Monday, October 31, 2005

I Need To Write...

I ain't gonna cry; I don't wanna scream
But I go so much left unsaid inside of me...
I Want To Be Loved -- Bon Jovi

Yep, sometimes I think I have so much left unsaid that I will literally explode...
One day I will run out of people to listen. In the mean time, I am grateful for the dear and trusted friends who converse, listen and share. Without them, I would indeed be lost.

I have been called many things in my life - shy, quiet, reserved, soft-spoken - these never made the list of descriptive words associated with my name in the yearbook. And maybe always speaking your mind - often before your mind knows you have actually spoken - is not a good thing.

In any event, my mind is going 90 mph. too much going on this week - personally.
Thrilled today is mostly over - parties at every school my offspring attend. I am in trouble because I cannot attend both parties. I'm good - but not that good. In a most gracious manner, my babysitter offered to attend DD #2's party since I was hosting DD #1's class party. That seemed to work. And I am relieved. Teacher happies are done and sent. Crafts made. Bags decorated. Candy wrapped and given out. Yes, I am one of those kinds of Moms. My Mom was one of those Moms and I too, am one of those over-achieving, boy-scout, gotta-do-it-all-for-my-kids Moms.

Which leads me to my greatest angst this week (in life). My oldest daughter is described as a Special Needs child. She has - what is described on paper as - a Profound and Severe Speech Delay. And no matter how many times you hear it or how many times you read it - each time you see the words Severe and Profound applied to YOUR child - with the word Delay, it devours part of your soul. Medical Diagnosis - Apraxia. Oral Motor Planning Disorder.
It boils down to the muscles in her mouth not communicating with her brain properly.

So what's the big deal? It's not like a lisp or a stutter or mispronouncing a few consonants or vowels. It's a huge deal. Have you ever met someone that speaks your native tongue but has a dialect so different from your own, you only catch every third or fourth word? That's how it is for strangers when they meet my six, almost seven, year old daughter. She sounds like a deaf child learning to speak - like someone that has never heard the spoken word. I understanding about 50% to 75% of what she says - depending on the circumstances and the vocabulary involved. And when she hits one of those 'spurts' where her vocabulary really grows, I understand even less.

I have done my own research. Spoken to the experts. Spoken with them again. They all say the same thing - SHE WILL BE FINE. And I cling to that prognosis with every fiber of my being. But then they immediately follow up with - It will take a long time. A very long time. It will not happen overnight. It will not be easy. She will have to work very hard. She requires a communication immersed education.

She was two when we first found out there was an issue with her speech. The specialist came and went. They confirmed our suspicions. And I naively believed that we'd do speech therapy a couple times a week and she'd be up to speed by first grade. She would have started first grade this year. A milestone missed. She is in a phenomenal program at an internationally recognized school - exactly where she needs to be. And I am thankful that one of two programs in the US is here in our big city. But it's not the first grade at the public school right down the road from our home. They call her program Early Intervention. For the rest of her life - she'll never be able to say - "When I was in first grade..." Silly, I know...

A girlfriend of mine once asked me a very personal question. I have known and loved this friend since we were 4 years old or such a question might have been inappropriate. She asked me how I accepted it - how I dealt with it - having a child with special needs. For once, I actually stopped and thought before I answered.

I cried with this dear friend when her first baby, a beautiful girl, was still born. She knows pain personally . She is intimately acquainted with heartbreak - yet she asks how I accept this challenge with my living, breathing daughter. And for a minute, I didn't know what to say. Do I tell her that every time we have a teacher meeting, or get her test results - from whatever the latest battery of test are - I cry. To this very day, I cry. I have a meeting this Thursday with her teachers, and I will cry. There has never ever been any progress shown in her development on paper. Never. You see, for all the painstaking progress she makes, it is negated on paper because every day - she is a day older. Test scores and results are contingent on chronological age.

So I thought some more and finally told my friend that I wasn't sure how or if I was dealing with it or accepting it. But if I was - it was bit by bit, day by day, minute by minute.

So to survive this - I move, quickly and constantly through life. I stay busy. I mother. I work. I don't stop to think about it. But there are moments when it consumes me. Today - this week - I am consumed.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

78 Days and 3 hours

Until I get to be 16 again - if only for one night.
One of my best girlfriends called me today.
Tells me to mark my calendar for January 15.
I have plans.
And she bought four tickets yesterday.
I LOVE THIS FRIEND - almost as much as I love Jon Bon Jovi.

