Tuesday, November 24, 2009


It seems that, of late, this blog has been mostly about my clumsiness or our stress, so here's an entry about something heart-warming!

Last night, after bath and snack and teeth-brushing, we settled in for our nightly reading time. Milo had gotten his book order from school, and the books he most wanted to read were the Scooby-Do phonics books. He has flat-out said that he wants to learn to read, so this seemed like a good opportunity.

Book 1 from the Scooby set features short "a" and short "i". I decided to focus on the short a words, so I pointed to each word on the list inside the cover, telling Milo that a-t makes the "at" sound. I read each of the keywords (at, cat, mat, and sat), then we started in on the story.

As I read, I stopped at each of the keywords and let Milo fill in the word. Most of them were "cat" as the title of the reader was "The Cat Came Back." He correctly identified cat each time, paused for a moment for "mat", and needed to be asked, "What sound does S make?" before "sat". We triumphantly reached the end of the book.

Then I pointed to the keywords on the inside of the cover and Milo read at, cat, mat, and sat correctly. He was overjoyed! And a light went off in his little head. He looked at me and said, "Hat is h-a-t, right? And bat is b-a-t?"

I beamed and said, "Yes! That's right! How would you spell 'fat'?"

He thought for a second and said, "F-f-f... F says f. So F-a-t!"

By this point, he was so excited he was squeaking and his whole body was charged, ready to fly. He hopped off his bed, came around and hugged me tightly, his sweet round face barely able to contain his pride.

"I'm so proud of you, buddy! You just read four words! And then you spelled three more!" I squeezed him tightly and kissed his hair. Violet clapped and smiled.

"I'm so proud of you, mommy, for teaching me to read at, cat, mat and sat!"

My big-hearted little boy was sharing the spotlight I'd shone on his accomplishment. Without a second though, he was expressing his gratitude and love, unabashedly affectionate and sincere. I melted. Who wouldn't?

Violet was in awe. She held the book and turned the pages reverently. "Cat, cat, cat. Cat, cat, cat. My read, too, like Milo!"

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I hope that Milo has learned how to express gratitude and show love from us. I hope that he'll continue to show his generosity to the people he loves. he asked last night, during the kids' bath, "Mom, why does Violet always give me the Mickey Mouse when we take a bath?"

"When you love someone, you always give them the things they like!" He was thoughtful and digested that for a moment. It is true, Violet is a sharer by nature -- she always asks for two of everything and takes one to Milo. I can see that it makes her happy to give to him. He usually remembers to thank her, which tickles her, too.

I don't know if that lesson was in play when Milo so quickly shared his accomplishment with me. I'd like to think that he's learning good things from the people who love him the most -- I know that I'm always learning from him. I do know that this lesson is far more important in the long run than at, cat, mat and sat. He will learn to read when he learns to read. But learning to love is a lesson that is always being taught to any willing soul.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Finger

I am not on speaking terms with my garage right now. On Saturday evening, I ran outside in my yoga capris, t-shirt, and "flop-flops" to move my car into the garage. It was in the driveway because I'd been out and about with the kids and had six gallons of paint in the trunk and didn't really want to haul them any further than necessary. It was about 45 degrees and, by the time I'd hustled to the garage to manually open the door, gotten into the car, started it, and parked it in said garage, my fingertips were more than a little cold and I had to pee. I hopped out of the car, locked it, and started to pull down the garage door.

It isn't a heavy door. It isn't an unusual door. It's your standard, run-of-the-mill garage door without an electric opener. I gave it a small tug with my right hand, my left one reached out to steady the door so that it didn't slam down.

And then it happened.

My fingers got stuck in between the panels of the door. Since they were cold, the intense burning as they were pinched between the door panels felt like fire. I yelped, tried to yank them out, then quickly reversed the direction of the door, sending it flying back up into the garage. Stunned, I pulled the door back down while looking at my throbbing fingers.

Like all pain, the throbbing was only a warning for the actual pain, which hit me as I scurried back towards the house, now crying. I get inside and look at the fingers. They are red, red, red and have what looks like peeled skin over the pads -- like I've tried to debride my fingerprints away. There is no blood yet, but I am certain that it will come.

I stumble through the house, past the kids. Milo tattles on his sister, saying, "Mom! Violet's eating Play-Doh!"

Gulping inbetween sobs, I manage to command, "V-v-v-violet! D-d-d-don't eat P-p-p-play-Doooooh!"

Bewildered, Milo looks at me. "Mom, it's just Play-Doh, don't cry over Play-Doh!"

"I'm not," I say. "Mommy, hurt her f-f-f-fingers very badly."

Both kids are stunned and silent. Violet stops eating the Play-Doh and I continue through the minefield of toys to my bathroom, where I turn the tap on hot and jam my fingers under the running water. I think, "If I can warm them up, maybe the nerves will stop jangling and I can figure out how injured I actually am..."

