Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Friday, November 30, 2007

God doesn't think I have enough to do, apparently.

You can laugh; it's not your life. I'm laughing now... hysterically.

Daddy has been gone two evenings/nights for his sleep study (nothing catastrophic). Our parish's Moms Club met last night for our annual Thanksgiving potluck, which I skipped because 1) I wanted to spend that hour with my husband and kids, and 2) he'd used up all of the fried onions in the tuna casserole so I didn't have them to make the green bean casserole I was to bring. Ah well.
I'm planning on grocery shopping this afternoon because we have other stuff going on this weekend: Christmas decoration, both inside and out. Purchasing a dresser for Rachel's stuff so Louie's can go into the dresser before he's born and the following transfer of clothing. Attending a Partylite party for some "time off." Rearranging the kids' room to allow for the crib and the to-be-reassembled toddler bed. Mass on Sunday morning, followed by the first rehearsal of the children's Christmas choir which Madeleine decided she wanted to join this year. The monthly Open House at the local one-room schoolhouse is this Sunday as well, and we've told the kids we'd go. I also ran into one of the volunteers and she said she'd bring the pictures of us from May when we went last time. And I wanted to take the girls (and the boys too, if they wanted to go) to see Enchanted this weekend, before Louie is born.
On top of all that, Madeleine has had a cough for about a week. I made the appointment yesterday to take her in this morning. Last night, in addition, she told me that her throat hurt when swallowing her saliva. All the more reason, right?
Well... the strep test came back positive. Along with thrice-daily albuterol and everything else, we have twice-daily amoxycillin (which she likes, so it's not THAT big a deal).

Who's guessing I'll go into labor this weekend too? Maybe I should pick up diapers this afternoon, along with everything else...

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Love letter to my son

With your little brother coming, you haven't been able to come in and cuddle in the night like you used to. I want you to know I miss that. I miss your sleepy smell, the weight of your head on my arm, being wrapped in love from my "boys."
I miss touching your soft cheek in the dark, aware that someday it will be covered in downy fuzz, then stubble, then whiskers. You may grow a beard and I won't be able to see that little cleft in your chin you got from me.
I hold your hand. At this moment, it still has the little dimples at your knuckles from babyhood. Someday, though, someday sooner than I realize, the dimples will be gone and the mature veins will be showing. Callouses will appear and they won't be little boy hands anymore.
I ruffle your hair, more like mine than either of the girls'. How I miss those curls you had until you were almost two, the reddish glints where the sun touched. How long will you keep that hair? Forever, like your daddy? Or will it fade before you can buy yourself a beer, like your grandfather's?
I love you, Huckleberry. My cuddlebug. My baby boy.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

To some of you out there, it seems a mite early for such things, but the new liturgical year starts on Sunday. It's the first Sunday of Advent, as well as starting a new month. In that spirit, I'm making some resolutions. Wasn't it you, Snoring Sarah, who has done that? New resolutions at the beginning of each month? I'm copying your idea.
Take this and run with it, if you like. This is more to keep me honest and remind myself than anything else.

Anyway, here they are.
1. I resolve to pray more with the kids. Not necessarily all twenty decades of the rosary; I think that's a bit much especially for Rachel. Maybe a decade, though, or the Angelus after lunch. Something concise on a daily basis.

2. I resolve to start using makeup more often. It sounds superficial, I know. I remember reading in The Body Project that a century ago, girls improved themselves internally (more patient, more generous, kinder, smarter, etc.) but now it's external (dieting, new hair, new clothes, plastic surgery). [note: I couldn't finish the book. I smelled "It's all patriarchy's fault!" from the first chapter. Correct me if I'm wrong, someone who's read it.] This is more than just skin-deep for me, though. Part of it is for my husband's sake; he deserves a prettier me across the dinner table (especially because he hasn't asked for it). Part of it is guilt, of all things. I have all this makeup, and even the background to use it (I did take modeling classes back in high school). So I should, shouldn't I?

