Surprise!

Since almost anyone who reads this knows me personally, I probably do not have to announce that THIS post was a bit premature.

When I first began acknowledging the possibility that I might be pregnant, I decided I was probably overreacting.  I’m getting older and my body isn’t going to work like clockwork anymore.  As the days passed, it became harder to deny.  When I finally took the test and was faced with the reality that we were bringing another child into the world, I realized just how in denial I had been. Baby

Once the initial shock and panic wore off, there were many things to consider.  Where will this new child sleep? Will our family fit in our car? How will we pay for two in day-care?

Surprisingly, I also felt irresponsible.  I am a highly-educated woman with a full understanding of how reproduction works.  How could this have happened? I mean, I know how it happened, but still…..  I’m such a control freak about everything – how could I have let this happen?

Once we reached the point when we were ready to tell people, I was shocked at how many of my friends – very intelligent, well-spoken women – confided in me that they too had been surprised by their third child.  There is a whole community of unexpected third babies out there I never knew about.

Jim expressed concerns about our third child one day knowing she (yes, it’s a girl) was not planned.  I completely understand why he feels this way.  No one wants to be an “oops” or considered a mistake, but I don’t see it that way.  She is not a mistake, she’s a surprise.  I suspect, although we had never envisioned our lives with her, once she’s here I imagine we will not be able to imagine our lives without her.

Talkin’ Toddler

ToddlerToddler-speak is one of my favorite things to observe.  Listening to them explore language is so fascinating. 2-yo is right in the thick of this developmental stage and he is not afraid to try new phases and words.  Some of my favorites include:

“What da Heck?!”

He learned this one from his grandfather.  We scold him every time he uses it, but he seems to enjoy the reaction it gets.  I guess it could be far worse.

“Udder-buddies”

He uses this word in place of “everybody” but I think he’s really saying “other buddies,” as in, “there’s me, then there are the other buddies.”

“What’s your name, dude?”

No idea where this came from.  He just started using it.

 “Pup-take” and “Pan-take”

Sounds that come from the back of the tongue are particularly difficult for 2yo and he’s only mastered saying them at the ends of words, so this is how he pronounces “cupcake” and “pancake.”

 “Ightning A-teen”

I suspect this is also how John Travolta would introduce “Lightning McQueen” at the Oscars.

 “______ening”

Recently, 2yo has started adding “en” before the “ing” in most words.  So, “working” becomes “workening” and “pooping” becomes “poopening.”  As in, “(grunt) no I not poopening in my diaper! (grunt)”

 “Butt”

Our poor friend, Brett.

 

 

Past Bedtime

I’m showered and in my pajamas, reading a book in bed.  The kids have been tucked in for two hours at this point.  Suddenly, I hear a door open.  I’m not sure which child is up until our door is opened without a knock.  In toddles the cutest person in our house, all smiles and giggles.  He rushes to my side of the bed with a big smile and a “hi mommy!”monster

This is a parenting test.  I know what I’m supposed to do.  I’m supposed to get up and walk him back to his room, explaining that it’s bed time and he needs to stay in bed until it’s light outside.  He needs to learn that night time is for sleeping, not for playing.  He needs boundaries.

My mind flashes to the future.  I see the cutest person as a teenage boy.  Perhaps he’s moody and sullen.  Maybe he’s a polite, well-spoken young man.  If he follows in the footsteps of his father (who followed in the footsteps of his own father), he’ll be a smart-ass with a beautiful heart who will do anything for anyone in need.  No matter who he becomes, he’s not going to want to snuggle in bed at night and, quite frankly, neither will his mother.  This moment is a fleeting opportunity.

So I grab my smiling, giggling little boy and lift him into the bed.  He immediately snuggles up to me and I feel the softness of his fleece footie pajamas – the ones covered in “ah-panes!” I kiss his head and we tickle and giggle together.  He sucks his thumb and tucks his head under my chin.  As I hold him close, I’m reminded of how children seem to be shaped to fit the contours of our bodies.  In a few years, he’ll feel boney and angular like his sister, but for now he still feels like a baby with his squishy legs and round belly.

After a few minutes, I pick him up and carry him to bed.  I tuck him in and kiss him, telling him he needs to stay in bed until morning.

And he does.

Test passed.

