December 28, 2010 by Rieshy

I am on "vacation" this week.  No school.  No real schedule.  Flexible bedtimes.

It's a mom's vacation; it includes a lot of cooking and dirty dishes, relaxed rules on movie viewing, a sick hubby, a croupy baby, and a low energy 4 yo*.  It does not include a cruise or warm weather.

I'm in my yoga pants doing important/strenuous things like building new play lists in itunes and reviewing foreign language curriculum while I devise homeschooling schedules that I know full well are too ambitious for an actual human to accomplish. 

It's a phantom sort of week- in a good way.  A week for rest and play and imagination and love.

Unfortunately the week will fly by if I'm not careful to look and see. 

I need to see and take note of things like:
  • my 3 yo, with his runny nose, kissing my neck. 
  • My 4 yo aiming the laser pointer of his toy gun at one of our Christmas ornaments pretending to blow it to smithereens.  
  • My 9 yo riding his new scooter in circles around my 18 who is refinishing an Adorandak lawn chair.  
  • My 11 year old drawing with new art supplies.
  • My 14 yo sitting with her feet up at the den computer highlighting something in her Bible.  
  • My 16 yo writing a book list on parchment with an old fashioned quill pen while listening to The Black Keys.
  • My husband who is being the most amazingly non-whiny, non-needy, snuffly sort of sick person. 

If I remember to look, what I will see is my whole family in various pursuits without the tyranny of the clock. Nothing especially recordable or momentous.  Just us, "off." 

I'll need these memories to get through the January-February grind.

*In our experience Christmas can be a bit too exciting for a child with a FOD, even in the absence of an acute illness.  Christmas morning left our 4 year old "burning" through his blood sugars for several days.  Blessedly, staying home while relaxing, and taking in extra hourly carbohydrates meshed well with the family's week off.


Unexplainable Utterances

December 24, 2010 by Rieshy

This has made me giggle to myself all week:

We live near a Boy's Home that has a large swimming pool.  We have occasionally been invited by house parents to take our kids there to swim for special events.  The swimming pool is great- except that it has an extremely rough finish on the bottom.  It can be hard on tender toddler feet. 

We haven't been there in almost 5 months, yet this week out of the blue, my 4 year old loudly announced, loudly pleaded, "Mom, please don't take me back to the Boy's Home, it makes my toes bleed."

I mean, really, can a 4 year old possibly say anything else that would garner as much instant public pity and misunderstanding?


Personality and Genetics

December 20, 2010 by Rieshy

My 14 year old was wandering around looking at everyone's ears last week.  She was filling in a chart about attached and free earlobes.  Freshman biology genetic chart. 

I have a more important question; do you pull back the shower curtain (SS) to check for a boogie-man in order to feel safe?  Or, do you keep the shower curtain spread from wall to wall (ss), thus forming a shower curtain force-field that is boogie-man-proof?

It's quite amusing watching our children with opposing personalities/genetics share a bathroom.  Definitely more amusing than earlobe charts.

In the middle of the night, in the dark,  my 4 year old will yank open the shower curtain before using the potty.  Me?  Not in a million years, in the dark, would I breach the magical boogie man force field. 

Filling in the chart Ss.


In Case of Snow Storms

December 17, 2010 by Rieshy

I'm down to one napper.  Just one.  Everyone else now reads during that loveliest hour of the day, the hour after lunch, that bright spot of quietness.  I probably only have another year, at most, of my last napper napping.  It will be the end of an era, after 7 children and almost 2 full decades of having nappers in the house. By the way, Husbands don't figure into napping stats.

I'm not trying to get ahead of myself on  Feel Good Friday.  Instead of celebrating the future end of napping- I'm celebrating the last super-early-riser.  My napper gets up anywhere between 4 and 6 each morning.  He quickly runs through the house and climbs into my side of the bed.  He always whispers amazingly loudly, "I get into bed with you now to sleep."  

He has to tell me that because I might not notice him fluffing the covers 20 times and stealing my pillow?

When he drops his nap, he'll start sleeping a bit later.  I'll stay warmer in the morning.  I'll get more sleep.  But I won't get to wake up laughing as I did this morning-  I couldn't figure out why my side was sore, or what was jabbing into my spine until I reached down and realized that my Little man had taken the time to pull on heavy snow boots Before getting into bed with me.

You know, just in case...


Suburbanite Antics... In Lights

December 16, 2010 by Rieshy

... Or Proof That Humor Can Survive Even In The Land Of Neighborhood Committees.

If you live across the street from this each Christmas...

Evidently this becomes irresistible...

 I didn't expect to laugh out loud on my way home from errand running.  
Life is good.


