Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Winter Wendall

The other night when I went to tuck in Coen, he said he was having some doubts about Santa Claus.  I tell you, I was more evasive and less forthright about this topic than I was when Coen asked me how babies are made! (Specifically, he asked, "Mommy, how does Daddy get the sperm inside you?)  That question, I answered it with calm and poise of a true sex-educator.  But Santa Claus?!! I panicked.  He said that he wanted to believe in Santa Clause but he was pretty sure it was just me and Daddy.  I let him stay in that spot and told him we could talk about it more anytime he wanted.  Then I got the hell out of his room, lest any more questions came up!  I am not ready to let go of the magic!!!

This weekend, Winter Wendall comes to our house.  Winter Wendall is our Solstice Wizard and he fills our stockings.  I posted about him in my old blog-feel free to read here.  I hope my children both believe, Coen at least for one more year.  I'm hanging on to Winter Wendall for as long as I can.  Here is my rough depiction of Winter Wendal:

It was when I was about nine, when I realized the truth about Santa Claus... I was sitting at a bar with my mom.  I think it was the Narrow Lane. 
I said, "Mom? You and Dad are really Santa, right?"
And she said, "Well, what do you think?"
And I said, "I think it's you and Dad." 
"You're right." she said and hugged me. 
"Mom?" I said.
"Does the same thing go for the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and God too?"

Monday, November 28, 2011

Possibly inappropriate lullabies

So, I have always sung to my children and I still do.  But lately I've been wondering if our choice of lullabies, obviously as presented by me... don't always carry the best messages upon which to ponder before falling asleep!

When Coen was a baby, his two favorites were The Circle Game and Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell. Lucy also loved those two in her early days...also before she had the power of speech to pick and choose her songs.  Both those Joni songs are lovely, melodic sounds to fall asleep to, but when you really listen to the lyrics


Coen cheered up both these numbers in his twos and threes when he suddenly requested to have his stuffed animals sing his songs instead of me.  Being a first-time parent and a working one at that, I was, perhaps, a bit too indulgent.  Back then, Coen's bedtime was stretched out over a period of an hour and a half (we timed it once) and the lullaby hour was a veritable variety show of Uncle Froggy, the Cat in the Hat, and Floppy-armed Piggy, taking turns on verses, in their varied silly voices.  Let me tell you, it was exhausting and after we realized the kinds of charade our son had somehow roped us into as his night time procedure, we felt rather sheepish and cut it all back to two stories and one song, the singer requiring to be an actual human being and not a stuffed creature (as voiced by a human being)

Also, both children love the song Frog on my Toe by Tori Amos...  Sung not only at bedtime but on long car trips and lazy afternoons too.  That has been a fan favorite all my eight years of motherhood.  However, here is a sampling of the lyrics

Papa I'm sure the worms have eaten you now
And Jethro's been on some Frenchie's plate long ago..

Now, Jethro is said frog in the song and Lucy's recently been asking why it is that Jethro's on someone's plate--never mind what a Frenchie is.  Also, she wrinkles her nose at that part and says incredulously "the worms have eaten who?"  

Okay, maybe its time for a new number. 

 So then one time in the car, I sang them a family song that my mom used to sing to me

Eddie Kutchie Katchie Kama Tosa Neera Tosa Nova Sama Kama Wacky Brown
Fell into the well, fell into the well, fell into the deep dark well.

Here is a link to a cute recording of kids singing
  Eddie Kutchie Katcha Kama Tosa Neera Tosa Nova Sama Kama Wacky Brown

Of course the end of this number leads one to dark thoughts as the last line is
....Sama Kama Wacky Brown

Tonight before I left Lucy, she was talking about how she's just going to stay away from any well she sees so she won't fall in.  I told her not to worry; there aren't really any wells around here anyway.

Maybe I better start looking for some new lullabies.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Googling things when you think there's something wrong with you is NEVER a good idea.

So, I have had a pretty tough week. I had a migraine Monday, one on Wednesday and another on Friday. The one I had on Friday was so bad I slept for 6 hours during the day, threw up, and then slept another 10 hours. I woke up feeling exhausted and woozy and today spent the whole day afraid of another Migraine coming on.  I tend to get migraines in the fall--September through November-- and usually around my cycle.  Not typically as bad as the one I had Friday though.

So of course, after thinking about things like triggers and barometric pressures and oh my god am I having an aneurysm.... I googled some things.


Of course, the descriptions on there were telling me that perhaps I WAS having an aneurysm.  Or even maybe I had meningitis. OH MY GOD I WAS GOING TO DIE!! Okay, so I had to calm down.  And relax. Then in the shower this morning, I started wondering if another migraine was coming on. I mean, it's been every other day, so it should follow that today again....I stopped breathing and closed my eyes in the hot steam and suddenly felt like I was going to pass out.  Okay, so perhaps this was a panic attack and not a migraine. So I googled "migraine + barometric pressure" and the first website that came up told me that it was a myth that weather had anything to do with migraines and that migraines are a serious disease that people can have a stroke or DIE from. Here I was again.  OH MY GOD I'M GOING TO DIE!!!!  Okay, settle down.  So I realized that pretty much anyone can say anything on the Internet and that perhaps a call to my actual in-person doctor might be wiser choice for consultation.

