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Fattening Up

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, October 12, 2006

Soren is a small boy. He's always been in the low percentile since birth. But he is growing at his own rate, usually two or three pounds at each visit. My mom said that I was a small baby too. My grandmother had to make clothes for me because I was so petite. Because of this I haven't been too worried about his size. He has started to eat three squares and at least one snack not to mention his daily allowance of nursing. Soren copy.jpg Still, he didn't gain any weight in the last eight weeks and grew nearly an inch. That dropped him down a couple of percentage points on the growth chart. His doctor said she would like to see him gain some weight so that he doesn't "fall behind." Those two words set bells and huge red waving flags ringing and flapping in my head. What? "Fall Behind?" I don't want to ever hear those words in regards to my kid, not from his teacher and certainly not from his doctor! The Sipowitz type grilling began: "Should I be worried?" "Are YOU worried?" "What should I do? He eats a lot I swear!" "Do you think he needs formula?" "Is there something wrong with my breastmilk?" Of course I never gave her a chance to answer any of those questions as I berated her nonstop for a full twenty seconds. "You could try adding butter," she said. "Uh...okay." She explained that she wasn't too worried but I needed to make sure that he ate solid meals and snacks throughout the day and I should fatten those up by adding butter and other oils. Of course, I became frustrated by that answer in that I am not home with him in the day to monitor his calorie intake. I already begin every conversation upon arriving home with: "Did he poop today?" "Did he have a snack?" "How did he nap?" all in a deperate attempt to keep track of what is going on with my kid while I'm gone. "Falling behind" makes me want to quit my job so that I can maintain total control over my household's eating habits. Of course that's not practical. I guess I'll just add the question: "Did Soren eat some butter today?" and hope for the best. 4 comments

Spinning in finery

By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sunday morning our 4-year-old neighbor looked up at me with her pretty brown eyes, mouth smeared with chocolate frosting and said, "I'm wearing my wedding dress." And she was — well, it was the dress that she wore while taking part in their family friend's wedding. She was the candle girl. As candle girl, her responsibilities were to walk down the aisle first, before anyone else — even the flower girls — carrying a candle to honor the memory of the groom's late twin brother. Kate relished her role and was the first to point out that the obviously ill-prepared flower girls didn't drop their flower petals — she remedied this problem by grabbing a spare basket, racing down the aisle and speading the petals. Sunday morning, her only responsiblities were to play with my daughter ... but she wanted to do so wearing her fancy dress. Her mom let her. And why not? The chances of Kate getting invited to another formal occassion before she out grew the dress were pretty slim. So why shouldn't she get to enjoy the lovely frock; it had served its purpose — no sense in keeping the poor thing all locked up in a plastic bag in the basement ... like Margaret's flower girl dress. I asked Margaret if she wanted to wear her wedding dress. She shrugged her shoulders and said, "Sure" in the exact same non-committal tone as her 15-year-old brother. So I fetched the lovely, ivory gown that had been stored in a garment-storage bag since our dear friends, Rob and Tracee, were married a year ago March. I could barely get the buttons closed but it fit good enough for her to play with Kate. And play they did. spinning girls copy.jpg And I tried to act like it was no big deal. I agree with Kate's mom that there's no really good reason to not let Margaret wear the dress and it's practical to let her actual use the expensive frock instead of let it rot away in a plastic bag. dressy behinds.jpg But the dress is so pretty with its embroidered organza skirt and its giant satin sash and Margaret is so dirty and tough on clothes. So I stood there taking pictures as the two girls colored with scary, staining markers and spun themselves until they were disoriented on our damp, leaf-infested lawn which was just begging to leave a stain on those pretty dresses. fall street.jpg Finally they decided to change into clothes better suited for riding their scooters over to the park. Margaret discarded the delicate dress on to the floor of her tiny room. Later, I rescued the pile of satin and lace from becoming a nest for our ever-chilly Italian greyhound and hung it carefully on its padded hanger. I put the protective plastic cover over the little dress. Afterall, it's really too small for Margaret anymore ... and maybe her daughter will be a flower girl some day in the far, far future. 4 comments

Plan On It?

