Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Slow day in the newsroom

What you're about to read will really knock your socks off so I hope you have a chair handy. Here goes...
I have nothing to say.
I know, I know, this is cause for alarm. But just know that although I haven't been blogging 3 times daily, I really am still alive. Perhaps the following explains my lack of inspiration: (a) our mother has been diagnosed with cancer and has (what I consider to be) a poor prognosis (read previous blogs if you didn't know this), (b) my father-in-law fell off of a 3rd story roof but thankfully managed to sustain nothing more than a shattered forearm, shoulder and one broken vertabrae, (c) my toddler is getting over some sort of flu which caused him to spew the entire contents of his digestive tract onto his carseat, (d) my husband also is getting over being sick, thus making me the sole nurse in the house, and (e) a week of over 100 degree heat in this forsaken valley we now call home. I guess I would also add the dreaded (for me) cousins picture. This means rounding up 6 kids, ages 4, 2, 2, 1, 6 mos and 4 mos and expecting one good shot in which they are all smiling, cooing or doing something else acceptable for hanging in a frame. In theory it is a 30 minute attempt to make them laugh. In reality it is a 30 minute period of time which shaves approximately 3 years off of the end of my life. It typically ends in tears. Tears shed by the parents, not by the children, who are usually oblivious to the agony suffered by their mothers and are content to just play like wild hooligans on the photographer's props, camera, table and anything else located in the same ZIP code. Good times, good times...
I guess I should address what is shutting me up (although now that I've gotten going, apparently it hasn't shut me up too well.
With regard to (a). Read the Silence and Silence II posts for more information. I'm still angry as the bad place that this should befall such a wonderful person with so much to offer the world.
With regard to (b), yes it is true. You CAN try this stunt at home, but I don't recommend it. He's restoring an old Victorian and the toeholds on the roof no longer could hold toes. So down he went. Thank goodness for patio roofs, it was more of a fall, roll, fall, roll, and even at that, he's a lucky, lucky man. We talked a lot this weekend about how an experience like that makes a person respect the reason why (and sometimes think twice about why) one is still walking this green earth.
As for (c), I don't know if I'll ever eat watermelon again. Spewed up watermelon does not smell nice.
We are already to (d). Yes, my dear husband succombed to the same awfulness, but did not spew, which was greatly appreciated. In addition he did not get up 3 times with a sick child and 100 times with a baby who has slept through the night beautifully until that night.
Then there's (e), which did not mix well at all with (c). When the Spewage Event occured we were 1/2 an hour from home, so we got to stay in the 100 degree heat with the carseat, spewage intact, until we got home. I have to say the 2.5 yr old is a TROOPER who didn't complain even once about it, and it was GROSS even to a mother's standard (which is high, because my 2.5 year old still wears diapers).
There you have it. The good news: we went to the library for storytime last week and what should I see? A new PHILLIPA GREGORY novel looking at me!!!!!! It's an entirely delicious novel, just like her's usually are, and it's about Katherine of Aragon, who was King Henry VIII's first wife. If you have nothing to read or are bored of news about Brangelina, this is your escape!
OK, I'm done. And that was a slow day. Just hang onto your shorts for when I really have something to say!

Thursday, June 15, 2006


The other night #2 was struggling to go to sleep (or rather, stay asleep after .0245 seconds in the crib). After getting up from the couch for the 15th time, I said to my husband "I'm never going to be able to relax again." Turning around, I said, "I know, I'm exaggerating." (I'm really not known to be an exaggerater, really I'm not.) But after walking up the stairs and coaxing HRH #2 back to Dreamland, I realized that it's true. I'm not ever going to relax again. For the next few years we'll be working on sleeping, getting the food to the fork without making contact with carpet, and learning to ride a bike, all of which will sap me of any relaxed fiber in my body. Then we'll move on to getting the right child to the right location at the right time. Then it'll be getting a spot at the right school. Then it'll be back to the sleeping thing, since at 2 am I might be the only one in the house. And my husband? Let the record show that I love him dearly dearly and he's a wonderful dad and husband. But his relaxation? Intact. Let's just say he's slept through approximately every night of babyhood thus far. I somehow think he's going to sleep through the rest. Yep, I've officially embarked upon the rollercoaster of life. I guess it just took 2.5 yrs to figure that one out.

Monday, June 12, 2006

living in limbo

We're staying with some wonderfully kind, gracious friends for most of June while we finish up some projects here and then head out west. For this kind of arrangement, it couldn't be better; they're warm, thoughtful folks who love our kids.

But it's not my house. So I can't let my own junk accumulate in the corner. I can't leave my barrettes out on the bathroom counter. I feel obligated to double-wrap every poopy diaper and walk it directly out to the trash. These are good habits, of course, and a tiny price to pay to be here and not in an extended stay hotel. But I still can't wait to have a place to sprawl. I'm really trying not to whine, though . . . life is sweet in so many ways right now.

#1 (3 1/2) is simply hilarious lately--she's really processing things on a whole other level and loves to talk about many, many things. She's also currently obsessed with the color purple. So, while I'm *aghast* that I'm admitting this, I actually bought her an outfit that she picked out at the mall the other day. It was on sale and cheap, but I'm so conscious of trying not to raise self-centered children that I've not wanted to get in any habit of her choosing things...

