Friday, February 29, 2008

Ode to a luscious bottom

The sweet curve of luscious bottom,
jutting out forever and a day
this is my predilection
alas, the anatomy not mine.

How I long for that swoop,
that ledge of rounded flesh,
bewitching in its shape
of squeezable ambrosia.

My lusting mind wraps itself
around a voluptuous rump,
the lovely arc of a derriere,
beckoning me in its undulating wake.

Oh, rapturous fanny, rear, buttocks,
arse, tooshie, keister, bum, tail,
fundament, behind, posterior, crupper...
you are a ribald confection not to be worn here.


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Thursday, February 28, 2008

He will make the girls swoon with that little scar

When BOY was born with a cleft lip, we knew that our lives would be just a little different. Here we were, parents for the first time, and with the added stress and blessing of being adoptive parents. The cleft lip was a surprise. It had not been revealed in previous ultrasounds and if it had, it would have only made us worry. More. And we were worried enough. As confident as we were in our birthmother's decision for us to become BOY's forever parents, you can never be 100% confident that life will go that way. But, deep down, I truly believed that all of this would go forward and we would finally become parents.

It was scary, because we knew nothing of cleft lips. We never once considered not moving forward with the adoption. This has been asked of me before, and I find it an odd question. Perhaps it isn't. But, for us, there was no other path. The minute BOY was placed in my arms in the nursery, I became his mother. I was so ready. And here was our little miracle. The baby who started kicking the moment his birthmother began reading our letter on the adoption agency's web site. There are no accidents. This was meant to be. The nurses were quick to tell us that a cleft lip was nothing. Merely cosmetic. We were concerned, but one of the blessings of becoming a parent of an infant is that you have to just keep moving forward. Your entire focus becomes ...feeding, changing and awakening at all hours of the night for this tiny, most precious being.

BOY had no problem taking to a bottle. He polished them off like he was downing pints at his very own Oktoberfest. His personality was clear from the beginning. He was active and eager to get on to the next thing.

By the time he was 7 weeks old, he was over 10 lbs; the weight requirement for surgery. I will never forget having to hand him over to the nurse and watch her carry him, crying, down the long hallway toward the O.R. I grabbed E and just held on for dear life. The surgery took over 4 hours. We were there just after he awakened from the anesthesia, and that was difficult because BOY was covered in wires and was very confused. We were able to pick him up and give him a bottle right away, which helped to calm him. The surgery had been successful, but we noticed that his upper lip pulled up slightly.

On our follow-up visit, the surgeon pointed out to us what we had noticed. The slight pull up of the lip, instead of it being a smooth line. Also, the scar was a bit red in color. At our appointment 6 months later, the surgeon continued to be concerned about the redness and the pulling up of his lip. We were to come back again in another 6 months to assess his lip once again.

Meanwhile, he continued to astound us with his physical abilities. At 4 months he was pushing himself across the floor on his stomach. At 6 months he did the army crawl. During playgroup picnics, he was the only one who wouldn't stay on the blanket. He was always focused on something at a distance that he could zero in on, and did, by crawling over the rest of the babies and moms to get there. By 10 months (when GIRL was born) he started walking. He has always been on the move and is curious about everything.

When BOY was 18 months old, he had his 2ND surgery. We were a little reluctant as by then he looked perfect to us. And would it really make a noticeable difference? But, the surgeon, being a perfectionist as all good surgeons are, explained that each surgery is a new experience. A new opportunity. His hope was that the new scar tissue would heal differently, not be as red in color and that the scar tissue beneath the incision would be softer. This surgery was called a lip revision. Because he was so active, they thought it might help to give him a drug to relax him beforehand. The nurse explained to us that in 5% of children, it didn't work. didn't work. So, he was quite scared, being more aware of his surroundings when the hand off came this time. The surgery, although less complicated, still took quite a long time - from what I remember over 2 hours. He was very agitated when he awoke and cried until we literally walked out of the hospital.

The surgeon was right, as this time his lip was beautifully aligned, the scar tissue less red and it has continued fading to white over time. Today, you can hardly see it. For people who didn't know BOY back then, the scar escapes their notice. They assume it is from a fall or accident, if they notice it at all. It will always be a part of him and if anything, those experiences melded him to our hearts even more. He will make the girls swoon with that little scar. There's something Sexy... something Rough & Ready about a man who has a scar. A little dangerous, perhaps? Definitely intriguing. That's how I like to see it.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Well...I was actually pretty stunned at this

Earlier this morning...

So, the doubts are creeping in today. Both kids were dressed (on their own) and ready to go out the door just after 8am. They got in the car willingly. There was no talk of "I don't want to go to school." The drop off was seamless. BOY's teacher greeted him enthusiastically and he was happy to see her. GIRL held back for a second, but only over the decision to partake in a french toast breakfast or not. As I bent down to hug GIRL good-bye, we watched the other little girls in her class swirling around with long scarves. The room was full of happy children. I talked to her teacher. The Director had not told her yet that GIRL is leaving. So, the news came from me. She was very surprised and sad. "GIRL has been so happy here..." It is SO hard to be a grown-up and make the right decision for your children. It would be far easier to stay and hope things get better.

Then.... I was interrupted by the Director of the school calling me. She said that she just had to connect with me and ask us to give them another chance. To give the school a chance to make it right and to do things differently with BOY. To focus on all the things that he does. She was very clear that BOY would stay on a 1/2 day schedule indefinitely until all of us felt he was ready to be there a couple afternoons a week. She also wanted to let me know how happy he seemed to be and that they had noticed a major shift in him this week. She said that if we decided to move forward and take BOY & GIRL out of school that she respected what we felt we needed to do for our child, but she hoped we would stay.

Well...I was actually pretty stunned at this. And very pleased. This was major. I shared with her our reservations about what the teacher had said - that BOY had not progressed since September. The Director said that she could see how we could interpret this negatively, but she felt that the spirit in which it was made was not negative. That the teacher cared very much that BOY was happy at school and was having fun. I'm not sure how that could have been interpreted otherwise, but I reiterated that we want BOY to just be compared to himself and not to the other children. I then told her I appreciated her calling us and that I would call her back after E and I had a chance to talk together.

