Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Maybe it's because I'm getting old. Or maybe it's because I am more of a prude than I thought. Or maybe I speak for many of you when I say, "what the heck was up with Adam Lambert's performance on the AMAs last Sunday night?"

Holy cow!!

I want to point out that I am (was) actually a fan of Adam Lambert. I think he's crazy talented and refreshingly different. I think he has a tremendous amount of potential and he really seems like a nice guy.

If you don't already know this, let me let you in on a little secret. He's gay. I know...you're probably gasping with surprise, right?
Because he is so reserved and shy and not at all ostentatious.

In all seriousness, his sexual orientation isn't my business. Which is why I don't need to see him grabbing a man's face and shoving it in his crotch to simulate oral sex while I'm watching Sunday night television. And I certainly don't need to watch him tongue another guy or engage in S&M or thrusting and touching himself either. It was just over the top.

Apparently ABC felt the same as me as they edited his performance for the west coast airing of the show. It seems that critics are divided. Some say it was "ultra-lewd" and others seem to find it wonderful. I'm siding with the "ultra-lewd" crowd.

Obviously, he's not the first to make a lewd performance on the AMA awards. He is following in the suggestive footsteps of artists such as Madonna. Lambert claims that he is being discriminated against because the west coast show was edited.

Honestly, it has nothing to do with his being homosexual. It has everything to do with vulgarity and that comes in many forms, heterosexual included. It doesn't matter whether a woman is doing it or if a man is doing it or if they are heterosexual or homosexual. What matters is that it's just plain inappropriate.

Honestly. After watching the performance I felt like I needed to rinse my eyeballs in something strongly antibacterial. I would totally post the video but then I don't want to subject you to such things. If you haven't seen it, consider yourselves lucky. Oh, and does anyone know how to "un-fan" yourself from a facebook page?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Little Bit Of Overreaction

Remind me to send Daddy McFarty Pants to the doctor's office for the next round of shots! Last night left a LOT to be desired.

I had started prepping Birdie since yesterday morning. Telling her that we were going to get shots and how it's no big deal because when Bear got her two shots she didn't even feel it. She didn't cry, she didn't wince, she didn't even know the nurse was in the room. Bubba was the same. I got him talking about Transformers and monster trucks and then he was all, "what was that" and I was like, "dude it was a transformer that came up behind you and pinched your arm, I can't believe you missed it!" To this day he doesn't know that he didn't get a shot.

She didn't say much about it all day but then last night on the way to the doctor's office, the reality of it all started to set in. She started whining and asking why it was that I was taking her to the doctor's office so that they could "torture" her. Why did I hate her so much that I would cause her so much pain and anguish? What was my problem?

I tried to explain that the shots would only hurt for a moment and she definitely didn't want to take her chances with getting the flu because then she wouldn't be able to eat popcorn. Because didn't you know that reduced popcorn consumption was a side effect of the swine flu? I told her about the miserable aches and the head pain and the vomiting and the tiredness and the not being able to breathe and she poo pooed all of that. It wasn't until I told her that she'd be so sick she couldn't eat popcorn that she gasped and her eyes popped open. "Seriously? NO popcorn? That is HORRIBLE!"

"I KNOW!" I said. So lets not take our chances with it. The shot will make sure that you don't get that kind of flu. She agreed to go, but very reluctantly. She was nervous as all get out!
Last night; however, Bubba was hell bent on showing Birdie his toughness. He wanted to prove that he was brave and definitely not afraid of a stupid little shot. He's a big boy and he said he was going to go first to show her how silly she was being to worry about something so trivial.

We picked a good time to go because there wasn't anyone around so we went right in. They got their temps taken and I signed away consent to make them experimental drug test subjects. I did inquire about that and the doc informed me that this flu shot is indeed "new" but that every year the flu shot is "new" and this one is made the same way. Same production, same distribution and while he understands genuine concern, that people are making un-found assumptions that it isn't safe." I'm not really worried about it, I guess I just felt the need to be thorough.