To my surprise, what I thought was layers of my scraped off skin washes away. Apparently, the joints in a garage door in the country get pretty dirty. If you get something stuck in there, the dirt comes away with whatever you've tried to smash.

The water trick is working and the pain goes from four-alarm to alarm clock. They still throb, but I'm no longer concerned that I'm going to pass out or need to drive to an ER to have my fingertips reattached. I sigh and relax. Actually, I was unaware that I needed to relax, but as I sighed, my shoulders stopped being my earmuffs and my back grew three inches. I'm going to make it.

I dry my hand and wipe my tears and rejoin the kids, where I confiscate the Play-Doh from Violet and ask her if she'd rather have some food, like string cheese. She decides that dairy will taste better than toy and agrees to a swap.

Two days later and my fingers are still sensitive, but I am able to use them. For all of that pain, they aren't even bruised under the nail, so I don't think I'm going to lose the fingernails, either. I have been extra careful while maneuvering the car into and out of the garage, lest the beast decide to try and take more than my fingertips.

I do think that the fleeting, yet consuming, pain I felt for those few minutes allowed me an emotional release that I've been needing -- it actually felt good to cry for a few minutes. The pain left me focused entirely on myself for a few minutes, activated some adrenaline and endorphins, and snapped me mostly out of the funk I've been in lately. It takes something like this for me to remember that my body will always find a way to get me back to me, even if the reason it jumps to my defense is caused by my own clumsiness and inattention.

OK. Enough for now, typing is one of the activities that makes my fingers hurt :) Oh, and I've flipped my garage off the last dozen or so times I've looked at it. So there :P

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I have been having a recurring dream.

In the dream, my breasts are huge and swollen with milk, swollen like my milk has just come in after giving birth. I feel their weight, sense the skin tightening over the hardened and engorged tissue... I sense let-down's stinging path and smell the milk as it soaks my shirt. And I am overjoyed.

Then I wake in the pre-dawn calm, my hot cheek resting against the cool of my sheets. I hear my children breathing in their sleep over the monitor, feel the steadiness of Scott in bed with me. I sense my family.

As sleep falls away I awaken the realization that my breasts are not full. My arms, aching to hold a baby, squeeze my pillow as a silver tear slides from my eye. Disappointment lands like a stone tossed into an empty well, there is no splash this early in the morning, only a cold, hard thud.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Moved into new house? Check!

Well, we've moved. We're in the new house now, stumbling over boxes and odd piles of things. The kids are adjusting well, so well, in fact, that Milo asked to sleep in his own room tonight instead in Violet's room. We'll see if he brings it up again before bedtime tonight. Honestly, we don't have another lamp for him and he doesn't like to sleep in pitch darkness. I wasn't planning to transition him to his own room until after we'd painted it and made it "his," but kids grow on their own schedules, not on their parents' time lines.

Anyway, we began the final push on Thursday night as we gathered all of the things we wanted moved on Friday and as I cleaned and did laundry, knowing that the washer and dryer weren't going to be delivered until Monday. Expecting a family of four to avoid laundry for five days is really a stretch. I finished cleaning at about midnight, but slept very poorly that night because I was thinking of all of the things I needed to get done.

I took the kids to daycare and rounded back to the old house to pick up Scott for the stacked closings. We were early to both, finished early at both, and got back up to the houses, where I loaded up a few bags of freezer stuff into my already packed car and drove on up to the new house. I wasn't in the driveway long enough to get out of the car when the DirectTV guy showed up for the installation. We walked around the house and I stalled until Scott got there as he was wanting to put a pole in the front yard and I knew Scott wasn't going to go for that. He didn't.

I began unpacking the kitchen and worked until it was time to take Milo to preschool, I ran into town and delivered him to school, then back out to the house to keep working. Back into town to pick him up from school and take him back to daycare, then a few moments of loading at the old house and back to unpacking at the new one.

Because I knew that it would take the longest time to organize, started in the kitchen. I don't think I did too badly and, with a little thought, was able to transition our belongings in a way that makes sense to me ergonomically. I'm still unloading at least one box a day into the kitchen and I really wonder how I ended up with all of that crap in my kitchen before. Where did it all fit and do I still need it??

I flew back into town to pick up the kids and take them to the house. We met a sitter and were informed that the movers were on their way, so we cleared a path for the two strapping young gents to carry most of our furniture into the house. These were clearly college kids, but were pleasant and did a great job of moving lots of heavy stuff very quickly. I even gave them some pizza as I'd popped a couple of frozen pizzas into the oven for the sitter and kids. For those of you who want to know, yes, they were cute ;) Not that I noticed...

