When Perfectly Healthy Sounds Like Bad News

I have been a wreck since the ultrasound. It was all good news. Measurements on track, bones and organs present and growing, regular heartbeat, little fingers and little toes. All the screenings we’ve taken have been low-risk/negative. I wasn’t really worried about all that. 99% of babies come out with all of these things in tact and I had no reason to think mine would be different. Then they told us it was a girl. She is a girl. That’s what I fixated on as the “bad news.” I went in feeling totally fine about either sex, but the...

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Stuck in the Middle

Lately I’ve been thinking about my middle daughter. Stuck between a medically complicated older sister and a very spoiled (but very sweet) baby sister, I’ve recently begun to wonder if she is struggling with typical middle child issues. Since the baby in our family did not come along until she was six, my middle was “the baby” for quite some time. In fact, her father referred to her as “the baby” right up until the day her sister was born. Then, just like that, “the baby” was someone else. I wonder, did this shift in our family dynamic affect her...

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Fixing a Wardrobe Malfunction

My feelings about my clothes can be summed up in one word: Ugh. My whole wardrobe is a malfunction. Clothes could be an expression of my personality: fun, social, creative, on the go.  Yet every day, I open my drawers and peer into the depressing options, settling on something ho-hum, then proceed with my routine. Why do I hate my clothes? There have been times I actually felt good about them. Those eras aligned nicely with disposable income and time. I worked in a city; shopping was easy. I’d stop in the consignment store on the walk from work. I’d periodically spend my lunch break at the Banana Republic clearance rack. I chilled in Goodwill for a solid chunk of a Saturday afternoon. Ever the thrift store lover, scoring used clothes was more thrilling than off-the-rack finds. Now I have no reasonable excuse to blow a day thrift shopping. (I’d love to though…) Last year, I signed up for StitchFix. At first, it was the answer to my fashion prayers. Then I found myself keeping items I didn’t love. This sounds dumb, but ends up being cheaper to keep the whole shipment. One year later, some of the clothes look cheap and worn. My wardrobe felt fresh and fun for a bit, but the service lost its luster. Now I toss on my standards – cuffed jeans, clogs, a couple shirts – without an ounce of joy. The...

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It’s Good to be #2

My younger son recently had his kindergarten screening. My husband and I are both the oldest in our families, and of course, our first-born son is the oldest here. So, as my sister-in-law put it, my younger son is the only younger sibling in a house full of first borns. I didn’t really think about this as a perk until kindergarten was on the horizon. All I can say is wow…it’s way easier to be a younger sibling when it comes to life events! For a long time, I had “first-born guilt” for my poor second kid. After all, with two...

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Helping My Daughter to Avoid Following in My (Failed) Footsteps

Kindergarten these days is REALLY different from the one I attended in 1985.  The most obvious difference is the full day.  Does half-day kindergarten even exist in any school district anymore?  With the push for early childhood education, more and more children are starting their formal education even earlier, at the age of three or four.  So full-day kindergarten just seems like a given. But it doesn’t stop there.  My kindergartener and I recently finished reading Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary.  Remember reading that as a kid in the ‘80s?  Oh, did you read it even earlier than that?  You might have, if you’re a bit older than me – that book was published in 1968.  But even as a kid in the late ‘80s, nothing about Ramona’s kindergarten class seemed odd to me in the same way it does now.  Half-day, yes; only mothers were involved in any activity related to school, yes; naptime during kindergarten – even though it’s ONLY a half day, what?! – yes! What is really striking about Ramona’s kindergarten, however, is the academic component, or perhaps the lack thereof, compared to the more rigorous literacy-focused curriculum my kid is getting in her magnet school program.  And while her particular magnet school happens to be focused on early literacy, I do believe that any kindergarten class today has got to be more serious...

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One cannot live on chocolate alone.

