The quiet satisfaction that comes from rocking them to sleep.

Now that I've had her for a day, I feel much better about my decision to babysit. She will be a piece of cake. Covered in cream cheese frosting and drizzled with strawberry sauce!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sex and Pizza

5 comments:
A sure-fire way to make your pizza be delivered 20 minutes earlier or for the cable man to arrive at 8:03 during an 8-6 window is to have sex. Crazy, naked, loud and spine-tingling sex.

Because as soon as you figure you have a good hour to kill and decide to strip down and feel tingly, your doorbell will ring. And then a stream of expletives will drip from your tongue as you struggle to put your underwear on. If you don't have sex, then expect your pizza to be delivered an hour late and your cable man to arrive at 5:57. And expect the tips of your fingers to be bloody and callused from all the tapping they will do while you call the cable man a couple of words that imply he performs carnal acts upon his mother wait patiently while your day is wasted to shit.

That's just the way things go in life.

So what is the best way to ensure that DCF will drop two children on our doorstep at any minute? No, not sex you pervert. The best way is to agree to help two of your friends by watching their children while they work and/or take classes at local colleges.

The first is Tariku, a 19 month old fireball who hysterically points and says "fuck, fuck, fuck" every time he sees a truck. I believe I will read him a book all about construction vehicles just so that I an hear him say that word over and over.

The second is a 2 month old baby named Chase. I watch her at the YMCA on Mondays and her mother came to me in desperation when her care provider backed out. Of course I accepted because I felt her pain and I adore Chase.

I'm watching them in the afternoons on varying days. And I have to mix this with Bear beginning pre-school and Bubba going to pre-school AND Kindergarten and Birdie going to second grade. I will be juggling nap times and bus stops and pick-up times.

Lord help me and give me strength because to say that I will be busy in the afternoons would be an understatement. Like saying that our country has "a little money trouble."

And maybe two weeks into it, I will get that fateful call that my new son is on his way. I'm just gonna go ahead and call fate's bluff. I'm gonna play chicken with fate. I'm gonna put my thumb on my nose and wiggle my fingers at fate. Bring it, fate.

I'll be sure to tell Howie to let you know the address of the mental institution I will be living at for a while. So you can send me flowers.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Summertime

7 comments:
In Connecticut, we have a "No Child Left Inside" policy which encourages families to take advantage of everything Connecticut has to offer. And let me tell ya, we took advantage of it, which explains why I've been m.i.a. I've missed you. I even sent you a greeting card with a basket of assorted fruit. You should be receiving it any minute.

But anyway, back to me and my making my children bake in the sun for 16 hours a day allowing my children to enjoy the wonder of the outdoors this summer. Rain or shine, these kids were out and about and while I didn't quite reach my goal of ZERO tv for the summer, I came pretty darned close.

They've spent countless hours on the trampoline, put hundreds of miles on their bicycles, lounged by the pool until their skin turned to brown leather. They are covered in mosquito bites, scrapes, bruises and tan lines. They've seen everything from the valley's of Pennsylvania to the sand dunes of Cape Cod and enjoyed every minute of it.

Locally, we took advantage of the free passes offered by our local library and enjoyed art museums, science centers, play houses, historic buildings, zoos and aquariums. They played soccer and baseball and perfected their golf swings. We enjoyed Connecticut's state parks, ponds and amusement parks and spent such few time indoors that they often times forget the layout of the house and wander around aimlessly. Although that could be because they are catatonic from exhaustion.

School begins next week and while we still have a few things to finish up this week (we're going to another science center and visiting another state park), we are about done with sun saturated fun. I think we've successfully extracted every last drop of summertime fun and we have the melanoma to prove it.

Here is a little slide-show from some of the thousands of summer pictures.

Your pictures and fotos in a slideshow on MySpace, eBay, Facebook or your website!view all pictures of this slideshow



I hope you have all thoroughly enjoyed your summers. School starts for us next Monday and while I'm looking forward to some well-deserved time alone, I am also going to miss these kids like crazy. I have some updates that I want to share with you all for fall but in the meantime, tell me what you did this summer. Did you see anyone famous? I did. Well, I don't know if she can be counted as "famous" but she's on TV.



We met her at the Maritime Aquarium and my kids played with her kids. Because I hob-nob with famous people in my spare time :-) Her name is Jean Louisa Kelly and she played on a sitcom called "Yes, Dear". She was also in "Uncle Buck" a looooong time ago.

So, how was your summertime? Do tell!

Friday, August 7, 2009

And We Wonder Where She Gets It

8 comments:
...as we're getting ready in the morning...