 A similar thing happened after I'd had a miscarriage in between my two kids.  When I was pregnant with Lucy, I'd google any odd symptom usually resulting in my panicked thinking OH MY GOD MY BABY IS GOING TO DIE!!!.  When I saw my OB and reported what all my odd sensations could possibly be as reported by the Internet, she wrote something hastily down on her prescription sheet and handed it to me.  It said


I smiled at her.  "Better yet." She said, "Don't go on the Internet at all."

Okay, I guess I need to take that advice again.

When you think something is wrong with you, the Internet is not the place.  It induces panic... in me, anyway.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Photo Card

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I have spend some time this evening ordering photos to give for the holidays and whilst doing so, made our family's holiday card. Tad wrote the caption.  We went bowling on Wednesday afternoon as our pre-thanksgiving fun night.  I bowled only a slightly better game than Lucy.  But she was, in all fairness, using bumpers.  Happy long weekend everyone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What I'm Fankful For

First of all, I'm thankful that I have two kids who both still sometimes don't pronounce the 'th' properly in words because it is freaking adorable.  Both of them, last night, at the table were talking about what they are 'fankful for'.  As tomorrow is Thankgiving, I shall give you a brief list of some of what I'm thankful for!

My family.  (This obviously is just my immediate family but I am thankful for ALL of my family) I am thankful to have a good and working relationship with all my family members. And to have a partner that I am completely IN LOVE with.  And to have a couple of pretty cool kiddos.

I am also thankful for my friends (again, not all of them are pictured here.)  I feel so lucky to have such great friends.  Real friends, that I go to coffee/tea with, that can call me to come over and talk, that I can take Zumba classes with, that I can have dinner with once a month and talk about our partners and our children and laugh so loud, the people at the table next to us give us looks.

I am thankful for my neighborhood.  This is a cool picture of only some of the neighbor kids. But I have an amazing and idyllic hood.  We sump pump each other's basements, unplug each others pine-cone filled heat vents, watch each others kids, make each other food when there is a birth or death, have dinner, coffee, treats together.  We play date and drop in on and and have chili cook offs and twice a year block parties. 

I am also thankful for my job.  I work at a really great company who supports its employees and has a mission I believe in passionately.  I also really really really have fun in my job and feel good about what I do and very much enjoy the people I work with.

And I am also extremely and utterly thankful for my kids' school--Highland Community School.  I sometimes can't even talk about how much I love it there without crying.  Seriously. (Well, I know I am a little weird).  But it is not just a school. It is a community. It is a family.  The people at Highland love my kids and everyone is invested in the education and the community and social justice and peace.

Finally, I am thankful, this year, to my therapist. I am not kidding.  I know I am always all sunny and oh isn't life perfect all the time and that can be annoying to some people.  I have even had people ask me, are you EVER unhappy?  I am.  Of course I am.  Life can be hard. And sometimes I feel miserable, just like everyone else.  I don't mean for my blog to seem like it isn't real, because yes. I get pissed off and I get mean and ugly and I feel sorry for myself and I struggle.  Don't we all? And this year, my therapist is helping me tremendously, steer my life in the direction I would like to see it go.

But when it comes down to it, I really love my life and most everything in it.  Here's a quote that I received over email today from a woman at work for whom I have tremendous respect:

To live a life of gratitude
is to open our eyes to the countless ways
in which we are supported by the world around us.

Such a life provides less space for our suffering
because our attention is more balanced.
~Gregg Krech, Naikan: Gratitude, Grace & the Japanese Art of Self-Reflection

Everyone suffers, and often we focus on the bad becasue our brains were created to have more memory of that stuff. But I try to, as often as I can, be grateful for the things that support my being

Happy Fanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My kids' values

I know we all hope to raise children with like-minded values. And I know that right now my kids' values most likely mirror my own because their little family is their world--now expanding to school and friends and community.  But for now, I really like my kids' values. Here are two Coen and Lucy quotes to demonstrate what those values are:

This conversation is between Lucy and Coen during dinner.
Coen: (holding a Recall Walker bumper sticker)  Lucy, do you know what this says?
Lucy: What?
Coen: It says Recall Walker
Lucy: Why is Scott Walker such a bad guy?
Coen: I bet he's not totally a bad guy. I bet if you met him in person, he'd even be pretty nice. But he's making some bad decisions that are hurting people in 'Isconsin.
Lucy: Oh. (to me) Mommy? Do they have Recall Scott Walker signs for the whole family?

This conversation took place between Coen and a friend of his, who were talking about how much they like their Pokemon cards.
Coen's friend: I'm thankful for my Pokemon cards. And I'm really thankful for my DS and my games!
Coen: I am thankful for my Pokemon cards too. But I'm really thankful for my mom and my dad and Lucy.

I'm thankful to have such cool kids.

Coen and Lucy playing dress up with the clothes in my closet last night.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Four in the bed and the little one said...

This morning, Lucy came clambering in to bed with us and cozied in between Tad and me.  Shortly after, Coen came down too.  We all moved over and he cuddled up next to me.  Now, Tad and I have a queen-sized bed and it is a tight fit, of course, for all four of us. But we were seemingly all comfortable and warm and happy.  And then Lucy piped up.

This child is just something else entirely.  Here we were, all cozy, one family, under the covers.  Not Lucy.  She started wriggling around rather violently and said, "I'm too tight!"