After screaming and yelling and generally dancing from one end of the house to the other, I stop long enuf to explain this erratic behavior to my girls. They start to sob when I tell them NO! they will not be attending! They want to go see Moma's Jon too. This is how they refer to Jon Bon Jovi - "Moma's Jon" - and rest assured I do nothing to discourage this title...

A while later, my DD#2 asks me if I am going to spend the night with Moma's Jon. Simply an innocent question - in her mind. I smile (Smirk) to myself and tell her No. She asks why not. I tell her that he didn't invite me to. She continues by telling me that when I talk to him, I can ask him if it's okay. I assure her that IF talk to him, I certainly will ask him if I can spend the night with him.

It was her idea!

78 days 2 hours and 45 minutes...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Table For One

My corporate office is in an affluent area of Atlanta. Tall, clean, beautiful buildings, immaculate, beautiful landscaping, expensive, beautiful cars and most importantly - in abundance - affluent, beautiful people.

And tonight I talk myself into going to dinner by myself - at one of my more favorite locals.
I have almost always hated dining out by myself. That's what roomservice was created for - so women would not have to dine out alone. My hotel does not have room service. I am forced out into the public of beautiful people alone, on my own, with my thoughts to keep me company.

So I take the hotel shuttle to Joey D's Oak Room. I ask the shuttle driver if he's going to be available to pick me up later and return me safely to the hotel. He says - in a thick accent I do not recognize - "Yes." Then follows up with "Until 9:45PM." I ask if he is giving me a curfew. He has a loud hearty laugh. He says No, his manager is...

So I ask for a table for one. I sit in an area near the bar. Behind the bar are glass shelves 20 feet high. They actually have a ladder - like they use in libraries - to access the upper reaches. The spotless, brightly lit shelves are filled with bottles of every size and shape - some with clear contents but most holding an amber colored liquid.

Beautiful young people work here. Crisp white shirts that coordinate with the table cloths. The lights are dim, glowing. Steam and inviting aromas sneak out of the kitchen. Conversations surround and immerse my senses. A cacophony of sound - making it impossible to to discern any complete conversation or even a single word.

My server makes me feel comfortable and at ease. And I am grateful. I watch the people at the bar. The young blonde woman at the bar plays with her hair. She holds it up. She lets it down. A couple at a near by table are locked in conversation most of the night - like it's a first date and they are consuming each other instead of the meal. Two girls (women) are in rapt conversation, heads leaned together, one speaking with her hand over her mouth - like she can't hardly believe what she is saying. About her husband, boyfriend, lover. I imagine.

I have oysters for an appetizer. Reminds me of the oyster bars in New Orleans - in the French Quarter. The name of the restaurant we used to go to on Bourbon St escapes me.

The maitre 'D stops by to check on me. I am fine.

The wine is red. Merlot. It warms me.

I replay the day in my head. the work. the conversations. this warms me too. It's been a good day. A very good day. Do we have to go to tomorrow?

ceasar salad - I don't dare eat more than a few bites as I know the steak to follow will be excellent - it always is. Filet Mignon. rare. with cracked pepper and fresh horseradish.

Before I finish, a party sits at the next table. balloons. noise makers and a Happy Birthday banner. beautiful, skinny, perfect blonde people sit there. they know the chef. he is a huge, broad, bald handsome black man. He brings them glasses of wine. hugs.

I watch. The mother figure at the table invites me to join them. I tell her I already have - in spirit. she smiles. I return it.

Phone home. tell my girls I love them and No, I will not be bringing home surprises. I am told not to come home. That's always a thought...

I phone for the hotel shuttle. Pay my bill. Thank my server. I learn from the receipt her name is Autumn. I like that. She's my new best friend.

Wait outside for the shuttle. Very skinny, beautiful blonde woman emerges with a party of four men. One is her mate. I hear he is an attorney. She is VERY drunk - I expect her to be sick at any moment. The rest of the guys are surprisingly pretty decent about it.

my shuttle shows up before she leaves with her attorney.
It's a different driver this time. The radio is on.
Phil Collins. "Don't Let Him Steal Your Heart Away."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

No Further Proof Required

Over the past few years, whenever I related an experience to family and friends - about my kids and our family life - I invariably closed the tale with "It's Never Dull." It's become my own personal tag-line. Sometimes, I say it with humor. Sometimes, I say it to keep from crying. And then at other times - to keep from screaming myself into oblivion...

