Not Fair

October 31, 2009 by Rieshy
There are certain people whom one counts on, appreciates, even likes, but whom one heartily wishes not to see more than once, maybe twice a year. For my family, this includes our tax accountant, our auto mechanic and Jack's pediatric geneticist.

Tuesday, Jack had his biannual check-up at the geneticist.  This was a watershed appointment in that Jack is now 3 and 1/2 years old, old enough to remember past appointments and to associate them with pain.  He is also old enough to realize for the first time that no one else in the family goes to the doctor as often as he does.  

Jack asked me point blank if they would take his blood.  "Well, yes,"- I wanted to lie but I didn't. Jack needs to be able to trust me more than I needed him not to cry all the way to the hospital. He did suggest, in a show of brotherly love, that I take Samuel instead.   

Cry he did, for the 40 minute drive, until he fell asleep 3 blocks from the hospital. The crying must have been cathartic because when we got out of the van at the free valet parking (Thank you Vanderbilt Children's) he was fine.  Jack's such a trooper, marched right to his doom without another complaint.  I'm a proud mamma.  

Best of all, I was mistaken- no lab work was required.  We saw the doctor, bought some gummy worms, and came home. The only lingering concern is that Jack wants to know why he is different.  It came up again last night at a youth group devotional.

At the devotional Jack wanted to eat foods that he just cannot have- too high in fats for his disorder.  I gave him some small treats but he wanted more.  On the way to the bathroom to wash-up he kept telling me, "But I want another cupcake, I need another cupcake."
I answered simply, "You can't."
"Because your body doesn't need it." 
Jack's face brightened as it became clear that this was all just a tragic misunderstanding.  "Oh, no- see Mom," he pointed into his mouth.  "This is my voice, it's coming out of my body and it needs another cupcake, see my body is saying that."

Lost and Found

October 28, 2009 by Rieshy

I was sitting at my desk this afternoon concentrating on paperwork when my ever monitoring mom-brain wondered why I was able to concentrate.  I went down the mental-roster using my extra-sensory location-detecting super-ability. 
Luke? Doing homework in den- check. 
Grace? Reading something in den- check. 
Sarah? Working on math/daydreaming on her bed- check. 
Bekah and Ben? Playing outside with neighbors- check. 
Jack and Sam? .... ????  

At that point my brain sounded an internal alarm.  Frantic running around and searching ensued.  Older children were conscripted.  Finally, Luke noticed an oddly placed stool.

What amazed and frankly alarmed me was how much cooperation the Littles exhibited.  Luke, Grace, and I stood in the hall talking yet there was not a peep.  I even had time to fetch the camera before I opened the door.    

Evidently the linen closet is lead-lined against extra-sensory location-detectors.  Good thing Jack and Sam needed the stool. 
Posted in Labels: , | 1 Comment »


October 27, 2009 by Rieshy
Home schooling Feng Shui; the back of our piano is against the wall of my toddlers' bedroom (their new napping room) and my daughter, Grace, practices piano intently during the Littles' nap time.

After the wiggling, flopping, and humming settles into snuggling my two Littles start noticing Grace's piano music.  Lately Grace has been starting her sessions with "Star Wars" themes before working on her music because she knows the Littles enjoy it. 

The first time Grace sight-read through Darth Vader's Theme I was still in the Littles' bedroom watching them settle down.  I could see Jack's eyes looking off into space as he relaxed into his pillow, his eyes tracking from side to side as Grace played.  At her first stumble his eyes froze, only to resume tracking as she resumed playing.  Anytime she had to pause to work out the music his eyes stopped tracking and he almost seemed to hold his breath, waiting for the musical resolution.  

I'd love for both Littles to be musically inclined but if the end result of their early exposure to music is merely less time required memorizing math facts... it's all good.

This is part of the 30 min. mom challenge. Barely made it:)
Posted in | 3 Comments »

100% Portable Coping Technique

October 25, 2009 by Rieshy
Sock knitting; inexpensive, calming, preservative-free, compact...

and pause-able.  Who's there?

Hi Momma....

Please Mother, notice my adorableness and allow me to rest upon thy lap.

Either Samuel is in my lap- or I have the smallest feet of any 5' 6" tall knitter around.

