Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mangled meetings and crooked crutches

Well, had to go up to school on Wednesday morning for the Room Parent meeting, and of course I had to take O with me since it is impossible to get a sitter at 8am on a weekday. It's too bad they can't do some of these meetings in the afternoons, or better yet evenings when the volunteers have a real chance of being able to attend without other children in tow. I was not the only one there with little ones and the frustration of being put in such a predicament was easily recognized on their faces as well. We really want to pay attention and listen to what is being said so we can be effective Room parents, but it's extremely difficult to do so without being completely annoyed (or embarrassed or frustrated) with your child is constantly pulling at your hand, saying they want to go home a little too loudly, or having to go pee, or saying they are tired or hungry or thirsty, or....the list goes on.) And it's not like the meeting is a five minute meeting in the first place. It was well over an hour.

And just because fate likes to make my life more complicated, H just so happens to come to the library with her class while we are there. She was good enough to come over and ask if she could take O and read a book to her. That was fine with me as long as it was fine with her teacher, I was happy for any excuse to get the child to stop pulling on my hand or crawling up and then sliding off my lap again for the 82nd time. But I was worried O wouldn't behave and so I had to keep looking over to where they were, making sure things were going ok. I wasn't hearing any blood curdling screams, so I guess that means they were doing ok.

And then H brings O back because her class is getting ready to leave (though to her credit, she was thoughtful enough to check out three books in her name that she and O had been looking at, books O liked.) H tells me that her eye is really itchy and bothering her. I look at her eye , it's a bit red, but nothing serious. I ask if she's been rubbing her eyes or remembers hurting it, anything. No, she doesn't remember anything. I tell her to try to stick it out (at this point it's only 8:40) and that if it keeps on bothering her, maybe see about going to the nurse and ask for some eye drops or something, but that to just leave it alone because the more she rubbed it, the more it was going to itch and bother her. Ok, fine. She heads out and I attempt to get back to listening to the meeting, I can't tell you how many times my attention has been diverted at this point.

And that trend is apparently going to continue because not 15 minutes later, here comes the nurse to get me. I have to collect O from the floor where she is quietly(for once) looking at her books and go across the way to the office where H is laying down on the nurses table. I am told that H's eye is really bothering her and that they applied a cool compress. They don't have drops to add.


I immediately ask if H has been rubbing her eyes again or if she remembers bumping it or scratching it, anything. No. The nurse says there is some localized redness when you pull down her lower lid, and there is, I can see it. Could be a scratch, maybe. And if that is the case there is really nothing anyone can do about it but give it time. And while H is laying there, she starts saying her tummy hurts. Oh Lordy, here we go. I ask if she's had her snack yet. No. Well then you are probably hungry I tell her. And then she tells me that she just doesn't feel that good. Ok, so now it's obvious she's trying to come home. The nurse and I exchange knowing looks and I tell H that she'll be having her snack at school soon and then she'll be feeling better. No, but her eye really hurts, it's itchy and bothering her, she whines to me. At this point I know my morning is pretty much shot to Hell and there is not much I can do about it.

Fine, I'll bring her home, put eye drops in her eye and then we are going right back to school. Well, as long as that makes her eye feel better, in the back of my mind I am a little concerned it is a scratch and if it is and if the drops don't fix the issue, we may have to go to the Dr.

So, leave the nurse's station and go back to try to finish my room parent meeting, this time with both children in tow. Luckily that finishes up about 15 minutes later and then I have to check H out and bring her home for the drops. She gets a snack, we do the drops and I readily inform her, that if she does not go back to school there is no way she's going to gymnastics that night and I knew she was dying to go to gymnastics since it would be the first night of her new class. She's convinced, and after some drops in the eyes and a snack, she's ready to go back. Of course little sister O is fit to be tied, doesn't want to get in the car again or go back to school. She's done enough of that as far as she's concerned. More struggling, finally get both kids back in the car and get H back to school and checked in (along with her drops and a note saying it's ok for her to use them as needed.)

I try to spend what is left of my morning running errands I'd planned to do, usual stuff that needs to be done. Of course O is not too happy with any of it and I know it's hard for a four year old to sit still for so long.

H comes home from school without further incident and after homework, spends the rest of the afternoon in her gymnastics outfit, ready and eager to go there.