This is one of those oblivion stories...

Last night at dinner, DD #1 tells me it hurts to bite her food. I am an extremely non-alarmist type Mom. Unless they show up carrying a body part, I don't usually get too excited. Otherwise, I would live in a tizzy. So along these lines - I don't pay her tooth-ache complaints much attention. But after the third of fourth time - it occurs to me there may actually be an issue here.

So I ask her to open her mouth and "show me what hurts." She opens. I look. I look again. I get closer thinking that what I am seeing cannot possibly be what I think it is. One of her permanent teeth - her beautiful, white, perfect PERMANENT teeth on the bottom is BROKEN OFF!

Stay with me. It gets better.

Once I reclaim my voice, I ask what happened. About this time DD #2 pipes up and volunteers that her sister would not get off the swing. I can feel the blood leaving my head. "What do you mean, 'She wouldn't get off the swing?' " DD #2 responds with "It's her fault - she wouldn't get off the swing so I had to throw a rock at her." DD #1 nods her head in confirmation.

My four year old daughter threw a rock at her six year old sister, hit her square in the mouth and broke off one of her permanent teeth.

I am at a complete loss. I'm not breathing. Not thinking. Kind of floating above my body. From up here, I can see that the kitchen floor needs sweeping and mopping ...

So today - when I need to be packing and preparing for my trip to Atlanta, I am running DD#1 to the dentist, testing the limits of my dental insurance and doing my dead level best not to strangle DD #2.

It's Never Dull...

Monday, October 24, 2005

My Son's First REAL Haircut

This past weekend marked a milestone for one member of our family. My Darling Son got his first real haircut - from a professional hair-cutting person. I say it this way because about two months ago, his father and I attempted to cut his hair and succeeded only in scalping him near bald. So now, he has had his first real haircut and it was documented for posterity.

It's no secret to those who know me that my third child was quite the surprise. I was content going through my life with two daughters. Thought they were the end-all. Had no idea I needed a son. That is, until I had one.

Little boys are such different creatures than little girls. And while I know that all my children love me, my son is the only one that can convey this affection with a simple look in my direction. I remember telling my DH about 6 months ago that it had been a great day - all my kids had told me they loved me. He looked at me quizzically. I rehashed each of the girl's professions of adoration and stopped. He asked about our son. I told my DH that our darling son was sitting on the floor, playing in the den. I walked in, he turned and with every ounce of his being conveyed to me. "I love you Mommy!"

There may come the day when his looks in my direction convey an entirely different message - but the one from that day is imprinted on my heart. And I love you too, son. Posted by Picasa

Thank God It's Monday!

Something you'd hear only from the mother of three small children - after a weekend of family portraits, a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese and miscellaneous other adventures.

I have long held this theory when it came to my Darling Daughters. I call it the Broken Glass Theory. It goes something like this - If one of them has a bucket of broken glass - to play with, eat or just hide in their room, the other MUST HAVE a bucket of broken glass. The earth stops on it's axis until BOTH have a bucket of broken glass. A rather unpleasant experience this weekend further proved my Broken Glass Theory.

Saturday morning I am in the process of changing a rather aromatic diaper - gratis brother - when I summon DD #2 to take the offensive discard to the outside garbage can. She walked into his room and her immediate response was akin to that of discovering mud at the park EEEUUUWWWW! So instead of pushing it, I summon DD #1 to assist in product disposal. DD#1 appears and gladly (or so it seems) proceeds to take the now bagged and tied diaper to the back door. I refocus on finishing the task at hand - putting brother back together.

I hear arguing - then fighting - then screaming and the unmistakable sound of a physical altercation. I put brother down, move toward the ever increasing melee and I am floored by what I discover. These two girls are FIGHTING OVER A DIRTY DIAPER!!!!!!! You can't make this stuff up. At this point, I resume control of the parcel and dispose of it myself. They continue their hysterics until I threaten their lives. Two minutes later they are onto something new.