We called her back and E made it clear what our expectations are. That BOY not be pushed. That he is there to have fun. And that our concern is to have BOY in the right environment. She listened. She agreed. She said we could have regular meetings to discuss how he is doing. She said she was very hopeful and enthusiastic that this 1/2 day plan would work for BOY.

So, we agreed to give it a chance. I do think we owe them that. I wouldn't be saying that if BOY still appeared to be stressed at school or at home, but there has been a dramatic difference in his behavior over the last week. He has not been pushing the limits as much. He is laughing. And he is lighter in spirit. He has been BOY. Just as in any relationship, when you have been let down by someone, and they ask you to give them another chance...I think the mature thing to do is to let them do that. I think that the school has been visibly shaken by our intention to leave. And that has compelled them to make changes. I just heard from a friend, whose children are there, that the school will be having teacher in-services every 2 weeks with a child psychologist- checking in and making sure things are going well and that the expectations are appropriate.

When I picked up BOY after lunch, his teacher came over to me and apologized for any misunderstandings. She said that she cares for all the children and that they realize that they have made mistakes. She shared what a great day BOY had today and their number one priority is BOY's comfort level. I feel incredibly relieved, very hopeful, and exhausted.

Oh, and the BIGGEST news of the day. The mysterious disappearing POOP was found! Next to the swing set. Slow Panic can breathe a sigh of relief.... the dogs didn't eat it!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

...kicking practice parading across my buttocks

Yesterday, I woke up in my usual state, stiff and groggy. Stiff because my head was apparently a lure for BOY's kicking feet, otherwise known as the battering ram, during the night. Did I mention he sleeps with us now? He does. E has set-up a great system that works for E quite well. Due to increasing concern over his cojones being rammed intermittently during the dark of night, he now places a pillow between himself and BOY. This has provided a delightful incentive for BOY to inch his way up to tuck in his head by E's head, which positions BOY's body in a strategical diagonal maneuver so that his feet ram into my ribs throughout the night. It works out beautifully for my men. I'm so proud.

And groggy? Well, you know I HAD to infuse myself with chocolate the night before... coupled with a little JD and Coke. Honey, you've got to try it sometime. Irresistible combination. Kind of like Ex-Lax to a bulimic. Just this side of heaven. So, I was groggy and a little off-kilter from my usual bouncy-out-of-the- bed self. I'm naturally a morning person, but I must say what really helps launch me out to safer ground and creates an incentive to be up and moving is the kicking practice parading across my buttocks. You should definitely try it!

However, upon arising and stumbling into the kitchen, one is never quite prepared for one's husband to let you know that his pile of clean clothes, which were on the bedroom floor, are saturated with cat pee. No, nothing prepares you for that. He, rightfully, was pissed with the cat. But, somehow it seems like it is my fault. if I don't have enough laundry to I must DO MORE. Oh, yeah! Once said husband was kissed and hugged on by two small children and a dazed wife, he was on his way to a less dangerous spot. He works in construction. I hadn't had my tea yet, the stench of cat pee was wafting upwards from the pile of soiled laundry on the kitchen floor, and I was ready to cry. It wasn't even 7am.

I tried to regroup, reassess and move forward for the next hour or so, but nothing was going quite right. The plan was to take the kids to the daycare. BOY was going to go a 1/2 day and I would pick him up after lunch. GIRL would stay through nap and playtime and I would pick her up in the afternoon. Since this is our last week, it feels important that they have time to say their good-byes and not have our leaving the school be too abrupt. So, after struggling with getting them dressed, getting lunches packed and showering and dressing myself...we were finally ready to go. Well, I was. GIRL apparently was not. She sat on the floor in front of the bookshelf and started writhing across the floor moaning, "I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL!" Meanwhile, BOY, was deeply engrossed in examining Rolly-pollys in the front yard. After luring GIRL to the car with promises that she could have the book of maps and be the navigator, I had one child in a car seat. BOY finally... got in the minivan after many prompts and the retrieval inside of his favorite stuffed animal dog, Spotty.

Upon the landing of our minivan plane at school, I had two children who were reluctant to exit the vehicle. GIRL beginning to sound like a picket line protester stated that she would NOT stay after lunch. We made our way very slowly to BOY's classroom. All the kids were outside. Now GIRL began to keen-- wailing that she could not under any circumstances ...stay. BOY, I think, would have been fine if GIRL had been fine. Last week it worked out well to pick him up at lunchtime, and her in the afternoon. But, all things being equal and since the two of them are in obvious cahoots...BOY stated that he, also, would not be attending school that day. And so after about 10 minutes of discussion, we left. I was disappointed and aggravated, because I now see my little window of free time disappearing and it scares me. To death. But, I know it is the right decision. I know it is the right decision. I know it is the right decision. This. Is. My. Mantra. I just didn't see the point of leaving them keening and wailing at the gate when we are taking them out of school this week. And really, it was my own damn fault. If I get them to school before 8:30am, all the kids are still inside and somehow that seems easier for them to make the transition.

So, we get home and I send them out to the backyard to play. A good amount of time goes by. The BOY enters stage left, completely naked, and walks past. As I admire his cute little bottom, I notice that there is something extremely uncute stuck to it. A lump of poop. I try not to SCREECH and quickly escort him to the indoor bathroom. After helping to hose him off, I ask him what exactly happened.

I pooped outside, Mommy.

Yes, BOY, I realize that you pooped outside. But, why did you poop outside?

I wanted to.


I wanted to poop where the doggies poop.

So, I get him dressed again. I grab some plastic bags and go in search of human poop. I search the dog run. No big boy poop. I then search the backyard. The grass is high. It could be anywhere. I do not find it. Apparently, somewhere, outside... is a poop waiting to be found. Apparently not by me.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

What a night! Oscar Night 2008. And did you see Tootsie & Mrs. G?

