Thursday, May 27, 2010

mom has a headache

I hate to bitch about my headaches on the blog, but fuck. I am so so so so so so SO tired of these migraines, going on about 10 days now, started about the time I got back from Florida. (Yes, went to Florida. No children. Was all right, and another story.) I do okay for the first 5 days or so, and then I start to lose my mind. They let up for about a day and a half and I thought I was through this cycle. (Ha! You fool.) Generally the headaches don't go on and on like this, just come now and then, but once in a while I get stuck in a cycle. The certain way to break it is with a prednisone taper (6 days or so, a massive dose at first and then less and less) and I suppose now is the time for me to call the neurologist and get a prescription...

A funny thing--it's obviously harder for me to parent with the headaches (dear god it would be nice to just lie on the floor with a dishcloth over my eyes), but I don't know that I'm a worse parent. The decibel level is difficult, of course, but that's what earplugs are for. My patience for whining is very short, but I'm also strangely relaxed. Being tense makes my head hurt more, and I have no energy, so I simply don't get tense; I let many things just float by me. I don't holler or argue, though it's true that I capitulate much more easily about tv.

On another front, I finally got an inhaler. I've never thought I had asthma, but I started taking this completely masochistic cardio class at the gym and I absolutely could not breathe. Turns out (after an expensive better-safe-than-sorry visit to the emergency room last month) I have exercise induced asthma. I just got the inhaler (finally!) this week and oh my gracious does it make a huge difference. I wonder if I've always had this condition and I just thought that was what exercise was like--that you got your heart rate up until you couldn't breathe well, then backed off, then brought it up again. Today I took the class for the first time with the inhaler and it was a completely different experience. It may change my life.

Now: important details of our life in pictures....

Clark is obsessed with bellies. Yours, mine, his own.

 Princess Frances and her friend Sophia

The new teepee in the back yard. Still needs cover.

Always car fun in the driveway

Our life in illustration

Monday, May 24, 2010

the giraffe and the retriever

Have I mentioned lately my thoughts about how different kids are from each other? It's really astonishing; my kids, their friends, neighbors, kids in her class. All so different. The way you approach each child necessarily has to differ too. It's a rather interesting experience, wandering around in the world of children. And what occurs to me these days is that adults aren't all so different. They come in something like 10 flavors. We’ve been pounded into our round holes, made to fit, and adults often seem to be, to some degree, a type. But children! When you really talk to them, listen to them, you realize they aren’t types; they are wholely and fundamentally unique.

You'd think we'd resemble each other more, adults and children, something like zebras and donkeys. But the difference is greater: more like the rhino and the domestic dog. Four legs both, two eyes, nurse their young. Okay, maybe the giraffe and the domestic dog; they do both have fur.

Still no resolution on the preschool thing for next year, though I’m pulling back from wanting to keep Frances home full time. It was cold and wet for a few days recently and I realized that it does in fact get harder for me when the weather is gross. Winter is long here, you know. Dallying in the grocery parking lot is a lot less fun when it’s sleeting. Just being able to ride trikes in our driveway and draw with sidewalk chalk changes things dramatically. Maybe I can simply relish our non-school time in the summer. I still have a little time to think about it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

no nap means Kipper

Things have been going so much more smoothly. That's what I've been telling everyone. Frances seems to have come somewhat out of the horrible awful three-year-old stage and she's a more pleasant human to be around. Then, mere moments ago, I moved the car seats into the babysitter's car and buckled Frances in. She gave me a hug and asked me to go back and get her Ariel doll. I told her Ariel was upstairs (and I wasn't going to go upstairs) but I would go see what I could find. In the toy closet I found a couple of babies, a Kipper stuffed animal, and a singing Elmo. I called her choices out the window and she chose her doll Shaker. I brought it out to the car, gave her one more kiss, then leaned on the driver's window to talk to the sitter about what time to be back.

Then. Frances asked for the Kipper. 

I know this scene; I've been in it many times. She doesn't give a hoot about Kipper. I think it's some kind of way to try to feel in control--she just wants me to do yet another thing for her--or to simply exert control over my actions, as well as the leaving (she didn't particularly want to go, though I know she'll have a lovely time when she's there). I've been fooled into running back and forth, just one more thing, thinking why not if it's going to make her happy, calm, quiet? But it's not Kipper she wants, and if I had gone to get Kipper she would have asked for something else, and a melt down was avoidable at this point anyway. So I said no, said I had given her her choices, that she was delaying and it was time to go. 

She unbuckled her carseat (ah-ha! The downside of her being able to buckle and unbuckle her own seat...) and flung herself to the floor. I had to open the door and wrestle her, screeching, back into her seat, and then threaten the loss of tomorrow's TV time if she undid her carseat again. (Have I mentioned the power of the no more TV threat? Not long ago when I picked her up from a playdate, she unsurprisingly didn't want to go home, and she and the little boy ran off to hide/play/carry on as if I weren't there. I called out "I'm going to count to three and if you're not at the door putting on your shoes then there's no TV today or tomorrow," and there wasn't even a second of quiet before she said, "Gotta go, Leo!" and ran down the stairs.)