Me: "You know, Birdie...today is your last day of camp."
Birdie: "I know. I'm glad."
Me: "Me too."
...ten minutes later
Howie: "Do you know it's your last day of camp?"
Birdie: "Yes Dad, Mom already told me."
Howie: "She did?? Oh. Sorry. But just so you know. It's the LAST day of camp."
Birdie: *rolling her eyes* "I heard you."
...a minute later
Howie: "Did I tell you that today is your last day of camp?"
Birdie: *silence*
Howie: "Biiiiiiiirdie. Today. Last day. Of camp."
Birdie: "STOP IT ALREADY!!!"
Howie: "What? Just want to make sure you're prepared."
...30 seconds later
Me: "Has anybody told you that there's no more camp after today?"
Birdie: "Mo om"
Howie: "Oh yeah, and it's your last day of camp."
Birdie: *pulling at her hair*
Howie: "Oh sorry, did someone already tell you that today?"
Birdie: "Only ten million times."
...10 seconds later
Howie: "Hey Birdie."
Birdie: "Yes I know, it's the last day of camp."
Howie: "How'd you know???"

There is no doubt that she will put us in a nursing home the first chance she gets. And she'll never look back.

Six Weeks

1 comment:
I went back to the chiropractor today. He twisted me and cracked me and contorted me into all kinds of pretzel shapes that hurt so good.

I tolerate it because while it may be uncomfortable at the time, I almost always feel immediate pain relief by the time I'm walking to my car. Howie thinks it's a bunch of bull shit. He pokes and jabs at me about seeing my "witch doctor" as if Dr. Feelgood lights a candle, dribbles me with wax and then cracks an egg over my head to ward me of evil spirits.

Honestly, I wouldn't even care if he did because he's THAT good! I just want to have feeling back in my hand. It's obnoxious! You know how it feels when you sleep on your arm and when you wake up it's all numb so you start shaking it, rubbing it, poking it and sneaking up on it from behind and shouting "boo"? That painful feeling of tingling as it comes back to life, yeah that's how my hand feels and according to Dr. Feelgood, will be feeling that way for the next 4-6 WEEKS!

Yeah. I did a number to my arm. This obnoxious feeling has been driving me crazy for 5 days. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself for SIX WEEKS! I keep touching it to make sure that it really is numb and I have a masochistic desire to slam it hard with a hammer or run over it with the front tire of my minivan. I figure one of two things is going to happen. Either the finger wakes up or it dies completely and falls off. I could "accidentally" get it caught in the chainsaw this weekend while I'm doing yard work. I might be able to qualify under the dismemberment column of my insurance policy and while I won't quite fill out my winter gloves like I used to, I'm sure I'll feel better when I'm wiping my tears with all of the cash from the insurance settlement! So...dismemberment or permanent damage? Either would be an accepted alternative to the current electric shock treatments running through it right now.

Six weeks? Seriously? SIX WEEKS!?!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Falling To Pieces

1 comment:
I hate yard work. Well, that's not exactly the whole truth. I actually really enjoy being outside and getting my hands dirty. I enjoy trimming trees and planting flowers. I like raking leaves and even enjoy pulling a weed or two. But I never have enough time to do any of it. I wish I could take my time and enjoy what I have to do but I always have to squeeze the work into a small window of time between when I put Bear down for a nap and when she wakes up ten minutes later, screaming as if someone snuck into her room and stole one of her kidneys.

And I HATE being rushed. It makes any small job into a miserable chore. Plus, when I rush I make mistakes or I cut corners, both of which cost me more work in the end. Bleh.

I'm hoping that we can get some yard work done this weekend. We've been putting it off for quite a bit while we tackle other things. Last weekend I pulled the linoleum from the garage entry way. I then painted everything ( I even puttied holes, sanded and caulked everything aren't you proud?) and put down a new floor. It wasn't a big job but it took me quite a while. I was on my hands and knees, cramped in a very small space for about 20 hours. I did a good job but it didn't come without a cost. I damaged a nerve in my arm and my hand and fingers have been numb for 4 days now. I went to see my chiropractor (a.k.a Doctor Feelgood) today and begged for him to make it all better. He squinted his eyes at me and was like "what the hell were you doing on the floor for 20 hours when I told you not to even sit on the floor for 10 minutes!!!" I tried to convince him that I suffer from short term memory loss but he didn't buy it. He said my nerve will take some time to regenerate and I should take it easy which is exactly why I went outside a couple of hours later and started working on the yard.

The grass needed mowed in a bad way. It's been a week and I hate letting it go this long because I can't mulch it if it's grown too long, I have to collect the grass and dump it in the compost pile. The problem is that with grass that long, I have to stop every ten seconds to dump the clippings. I didn't have much time and decided it was a good idea to see how long I could go without dumping. You know, for shits and giggles. Unfortunately, the piping got clogged and chunks of coagulated grass went everywhere. Then I burned my toes because I was wearing flip flops which as any professional landscaper will tell you, is the most appropriate footwear when your feet are going to be inches from a blazing hot engine. Plus, ol' red was in a bad mood and when I turned her at a corner, she went all rebellious on me and ran me straight into a tree with large, jagged branches, one of which pierced straight through my arm. I don't like to be dramatic so I'm going to say that it's not a big deal but I'm pretty sure I could see part of my arm muscle and I'm no expert but I don't really think that's a good thing. There are just certain body parts that one should not be acquainted with on a face to face basis. If you ever have the occasion to say, "oh, hello there Mr. heart valve, it's nice to make your acquaintance" you can safely make the assumption that you have had better days.