Posted in Labels: , , | 1 Comment »

Tree Hugger

October 23, 2009 by Rieshy
Greg and I were taking the Littles on an evening stroll.  I mentioned to Jack in a pretend sobbing voice that the tree we were passing was called a weeping willow.  Several evenings later on a stroll in the same direction we came upon the willow.  Jack raced across the sidewalk and onto who-knows-whose front lawn in order to embrace the tree.  

"Jack, come back... what are you doing?"  

"I'm hugging the sad tree," was his answer.

Though I was impressed that he had categorized the word "weeping" correctly as meaning "sad" it is a sickly sweet story.  Vague memories of Psych 101, and the developmental stage coined "pre-operational" by Piaget, popped into my mind.  I have to confess that instead of marveling at Jack's cuteness I started laughing because I realized that Jack is at that stage of magical thinking where I could really mess with his toddler mind.   Have you ever heard the Steve Martin skit about teaching a child to talk incorrectly on purpose?  "My momma dog face in the banana patch?"  

I wonder if Jack expected that a loving hug might encourage the willow tree to lift it's branches.  Greg's comment as he continued pushing Samuel's stroller was merely a pained, "Please just get him out of their front garden."

Later at dinner, Jack looked at me with big sad brown eyes and said, "I don't love you Mommy, but the girls can love you.  Ben and I love Daddy."  I was rather startled and amused but just said, "oh."  Ben had his mouth too full to argue. 

At that point Samuel, the 2 yo, lunged for me and said, "I love you."  Sam then proceeded to cover my face in kisses.  Jack was outraged and a tad confused by Samuel's display.  Evidently Jack is also at the stage where he's building his gender identity.  Was that Freud?  

Poor Jack, it's a lot of work being 3 years old.

I Want, Therefore I Need

October 20, 2009 by Rieshy
Feeding Jack has always, always been an issue.  From hour #1 he's not been easy to feed- read absolutely impossible to exaggerate how difficult feeding him has been. Oh, how many tears I've shed and oh, how much vomit I've cleaned up.  Last Spring he finally started to believe that food is a good thing, eating an enjoyable event, lo even an enjoyable social activity.  We've worked hard to explain that he has to eat regularly, sometimes even when he doesn't want to because his body needs energy.

He's doing great.  So great that to look at his tall stature, glowing face and bright eyes you'd never know he has a metabolic disorder and that he spent a good part of last year in and out of the hospital.

Today while painting a picture and sipping some milk he announced loudly, "My Body neeeeeds a brownie."  From equilibrium to manipulation at the speed of a toddler's brain.  
Posted in Labels: , , | 2 Comments »

Of Bloated Blogs and Beans

October 19, 2009 by Rieshy

I took a large box of my Heirloom Scarlet Runner beans to the park yesterday to shell while the older kids did P.E. and the younger kids played.  When you first shell these beans they are bright pink and purple.  Easter egg pink and purple.  

Unfortunately by the time I got home to take a picture they had already started to dry.  When completely dry they are still pretty, but turn a very respectable and normal bean color of burgundy and black.

It made me think of how tempting it can be to wax poetic in my blog about all sorts of rather ordinary events, like pink beans, in order to come across as deeper, or more joyful, or more spiritual than I really am.  It's also tempting to me merely because I'm a word lover and descriptive phrases are fun to write.  

Opening the pods to reveal gleaming pink and purple peas- perfect chance to rave about joy and beauty being present in any mundane task.  Actually, I was surprised and pleased and enjoyed showing them to my friends, several of whom took baggies home to plant in their gardens next Spring.  End of story, nothing terribly deep.  Except...

 It reminded me of a challenge that I read about to not allow computer time and blogging to suck all creativity and mommy time away.  I've been thinking about that for a couple of days.

I'm obsessive compulsive enough that I can easily get carried away and spend my time quite poorly- leaving responsibilities by the wayside.  My 15 yo and I were talking about this and laughed together at the image we created of a mom sitting at the computer while children beg for attention only to hear, "Shut up and go watch a movie, I'm busy with my parenting blog."

As an exercise I thought I'd attempt to write and post, spending just 30 minutes.  A Lean Post, Non Bloated Post- as it were.  Currently there is a wiggly toddle in my lap eating a banana. I think I ought to get credit for posting in 15 minutes- the stickiness factor being quite an obstacle to good typing.

This is part of the 30 min. Moms Challenge.