Seems like the day is winding down, but not so. Since D is out of town for the day and night, I have to take O with me to H's gymnastics class at 7pm. Working on the witching hour there and I went not really expecting it to go smoothly, but there was no help for it. There is not a good waiting/viewing room there, at least not for four year olds and after 30 minutes of O climbing up and down off of chairs and tables and pulling and pushing this stupid plastic chair (that's all they had) around the very crowded viewing area (and banging the hard plastic end of that stupid chair into this poor woman's toes (she was wearing flip flops) about four times, I'd had enough. I scoop her up and start to head outside, all the while she's crying and whining rather loudly (bordering on a scream here) that "No, Mommy! I don't want to go!" I'd warned her and told her over and over that if she did not sit down and behave we here leaving. I'd reached my limit.

Eventually I have to pick her up in a football hold (because she's not walking and she's not allowing me to carry her normally) and get her out of there, of course embarrassed in the meantime as everyone turns to look at the mom with the annoying child. Screaming all the way to the car we go. I thank God when I can shut the car door and O's screaming protestations can't be heard quite as easily. I turn on the car, flick on the radio and sit there in my seat, heart racing a mile a minute. I can feel my anger boiling, my patience wearing dangerously thin. Take a couple of deep breaths, closing my eyes all the while O continues to wail in the back of the car (I didn't strap her in because we aren't going anywhere, and strapping her in anyway would have been one more battle.)

And so we spend the rest of H's class outside in the car. Eventually she stops her screaming tantrum and I get her to apologize to me. She had to say she was sorry for screaming and crying and not listening to Mommy. Though most of what I got as a begrudged, "Sorry you." Still, better than nothing and with my patience already tried for the day, that was all I had the strength of mind to push for.

Get H once she's finished and I can tell she's not that happy. From what I'd seen earlier before having to leave, she and the class were being pushed pretty hard, lots of physical drills. The coaches are all from Russia, so that pretty much says it all I'd think. Anyway, she makes a beeline for the gym exit and I am only too happy to go because I fear O breaking into another fit at any moment.

As soon as we get in the car, H was telling me that was harder than she thought it would be. I am not surprised at all, having taken gymnastics when I was little, I remember it being hard work. I think H thought it was going to be all fun and games, but this is more serious, about genuine instruction and physical discipline. All good things for her. We barely turn out of the parking lot and H suddenly starts bawling. WHAT!? Where did that come from?

She's crying about her ankle, saying she hurt her ankle and it hurts really bad. (But yet, she'd walked out of the gym moments before, and rather hurriedly at that, with no noticeable signs of a limp or anything.) I ask her what happened and as best I can understand through her now quite whiny and tired sounding cries is that her foot or ankle did something weird when they were jumping rope and it hurt but she didn't want to make a big deal about it, she wanted to try to tough it out. Great, I thought. That is a good way to be (H sometimes has a tendency to over dramatize things.) But....rumping rope was the first exercise they did, so how bad can her ankle really be if she worked out and did her class for nearly another hour after? On and on she cries. LOOOOONG ride home.

Get the girls home and H comes in the house now hopping on one foot all the way. I look at her ankle and don't see any swelling of note, though she does jump away at the slightest touch of my fingers. I don't know. I don't see anything that looks bad about her ankle, but I am not a doctor either. I get her inside and give her some Motrin and an icepack, finally manage to get her to stop crying. Of course, she already talks about school tomorrow, saying she doesn't know how she can go if she can't walk. RIIIIIIIIIIGHT.

Finally to bed and already I know I am going to have to take her to the Dr. in the morning because she's not going to believe me when I tell her she needs to just toughen up and deal with it. She's starting new things, she's going to be sore some. And besides, with a sprain, there is really not much to be done about it. (And the ankle never really swelled up or showed signs of bruising that night.)

Next morning, off to the Dr. or rather Urgent care. I was trying to get seen the quickest possible so I could get her to school. I had to go to O's preschool at 10:45 to meet her new teacher, then to lunch with some of her preschool buddies after, and then to ballet at 1:30. My day was full.

We get to the Dr. and again, still no real swelling (and at this point she didn't have any Motrin in her system, I wanted everything to be at it's worse when going to the Dr.) After sitting for about 20 minutes in the waiting room (with hardly anyone else there) we finally get back there and have to wait for another 20 or so. Just lovely. When the Dr. finally comes in and looks at her ankle, she says it's just a sprain and to have it keep it up and try to stay off it the rest of the day. I look at this young female Dr. and wonder if she has any kids. H of course is nearly jumping for joy at the prospect of staying home. I say pointedly, "It's the first week of school." The Dr. seems to think about it a moment and says that if H has her ankle wrapped and has crutches then it should be ok.

