1. The breathing treatments are definitely working. Hen had a cold over Thanksgiving that never progressed to wheezing and gasping for breath. And instead of lasting for a week, it was over in about 2 days. Yay for modern medicine!
2. Just roasted jalapenos + cheddar cheese + bacon in the oven for some amazing spicy lunchtime goodness.
Doing that again sometime soon. (Like maybe tomorrow.) Mmmm. Spicy….
3. The Velveteen Rabbit is really quite brutal. I remembered the general story line, but hadn’t remembered that the rabbit’s name was Real. My husband was reading it to him the other night, and poor Hen worked himself into hysterics over the worn-out-ness of Real-the-velveteen-rabbit “He has no whiskers! (sob) His legs are all in one piece! (sob) His pink ears are gray! (sob)” Since his Real Bunny is about as grubby and whiskerless as ever a bunny could be, I’m not sure what the grief was all about unless it’s just the grief of impermanence. Sigh. Sensitive little boy. Wouldn’t want him to be any other way, but I worry for him in the big wide world.
4. Hen’s almost-BIL brought him a hot-wheels sized garbage truck & trailer truck from Germany. Henry took a nap with these treasures, and they are currently on the couch with him while he has a post-nap snack. He keeps looking down at them and stroking them with one finger. Very contented kiddo right now.
5. It’s Rudolph-night tonight after dinner.
I think Henry’s looking forward to it, too.
1. Dinner seems to be the time Henry chooses to talk about the scary things. Blindsided me tonight with insta-tears while asking more questions on death out of the blue. Sounds like he came to grips with the ‘mommy will die someday, but not anytime soon,’ and he seemed to be ok with the idea that daddy was in that category of someday-but-not-soon, too. But then he wanted to verify, “But little boys never ever die, right, mommy?”
Oh, too-perceptive child, please let go of this for a few more years!
I did my best, promising him that while everyone eventually dies, almost all little boys don’t die for a long long long long long long long long long time, and reminded him that both his granddaddies are still alive, and can he imagine how far away it will be when he’s older than his grandparents? (He couldn’t.) And then I made crazy cross-eyed faces at him and pretended to steal all of his brussels sprouts.
Parenting. Is. Hard.
2. But then sometimes, you get it right. My 3-year-old is officially able to pull up his own damned undies and pants after peeing. Wahoooooooo!!!!!! We were almost there before The Elbow, but I was beginning to despair of ever getting back to a place where I wasn’t the One in Charge of pants-down/pants-up. Life is good.
3. Also? The serious praise he’s gotten for taking this step toward big-boyhood is renewing his interest in pooping-on-a-potty. Life might be about to get VERY good.
4. Hen burned himself on the woodstove today–as good a burn as I could hope for(?) As in, he’s KNOWN for a long time that stoves are hot, but I’m not sure he’s ever really understood just why mom & dad are so crazy about him + stove. But he burned his fingertip this morning, enough to blister, but not enough to slow him down from pain. And I’m sort of pleased. Better this than a big burn, obviously, and I’m hoping it was enough of a lesson to make him respect The Stove a bit more. Sigh.
5. Whiskey + store-bought eggnog. I’m not a hard liquor person. Wine is my vice-of-choice, and I rarely indulge in more than a glass. But every year when the grocery store starts selling that sicky-sweet eggnog stuff, I start dreaming of Real Eggnog. Too lazy to make the real thing, I simply add enough whiskey to down a horse to my glass of sicky-sweet and sip it through the night in a haze of sugar and alcohol. I figure I have two more nights of indulgence left in my quart-o-sweet. Mmmmmm. Eggnog.
(Part 1 written in September)
Parenting is hard. Anyone ever hear this refrain before? I’m here to say it’s true. Absolutely true.
See, I make a deliberate effort to look for the good, to find things to be grateful for, to try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Not because I’m some sort of Pollyanna-type. Hardly. It’s purely selfish–I’m happier on all levels when I’m not spending time dwelling on anger, fostering resentment/sadness, or worrying about whether or not someone’s sincere. This works for me as a life-hack, and it’s brought me back from some pretty dark places.
And if I could wish one thing for Hen, it’s not that he’ll grow up to be a genius or uber-wealthy or anything, really–except for happy. The ability to be happy is a crucially important one, and one that goes hand in hand with having a compassionate heart, I think. You can’t be happy if you’re angry all the time; and it’s hard to be angry at someone if you’re feeling compassion toward them (or at least trying to give the jerk who just cut you off on the highway the benefit of the doubt. “Maybe he’s rushing to the hospital to visit his sick grandma,” I grit as I slam on the brakes.) It helps, and it makes me remember my own dark days, and my promise to myself to treat others as gently as I am capable of, in case they are enduring their own hell on any given day.