We got some amazing news yesterday!! Gavin had his height/weight check-in and (drum roll please) he GAINED weight!! Now while this may seem like a no brainer let me assure you it has been a battle. About a year and half ago Gavin’s body went into protection mode and shut down so he stopped gaining weight and growing. We didn’t know that he wasn’t getting enough calories to keep him going. I know, how could we not know? Well, this was around the time that he was officially diagnosed with CP and we started to really learn what that meant. We just didn’t know enough about CP to know that every time he toned (muscles contracted) – which in a day is often – he was burning a ridiculous amount of calories. His doctors didn’t realize either until his body went into protection mode. So that’s when we started the process of calorie loading. For a few months we were doing a good job. We started to see growth again – and even though he was (and still is) on his own growth curve the fact was he WAS growing. Then the summer hit and things went downhill. He was hospitalized with some unexplained respiratory issue, got hit with mono (at 18 months old), had a recurrence of the earlier respiratory issue, a few ED visits and well his growth tanked again. Like...

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Nonna’s Kitchen

As I awkwardly sit on the couch, ice pack on my back, I can mostly see what was happening. I can most definitely hear what was going on, and if I leaned far enough to the right and tilted my head just slightly I could see my mother stirring her sauce on the stove, as my girls and their cousins ran in and out making her crazy. Someone is going to get hurt! Don’t go near the stove! she yells to them, with of course, no one paying the slightest bit of attention. It is Mother’s Day and we are at my parents’ house. In my mother’s kitchen. It also happens to be a Sunday, so we would have been there anyhow despite the holiday. It is also day one of my back injury. So while I should be in the kitchen helping my mother and sister prepare dinner, I am stuck sitting on the couch, like a guest. A guest with no manners who cannot even offer to help, because any slight movement brings even more pain through my lower back. So there I sit. And watch. I feel like one of those of baseball players who isn’t in the lineup, sitting on the bench. (I married a baseball player.) So I sit. And as my mother prepares Sunday dinner, and the kids run around, I look through...

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(Weirdo) Mom Guilt

Any Mom can feel guilty for the regular stuff: working too much, not slaving over a hot stove to have a sit down dinner waiting for her family, losing her temper and flying off of the handle over molehills. In addition to those run-of-the-mill guilt inducers, I am sorry to my daughter for other things. Things that families do in the privacy of their own homes and until the light of the real world shines in on their oddities, they don’t realize how weird they are. So, I have created a list of some of the things that I feel that I may owe an apology to my daughter for. **Chickpeas, almonds, Halos, broccoli, and grilled cheese does not a normal dinner make. But in our house, that a pretty typical meal. I’m sorry for the day that you go to a friend’s house and are completely perplexed by the fact that you are looking at pork chops, asparagus, and mashed potatoes on your plate. And like, gravy, or some other such normal thing. **I am sorry for my non-stop singing. This includes singing lots of made up songs that you probably don’t know are made up and I’m probably not aware that I’m singing. It was never clearer to me that I owed you an apology until I heard you walking up the stairs to your room the...

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You’re a Grand Ole Flag

A few weeks back, my kids noticed a flag flying at half-staff and asked why the flag wasn’t flying at the top of the pole. As I was describing the different “rules” associated with flying our flag, it occurred to me that this would be a great post, as Memorial Day and summer approach – these are all great guidelines to teach your kids. There are many flag traditions that are not observed broadly by the general public even though, in theory, they are supposed to be. I have included some of those rules below in addition to rules for...

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S.O.S.

I’m coming off a hectic weekend of three birthday parties, gymnastics, soccer, baseball, hockey, and an art exhibition and I’m over here waving the white flag.  Most weekends around here are busy; however, this was definitely an extreme version.  It’s all good, but it’s also exhausting.  My husband and I ran from one field to the next, the bounce place to the roller skating rink and collapsed with Dairy Queen Blizzards Sunday evening when all was said and done.  I took yesterday off to “recover” (which really means I cleaned our neglected house and filled our empty fridge) and I still feel like I haven’t sat down in four days.  Aside from adrenaline, there were certainly some sweet moments that helped me push through the fatigue. Noah smiling through his soccer game, so proud of himself and his team. Zachary mastering the monkey bars, both stationary and swinging. Eliza taking a quick dancing break at a birthday party to kiss my hand and tell me that she loves me so much and in a flash, she’s back to twirling a scarf. A new friendship for Noah blossoming over a make shift checker game using rocks and acorn tops. Quick wit and well timed belly laughs courtesy of Zachary’s feisty personality. Eliza contently painting seashells. Two butterflies emerging from their chrysalides in our butterfly garden to the delight of my children. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need a...

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