What a night! Oscar Night 2008. Let me tell you...incredible. I'm a little groggy, but it was worth it. You know it is just exhausting to attend these things. Viggo told me ahead of time that it would be a looong ass night. He was right. Especially when the camera kept going in for a close-up on us and I had to smile, desperately hoping that they were shooting me on my good side. You may have noticed how young I looked? People kept telling me I looked 12! Flatterers, flatterers. I'm sure you saw us right up front with Johnny and Mrs. G. Unfortunately, every time Johnny was on camera, Mrs. G was winking and blinking at Jon. [Notice how Johnny looks peeved and Jon looks like he is exchanging something untoward with Mrs. G.] I thought that was a little much myself, but you know Mrs. G...she always likes to keep another one on the back burner. Of course, it was great to see Tootsie Farklepants sashay around. Oh, you didn't see her? That's right! She kept running off to the loo to adjust her hot pants. I forgot about that. That is why you didn't see Tootsie. You'll have to take my word for it. She really looked fabulous, a little tipsy, but fabulous. George was quite taken. Well, when she was with him. I think she just got really caught up in chatting it up with all the paparazzi. It was her first time, after all. Mrs. G and I, well, we're old hands at this. And before you start worrying, E was completely O.K. with this. He has known about Viggo for YEARS. He met me afterwards for the parties, which is really all the fun anyway. If I look a bit stiff, it is only because E feels that he's been incredibly tolerant of Viggo. I agree. But, I can't help it if Colin was ogling me. I mean ...he's an animal.
Of course, it is a total secret that Mrs. G and Tootsie Farklepants were at the Oscars. Oh sure...they are playing it down on their blogs. Pretending they were belly up to the couch and with their husbands. They are lying. Both of them.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Why I decided to go grey...a pictorial of my journey to becoming a tousled silver streak

Good GOD it is time for some smut. Time to laugh. Time to shake that intense, mind sucking numbing brain of meself and take a little stroll through photo memory lane. Join me, won't you?

It all started out so well. She was born in the 60's. A time of excitement...

...and apparently aliens. She shared her birthday with the first grey alien sighting. How thrilling!

She perfected the clasped hands pose early on.
And had her first bad haircut.

Later, her hair was the envy of all, most especially her "bowl-cut" bangs. She spent time on the Mediterranean.

And although a bit bucky in teeth, had a warm smile set off by excess hair oil.

There was a golden period. A time when she actually had an ass.

Alas, the golden period was short lived. Braces were donned at 16. Nothing else need be said...

Several years passed and then began the period of hair experimentation...

She vacationed in Mexico as a blonde. The hat was an accessory to die for. Especially worn with sweats. Tres chic.

Otherwise known as the Flashdance period. OOOHHHH...what a feeling to swing around BIG hair.

Learning to apply lipstick in a moving vehicle wearing these earrings was an accomplishment that filled her with pride.

There was that unfortunate Halloween. Or was this part of the Flashdance period? Please, notice the heels. No matter. Men scattered to the high hills.

She had her very own Like a Virgin limo tour. She was into the groove.

She wouldn't be caught dead without her lace. Or her dresses.

Finally she said...why am I not getting paid for this? And she got a job singing telegrams. Sometimes as a nurse. She took meticulous care of her men's blood pressure and could do a good leg thrust.

Then there was that unfortunate, doughy, sun splotched period in St. Maarten where she met a Mr. T lookalike. His bathing suit seemed...showy.

She ditched the island life after a week and a few months later was able to be in her brother's wedding. [Probably better that he wasn't clued into her island escapades.] Between the 1st fitting and the final, she gained 20lbs. But look at that young, rounded skin glistening on a spring day.

As an actress she had some very minor success. There was the mysterious Greta Garbo look. It lasted as long as this photo shoot and was never recaptured.
A few years later she met E while shooting the incredibly glamorous film genre known as the industrial film. They were relatively young and both liked shorts.
Although they each thought it fortunate that he had not experienced JCK's previous highbrow...yet...stylish... yet... oh so trendy periods, he was continually intrigued by her auditioning attire. [Here she is off to Covington, Georgia for In the Heat of the Night.] What a bad ass.
JCK had SO many talents she wanted to share with E. Among them coloring her hair to match the inside of an elevator. Purple gloves go SO well with black leather, don'tcha think?
After retiring from acting at least on stage and screen, she went on to massage school and became a massage therapist, leaving the elevator hair behind her.
Filled with endorphins they married.
A perm for the wedding, then brunette just for kicks. E had whiplash, but was never bored.
And then a golden, perky flip.

JCK moved to California with E and lived a full life. They did everything and more to have a baby. Their path to become parents led them to open adoption and on an evening in November 2003, BOY entered their lives.

This is moments after BOY has been born.
2 months later... GOOD GOD, she's pregnant! She gains 45 delicious pounds. She doesn't care.

GIRL is born. She is 10 months younger than BOY. This is enough to turn JCK's hair platinum.
And then BOY starts walking. At 10 months old. Keeping up with two babies who are 10 months apart is a challenge. And the silver roots, which she has had for many years...covered up by a variety of hues, begin to creep in. The hell with it. She's going au naturale.
JCK is just too...tired to think about her hair. Uh Oh...She lost the 45lbs a little too fast. Henceforth known as the Old Ma Kettle period.
But, THEN really feels liberating this going silver thing. There is a freedom in it. A relief. And the part of her that loves to be different is satisfied. Because this is different. Are you kidding me? It's radical, man. This is L.A. Nothing is au naturale here. Well, maybe the our house.

Let the good times roll...