So I do think compassion is good–is healthy, and even promotes personal happiness. So yay.
Except Hen seems to be taking the compassion thing to extremes.
Hen has been, for a long time, very concerned with ‘meanness’. Why mean people are mean, what they’re thinking when they’re being mean, etc. He’s always had an overdeveloped sense of empathy which–great! He’s not a sociopath, hurrah! But that sense is getting a workout these days. He sat bolt upright the other day while he was trying to fall asleep, in order to tell me that he thinks that Cruella from 101 Dalmatians isn’t really mean, but that maybe she’s just wearing a Halloween costume that made her look mean.
He was dead serious, and wanted confirmation that his ‘way out’ for her to be actually nice at heart was valid. So yeah. I gave it to him. “Very likely,” I said. Realize he’s never actually seen the movie–two months ago, he deemed it too scary to watch once Cruella entered and we turned it off. He’s never been exposed to anything other than preschooler-tv — and I screen that for violence and mean-kid-ness. And don’t get me wrong–I’m happy he’s so empathetic that scary stuff IS scary to him. Better that than the opposite, yes?
But he’s concerned about the meanness of sharks these days, and so I do a lot of ‘that’s just what sharks do, they’re not really mean, just predators’ (scary-ass, keep-me-out-of-the-water predators, I don’t say, which figure way too prominently in my land-locked nightmares!)
Which leads us to death.
I knew conversations about death would be inevitable with kids–I remember being pretty wigged out by the concept when I was–I don’t know, in early elementary school? But now he’s made the connection between chickens that go ‘cluck’ and chicken meat that he loves to eat. Between mice that eat cookies in books and the ones Mattie-Cattie crunches up on the kitchen floor before we wake up sometimes.
(I flubbed his first experience with death–well, I’m still not sure how I should have handled it. His friend’s dog died back in January. A dog we liked and used to go on walks with. When he asked why we hadn’t seen her in a long time, I mentioned it–I thought casually. But he latched onto the information that ‘N’s dog is dead, and N & her mommy are sad because they miss her.’ and he asks for follow up about how long the dog will be dead for, and how old she must have been. He reminds me of this chain of events every week or so. It looks ok on paper, but I feel like I should have been able to slip that information in a little more subtly so that it wouldn’t be so firmly entrenched in his psyche? I don’t know.)
Then this last week, Someone–probably at playgroup–introduced him to the concept of ‘soldiers’, and he needed to know today if soldiers are mean. If they hurt people. If they kill people.
Oooof. Talk about your out-of-the-blue question. Realize, we don’t watch TV news. Or anything ‘adult’ where Hen can see it. Not ever. My husband owns a shit-ton of war strategy games with soldiers on the cover, but they’re stored up high, and haven’t really been noticed yet, I think. I have been on tenterhooks for the last couple of weeks, desperately hoping for a non-military intervention in Syria. Soldiers have been on my mind a lot lately, to tell you the truth. Soldiers and politics and the intersection between them. But it’s nothing we would dream of discussing around Hen.
And then on the way to OT, Hen wanted to know if soldiers are mean. (sometimes) If they ever kill people. (yes) If the mean soldiers get killed. (sometimes, but not always) If good soldiers ever get killed.(sometimes) If they’re killed, do I think that he, Henry, could make them all better.(No, but oh, how I wish you could. I definitely wish you could, child of my heart) And possibly explain to the mean ones how to be nice. (Oh how I wish you could make everyone be nice and alive. And ok again.)
And trying to answer this child honestly, but not graphically? Deliberately, but not heartlessly? Truthfully, but not brutally?
This is really really hard. I feel very strongly about not lying to kids–not about things they are interested in learning the truth about, anyway. Santa Claus will continue coming to town until Hen gets serious about needing to know ‘the awful truth’. But this. He’s interested, he’s asking thoughtful (well, for a three-year-old) questions, and is he already using my answers to shape the person he’s going to become.
Yikes. No pressure now.
I’m going to go buy a book. A book about explaining death to kids. Oi.
The above was written a couple of months ago, and I didn’t post it because I thought we’d dodged a bullet–so to speak! He stopped talking about it, and I certainly wasn’t going to bring up the subject again!