Are you kidding me?! Crutches?!? What the hell happened to tough it out and deal with it? Sometimes you are going to have hurts and bruises in life, you just have to deal with it. It wasn't like her ankle was swollen up or she was running a fever or anything. Her father had been going around on a majorly sprained ankle for the last week, one that was majorly swollen and black and blue (and yellow and green!) He wasn't running around on crutches! Or staying home from work to lay on the couch. What kind of message is this sending?

Of course, irresponsible words spoken in front of a child by a Dr. is pretty much law, isn't it? I mean, why would the kid ever believe what their Mom or Dad said was right now?


So....another 30 minutes later, ankle wrapped and H happily hobbling on crutches, we check her into school. I tell her she'll like crutches for about 30 minutes. Crutches hurt. I remember. And of course I have to walk her all the way down to her classroom since she's not used to walking with the crutches and she has her jacket, book bag, lunch bag to manage. So, another 15 minutes later I finally get back to the car and leave. And by now, I have only 30 minutes before having to be at O's preschool! ARGH! Is it any wonder my house is never as clean as I'd like and there are the mornings dishes still sitting in the sink and piles of clean laundry to be folded? When do I have time?!

The meet and greet teacher thing ran right into lunch with O's preschool friends and that ran right up to the point I had to take O home to change into her ballet outfit and head back out for that. And of more kink in the plan...H was SUPPOSED to ride the bus home on Thursdays and for the first time ever, have her own key to the house and be home for about 20 minutes by herself until I got home from O's ballet class which runs from 1:30-2:30 (H gets home on the bus at 2:20.) But no...not today. Can't do that. H can't ride the bus with crutches and so I have to drop O off, get her in class and all situated and then turn around and drive up to H's school to get in the carpool rider line and wait to pick her up and then go back to the dance studio to pick up O, hopefully before she's done and freaks out because I am not there.

Can you see why I want a drink by 4pm?!?

Manage to get H in the carpool line and get back to the dance studio before O is finished (thank Heaven for small favors.) Afterwards both girls want to go to Quiznos and at that point, I was like fine. Whatever. I was thinking it might make dinner easier later, and since D wouldn't be home until 7 or later, I wasn't planning on him for dinner. The kids get their sandwiches and eat it in the car, I save mine for dinner. By the time we get home at 3, I feel like I've been up since 2am and just finished running a race. Being exhausted as I was, I obviously didn't post about this all when it happened, and only now just catching my breath long enough to talk about it (which is a feat in and of itself given the number of distractions I've had while trying to write this...the constant fighting and bickering going on in the background over who is watching what program on TV, the dog whining to go out, the dog barking to come in, H planning out her whole day, asking at 8:30am on a Sat when she can call her friend, H asking when a friend can come over, H saying maybe she wants to go get her ears pierced today and asking what time she can do that, O crying about her Jasmine Polly Pocket dropping down into the toy box and being lost, O crying loudly saying H pushed her over, H yelling from the other room that no, she didn't, she didn't even touch her...and on and on...and of course I won't go into the fact that D is sleeping in, blissfully unaware of all of this. Granted, he needs the sleep, but so do I damn it!)

Is it any wonder why I am stressed all the time?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Feeds issue

I think some of the issues have been resolved, but for some reason, if you try to select the ATOM feed, it may cause some problems or not be working quite right. Everything else seems to be ok.

I also added functionality for those of us who are Feed challenged (and aren't even really sure what Feeds are and what RSS means and ATOM.) Anyway, if you scroll down, on the right hand side there is a new option to input your email and subscribe that way. Basically what happens is that you will get an email from (the Feed subscription) every time I add something new to the blog. This way you don't have to check on the blog itself to see if anything new has been added or not, you will receieve an automatic notifcation that is has happened.

Hope this helps. If anyone is still having problems, please leave me a comment or drop me an email to let me know.

Thanks so much!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The end of an era


I am not even sure where to begin. Perhaps I should have titled this, "No Virginia..." instead.

How is it that out of no where, completely out of the blue, you suddenly feel and hear the impossibly loud 'tick tock, tick tock, tick tock' of the childhood clock, that elusive keeper of childhood dreams and innocence? Like the horrific vision of a car wreck manifesting itself before your very eyes, you see it happening, you know it's coming, and yet you are powerless to do anything to stop it. You have no choice but to hold on with white knuckled hands, waiting for the moment when you can bear to breathe and allow yourself to realize what just happened. And how very tragic it was.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. H will be 10 in a handful of months. As I think about it, I was younger than she when I posed the most unenviable of all questions to my mother, "Is Santa real?" I still remember her answer so vividly, the moment forever burned into my childhood memory: the noticeable pause, the gathering of her thoughts before she turned to give me a sidelong look and asked in that quiet voice, "Do you really want to know?"