That damn mower still hates me. It's a wonder she doesn't buck me off and run over my helpless body with blades roaring while she says "mulch that mother fu...". Because she cusses like a sailor and drinks heavily in the afternoons. The last time this happened, she drove me into a patch of thorny blackberry bushes. I was scratched from north to south!

It's funny how time stands still when you are being injured. It seemed like slow motion as the branch dug into my flesh and instead of being all, "oh my GAWD, there is a piece of tree in my arm!", I was like "I guess I will have to put 'cut low lying branches' at the top of my to do list for Saturday because these things are going to hurt someone, oh look there is a piece of my arm in the grass." I would totally cut down the whole fucking tree if it weren't the only privacy barrier between us and our neighbors. With it gone, we could potentially see right into their dining room and what if they eat naked? It's a question I never want answered.

So this weekend...yard duty. I will cut down branches, I will trim bushes, I will drag huge chunks of old trees out of our back woods. I also plan on using a chain saw for the first time ever which if my track record is any indication, means I will be arm-less by lunch time.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Certifiable

6 comments:
Howie and I have many friends who have struggled with infertility. Some of them went on to have children without intervention. Some welcomed daughters and sons through IVF. Some have adopted their families and others still struggle to become parents.

Every time I hear a story from a girlfriend about the trials of infertility, I want to throw myself at an alter and thank God for blessing us because the stories are heart wrenching. They involve tests and invasive procedures, disappointments, compromises and expenses. There is bitterness and sadness and frustration. It seeps into every facet of their lives because it's something that never goes away, it just lingers just under the surface. It's like a wound that never heals because it is constantly irritated by things that most of us don't even notice. Like the sappy Johnson and Johnson commercials featuring the cherubic baby with his pink cheeks and adorable giggles. Or maybe it's trying to muster the strength to be truly happy for a friend who has announced a pregnancy or have the endurance to answer yet another "when are you going to start a family" question. And while it might not be the focus of every moment, it always seems to be the thing that pops to mind when there is an idle moment and thoughts are left to wander.

It's clearly not easy. And while I can empathize, there is no way I can truly understand because I have not walked that path. My understanding is merely elementary. Saying that I understand because I can imagine the pain would be like saying that I understand calculus because I can count from 1 to 10. Because I know the surface facts, not the deep, complicated internal workings of such a thing.

While I will never truly grasp it, I can now relate in a very small sort of way because while we haven't been trying to get pregnant, we've been waiting for a child. We've carried a desire to bring a little one into our family and have been left empty handed. We've been caught in this web that is the process of adoption, surrendering ourselves completely to it's terrifying grips. It's much like one of those corn mazes you see in the fall. You go in thinking that it couldn't possibly be that complicated and thinking that you'll work you're way through with relative ease. But then half-way through you realize that it's plain impossible and you may as well lay down on the ground and curl up in a ball and suck your thumb between sobs until someone comes to your rescue. It's tedious and frustrating and confusing and worst of all, it's all out of your control.

There are a lot of questions while you are waiting. Will today be the day? Why is this taking so long? Should I just give up and get on with my life? It's an utter feeling of helplessness. All we can do is wait, and hope and pray. I just hate the feeling of not knowing if and when anything is going to happen but we had no choice but to be at the mercy of the process and what it requires, patience.

Patience is not my best subject. If I were taking a course in patience, I would be failing miserably, maybe scraping by with a D minus, minus.

But today I got a phone call from our new social worker, Jenn. We are officially certified and she is submitting our information into the state database today. Like, now. This means that any case worker within the state of Connecticut can now call us about a boy between the ages of 0 and 3. And according to Jenn, based on our specifications, we will be getting a LOT of referrals. I just realized how terrible that sounds, "specifications". As if we placed an order with "specs" for the kind of child we would like to have. Like we're ordering a computer. "Yes and I want an extra large LCD monitor with speakers and a dual intel core. Also, I want extra memory, 750 GB hard drive and a keyboard with springy keys."

I asked her plain and simple, "should I move Bear out of her room to make space?" "Yes. Because while it won't happen tomorrow, it's eminent." It's hard to gauge how long these things can take, there are just too many variables. Luckily, once we accept a referral, we will have time to get things in order, not a lot of time but perhaps a few days to gather up necessary things to welcome a child.

I've often thought of the adoption process as a parallel to pregnancy. Like the paperwork could easily be compared to hemorrhoids. Something that is an uncomfortable part of the process. If I were to make that parallel now I would say that I just went for my 38 week appointment and have been told that it could happen at any time now. All systems are go and now it's just a matter of time. It could be this week, it could be a month from now. But it will happen.

We've been rescued from the maze. Now we are about to board the biggest, scariest roller coaster we've ever seen. We've stood in line for hours and hours, eagerly trying to suppress the excitement but now that we're about to board, we're terrified. There will be a lot of twists and turns, maybe even a little vomit. But with any luck, it will also be truly exhilarating.