Then tonight, at dinner. He saw a cut on my hand–no big deal, a little raw place. “Is your hand going to fall off, Mommy?” Um, no. Definitely not!
Then he had to crawl up in my lap. “Will your hands ever fall off?” No, absolutely not.
“Not even when you die?” Um, no, even when I die, my hands will not fall off. (And no, I am not ABOUT to go into the natural decay of dead mommy bodies with my 3-year-old. Don’t even suggest it.) (Tears standing in his eyes.)
“Mommy, I don’t want you to die. Are you going to die?” Well, everyone dies someday, but I’m not going to die for a long long time. Your mommy’s mommy’s mommy is still alive, and that means I will likely live a very very very long time. (And then his tears started to fall.)
“But you’re going to die someday? I don’t want you to die ever. Are you going to die someday?”
How do you promise your child you won’t die for a long time? You cross your fingers behind your back and pray to every shiny hope of a benevolent Universe that you won’t make a liar of yourself. But to promise that I’ll never die? I can’t tell him that, can I? Not even at three. That would be such a huge lie that it could really destroy his world if he decides to latch on to that promise. So I didn’t promise that. And now I’m second-guessing myself. I mean, if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, ‘Dead Mommy’ will be at least as traumatic as ‘Mommy lied’, right? Except, ‘My dead Mommy was a liar’, is probably the worst of all those scenarios, right?
Ugh. Any thoughts from wise parents who’ve been here before at what feels like way too young an age?
I did, actually, buy a beautiful book about ‘Lifetimes’, which is in line with how I feel about death–it’s natural, it happens to everyone, some lifetimes are long and some are not as long, etc. without any religious declarations. But damn, I’m seriously considering breaking out an old safety position to try to steer these conversations toward heaven or reincarnation or something simple his mind can cling to instead of just this existential fear.
One of his sisters remembers being shaken–utterly shaken–by first getting a grasp on the notion of mortality when she was 3 or 4. And she’s certainly the sister Hen is most like. But what do I do to make this ok–or at least to get his mind away from it until he’s older and mature enough to actually deal with the big difficult thing?
Oh, my sweet boy. It’s a hard, scary world, but I’ll confess that death is not something I spend much time worrying about anymore. I’ve always tried to live life so that I will regret nothing, rather than as if I would live forever. And I’ve never wanted to live forever. Better to live well. But this child makes me want to cling to life as long as Methuselah, simply so that he will not grieve, so that I will not have to leave him alone in the world without a Mommy. Ever.
A friend who also had children ‘late’ in life posted a poem on FB about this very thing recently. The last lines being something along the lines of: “For you, my child, I would live forever.” And that poem has been haunting me.
For this sweet boy I would live forever and I would remake the world into a kinder place where any question he asked me would be easy (and possible) to answer. And it breaks my heart that neither one is possible. I think I just found my inspiration for taking better care of myself. And I suspect we’re going to be doing a lot of volunteering-as-a-family when he gets a little older.
And on that note, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Anyone out there reading who’s still in the IF trenches, you’re in my thoughts this week. And everyone who’s living a life they wanted, I hope it’s a perfect day of turkey or veggie-alternative deliciousness, surrounded by those you love most.
1. Annnnnnd….his eyes aren’t doing as well as we’d thought. Well, actually, his right eye isn’t crossing as much as it used to, but his vision in that eye is definitely being impacted. Which means PATCHING in order to strengthen that eye, and remind his brain that the signals coming from Right Eye are just as important as the ones coming from Left Eye.
Try three hours a day of taking away your kid’s good eye. Such fun. Oh, and keeping him as still as possible, because, you know, no depth perception + demonstrably klutzy family = new broken bones?!?
The good news is that his eyes aren’t actually that bad. ie: she changed his prescription, but told me not to fill it until he broke these glasses and needed a new pair. Sadly, he needed his eyes dilated to tell her this, and because of his dark dark brown eyes, needed to be dilated twice. Oh, my. Not a happy boy. Not at all. Of course, he’s getting a bit of chocolate (or garbage truck YouTube videos, which he seems to prefer) twice a day, once after each 90 minute session and that takes some of the pain away. Honestly, my whole life these days is charts and chocolate and YouTube.
We’ve pretty much stopped OT, his hand is so much better, and it interferes very little with real life these days. We might try to start up again after the holidays if he doesn’t continue to improve on his own/with me as taskmistress, but I’m pleased with where he’s at. Compared to where he was even 2 months ago, he’s doing fantastic.