Posted in Labels: , , | 6 Comments »

When Moms Dream... about their E-350s

October 17, 2009 by Rieshy
I've seen an unusual amount of boy movies this rainy, rainy vacation-week, which I hope accounts for the dream I had last night:
My children, a man in a red uniform, and I were on a mission to steal a military device of mass destruction from the enemy.  The enemy was of course Darth Vader and he had hidden the plans in his home. 

We were ransacking Vader's Los Angeles home while Vader was in suspended animation on his back lawn.  The device was discovered right as Darth Vader was accidently awoken by the man in the red uniform.  Vader made short work of the man in red.  There was a mad dash to get all my children and my little ones buckled into their car seats so that our van, which is evidently capable of interplanetary flight, could make the leap to lightspeed.  

I was almost happy to be woken up at 5:20 a.m. by a little one.   Do you know how hard it is to buckle a 2 yo and a 3 yo into their seats while Darth Vader is coming after you?  Most stressful.
Posted in Labels: | 4 Comments »


October 15, 2009 by Rieshy
I've been reading "Wives and Daughters" by Elizabeth Gaskell.  I loved (and could relate to) this line of Cynthia Kirkpatrick's; "I'm capable of a great jerk, an effort, and then a relaxation but steady everyday goodness is beyond me.  I must be a moral kangaroo!"

Everyday-anything takes discipline, and steady desire, and daily effort.


Speaking of steady effort, if it wasn't raining again I'd show you how large this hole is now.
Posted in | 3 Comments »

Shoot Me Now

October 13, 2009 by Rieshy

Otherwise entitled: "Unexpected realizations about which nothing can be done and any attempt to explain would just make things worse." These are all purely hypothetical.
  1. You get home from a evening with girlfriends and realize that the very, very, old chili you were saving to feed to the dogs is what your husband fed the family for supper.
  2. Your 8 yo son takes off his shoes in front of the nurse for his yearly physical revealing feet shod in holey socks, of your husband's, that you had thrown away. While you are still flushing hot, you hear the nurse direct your son to take off all his clothes except his undies. He inexplicably responds, "O.K. but I'm not wearing any underwear."
  3. You wear a brand new nursing top out to lunch. You open the flap "discreetly" not realizing the flap is sealed with super human strength velcro that not only makes the most incredibly loud ripping sound but also tears through the fabric of the shirt when you try to open it.
  4. You realize your son has enough dirt under his fingernails to pot a begonia only as he sits down at the piano with his new music teacher.
  5. You hear the muffled sound of suppressed laughter from the pew behind you right as you realize your 4 yo is holding up a drawing for you to see. The drawing is of himself taking a shower, an anatomically correct shower.
  6. You leave an unbelievably crowded restaurant while holding your 2 yo's hand. People keep flinching and glaring at you. As you reach the door you realize your invisible-to-the-crowd 2 yo has been goosing people as you both passed through.
  7. You have a couple of cavities filled before taking your daughter to a consultation at a Pediatric Audiologist/Speech Pathologist. You realize that the novocain has not worn off when the office staff, with stunned expressions, cannot understand a word you are saying.
  8. You are herding your children out of Wal-mart when you realize that the small hand holding your left hand belongs to a child that does not belong to you.
  9. Your 3 yo is in a stage where he loves to shout out the name of any animal he sees. When you take him to the Duck Head Outlet store you realize he still cannot pronounce a "D" sound with anything other than an "F" sound.
Like I said, all purely hypothetical.

This post is linked to Mom's Weekly Round up.
Posted in Labels: , | 6 Comments »


October 11, 2009 by Rieshy
Samuel and Jack have been taking their after-lunch nap together on my bed for several months now. Such a sweet time. I've loved having the potential disaster creators together and visible and sweetly asleep, like a couple of adorable puppies. Did I expect them to nap together every afternoon until they left for college? No... but I guess I did think time would slow a bit. Every time I get a system working, someone grows out of it.

It surprises me that the passing of each season of life continues to surprise me. It's just that the passing always seems so sudden. I've decided that my children only grow on Saturday night. It's always right before church on Sunday that I discover that so and so's shoes no longer fit, or that someone else's pants or skirt are suddenly comically too short/tight/stained. Perhaps the suddenness is actually that I forget to "see" when I look.

Here I am, writing with Sam next to me, hoping the sound of my pencil scratching will put him to sleep. Lying still, this close to Samuel, has made me realize that I don't have Samuel's face memorized to the same extent that I had all my other children memorized. Sam was 6 mos old when Jack had his first metabolic crisis. Nine months of doctors visits, lab visits, hospital stays with Jack ensued. I went for almost a year never getting more than 4 or 5 hours of sleep at night and never more than 2 hours uninterrupted sleep because of Jack's night feeding needs and Samuel's normal nursing-infant needs. I just didn't spend the same amount of time gazing and "seeing" Sam.