When DH comes in from the garage - I tell him I need a bigger house. This one is painfully too small to raise these two girls in.

Shortly thereafter, we loaded up the three precious darlings and hauled them to a birthday party for a five year old neighbor at Chuck E. Cheese. Lessons learned -

#1 - 20 month old boys are scared of teenagers dressed as HUGE rats (AKA Chuck E. Cheese).

#2 - Invariably, no matter how normal and cool the neighbors seem they will ALWAYS be related to someone way more interesting than you ever imagined possible. In this case - it was my neighbors' sister, also the grandmother of the birthday boy. She was a living, breathing Harley Moma. Tats on the neck and around the navel. Long plaited ponytail and she could not have weighed more than 95 pounds soaking wet. Super nice and conversational - really enjoyed chatting her up during the party.

It wasn't until we were leaving that it truly occurred to me the life she leads. In the first parking space outside the door was the biggest shiniest Hog I had ever seen up close and personal. It had the leather fringes off the handle bars - like the ones that come on little girl's bikes. Blinding chrome. Wish I could tell you what kind it was - but I don't speak Harley...

DH almost tripped over his tongue when he saw it. Suddenly - the 'odd' grandmother he had politely avoided for the last hour and a half was his most favorite person in a three mile radius. I think he would have asked her out if the kids and I weren't right there with him.
Boys and their toys...

Found out last week that I would be heading to Atlanta for a few days for work. DH never likes it when I take these trips. So this time, when I tell him of the trip, I volunteer to phone up his mom to see if she will come and stay with him and kids for the two nights I am gone.

Of course, I forget to call and when quizzed on it later - I know immediately I am in trouble. So as to deflect the attention from my inefficiency, I counter attack with the only thing that comes to mind. Went something like this.

"Honey, All you have to do is bring them home, feed them, bath them and put them to bed for two days. How hard is that???"
"Well, it wears you out every day." His reply. And it's mostly true.
And then I said something I really shouldn't have - but am glad I did - considering the response. I ask
"What would you do if I died and you had to take care of these kids by yourself?" I demanded.
Without missing a beat or taking a breath, his response...
"Well I'd take a few weeks off from work first."

Obviously, he's thought about this.
Immediate end to the discussion.
I call my mother in law and she agrees to help out. BLESS HER!
Now I can look forward to room service, no diapers, complete ownership of the remote control and adult conversation for three days in a row.

So now it's Monday morning - one day to go till aforementioned trip and I couldn't be happier.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I'm Not Rapunzel and There is No Prince Charming

And while I'm at it - there's no Fairy Godmother either...

I think that would make a great title for a book. Maybe one day.

Anyhow, I go to get my son out of his crib this morning - just about my most favorite thing to do all day long. NO ONE is happier to see me than he is when I release him from his overnight jail. I grab him, hug him and place him upon the changing table for clean bottoms. This is our routine. When refreshed, I stand him up in front of me. We are nose to nose. He invariably reaches out - wraps his stubby little arms around my neck and places his head on my shoulder. When I'm really lucky, he works in a slobbery open-mouthed kiss. In this moment all is well with the world.

Then we are off to start our day. It occurred to me this morning that the Nurture Vs. Nature argument is null and void at our house. Boys and girls are different. They get here that way. My son's first word (other than Moma) was "Car." Both of my girls - theirs was "Popa." Which furthers my argument - with boys, it's Things and with girls, it's People, most often men.

Boys are given cars and trucks and pretend tool sets to Fix Things.

Girls - dolls and cribs and makeup to Fix-Up.

The only reason this concerns me is because recently I have been reminded of what a rude awakening it was for me - after a childhood of fairy tales and fantasy - to come to the realization that fairy tales really don't come true. Every night we read to our kids at bedtime. My four year old daughter's favorite book is a compilation of princess stories from the creative minds at Disney. We read exciting and romantic stories of Princess Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty), Cinderella, Belle and Ariel. And to be completely honest - I think I enjoy these stories as much as she does. The difference is that I know how the real story ends. And exactly how do you prepare a four year old for the ending that will be her life one day.

I remember reading somewhere - years ago - about the damage fairy tales do to little girls. How it causes false expectations for life. Blah, blah, blah and so forth and so on... And while I would like to completely discount this theory, I have seen it at play - on a certain level - in my own life.