Not surprisingly……

So, the government shut down this morning.  Luckily for my family, my day was completely different in absolutely no ways at all.  Still, the whole thing is so frustrating – no matter which side of the aisle you lean.  Even more depressing is this clip from last night’s Jimmy Kimmel show:

Jimmy Kimmel – Six of One

Whether you’re for or against Obamacare (and I think many people are for AND against Obamacare), you should at least know what you’re talking about if you’re going to answer a reporter with a camera.

I did, however, enjoy some of the comments below the video:

“Most of America is Lenny and the rest of us are George, just trying to keep them calm and stop them from destroying something.”

“If we had the government we deserve, we’d be living in Thunderdome.”

“In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.”

 

 

Birthday Lesson Learned

Recently, 6yo became 7yo.

Because weekdays are bad for everybody, her birthday party was held on a Sunday.  It was a small affair with family and a few close friends.  No theme, just some cute $.97 disposable table cloths, a few balloons, and cake that 7yo specifically designed herself. We barbequed some chicken and ate fresh-picked sweet corn.  Nothing big, nothing expensive. hopebday

Last year, when she turned 6, the birthday production was much bigger.  The Saturday before her birthday, there were two parties.  The first was a kid’s pirate themed party, complete with crafts, a scavenger hunt, a pirate-ship cake, and a giant pile of presents. I had ordered every pirate decoration offered from Oriental Trading.  Kids left with eye-patches, telescopes, plastic gold doubloons, head scarves, candy, and a treasure chest they designed themselves. Once the under-10 crowd dispersed, we were joined by family and a few close friends for a second, more low-key party (and a second cake).  On the actual day of her birthday, Jim and I took her downtown to celebrate with dinner at the restaurant of her choosing and stops in all of her favorite local shops followed by desert in her favorite ice cream parlor.

At the end of 2012, when I was working to organize our photos for the year, it became apparent to me that we may have gone overboard.  So, this year, we decided to scale it down a bit.  As I was putting the tablecloths on the folding tables in our yard, I second-guessed myself for a moment – would it be enough?  Will she be upset that this year’s festivities don’t compare to last year’s?

Of course she wasn’t.

Not once did she say “aren’t more kids coming?” or “why aren’t there games and prizes?”  She thought her birthday party was perfect.

Lesson learned.

 

 

Remembering Shirley

This morning, I’m thinking of a dear friend.  I’m reminded of her because we’re nearing the second week of August.

For years, while I was in high school and college, I would spend the second week of August on vacation at Treasure Lake.  Treasure Lake is a golf community with two highly-rated golf courses that also offers boating, swimming, and many other fun summer activities.

I originally began going as a helper to my Aunt (my father’s sister) and Uncle.  They had young children and I spent several of my summers babysitting them.  At the end of each summer my Aunt and Uncle would generously bring me along on vacation so that they could both enjoy some rounds of golf together.  I would take the kids for bike rides, to the beach, and to the pool while the adults played their 18 holes.  My relatives covered all of my expenses and the kids were a dream to babysit.  I was basically being paid to go on vacation.

We were joined every year by another couple, Shirley and Wayne.  Technically, Shirley was my uncle’s aunt, but they were so close in age she seemed more like a cousin.  Still, all the kids (including me) referred to her as “Aunt Shirley.”  She was kind, generous, and a great deal of fun.

After a few years, I stopped babysitting, but I was still invited to come along simply as a family member.  I was often invited to join them for their daily rounds of golf.  My Aunt, Shirley, and I would golf together while the guys (who took their scores very seriously) went on ahead.  Our team motto was “Hit it toward the cart path!”  Shirley was actually a very skilled, avid golfer.  She taught me everything I know about golfing (which, admittedly isn’t much).  I always golfed better when I was with her.  Her most important advice was repeated to me year after year in a sort-of mantra she had learned from a golf instructor once-upon-a-time:

“Keep your head down.

Keep your head down.

Keep your God-damned head down!”

Outside of our vacations, I didn’t see Shirley and Wayne that often.  I would attend picnics at their house and run into them at some family functions. They both danced at my wedding.  Still, there’s a familiarity that develops when you spend a week with people year-after-year – a bond akin to those one develops at summer camp. I considered Shirley and Wayne to be good friends and was extremely fond of them.

My Aunt, Shirley (center), and myself during a round of golf.

My Aunt, Shirley (center), and myself during a round of golf.