3. I resolve to take more pictures of my kids--one a week, at least, of someone. With Louis' arrival no more than three weeks away, I want pictures to commemorate the occasion and the leadup to it. Honestly too it's a variation from my own upbringing. Besides the regulation school pictures, I think my mother has maybe a half dozen of each of us kids growing up. No more than ten, for sure. They're in a drawer in her kitchen. Still.
I've already surpassed that, as we're on our sixth album. But months go by and I don't get any pictures at all. No, I have no interest in scrapbooking whatsoever, but I can handle putting photos in an album.

There you have it. My dad didn't believe in New Year's resolutions; he thought if it's worth doing, it's worth starting right away. Eh. I guess you can add that to the long and growing list of things I'm doing differently than my parents did.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Technology update

As some of you know, we here at Casa de los Price have finally stumbled into the 21st century. We have given up our dialup connection and have gone high-speed. [Whether it's High-Speed or DSL or what, I don't exactly know. I just know I don't need to keep a book by the computer for page-loading anymore.]
We got the package that includes a dish on our roof. Yesterday morning, Gordon came and installed it while I was at the doc's. Yesterday night, we realized we didn't have Noggin (vital! twelve hours' worth of commercial free kids' channel!) and somehow the DVD player didn't give a picture, just audio. As of this afternoon, both of those have been remedied. I found the cord that hadn't been connected on the back of the TV, and Daddy called and got us the package that includes Noggin.
It also includes The Game Show Network, so I expect my mother to move in tomorrow night.

This seems to be the post to share my random thoughts on other channels, too.
1. I anticipate regularly watching the NASA channel given the kids' interest in space.
2. While I never watch C-SPAN, it does make me think of Big Brother in reverse. Unless you're into the Bilderberger conspiracy, where it's all a front anyway. I heard once of a cable company having a much higher collection rate when, instead of dropping you completely, they just gave you C-SPAN. Food for thought.
3. I think it's going to take some getting used to with the non-local weather from The Weather Channel, but that's why there's local radio. I refuse to watch local news.
4. One of the reasons we switched was the kerfuffle between Comcast and Big Ten Network (about which background I know zilch). Anyone with Comcast outside of Big Ten Territory: were you able to get B10? Did you try?

Last comment: this high-speed is really tough to walk away from. With dialup, it was easy to say, "I don't have time to wait for this," and walk away. Now, it's "Just one more thing," and half an hour later, I'm still there. Maybe it'll be easier in three weeks, when I don't have a bowling ball strapped to my abdomen.
I'll keep you posted.

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Finally I'm finishing my comments...sort of

I said before I'd tell you about Bishop Flores. Before I say any more, I have an admission. I have long had a soft spot for brown-eyed boys. I always imagined I'd marry a man with brown eyes; I never dreamed I'd give birth to one (so far). Maybe it's because my dad had dark ones. Whatever.
He said the Mass at the homeschoolers' conference in June, so I was familiar with him at the women's in October. It was kind of funny (to me, at least) when the friend I attended with didn't realize he's Hispanic. When he slipped into Spanish for a few words, trying to find them in English, she was completely thrown. His English was so good that I wasn't absolutely certain he was bilingual.
He wasn't quite the same the first time as at the conference last month, though. Hearing him speak was great. He said the Mass, too. I was, in a word, smitten. He's so animated! And intelligent! And articulate! I would laugh as quietly as I could at his expressions--his dismay at one point during the consecration when things weren't where he wanted them, or something. I have to imagine he'd be a riot to sit next to at a dinner party where you can catch his sotto voce remarks. As a monsignor, though, I'll bet his sarcasm is tempered, but his expressions would probably give him away.
He made reference to caring for those forgotten by society: "the unborn, the undocumented." I'm still muddling through that. Just recently I finished Laura Ingraham's book with the chapter on immigration. How to reconcile those views? Another post.

A last item on Bishop Flores. I learned last month that the Archdiocese of Detroit has a Mass for the families who lost children through miscarriage or infant death, the third weekend in October. He said that Mass this year. It was the week before the conference, but we'll be going in 2008.


Monday, November 26, 2007

General update

I'll start with "all is well."

Returned from Neema and Papa's, where the kids were indulged to the fullest. I can't really say "spoiled" because they do have limits, they respect them, and remember their manners. The kids, too.
Madeleine, the early riser among us, was up with Papa in the morning. She really enjoyed the quiet one-on-one time with him and told me so more than once. I know it was a wonderful thing to be half awake and hear their voices from below. It was a nice way to wake up.