So do I stop reading and telling fairy tales to my daughters? ABSOLUTELY NOT! It's a rite of passage for all little girls. However, instead of ending the tale with "And they lived Happily Ever After..." I have changed it a bit. Now the story ends with some variation of "And they worked very hard every day to be content and live a good life together."

So not only have I had to deal with the fairy tale factor in my life and subsequently determine how to manage it in raising my daughters, I also have had to navigate the backlash of the feminine movement I was raised under. The message I got growing up was "You, Young Lady, Can Have It All!" Husband, Kids, Career, Home, the Jr. League - ALL of it. Wow! You're kidding right? I can have it all??? I don't have to give up my job to have kids. I can take care of a home and still be treasurer of the Jr. League? That's fantastic!

There is a caveat I have come to realize the hard way. Certainly women today can have it all - you just can't have it all at the same time... And if you try to have it and do it all at once - odds are you are not going to do any of it very well. Ask me how I know.

So here I sit. Trying my darndest to figure out how to raise healthy, adjusted, HAPPY kids with realistic expectations for their lives. While at the same time trying to discern what is realistic for mine. The only thing I know for sure is that I'm not Rapunzel and there is no Prince Charming...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Katrina, On-Going

I speak to my sister in law at least once a week. She is a second grade teacher on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Her school was destroyed by Katrina. Her room gutted. All the things a teacher collects - books, CDs, pictures, her professional tools - all gone. And she's lucky. She still has a home. Her best girlfriend lost everything. Home, autos, all belongings - and now it looks like her marriage will be the next casualty.

It is good to talk to the SIL. I absolutely love her. My Mom and I credit her with literally saving my brother. He had the goodness in him - he just needed a strong, take-no-crap sort of woman to bring it out. And that she has. He has gone from lost and self-destructive to responsible, hard-working, loving, dedicated, engaging and someone I actually like to be around. It almost sounds patronizing for one grown sibling to say about another grown sibling - but I am so proud of him.

I have been told that post-Katrina, my brother was the driving force for SIL's family and neighborhood. That he kinda took charge and knew what needed to be done. Fuel, food, water, clean-up - he got it taken care of. Probably had something to do with us hearing about Hurricane Camille from our Dad our entire lives. We've heard the stories hundreds of times about Dad and the generator and siphoning gas and everything else he had to do to take care of our Grandparents and Great Grandparents back in 1969. We just grew up with the understanding that you take care of your own - and you best be PREPARED to do it yourself. (a huge lesson the rest of the Gulf Coast recently learned the hard way.)

But about my Sister In Law, I simply adore her. If I could pick a sister - she is it.

Our kids, my three and her two - are stairsteps. My DD#1 is 6, her son is 5, my DD#2 is 4, her daughter is 2 and my son is 19 months. It's Romper Room LIVE when we get together - which isn't nearly often enough.

But when we talk now - she is almost always so sad. The stories of loss never cease. It would be easier for her to tell me the folks she knows that still have a home - than the other way around. It is that bad. The gym at the school she is working at houses supplies for the teachers and staff. Not so much books, pens and paper. but shoes, clothes, toiletries, etc. 70% of the teachers lost everything.

President and Mrs. Bush visited their school last week - when the students finally came back. They actually broadcast his comments from my nephew's kindergarten class. Not a fan of his (Bush) but I liked him that day. For at least one day, SIL says they had something to focus on and think about other than Katrina. She says if someone wants to do something nice - they could send Popcorn to the kids at her school so they could have a Popcorn Party.

I have invited my folks and my brother with his family to come to Texas for Thanksgiving. I can't make it over there - DH has to work. And they need a break - from all the destruction. I need to see them. I tend to doubt they will come - it is a long drive - but I am hopeful.

Last night was flipping through a few scrapbooks. Found several pics of my kids at locations on the coast. Going to Ship Island. On the beach in Gulfport. In the hotel. At the hotel pool.
Kept flipping the pages - and repeating the same word - Gone.

kinda relieved I am not going home for Thanksgiving.
Postpone the inevitable. facing reality.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Lessons Learned at the Park

Thanks to recent 'inspiration' I am attempting to spend more quality time with my kids. To that end, we loaded up bikes and the wagon and a few Happy Meals from McDonald's and went to the park today.

And it was a learning experience. Some of this I already knew - just needed to be reminded.