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Friday, February 22, 2008

I'll be mistaken for Heidi's grandmother when the hills come alive with the sound of music

If it is possible to feel both heartsick and resolved, then that is what I feel. We've decided to take the kids out of the daycare. Next Friday will be their last day. It was a difficult decision, and yet...not. Painful, because we have invested so much of ourselves in this school and our children have spent many a happy hour there. I have been a Parent Partner in Girl's class. I have helped with fundraising. I have been a loyal parent cheering on the teachers, and I even wrote a personal letter to city council members when it looked like the school might close if it didn't find a new location. My heart has been involved here. Perhaps, most significantly, until now, I have really, really believed in this school. However, the school that promotes itself as play based with a noncompetitive environment allowing each child to develop and mature emotionally, socially, physically and intellectually... truly doesn't exist here. I feel betrayed, angry and frustrated. On the other hand, I also feel empowered and clear. It is the right decision. We will, naturally, maintain and nurture the wonderful friendships which have grown over the last two years with other families, and create play dates so that the children will see their friends.

We told BOY and GIRL last night. I don't know what I was expecting. Protests from GIRL? Shouts of joy from BOY. Neither happened. Instead they seemed to take it in, and then were on to the next thing. I guess they are 3 and 4... Meanwhile...I needed a cocktail. In fact, I have been honoring the cocktail hour nightly. As my most witty friend says ..."it is 'wineO'clock.'" This week I've had some wineO'clock, some JackO'Clock, even some beerO'clock ...whatever works. And OF COURSE the requisite chocoO'clock-- which in case you are wondering is not liquid based. Always, always the chocolate.

The immediate plan is just to chill and regroup. I've signed us up for a nature class starting in April and we will make ourselves frequent visitors to the YMCA again. Yes, my body will become rock hard and I'll be mistaken for Heidi's grandmother when the hills come alive with the Sound of Music. Perhaps we'll do gymnastics twice a week instead of once. BOY & GIRL will get back into some kind of preschool routine, but perhaps it will just be a morning preschool program. Maybe starting in the fall. I'm thinking of this period as a fresh start, a renewal. The ice floes are melting away...and revealing a vibrant spring. My goal is to stay open to the possibilities and to nuzzle on my children. For I am so blessed to have this time to reassess with them. Everything happens for a reason...

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

blogher '08 .....Let's do it!

It's been quite a week you know, and I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you lovely readers. For those of you who have commented, you have added wind to my sails and I truly feel the strength, fire and passion from all of you! I also feel the encouragement from those of you who choose not to comment...yet (I hope!) I thank all of you for taking the time out of your busy lives to come by here. I know there are A LOT of blogs to read..... says she who is addicted to other blogs . many of you wild and crazy women are going to BlogHer '08, this July in San Francisco??? I'm in. You? You? You?
I can't imagine anything more fun, well.... REALLY, I cannot!

Do tell!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Seeing his gifts

I watched him today
the Boy whose teacher said
had not made any progress
since September.

The Boy who found a friend
within seconds of
his socked feet hitting
the indoor playground.

The two becoming
engineers, innovative builders
with clear tubes, velcro
and a rolling ball.

The Boy asked questions
of the other one,
listening, head tilted up
lying on his stomach.

Climbing, bouncing
running, sliding
huddled intently
tuned in, present.

I watched him today
seeing his gifts
and knowing ...
that I will fight for them.


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Monday, February 18, 2008

Joy is plentiful atop the hill where sticks are swords...

Today a vision. BOY on a playdate with one of his best friends at a local park...

They run toward each other as if in slow the last second stopping short with a shuffling of feet, looking sideways with shy grins to see what the other does. Then they are off! Flying feet and wide open smiles rocketing to the playground. An hour of games with climbing towers and being Power Rangers. Then rounded up by moms and herded with smaller sisters to a spot under canopied trees, cradled by large boulders for a picnic lunch. Mothers and daughters focus on eating, boys up and down- quick bites for fuel. Chasing squirrels and the elusive sunshine on a cool day. Joy is plentiful atop the hill where sticks are swords, cheeks are flushed and the world is theirs. A dirt mound, a volcano... with hot lava and imagined perils. A few tumbles and falls, occasional hurt feelings, but most of all love. As only little boys can. On a hilltop covered with boulders, waving sticks and allowed to be boys.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

BOY is stressed

BOY has been going part-time to the daycare for 2 years now. We have up until this year, been really thrilled with his care there and how much he has loved it. But, this year there have been noticeable differences. It is almost as if he has skipped a grade. He is in a Pre-K program and although the intent is to have him do the program for an additional year next year, what is being asked of him this year is a lot for BOY. In most other programs, BOY would be in a 4 year old class. This daycare has no class in-between the 3 year old room and the Pre-K class. For many children, maybe most children, this is not an issue. But, for our active, sensitive little guy, who is like the little engine that could - because he gets there, but in his own time, it is challenging. He is not meeting their expectations. He is being compared to other children, rather than compared to himself. We see the growth in him. They see what he isn't doing compared to others his age. I think it is vitally important to expect children to develop in their own time. If he wasn't meeting the basic milestones for a 4 year old, that would be something to look at more closely. But, he is!

I have always had a hesitation when they wanted to progress him to the next class. I saw the advantage of him having an extra year. But, the teachers thought he was ready to progress. This year, socially it was the right choice. He has formed close friendships with a few boys and it would have been difficult to see his friends across the hall, and not be with them. But, there is such an advantage in being an older child in his class. Last year, some of his classmates were his age now, in the room with 3 year olds. What a gift, that extra year. And our hope was that him having that extra year next year would be what he needs. But, the current situation doesn't feel right.

The one thing, the important thing, in which we are on the same page with the daycare about is this... BOY is stressed. The stress is coming from his relationship to his school and no one wants him to be stressed. But, where our opinions differ is why he is feeling stressed. Their feeling appears to be that he has the problems. He is the one not fitting their parameters. They don't appear to see that they could offer him more choices. If it is hard for him to sit at a table in a small group, perhaps they could have him stand at the table. If he speaks out during circle time saying, "Are we done yet?, I'm done"- well, maybe he is bored. These are pretty basic concepts, but apparently not something they have thought of.