One moment of excitement was The Boy 1.0. Friday, he and big sister were planning a running tackle of Papa from the fireplace. He accidentally reached too far behind him and touched the glass, thus leaving blisters the size of pencil erasers on two of his fingers. A quick phone call to the pediatrician and Daddy took him to the local urgent care clinic. They did as I told him they would: clean it off, put some cream on it, wrap it up, and send them on their way with a 'scrip for more cream. He got a Matchbox-sized construction set and lunch at a pizza buffet out of the deal. Of course it had to be his right hand, so he's not the only one looking forward to the doc's check of it tomorrow. Hopefully it's healed enough to forgo the wrapping and he'll be able to dress himself again.

Today was my regularly scheduled OB appointment. Louie is fine. Next week is my usual ultrasound to check his size, the week after that is the last pre-natal appointment. She confirmed she'll have us home for Christmas and she's got us penciled in for induction on the 19 if he doesn't come on his own before that, which is entirely possible. Wednesday is her usual hospital day and we'll be 38 weeks, one day.

Not much else going on, Dear Reader. I just wanted to reassure anyone wondering about birthdays just yet.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

We're officially done with speech.

We signed the papers. I'm still wrapping my head around it. No more Tuesday morning appointments, no more queries of who's going to take him (it's been Daddy for quite a while), no more worrying about drills and school closings and all of those other things.
As I listen to him with his sisters, I can pinpoint the sounds he needs to practice. L, Sh, Ch, R. But I understand him. It's strange, though, to hear some of the things that come out of him. I wonder what else I've missed in those years of struggle--how many questions, requests, observations, "I love yous".

You know what? In the spirit of success and forgiveness, I'm going to let it go. We understand him now and can move forward. We got her a gift card to a bookstore, which seems like small potatoes compared to opening the door to our son's mind.

And right now, I'm going to talk with him.


This could be very, very expensive.

Amazon has a specifically homeschooling site.

Dear husband has his used bookstores. With the new high-speed connection, I think I have my newest friend.

I'm going to try to look at this as an opportunity to practice self-control, moderation, and ---GET OUT OF MY WAY!!

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Open letter to the ex who reads this

I've finally really forgiven you.

I know I said I had when we corresponded earlier this year, but I hadn't. I said it because I thought that's what you needed to hear. I kept playing the "What if?" game in my head and always lost.

What if... I'd been pregnant when you left? You have to know that, even then, abortion would not have been a "choice" I'd have made.
Would you have taken the child from me, since realistically you would have been able to afford a much better attorney? I can't fathom the hurt of not seeing my child grow up, nor would I wish it on you.
Would you have married me for the child's sake? I don't think either of us would be as happy as we are now--and I believe, hope, and pray you're happy. I know I am. I wouldn't have the husband and children I know and love so dearly. I don't remember not knowing their voices. I've hated the movie Family Man for the ending.

Only recently have I completely given that "game" up. Nobody wins. Even though I'd been absolved of the sins I'd committed with and against you, it has taken me until now to grasp that God's forgiveness is infinite. Sincerely requested, it's always received. It's not "conscience" that would nag me afterward, despite absolution; it was Satan. That's how he works, you see--reminding you, poking you, never releasing you to accept the Love that could be yours. Hey, he's got to stay in practice.
When a priest reminded me of that recently, it became so easy to let go. I gave it all away to the One who said He'd carry me, and I forgave you. And myself.

Another admission: it hurt when you left. I felt used and tossed aside and couldn't figure out what I'd done wrong. Now, though, I've realized it really doesn't matter. God writes straight with crooked lines, and that heartbreak has taught me gratitude for what I have now--the husband, specifically, and the children... and my faith. I don't know if I'd have that with you and I do pray that you have found yours. I hope that the miracle of your own child(ren?--soon?) has shown you that there are miracles in our imperfect world and things greater than ourselves.

It was something of relief, or vindication, when you admitted that you hadn't made the same mistakes again. That takes humility to admit, especially to the person with whom you made those mistakes.

I'll continue to pray for you, as I try to do for all those I know who have made mistakes (including myself). If it brings you happiness, or relief, or even so simple as entertainment, keep reading this blog. (I couldn't stop you anyway.) I just wanted you to know that, if we should ever meet in person again, I think I'll be at peace.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Winter toys!