Bubs exposed his arm with no problem. Tough as nails. The boy practically pounded his chest and made grunting noises. He even had the crazy idea to WATCH them give him the shot. Now that, I won't even do. He didn't make a sound but you could tell that it was much more than he had expected. Still, he shrugged it off and told Birdie that it was no big deal.

He was telling her this while she was in the corner putting her coat back on and crossing her arms. As I walked toward her she immediately started screaming and cowering. She refused to take off her coat and started kicking me and going generally crazy. I had to fight to get the coat off and the nurse threatened to have nurses come in and hold her down. I finally got her coat off but it was still more screaming, more flailing.

I finally got her to sit on my lap and tried to distract her but it was futile. Luckily the nurse was swift and gave her both shots super fast. She cried and screamed and then made herself so upset that she started hacking and coughing and pretending that she was going to pass out. Oh the drama. Meanwhile, Bubs has already put his coat back on and was like, "dude, get over it."

The miracle of it all was that not only did I not get frustrated with her, I was really patient and kind to her. Normally that sort of thing really gets under my skin but I just laughed it off. Boy, prayer really is a powerful thing!

Birdie was whistling and skipping by the time we got to the car and the ordeal was over. The rest of the night was smooth as butter cream. Bear went to bed without a fight. Bubs didn't balk at the teeth flossing and Birdie did her homework with a battle. When we got home Birdie started complaining that her arm hurt so bad and she needed some medicine, something powerful! I looked through the medicine cabinet and found a cough drop and told her that it would do the trick. She looked at me funny but then agreed and said that it sure did take the pain away. This morning when they were regaling the shot story to their daddy Bubs said, "I was so brave and so tough. I didn't cry at all." Birdie countered, "but that's just cause you got the gentle shot and I got the hard one."

Oh Brother.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Half Day

The kids are on a half day schedule this week beginning today. They will all be home by 12:30pm which means that I have to adjust my schedule and move my "have a stiff drink" appointment from 5pm to 2:30pm. I just hope it doesn't disrupt my "hide in the closet" appointment and I can forget that I had penciled in "pretend that I have fallen asleep" at 7:00 because Howie is working late so I'm on my own.

I'm taking the kids over to Mamaw's tonight because it will break up the night and also, I have to take Birdie and Bubba to get their shots. Bubs is getting his seasonal and Birdie is getting both seasonal and H1N1. Since Bear has already had them both, I'm leaving her with Mamaw in lieu of taking her to the doctor's office and letting her marinate in the germiness of that place. Because every time we go there, the kids pick something up. If we go for a well visit, we come home with a cold. If we go in for a cold we come home with a virus. If we go in for a virus we come out with a flesh eating disease. If it were up to me, they would get their shots via drive-thru!

Thank goodness we've made it this far without getting the flu and hopefully thanks to the shots we can avoid at least a couple of strains! I think I'm opting out of the shots this year. It's not necessarily by choice, there are simply not enough shots to go around. I'm going to wash my hands and hope for the best!

On another front entirely, we were assigned a "buddy" through our DCF office. She's a woman who has been a foster parent for ages and since we are newbies, she is there to help us along the way. She called on Monday and asked how things were going and I told her. She suggested I make contact with our social worker and express our genuine interest and also to make sure she is doing everything she should be. And it's a good thing I did because it turns out that we had been reassigned to a new social worker and they never told us! And those of you who've been following this journey with us since last December might be scratching your heads right now and saying, "ANOTHER social worker?" And my answer would be to roll my eyes and sigh in agreement. This is our...count them...one (Kim), two (Doug), three (Jen), four (Amy)....FORTH social worker in 8 months!

So I had a moment of panic where I went a little berserk because we are on a sensitive time line here people. They are picking the families for the teaming this week and scheduling for next week or into the first week of December if they cannot get everyone together before the holiday. What if they had a teaming and no one would show up on our behalf? So I called our old social worker and our new social worker and the child's social worker to try to get everyone together.