He is my son. He is precious. And he should be respected for who he is. Not for who they think he should be. Will the 1/2 days fix it? I'm not sure it will. But, maybe because BOY has always loved school until recently, it is worth giving it a try.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Their expectations are too high

We had a conference yesterday afternoon with BOY's lead teacher and the Director of his daycare. BOY has become increasingly stressed at school. He has been having accidents, and now this week has had 2 incidents of acting out at nap time. Today he leapt off of his cot and started running around the room refusing to get back on his cot. The Director took him to her office and set up the cot there and he continued to run in the office. She had to physically lie on top of him to keep him on his cot. He finally settled down, chatting up the Director and fell asleep. The first thing I thought of when they told us this was ...why didn't they take him outside for a few minutes?

Parenting is a journey of so many twists and turns. It is mind boggling. My heart is heavy with worry over BOY right now. I have been so exhausted with this that I was unable to even articulate my thoughts and write last night. At 4 years old, a time when he should be playing and having fun and delighting in life, he is feeling pressure and stress at his daycare. Their expectations are too high. He is 4. He is feeling stress. Those two concepts should not be engaged or related to each other. It is insane for a 4 year old to be stressed out at preschool/daycare.

BOY has always been unique. Of course, every parent thinks their children are unique. But, I have to say that he is different. In an amazing, colorful, irresistable, and yes, challenging way. From an early age, it was so obvious that he thinks "outside the box." He is an inventor. He has a vivid imagination. He is an individual thinker. He needs lots of physical activity and his body is always moving. Not in an erratic, jumpy way, but he is what you would call "all boy". And he is incredibly sensitive and empathetic to others. And I will not have his spirit squashed.

Last night he was almost manic, he was flying around the living room and talking nonstop. He had to go to sleep between us because he was so whacked out. By this morning, he was calmer, but had 2 accidents at home. We spent the whole day hanging around outside playing with toys, and loving on him. The day noticeably turned around and he has gotten progressively calmer.

We're going to try a couple of weeks of just 1/2 days to see if that helps. I am now beginning to understand God's plan in me not having found a full-time job yet. BOY needs me. In a big way. And I'm right here.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

And then she walked away...

GIRL and I were in the check-out line this morning at Trader Joe's. Yes, I live there. An elderly lady, with a pink knit cap, got in line behind us and was immediately drawn to GIRL. (I have to admit, GIRL looked delicious.)

"Oh, look at you! You are dressed in pink from head to toe. I LOVE your fancy pink bows. Oh, you are SO beautiful. She's going to be a beautiful woman."

Then... to me...

"I lost 2 babies when I was married 75 years ago. I was never able to have children, so I always love it whenever I see one," she said.

She won my heart instantly. My thoughts, of course, go to how easily that could have been my scenario. I never had any miscarriages, but for years was never successful at getting pregnant. And then our adoption of BOY, our first miracle and then the birth of GIRL, a double miracle.

I smiled at her and patted her gently on the arm. It seemed enough. We connected. She smiled. I told her I admired her cozy pink knit cap. She may have been a bit off on it being 75 years ago, when she lost her babies, but she was old and she was totally in the moment. However many years ago it really was, it is still present in her mind.

I had buckled GIRL in the van and was just getting in my seat, about to close the door.

Can I see her one more time? To say good-bye? the little lady asked, so gently.

"Of course you can," I said. I opened up the side door, so she could see GIRL.

And then we said our good-byes. She joked about the walk to TJ's and back home again being her only exercise, and how she sits for the rest of the day watching Dr. Phil and Judge Judy. How she gets tired just sitting. And then she walked away...

My children are my precious Valentines. Such a surprise they were and continue to be. I am delighted that such a lovely little lady could share GIRL's special essence, too.

Happy Valentine's Day! I wish for you ...LOVE.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Like nectar to a hungry bee

GIRL has recently developed an affection for her two baby dolls. Every night she puts them to bed, cozily tucking a small blanket around each one. One doll sleeps in the toy pack-n-play and one doll on the couch/bed we have in the playroom. She carefully pats each one and kisses them goodnight. It has become a ritual for her, before she goes to bed. I love watching her as she takes the time to tuck them in - just right.

Today, when I picked her up from school, she was sitting in a circle listening to her teacher read a story. As soon as she saw me, she leapt up "MOMMY!!!" All soft, rosy cheeks, mussed hair and dirt smudges lunged at me and tilted her head up for a kiss, wrapping her arms around my neck. Like nectar to a hungry bee. Better than chocolate. Infinitely...

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I don't tend to follow the planetary patterns, but perhaps I SHOULD

The last few days have looked something like this....

Sunday morning, E goes out to get into his truck and finds several checks from our joint account torn out of our checkbook and on the driveway. He comes to get me. We realize that someone has stolen my checkbook out of the van. Niiice. Then Mr. Detective searches the grounds (20 foot lot - hey, it is Southern California) and finds a homemade crack or pot pipe on the street behind his truck. Greeaat. We've got drugged-up thieves. Too bad they didn't drop off any of the big V. I could use a few handfuls by now. And NO, I do not speak of Viagra. McCain can have that. I speak of the V of relaaaaaxation...Valium. NEED IT!

You see, E had his checkbook stolen last summer and we had all kinds of identity theft crap that we had to deal with. This recent theft hits a raw spot. And we've been having a few incidents in our neighborhood over the last year and a half. Petty thefts. Why they call it petty, I'll never know. It's pretty damn UNpetty when it happens to you. So, we've had a few thefts, neighbors having rowdy parties advertised on MySpace and charging admission, unfortunately, I do not jest about this. And you have to understand, we live in a small town in the foothills. Not some major metropolis. Just adjacent to that sprawling Los Angeles metropolis. So, that's that.