I was recently talking to another mom about how to get her sons out of the house, burning energy, during the winter. I suggested having her boys build their own ramp to sled down, for one. And I remembered these plastic molds for making bricks and building snow forts. These folks live on a corner so there should be PLENTY of snow for them to clear (thus burning even more energy!). The question was, where can one get such items?

Thank you, National Catholic Register and! Check this out! And, does anyone else have ideas?

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

I think we have a "learning gap."

And it's like something out of Blazing Saddles.

Madeleine just asked me, "Mama, do black people sing too?"

I'm mortified to admit that I have one song by John Lee Hooker on the City of Angels soundtrack, one by Louis Armstrong on the French Kiss soundtrack, and Michael Jackson's Bad. I mean, I live in MOTOWN. How have we missed this?

Thanks to our newly-installed high-speed, they've now seen Armstrong's What a Wonderful World, When the Sain's Go Marchin' In, and the duet he did with Johnny Cash. Any other suggestions?

I'm still stunned, but at least it's because she's only six.


On a Christmas Shopping note...

We recently had a spate of shopping and I spent quite a bit at Sears. I've liked their stuff before for Madeleine; the cute dresses are un-Bratzlike and well-made. They contribute to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and I like that too. And, if I remember correctly, they even say Merry Christmas on their store decorations.
When I read something like this, or this directly from their website, it makes me glad that I already shop there. And I will continue to do so.

So go! Shop! 'Tis the season!


This isn't really complaining.

Because, God knows, I love the little guy. I still get misty when I think of the circumstances of his conception, I'm thrilled he's healthy, I love feeling him move around, I'm looking forward to meeting him. All that.

While I'm not exactly looking forward to the delivery itself, I AM looking forward to not having to carry him everywhere. Yes, there's the reminder of what Vicki Iovine called the Fourth Trimester, where they're just as dependent and attached but now you have diapers to change too. But it will be nice to let Daddy take care of that sometimes. I'm looking forward to lying on my back and not feeling like a turtle, as well.
My varicose veins haven't been bothering me much recently, but my back is very grateful when I take it easy. The few warmish-for-November days recently where I could get the kids out for a walk have been nice, though I'm waddling along behind them calling, "Mama can't move that fast! Three houses ahead is too far!" I think I'm ready to be done being pregnant this time around.

So when my doc said last week that she'll have us home for Christmas, I could have hugged her. To all those who have said, "Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful to have him on Christmas?" the answer is a resounding NO (add your own rude undertone). That means I'd be in the hospital when I'd much rather be home with my husband, our children, and a roasted turkey. My doc wants to be with her boys, too, not delivering mine. And if you can avoid having a child right on Christmas Day, why not do that much for him? He's going to feel cheated enough being born near it; it seems to be compounding the issue when you could have avoided it.

I'm guessing he'll be born the week before Christmas, somewhere between the 16 and 23, closer to the 16. Place your guesses in the comments.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

He signed the papers.

Next week will be the termination of assistance meeting for Dale in speech. He really doesn't need it any more, and I can admit this. He's a wonderful student, we work with him too, but all of his progress has put him over that fence.
I talked with his teacher, Teri, this afternoon. I've been so used to him needing help. It's been three years, you know? I compared it to being in a wheelchair and now he can walk. Where should those first steps be taken? Or in jail and now he's released; where to first?
I used to worry--actually, I was terrified--he would wander off and not be understood enough to get help. How vulnerable would he be? If he were taken and managed to get loose, how could someone help him?
This morning at Meijer he was understood by the stocklady. He got some R's at speech today. He's starting to read, and Teri realized this too. So we'll be done next week. I don't know if my sighs are heavy or relieved--becoming more of the latter, though.

His teacher and I talked about his development and I told her he wants an aircraft carrier for Christmas. She knew what I meant; her sixteen-year-old wants a car (that child will be disappointed).
You know, dear husband, 31 inches of plastic doesn't sound so bad anymore.


Second verse, same as the first.

I did it again. Though I wasn't quite as tense as last time.