Thankfully our new social worker did get back to me and I was really glad because she only works 3 days a week and one of those day is a half day! I basically inundated her with information and tried to explain everything so that she would be well equipped to advocate for us. Turns out she's a wonderful worker and hopefully someone who will really speak up for us. Crisis averted.

And on yet another note, I'm feeling kind of guilty for writing that blog about Howie being Daddy McFarty Pants. Not just that, but I might have written something about that as my Facebook status and maybe some of his co-workers saw it and have been teasing him mercilessly. I guess it's time I write about how he can open a jar of pickles with only the strength in his pinkie finger or how he can crush a coke can with his pecks or how he once wrestled a lion to the ground without even breaking a sweat or how he literally spends hours of his day shaking women from his pants legs because he's such a stud. Because all of that is true, you know.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Daddy McFarty Pants

While we were driving in the car...(without Howie)...

Birdie: *making farting noises with her arms*
Bubba and Bear: *giggles*
Me: "Who's farting back there?"
*collective giggles*
Bubba: "You know, Daddy farts A LOT!"
*collective agreement*
Birdie: "Yeah, he's like a farty daddy."
Me: "He's like daddy McFarty."
Birdie: "Daddy farty pants."
Bubba: "Daddy McFarty Pants."

And that's when we officially changed his first, middle and last name. Howie shall henceforth be referred to as Daddy McFarty Pants. Or DMFP for short. :-)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nervous Doesn't Even Begin To Cover It

Last month as I was working at the computer (read: planting crops in my Facebook farm), I received an email from the central DCF office in Hartford. It was in regards to an open house sort of event that they hold for children who are legally free for adoption.

I had never heard of it before, so I went online to check it out and they had a listing of children available for adoption. I noticed that they offered an application where you could enter all of your information and they would match you with the right child so I put in our details which were basically that we would take any child, any color, any age, any situation. Because you see, I wanted to give myself options :-) There was only one match that came up and he was perfect. It didn't take long before I was completely drawn to him. There were other kids featured on the site so I browsed around but I kept coming back to that little boy. I read his profile and then clicked on another child, then went back to him, clicked on another child and went back to him. This went on until I gave up on everyone else and just sat there, staring at his photo. He is a 5 year old boy with autism who is racially mixed. And that's all I have to say and you will understand why nobody has been beating down the doors at DCF to adopt him.

I decided to shoot them an email and tell them that we might be a match for him even though he was not what we had originally asked for and we were definitely not what they were asking for him. We were looking for ages 0-3 and he's 5. They are asking for a placement where he can be an only child and we have well, many more children than that.

It doesn't make any sense, yet at the same time it makes perfect sense. We are well experienced in how to teach and parent a child with autism. We are also exactly his racial mix (hispanic, caucasian and african american). And let me just say something here. The day that Bubba was diagnosed with autism was one of the darkest days of my life. I cried, a lot. It was devastating news because we didn't know what it meant and that was terrifying. But the thing is, had Bubs never been diagnosed, had we not been forced to trudge through the difficulties long enough to understand how amazing the experience really is, we would have never considered this little boy.

I got an email within minutes. Yes. They were interested and within hours our case study had been sent to his social worker. I had a call by the next morning to verify information. They immediately set about sorting through our case study. The problem was that they had not had anyone who was interested in him in the previous eight months but then suddenly, there were like 13 families. So the social worker now had 13 studies to plow through and let me just tell you that each case study is a thickness worthy of a Tolstoy novel. It takes time. Time that I don't have the patience for.

I called the social worker several times but didn't have the guts to leave a message. I didn't want to seem desperate even though I WAS. Not that I am anymore. Me? Desperate? Psh. Whatever. Okay, so I totally am. I'm desperate to get this show on the road, to hold my son in my arms, to not have to sit awake and wonder if he's okay. I know that sounds weird seeing as how I don't even know who that son will turn out to be but I feel like when my kids are not with me, say sleeping over at Grandma's. And even though I know they're probably okay, there is just a sense of unease because they are not HERE, tucked in the crook of my arm.