Except that the incident left me feeling somewhat depressed and out of sorts. It seems I am not alone. BOY was apparently unruly during what was supposed to be nap time at school yesterday and started rolling around the room, keeping some awake and basically started screaming when the teacher tried to stop him, which woke the rest of the kids up. Apparently...the noise carried down to the next room and those children awoke, too. Perhaps BOY and I both have our moons in R Anus or something. I don't tend to follow the planetary patterns, but perhaps I SHOULD. Definitely mooniness in the air. Although I am, I believe, much more disturbed. He's merely a 4 year old who wants to be naughty. I'm a 4ty 6yr old who NEEDS to act naughty. So, I ate most of the leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator. Left one piece for E. He never ate it, so I polished it off today. Livin' LARGE these days. Livin' LARGE. Luckily E likes a woman he can grab a hold of... Well, I've got a handful of JCK's arse here..but, where is the rest of the arse? Oh...just follow the sugary crumbs. What can I say? I worked up quite an appetite for sweets - rearranging all that furniture in the living room.

So, today while I'm still feeling that cheesecakey hangover, I call my recruiter on the phone - just to check-in. As I have been doing now, weekly, since last month. "It is just terrible...nothing is going on" she says. "I even made some calls to beat the bushes today."

Somehow, whenever I hear this refrain (and I've heard it now a FEW times), I end up feeling sorry for HER.

Then almost in a STAGE WHISPER she says, "You'll never guess what has happened with that temp that I put in for that job you turned down."

"What?" I whisper.

"She took the job and they gave her $$$$$!!"

"Wow", say I, making slicing motions across my wrists. Because at the moment....$$$$$ sounds pretty seductive.

"But...." she follows up, "you were SO right to turn it down, JCK, she is working TONS of overtime. TONS." That made me feel slightly better. I stopped making slicing motions and started banging my head against the wall. For therapy.

It wasn't all depressing. GIRL is learning her alphabet.

"P is for PENIS!" she shouted at lunchtime today.

"Well, GIRL, you are right," I said.... just too tired to redirect.

It seems that perhaps my path should be in homeschooling. At least my daughter is learning the alphabet. I could also teach her about nutrition and the need to feed the body. Or perhaps...chemistry, because instead of all that cheescake just sticking to my has by this time drifted down proportionally around my ankles settle there...

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Monday, February 11, 2008

When all else fails, quit your yammering and...rearrange the furniture

I find myself dragging my heels today and trailing a miasma of "woe is me." On days like this, when I can thrust myself up and over the cup of rancid thoughts, I take stock. And this is what I see:

I have a life that I dreamed of for many years. I have a husband, whom I love and who loves me. I have two exquisite children who enrich and touch my life on a daily basis. My plate is full of special friends and a loving extended family. And...I have discovered the varied palette of the blog. Sometimes cheesecake. Sometimes lemon rind. Sometimes the center of an Oreo. Sometimes a struggle.

And today it is a jousting match, just to be me. My feelings are unruly and it is difficult to write. Ever painful to pull those thoughts out, that are clenched so tight. And yet when I try, they are far too clever and slippery-- escaping through my fingers.

I do know this....When all else fails quit your yammering and...rearrange the furniture...

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

A Recipe for happiness

Happiness is sitting here in my office with the afternoon sunlight creeping through the window, while watching BOY & GIRL outside mixing up their own batch of fun in the back yard.

A 3 year old girl
A 4 year old boy
1 large plastic kiddie pool
2 balls
4 trains
2 cars
several plastic vegetables
a plastic frying pan
2 large pails full of water

Baking time:
Over 1 hour in the translucent Southern California February
Clothing optional

Helpful hint:
A hands-off approach is best. Let them create their own fun. You can take a moment for yourself, which ensures everyone's happiness.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Mommy how do babies come out of there?

We have recently been talking about babies. BOY and GIRL like to put their stuffed animals in their shirts and walk around:

Look, Mommy! Spotty is in my tummy, shouts BOY with a wide smile.

Mommy, I have Lamby in my tummy, giggles GIRL.

They are more aware. They notice women who are pregnant now. They ask them questions. Well, our local reporter BOY does:

You got a baby in there? Can I see it?

The moms are usually pretty good sports, luckily all have been truly pregnant so far, and many of them surviving the grand inquisition by small people at home as well.

GIRL likes to take everything in. She twirls the thoughts in her head for a while, then she takes her moment:

Mommy how do babies come out of there?

.....long, loooooong......LONGEST....OF.....PAUSES in which this particular Mommy tries not to remember how babies come out of there. She's only birthed once, and although worth it, she doesn't like to go there. But, since she does believe that children should be told the truth, unless clearly inappropriate, she whips up her linguistic skills.

Where do you mean GIRL? [hoping that by now GIRL has moved on to safer ground.]

How do babies come out of your tummy? asks GIRL.

Well, GIRL, there is hole between a lady's legs and the baby comes out ...there.

What is it called? [This is beginning to feel like a tennis match. Your serve, Mommy!]

A vagina. [Point. Set. Match. They will have scars from this conversation. For life. Up until this point they thought a vagina was just something different than a penis, and both without much of a purpose...except to pee.]

There is a symphony of high pitched giggles from the two car seats.

A VAGINA!!!! ....giggle...giggle....giggle...

GIRL, YOU have a VAGINA!!! shrieks BOY in a giggle fit.


So, Mommy, girls and ladies have vaginas and babies come out, states GIRL. [She who is always reassured by facts, and likes to stay on point.]

Well, GIRL, that is right. Girls and ladies do have vaginas, but LADIES HAVE BABIES. NOT GIRLS. [It is never too early to start the brainwashing.]

Can boys and men have babies? asks BOY. [Up until this point, I have taught him that men and women are equal.]

Well, BOY, they can be parents, but NO... only LADIES HAVE BABIES.

Why? asks BOY. [Apparently the match is not over. There is a tie breaker.]

Because only ladies have vaginas, I say. [Match?]

AND GIRLS! clarifies GIRL. [Point. Set. Match. Girl wins the tie breaker.]

And girls, I mutter....

Mommy, let's play I SPY!!! says BOY.

A segue! Thank GOD. Now I just hope that GIRL doesn't spy something PINK for a long, long time.....

