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By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
The hardest part of leaving little Joji the last couple of weeks has been the fact that he will not take a bottle. He just won't and that's his final answer.
He would rather cry or fall asleep in his swing and just wait for his booby lady to return. Or he cries and cries hoping that his booby lady will hear him with those bionic ears that all moms grow-you know the ones that pop your eyes wide open the minute you hear the toddler feet hit the hardwood in the middle of the night.
While still on leave I tried to introduce the bottle with no success. I let my mother-in-law try, his daddy, mama zaw zaw and nobody not nobody can get him to pry open his toothless little jaw to accept a fake nipple. It just ain't going to happen.
I ordered this bottle
at the suggestion of a coworker.
It is soft all over and resembles a real boob in the sucking action required to use it. It is supposed to prevent nipple confusion but I don't know if it will help combat nipple refusal which is what I think we are dealing with here.
I ordered it three weeks ago and it still hasn't come. Apparently I hit the "Deliver By Slow Sled Dog" payment key. It's been sitting in Denver for days and days according to the USPS tracking site and all I can figure is those dogs are waiting for some snow. Seems unlikely I'll ever get it at this point what with the global warming and all.
At the same time, this no bottle thing is kind of nice. I don't have to pump, freeze or cry over spilled milk. Only occasionally do I have to use my break to go home and nurse. As long as I don't deviate from the plan and show up at home at exactly four hour intervals it seems that going bottleless just might work out.
And within a few weeks he's going to be able to start some rice cereal as a snack.
I never in a million years would have thought it could be done however it seems as though I am going to be spared all the extemporizing of the bottle this time.
Monday, November 19, 2007
This whole technology thing has me flummoxed.
Yes, flummoxed. (I figure since GO will be retiring at the end of the year, I can start using his words.)
Alex currently has in his room - a computer fully wired to the internet, a TV, his cell phone, an X-Box 360 that can be hooked up to the internet to play games, a Zume, and a regular phone. In other words, other than to eat, he really has no reason to leave his room. And he usually makes a kitchen raid and then goes back up to his room with bags of chips or whatever.
I do not like this,
I shake my head.
This lack of contact
I really dread!
I hardly ever
See my son.
But he is up there
And using Myspace,
I gotta tell you
I miss his face.
I wonder when he’ll crack a book,
He really needs to start to study.
I don’t like all this social network stuff,
Am I just a fuddy-duddy?
OK, that’s all I’ll put you through on a Monday morning. Really, I hate rocking the boat, but some of that stuff has got to go. Stay tuned . . .
By Robin Dearing
Friday, November 16, 2007
On Wednesday, Margaret's piano teacher asked me what we were doing about the fact that Margaret was still coughing
. I said, "Uh."
Yeah, we haven't been doing anything about her cough, assuming that it would eventually go away. But since it seems to have entrenched itself inside her little self, I decided maybe a return visit to the doctor would be a good idea and made an appointment for today.
When I went to pick her up from school today, the school nurse said, "Oh I'm so glad you're here. I gave Margaret a note to give to you."
The note said that an audiologist had been in the school Thursday doing hearing tests. Her right ear is inflamed and she has hearing loss.
I'm so glad I listened to her piano teacher and made that doctor's appointment.
Turns out she has a sinus and ear infection, but a course of antibiotics should send her on to the road to recovery.
At the end of the appointment, the doctor was talking about getting another hearing test in a month, just to be safe. Margaret shouted out, "How about a urine test, too?"
She said urine.
That's my girl.
By Robin Dearing
Friday, November 16, 2007
It didn't matter how many times I re-read the giant calendar at Margaret's school last night, it said the same thing. There was a PTO meeting last night. I hadn't put it on the calendar. Doh!
Panic mode set in. I had 15 minutes to get Margaret home, get her a snack and get back to school for the meeting.
I'm so glad that we live so close to her school. We ran home, grabbed a snack and ran back. By the time we got back, I was starting to sweat under my wool coat, but we made it.
As I sat waiting for the meeting to begin, Margaret left her classmates and came over to me. She put her little, 7-year-old hand on my shoulder and asked sincerely, "Are you having fun?"
I looked at her puzzled.
"Because I'm having fun and I want you to have fun, too," she said. She was having a great time playing with her classmates as we parents discussed the things that PTOs discuss.
I don't know that I would call it fun, but necessary and not altogether unpleasant. I like seeing the other involved parents and hearing about the school's progress. So, it was definitely time well spent.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Soren is talking A Lot. He's just a regular jabber-box. For the most part I have a pretty clear understanding of what he says. But, much of it is jumbled together and slurred. He likes to follow his words with the noises which helps when interpreting.
For example, his new word is "mublats" followed by "rrooorrooorroo." That means "ambulance-rrooorroooroo." If he doesn't know the word for something, he just makes one up causing interpretation to be pretty hard.
He also overextends his words. Most little girls are called Azeee, the name of his cousin. All women are mommies and all animals are dogs. Anybody old is called a Baba.