I feel very peaceful. Samuel is a happy little one.  This sudden knowledge that I don't know Samuel as well as I would like is not a pain in my heart but rather a glowing hope.  It gives me a chance, a reminder, to live each day joyfully as the gift it is. Writing next to a warm little body and hearing his breathing change from that of relaxation to slumber is mine for just a short season. Soon Sam will be outside, off playing in the neighborhood, and then he'll be off... But this season is still one of soft breathing, sloppy kisses, neck hugs, and chubby cheeks brushed by long eyelashes. Time still for memorization, time still to see when I look.

Thank you God.

Posted in Labels: | 2 Comments »


October 8, 2009 by Rieshy
Wednesday was a day of odd and unrelated conversations. I thought I'd share some of them.

Jack, the 3 yo, explained to me that the freshly headless bird delivered to our front door by the cat was in fact there because, "A bird was flying over the door mat and died and fell out of the sky."

Ben and Bekah, the 7 and 10 yos, laughed and laughed about the possibility of a world in which birds fly about until their heads spontaneously pop off, causing them to fall from the sky- onto door mats everywhere.

Samuel, the almost 2 yo, with uncharacteristically perfect diction called me, "A Bad Boy," when I made him lay down for naptime.

Sarah, the 13 yo, commented that she always wanted to be a teenager but, "Now that she knows how much more work is involved she wishes she could be a kid again."

Grace, the 15 yo, decided that Mrs Gibson from "Wives and Daughters" was far more detestable than Mrs Bennett from "Pride and Prejudice". She also noted, in a genre change, that as I am now 42, I must be the answer... if anyone could remember the question.

Luke, the 17 yo, decided that along with recent compensation disclosure rulings for bloggers, the FTC ought to require a percentage of Facebook profile photos to be realistically uncomplimentary. He decided to set an example of (uncompensated) full disclosure below.

Posted in Labels: | 2 Comments »

Uncompensated Self Portrait

October 6, 2009 by Rieshy
  In accordance with the new FTC regulations regarding bloggers, I'd like to publicly announce that no one has ever given me money for anything I've written.  However, I'm completely open to the opportunity.  If, for instance, Nestle would like to send me a free case of MCT oil because of my earlier positive blogs- Wahoo, that stuff is $72 a quart!  Btw, Ann Taylor,  I really, really, like your jeans.

Actually, I write because I've always needed to put things in print in order to think things through.  I have journals starting at age 6, wherein I puzzle the imponderables; like why my oldest sister's boyfriend thought I was a pest.  As a mother, when a nagging feeling of disquiet over one of my children begins to grow, I'll often write a list and then squint at it to see if there is a pattern or a common theme to my concerns.  Attach the dots so to speak.

The other night I started a list of concerns about a to-be-unnamed child.  Quickly it became apparent that the theme was "Attitude", as in "Bad" towards her school work.  As I was looking at the list of concerns my focus shifted and VoilĂ  the dots attached and I realized I was not looking at my child so much as at a self-portrait of my attitude towards this particular child's schoolwork.  The child in question was simply following my example.

Which just goes to show that some of those tacky slogans wood-burned onto placards and sold at every truck stop in the South actually contain great insight.  No, I'm not talking about the ones that say, "I don't swim in your toilet, Don't pee in my pool," but rather, "If Momma ain't happy ain't nobody happy."  

It's time to adjust my attitude towards some tedious (oops, there's that attitude) schoolwork before I tackle my child's attitude, without the help of placards.   However, free Ann Taylor jeans would really, really, help.

Posted in Labels: | 0 Comments »

Ham Festival

October 4, 2009 by Rieshy
Welcome to small town U.S.A.  We have the "Ham Festival" each year. Ham as in pigs, not radio. We are a small enough town that it's fun, all the kids want to go each year, even my teens.   In fact I think the whole town was there this year.  

I need to remember to buy a staunchion for Samuel for Christmas.  They were his favorite thing to play with at the fair.

How much does my husband love me?  Enough to spend a gorgeous Fall day parking our 12 passenger van in a boggy field and pushing a double stroller through crowds and crowds of people, and Still Smile about it (mostly).