Today I got a call from the social worker. He is working very hard to finish up the case studies and informed me that next week they will pick a small number of families (and we are one of them). Many of the 13 inquiries will be thrown out as they are from out of state and they really want to keep him in Connecticut. They will also weed out the families that aren't viable options. Then they will schedule a placement teaming which is a big meeting where all of the social workers and a bunch of other people get together and lay out the case studies for all of the available families. Then they will choose a match. That will happen in two weeks and there will be a family chosen by the end of November and we could be that family. It could go two ways. They could say, "they already have a child with autism, GREAT!" Or they could say, "they already have a child with autism, NOT GREAT!" The social worker assured me that would be exactly what some of the workers would say, so we'll just have to see.

I don't even know how to feel. Part of me is excited but then I don't want to get too excited. Part of me thinks that we are the perfect fit for him and another part of me questions whether we'd be right for him. I have complete faith that God with place him with the appropriate family and frankly, if they do choose us I will know why we were give the adversity of a child with autism. Because had we not, we would have not found the one person who would make us complete and THAT my friends will be a moment of complete divine awe. Also, if we are chosen we would not have to foster him. He is completely legally free which would mean that we would immediately be set up for court to start the process of adoption even though it might take a while to integrate him into the family.

Truth is, I'd be happy for him no matter what. Because either way he is getting a new family. Either way he is going to be loved and cared for and not be a part of a system. He will have a home and a place where he will forever belong. It's a blessing to be part of that process even if we aren't chosen. Because we will see that it does happen, that there are happy endings and he is one less child who is suffering.

I'll keep you posted and please, pray for us!
Kisses In the Wind
I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams.
You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.
I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long.
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.
Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.
Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.
May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.
--- Unknown

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Birdie Sandwich

Last night, after Howie had put Bubba to bed and I had put Bear to bed, we relaxed on our bed while we waited for Birdie to take her shower.

Now, I can't say that she's what you would call "thorough" when it comes to showering but I figure she's wet and partially washed and it could be much worse. Sure, she adds an extra digit to our water bill every time she showers and sure, she somehow manages to get soaking wet on her back and remain bone dry on her front but oh well. It makes her feel like a rock star.

After she got dressed with combed hair and brushed teeth, she read a book to us. It was one of those "Black Lagoon Adventures" books which are always clever and witty.

And after she was done reading and we were about to send her off to bed, we started showering her with the customary hugs and kisses. She gave me a hug and then she gave Howie a hug and then came the kisses and the raspberries and the tickles.

Then I said, "lets make a Birdie sandwich" and she was all, "waaa, where's a sandwich, can I eat it?" and I was like, "no you silly goose, YOU'RE the sandwich" as I tossed her between us (face down) and squished her. "Lets add some mayo" *rubs her back*, "and some lettuce" *slap her back*, "and some cheese" *squeezed her face*, and some pickles *tickles*, and some tomato *more tickles*. By this point she was in hysterics, laughing uncontrollably.

Then we rolled her on her side and squished her hard and started "eating" at her by making chomping noises as we kissed her cheeks and arms and back. Cue more hysterics. I'm sure you heard her if you live anywhere in the state.

As she started to calm down I licked my fingers and let out a sigh as if I had just finished a satisfying meal. That made her giggle even more. Howie said, you're so yummy I could sock you up with a biscuit." "Hmmm, a biscuit?", she said. "Yeah, lemme see your biscuits", I said as I rolled her over and pinched her butt.

"No mommy", said Howie. "Those aren't biscuits, those are buns!" And I'll just let you imagine the tsunami of giggles caused by that little remark.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wherein I Make You Vomit A Little Bit

What a week. When I agreed to watch Tariku and Chase I imagined it to be no big deal to have a couple of extra kids hanging from the foyer light fixture. I figured that since Birdie and Bubba were at school, it would be a piece of cake. But you see, I did not factor in the possibility that my children would at some point become ill and then I'd have a real house-full of little creatures. Big mistake. Hey, I never said I was good at thinking ahead!