Now, she is the smallest person in the bed.  And I'm telling you, she had ample room.

"I'm too tight!" She said again, stretching the word 'tight' out into three syllables and adding a whine.

We all, indulgently, shifted a bit.  She climbed on top of me and started shoving her hard little skull into my face. Her feet flopped to the side and whacked her brother.

"Ow!" Coen said. 

"Lucy." I said. "Honey, that hurts."

"I'm too TIGHT!" was the angry response.

"Lucy, we love cuddling with you but if you are going to yell at people, you may not be in the bed with us."

Lucy harrumphed. (If a four year old can harrumph.) "I'm going away. I'm taking my cozy blanket and going upstairs."  And with much dramatic movement and grunting, she got herself and her enormous warm purple blanket out of the bed and began to walk out of the room.

I, for one, was relieved.  But then came Coen's response.

"Awwww, the fun is leaving!"

The fun?

"The fun is taking her blanket and leaving." Coen continued.

Tad and I laughed.  Lucy returned to the room, encouraged by her brother.

She climbed back onto the bed and said, "The fun is coming back."

"Uh oh." Tad said, "Here comes the fun!"

Coen said, "Lucy, can you climb in by Daddy and give me and Mama a break?"

Fat chance, I thought.

"I'm never giving Mama a break!" Lucy said and climbed back on top of me.

Then I couldn't help laughing.

Guessing game

It's not that my children are predictable, exactly...  But they, especially Coen, often ask me for things...  And I can often tell by Coen's facial expression or tone, what he's going to ask for.

Yesterday, we were returning home from Grandpa and Nana's house where Coen and Lucy spent the night.  They had spent the morning dancing to the songs from Sgt. Pepper, wearing safety goggles and "working".  By working, I mean Coen was hammering nails into a wooden board and Lucy was hammering nails into a block of Styrofoam.  They LOVE this activity. We walked into the house after driving back and Coen doubled back from the living room and looked at me with his big eyes. 

"Mama? I have a question."

I knew exactly what it was.

"I know what it is!" I said.

"Oh, I hope you say yes, I hope I hope."

"I have an idea." I said. "I'm going to write down what I think your question is and then you ask it.  Then I'll show you my paper and see if I'm right!"

"What happens if you're right?" Coen asked.

"Then I'll feel smart." I said.

"And you'll say yes?"  Coen said, tilting his head and batting his eyes. This kid knows how to work me.  But if the question was what I thought it was going to be, I was planning on saying yes anyway.

So Coen said, "Can Lucy and me please have a piece of our Halloween candy?"

I showed him the paper.

Coen looked at me, mouth agape.  "What?! How did you know!"

"Yes." I said. You can have a piece of candy."

"Yay!!!!" He said, running away and telling his sister. 

She had "Whipper Whoppers" (Whoppers) and he had a Tootsie Roll Pop.

One of these nights I'm going to have to secretly deplete that supply!

Friday, November 18, 2011

My idea of a head shot

I'm presenting at a conference in spring and the organizers emailed me asking for a biography and a head shot.

A headshot?!

Who has head shots?  I'll tell you who doesn't have head shots.  Me!

So I was inspired to scroll through my camera to see if there are any 'headshotlike' photos of me.  I found a lot that really made laugh.  What do you think about these for head shots:

I settled on one where I'm smiling nicely, but still wearing fairy wings.  Rather an unconventional photo, but then again, I'm an unconventional person.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Zumba like nobody's watching

I am a terrible dancer.  You'd think as a musician that I'd have some semblance of rhythm, but no...I don't.  But the thing is, I LOVE to dance.  When I was in my twenties, I was out dancing with friends at Mad Planet and someone actually came up to TELL me that I couldn't dance!  That kind of soured me on dance clubs... but now I'm thirty six. I have given birth to two children. I have a life I love and dammit. I'm going to dance! I don't care what people think!  Well, now I don't anyway.

But when I first heard about Zumba, I was very leery.  I am not going to take a class that's all about dance, I thought.  Everyone will see how bad I am and then I'll get kicked out of the class!  A Zumba flunkie! That's what I'll be!!!  But then one of my coworkers offered to teach a free Zumba class over our lunch hour one day. So I tried it.

Well, let me tell you, I fell in Zumba LOVE!

The music, the dancing, the exercise, the sweating.  I tell you, doing Zumba gives me the kind of elation that I am always looking for.  When I was doing it for the first time, I felt a bubble of joy grow in my chest and explode and I almost wanted to cry. I'm serious. 

So now I'm taking a regular Zumba class with some friends.   Here is my pictorial depiction of Zumba class:

Notice my splayed fingers, how I'm facing in the wrong direction, my awkwardly placed legs...that's how it is a lot of the time.. But I tell you, I have a GREAT time.  I love it. I get to exercises, work up a sweat, AND laugh hysterically at myself for an hour.  It gives me great joy.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You know it's gonna be...alright.

This morning at the breakfast table, Tad and I were talking about our respective nights last night.

Him: watching football, eating soup and drinking tea at a friends' house
Me: knitting and crafting, drinking tea and eating chocolate drizzled popcorn with some women friends at my house

While we caught up, the subject of Occupy Milwaukee and the Recall Efforts came up...

