31 December, 2008

quick year in review

jake likes consistency and fish tanks
lucy talks a lot and doesn't sleep much
our house has bad plumbing
Descartes and I still love each other after all of these years.
we have great family
we have terrific friends
we are blessed beyond measure
we have a lot to do

15 December, 2008

Notes to Self

  • buy more liquid band-aid and put it on those cracks on my fingers before they open...and bleed, leaving little red drops on my children's socks in the morning and making it difficult to do things like pull up my pants, put on my kid's swimsuit or move the laundry from the washer to the dryer.
  • have Iz over every Monday, or any afternoon when I do not have Jake's aide here. She keeps Lucy entertained, follows direction easily and fills a little space that is hollow from not having a third kid.
  • go to the flea-bag motel in San Francisco and beat up whomever used that address and my husband's identity to try to secure three credit cards in the last week. 
  • finish decorating the Christmas tree before Christmas.
  • fold the laundry
  • get over the fact that it has taken a year for the school district to purchase a "talker" for Jake...they are working on it now.
  • stop feeling stooopid for trusting someone else with my child's happiness. I could have purchased those talkers a year ago and had him feeling this happy the whole time, and it would not even register in the amount of money we've lost in the market.
  • fill out the paperwork for my respite hours.
  • plan an extra date night this week.. and maybe next week, and maybe the week after that.
  • clean up the guest room for my sister and the boys as they pass through on their way to Southern California.
  • Use up more food from the pantry. Buy only onion, celery, carrots, milk, butter, eggs and cheese. and beer.
  • get to bed earlier than midnight at least 3 nights a week.
  • make the mailing labels for the Holiday postcards, which may arrive before the holidays are over!
  • be thankful that truly my biggest problem today was my daughter pooping in a diaper, leaving it in a corner and wiping her butt with an inflatable giraffe. okay that and the whole identity theft thing, oh and finding out that Jake's talkers still haven't been ordered, but really that's it. Yes, it was a deflated inflatable giraffe. 
  • take my boots in to be re-soled. again.
  • make an appointment to have that strange freckle/mole/oddity on my forehead checked out by a professional. One that has an M.D. and not just a M.G. (Mastery of Google).
  • go to the gym at least twice this week, and try not to be so scared of the treadmill. 
  • find our copy of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas..before it is actually.....

10 December, 2008

This Really Happened

Wednesday 10:30am annual IHSS meeting with Ruth. Jake is at school, Descartes is at work and Lucy is with me. 

Ruth is a kind, late 50's ish woman who speaks carefully and calmly. She listens well, offers words of encouragement and admits easily that my life is harder than she can imagine. She has been a social worker almost as long as I have been alive.

Lucy is cranky, getting molars, not sleeping well, and figuring out toilet training on her own, insistent that she does not want any help, and is therefore often found without pants, having used  said pants to wipe herself. She places dirty clothes and diaper in a nice pile and simply walks away, leaving pee pee diapers, and sadly poopy diapers behind. She seems to be in need of an increasing amount food, and when that won't make her happy, candy, especially PEZ delivered via Santa head. She has 9am swim lessons on Mondays and Wednesdays, so her hunger, whininess and need for a nap are generally at their peak at about 10:15 on those days.

I am tired. Lucy woke me up at 4:45am. I get a nervous stomach when I know a social worker is coming to my house because I know the power these people have.  They control money for services and they can take my children away. I never forget this part. So even though I have no reason for someone to take away my kids, I fret until the meeting is at least halfway over.

And so, at 10:15am, Lucy is crying for candy, with no pants on,  and she has left her shoes and socks and pants spread out across the entire living room floor. The pee-pee diaper? She has hidden it somewhere. This is really no big deal. I got Lucy back together, got her a snack of wheat pretzels, cheddar cheese and orange juice and have set her up at her little table with her "math" book (Jake's workbook from last year) and several twistable crayons, and blank paper on her easel as well.

Ruth arrives at 10:29am, with calm, and a sweet smile and a non-judgemental look at my dirty dishes in the sink. I offer her coffee. She says she has just finished a Starbucks and declines. We sit.

I get Lucy more snack. Ruth and I talk a bit more. I explain the rough autumn we've had with Jake's never-ending episode, and change of aides. She is empathetic. Lucy crawls up onto the couch and into my lap laying in my arms like a baby. She says "Momma. Momma." over and over again. She says, "I'm a baby. I need milk from my momma." and tries to lift up my shirt.

Lucy takes off her shoes and sticks her cold feet up the back of my shirt.

Lucy asks for more candy.

then more snack.

then more crayons. 

She plays tea party with Ruth, then Lucy goes to her little table and quietly plays for a minute. Ruth and I begin to wrap it up. I am signing papers now when all of a sudden Lucy comes back and sits down on the ottoman and says:

Lucy: "I think we should talk about it."
Ruth: (enamored with Lucy) "Oh Lucy what would you like to talk about?"
Lucy: "Hitting."
Me: "That's right Lucy we don't hit. We have gentle hands. Hitting isn't kind."
and then--

Lucy: "Mommy hits me."