Well, that scenario played out this week and all I can say is "thank GOD for hard liquor." Bubs got a fever on Sunday night and while he wasn't really "sick", I thought it prudent to keep him home from school. He wasn't even under the weather, he was more like slightly to the left of the weather. He was still running around, playing and laughing and eating up bowls full of gold fish crackers.

Bear also got sick but she had the snots. And the sneezes. I spent all day chasing after her with a Kleenex and spraying her down with Lysol spray. She was sneezing every 5 seconds and just as I'd wiped her face and leaned over to throw the tissue in the garbage, she would sneeze again and snot would start dripping down her face. And I just want to give you a warning here of the disgustingness (is that a word?) that I'm going to share with you right now. If you are eating or drinking something right now, go ahead and click the little "x" at the top of your screen and come back at a time when your stomach is not digesting anything because this my friends is G to the R to the OSS.

So, if you're still reading it means you have a stomach of steel and do not anticipate getting nauseous. And if you do throw up, don't say I didn't warn you. It's right there in fine Georgia print. Okay, so every time she would sneeze and huge globules of snot (with bubbles) would go dripping down her face she would LICK THEM! *dry heaves* I'm not even kidding you. So I spent the day sprinting across the room so that I could wipe her face before her yucky little tongue got to licking. Why on God's green earth would she think she should LICK IT???!!??

I feel a little lightheaded and nauseous just thinking about it so I'm just going to go ahead and change the subject. Luckily, she got better by the next day. Bubba's fever was non-existent all day Monday and I thought he was set for school on Tuesday but then his fever returned that night. He stayed home Tuesday without a fever and again I thought he was good to go back but then he threw up that night. Mostly because I made him take a bite of my cheesy enchiladas and apparently they were so good he couldn't help but chucking them in the bathroom sink. Hey, at least this time he missed the radiator! He never threw up again and he didn't have a fever but school rules state that kids must be fever/vomit free for 24 hours before returning to school. So he stayed home Wednesday.

On Monday and Friday I had 4 kids ages 4, 3, 2 and 6 months. Two were sick, one is a high maintenance baby and one has more energy than a chihuahua on intravenous Red Bull. I prayed a lot that day. I prayed for patience and for energy and for nap time. I survived. I feel like I need a metal. Or a patch. Or maybe a crown. You know, to commemorate my triumphant accomplishment.

Bubba did make it to school on Thursday and he is healthy. Bear also returned to school on Thursday and lucky for me, I only have 3 more days until their H1N1 shots take effect. I think I will be able to breathe easier from then on. While I have known lots of kids that have gotten sick, the ones who have truly had the H1N1 flu have had it REALLY bad. Almost all of them have ended up in the hospital with complications like pneumonia. Luckily they have all recovered well but man, that's some nasty stuff that I would be happy to avoid.

May you all stay healthy and piggie flu free :-)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Because I Just HAVE To Share This

Just in case you haven't seen this. Tee hee hee

A Proud Mama

I don't do it often, but I'm going to take this opportunity to gush over one of my kids. Part of the reason I don't gush often is because well, I tend to focus on the parts where they drive me crazy. Because that's what sticks out the most and keeps me awake at night. But this is different.

This past weekend when we took the kids trick-or-treating and collected bags full of candy, we also collected money for UNICEF. And since I wanted the kids to know why they were carrying around this little box and asking people to give them money, we decided to teach them all about UNICEF and what they do. We went to the website and I explained to Birdie the challenges that befall millions of children around the world. I showed her pictures that showed how these kids are exactly like her and for reasons that are no fault of their own, they suffer. We talked about how we are blessed and lucky not to suffer the way others do and because we are blessed, we are also responsible for doing what we can to help those in need. It is our job to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

The kids collected$19.00 for UNICEF and along with some friends of ours, we will have collected over $60.00! The morning after Halloween, Howie told the kids that he had forgotten to give them Halloween cards from Mamaw and when Birdie opened hers, she found a dollar inside.