Suddenly Lucy sang, in a cute little falsetto, "You know it's gonna BE...."
And Coen finished. "Alright."
and they went back and forth like that
Lucy: You know it's gonna be...
Coen: Alright!
Lucy: You know it's gonna be...
Coen: Alright!
Lucy: You know it's gonna be...
Coen: Alright!

It was pretty funny. And very strange.  Such a coincidence. Maybe we are in for a new revolution. I hope so.

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
all right, all right

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We're doing what we can
But when you want money
for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
all right, all right

You say you'll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know
You better free you mind instead
But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow
Don't you know it's gonna be all right
all right, all right
all right, all right, all right
all right, all right, all right

Monday, November 14, 2011

My little monsters

Here are my little monsters at the park yesterday:

Last night, both children were a bit "monster-ish" at bedtime.  Coen, per usual, had his falling asleep issues. Usually, its just trouble falling asleep for him. He tells us "I'm thinking about something I don't want to think about."  It takes him a long time to get settled.  Lucy woke in the middle of the night last night crying for no apparent reason.  Tad tried to calm her, but to no avail. He sent me up.  I rubbed her back for a while.  Then when I stopped and tried to sneak out, she screamed, "Rub my back!!" WELL!  "Lucy", I said, "you may not yell at me, even if you are upset."  I rubbed her back a bit more and then told her I had to go to bed.  I got her a stuffed animal.  When I asked which she wanted, she yelled "Ellie!!!" (her pink elephant) with the same ire. I paused.  She sighed and said in a calm voice, "Ellie, Mama. Please."  Wow, she turned it around, even at 1:00 in the morning! Impressive.

And Coen... When I went upstairs last night to tell him it was lights out time, was sitting on his bed with a notebook and a pencil. "I wrote a song." he said.  "Can I sing it to you?"  Of course! And I had him sing it to his daddy too.  And I told him that writing down your feelings is a great way to express them.  Here are the lyrics to his song:

I don't dream all of the time
But I think about things
I don't want to think about
can you help me stop
thinking about these things
I need an ipod so I stop calling you
I'll sing it again
I don't dream all the time
But I think about things
I don't want to think about.
Can you help me stop thinking these things

My kids may be little monsters sometimes (especially when its my time to sleep or relax...) ...but wow, do they amaze me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Center of Gravity

When I was a child I used to swing so high, I felt like I was flying. I used to spin and spin and spin until it felt like the earth was tipping over, and I'd tumble to the ground and watch the landscape go around and around until it came to a rocking stop.   I loved the tilt-a-whirl and really any spinning, upside-down ride at the fair.  Oh how I loved dizziness.

But then, there came a day when spinning stopped being so much fun; suddenly it was illness-inducing.  In fact, I remember this day perfectly. I was out walking around on the east side with my friends Nate and Buffy and we decided to roll down the grassy hill on Lafayette.  We rolled and rolled.  When we got to the bottom, we lay there.  But instead of the endorphin releasing spin, I felt like I was going to throw up.  I believe this marks my entry to adulthood.  How sad.  Why does spinning and swinging get less fun when you grow up?

Yesterday, at the park, I watched as Coen and some friends rolled down the hill at Hawthorn Glen over and over, letting their dizziness walk them around in strange fashion and laughing when they fell down. "Try it, Mama!" Coen yelled.  But alas, I have tried it and can try it no more for fear of nausea.  Lucy and her friends spun and swung around and around on the tire swing.  This too, I can no longer do for long periods of time. 

But I have decided this: Even if my center of gravity has changed and spinning and swinging around in circles is not a fun activity anymore, I can still REMEMBER what a fun activity it is.  I can still remember in that way and others too, what it is like to be a kid.  And I hope that that memory can make me a better mom, and a better person to work with youth.  I think it can.  Most people who know me well will attest that I can act like a kid with the best of 'em. 

Even if if my path of movement does need to remain unrotational.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

One of those days...

Tad went to Madison for a MUCH DESERVED 24 hour period away from home to see a friend.  And with impeccably bad timing, I had one of those days where I would rather have been anything but a parent. Anything.  A coal miner.  An exterminator. A pot washer....  Mostly I just wanted to be lounging around with coffee beverages, reading magazines and talking to nobody.  I think we all have those days...right? Please tell me we do! 

I made it through the day though, and once I finally got my kids tucked into bed, I was up and down the steps to Lucy's room seventeen times because she kept calling me.  Why did she keep calling me? Because this morning we went for a walk in the woods, during which time she collected a bag full of "beautiful rocks".  I, unthinking, let her bring said bag up to her room during her afternoon rest time.  Each time I went into her room, she handed me another handful of rocks that she had apparently found under her blankets. What the heck was she doing with them at rest time!?

And then Coen, when it was his turn to be read to...what did he choose?  Oh just to have me read through each awkward to pronounce name and microscopically typed factoid about each of his Pokemon cards.  COME on! Doesn't anyone want my day to be over?!!

Yeah, it was one of those days. But I tried hard.   I was patient where I felt impatient, kind when I felt irritated, I made my kids biscuits and eggs and hash browns for breakfast.  I took them to the park this afternoon for two hours.  I played a game of "store" in between returning to kitchen to make their dinner and mine.  But kids are all tucked in now and I feel guilty because even though I did okay, I didn't feel a lot of joy and warmth today.  I felt bored.  I know it's okay. I know that parents all over the planet have days when being a parent just feels like too much.  And we all find a way to get through the day any way.   And our children, somehow know this and choose the longest possible book to read and have the biggest post bedtime problems.