We went on a routine trip to the store for milk, butter and eggs. He was in the cart on the other side of the kiosk waiting for the cashier to check us out.
He shouts "Daddy!" pointing furiously to a rather young guy standing in line. Then Soren repeats "Daddy Daddy Daddy" while pointing.
The guy totally turned beet red and muttered "Uh...I'm not his dad."
"Are you sure?" ribbed the old man standing next to him. "He sure thinks so."
I tell Soren, "No honey, daddy is at work. That's a man."
Much to the entertainment of all the people in line and much to the relief of the poor guy who suddenly was accused of fathering illegit children, Soren shouts and points— "Oh. MAN. MAN. MAN!"
That's my boy!
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Several weeks ago I was walking Margaret over to her school to attend our parent-teacher conference.
As we were kicking leaves along the sidewalk, Margaret was asking me what kinds of things we'd be discussing at this conference. I told her we'd be talking about how she was progressing in all her subjects and her behavior and we'd be going over her report card.
Margaret looked down and moaned, "I'm going to get a terrible report card. I'm not good at anything."
I knew this couldn't be true and tried to assure her that as long as she's trying her best and working hard, it would all be OK.
Well, it was better than OK. She is doing exceptionally well and we couldn't be more pleased. Her teacher is very happy with her progress. Margaret is doing well in all her subjects.
She has always advanced well academically, but her behavior has been less than stellar in the past.
When we got to the behavior part on the report card and it was all good news, I was relieved and said as much. Her teacher said she couldn't understand why in that Margaret was exceptionally well behaved.
At first we thought she was joking. She wasn't.
More great news indeed.
However, there is one thing — one big, huge important thing — that was brought to our attention.
In addition to meeting with her teacher, Bill and I also met with the school's gifted-and-talented teacher and the school psychologist. The psychologist had administered a Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales test to Margaret and she wanted to go over the results.
Again everything was very good, but the discussion of the test sparked talk about Margaret's self-esteem. She gets frustrated quickly and then sees herself as failing. If she's not perfect at something immediately, she thinks it's impossible for her.
Mar's comments about her probably getting a bad report card on the way to the conference were just one example of how she tries to sabotage herself. I've witnessed this many times, so it was helpful to hear professionals discuss the importance of dealing with this issue.
It was also pointed out that she believes that she's under a lot of pressure to be perfect — mostly from me.
And it's true that I am the one who does most of pushing. And I know I have made mistakes when my own frustration gets the better of me, but I've never insisted on perfection. I only insist on working hard. I also stress that learning is fun and rewarding.
But it still sucks that she doesn't realize how smart she really is or how proud I am of her. We try all the time to point out all of her goodness, yet we see her doubt herself again and again.
Over the weekend, Margaret participated in a piano festival designed to allow students to be critiqued on their playing and their knowledge of theory in a positive and fun environment. She and I had worked hard on the four pieces that she played and she studied to make sure she knew all the theory. She even decorated a cloth bag to be displayed with the other children's music-related artwork (Thanks Tracee!).
She did a fine job, performed well and got lots of positive feedback from her judge. But she still asked me on the way out, "Do you like my piano playing?"
Do I like her piano playing? I am in awe of her skills. I know enough — from paying attention to her lessons — to be able to help her, but I can't play the piano at all. There are times with I think the music is too hard, but she figures it out and plays beautifully.
But with every new challenge, we hear, "I'm no good at this."
And it breaks my heart every time.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I spent the weekend frantically doing odds and ends that I just knew wouldn't get done now that I'm back in the world of the working class. I even whipped up a fabulous meal of lasagna and blueberry pie to tide my family over the famine that was soon to hit the house.
On the eve of my great postmaternity debut here at The Daily Sentinel, Soren puked mac-n-cheese all over my bed. I had three months off and he picks the night before I have to return to get sick. That Murphy is a real jerk.
Right out of the gate I had to stand over my deathly white child and debate the "How sick is he?" argument.
Day one at The Daily Sentinel was overwhelming. I needed training before I could even begin doing my work. I was behind before I even walked in the door. Between well wishers, customers, and my own guilt of leaving my sick child with a sitter I was clearly exhausted by 5 p.m.
Day two faired a little better on the work front, but both babies were crying when I hit my front door. I've never seen anything like what happened that night in my house.
Soren had a complete breakdown crying nonstop for over two hours. He was a mess of contradiction�"I want juice," only to throw the cup across the room then scream "I want juice!" Any choice given to him was met with the same irrational behavior. He stomped through the house like a mini King Kong knocking things over and hitting everything in sight. He was absolutely inconsolable.
In the meantime, Joji was in his normal witching hour. I didn't know which child to take care of first and alternated between the two. There was no cooking dinner or even slipping out of my constricting pantyhouse.
I didn't know whether to spank Soren, rush him to the emergency room or call a priest to come exorcize him.
Then, at 8:30 p.m, it just stopped. I hugged Soren while he whimpered on my shoulder. I cuddled both boys on the couch until bedtime, careful to not move or even blink wrong.