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

The raging thoughts eat away at my essence

The raging thoughts
eat away at my essence
unnerving my soft core
of ripe plunder.

I should be

I should have

I must

I didn't...

Mere words, yet theorems
that have the brutality
of a knife flung dead-center
from my own hand.

These threads come
at different times
to twist in the wind
of my soul.

In the shadows of night
they mock and provoke
morning scattering them
away to their corners.

...until they come back
by day, and they do
sitting insidiously in a pile at my feet
beseeching me with their shrieks.

Why is it in mid-life that they are still here,
these weighted dreadlocks to my psyche?
Such covert operators, sly...
and slick with Medusa's venom.


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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

So let's get back to what's truly important...choo choo trains

When we met with the local preschool special education team last week to have BOY evaluated for a possible learning disorder, we were exposed to a lot of great information on the development of boys. Some of which I had heard before, some I hadn't. Even though they concluded that BOY didn't have any learning issues, and was developing "typically in all domains," the visit was certainly not a waste of time. I came away with two jewels: my instincts are good - always listen to them and it is always better to check, just to be sure. I would much rather have a preschool teacher who is aware of each child -both their strengths and weaknesses. And I am glad that BOY's teacher met with us and expressed her concerns. She is paying attention, and that is a gift.

Because the teacher had suggested we have BOY evaluated, we had the opportunity to meet with an entire team of child development professionals. And that enabled us to get reinforcement for our parenting skills, and also provided a chance to learn about our son. E and I left the evaluation team meeting feeling empowered. We have real tools and ideas that we can give to his lead teacher and information that can be shared with all the teachers in his class. Everyone benefits.

The most important thing to us is that BOY is loved and respected for who he is, not compared to other children in his class [because he isn't at their maturity level yet], and that he feels good about himself - just because he is BOY. We see the incredible progress he is making and we are focused on the fact that he is maturing at his own pace. He may be a little behind the other kids in some aspects, but the important thing is that he is moving forward. Comparisons will come later, and that is part of life, but life shouldn't be too intense at this point. Overall, I have been thrilled with his daycare preschool and have had very few issues. The teachers are amazingly gifted and creative. Best of all, they love the children. I feel confident that we can work with his teachers and that he will mature. He has another year and a half before Kindergarten. He has time to be a 4 year old boy. So, let's get back to what's truly important....choo choo trains.

In my recent reading, I came across this fascinating information about boys:

What About Those Boys?
By Dan Hodgins

Boy Statistics:
1) Last year, 34% of preschool children were expelled, 87% of them were boys
2) 81% of children “kicked out” of school last year were boys
3) Boys are 6 times more likely to be “misdiagnosed” with ADD or ADHD
4) Boys are 4 times more likely to be put in special education
5) Boys are 7 times more likely to be labeled with reading or language delays
6) Boys are more likely not to complete high school
7) Boys are 9 times more likely to be labeled with a behavior problem
8) Boys are 4 times more likely to commit suicide

Developmental/Structural Differences:
In most cases girls brains mature earlier (boys can be 12 - 18 months behind)
Girls acquire their complex verbal skills as much as 1 year earlier
The corpus collosum in females is up to 20% larger
Girls take in more sensory data
Boys have a thicker skull

Functional Differences:
The resting female brain is more active than the activated male brain
Male brains turn on (like a machine) to do a task, then goes in to pause state
The male brain is overwhelmed by stimulation more quickly
Boys respond better to loud noises
Six times more girls sing in tune
Males have better night vision
Girls have better long term memory

Language Differences:
Communication among boys is 55% facial expressions; 38% voice tone; 7% voice alone
On the average, females produce more words than males (by 5 years of age girls have 5,000 - 7,000 word vocabularies;
boys have 3,000 - 5,000)
Girls use words as they learn them
Boys tend to work silently
Boys work out codes among themselves
Boys relate language with action

Use of Space:
Boys tend to need more space when they learn
Girls usually stay within a confined space
In block play; boys build tall; girls build low and wide
Boys move more objects in space

Preschool boys can have up to 5 testosterone spikes an hour
School age boys can have up to 7 spikes an hour
Adolescent boys can have up to 10 spikes an hour
Boys engage in more motor activity during a spike

Feelings and Emotion:
Boys process and release feelings in quick bursts of energy
Males are wired to have delayed reactions to problems
Male feelings are expressed more physically
Males can go into a “cave” state for protection
Boys do not talk about their feelings

Bonding and Attachment:
Bonding and attachment must occur before the age of five
Roughhousing is essential for bonding
Hugging, handshaking, back slapping, punching, pinching are modes of bonding
Gun play, sword fighting, kicking games are not violent initiators
Bossy kids are healthy kids
Give choices that are powerful

98% of information we receive leaves within 5 minutes unless it is real, hooked to an emotion, relevant to the child
Movable objects are needed
Power play
Firm adults
Time to solve problems
Visual guidance

Mmmm...I wonder if this information will help me to better understand the BIG BOYS?

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Because you can

The phone is ringing OFF the hook! Hooray, we are LOVED! Well...not exactly. Apparently we are loved, but from an unexpected source. Ahhh yes...nothing like those automated phone messages. Especially from the political party that you don't associate yourself with. All day long. We changed our telephone number a few months ago and it seems the previous owner was a member of ...another persuasion. So, we're getting all of their calls. It's kind of like one of those pranks where someone orders a bad pizza for you and you have to pay for it. Except worse. You have to pay for it all right. In spades.

Tomorrow is D Day. Interpret that as you will. I know that I will be standing in line to vote, at this tiny little church, where all the volunteers are very sweet, but not the greatest at efficiency. BOY will be in school tomorrow morning, and I will drag GIRL to the polling booth so that she can witness firsthand how important it is to vote.