Oh, but it makes me want to scream! I hate it! I hate it! I hate it!

That moment, that singular moment changes everything about your childhood. It is never the same after. Of course you don't realize the magnitude of the revelation at the time, but so often will you look back upon it, seeing that as the start of the end of your childhood. When innocence ended.

It breaks my heart. I can't even write about it now without crying. I know...I know too well what it means. And while I love getting to know her as an emerging young tween she is, I also deeply mourn the loss of my baby girl. Once you cross that bridge, there is no going back, and I am astute enough to know that.

Since the day I found out I was pregnant with her, I think I have dreaded this very moment, without perhaps realizing how much and how deeply it would affect me. Finding out about Santa changes everything. It's almost like you can hear the audible 'pop' of the magic bubble that surrounds everything great about being a kid.

She wasn't surprised or upset, honestly, she seemed more relieved than anything, as if finally understanding the answer to some complicated math problem, an answer she thought she'd pretty much worked out in her head, but just needed that little bit of guidance and reassurance to know she'd been right all along.


It was weird to have that sort of clarity too, knowing you are changing everything about your daughter's childhood when you make your response. You hope you are doing that right thing, saying it the right way, but still the doubts plague you. How can you ever be sure you are saying it the right way, at the right time?

How did she bring it up, you ask? Well, we are sitting at the kitchen table, finishing our dinner while watching O bounce excitedly on the couch, pointing at the TV and yelling, "I want that, I want that!" She was going on about some mermaid Barbie toy flashing across the screen during a commercial and H glanced towards me and said I ought to buy that for her (meaning O.) I said she could put it on her Xmas list and H just fixed me with a look that pretty much said it all, "Yeah, right Mom, I know you are the one who buys all the gifts."

I tried to shake it off, to change the subject, but then she rolled into an accusation about the Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny and Santa all at the same time, saying how I (Mom)always knew what was on the Xmas list and I knew if they (the girls) had been good or bad, that I knew when they were sleeping or awake, how I knew just what to get them for Easter and what candy they liked. She went on saying she'd once found a note in a drawer in our guest room that she'd written to the Tooth Fairy, a letter that the Tooth Fairy had supposedly taken, but yet it was in that room and why would it be in that room if it wasn't really us? And on she went, about some boy in school once telling her that he was a light sleeper and once woke up when his Dad was getting the tooth from under his pillow. On and on she went, explaining her reasons why she believed it was really just us.

And so, I was backed into a corner. It was staring me, and her, in the face. It needed to be said.

I told her Santa was more than just one person, or two, or four, or even a billion. He was a spirit. The spirit of giving. I reminded her what Christmas was all about, that it was about God giving his only son for us, and in that spirit of giving Santa came about. She readily filled in the blanks and seemed quite fine with it all, not at all bothered or upset. She noticed I was having a hard time though, but I had said more than once I was sad, sad for what that conversation meant and what it would ultimately bring. Being 9, she can't quite understand all of that yet, but in time, I know she will. I only hope I did it justice, and only time, and her, I suppose can ever really answer that.


It's still hard to breathe.

Tick tock

Monday, August 25, 2008

Please stand by...experiencing technical difficulties...

I think the comments link is now fixed and anyone can post a comment. Also, I hear there are some issues with subscribing to the blog. I am doing my best to try to resolve the issues. Thanks for your patience. :)

Big Yellow Bus, No kid.

Well, if that doesn't say it all?

A few minutes to 2:20 (when H's bus was supposed to be here) I hear the sounds of it rolling down the street and excitedly tell O that her big sister is almost here, that her bus is coming! And of course, she comes running and then the dog materializes from under one of the beds upstairs, and comes sprinting down the stairs, barking all the way (I really have to work on that one.)

I take up my usual stance in the doorway (She feels she's too old to have me actually meeting her at the bus stop which is just across the street from the end of our drive) holding the storm door open, an excited and expectant look on my face, waiting to see H come running around the front of the bus with her long blond hair flying out behind her, ready to tell me all about her first day of fourth grade.