By {screen_name}
Monday, October 9, 2006

“Planning ahead? and •teenagers? are rarely used in the same sentence. Except to confirm that they are rarely used in the same sentence! About a month ago, Alex announced that he had a date for the homecoming dance. I•m not sure which took me more off guard – that he had a date or that there was a homecoming dance. First I’d heard of either. “A date? Who is it? I mean she?? I quizzed. •Nobody you know, and I’m not telling you,? came the response. Yeah, that•ll fly. “Well, are you going to ask her to wear a bag over her head when we go pick her up? Assuming, of course, that you’re allowed to go on a date. Which I’m not prepared to think about it yet, let alone discuss right now. Yeah, could you check back your junior year? Of college?? So, dad comes to town and the three of us have a discussion about dating. As it turns out, there is no date, or she changed her mind, or it was just a way to get mom freaked out. But that doesn•t mean there is no homecoming dance! For the next four weeks, I am peripherally involved in a kaleidoscope of teenage schizophrenia and planning for events. Let me be clear that the term planning to teenagers means “every time I talk to my friends we will come up with something different and you will be involved on a ?need-to-know•€? basis which means you don’t need to know anything until about five hours or five minutes before the actual event we’re planning which may or may not actually happen because we’re still planning and the only thing we know for sure is that it will cost you money?. So •plans? went from a pizza party at our house after the homecoming game Friday, to going to the dance on Saturday with a group of friends, to going paint-balling at another friends house instead of the dance, to skipping the dance and going to a pig roast my sister and I were hosting the same day as the dance. Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. Alex announced that he was indeed going to the dance with a group of friends and was now in need of dress shoes and dress pants. Thus we come to the •only thing we know for sure? part • the part that cost me money. A hundred bucks later and he has new dress shoes, new dress pants and a new tie. But look how good he looks! I think it was worth it, don’t you? Alex homecoming.JPG 2 comments

Tricks and Treats

By {screen_name}
Monday, October 9, 2006

The Haute Mamas are giving you the chance to showoff your little ghouls and goblins Halloween costumes. And YOU can win Avalon theater movie tickets for a night-out. Get your cameras and costumes ready! We will have you submit photos of your little darlings, or little devils, for blog-readers to vote on. Watch the Haute Mamas blog for more details coming soon! 1 comments

Studies Prove What?

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Friday, October 6, 2006

Read a article today that said that children who are breastfed are smarter because breastfeeding moms are smarter not because the milk actually aids in brain chemistry. It qoutes a new study recently completed in England. Here that study says breastfeeding makes kids smarter, I mean not smarter, I mean their moms are smarter, I mean wait...What? 0 comments

What color are your eyes?

By Robin Dearing
Friday, October 6, 2006

When Margaret was about 2 we had her at the doctor's office for a routine visit. I asked the doctor, "What color are her eyes?" Our doctor gave me that look — you know the one, it was full of disbelief and concern that the asker might just not be right in the head. Why couldn't I just look for myself? I had, of course, but I still couldn't determine exactly what color they were. There are three basic eye colors: blue, brown and green. Margaret didn't appear to have any of these colors. It was at this point that I realized that eye color was a sorely neglected category and needed more research, but the frenzy of having a toddler relegated my interest into eye color to the back burning ... until now. I was looking at pictures of my husband and daughter and the question of eye color variety piqued my interest again. So I asked Mr. Google what he knew about eye color. He knows a lot about the genetics of eye color and how to rule out potential father's in paternity cases, but I only found one site that discussed the actual color of eyes. But it's a Wikipedia page and while I'm happy to have some resource, it's not definitive. I'm going to have to conduct a study of my own, it seems. Look at my family's eye colors: Robin eye.jpg My eye color is easy. They're blue ... but they are a super pale color of blue. There are other blue eyes out there, but they are still pretty easy to distinguish as blue. Here's Bill's: Bill eye.jpg If you ask Bill, he'll say that his eyes are brown. I don't agree and according to the Wikipedia page, they are hazel. Then there's Margaret's eyes of mystery: Mar eye.jpg Um, it seems that they are green? I guess. Maybe hazel. Knowing what color one's eyes are is a pretty basic thing. You have to list it on applications for a driver's licence and passport. But I think the three basic categories we've been forced into is woefully inadequate. I mean just look through the pages of an L.L. Bean catalog and tell me there aren't numerous different types of greens and browns and blues. As I told my husband last night as he was trying to fall asleep, since there is no definitive eye color chart that I can find, I'm just going to have to make one myself. 5 comments

No-sleep techniques

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, October 5, 2006

Dear Drs. Sears and Ferber: I've tried both of your "putting baby to sleep" methods and neither one seems to be working. Letting the baby cry makes my ears ring and pulls violently at my apron strings. One glance at that sad tear-covered, itty-bitty face will make even the hardest of hearts melt including yours, Mr. Cold-hearted Ferber. Getting up to pat, hold and comfort isn't so bad the first night, Dr. Sears. but what bout the 10th, 15th and 20th night? What then, smarty pants, huh? Your books should come with a free prescription for Xanax and No-Doze and a warning which states: May cause drowsiness. Parents of infants should not operate heavy machinery, drive, work or engage in any other activities that require any kind of mental function whatsoever. Obviously, your children sleep so could you please publish another book titled "How to get your baby to sleep before you die of exhaustion — we mean fer reals, this time" because I could really use it. Yawn, Richie 4 comments