This morning Rachel brought me the little Amy Morris doll, with the leg broken off. She was quite contrite. I know Amy is her favorite, too.
I looked at Daddy. "Well, we need milk and bread anyway. I'll take them to Meijer after speech, as long as Madeleine gets most of her school done."

We had a conference before, the kids and I. "We are going to get milk, bread, and Amy if it's there. Nothing else. Do you understand?" This resulted in a pretty uneventful trip. We even got a prime parking spot, right next to the handicapped. I even had the walkway.
I heard a "Look, strawberries! Can we get some?" in the produce, but I responded with a patient, "What is on our list?" and the voice was quiet. Rachel rode for most of the way, the big two each got a gallon of milk out of the cooler, and we went to the toys where we promptly found the replacement Amy Morris. Probably the last one in the store.
It occurred to me there that The Boy wasn't getting anything. The girls were getting a replacement, he was getting the shaft. That's how I felt, anyway. The way he was browsing around the clearance aisle gave my conscience a pang.
I called him back over and took a knee. "Dale, I'll let you get something. Less than five dollars." His eyes perked up with opportunity. "You know what? You can get five Hot Wheels for five dollars." That was all I had to say.

All that background to tell you about the discussion I had with one of the stockers. The girls each wanted to choose a car and I mentioned getting a pink one for Rachel. "I'm surprised Barbie doesn't have one," the employee said.
"She has everything else," I noted.
"Not really anymore," she corrected. "Barbie only has about four feet [of shelf space]. She used to have a whole aisle. Now it's all Bratz." The displeasure in her voice was perceptible but not too obvious.
We agreed that we didn't understand their appeal, it really does just seem to be endorsing dressing like them, they look trashy. I told of my disappointment about Holly Hobbie, and she added Strawberry Shortcake to the discontinued list. I sighed.

So what does that leave for girls? I won't let Bratz in the house, and am leery of starting Barbie for the same reason. Rachel is three. Dora is rapidly approaching her expiration date. Baby dolls? Stuffed animals? Is there anything else wholesome for my girls to play with? If it's not the lead paint, it's the magnets. Or the coating with GHB. Or it's tarty dolls. Or the never-ending consumerism.

I've heard American Girls are expensive, but I don't know. I've never seen them in stores where I commonly shop. Which means "challenging to get" as well.

Maybe she'll start liking horses.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

It's the kind of house I live in.

They're happy that Louis is coming and all, but they've already put in their requests for the next one. Madeleine wants Elizabeth Christina (she'll have two sisters and two brothers) and Dale wants Michael Joseph, so the boys will finally be a majority.
Daddy just blinks. And changes the subject.

"Whales are mammals, right, Mama?"
"Yes, they are. So are dolphins."
"Well, where do they have hair?"

"Okay, we already have apples. So at the cider mill, we'll get cider, doughnuts, and fudge."
"What's fudge?" says Dale.
I think maybe I've been a little greedy in the past. We'll have to fix that. *sigh*


Saturday, November 10, 2007

I'd have laughed louder if the kids weren't asleep.

I copied this from Shelly. Boo-yeah!

Thank you Deborah Markus for writing this. You are awesome! -----------------------------

1 Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is - and it is - it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals,would we admit it?
2 Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.
3 Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.
4 Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.
5 If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

For the full list, go here.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Women's Conference last month, Part 1

I had a day off last month and got to attend the Detroit archdiocese's women's conference. Two of the speakers really hit home: Bishop Daniel Flores and Immaculée Ilibagiza. In the spirit of chivalry, I'll offer my thoughts on the lady first.
She started with a joke: "I see so many women, I want to talk about shoes!" Applause. "Or husbands, or children, and you want me to talk about holocausts."
She survived the Rwandan holocaust by living--if it could be called that--in a 3' x 4' bathroom with seven other women for 91 days. They couldn't flush the toilet unless someone flushed the other in the house simultaneously. Their protector, the owner of the house, had to scavenge through the trash to find food so the servants wouldn't guess. They couldn't speak to each other and there wasn't room to sit down.
What did they do when someone filled the toilet? Or was menstruating? I suspect that ground to a halt with the near-starvation they endured, but early on...

There were neighbors--neighbors, the kind of person you used to wave to over the fence, or borrow a cup of sugar from, or visit to talk about television or children or the weather--who stood in front of the house and called her by name so they could butcher her with a machete.