Poor Scott made another trip back to the house to get the kids' bedding and pillows, then we set up their beds and bundled them off to sleep, only an hour and a half late. Violet woke once that night and Milo got up to use the bathroom and wasn't freaked out being in a new house, so I count this as an unmitigated success, which was only improved upon when we realized that our dogs are both afraid to climb the steps and, therefore, have become first-level dogs only. Do I miss a happy tail thump in the morning as I'm stepping over my fur babies? Yes. Do I miss being awakened by a bored dog who thinks she needs to go out at 3AM? Nope, not at all. Will I miss hot dogs panting through a sweltering summer night? Nope, I don't think I will. Is this stoke of fate pretty much the best thing ever? Yep!

Saturday was a blur -- packing, moving, packing, moving, and begging Scott to come over when the kids said goodbye to the house. I was surprised by my sudden sentimentality, but I really felt like I needed all of us to be in the house together just once more before it wasn't ours. We all fell exhausted into bed Saturday night and all slept all night.

Sunday brought a trip to town for some necessities and more unpacking. And our first meal cooked in our new house, yay! I told Milo, "This is the first time we're sitting all together as a family eating food I made in our new house. How cool is that?" He blinked a couple of times and said, "It's just food, mom." Violet chirped, "dust food, mom!" in agreement. Scott shrugged. And I suddenly became that mom who thinks all things special need to be commemorated. Sigh...

In news of the funny, this morning Violet had an out-and-out fit because I wouldn't wear my "flop-flops" to work today. She'd followed me into my closet and pulled out a pair of turquoise flip-flips and, when she couldn't get them to stay on her feet, decided that I needed to wear them. In November. With grey pants and a burgundy sweater. To work. Sorry, babe, mama can't do that!

In news of the gross, I had to have an infected cyst removed from the back of my right leg. I don't know who hit me with the crazy illness stick, but c'mon! Give me a break! First ridiculous tonsillitis (February), then the stomach flu to end all stomach flus (March), then pneumonia (May). And the cold-that-turned-into-a-six-week-coughing-spell (September-October). And now this. I've been to the docs on Monday and Tuesday to have it drained, packed, and bandaged and go back on Thursday. I am so sore from the doctor's "manipulation" that sitting in my car causes shooting pains and uncontrollable gasping, followed by a few quick tears. Seriously -- does it have to hurt so much that I cry every time I sit down and involuntarily yelp (and cry) if my kids bump the wound? And then there's the whole having to go to the doctor when I'm not really sick and being exposed to an entire waiting room full of real germs. Yeah, I'm loving that. To top it all off, yesterday the doc didn't think the inch-deep hole was healing fast enough, so I got a burning shot of antibiotic in my bum, too. Bonus shot!! Not...

I'm not really complaining. After all, the phone guy was amazed that we got DSL all the way out where we live, the water softener guy swapped out the stinky unit with a non-stinky one, and my new washer and dryer are uber-cool, plus we have an extra 400 sq.ft. of living space and a full basement and walk-up attic. Really -- that attic is bigger than the first two apartments Scott and I shared, maybe even bigger than the two combined.

OK, yes, I am complaining. My leg hurts worse than my hoo-ha did after birthing Milo's bowling ball head. It hurts way worse than any dental work I've ever had done. It hurts worse than the worst sunburn I got after splashing tanning oil, not sunscreen, on my back at the pool for five hours when I was in eighth grade. It hurts a whole lot, but only if I poke at it or bump it, or my darling daughter kicks it when I'm holding her, or the dog's tail smacks it when wagging in excitement.

Alright, I'll agree to disagree with myself. I am thankful to be in the new house, but very unhappy about the sore leg thing. And hoping that it isn't MRSA, which would be an entire other can of worms that I don't wanna open.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Well, I haven't been told I'll never have children.

However, I do get a one month trial. One month to use an ovulation predictor kit to determine if I am, in fact, ovulating. And it was suggested, very politely, that I lose weight. Perfect timing on that -- no family gatherings in my near future or anything.

And so begins my war on carbohydrates. OK. It's going to have to begin on Monday. I'm not even attempting food control while in the middle of a move. There's no point. But come my Sunday grocery run, I will once again transform into No Carb Woman. Let's see how many pounds I can drop before I am able to use that ovulation predictor kit...

Here's the TMI part: I can't start using it yet because doc told me to start on cycle day 11. It's cycle day 14. However, I think I ovulate late in my cycle, so I picked one up today to start using, anyway. It was negative for today. So not surprised.

I feel like a wuss, whining my way into this situation. There are women who never get the chance to be pregnant and I have three times already. There are couples that will never hold a child of their own. I so get that. Am I being selfish for wanting another baby? I can't tell. It's not just me, though. Scottie's on board and all of our parents are thrilled that we want a third.