But tomorrow, I'll do better. I won't just get through the day, I will enjoy the journey of it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hold on...I just gotta take my face off...

So yesterday I went over to MATA Community Media, studio space that was being used by WEAC, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, where they were filming a commercial as part of the Recall Walker campaign and a fight against the cuts being made to education funding in Wisconsin.  A fellow parent at the kids' school asked me to do it and I said..."Well of COURSE I'll come be on TV and talk about something I believe in!" sheesh!

So it occurred to me as I drove there that since I was going to be filmed, I might have to put on makeup. I hoped not.  But, alas, when I walked in, after my warm welcome they said, "Okay, we'll just take you down to make up." 


Here's the thing. I do NOT wear make up.  See my Haircut Blog Post for further explanation about just how low-maintenance my physical upkeep is.    I have only worn make up TWO other times in my life. One was for a murder mystery party where I was playing the part of a well-known vixen at a class reunion.  The other was when I tried out for a band.  They wanted me in heels, a slinky dress and full make up. I only let the front man do half my face. As soon as I saw myself, I said, "I think you'll have to find another lead singer."

Anyway, I sat on a stool and proceeded to be blushed, mascaraed, eye shadowed, and so on.  When she got out the eyelash curler I swear I flinched.  She had to tell me to stop pulling back and to breathe. You'd think I were at the dentist!  But, my face was done, my hair flat-ironed and hair sprayed (at this I balked too...what?!! PRODUCT!! Nooo!!!)  But I shot the commercial and it was super fun.  I guess it will air possibly as early as December, on all the cable stations. 

When I got home, I looked in the mirror.  I am not kidding you, it made me look OLDER. I looked like a fifty year old HOOKER!!!  I have no problems with fifty-year old hookers, mind you, all the more power to 'em. But I am a thirty-six year old without a career in the courtesan arts. 

Immediately I grabbed a washcloth, put it under the faucet and started wiping at my eyes. Then I looked like a fifty-year-old raccoon!  Augh!!! I called my neighbor and friend Kira and said "Help! I have make up on and I need it off!" She was available. And amused. I went in and she used a warm washcloth and baby soap to get it off. (I supposed I could have done that myself but I was in a state of panic!)  

When I walked Coen up to bed, he looked at me.  "What happened to your eyes?" He said. "Why are your lips redder?"  "Oh." I said, "Mommy had to wear make up today. It'll be all gone by tomorrow."
At any rate,  I was back to my normal self.  My "face" as they put it, safely wiped off.  A very discomfiting situation indeed.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Make a wish!

Did you ever make a wish at

Well, tomorrow is 11/11.  So, I guess at 11/11/11, at 11:11, you can make the ULTIMATE WISH!

When I was a kid, and I would hang out at my best friend Jenny's house, we would ask her mom if I could sleep over. While she went to go call my mom to see if it was okay, Jenny and I would sit on "The Wishing Stool".  The Wishing Stool was an antique milk jug, decoratively painted, that sat in the corner of their finished basement.  The basement was where the TV was, where we'd watch hours of The Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables.

The Wishing Stool looked something like this:

Jenny and I would go to the Wishing Stool and sit on it, eyes
shut tight, fingers crossed, wishing with our entire beings.
They usually said yes.

Was it the power of the Wishing Stool?  We'll never know.

I'm thirty-six years old, and I still wish at 11:11. I still wish on the
first star I see...though I think I am usually wishing on Venus. 
That's fine.  Venus is the Goddess of love, is she not, and love is always worth wishing for.

I'm sure when I was a teenager through my twenties, my
wishes had something to do with love in some way or another.
I guess they still do.

When I catch an eyelash on Coen's cheek, he usually wishes
for more Pokemon cards or a new Lego set before he blows it off.  I wonder if he thinks that his wish is coming true when he receives such an item for a birthday or from an indulging grandparent or if he's long since forgotten...  Lucy has wished for things from a new baby (sorry, sister!) to another chicken nugget at dinnertime. (wish granted!)

I also used to make a wish when the clasp of my necklace came to the front.  And if you caught one of those floating fuzzies that you see in the summer...we called them "wishies", then you could make a wish and blow it away.  And also, blowing on dandelions when they look like this:

There's really never a bad reason to make a wish.

Also, tomorrow, that magical wishing day, also happens to be my dad's birthday.  I hope his wishes come true too when he blows out the candles on his shaum torte.  (He isn't into cake).  Happy birthday Daddy.

So, whatever your method, necklaces, dandelions, wishies, eyelashes, birthday candles or 11/11/11 at 11:11, may all your wishes come true.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A happy zone-out (happy for me, anyway...)

Well, I'm getting so good at taking some time for meditation every day, I can even do it when I'm at a stop light. Instead of feeling impatient for the light to change, I sit and breathe, in through my nose, out through my mouth, thinking of something I'm grateful for.  It's lovely.