And he’s been wearing his “pirate patch” for about a week now, and he’s being so much better about it than I had any reason to expect him to be. Feeling grateful, but also feeling rather desperately hopeful that this poor child won’t have to do any more stuff for a while — geez, physical ailments! Give us a break for a while!
2. In happier news, Bunny is now getting very proficient at pooping in the potty. Hen came to find me this afternoon after his nap and we just missed his own window to pooping glory. Maybe tomorrow.
3. An old man at the grocery store complimented my outfit. I was wearing what amounts to my uniform. See, my mother-in-law has given me a couple of the best jackets ever. They’re kantha, beautiful old saris quilted into the most flattering loose jackets ever. I wore the first one–literally–to rags, and am currently in the process of replacing whole panels so I can eke a few more years out of it. Henry loves these ‘soft coats’ as he calls them, and asks me to change if I’m not wearing them. And truly, I love them too. Soft, comfy cotton, in pretty colors and a flattering fit. Pockets. Warm, but not too warm for inside.
Plus, people–usually youngish hippy types–take me aside in grocery stores to compliment my clothing. But this old guy was a first. He seemed embarrassed, it was very much not a come-on (or if it was, it was the lamest come-on I’ve ever been party to.) He just liked my ‘soft coat’ so much he had to tell me.
4. I have the most amazing case of winter eczema on my arms. My fingertips always split in the winter, and then I slather on lotion, and then it happens all over again, because if I wear too much lotion, my skin breaks out. So I got the balance wrong, or I tried a new lotion/laundry detergent–or possibly, I’m having an allergic reaction to his nebulizer steroids! Whatev. I look like a poison ivy victim, I’m living for the 2 scalding showers/baths I’m taking every day to calm down the itchiness, and I’m really ready to not be dealing with this any more.
Um, springtime? Where are you?
5. Grandbaby is coming for a visit on Friday. OMG, the excitement! Really looking forward to this, I have to say. Now if only I don’t look like I’m going to give her the creeping crud, so I can hold her to my heart’s content!
1. And then yesterday, he picked up his spoon and started eating before I ever reached the table. He’d eaten a better breakfast than usual, so it wasn’t just hunger.
All I can think is that I offered to let him use his old Winnie-The-Pooh tableware–stuff he rejected almost a year ago as being too babyish. He reminded me, “This is silverware for babies!” in a delighted tone of voice, and I said that yes, babies could use it, but so could he, if he wanted.
Gobbled that mac & cheese right down with a great big grin on his face. Ate soup for dinner. Lots & lots of soup.
Not complaining here, just very very bemused.
2. He’s no longer receiving treats for peeing, but has started to believe that there will come a day when he’ll poop on the potty (& not in his nighttime diaper, please GOD!) He’s started feeling out the potential for treats, I’m amused to note.
“Real is using the potty like a big bunny. Even for poo.”"Ah. How nice for Real. I’ll bet he’s proud of himself.”
“He was thinking maybe he should get a treat. A chocolate treat.”
“Was he? How enterprising of Real. Go on. What kind of treat is Real thinking he should get for pooping on the potty like a big bunny?”
A look of delight on Hen’s face and he screams “Chocolate Fingers!”
Turns out it was Butterfingers that Real thinks he loves enough to inspire him to pooping greatness. (Damn you, Halloween! My homemade-applesauce-loving child has learned the joy of Three Musketeers Bars! Milky Ways! Chocolate Fingers! And he knows to ask for them by (almost) name.)
Since the glories of pooping on a potty have not yet become entirely evident to Hen, I still have time to decide if I’m going to go down that sticky route or not. I’m inclined to say yes, because really, bribery for pee made life so easy; but I’m inclined to say no just out of a vague moral sense that I’m ruining my kid if I get him thinking he deserves candy for taking a dump. We’ll see how hardline I’m feeling if there EVER comes a day when I am not starting my day with a big clean up job.
A few Chocolate Fingers here and there probably won’t hurt anything…
3. Yeah, I’m totally loving today’s date. And yeah, I HAVE been waiting for it all year. Next December’s consecutive run will be hard for me–the end of a decade+long era!
5. Stove is being installed on the 25th. Sigh. I should really try to use the stupid grill attachment for something like grilled jalapenos in January or something (Or I suppose I could just continue to bitch and moan about my pathetic first world ‘problem’, which is probably more amusing in the long run…)
1. I’m pretty sure that the comparison of cats to human sociopaths is one that has been made before. So I won’t belabor the point.