Then we ran out of juice. "Marty!!!!!!" I screamed from the couch..."Juice Juice Now!!" Luckily he saved the day just as Soren's eyes began to get that teary panic look.
Day 3 the sitter calls to say that Joji won't stop crying. I have to come home...NOW. He REFUSES to take a bottle and it leaves my sitter frazzled by 5 p.m.
By Day 4 I was ready to call it quits but luckily the two boys finally seemed to settle into a new routine. Soren ate some rice much to my relief and our evenings began to quiet down.
I still haven't caught up on sleep but things are finally right back to chaotic normal on both fronts.
Monday, November 12, 2007
For some reason Alex decided he wanted to bring a lunch from home this year rather than take his chances with the school cafeteria food. It may have something to do with the fact that for the entire school year last year he ate pizza and french fries for lunch. Even he
determined this was not the best course of nutritional action.
Even though it’s far cheaper to have him buy lunch at school, I like packing him a lunch. I even get up ten minutes earlier to do it. In my quest to find something different I stumbled upon Kraft “Cracker Cuts” cheese. It cost about the same as regular cheese and I thought, OK, since I often pack cheese and crackers for him let’s give this a try.
So I unzipped the package and was puzzled by what I saw. It was layers of cheese separated by a piece of paper. “What kind of crackers are 6 inches long?” I mused. “Rather odd.” Then I lifted a cheese layer out and realized that each layer was perforated into three separate squares of cheese. Each separated by a piece of paper. For some reason, this really irked me. I saw it as yet another symptom of how we have lost touch with . . . . something better.
What kind of culture have we become that we can’t even cut our own cheese?
And when some machine is cutting our cheese for us, are we also contributing to global warming by having the cheese-cutting machine insert a piece of paper between each layer?!
It made me long for the good old days when we went to the market every morning and purchased cheese fresh from the dairy farmer, along with that day’s fruit and vegetables.
OK - we never did that, but it made me want to do it.
It made me want to bake bread (something I actually really did do), and grow my own bean sprouts (yep, really did that too), and actually touch the food I feed my child. You know, infuse it with love and homemade goodness. It made me sad that we’ve become so insanely convenience-oriented and everything has to be one big speed race to, what? The land of instant everything.
So from now on, I’ll cut my own cheese.
It may take an extra six seconds, but I’ll be better for it.
By Robin Dearing
Friday, November 9, 2007
It dawned on me earlier this week as I was RSVPing to a "princess" theme makeover party later this month that it’s finally happened. My kids have a more active social life than I do.
This fall has been a whirlwind of school activities and weekend obligations, from soccer games to birthday parties. There are permission slips to sign, checks to write for milk money and yearbooks, field trips to chaperon and Halloween cupcakes to make lovingly from scratch (if you count Pillsbury white cake mix straight from the box.)
It seems that nearly every week this fall my 5-year-old has had an activity or party to attend. In the past week alone she attended her first sleepover (which was literally right next door or I would have never let her go), she was invited to a fall farm party, and she had an end of season soccer party at our local pizza parlor. Halloween also wore me out with both my girls having parties at daycare and school, trunk or treating with their cousins at a church in our hometown, and hitting the ‘hood on Halloween night for even more candy. Unfortunately mama is a stress eater and I scoured their treat bags for my favorite candy, Laffy Taffy and Reese's peanut butter cups.
The funny thing is that my husband and I have made a point to not sign our girls up for too many activities. In fact, the only extracurricular activity we have going on now, and it’s ending this Saturday, is soccer.
I’m sure this is good practice for the pre-teen and teen years.
In the mean time, I’m going to continue to party vicariously through my kids, check and recheck my calendar to make sure I haven’t missed anything, and figure out a calorie free way to get rid of the 10 pounds of Halloween candy I have stashed in our utility room.
Read more from Jamie on her blog, Blonde Mom Blog. Be sure to check out her blog the week of Thanksgiving as she's having a drawing for a Kodak EasyShare 5300 All-in-One Printer!
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Because Tuesday was a school holiday, Margaret went to day care. Being that it was her day off of school, she decided to write a story.
Here is a transcript of the story, as best I can decipher:
Once upone a time ther was a prissus names Clrassera. She was soo budfull. And she livd in a budfull castil. And in that same castil ther lived a hasum priss named Hrald. And he livd on the fith flor. So the prissus whent from the 2nd flor to the fith.
But when she got to the fith flor she conn't get out of the elovarter! Soo she hit the door but that dinit work so she scrmd and of coses that worked the prisns came runing to the elovater. He said he was soo sorry the elovater got stuck it does that a lot you whana come in? Shere said the prissusis. when the prissusis whent in she conit got out! And thar was no food to eat she scremd and sremd and sremd. Are you out of your mind someone is going to hear you said the prinss. That's because I whant someone to heer me. But then I cant eat you. You whant to eat me? sruepoo (yeah, I've got no idea what that means) said the pirss. But I don't tast good. Thats OK. But whet if you don't my meat. I lick any meat. Soo she brok down the door and ran away and she livd huggly ever after.
I can't decide if she's a genius or just disturbed.