The other day, I was at a stop light, doing just that.  I just breathed in and out and thought happy thoughts and I didn't even notice how long I'd been sitting there.  It turned out that the light was somehow broken.  It would be green, and then the other light would turn yellow, then green again.  All the while, my light stayed red.  So there I was, breathing and smiling, watching the light opposite turn yellow and then back to green.  I think I sat there for almost three cycles.  I think I might have sat there all day if it weren't for the sudden back up of cars behind me.

They, apparently, figured out the problem much before I.  Someone started honking, someone started yelling, and then finally, one by one, they zoomed around me and turned right, to get the next light in hopes that it was working properly.  Once I came to my senses, I followed suit.  But at least I was relaxed!

Here is my visual depiction of what I think this may have looked like to an innocent bystander.  Of course, I was the innocent-est of bystanders...well, bysitters anyway. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dental disappointment

Today my children had their six-month dental exam.  Last time we went was Lucy's first time. Did it go well? No, it did not!

Coen was a peach. As usual.  He did everything he was asked, as he did even when he went at age three.  Let them clean his teeth, count his teeth. Last time he had sealant put in which tastes terrible, but he did great for the whole thing.

Lucy? Different story.  My daughter who nary will let a strange person say hello to her, does not cotton to a strange person putting their fingers, or metal implements for that matter, into her mouth.  She was terrified of the chair.  And the doctor, who told me she had a two-year old, was full of bargains and pleas for Lucy to get in.  She seemed impatient and I, stupidly, got stressed and then just put Lucy in the chair. She screamed. She shrieked. She cried. I had to hold her down. The whole office, including her brother, getting his teeth cleaned down the hall, heard her.  The doctor said, "If you don't let me look in your mouth, you won't get any prize.."  Oi.  That did not work and suffice to say, all that happened at that appointment was a lot of terror and trauma.  That was the LAST thing I wanted.

So this time, after we got Coen settled by himself in a exam room, I told Lucy that she could sit on my lap in the chair and I told the hygeinist that she was very upset by her experience last time and that she was scared.  The hygienist was great.  She made her comfortable and Lucy even opened her mouth for her and talked about her birthday.  the hygienist told Lucy that she could even pick two prizes after her appointment because it was her birthday.  Then the doctor came in.  She was super to the point, and nice about it which worked.  At first.  Lucy let her brush her teeth.  BUT.  She was very upset by it. "I don't like the tickles" She said.  The dentist told her that she just would do a little more and then Lucy started crying.  "Don't cry now" The dentist said in a much less nice voice. "You'll scare my patients." Now, I don't know about you but I don't think that's a good thing to say to a little kid who is crying. I do not understand telling a child not to cry.  She tried to get Lucy to brush some more and Lucy continued to cry. She said it again!  Not to upset the other patients.  Then Lucy cried harder and said, "mama."  I told her it was okay.  It was okay that she was crying and it was okay that she was scared.  The hygienist said, "You did a good job, Lucy. You made a LOT of progress from last time!"  And the dentist said. "Yes, but you can only pick out one prize not two because we couldn't do your top teeth.  And Lucy's cries turned to sobs.

Then, I started to cry.

Yep. Me and my daughter, together in the dentists chair crying.

They asked if I was okay and I said I was just frustrated.  And they said not to worry as they'd had much worse patients. But I was more frustrated that two doctors now had made the dentist into a scary experience for my daughter. And frustrated that I have a child that I love so much but do not understand in the least.  And frustrated because I felt like a huge jack ass crying in the dentists office.

We went out to pick Lucy's two prizes. The hygienist said she could still have two.  So there we were, standing by the prize box, both of us with tears rolling out of our eyes.  I felt like I should get to choose a jelly bracelet or a plastic truck.  The dentist followed me out to make sure she hadn't said anything wrong.  I didn't know what to say. 

We went into Coen's exam room and watched him finish up. Lucy was over it.  I had to swallow to keep from crying more.  Once it starts, it's like a water fall.  It's ridiculous.

So, in May we'll try the pediatric dentist that apparently specializes in "behavioral difficulties".  Though I think I may find a new place to go altogether.  And I'll try not to cry on Thursday when I have my six month check-up.

Monday, November 7, 2011

No one's a poopy.

Coen and Lucy finished their dinner and excused themselves to the playroom.  Tad and I sat at the table, drinking our bubbly water and listening to them. Here is the conversation that ensued after some time of sharing and difficulty sharing, playing with Lucy's new birthday toys:

Lucy: You are a poopy Coen.
Coen: I'm not a poopy Coen!
Lucy: Poopy pooder doodie Coen.
Coen: I'm telling
Tad and I look at each other, smile, wait for it...
Coen: (entering the dining room) Lucy called me poopy!
Me: Well, did you tell her that you don't like that?
A few moments go by and we can't hear the conversation. Then...
Coen: Pooder girl!
Lucy: I am not a pooder girl!!! (starts crying, enters dining room) Mom! Coen called me a pooder girl. 
Me: Did you tell Coen that you don't like that?
Tad: Also, Lucy, I heard you calling Coen names too.  Why don't you both stop calling each other names?
Me: We don't want to hurt each other with words.
Lucy: (Going back in the playroom) Coen, I didn't like it when you called me pooder girl!
Coen: I'm sorry Lucy.  I won't anymore. 
Coen: Are you sorry too?
Lucy: Yes.
More time goes by with quiet playing
Lucy: You're a poopy!
Coen: You're a poopy! Long pause.  No one's a poopy!
Lucy: Yeah! No one's a poopy!