All of this also illustrates the late afternoon result of no nap. I thought for sure when she gave up her pacifier she'd give up naps too--she was already napping only some days--but lately she's been falling asleep on the couch, in the car, sometimes at 5pm. I think we have to go back to naps. But the nighttime paci success continues!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

mother love

My son is in love with me. It's one of those Mommy Infatuation stages that I have the gall to hope will go on forever. He cradles my face in his hands, kisses me on the mouth, says "Love. You." When I pick him up from the kid area at the gym (where he's happily waved goodbye to me only an hour ago), he runs to me, hollers Mommy!, literally leaps into my arms. He squeezes my neck as tightly as he's able, then puts his hands on my cheeks, says, "Missed. You." He gazes at me and smiles, a smile so sweet, so complete, it seems as if there is nothing else at all in his world. He's totally present.

He wants me all to himself. Last week Frances was having a hard time one evening, was mad at her Dad because he was at that moment the one holding the line, so I sat her on my lap and let her tell me why she was so upset. And Clark couldn't take it--fell apart apart apart, his heart breaking because I wouldn't let him climb on my lap between Frances and me. Finally he agreed to settle beside us, snuggled down with his blanket and his thumb, tucked under my arm.

Sometimes I look at his full lips and think that someday a girl (or a guy, I suppose) is going to kiss those very lips, will gaze into his blue eyes, and she/he will feel something related to what I feel now--she will feel enamored. But for now he's all mine.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Success so far! On Friday, after Clark's nap, we took the pacifiers over to our friends with the new baby and Frances was completely unsentimental in handing them over. Then we went to the grocery where we bought a cookie cake with frosting balloons and her name, as well as a pink foil princess balloon for Frances and a blue balloon for Clark. At home we sang "Happy Big Girl to You" and she opened the Cinderella Barbie I fought with myself to buy for her. (The Cinderella wasn't quite the overwhelming hit I expected, though she does like her... It's almost like she has these Big Desires for Things, but when she gets them they sort of lose luster.) We let her stay up and watch movies (it turns out she's not ready for movies. We had to turn off Nemo within the first 15 minutes and reverted to School House Rock.) until it was pretty much our bedtime and she was exhausted. She slept the entire night through.

Yesterday morning she got a little whiny and said something to the effect that she hadn't given the pacifiers away forever. I said, in fact, that's exactly what she had done and that was why we had the big celebration and why her dad and I were so proud of her. The whining continued.

At bedtime last night, exhausted, (giving up the pacifier permanently means we're giving up the nap completely too), she whined, "paci, paci" and then "I'm not going to bed until Daddy goes to bed." After much ado and exhausting her father's patience (which is vast), I lay down with her and talked to her about giving things up, how we're sad and we cry and then let them go. She brought up my favorite green sweater which is falling apart and we talked about how I'll eventually have to put it in the trash and that will make me sad too. Finally I sang to her. The first seven or so songs were rejected with more whining. It was Edelweiss she eventually let me sing; only three times through and she was asleep.

At 11:30 and then again at 2 she stood by our bed, half asleep, saying "paci paci." But she let me lead her back to bed and climbed right in.

There's more whining today, though not about the pacifier directly, and I suspect I'd whine too if one of my two primary comforts was taken from me. The dentist said it all would last only two or three days; given her personality I estimate it will be double that--four to six--which means only a few more to go. Not so bad.

And it hasn't been bad. She's been a pretty good trooper and I would think of this parenting moment as suspiciously easy if it weren't for Clark's unending screaming about everything. All I can think, nearly all the time, is he certainly is two. (Even random people in parking lots ask, "Is he two?" and smirk at the thrashing fit.)

So now I'm off to the massage my sweet husband scheduled for me for mother's day. What better?

Happy Mother's Day to all you reading moms too!

Friday, May 7, 2010


I'm having trouble writing these days. Don't know why. I've started several posts but they're flat and uninspired and then deleted. Instead of writing I've been embroidering Frances's t-shirts which, it turns out, is enormously satisfying. If I had the motivation I'd take a picture of the owl I just finished. But I don't. Instead, check out these patterns and stuff from Sublime Stitching, which is where I got the owl. They're way cool.

Possibly after tonight, the first night of no paci plus the deafening thunderstorm, and probably no sleep, I'll have something to report.

goodbye pacifier

Today is the Big Day. The Last Day of the Pacifier. Went to the dentist, was chastised, Frances agreed that she is a big girl and can Be Brave, and the date was set. We're having a Goodbye Paci Party (which is different from a Pity Party) and then there's no turning back. I figure no one will get any sleep for about 3 nights, but fingers crossed. Will let you know how it goes. Onward!