A few years ago, Shirley succumbed to cancer at an unfairly young age.  She left a gaping hole behind in the community and in the hearts of her loved ones.  Her funeral was beautiful, yet terribly painful.  She was a nurturer, a leader, and a doer.  She is fondly remembered by all who knew her and her memory continues to live on in her friends and family.

Often, not just in golfing but also in everyday life, I can still hear her voice telling me to “Keep your head down!” and simply trust that, if I do what I’m supposed to, things will go the way they should.

We miss you, Shirley.

 

Rocks….so much fun.

I love rocks. Who doesn’t?

Granted, they’re not very fun when you’re digging….or when they hit your car…..or when you’re caught in a landslide…or when you’re being stoned to death.

Other than that, rocks are awesome.  After all, the wise man built his house upon the rocks. If he was really wise (or a woman) he would’ve built his house on Boulder Field because those rocks have been there for 20,000 years. But he didn’t, so the government took it over and turned it into a tourist attraction.Hickorya6

There’s some story about how glacial melt caused rocks to break and somehow magically end up there, but I choose to believe that there’s really an Asgard ship (Stargate, not Marvel) hidden beneath the 12 feet of rocks.  One day, when we need it, those little gray geniuses will send us a code to turn it on and Richard Dean Anderson will fly it out of the ground with his mind.

Or not.

Until then, tourists will skip from rock to rock (some more gracefully than others) and write stupid stuff on them, like “I love Betty” and “Shane rocks!”  By the way, very funny, Shane (who writes his name with an S shaped like a lightning bolt).  How clever of you to demonstrate your understanding of homonyms on a 700 pound rock that was just minding it’s own business.

So, it’s been a while….

I’ve neglected this blog for a number of weeks.  I’m sure my three avid readers were slightly disappointed, but probably no one else noticed.  Summer is an unpredictable time for us.  Our daily schedules go haywire and I find that days go by without me thinking once about writing.

Here in NEPA, the summer is already winding down.  School starts in two short weeks.  Despite the common misconception that all teachers live for the summer, I am looking forward to returning to teaching.  6yo, on the other hand, has no desire to return to school because “It lasts for hours!”  She’s had a rough time these past few weeks with her health, so I’m just hoping she’s fully recovered before we head back.

It was a little over two weeks ago that we saw the spot.  It was on her leg, about the size of a half-dollar.  In addition, her eyes were starting to look sunken, her face was pale, and she started complaining that her hips and knees hurt.  She was constantly tired, despite getting decent amounts of sleep.  Her appetite was nearly non-existent.  The morning I took her to the doctor, she came crawling into my bedroom because she hurt too much to walk.

We never saw the tick.  According to our pediatrician, with Lyme disease that’s often the case.meds

Twelve days into her 21 prescribed days of antibiotics, she broke out into a severe case of hives.  Her knees, ankles, and hands swelled.   She could hardly walk.  She was prescribed a different antibiotic for the remainder of her treatment.  Slowly, she seems to be improving.

Through it all, she’s been quite the trooper. She plays through the pain and chokes down the hideous-tasting medicine.  She’s blotchy and itchy, but in good spirits.  Our greatest hope is that her treatment works this first time, and she doesn’t join the legions of people fighting this illness long-term.

Hopefully, she’ll be one of the lucky ones.

Is it August Yet?

Despite common assumptions, most teachers do not go into the profession because they have off for the summer.  I would be perfectly fine (in fact, I would prefer) if the school system changed to be year-round with shorter breaks between semesters or trimesters.

That being said, the summer does have its advantages.summer

Some things I love about summer include:

  • Morning snuggles with my kids.
  • No make-up!!
  • Sometimes, I don’t wash my hair for days.
  • Grocery shopping during the day.
  • The possibility of squeezing in a short nap in the afternoon while 1yo takes his.
  • Less pressure to get to sleep at a decent hour.
  • The absence of the dark cloud that hangs over Sunday night.

Even with all these benefits, it’s at this point in the summer that I start to feel the itch to go back to school. I am not disciplined enough to be at home all the time.  I admire stay-at-home-parents who can keep their families on a productive schedule, but I am not like that.  I thrive when I’m busy.  In fact, I would even go so far as to say that I am a better parent when I am busy.

I may eat my words next week when I’m gone all day to teach at an integrated arts camp, but I suspect not.  In the meantime, I will continue to wear ponytails and declare afternoon snuggle times.