Well, yeah I will. After 48 hours of sporadically putting the cat into a locked dining room with a wounded chipmunk (my least favorite rodents, by the by) in a sort of cage match to the death, she was still no closer to actually ending that poor wounded thing than she was 2 days ago.
(And in all fairness to the human, non-sociopaths (I promise!) who live here, the rodent was in a vent for most of that time, couldn’t be located/retrieved. It’s not like we were just cheering on messy rodenticide and selling popcorn.)
When it got to the point that the chipmunk crawled out of the vent, went nose-to-nose with the intrigued but not murderous cat, like it was saying, “come on, you bastard, just end it already”, we had enough and The Valiant Boy (nevermore to be known as effete easterner/city Boy) donned heavy gloves & went in to grab the chipmunk to throw his sorry little rodent butt outside.
Where he still might die, but honestly, it was just too much for me to witness.
And just now? Not 2 hours after the end of the chipmunk saga? The cat just brought a paraplegic mouse to me. Seriously? Just kill it, Mattie. It’s the size of your paw. Just smack it. The torture has to stop. What’s gonna happen if these mice gang up & grab you one of these days? You think I’ll be able to get you back with all your whiskers intact? Yeah. I don’t think so.
2. Battles of willpower.
Ok, both The (Valiant) Boy and I are rather, um, stubborn. Ok, we’re extremely stubborn, and we’re ok with that. And we figured that our kid would likely inherit a good bit of that stubbornness. What we weren’t prepared for was the sheer stupidity of arguing with a stubborn kid who makes us look easy-to-get-along with and go-with-the-flow.
We all got into some bad habits during The Summer of the Elbow, chief among them was a return to hand feeding the kiddo. At first it made sense because everything hurt and didn’t work and the awkwardness of sitting at a table properly, OMG! But for a month or so now, he’s managed just fine if it’s say, a dish of ice cream or a plate of cut-up steak. But if it’s soup, or mac & cheese, or really anything that isn’t super-duper fun to eat, he’s begging to be fed. By hand. My hand.
Once it became obvious he was just being lazy/enjoying the Little Emperor routine, I made him wait til I was done with my meal, figuring he’d get bored & eat. No go. Dinner’s tough, because it’s hardest on me if he’s awake at night with hunger, so I’ve been giving in more than I should and just shoveling some food into him at the last minute.
Well, tonight he happily ate tons of bread he dipped in his chicken stew (one of his favorite meals) and then sat back and asked to be fed the stew. We told him it was time he fed himself, and offered a compromise–one bite from his own spoon, one from mine. No go. Absolutely not, no way, nuh-uh.
So I told him he could feed himself and have a piece of his Halloween candy, or I would be happy to feed him, but there would be no dessert.
The world ended. He worked himself into the most amazing dither, because he didn’t like either option, damnit (which is what I wanted, to be honest.) There were tears. There was agonized self-debate. And then he fed himself.
He is not an independent kid. Never has been. He’d be just as happy to have me get him dressed for the rest of his life, I think. He’d love to spend every mealtime on my lap. Being spoonfed. He still falls asleep for naps on my shoulder (though he falls asleep in his bed for his daddy.) He’s a mamma’s boy, and since he’s 3, it’s delightful, but it’s also my job to teach him to be a big boy, and that’s really hard for him since it’s nothing he really wants yet.
So we’re compromising. Making him do it himself where it affects other people (feeding himself) but letting him ‘be a baby’ where it’s not affecting anyone else (being held at naptime.) Adding bribery for the breathing treatments worked wonders, so we’ll probably throw in the promise of an extra garbage truck vid or two if it makes this easier.
Because right now it’s not easier. It’s really really hard. And for whatever reason, he’s taking this really really hard, which is difficult for me to be a part of. But yeah, needs to happen.
3. On kind of an unrelated note, letting him take his time with the non-critical potty training has resulted in mess-free naps for 4 days straight now. He basically decided last week that he was done with diapers during his naps, and he’s maintained that iron bladder control he’s got through some seriously long naps this week. Go Hen!
4. The writing is going well. I located some outtakes that I’ve been hunting for (sporadically) for years and I’m delighted to be able to reinsert them where I wanted them. Also–having a personal writing computer that goes back in one form or another to the mid nineties? Wow, is there ever a lot of junk on this computer. Some gems, but an awful lot of junk too. Ah well. Remember the good old days before computers?