That's right.  It's 7:15.  Coen's having his reading time. Lucy is tucked in bed. Tad is doing the dishes. I am free to write a post.  No one is a poopy indeed!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My four-year-old maniac

Today my little Lucy lu is 4 years old.  I remember the day I found out we were having a girl and I was full of disbelief, wonder, and excitement.  I remember the day she was born, Lavender Diamond playing and Lucy, cuddling in, nursing right away.  I was thinking 'I have a daughter!'

In honor of Lucy's fourth, here are some pictures of my little ham and some Lucy quotes.

Painting her face with chocolate frosting
Yesterday, we were driving in the car, listening to the Beatles.  Lucy said, "What?! Why is John Lennon singing all you need is love? Everybody KNOWS that!"

Enjoying some blue moon ice cream

Here is Lucy's Bugs Bunny impression: "Neeahhh, What's up snack?"

And two pictures of Lucy making her trademark Lucy face.I can't get enough of it.

Lucy: Why don't we have tails?
Coen: I guess evolution decided we didn't need tails.
Lucy: Oh.  Well, I guess we have penises.

She is a wild child.  She is loud and expressive and stubborn and sweet.  She is a supreme goofball and a nurturing friend. She lets you know LOUD and CLEAR about her feelings and needs.  And she gives the best hugs ever.  Happy Birthday, Lucinda Elizabeth!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sensitive boys

It is tough to be a sensitive boy living in our world.  When I googled "sensitive boys", an image that came up was this:

That's Jeff Buckley.  If I google "sensitive boys" in my own brain, the image that comes up is this:

Those are my boys: Tad and Coen. 

Having a sensitive husband means this: I get love letters still after seven years of marriage and ten years of being together. It means having a partner who is willing to sit down with me and talk out an issue or a worry.  It means having the father of your children really empathize with their feelings. (Sometimes it can be annoying when the empathy goes as far as to be concerned with the comfort of a shirt which I have picked out for Lucy and is super adorable but Tad does not think is 'cozy enough')!

Having a sensitive son means having a boy who will sit and have a conversation with you... Like the conversation we had the other night.  It means seeing your little boy cry over the lyrics or the music of a song and feel proud that he has such depth of understanding at age eight, even at age three...

We had our parent/teacher conference yesterday with Coen's teacher and talked about about his sensitivity.  This is the hard part.  I sometimes watch Coen go up to his friends all needy-like and say "Will you play with me?" And of course that kind of demeanor usually breeds answers like "No! You can't!" which sends my son into tears, further pushing the others away from him.  I try to tell him to be cool.  "When kids say that you can't play with them" I say, "Just be cool. Just say, whatever dudes! I don't care! I'll go play with someone else!"  I snap my fingers a little and get a curled lip going to show him how cool he can be.

Yeah right. I have never, nor will I ever be able to muster that kind of cool. I, too, see a group of moms clustered on the playground and have the urge to go to them, hat in hand and say "Will you guys play with me?"  I have no idea how to be cool, so how can I tell my kid to!

This is not to say that Coen does not, at times, turn into a testosterone filled, rubber band shooting, antagonizing wonder.  He can do that with the best of 'em.  But at his core, he's a sensitive boy.  And that's okay. Sensitive boys grow up to be sensitive men.  My very favorite kind.

I am not necessarily a Jeff Buckley fan, but since he came up on my google search.  I"ll give you a senstivity-related Jeff Buckley quote to end this post.

"Just feeling is a subversive act. Expressing it is rebellious."

Word up, Jeff Buckley.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Adventures in hearing...

So I've always had ear troubles.  When I was a kid, I had an ear infection every six weeks or so.  Back then, there was no syrupy pink-made-to-order-sweet flavored medicine.  It was a shot. A needle.  And it went right in your butt cheek (because it hurt so much, that was the best place to put it).  Oh how I dreaded those doctor visits. I still can feel that searing pain...  okay, sorry, I'll stop.

Anyway, when I was 27 years old and just about to finish my tour of duty in the Peace Corps, and I'd had ear infection after ear infection...I suddenly lost all hearing in my ear.  Turned out I had a cholesteatoma. A common benign tumor in people with frequent infections.  My Peace Corps nurse found it! Amazing, since I'd seen specialist after specialist who'd noticed a problem but never been able to diagnose it.

So I've had two surgeries on my left ear, almost all organs of hearing taken out.  Today I wear a hearing aid in that ear, and it does a world of difference.  I can hear!

The wonderful things about not being able to hear?  When I'm on the phone (my good ear of course) I am never distracted by noise around me because I can't hear them.  At night, I never get up with the kids. Tad always does it.  Why? I don't hear them. I hear neither call nor cry in the middle of the night. I usually sleep deaf side up.  When Tad hugs me really close, my hearing aid whistles.  This leads him to feel as though he is hugging R2D2. I like that.  One more is that sometimes, I think I hear something or I just don't and I fake the answer.  This leads me to answer all sorts of amusing things. 

Friend: Alie, do you want to go to lunch or did you bring one?
Me: *nodding profusely, dopey smile on my face*

Friend: Alie are you off work tomorrow?
Me: Sure! You can borrow it!