Princess Daughter on left. Tomboy daughter on right. 19 month old son in wagon behind camera.

What I learned:

Kids will not eat Happy Meals from McDonalds (even if dipped in chocolate) when playground is in full view.

There are two distinctive biking styles in my family - the Princess biker Vs. the Tomboy biker

the Tomboy – Zooms and Zips around, though, up and down
the Princess – Gingerly travels so as not to break a sweat and muse her hair. The helmet is a fashion statement and it's okay to unbuckle it if the strap is annoying - as long as she leaves it on her head.

The Princess – Mud – EUUWWWW
The Tomboy – Leave tracks through the middle
The 19 month old son – walk through and must touch!!!

The Tomboy Zooms up all hills so as to care-freely careen down the other side
The Princess gingerly pushes her bike up hill so as to gingerly coast downhill

In addition...
Mud depth and ickiness is directly proportional to distance from van - which was Deep and Quite A Ways.

Speaking of which - it hasn't rained in Texas in six months. So where did this mud come from?!

Wet wipes are worth their weight in gold

19 month old son will get bored in wagon. He will entertain himself by JOYFULLY ejecting all items from wagon.
Water bottle - out. Camera case - out. Water bottle BACK out. Sippy cup - out.
Water bottle Back out, AGAIN. Camera case – out, AGAIN. Water bottle – OUT, AGAIN!
(In this exact order…)

No matter how cool the playground is, how high the swing swings or how twisty the slide is, 19 month old boys will delight most in playing with wood chips. Sisters will delight most in annoying each other.

Regardless of how often and short you cut kids' finger nails, they will ALWAYS succeed in getting dirt/mud under them.

It is HOT in Texas in October. Pumpkins and sweaters in retail outlets are for display only. Be advised to continue to wear shorts, tank tops and SUN BLOCK!

Ducks - in public parks - are nasty!
Bathrooms - in public parks - are nasty!

Regardless of how sexy I think they are with flip flops and sandals - Toe rings DO NOT work with tennis shoes. Halfway around the lake – toe rings become pinky rings – sorry to everyone who had to witness the bare feet at the play ground. A necessary evil, trust me.

And when your Mother advises you to have two kids (instead of one) “back to back so you can raise them together and be done with it” - IGNORE HER! She did not have two COMPLETELY OPPOSITIONAL daughters 26 months apart and has NO IDEA what she is talking about!

So, we had a good time. Pink around the edges. Kids will sleep all night. And I am still chipping the mud off my ankles.

It's never dull... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It's A Boy! And a Girl! And another and another...

Our one day old newest additions. Three black and white babies and one yellow - peeking in the back.

We're not really cat owners. About two months ago, a stray cat adopted us. She was so thin her stomach was sticking to itself. Sadly malnourished. Of course we took it upon ourselves to feed her. She certainly liked that and promptly decided we would make good people for her. So my chase lounger on the back porch became her bed and the baby bowl - her feeding dish.

Imagine how proud we were with ourselves when she started fattening up. Stomach no longer concave. Then no longer flat. Then kinda pooching out. Hmmmmm. This is suspicious. Wethinks babies are on the way. And they are now here.

Moma Cat crawled under our shed yesterday morning to deliver the little darlings. Being a mother of a small gaggle myself, I could not abide the thought of these babies out in the cool air, sleeping in the dirt with the bugs and snakes. Spent all day trying to figure out how to get the babies out from under the shed.

Finally figured out exactly where under the shed they were hiding. When DH came home from work, insisted he assist in my recovery efforts. He was most agreeable. However, in our efforts, he did question me once - "Are you sure we should do this?" I suddenly flashed back to that movie Raising Arizona with Nic Cage and Holly Hunter.

Nic (High) is being talked into kidnapping a baby/toddler from a rich family that has quintuplets for his wife, Holly. She is insisting that Nic go 'get' her a baby. The line - delivered at a fever pitch - went something like this. "High, I need a toddler! They got more than they can handle anyway! GET ME A TODDLER!"

So replace 'toddler' with 'Kitten' and you have almost my exact response to his question.