Yeah, that sucked. Love my magic writing pad.
5. It’s my birthday, and besides the scads of FB & phone calls wishing me a happy birthday–which are always awesome, I’ll admit–I got to talk to a few old friends I haven’t spoken to in decades, and that was pretty special. Made me grateful for every twist and turn along the way, that I’ve ended up where I am, safe and mostly sound. I’m one amazingly lucky (old) lady.
And my son greeted me when I hauled my late-sleeping self downstairs this morning with the sweetest smile and “Happy birthday, Mommy!” that I’ve ever heard. He proceeded to ‘give’ me every one of his favorite trucks in turn, each wrapped up in (imaginary) ‘pretty paper’ and told me, “these are a surprise for you. you can play with them with me, if you like.”
How could I resist? Best birthday gift ever.
Plus seed catalogs started arriving–about 2 months earlier than expected (woohoo!) Hard to dwell overmuch on growing old (old! older than the hills) when there are seed catalogs to pore over.
So it was, in fact, a day of utter, pretty-much-perfect contentment. A day I hope I remember for the rest of my life. A very happy birthday indeed.
1. Hen has discovered a new series, and one that I can only object to on literary grounds: a weird “Jungle Book” animated series that looks like it might have been produced in India, based on the names. The music is atrocious, the animation is that weird anime-influenced stuff, and the storylines bear only the teensiest hint of resemblance to the actual storylines of Kipling’s stories.
But they’re non-violent (or at least the hunting violence happens off screen), and the stories are mostly about being nice & playing fair, so I can’t really object.
Also? (And I have to confess I love this) Hen is adamant that Mowgli is a girl. I’ve tried explaining every way I can think of that Mowgli is an actual story character–a well known one–and that I promise he is a little boy. Hen’s having none of it. His evidence? Long hair. Pretty. High voice. “She really is a good diver!” He says admiringly. “He sure is,” I’ll agree. “Mommy, I know you think she is a boy, but you really ought to trust me on this one.”
Um, ok. Henry’s trying to bring all his media into gender equality (and, oh, the 21st century), so who am I to correct the impulse? She’s a seriously awesome diver and I love it when she gets the best of Shere Khan.
Who is totally just cranky because he didn’t get enough sleep last night.
You got it kiddo.
Kids are great.
2. Oven broke. Rather dramatically, actually, and not totally unexpectedly. The heating element did something weird–it’s like it melted? There was a groovy little arc thing going on in there, and when I worked up the nerve to turn it on again, nada. This isn’t a huge big deal, the oven was ancient, and we knew it would need replacing when we bought the house–there have always been weirdly cold spots in the oven, and the burners don’t work great. So no biggie. Except.
(There’s always an ‘except’, right?)
It’s got a downdraft vent rather than a vent hood, and so to replace it, we pretty much have one choice. One pricey, must-be-special-ordered-and-specially-installed, choice. And it’s the 2 weeks up leading to Thanksgiving when, apparently, people who don’t typically use their oven all the time like we do realize that their oven doesn’t work & how are they gonna roast a turkey!
So the installers are backed up til forever, the stove is on special order, and it’s going to be a while. Also, my single option for a stove comes standard with a grill (who grills inside? Who?) and no burners. Really, Jenn-Air? Really? At least there’s a rebate in place right now, which ought to just about cover the cost of the ‘add on’ burners. Oi. Again, it’s not some insurmountable problem, just annoying. Why not come standard with the burners and offer the grill as an add on? (Oh yeah, because no one grills in their house!) Hope no one here gets tired of eating soup while we wait for the stove to arrive…Grrrrr.
3. The cat keeps bringing in very much alive-&-kicking rodents so she can play with them in the comfort of the warm house.
This is not what I had in mind when I was rejoicing that she’s decided home is where she loves the best…
4. Indoor gym filled with padded surfaces for a jumping boy to hurl himself off of? Heaven. For both of us.
5. Pink lady apple on the table at my elbow. Red tea with almond milk cooling right next to it. Fire starting in the woodstove. Gloomy day outside, writing hour ahead of me inside. An old dear friend got back in touch and I might get to talk with them over the weekend. We’re looking forward (so much!) to a visit from two of the daughters & the granddaughter right before Thanksgiving. Hen’s most recent cold has completely cleared up.
Life’s feeling pretty sweet right about now.
1. Hen’s sick again, though this time round the asthma drugs seem to be doing what they’re supposed to. So yay nebulizer!