After her release, she and other survivors were being escorted (on foot) to a safe zone, but before they arrived, their escorts were to leave. She stared down a man with a machete while armed with only a rosary. He backed away, humbled, and dropped the machete as he walked off. That rosary, the last gift her father gave her, was what got her through. She prayed constantly while in the bathroom. Once she counted how many times in a day she said that prayer, and it was 27.

And she forgave them. For trapping her in the bathroom, for killing all of her schoolmates, for killing her family, destroying her home. For all of it.

If she can forgive those who were trying to kill her, who forced her into that situation in order to survive, I can be a little more generous with my own forgiveness. Like letting go of the fact that my mother never played Candyland with us. Or went over our homework with us, or a million other omissions over thirty-six years.
I can forgive another person... but that's a whole 'nother post. I can let go of wrongs of years ago, quit playing the "What if?" game, torturing myself over events that never even happened.

Mark Shea has called the Christian teaching on forgiveness the most scandalous, the most challenging, the most difficult. He's right.
I'm waiting for Immaculée's book in the mail. I'll let you know on that.

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Baby birth!

Not ours--that will be next month (probably).

Margaret Elizabeth Siekierski!
Here are the details! Go! Congratulate!


Thursday, November 08, 2007

'Relieved' is a word.

It's starting to be winter in Michigan, so we needed coats. I personally like to buy new ones near MLK Day in January, when the selection isn't too picked over and the price is right. We'll be doing that again this year, but I digress.
This year, winter has shown up and I couldn't remember for the life of me where their coats were.
Nobody had new purchases; these were last year's that I may or may not have packed away. Were they in their closet? No, just one that's too big for Rachel and too small for Madeleine. Nuts. So were they in a box upstairs? Or up north? Given the "organization" of our attic, it might be quicker to drive three hours one way to check there first. Then again, when would we do that? With the cost of gas, it might just be cheaper to buy new, even if we already own ones that would fit.

In a fit of almost-teary pregnancy hormones, I admitted all this to Beloved Husband. He didn't laugh or get upset, just offered to check the bins in the shed. He also admitted to having seen nothing of coats in a recent spelunking mission in the attic.
No coats in bins outside, but he did find sweaters for himself. We decided to bite the bullet and get Madeleine new tonight. When I went to our front closet to get my own jacket, the one I wore when pregnant with The Boy and haven't worn since, I'm struck by two things.

One, a girl's winter coat in a 6-6X (Maddie's from last year) and the other, a boy's in 4-5 (yep, Dale's from last year). Their hats are even in the sleeves.
If I weren't so relieved, I'd be quite embarrassed.

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Not surprised.

Kind of impressed by my own self-awareness. There's a reason I majored in French, and knew I wanted to do so at 16.

Your Inner European is French!
Smart and sophisticated.You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so.

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Bad parents in public

Read this heartbreaking post. It hurts. And some adult vocabulary, as a heads-up.

These are my thoughts.
We parents can all admit there are times we have our children out later than usual. Past bedtime--way past. For us, it's been when traveling to the grandparents'. That's a three-hour trip straight through, but if you factor in the occasional meals and potty stops, it has taken as long as six. When you don't get started until after Daddy gets home from work, it puts things pretty late.
What we as adults need to remember is what lack of sleep and being off-schedule does to little kids. They get tired, and crabby, and whiny. Or they get overstimulated, and fidgety, and hyper. Our job is to do our very best to cope and counteract with self-control, patience, and understanding. A sense of humor is a really useful thing, too.

It's not having the child out late that is the poster's--Flea's--main point. It is the "parent's" behavior toward the child that receives the most ire. As is appropriate.

Like I said in the comments, they need to be hit upside the head with a sock full of wood screws.