...Speaking of this, since I'm completely off the topic I started with: anyone have opinions on whether to do allowances or not? Both DH and I were raised without them, but I like the idea (a lot) of having kids figure out how quickly money goes, how to save up for something you want, and so on. Plus I figure in a few years they could handle the mortgage themselves, don't you think? #1 and I had long talks about money, about things being expensive, about working for money and then using it for things. Part of me wants to keep her free of the filthy lucre while we can, but since she walks around clutching her "monies" anyway, maybe we should start thinking about managing this interest somehow.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Sippy Cup of Death: Random thoughts on parenthood

On a recent mission to find a certain toddler's flip-flops, I went into our sunroom, which, I might add, is not as glamourous as it sounds... don't think white wicker furniture and lovely tropical plants, think ceiling falling down in poorly converted carport. Whilst searching for said flip-flops, I found a sippy cup that had been left there for about a week. The contents of which was (at one time) milk. The true unsung heroes of our time are the people who clean white clumps of foul smelling dairy products out of sippy cups. Yuck, yuck, yuck.
Which brings me to the celebrity tie-in you've all been waiting for... Do Angelina Jolie, Katie Did (whatever her name is), Madonna and all those other fab-looking members of the Hollywood Moms Who Take Themselves Too Seriously Club EVER clean out gross smelling sippy cups? And if they don't, do their parenting opinions and advice really hold water? I think I heard Tom Cruise or some other knucklehead (come to think of it, it was him since no one else quite so knuckle-y as he comes to mind) say something about the sleep deprivation they were experiencing with their newborn. I'm sure he and his lovey aren't exactly getting up 14 times a night to feed the little one. I'm thinking they just might have mustered up enough cash for a live-in helper of some kind. I appreciate the we're-just-like-you-little-people approach to life that he has, but somehow it's lost on me. Although maybe the altar he worships at demands not only that women give birth in silence but that they get up each and every time baby wails without disturbing the father of the baby. That would seem rational in a Tom Cruise kind of way.
But speaking of sleep deprivation, my good friend Michelle told me that when the armed forces are training people who might be captured by enemies, they prepare them (if they could actually be prepared for such an experience) by depriving them of sleep and then cranking up the sweet sounds of a wailing baby. This is done to build their psychological endurance. So where does that leave me? Am I a captive of my husband or my children? Considering my endless blather, many of you (all the many of you dear readers out there) would question my psychological endurance. Rightly so. I'll end here.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Silence II

What she said.

LCS said it better than I can about our mom and about cancer (oh, the irony...I pretend to 'profess' writing, yet my social work sister beats me any day).

Words seem small, and intentions are not enough. Life is in flux in many ways for us on this front (physically, as we live with friends before moving to west; emotionally as we learn how to readjust our landscape knowing this about my mom. Looming ahead: new jobs, new friends, new experiences.) All we're able to do right now is plan for each day.

On a lighter note, #2 puked on me through two flights and two time zones last Thursday. And he just puked again. But I still think he's sweet.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


When I noticed the date of my last post, I realized how long it's been... but let me explain.
Some of you might know of our mom's cancer diagnosis. I thought of starting a new blog related only to that journey, but decided against that. Like so many other things, her cancer is now integrated into the fabric of our lives, too. Dinner has to be made. Mom has cancer. Diapers need to be changed. Mom has cancer. I have to keep breathing. Mom has cancer. I don't want to create the false impression that it is somehow separate and apart from reality for us.
Besides the usual post-operative woes, she doesn't have a lot of life-altering symptoms at this point. Thankfully, I don't have to envision her writhing in pain while I go about my daily life. What has been so hard is the reminder that our time with her is limited. A prognosis is nothing more than an educated guess, but it does reflect the gravity of the situation. And there are so many things I can't envision happening without my mom. Who will I call when I want to know if a fuschia will survive on the north side of my house? Who will be so thrilled with my childrens' ability to read a book? Who will I ask about how to get tomato stains out of a favorite shirt? When I'm really feeling discouraged with life, who will tell me "You just have to be positive," and not let me recline in my Self Pity Chair?
Everyone's mom is special, but I remember as a girl feeling so sorry for all the other kids because they didn't get to have my mom as their mom. Our mom was the best cook, the most beautiful, the most kind and just generally the best mom around. When I heard her singing hymns while rocking my baby brother to sleep, I thought she could have performed in Carnegie Hall. (Imagine my disappointment later when I discovered our mother is basically tone-deaf.)
Now, as a mom myself, I realize what a great job she did. She put up with our snottiness about our homemade clothes (which she unselfishly slaved over) when what we really wanted was a name-brand number (which we could ill afford). She has always made really great cookies, but was I grateful? No, I remember asking for Oreos because that's what my friends had for lunch. She made breakfast, lunch and dinner and I don't remember if I ever said "thank you". She was the quintessential housemom, but not cloying and ridiculous. She didn't wear pumps while dusting, but our house was dusted nontheless. She was at our sports events, every single piano recital in my 9 years of lessons, and supported us in everything we did. She still does, even in how we raise our crazy kids.
Fast forward to the present. When my first son was born, she stayed a few weeks to help me get my feet on the ground. At the airport waiting for her flight to take off, I knew in my heart that I could not make it without her. I guess I thought that my new baby and I would just combust as her plane took off. We went home and didn't combust after all, which was only because I could call her frequently and ask her what in the world I was supposed to do with this new life placed firmly under my responsibility.
After receiving the bad news about her cancer, and all the emotions that go along with it, I would have thought I'd have had the energy to write and write and only write some more. But instead, it has brought silence. I have nothing to say. What does a person have to say when time is limited with someone they love, and yet the dumb ol' world keeps spinning? This blog has kept me going in the past few months, so I'll try to think of something to write about. But if it has been awhile and I haven't had anything to say... perhaps life has rendered me speechless.