As soon as she saw the dollar she gasped and jumped up and down. Then she started waving it around the room and I swear that I could see dollar signs in her eyes and hear the faint cha ching of a cash register. Birdie LOVES money. She will be the first one to swindle money out of me and Howie for bringing us toilet paper when we need it desperately. This is the same girl who will lend books to her friends and then charge them "late fees" when they don't bring them back on time. She understands the value of a dollar but only in terms of how much it can buy her at the dollar store!

So anyway, she was dancing and singing around the room with her dollar and then suddenly she stopped. She walked over and stood behind me and said, "I'm gonna put my dollar in the UNICEF box. Because I don't need it as much as those kids do."

I was flabbergasted. "Really, honey?" "I really, really, really wanna keep my money. But I'm gonna give it away. But I really wanna keep it. Cause I could use it. And it was my gift. And if you don't want me to give it away I won't. Because I really do want it." It was clear that she was giving it as a sacrifice so we made a huge deal about how self-less she was being and how incredibly proud we were of her. We told her that we would give her the opportunity to earn another dollar and that seemed to make her happy.

It's such a gratifying feeling when your children take the lead with something like this. Because I spend a lot of time making suggestions to her about being kind or giving or self-less. But this time? It didn't even cross my mind. And I didn't even have to make the suggestion because she did it on her own and that makes me so incredibly happy. That all of the teaching and talking and explaining is actually working. That we are raising a child who is empathetic and concerned for others.

While I feel proud when she brings home good grades or she does well in a recital, I've never experience such a palpable sense of intense pride and accomplishment as when she is giving to other people. I can't imagine anything that would make me feel like a better mother.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Birthday

Dear Bear,

On the day you were born, I woke up early...like three in the morning kind of early. I had to pee which wasn't exactly out of the ordinary for a woman who was like fourteen months pregnant. But during my trip to the royal throne, I noticed a twitch. I also noticed other things that I will not tell you about right now so as to spare you the nightmares and subsequent therapy.

I decided to call my doctor who told me to come in right away and get checked. I was technically only 36 week pregnant and they did not want me to go into labor yet. I woke up your daddy and we went to the ER but not before your father stopped off for gas. And cigarettes. And coffee. Because a stop to the convenience store is top priority when your wife is in labor.

We got to the ER and the night guard let us in and they checked me in the labor and delivery ward. And you know what is the worst thing about this part? The having to strip down naked and wear one of those hospital gowns part. There is just something so weird about stripping down completely naked in a cold hospital bathroom. It's a really vulnerable, scary (and cold) feeling.

They hooked me up to machines and I had the pleasure of having the latexed fingers of several strangers inside of my womanly area. They all concluded that I was not in labor. Most definitely, certainly, unequivocally NOT in labor! And even though I heard everything the nurses and doctors and janitors told me, I knew definitely, certainly, unequivocally that I WAS in labor! I didn't care what the machines said or what all of their combined expertise had to offer. Having had two kids before, I knew what a labor pain felt like and and I knew that these pains were definitely every 5 minutes apart.

But they didn't believe me. They sent me home and the whole trip home I told your daddy that he should take me right back. That we should wait in the parking lot of the hospital or better yet, sprawl out in the waiting room of the labor and delivery ward until it was time to go in. Except your daddy didn't believe me either and he just rolled his eyes at me and told me that he had a very important training session to go to that day and he needed to get dressed and on the road, pronto!

Your auntie Kimmie was living with us at that time and so was your Mamaw. I told them both that I was in labor. They didn't believe me either. Your daddy went upstairs and got into the shower and your auntie Kimmie left for work. Mamaw sat drinking her coffee and I started making breakfast for your brother and sister. It was 7:30 am. Around 8:30 I started packing my bag for the hospital to which your father let out an exasperated sigh. He started packing his work bag. I put some laundry in and then laid down on the bed. By 9:00 I was holding on to your father's pant legs, begging him to stay home because I didn't want to be left home alone with two small kids and your blind Mamaw because when I DID have to go to the hospital they would have been no use to me!