It's very amusing.  I wish I could think of more.

Yesterday, I wore my hearing aid to work and all day I was like, 'what's going on? why can't I hear anyone?' My coworkers dealt with my "WHAT?!" "Huh?" all day long.  In the evening, when I put my hearing aid away, I opened its little nighttime case.  Guess what was still in there.  The battery.  Yeah, I wore my hearing aid all day long yesterday with no battery.

Today everyone sounds much better.



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

He said she said

So back when I was dating boys, there was always the phenomenon that I would go on and on about what he said and how he said it and what it all meant...every facial expression, gesture or phrase--spoken, written or otherwise.  What did it all MEAN?!!  And of course, I come to find out later: It meant nothing. He was just saying things and having no subliminal messages attached to his every movement and word.  And then I got married. Fell in love. I thought all that was over.   Nope.

Today, in my world of being IN A RELATIONSHIP, this phenomenon has translated into the text message.


Me: Hey baby, so I was thinking
maybe if you could pick the kids
up that would be great. I have
to stop home and get the soup
on and maybe I'll stop and p/u
some bread and maybe u could
just get them, if thatwouldn't
be too troublesome?
Him: Ya

Me: Hi love! Hope your day is
going well. I'll pick up the kids.
I have to stop there anyway
to pick up some stuff.  Oh and
talk to Melissa about coming
for dinner tonight!
Him: OK

Me: Hi! Things are going well
this morning.  Your dad just
sent me an email picture
(wonder if you got it) of
you cooking chili. You look
very attractive. ;)
Him: Good

Me: Hey! When you get home
can you preheat the oven to
whatever temperature the
fish needs to be in at (on
the recipe-on the counter)
Oh and can you also throw
some sweet potato fries in too?
Him: OK

Me: Things are good here. Kids
are bathed and in bed. Going
up to turn off Coen's light. I
love you. Oh and I'm watching
the Brewers.  going to bed after
Corey Hart hits this home run.
Or walks!
Agh! Love you.
Him: whoowe. love u

Okay, so you get the picture.  The worst is when we've had a bad morning or some communication was off and I try to convey through text, whatever neuroses I might be having. Usually then, though, he just calls me! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Love story

Last night it was my turn to 'do Coen's night'.  When Tad took Lucy upstairs to brush her teeth and discuss for several long minutes which jammies she was to don, I took the opportunity to keep my children separated and cuddled up with Coen on the couch.  He was hungry, as he often is these days, my growing eight year old, so I gave him an apple. 
"What should we do?" He asked. 
"Let's talk." 
"Tell me a story!" 
So I thought for a moment. "About what?" 
"Tell me..." he said, hands around his apple, "about when you were little. The first time you remember Papa and Baba..." He paused. "I mean, not when you first came out of their tummies! (HA!) But when you can first remember something about them."

So I told him about being six years old when I had the chicken pox and my mom, his Baba, picked me up from school and set me up on the couch with a fresh tablet of paper and a new box of markers.  I drew a picture of myself with red dots on my face. He liked that.  I told him another one, and suddenly I was telling him a story from every year.  Once I got to age 28, I said, "Then I had you! And when I was 29, I married your daddy." 
"Wait!" He said, looking at me, surprised.  "You had me before you married my daddy?" 
And I said, "Yes, sometimes people have a baby first and sometimes they get married first." 
Coen settled in under my arm.  "Tell me about when you fell in love with my daddy."

I hugged him.  And then told him the story of Tad and I falling in love.  And it was wonderful to tell it to a child--to MY child. I've told it so many times to other adults and have worried about sounding hokey or talking too much.  But to tell it to Coen, in the simplest of ways, about how we were friends first and fell in love...

"Well", I said, "Daddy and I were friends and I thought he was so nice and funny and smart..."  "He is!" Coen said.  "And then one day, I saw him and my heart was suddenly beating real fast. Like this..." I tapped my hand on Coen's chest. "
And what did Daddy say?" Coen asked. 
"Well, when I hugged him, I noticed that his heart was beating fast too! And I thought, 'Well! This is strange. Why are we both so nervous and excited. We're just friends!'" 
Coen looked at me expectantly. 
"Well" I went on, "We spent time together, feeling like that and then one morning, we kissed." 
Coen jumped off the couch, clearly full of excitement and energy and jumped around.  "Pretend..."Coen said, "That I'm not born yet and I'm just twinklin' in Daddy's eye, but I see you are about to kiss each other."  "Okay!" I said. 
Coen scrunched himself up in what I suppose he must have though was the most appropriate stance for a twinkle in someone's eye.  "Kiss! Kiss each other, I want you to fall in love so you can make ME!!!" 
I smiled.
"Tell me more!" He said. 
"So then, Daddy had to go to work and I was afraid he didn't feel the same way as me."
"Like how?" Coen asked.
"Like I knew that I was going to love him forever and marry him. But then that night he called me and I told him I wanted to talk to him and he said he was going to come over.  And then before we hung up, he said 'I love you.'" 
Coen jumped up and down, as if he could feel the joy I felt that night. Maybe he could. 
"And then", I said, "I felt the happiest I had ever felt, ever.  And so that's how we fell in love." 
"And then you made me!"  Coen shouted.  "And then you married!"

We sure did.