Also, yay for bribery–we negotiated a deal where 5 no-whining nebulizer treatments will earn him one 99 cent app of his choice. This has been working all week, to keep him motivated to “stop complaining about it already, Hen! For the love of everything, just stop whining since we have to do it anyway!”
And today’s asthma attack was so readily eased by a breathing treatment that even he noticed the connection. And 4 hours later, when the wheezing started up again, he was verbally asking for more. And when I explained that this is why he has to do the breathing treatments even when he feels good–so that the bad breathing times won’t last as long, I think I finally saw that connection kick in for him as well.
And it is amazing watching his breathing ease as he takes that medicine. Amazing and wonderful. Man, it’s hard watching him struggle to catch his breath.
Also, yay for You Tube’s never-ending supply of garbage truck videos. Truly, people–garbage truck videos are where it’s at. Real videos of garbage trucks doing their thing for hours, videos of guys’ model garbage truck obsessions being played with–it’s all good. Hen loves them all. And they’re perfect for nebulizer treatments–reading was just too hard over the noise, and just sitting there with nothing occupying his attention means Henry is desperate to chat, which makes everything harder.
So–bribery + realization that nebulizer is not just some irritating thing mommy dreamed up to thwart his joy + garbage-truck-oriented entertainment = quick end to the wheezing and a happy Hen & Mommy. Yay!
2. The insulation project in the library officially worked. It’s been cold, but with a fire going, it’s perfectly comfortable–even a bit too warm at times. Last winter, we’d've already had to vacate the library on 25* nights. Hurrah for insulation!
3. The cat got spooked again last week–again on leaf-blowing day–and was gone overnight. Coincidentally (or not) her spookiness happened the same day I gave her a worming dose, so she was doubly unhappy with life. However, the combination seems to have convinced her that outside is a scary, nauseating place, and that she’d just as soon stay inside all winter.
She’s followed me from room to room today, in pursuit of The Lap. And when the lap’s not available, she just curls up and snoozes until The Lap is available once again.
I am loving this. Maybe I’ll even be able to keep her alive for another year.
4. Clam chowder for dinner. With sourdough bread. Yum.
5. Any native or scholarly Japanese speakers out there reading this who’d care to help with a project? I’m trying to find a list of popular Japanese personal names from the late 1800s. Apparently Japanese names are even more ‘datable’ than American ones (ie: historically speaking, Mary would work, but Michelle would not for a story set in 1856) and I’m having a heck of a time finding an online resource for this. It’s just a tiny detail in a story I’m working on, and I’m sure I’ll get lots of other stuff wrong, but it would be nice to get this bit perfect…
1. As promised, quilt pictures.
The colors are closer on the photo on the left, but the photo on the left shows his moon map, too!
2. I’m really getting excited for the holidays this year. I always like the holiday season, but this year, with a kid who’s excited about Christmas (he wants to give his dad a bundle of firewood–shh! Don’t tell!) I’m practically giddy with anticipation.
3. My cholesterol actually went down this year, which is awesome, since I’m not in great shape at the moment & I’m genetically predisposed to high levels. Also, I really like my doctor, and I’m not sure I’ve ever had a GP I actually liked before.
4. I’m about halfway done with xmas shopping/making, which is good, since I always think I’m getting on top of it, but I still end up scrambling at the last minute. Still having trouble figuring out what to get for son-in-laws & almost-sons-in-law & boyfriends-in-not-quite-law, but everyone else is pretty much done. Even the boychild. Even The Boy. Whew.
(Perhaps I should just make a tiny little something for everyone on our list…)
(Um, no. Maybe not.)
5. One scary, scary ghost for your post-Halloween nostalgia:
Trick or treat!
1. Halloween party yesterday–which Hen was oddly nervous about–went fine. Days when something ‘new’ is on the schedule, he seems to be up a half-dozen times in the night with bad dreams. Poor little guy letting his anxiety into his nightscape. And the night before the party was a doozy, and he wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to do it, but we hustled him off. Turns out he liked the validation that being in costume gave him (because before that he wasn’t sure he liked wearing weird clothes, either.) And he liked his own costume best of all (yay, me!) though he thought that a witch costume (that the only non-princess little girl was wearing) was pretty cool too. Maybe next year, he thought, and I agreed that would be a fantastic costume for next year.