I finally convinced him that he needed to stay home. It was 10:00 and I was starting to get uncomfortable and I said I wanted to go back to the hospital. He wasn't completely sold and tried to talk me out of it because he didn't want to make another trip to and from the hospital for a false alarm. It wasn't until we were half way down Main Street when the pain hit with such intensity that I literally crossed over to another dimension that your daddy started suspecting that I might be in labor.

The pain did get notched up pretty quickly. One minute I was in pain and the next I was in agony and I could barely contain myself. The best way that I can describe this to you is that I was fairly certain that I would never survive, I would surely die. Because when you are in that much pain the whole world stops, you see nothing, you hear nothing, you understand nothing. The problem with giving birth is that you have to be present. You have to contribute and we aware. And that's a hard thing to do when all you want to do is go to that little part of your brain where you can cope. It's like a little padded cell in your head where you can retreat when the going gets really tough and all you want to do is crawl up into a little ball inside that safe place until the pain subsides.

We drove straight to the emergency room but there was a security guard standing in front who said that we were not allowed in there. And your dad was all, "dude, do you not see my wife here? She's the one with a child's head sticking out of her vagina in case you didn't notice." But the guy didn't care. He said we couldn't go in there because of the hospital construction. He couldn't offer me entrance, he couldn't offer me a wheelchair, he couldn't even offer me his jacket so that I may lay down on the concrete and give birth right there on the sidewalk.

We went around the hospital and came to the main entrance where your dad dropped me off so that he could park the car. I walked up to labor and delivery, grunting and groaning and screaming obscenities as well as prayers that the stupid security guy's testicles would shrivel up and fall excruciatingly from his body.

As soon as the nurses saw me they came running and moved me into a room. I was 9 centimeters dilated which means that things were stretched out way beyond the comfort zone. It also meant that the time for any kind intervention in terms of pain medication had long gone. The rest was kind of a blur. Between contractions I noticed nurses flashing bright lights, setting up equipment and attaching contraptions.

I sort of remember some people coming in, students I presume, because they asked if they could stay and I don't remember consenting but I guess they took my grunts as a "yes". At one point I remember coming into consciousness long enough to see like 14 people standing around my bed staring at me. It would have almost been comical had I not been in so much agony.

You were born at 11:00, not much more than 20 minutes after we arrived and exactly 4 weeks early. You were (and still are) perfect. You were tiny, 5 lbs, 12 oz and 19 inches long. But you were perfectly healthy and that's all that mattered. You were a very sweet, easy-going baby whose body never touched a surface for longer than it took to change a diaper because between me and your Mamaw and your daddy and auntie Kimmie, someone was holding you 24/7.

Before I knew it, three years had gone by and today you celebrate your third birthday. You are still sweet as ever. You have the cutest little nose that I could just nibble. You are taking tap and ballet and swimming classes and pre-school. Long gone are the days of diapers and cribs and bottles and bibs. The Winnie The Poo decor in your room has been replaced by princesses and Dora. The scribbles that you used to make have been replaced by nearly legible letters and shapes. I can have conversations with you about utilitarianism and the fall of communism.

I've learned from experience that time really does fly and before I know it, I will be writing you a letter for your thirteenth birthday. But whether you are three minutes or three years or three decades old, you will always be my baby girl. Happy Birthday to you and may God bless you with many more happy, healthy years to come.


Battle Of Wills

I have to keep reminding myself that I am working with people whose brains are not fully functioning. People who have delayed capacity to understand. People who are impaired. Because if I looked at my kids and expected them to behave in a reasonable fashion, I would most certainly lose my mind!

They are just so unreasonable!

Something as simple as "put your coat on" can turn into a 15 minute battle of wills with my seven year old. "I don't need a coat." "Yes you do, please put it on." "But I don't want to." "It's 30 degrees outside and if you don't put your coat on, the blood in your veins will instantly freeze and then you will fall over dead, now PUT ON YOUR COAT." "It looks sunny outside, I'm sure I'll be fine."