I am just hoping and hoping that we won't come to where I call the doctor back and say, "I never got the surge... I haven't ovulated." I know my body CAN ovulate. It's just not ovulating regularly.

The next step is the dreaded Clomid. Yes, fertility drugs. Hearing that pretty much stopped me dead in my tracks.

I do not know if I want to consider pharmaceutical means of reproduction. I worry that because my body can produce an egg, given a boost it will produce more than one egg. I'm not certain that I want four children -- particularly when having multiples would certainly mean me getting out of the workforce. Our finances can only handle two kids in daycare at once, not three (or more, shudder).

In other news, my kids are so darn sweet! They insisted on a "mommy bath" tonight, so I was in the tub with them. Violet sang and Milo clowned, but mostly both cuddled me. It's so good... We chatted about taking a bath in the new house on Friday or Saturday and what that would be like. We talked about how many days left we have to sleep in this house and what it would feel like sleeping at a new house.

We're doing the final walk-through tomorrow with the realtor. And we'll be getting the keys to the garage, so Scott will begin hauling stuff over there, stacking tubs and boxes for a smoother transition on Friday and Saturday. It's kind of crazy to think about it, but we'll be moving our stuff out the front door as they new owners will be moving in the back door. It's sort of surreal and a bit unbelievable, but it will be real soon enough. I'm standing on the edge of two deadlines...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Baby Goo

So tomorrow is my yearly "fun" exam. Well, I actually really like my gynecologist, but the whole cold speculum does nothing for me.

Actually, I am dreading this appointment. I'm as fat as I was last year, maybe even fatter. My blood pressure is likely to be slightly elevated because I'm moving on Friday and they don't use the fat chick cuff unless you remember to ask them for it and they remember where it is. Those are reasons enough to want to avoid the appointment, but I won't.

I'm mostly afraid that the doc is going to tell me that I won't be able to get pregnant with our third child. We've been working on it since April and have yet to conceive. My cycles have been crazy irregular since they resumed when Violet was 14 months old. Some have been easy, but half of them have been so painful that sitting up straight makes my uterus scream. I know that a diagnosis of infertility is unlikely, particularly at an annual exam with no additional testing, but that doesn't stop the fear from gnawing at my periphery.

I know that I am very, very lucky to have the two beautiful children that I have. I know that they brighten my every day and that their being a part of my life has made me a better person. I also know that my family doesn't feel complete yet. I have room in my heart for a third child.

I am very excited that tomorrow will welcome my little brother's first child into the world. She is arriving by c-section as she's a vain little baby and is keeping her head out of the birth canal because she wants to have a lovely round head for her newborn pictures (in other words, she's breech).

It is completely irrational to fear tomorrow, but in my worst nightmares, my sibling is welcoming the start of his family on the day that I learn my family will forever be missing something.

I think this ties back to the loss we had before Milo. I was pregnant, but not really with a baby and not really in my womb. The miscarriage didn't hurt, I just bled and bled and bled. I had a D & C, but the anesthetic was ineffective, so I remember every scrape. Even then things weren't right and I had to have shots of a lime green chemo drug, one in each hip. I was a quivering mess as I sat alone in the procedure room at the hospital waiting for those shots. I actually wasn't even in a procedure room, but a family hospitality room, so there wasn't a bed or a sink or anything - just two plush chairs and a TV. A rerun of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" jangled on the TV, but I wasn't really watching it. The nurse who came in to administer the shots barely looked at me, asking me, "Was this your first?" as I leaned over a footstool with my undies pulled down so my hip was exposed.

"Yes." I said, barely audibly.

"Well, you're young! You'll have more children, I just know it!"

Of course I will, I thought, but I'll never have this child. I didn't know anything about it -- not gender, not age, nothing. That didn't mean that I wasn't in love with the possibility of my baby. I had a hard time even wanting to try for another baby until I got past the due date of that one. I finally relented to try a month before the other baby would have been due because I was certain that I wouldn't get pregnant on the first shot -- the other pregnancy had take 7 months to achieve. But I did, and I am so glad or I wouldn't have my beautiful Milo. Violet came along on the first try, too, albeit a long first try. Irregular cycles strike again!

I'm trying not to let my jealousy show, but I am getting increasingly frustrated, and now scared. I'm not getting any younger, I know that. I also know that I'm fat and out of shape. I swear, after this move I'm back to exercising at lunchtime. Please hold me to that promise, OK?

I am so very excited to meet my new niece! I hope that her arrival is safe and that her mommy's tummy isn't too sore after surgery. I hope that she nurses like a champ and gains weight quickly. And that she goes easy on her daddy -- he's a tenderhearted fellow and will likely be a puddle of goo wrapped around her little pink finger...