I remember so well, the last time I voted. The Terminator was running for Governor. I had to put in a word. Not FOR. But, you know, he won...and that's that. There I was, pushing and tugging the double stroller, with two wee ones on the verge of tears. Trying to get the stroller to face in a sideways direction, so that I could set myself up at a booth to vote was a bit of a challenge. BOY & GIRL had bowls of snacks and brimming Sippy cups of milk. Between flung snacks and unhooking their small fingers from each others' nostrils, I had no trouble punching those troublesome chads. Even with a somewhat violent thrust, it still took about....oh, a good hour or SO to do my punch card, as I had to field flying nutrients, retrieve toys and mop up a bit of drool. I felt good about making the effort though. As I do every time I vote.

I was thinking today about how things used to be for women before 1920. We had no registered voice. We could not vote. It has only been since 1920 that women were allowed to vote. What must that have been like to watch the men in your life go off and vote knowing that your voice would not be counted, at least publicly? Tomorrow we have the opportunity and privilege of exercising our 19th Amendment . In whatever direction you are leaning...take your luscious bottom, walk it to your local polling place and get yourself belly up to a voting booth. Because you can.

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Sunday, February 3, 2008 may appear to be a joint project for the "greater good" of the household

There were many lessons to be learned this weekend.....

But, the CliffsNotes version is this...

Although it may appear to be a joint project for the "greater good" of the household, a husband and wife should NEVER engage in assembling and installing computer equipment together. EVER.

Added note: It is especially unwise to engage in this activity with two young children pinging and ponging within the small, cluttered space referred to as "the home office," where the equipment is being installed.

Final note: When chocolate is not handy and the situation is desperate, large spoonfuls of Double Rainbow Blueberry Ice cream stuffed quickly into one's mouth, while hiding on top of the washing machine with the pantry doors in a pinch. If you don't mind the spin cycle.

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Friday, February 1, 2008

It took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush and might take a Clinton to clean up after the second Bush

I wasn't going to bring up or discuss Presidential politics on this blog, but this morning I felt compelled to do so. During last night's democratic debate, Wolf Blitzer asked Hillary Clinton why she had voted to move forward with the Iraq war. After she answered the question, Wolf Blitzer then said:

Would you say you were naive in trusting President Bush?

I absolutely couldn't BELIEVE that he said that! Not only because he was completely misappropriating her words, and showing a bias in his role as the "objective" facilitator, but MOST IMPORTANTLY he would NEVER have said that to a man. Ever. It was OUTRAGEOUS. And extremely offensive. Not just offensive to Hillary Clinton, but offensive to all women and really all men who believe that women should be treated with the same respect as men. As evidenced from the cacophony of BOOS that arose from the audience, it appears that some people agree with me. And Hillary Clinton will probably not be able to comment on Blitzer's idiotic question, because she would be accused of using the "...because I am a woman" card.

I'm curious about something. I read a fair number of blogs everyday written by women and I haven't seen even one that endorses Hillary. I see support for Barack. I saw support and then disappointment that John Edwards stepped out of the race. I haven't found one blog that I read regularly that says, Go, Hillary! I'm sure they're out there, but why are they so hard to find? And it could be that someone is privately endorsing Hillary, but not openly admitting it. And this bothers me. Is it, in part, the backlash from the women's movement? Are we as women, truly fulfilling what I have always hoped is a cliché? Do we not support strong women? Do we find them too threatening? By not making our voices heard, are we not really suppressing ourselves? We are lucky enough to live in a country in which we can speak our truth. The women's movement was more than just about burning bras and keeping your maiden name. Wasn't it?

I want to make it clear that I am not saying that we as women should vote for Hillary Clinton for that very reason - just because she is a woman. What I am saying is that Hillary Clinton is a very strong candidate, with proposed policies and convictions that those of us who are democrats can believe in, yet she's not getting our vote? Why?

I have had difficulty with the "toughness" that she cloaks herself in at times. And then I found myself questioning why I felt that way. And what my "beliefs" as to how women "should be" are. And I found fault within myself. We want women to be tough. To be strong. And women are incredibly strong and tough. Yet, we're not supposed to "look tough." What's wrong with this picture? I would guess, if it is a conscious choice and it may not be, that Hillary comes across as "tough" because she is overcompensating a bit -- she is a woman and is under a probing public eye that looks to see if she will be "more emotional" than a male candidate. When she got a bit teary in New Hampshire, I actually liked her better. But, she can't win. If she comes across as unemotional, she is "too hard" and if she has an emotional moment she is "too soft." It is an impossible task.

There are some people who can't get past the lurid headlines of President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. They blame Hilary. For staying with him. For sticking by him. And because of that they hate her. And then there are those people who hate Hillary, just for the sake of hating Hillary and have no reasonable explanation of why they hate her.

Personally I found the whole Monica Lewinsky debacle distasteful and reeking of bad judgment. But, my GOD, should he have been impeached? We impeach a President who has dalliances, yet we keep a President in office who continues to commit immoral acts on a daily basis. Men and women are dying EVERY DAY for this country, because of his fanaticism. But, as Hilary Clinton has said she is the one running for President. She should be judged on what she brings to the table. She is running as Hillary Clinton. Not ...Mrs. William Clinton.

I haven't truly made up my mind whom I will be voting for on Tuesday. I LOVE the passion and hope that Barack Obama has brought to this campaign. It is invigorating. I LOVE the fact that a STRONG woman is running for President of the United States. And that I can scoop up my 3 year old daughter, as she's running around the room, point to the television and say, "A woman could be our next President!" It is uplifting that the two democratic candidates we have running for President are an African American and a woman. If we look around, we are living in exciting times. There is an opportunity here for change. On Super Tuesday, I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and know that I voted for the person whom I think is the best candidate to lead us forward. There shouldn't be any other agenda.

I welcome your thoughts on this subject...

Note: For those interested in politics, I found an interesting blog this morning called: The Political Voices of Women. And Robin Gerber wrote a great post called Fox Fantasies (November 14, 2007) about the vitriol that Fox news is putting up for news these days, specifically in their "take" on women who are front and center.

Added note: The Political Voices of Women just picked up my post and put it on their site! Who woulda thunkit?

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