The train was second in fun only to above mentioned stanchion.  Seriously exciting.  I think we got up to 10 mph!  To be honest I did break out laughing hysterically when the driver (obviously bored out of his mind) abandoned his straight path and started snaking the train back and forth as he drove.  It made it feel like we were going almost... 12 mph!


I got the most gorgeous photos of other family members, except they were shot before I realized I had the camera on the wrong setting, and then the moment was gone, but at least the moment existed.  Greg accidentally got a picture of a fireman doing a dance move, but he promised the fireman that it would never become public.  Since there was a rather unflattering shot of some random woman's back-end in the shot, which turned out to be my back-end, I'll honor Greg's promise.

If you don't live in a small town, you can borrow ours.  The Ham Festival comes every year.

Posted in Labels: | 1 Comment »

Really, I Just Have Something In My Eyes

October 2, 2009 by Rieshy
May 30th, 2009
A loud-breathing presence at my bedside, I open one eye.  A small face is peering at me.  I attempt to focus through the pre-dawn darkness on my 19 month old, Samuel, as he shouts "JUICE!"  I try pulling him into bed in the vain hope that he will simple cuddle up and go to sleep.  Nothing doing, he struggles back to the floor.  Through squinted eyes I can see him retrieve my water cup from the bedside table and gulp down the last of the water with shaking hands.  My brain is starting to send alarm signals.  

Samuel shouts, "Juice" again, and then quivering from head to toe,  throws the now empty cup.  The cup bounces comically off my head with such force that it ricochets and knocks my bedside lampshade askew.  Now I am wide awake.  Samuel is not quivering with rage, he is quivering from a blood sugar crisis.  His first one. I'm too familiar with the symptoms of hypoglycemia in Jack not to recognize them in Sam, especially when hit in the head.  A handful of raisins later a suddenly calm Sam politely asks for breakfast.

Sam's first crisis occurred almost exactly a year after Jack's first hospitalization.  A year in which we were told that Sam was probably fine, probably free from the genetic disorder that Jack has.  It was also the morning of a chapter meeting of The United Mitochondria Foundation.  I went on to the meeting (my first one ever), feeling unreal from the events of the morning.  Have you ever had allergies that made your eyes water uncontrollably?  After I got to the meeting, that's what happened to my eyes.  They just started "leaking".  I quietly went to the rest room a couple of times and held paper towels to my eyes- willing them to behave, only to have them start watering again within 10 minutes.  The meeting's featured speaker spoke on grief.  She stressed dealing with the grief of chronic illness or your grief would "splash" over into other areas of your life when you least expect it.  Duh, I was the better than any power point presentation, exhibit A in "splashing".

During the following brunch I took the opportunity to corner the geneticist who is on the board of the local UMDF chapter.  He'd seen Jack before, so I re-introduced myself and asked if a normal child in the absence of an acute illness could just happen to have episodes of blood sugars in the 40's that resolve with carbohydrates.  A long pause followed, during which I'm sure he was thinking something along the lines of, "Crap, she's already looks stressed and she's asking me a loaded and stupid question, and the door to the room is blocked by the bloke eating cake."  He of course advised me to get in touch with our doctors and start Samuel on corn starch at night until he was seen...

My eyes continued to leak off and on for a couple of days.  I wasn't prostrated on my bed with  flower petals scattered across the floor during this time.  I was cracking jokes with Greg and the kids, doing chores- doing all the normal weekend stuff.  Just occasionally my eyes would start streaming.  It was completely unlike anything I've experienced before.  Samuel, whom we had thought was our round, sweet, sturdy, healthy, bonus-baby was suddenly all those things minus the healthy.  Yet at the same time I knew we were so blessed to already know the basics of how to recognize and handle metabolic issues.

I knew that Samuel's diagnosis would be difficult.  Our family doesn't bother with garden variety illnesses.  I was right, a few months later and we are working with a diagnosis of Ketotic Hypoglycemia for Samuel, but we don't really know.  Lately he's been having more frequent morning episodes of hypoglycemia even on his corn starch regime.  I'm watching, praying and researching, but I'm not "leaking" anymore.  However, I don't think it was such a bad thing.  Embarrassing perhaps, but the slow release of tears as I went on with normal life was a bizarrely helpful way to process my grief and fears.  

Moms are all about multi-tasking, I just never thought to multi-task grief before.

Posted in Labels: | 2 Comments »