And here is where I sit on the fence. Part of me says, "let the little idiot go and sit at the bus stop in the freezing degree weather and let her teeth chatter until they all crack and fall out of her head." The other part of me says, "she's a child, you're the adult and you know what she needs to keep her safe and healthy, now command the control and take control!"

It's such a fine line we walk as parents. Do we let our kids learn by experience or do we guide them? Honestly, I think it depends on the child. If I were to tell Bubba that he needs a coat because it is very cold outside he would immediately listen. When I say the same thing to Birdie, she takes it as a challenge. She will PROVE to me that it isn't as cold as I say it is and she is willing to suffer any consequence in order to make her point.

It's always been that way with her, a battle of the wills. If I tell her to stop at 4 chicken nuggets she will demand 5. If I tell her she needs a bath, she will demand that she go one more day smelling like a rotting skunk carcass. She pushes every boundary, questions everything I say and is determined to prove that her way is better. In other words, she's me at seven years old.

I'm learning that with Birdie, I have no choice to but to let her fall on her face. I let her get in trouble for forgetting her homework. Or get to school and realize that she's forgotten her lunch box or her library books. I have to risk possible humiliation by letting her dress herself in the craziest of outfits. It's not an easy thing to do. I want to protect her and do everything for her. It's just in a mother's nature to tend to their children but I have to resist that urge. Because I won't be teaching her anything by thinking for her. She has to learn to think for herself and while I may still offer up suggestions, unless the choice if life threatening, I plan on letting her learn from the school of hard knocks.

So if you know me personally and you see Birdie dressed in a tank top on a day when there is 3 feet of snow outside, please know that I do care. Just not enough to start world war three.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fall-ing Out Of Love

At the beginning of fall, I boasted to friends and family how much I enjoy this season. What's not to love? There are leaves of every color and beautiful mums and ripe apples and sweet cider and plump pumpkins and crisp air and the list goes on and on.

There is just something so beautiful and wonderful about the fall. But then something happens. The colors fade and the wind starts blowing and all of those once beautiful leaves turn into brown debris that covers everything and when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING!

The leaves cover our lawn and are embedded in our deck lattice. They blow into our garage and are wedged in our mums. They blanket our back yard and overall make everything into a giant mess.

I spent a good chunk of the day mowing which vacuums up the leaves. Then I used the leaf blower to clear the rest of the yard and the driveway and part of our back yard. I gathered the leaves and placed them into a gigantic compost pile. Then I raked and everything looked neat and tidy. That night, Howie didn't get home until it was dark outside so he didn't get to see what a great job I had done but I went on and on about how many leaves I had collected and how the pile was so ginormous, so deep that when the kids jumped into it, I first had to don them with a jacket and a rope harness so that when they fell into the leaf abyss I could eventually pull them out.

Then I complained that my back hurt because I gathered all of the leaves into a tarp and drug that tarp across the lawn so that I could dump it into the woods. And I complained about how the leaf blower while slightly enjoyable thanks to all of the buzzing, it leaked gasoline all down my back and into my pants (and subsequently my ass) and then I smelled like a gas tank and how I had to be very careful when we carved pumpkins that night and tested them by lighting a candle inside because I was very afraid that the back of my clothes (and subsequently my ass) would catch fire and melt off.

I bragged that I went through two tanks of gasoline and had blisters on my hands from all of the raking. Then I said, "just you wait till the morning and you get to see what a great job I did." We went to bed and that night the wind kicked in and some rain poured and when I woke up the next morning I looked out the window and all I could do was sigh and say, "well ain't that some shit" because not only did the yard not look good, it looked WORSE than it had before I cleaned it!

And when Howie looked out the window to see the fruits of my labor, I could clearly see that he doubted I had done anything, let alone slaved and blistered and came very close to combustion.

Stupid leaves. Stupid wind. Stupid fall.

Now I have to do it all over again. I have to rev up the mower and re-fill the blower and get re-acquainted with the rake. *groan* You'd think that by this time I'd be used to fruitless, futile labor. After all, it's the same story with the dishes and the laundry and the bills!

Oh well, I guess the kids will have another chance to fall into another leafy black hole :-)