This year’s ghost costume consisted of yards of tulle basted to a big white shirt, with a cowl hood he refuses to wear. Black & white & orange striped jammie pants sticking out underneath. No makeup, but relatively ‘ghosty’ looking. The Boy says it’s his ‘ballerina outfit’, but Hen & I know it’s his awesomely spooky ghost costume. He’s three. He’s lucky I didn’t just throw a sheet with two holes for his eyes over his head & call it good.
Trick-or-treating was much anticipated, but he was happy after 5 houses and wanted to get home and gloat over all that candy! We were happy to let him call it a night–it was rainy and foggy–and I told him he could eat 5 pieces. Weirdly, he chose the five smallest pieces, but seemed to enjoy them immensely. We figured he’d be wild for hours, but he went to bed at exactly the same time he always does.
That’s one awesomely happy (& spooky!) ghost…
2. It had to happen, but Hen’s obviously been hearing stuff at school that we’ve kept from him. Like “only girls wear dresses” and “pink is a girly color”. He’s been trying these ideas out with us and we’re trying to navigate, um, delicately. I don’t want to invalidate what he’s hearing when it obviously does reflect societal mores, but I also don’t want to agree with such stereotyping gender-conformity statements unconditionally. So we talk about it. How some girls like dresses & some boys do too. Probably more girls than boys, but it doesn’t mean no boys like dresses or that there’s anything wrong with a boy in a dress. Sigh.
If I get half a chance he’ll still be a witch next year for halloween. An awesomely happy (& spooky!) witch.
3. We made Jack-o-lanterns today, and it was a blast. First time I’ve ever used the nifty mini saws–I’m a long time, cut-yer-arm-off-with-the-dull-kitchen-knife pumpkin carver, so it was rather revelatory. We had two small pumpkins from the garden and one big one from a farm to cut up–next year, we’re growing a crop all for ourselves. Can’t wait to go nuts with the carving!
4. iGoogle is going away tomorrow. This is devastating even though I’ve known it’s coming for 18 months now. But I’ve had an iGoogle page as a homepage for years and years and years and I did love having my weather & email & sticky notes and calendar all together on one page as a jumping-off point to online exploration. But then Google reader disappeared, and I survived, so I suppose I’ll survive this too. Change is good. Or so I keep telling myself.
5. Hen’s taken to explaining to me very seriously each afternoon that he really can’t sleep, he’s not (yawn!) tired at all, and that perhaps he should just play quietly by himself for a while. I agree that that’s all fine, and a good idea, but that first he needs to put his head down while I sing 3 songs.
He agrees happily, chatters on my shoulder for about a minute, and is crashed out, utterly unconscious before I even reach the end of the first song. Whereupon he sleeps for an hour and a half.
I’m not sure why I find this new naptime ritual so hilarious, but I do. It amuses me far more than it really should, no doubt, but watching him try to keep himself awake, only to be betrayed by his favorite sleepy song (which apparently has the power to send him instantly to snoozeville) is pretty funny.
I’m still willing to let him decide if he’s truly not tired, (but just saying it out loud won’t make it so, kiddo!) I guess the nap is going to be around for a while longer. Which is fine by me. Dozing for five minutes while he sleeps draped over my body is still one of my favorite parts of the day, and I was sorry to say goodbye to it for those few days he wasn’t sleeping.
6. Henry loves school now, which is really quite wonderful to see. Such a huge relief, such fun to watch him get excited about school days instead of dreading them! Two of his playgroup buddies came by to tour the school today, and he thought that was pretty fun to see them there. Keeping our fingers crossed that they’ll end up enrolling. I adore these two brothers and would love nothing more than to have them in Hen’s class for the next couple of years!
7. Annual exam, annual mammogram. I qualified for one of the nifty 3-D scans, which are apparently much better at detecting cancers in folks like me. And also, much less painful than previous Ms have been. So yay on that, though it’s a bummer it’s going to take them so long to read the 150 or so views. 2 weeks instead of 2 days. Yikes.
Of course, the other side of that is that I called to make an appointment for this procedure yesterday and they were able to get me in first thing today. My appointment was at 9, I was a bit early because I’m annoying like that, and they got me in early. I was out of there by 9:05. There are some things I miss about New York, but the wait for basic health care, the sheer exhaustion of dealing with doctors who are ridiculously overbooked, so that a 15 minute appointment might not start for an hour after it was scheduled? (Not to mention the attitude of so many health care practitioners in the city?) Not so much.
The prodigal cat is ready to go upstairs and so am I. Happy Halloween, everyone. Spooky ghost pictures Saturday, I promise.