He dutifully procured his Heavy Duty Auto Lift (where was this contraption when I had my flat tire last week!?) and we proceeded to place it under the edge of the shed. He was able to lift the shed about 6 inches - enough so that after some dirt was moved, I could lay flat on my stomach and gently remove the babies. (I seem to detect a pattern here - me laying flat on my stomach in the dirt and grass)

So the babies were removed. Moma Cat was corralled and all were cuddled up safe and sound in the house in the large pet kennel.

Wonder if Moma Cat still thinks we are good people for her???

Moma Chicken is sitting on some eggs at the moment. Expect them to hatch in the next week or so. Soon we'll have kitties and chicks.
It's never dull... Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Flat Tires and the Tooth Fairy

Don't ask.
Okay, ask - but know it's been a long couple days...

Six year old DD lost her two front teeth this weekend. Actually, she didn't lose them so much as they were knocked out. But she did lose them in the sense that we don't know where they are. Follow me? No? Okay, here's how it went down.

DD is sick on Sunday - running a low grade fever. Fever of any variety transforms her into a monster of epic proportions. So she gets angry with her Dad, is running around on her TWIN bed, falls off, whacks her mouth and front tooth #1 is GONE. It was dangling - about to go anyway but upon whacking said mouth on side of bed frame - tooth is GONE. We can only assume she swallowed it.

Of course, at the first sight of blood, I hear, "Honnnnneeeeeeyyyyy! Come here and bring a towel!" I do as instructed. Stuff towel into bleeding whining mouth. Immediately stopped blood flow and significantly muffled whining. (have to remember that for future reference!) After a sufficient amount of time has passed, I remove towel from mouth to observe the damage. Keep in mind that all the while I am holding towel DH is tearing the bedroom apart looking for the missing tooth. The idea that she swallowed it is too much for him to stomach - pun intended! Okay, so I am checking out the damage - dangling tooth #1 - MIA. Barely loose tooth #2 has now acquired dangling status. The whole injury is pretty gross so I stuff towel back over mess, tell DD it's all going to be okay and encourage DH in his quest for tooth #1.

About this time, DD #2 shows up and wants to know who's blood is all over the towel and where did it come from. Immediately realize my tactical mistake - should have grabbed a dark colored towel. DD #1 is extremely agitated - not so much that she's bleeding but that sister is trying to steal her thunder.

DD #2 is banished from the scene in order to maintain some sort of calm. DH still has not found tooth #1. We move to the bathroom so injured DD can rinse her mouth out and inspect her almost toothless grin in the mirror. I must admit, it's still pretty gross. Astronomical orthodontic bills run through my head. She is still pretty pathetic until she decides that she'd like to show off her war-wound to Sister. "Thister, Thister! Thome Thee my mout!"

After we complete Show and Tell/Gross-Out, I send DD to the den to rest in DH's lap while I clean the kitchen. I explain to DH that he needs to keep her in his lap so she will be still, quiet and hopefully get some much needed rest. No more than four minutes have expired and DH is trying to put her on the couch. I return to protest.

He says "She's gross! She's playing with that dangling tooth with her tongue" I tell him to turn her so he can't see her mouth. He replies, "It's not the sight, it's the SOUND. THWACK, THWACK, slurp, THWACK! It's giving me the Heebie Jeebies!"

Trying not to break into a complete fit of giggles, I keep a straight face and instruct DD to not play with her dangling tooth with her tongue. Shortly thereafter, she falls asleep - drool and blood seeping into DH's shirt sleeve. Again.... "Honnnnneeeeeeyyyyy! Come here and bring a towel!" Again, I do as instructed. He plants the dark-colored wash cloth between his sleeve and her now swollen mouth.

In about an hour, I announce that brownies are ready. DD loses tooth #2 while enjoying brownie. Someone wake the guy that stands at the castle door with those long trumpets - the kind with the banners hanging off of them. What are those guys called? Anyway, need for them to herald the loss of second tooth in one day.

That night, as bed time arrives, I give DD the second tooth to place under her pillow. I swear not five minutes pass and she has lost it somewhere in her bedroom. Was under the pillow, fell off the bed and is now GONE. Talk about traumatic. What's the TF going to do now???

So the TF has a meeting in the bathroom and decides NOT to visit that night. That we'll give her a day to locate the missing tooth. If no tooth then, we'll write a note to the TF explaining what has happened.