Doing Slow

December 12, 2010 by Rieshy

As I was "Power Dressing*" the Littles for church this morning I realized that Jack wasn't quite right.  I never thought I'd appreciate drool or annoyingly pitched crying.  But when his energy reserves are low it's a kind of early warning signal to S L O W D O W N.

Very Useful. 

Sooo... this morning he and I stayed home from church to rest and relax.  I nixed the movie watching ideas he had, so what to do?

I got caught up on laundry, got bread kneaded and rising for lunch, picked up the house.  Jack played with a police station garage on his bed.  Then he tried once again to convince me that he would feel better faster if he watched a movie.

And then, Jack taught me about photo both.  Yes.  My 4 year old showed me how to use photo both. 

I saw a series of photos and movies various children had made.  I was in the background of many.  Hmmm.  Note to self- that's what that beeping noise that sounds like a truck backing up is.  Must be more aware in the future. 

Perhaps some day I'll even be photographed while wearing makeup. 

Some day.

So, some people have Snow Days, we have Slow Days.  Even without movies they can be precious.

*Power Dressing:  Swooping through the house splashing coffee while dressed in a bathrobe after waking up late.  As you swoop you yank older teens by the ankles to wake them, while throwing cereal boxes and bowls on the table and commanding everyone to-  Eat and Get Dressed, Now!!!! 

Of course the definition would be incomplete without adding that during Power Dressing someone has always lost either a shoe or a sock or has outgrown their pants.  Crying generally ensues while you self-flagellate for not laying everyone's clothes out the evening before. 

Supressed Excitement

December 10, 2010 by Rieshy

Finally.  Finally.

My 11 yo daughter watched my last weaving project without saying much.  However, she watched me weave with more attention than usual, she asked a few questions.  She praised my finished project and fingered it with a far-off look in her eyes. 

I could barely contain myself, but I did.  Enticing a possible weaver is like trying to tame a stray dog.  No direct eye contact.  Maintain an illusion of disinterest.  Put out food.

I pulled out some gorgeous hand-spun blue yarn.  This daughter is a sucker for blue.

Disinterest, "Well, I have another project I want to start, but if you wanted to weave a scarf with this yarn it would be really soft.  But you can't tie-up my loom for long."

Happy Dance time.  Yesterday I helped her warp the loom and she got her scarf started.  She's doing a simple twill pattern.  Only 5 ends to the inch.  So far she's the natural I knew she would be.  Her edges are instinctively tidy and straight. 

It won't take her long to finish.

Will this turn into something she loves and pursues?  No idea. 

The Happy Dance is because I'm getting to share something I love, with a daughter I love.  I'm getting to see my daughter learn something out of the common way, something that could become a skill that enriches her life. 

At the very least the warping alone made her practice a bunch of math facts.

No down sides to weaving on the Girl Next Door's Feel Good Friday!


Random Contrariness

December 8, 2010 by Rieshy

Our college aged- commuting son is mostly a figment of my imagination. Especially during this ramp-up time leading to finals.   He leaves the house before most of the family is up and returns most days after most of the family is asleep.

I miss him.

He has a month off after finals.  He takes up a lot of space.  He eats a lot.  He has a lot of energy.  He makes his little brothers wind-up like crazed remote-control cars.  

I'll miss missing him.

I love Winter.  It's been cold for 2 weeks.  I'm ready for Spring.


Sigh.  Excluding the Grinch I'm feel like the only one alive that does not really enjoy the Christmas season.  Mostly I keep my mouth shut.

Mostly,  I just hope to live through to January without squashing everyone else's joy.

My husband told me to write up a list of things that I need accomplished around the house and yard and give it to our oldest son during his break.  Hmmmm.... my husband is brilliant.  The little brothers (a.k.a. crazed remote control cars) adore helping Big Brother. 

I'll miss missing missing my son?

Random contrariness- all a sign of how this world is not the destination.  Which, of course, is why Christmas is so precious.


Endurance Tests and Torture

December 7, 2010 by Rieshy

Did anyone else grow up in the household of a seamstress?  If so do you remember the torture of being dragged to the fabric store?

The smell of dust and sizing.

The unutterable boredom of being forced to sit still at a slanted table, "keeping my hands to myself and Not Running Around."  Ugghhh.

The snarling women at the cutting counter.

The bejillions of years the process of picking out patterns and fabric entailed.  The odd fact that everyone in the store flipping through the Vogue pattern books was generally poorly dressed.

Of course, like mother like daughter;  I carried on the fine tradition of Textile-Torture.

It's good for kids.  It builds character.  My children have many memories.