From my vantage point, I can just see the bus door swinging shut again and I can see some of the kids scattering. I keep looking, waiting. The bus starts to turn around in the culdesac, I am still looking around, trying to see if I missed her somehow. No sign of her anywhere. I look down the street the other way to the bus stop before ours, a place she would sometimes get off last year since one of her good friends lives there. Not a person in sight. I wait for the bus to finish turning around, thinking that perhaps this bus driver didn't want her to cross the road (some don't) and that he was going to stop by the front of our house and let her out there. The bus rolls on by. Panic starts to set in. OMG, where is she! They must have gotten it all screwed up at school, they didn't get the note I sent in this morning saying which bus she was supposed to be on (she wasn't on the bus list like she was supposed to have been in the first place.) I look back down the street towards the other stop. Nothing. No signs of anyone.

My heart racing a mile a minute, I rush back inside and can't seem to find the number to the school fast enough (sorry, I can't say I have it memorized.) I tell them what's happened, that H was supposed to be on Bus#X and it just left and she's no where to be seen. They put me on hold while they try to check it out on their end, all the while I am panicking, thinking that maybe I need to jump in the car and go up to school in case she didn't even get on a bus. But then I think what would happen if she did get on a bus, but not the correct one? Or what if the bus comes back and drops her off when I am not here (having gone up to school to find her!)

Then, while on hold, the caller-id shows up on the display. It's the friend's house down the street. What!? I am gonna kill her (if she's there...and she'd better be there damn it!) I quickly click over and it's H. Before she can get a word out I tell her I am on the phone with school and everyone is looking for her and she'd better get her butt home right now. I force myself to take a breath. I can finally swallow again now that my heart isn't in my throat. After another minute, the school clicks back over, saying they are still working on it, just need another second and I have to interupt them with the embarassing news that my daughter did indeed get on the bus, but got off at a stop she was not supposed to. Yes, I feel stupid now. And disappointed.

I was so eager to see H and see how her first day had been. I even had my camera ready to get a picture of her since I didn't get one this morning and I have this sort of habit of taking the kids' pictures the first day of school each year. All my excitement and happiness for her went out the door in light of my panic and then subsequent aggravation. I had to get over the annoyance though, once my stomach had settled back down, so I could ask her about her day and how it went.


So sad though...I had it all laid out in my mind, how it would be and in an instant it was gone. I wish I was a better person, that I could get over that anxiety and annoyance her mistake had caused more readily. I think, at the heart of it though, and what wounds the most, is that she didn't even think about me or that I'd be wanting to see her, anxious to see how the day had gone. It's all about the friends. Oh well, I guess I'd better get used to that. I hear it's only going to get worse in the coming years.

Ooh...about the slideshow on my Blog....cakes and stuff

If anyone is wondering, I made some of the cakes featured in the slideshow. I made the pink and purple one for little O's Bday, and also the cupcakes for her Build-A-Bear party. The white and gold cake was for my in-laws anniversary and I did not do that one. Working on designing a fondant covered cake for my friend's baby shower in a couple of weeks.

I am new at this whole fondant covered thing, working with gumpaste figures and all that, but it's pretty fun and I was happy with my initial results.

HOWEVER, I am ALWAYS on the look out for tips and advice, not to mention great recipes. So if you have any, please please post a comment about it and leave those for me. I am also currently having issues on what to fill my cakes with between layers, so if anyone has any suggestions, that would be much appreciated.

Thanks so much!

Back to school

It's finally here. Back to school day. Wow, that's hard to believe! The summer went way too fast, but in some regards, it never does seem long enough, does it?

H is going into fourth grade! OMG....that means I am old now, doesn't it?! Don't you have to be kinda old to have a kid in fourth grade? ::sigh:: I am not sure I like that feeling very much.

It's funny how age has a way of sneaking up on you. On one hand you still feel like you did when you are dating your husband or just married, but much time has passed, so many things have happened and so you are not the same. Sometimes I'll catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror or the reflection of a store window as I pass by and I don't recognize myself. When did that happen? Lately, sometimes I notice the tiny lines around my eyes and the paranthesis in the middle of my forehead. Do I really frown so much that I caused that? Or maybe I am in a perpetual state of looking confused or consterned or something? I don't know. I just know I don't really like it.

So anyway, I am rambling here. Back to the topic at hand. Back to school. Well, this year I decided to step up to the plate and volunteer to be a room mother. Well, ahem...let me clarify, my intention was to be one of two or MORE room mothers. Of course what happens? I get an email this morning with the list of this year's room mothers and naturally I am the only one for my daughter's class. Oh sure....just perfect! I just needed one more obligation and head ache and worry. One more thing to have to shoulder on my own. Oh well...I guess I'll just try to make the best of it, but I hope I can get a lot of support from the other parents in the class. Maybe I am making it out to be worse than it is? Maybe it won't be so bad? Well, here's to hoping anyway.....