No tooth the next day. Forgot to write note. Forgot to leave TF money. So this morning, DH slinks in there - she's already up and playing - bed stripped down to the fitted sheet and somehow 'finds' TF money. Three whole dollars. You'd have thought the TF left Three Thousand Dollars! Counted and recounted the THREE DOLLARS!

Had to show Sister the MONEY she got from the TF. Once Sister is adequately jealous, she moves back to playing in her room.

Now, DD #2 is convinced that she will never loose any teeth and the TF will never come see her. Let's hope - for the sake of my sanity - that's it's not quite as exciting as the last two teeth have been.

And to top it all off, after all this excitement on Sunday, I have to run into town on Monday to pick up a prescription for DD #1. On the way, I get a flat tire on my mini-van. First off, let me say this - I am a way cool chic. I have driven way-cool cars. When I got married, I had an Acura Legend. Then I drove a Jeep Wrangler, next a Chevy Tahoe, a Trailblazer and now a Honda Odyssey MINIVAN. I got a new vehicle with each pregnancy. "What, You're pregnant? Here, let me get you a new car with that."

When it came time for the last new vehicle, I knew I had to have something with three rows of seats. Was not about to place precious baby #3 in the middle of the Terrible Two. They'd would have off'd him in less than a week. Hence, three rows of seats - for Baby #3's safety. This meant we were looking at a gas-guzzling Suburban.

For the sake of economy ONLY, I suggested we consider a mini-van never thinking for a minute that DH would even consider it. He did and the next thing I know, I am the proud owner of a metallic gold minivan. Had a serious identity crisis. How could I possibly be a cool chic and drive a MINIVAN!!???

Then it occurred to me - one of the coolest friends I have - and I do mean cool on the ultimate level - Very Chic - Hippest clothes, shoes, bags, makeup, hair - travels internationally - (is actually from Ireland) has frequent great sex with her husband cool - SHE DRIVES A MINIVAN. That settled it for me then and there. If she can be that cool and transport her kids around in a minivan - I CAN TOO.

So this is how I found myself on the side of the road - out in the country - with a flat tire on a minivan. And it occurred to me for the first time ever, that I had never seen a spare tire or jack in, on or near my van. So I phoned DH and he tells me it's hidden under the floor in the center of the van. Okay Honey, but there are seats in the middle of the van. This is going to be fun...

So I move the driver's seat as far forward as it will go - almost through the windshield. Under the carpet, I find a secret compartment. How exciting! The real secret was knowing how to get the spare out of the compartment... Seriously. The Owner's Manual says to turn the nut-thing counter clockwise. Good thing I had my watch on.

Once loosened, and force is exerted, the spare is free of the van. Now my new quest is to find the jack. Refer back to Owner's Manual - a handy little guide, by the way. And what do you know - ANOTHER secret compartment. This time in the back. POP the cover off and there it is - the jack - firmly secured and not moving at all from it's place of hiding. I stop briefly to imagine all the things I could have stored/hidden in these wonderful little compartments. Diapers, sippy cups, wet wipes, movies, CD's, tequila... Guess it's a good thing I did not know about them. Then I wouldn't have my spare and my jack.

Again, turn thing-a-ma-gig counterclockwise (refer back to watch) to loosen bolt on jack so as to remove it from van. Turned. Loosened. Removed.

Thankfully, there is a picture of sorts on the jack that tells me where to place the thing. So here I am - splayed out flat on the ground - after checking for broken glass and Fire Ants (a Texas specialty). I think this is not the thing a proper lady should be doing. Then quickly remind myself I am not a proper lady. I am (want to be) one of those gals that can handle anything and take care of herself...

Jack in place, I attempt to raise the van off the flat tire. Once again call DH to brag on my progress. I can tell he is quite concerned that I am not capable of doing this by myself. I tell him I am jacking the van up. He asks if I loosened the nuts first. I say "Of course I did, honey" - as I slyly reach over and start loosening the bolts.

At this time, two White Knights in an old pickup truck stop to help me. Their weather worn faces and hands tell me they are likely local farmers. They could be from Mars and wear women's clothing and I would still be thrilled to see them. In all of about seven minutes, they remove the flat, put the spare on and have me back on my way to town to pick up medicine for my toothless daughter - still high as a kite - from three new dollars delivered a day late by the Tooth Fairy.

see, flat tires and the tooth fairy. It's never dull...