Ruth: silent
Me: "Lucy, that's not nice to say."
Lucy: "Mommy hits me."
Me: (now slightly irritated) "I hit you? Really?"
Lucy: "Mommy hits Lucy."
Me: "Oh really? Where did I hit you?"
Lucy: "In the face."

Ruth: still silent

Me: (now slightly worried) "Lucy, Are you telling the truth or are you telling a fib?"
Lucy: "Mommy hits Lucy in the face."
Me: "Lucy, okay, Lucy, are you telling the truth or are you telling a fib?"
Lucy: (laughing and smiling) "I telling a FIB." 
Me: (head in hands.) "I cannot wait to tell my social worker brother what Lucy just said in front of you."
Ruth: "I didn't believe her for a minute."
Me: "And I appreciate that because I know it's your job to believe her."
Ruth: (to Lucy) "Your mom is never going to let you forget that you just told me that story."

and so, my daughter's first big whopper was about me hitting her.. in the face, and she told the story to... a social worker. 


We finished signing papers and had a lovely conversation about how I was never hit as a child, so I never had to think about whether this was a particular strategy I would use with my own children, since it was not part of my family's repertoire, nor was it part of my husband's discipline growing up. We talked about understanding that if someone did not have  my particular resources: great husband, food in the pantry, running car, money to pay the mortgage on the house we own (at least for now!), healthy children, a reliable babysitter, these things make my life easier, and that someone else who didn't have these supports might feel like they were at their wit's end with a child like Jake (or LUCY!) and not have any other resource to rely on.  

And so for now, no one has come to take my children away. 

08 December, 2008

Sneaky Daughter , I Am

When we went to Southern California for Thanksgiving we stayed at the home of one set of my parents, and dined with them on T-day at my brother Gerard's house..then on Black Friday, the day we left to come back home we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with my other set of parents (with the same Brother).

As breakfast turned into lunchtime we were all relaxing in the den and decided to make the grandparents' life easier by helping them purchase the actual gifts that their grandchildren really, really want. In Lucy's case this is a Fisher-Price Loving Family Grand Dollhouse.

So I found the best price online and placed the order for them. When it came time to create the "gift message" I just couldn't resist helping my parents just a little bit more. The gift just arrived today... and I will keep this forever.
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07 December, 2008

It's Beginning to look a lot like

a disaster around here. There are Sunday fliers everywhere and little kid scissors and craft projects and fairy princess dresses. There are snacks and cameras and blankets and pillows and stuffed animals thrown in family "pillow" fights. There are half-drunk cups of coffee and Dutch baby pancake remnants with powdered sugar stickiness all over the counter and a little boy snuggled into the couch watching a show on paleontology...it's a grown up Discovery Channel show, and he is riveted.

There are some tears about glue, and a little girl who already needs a nap, and the last piece of bacon sitting lonely on the platter, one piece too many for this mommy to eat, and a little bit too small to just put away in the fridge. There are plans being hatched and presents to be wrapped, and two dogs that really need to be brushed. We have emails to be answered and bills to be paid and dishes, always more dishes to be washed...and there is more stuffing to be eaten, of course. There are thirty bazillion coupons which, having been cut, will probably begin wasting away in a drawer, providing me opportunity to scold myself at a later date for having forgotten them when I approach the checkstand at Safeway. There is reasearch to be done, on computer screens, dough ornaments, photo collage software, Internet security, property taxes for Modoc county and proper storage for 8 foot blow up snowmen.  We need to sweep, lest we be visted by varmin. All of the chargers for all of the electronics have left their usual places and stored themselves elsewhere, so there are search parties to organize. And where exactly is the iPod anyway? 
We are all full up on tickle fights, Christmas stop-motion children's specials and shoes that are too small for the children, but we are out of triple sec and PfeffernΓΌsse. We have high hopes for sending out a holiday card with family newsletter, but a reasonable expectation that it will turn into a New Year's hello postcard.. and that will be okay... 
because we are happy today.

04 December, 2008

One Little Sign That We are Doing It Right

Descartes had an early meeting today so I am running around with the kiddos, proving once again that he really does his fair share every morning...

As I was gathering up all of the school clothes, belts, gym bag, tennis shoes etc. from the bedrooms, Jake ran upstairs for breakfast with little Lucy in hot pursuit.

Then Lucy stepped back down the stairs a little, peeked her head over the stairwell at me and said,
"Mom, is there anything I can help you?"

03 December, 2008


I came upstairs this morning and saw that Descartes has moved "Christmas" outside onto the front deck.

An eerie glowing being with beady eyes, he frightens me a little, and I had to immediately remind myself that while I might think that an 8-foot tall snowman on my front deck is horrific, my daughter, who is at least as enamored with this holiday season as a Home Shopping Network little Christmas village collector, has a reaction to that same creepy glowing-innards beast that is more like this:


And no there are no breaks for breath, because as Descartes tells me all the time, she is just like I am and we are fast talkers and there is no time for breathing.

We can breathe while we sleep.
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