Though, I added a twist- yarn stores....

Insert evil laughter.

Never will you find a venue that appreciates even a well-behaved child less.  Never will you find a place more able to make time warp into negative progression.  Never will you find a place more likely to be inhabited by at least one very angry and snarky woman.

Okay, I admit it.  I'm too afraid of snarky women myself to spend much time in yarn stores, and I've never taken more than one of my children at a time into one, so, instead I troll the internet looking for that perfect sweater pattern.

Talk about time going into negative progression.

Someone save me, save my children... any cardigans ideas for 6 stitches to the inch?

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When It Doesn't Feel Like Friday

December 3, 2010 by Rieshy

This was a week of multiple Mondays.  Luckily I think my family still loves me... mostly.
I'm baking cookies as I type, that should help with some love.

So to Feel Good this Friday with the Girl Nextstore I'll relate some sage and enriching advice from my youngest son.  Bear in mind that he is the youngest of 4 brothers, all of whom live to wrestle.  It's much like mothering a litter of puppies.  Except boys eat a bit tidier.  A bit.

The scene:  6:00 a.m. snuggling with my 3 year old.  He's wearing jammies and weight-lifting gloves.

"Momma, I'm wearing a glob."

"Why yes, you are," though I don't pretend to understand why.

"Momma, I can punch with it.  I can punch with my other fist too."
 Obligatory nod from me.

"Momma, I can punch with this foot and with this other foot."  More mother nods.

"I can punch with this knee, and this knee.  I can punch with this elbow and this elbow."  He points to each elbow in turn, both of which are so cute and round that I want to kiss them.  It's hard to imagine them as the lethal martial arts weapons that he is obviously assuming them to be.

"We can punch, but," and here my son's voice changes to a deeper and more commanding tone, "We May Not Throw Things In The House!"

So right he is,  Friday Feel Good in the form of Wisdom from an experienced three year old.

If you choose to eschew wisdom but perhaps prefer to collect music with which to torture your spouse:  My husband discovered this wonderful song and has been playing it whenever the family least expects it.  Now you can too...


Possibly Ignorant Opinion On Chronic Illness

December 2, 2010 by Rieshy

Parenting A Chronically Ill Child
 I was recently chatting with a knitting buddy at a school function about mothering, identity and chronically ill children.  Nothing like some good wool and the click of knitting needles to start a deep conversation...  

Our conversation prompted me to think back on the stages of thought, or more acurately- the stages of Grief I experienced when one of my children was first diagnosed with a Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorder.  
Grief, in Bullet Points:
  • Total Shock and the inability to coherently process the words spoken by your child's doctors.
  • Internet Hibernation-  The time period where instead of sleeping you spend all available time on the computer looking up everything you can find about your child's illness and every permutation there-of.  
  • Percolation- This is the time period where you sit up at night thinking about all the horrible worst-case scenarios you have discovered on the internet.
  • Theology- All the why's and where's and prayers to God.  This is where you find out where your faith really lies and what you really believe. 
  • Denial- You decide that it might all just go away.  The doctors might be mistaken, or perhaps the situation has all been "blown out of proportion."
  • Oozing- This is the time period when all you can think about is your child and their illness.  You seem to ooze grief and concern even when you least expect it.   The grocery store cashier's casual remark about the cuteness of you child may cause you to fight both tears and the urge to over-share.
  • Integration- This is the time period where you have to figure out what your child's illness means in terms of not only their life but also family life, food preparation, work, school, your marriage, your free time.
  • Mastery- This is when you have become proficient with all the new-to-you medical terms, treatments and concerns caused by your child's illness.  Life starts to become routine again.
  • The New Normal- This is when you stop thinking of your child as chronically ill and start thinking of them as your child.  Your life becomes "yours" again.  Your child's illness is an aspect of their life and your life and your family's life, but not the definition.
  • The Kicker- The unique thing about emotionally dealing a child's illness is the uneven course of many chronic illnesses.  Just when things are going smoothly a sudden medical crisis can "kick" you, as the parent, right back to the beginning of the grief process.
Obviously every parent is different.  I "oozed" and "Internet Hibernated" more than my husband.  Of all the stages "The Kicker" is the one that is most personally difficult for me.   It's hard to maintain equilibrium when you are unexpectedly back in the hospital with your child, again.

I don't want my ill child to be known as An Ill Child.  His name is Jack.  He likes monsters and cars.  Who knows what exciting things he'll accomplish?  So what if he has to accomplish things while keeping up with his treatment protocol?  

I don't want to be first and foremost defined as the mother of a chronically ill child. 
That would suck. 

So, cheers to the New Normal.