Hug Them Twice Today

By {screen_name}
Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Son, you better hurry up or you’ll be late for school. OK mom. I just need to put some stuff in my backpack. Oh right! Don’t forget the Glock. And make sure you’ve got extra ammo for the Ruger. There are a lot of sick bastards out there lately shooting kids at school. Yeah, but mom, I’ve heard you can’t really blame them. They had bad childhoods. You know, like they were fat and got picked on. Some of them even got rejected by girls. A couple had parents who ignored them. That’s true son. They’re not to blame. It’s not their fault. Why, even al-Zaraqawi got off easy because his dad was mean to him. Well, don’t worry mom. We had anti-bully training at school so it won’t happen here. But if anyone breaks into my school, I’ll shoot them first. That’s a good idea son. Do it to them before they do it you. OK mom. The bus is here. Have a good day at school, honey. Remember to come home alive and please don’t get executed. That conversation took place in a nightmare of mine last night. It could have just as easily been a real conversation. It doesn’t matter. How can you possibly make sense or try to explain away why anybody, regardless of their background, could walk into a school or university and assassinate children and young adults?! Remember and pray for these victims and their families this week. May they rest in peace and God’s love. Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, 5 murdered Platte Canyon High School, Bailey, Colorado, 1 murdered Weston School, Cazenovia, Wisconsin, 1 murdered Dawson College, Montreal, Canada, 1 murdered Red Lake High School, Red Lake, Minnesota, 7 murdered University of Arizona College of Nursing, Tucson, Arizona, 3 murdered Gutenberg high school, Erfurt, Germany, 18 murdered Westside Middle School, Jonesboro, Arkansas, 5 murdered Heath High School, West Paducah, Kentucky, 3 murdered W.R. Myers High School in Taber, Alberta, Canada, 1 murdered Santana High School, Santee, California, 2 murdered Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado, 13 murdered ... and the list goes on. 1 comments

Letting the bad spirits out

By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, October 3, 2006

I was sitting at my desk last week when I received a call from Margaret. "Mama, I wanna get my ears pierced after school today." I told her that I'd have to talk to her dad and we'd decide if and when she could make more holes in her wee 6-year-old body. Bill filled me in that she had spent a good portion of the morning trying to jam an earring she received for her birthday into her holeless lobe. I got my ears pierced (the first time) when I was in the 6th grade (my Gramma Dearing, unbeknownst to my parents, got me certificate to get them pierced for Christmas). I think 11 is an OK age to get one's ears pierced. Six is just too young, in my opinion — but on this, I got overruled. If I had wanted, I could have vetoed the ear piercing plan, but daddy and daughter seemed to think that now was the time. And I've learned that sometimes it's OK for Bill to make decisions on his own. Really I assumed that she would chicken out. Saturday morning, Bill and I woke up to a couple pointy 1st-grader knees to the chest and the proclaimation, "I'm getting my ears pierced today!" I proceeded to tell Margaret how much it was going to hurt and how she would have to keep them clean and I threw in some infection horror stories just to plant my seed of terror. Then I got up and went to help some friends move. Bill took Margaret to the mall. A couple hours later, I was talking to a girl with freshly pierced ears. Pierced.jpg I was shocked. I was sure that my tales of pus and gore and the general fear she has of pain, would dissuade her. But as she told me this morning, the desire to have pretty earlobes was much bigger than the fear of a little pain. The surprising thing is that how punching two tiny holes into our daughter has changed her. Sunday she happily practiced her piano (normally piano practice is a tear-soaked endeavor) and Monday morning she got herself dressed and she ate her breakfast without a fuss. Perhaps, she had some bad spirits cooped up in her ears that the piercing let out. 6 comments

More Please!

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, October 2, 2006

First, I just have to say that having more children is a highly personal and private decision. What is right for one family may not be for another and there are a million reasons people plan their families the way that they do. Often, I run into criticism when I say that I want more children but the fact is it is my decision to make. And thank God because if I lived in China I wouldn't have the freedom to make the most basic decision about the size of my family and I'm grateful to even have the choice. I was raised as an only child and I'll admit it has its benefits. But, by no means did I get everything that I wanted. I was spoiled with attention not things. But, it can be lonely. My husband on the other hand is the baby of nine. There are advantages and disadvantages to the large family too. He always has someone to talk to for just about anything but at the same time there is always a lot going on because there are just so many people. I definitely want Soren to have at least one sibling. Just so he has someone no matter what happens. I see the bond between my husband with his sister/brothers and I know that relationship is special. When I think of actually following through I admit that I cringe. Having not slept in 8 months the thought of another newborn ordeal seems hellish. That's because it will be. But I remind myself often that this phase of my life, with babies, is momentary in the long run. I'd consider my family and myself lucky if we were blessed with another child soon. 5 comments
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