Hat tip, Diane.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bibliophile alert

We are readers here. I remember books I had back in the day and I want them for my kids, too. I figure if I remember them twenty or thirty years later, they had to be good. Like The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (we have it--still in print, even!). Mrs. Learmont read that to us in third grade. I dated a guy who'd never heard of it, poor soul. So I made a tape of myself reading it and sent it to him as he'd taken an internship across the country. I hope he has it for his son now. The book, not the tape. Don't care about the tape.
Another I remember is The Little Leftover Witch. Mrs. Hahn read that to us in second grade and I later made my mother get us a copy that I read to pieces. It would be great to read at Halloween, like she did. Maybe next year we'll have one. [HOLY COW, I just looked that one up on Amazon. Guess I'm not the only one who remembers it fondly!]
Now I've got The Thanksgiving Treasure (Mrs. Learmont again, but in fifth grade) bumping around in my head. I think there was even a TV special about this one but I don't remember actually watching it.

You know, just about every day I'm reminded of what a blessing it is I married the guy I did. He actually understands this book thing.


Yes, this is bragging.

If you're going to get queasy reading about my beautiful, brilliant little boy, skip this. You've been warned.

He's reading. Seriously. And he's four, not five 'til next year. Episode 1: Last Saturday, he went with me grocery shopping. I was waiting to turn left and I hear from the back seat, quite deliberately, "No turn on red."
I snapped around. "Where do you see that?"
"On that sign. Over there." He pointed. And he was right.
Episode 2:
Yesterday morning, he was looking intently at the box of cereal in front of him. "Fruity," he said slowly.
"What are the letters, son?" I inquired, holding my breath.
"F, R, U, I, tuh, T, Y," he replied. It was the box of Fruity Cheerios he'd selected at the store.
Episode 3:
This morning, I was getting my morning cup of cheer and he was standing nearby. "Cocoa Pebbles," he said in a getting-familiar tone. Again, I asked the letters. Again, he told me correctly. [note: Daddy brought those home when he got milk yesterday.]

I think we'll be getting his library card as soon as he can clearly write his name, and Santa will be bringing a backpack for him to carry those books. If he can wait another six weeks or so!

While that's really cool, it's his math that is blowing it all away. He's three-quarters done with the MCP Kindergarten math book and loving it. We've started addition, which I think is Chapter 9. He'll do five or more pages a day (yesterday he finished eight). We've already ordered the first grade book, and he's tickled at the prospect of being in the same book as his big sister. She's okay with it since she's quite a bit further, as in 200 pages ahead of him.
Him? I see that flying the space shuttle idea as a reasonable aspiration.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Random thoughts

1. Can one still receive Communion if bringing your children to Mass results in a near occasion of sin?

2. Is there anything funnier than a three-year-old girl stomping around to the Imperial March, also known as Darth Vader's Theme?

3. If your children fill up on bananas and apples 45 minutes before lunch when you've told them the could have candy for dessert, is that such a bad thing?

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Friday, November 02, 2007

He's growing up.

This week, his speech teacher had some good news. She told Dale she's not sure how much longer she's going to need to see The Boy, given how much progress he's made and how well he's doing. Once a sound is successful more than half the time, it's diminishing returns.
So why did that make me tear up? I can understand him, his daddy can, even my mother with her hearing can understand him. Then again, she's always has been able to. She couldn't hear well, he couldn't speak well, but they always managed to communicate. It was weird.
I've got no problem with him doing kindergarten math or phonics, and he's starting to read too. Those don't bother me. The reverse, in fact--I'm quite proud. But this speech thing brings a lump to my throat.

And the other thing... He still wants to marry me first, but he knows that since I'll be "old" by the time he grows up, I'll probably die [where do these grim thoughts come from?]. Then he'll marry Angela.
Who is Angela? The eight-year-old girl who was living across the street from us for some months who has become Madeleine's best friend. Her mother and stepdad were going through what I'll euphemistically call "a rough patch," but when they readjusted their priorities and put the children first, things shook out much better for all of them.
Anyway, she'd come over with her collection of Beanie Baby kittens (about half a dozen, not the whole oeuvre), play with my kids, all that. No trouble at all.
So when The Boy said he wanted to be a cat for Halloween, why didn't I get it? I thought he'd like to be St. Michael, wear the armor, brandish a sword. But no, he stuck with cat. That evening, when he's wearing his headband-with-ears and I had drawn the whiskers on him, he said, "This will make Angela happy." I could have smacked myself in the forehead. Angela went trick-or-treating with our crew, so she did see his outfit. I was told they were holding hands on the return trip.

Sigh. At least he's got good taste.