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January 2010
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March 2010

And she is SO STRONG in cross-country sleeplessness, too.

Okay, so yesterday. Would you like to come with me on a luge ride down memory lane?

After finishing school with the boys and shoving some lunch in front of them, we piled in the van. Picked up Tim, Tre's friend. Drove to Nate and Gabe's house. Dropped off Tim, Tre, and Max so they could luxuriate in the nerf war/playstation/teen/tween boy atmosphere. Backed away slowly, being careful not to make eye contact or any sudden moves.

Then we drove to Josh's house (after one wrong turn - who puts Progress Circle a block away from Progress Drive? Have some imagination, people. Kira. There, I named a street for you. Kira Street.), and collected Josh and his spanish project. Drove to Jackson's house to deliver Josh, Raphael, and their spanish projects. Left them, musing about the joyous decibel level in the house with those particular three boys together. Wondered how much work was actually getting done. Thought sympathetically about the little twitch under Jackson's mom's left eye.

Aaaaand then I drove to the pediatrician's office, because parenthood is nothing if not an endless pop quiz. In about twelve hours Sophia had gone from being a little sniffly to being completely miserable with a barking cough and this gaspy, wheezy breathing that just wasn't happy. And I know what you're thinking - croup.

Okay, yeah, it was croup. With stridor, which is the medical term for "pitiful gasping noise specifically designed age the mother of the patient rapidly."

She was having enough trouble breathing that the doctor prescribed oral steroids. Oh, and antibiotics for the ear infection, because of course she had an ear infection. So we left, went to the pharmacy, went back to the pharmacy (this PARTICULAR pharmacy seems entirely staffed by idiots who hate me and are afraid of ever hitting any speed above "lackadaisical"), and home. Clay picked up Josh and Raphael and returned each to their own home. Tim's dad dropped Tre and Max on our doorstep.

Clay and I gave Sophia her first dose of the steroids, and she started breathing better right away. But you know what this means, right?

Now she can't compete in this year's Olympics.

He had me convinced when I was a kid that aliens left me in the back yard, too.

Do you know what my brother told me recently? He clicks over to Five Full Plates, and then he skims the posts - get this - to find JOSHILYN'S. How's THAT for brotherly love and support? Well, I'll save you the time, brother dear. Joss posted two days ago. And yes, we all know she's brilliant and wonderful, so go ahead and read her post.

Today was my day to post, so maybe the rest of you can spare ME a moment. I wrote about my stunner of an exercise epiphany, with an aside about what Sophia did to me today that has aged me by at least twenty years.

Mother/daughter dance

Outside looks like this:

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And this:

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(Tre took those pictures. Aren't they amazing? Then he and Raphael cut off that branch, with the jagged-teeth looking icicles, and now it's in my freezer. I don't pretend to understand.)  

Since it's so cold, and she has so little hair, I bought a hat for Sophia, an adorable brown crocheted hat with a pink flower. I was so excited to put it on her.

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And every time I do, she does this:

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And this:

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And she tosses it away.

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And just like that, she and I join that ancient line of women and their daughters in that endless dance, wherein I lovingly offer her something I think is beautiful, and she says...

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As IF, Mother.   

In puke and in...not puke

Last night was One Of Those Nights. Both Tre and Max seem to have picked up some sort of stomach virus, and they spent hours - HOURS - taking turns throwing up. By my count they threw up one million times. Each.

So after a night of fractured sleep and clean-up duty and comfort calls, morning came with ferocious earliness. I dragged myself out of bed to face my bright and shiny and LOUD Raphael and Sophia, both of whom seem to have dodged that particular viral hell (thanks be to God). I stumbled around, trailing the belt of my bathrobe, feeling rather wan and overused.

Eventually I found my way to the kitchen table, where my newspaper was waiting for me, as usual. I lifted the top section to find...

A card.

An anniversary card, to be exact. Today it is four years that we've been swimming up this stream together. I slid the card out of its envelope to see this:


Did you catch that? Not twenty-four hours before Puke Fest '10, Clay bought me a card referencing "this crazy time in our life".  Do you realize what that means?


And yet I have to say...he's still worth having around.

I love you, Clay. Thank you for the last four years, and all the years to come. You are my favorite.

It's possible I've read Pat the Bunny one too many times.

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It SAYS that Paul and Judy do lots of things, but when you really look at it, Judy is the one running that show. I mean, JUDY can pat the bunny. JUDY can look in the mirror (narcissistic much, Judes?).

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JUDY can feel Daddy's scratchy face (dude, get that freaky black patch on your cheek looked at. That is JUST NOT RIGHT). JUDY can read her book. JUDY can play peek-a-boo with Paul.

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And yes, I suppose you could argue that Paul is also playing peek-a-boo, but really he's just standing there with a towel over his face. What sort of messed-up mind games has Judy been playing with that poor boy, to convince him this is fun?

Poor sensitive Paul's idea of fun is to smell the flowers. Doesn't your heart just go out to the guy, stealing a moment alone, with his flowers? Paul, we love you JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. We only want you to be happy. I'm sorry your flowers smell like soap. Your life is very hard.

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Paul can also put his finger through Mummy's ring. I...have nothing to say about that. Poor Paul's life is very hard. And very complicated.

And in the end? They want you to BELIEVE that Paul and Judy are waving bye-bye to you, but I think we can all tell that JUDY is waving bye-bye, while hissing at Paul, "Wave like a good boy, or so help me GOD, I will make you cry like the weak little weasel you are." Paul reaches high above his head and dreams of faraway fields of flowers.

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Poor Paul.

If Pat the Bunny got "lost" for a few days, I'm sure you'd all understand? I mean, it's not that I'm screamingly, wildly, white-knuckled sick of it or anything.

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I just don't want anyone getting any ideas from Judy. 

Today's my day to post over at Five Full Plates. Come see what I have to say about progress and pants puppets.

In other news, Sophia walks all over the place these days. This means we have officially entered the era of "OH! What did YOU FIND?"

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Mama, have a tissue! Or FIFTY!

One foot forward

Two weeks ago (was it only two weeks ago? was it ALL of two weeks ago?), I was chatting with Mir. She asked how I was holding up, and I told her I was fine, actually. It was the day of Grandpa's memorial service, I told her, and I was mainly worried about finding Raphael's tie. Tomorrow, I said, it will all be over, people will go home, and then I will think about the fact that he's actually gone.

That night, as we got ready for bed, I looked around the house. It was...trashed. Too little schedule and too much distraction and the clutter got away from me.

"Sorry about the mess," I told Clay. He shrugged.

"It's not like we haven't been busy. We'll get it together tomorrow."

But that night his dad died. Instead of sleeping, we somehow packed bags for everyone and were on a plane by 8:30 in the morning. As we sat in the airport, waiting to board, I thought about the seven suitcases we'd packed.

"I literally have no idea what's in our luggage," I told Clay.

"Me either."

As we flew home a week later, I thought about that night, the numb chaos of it. Now I couldn't imagine what we'd left behind us. And sure enough, when we arrived back at our home, it looked as though it had been ransacked.

It's been nearly a week, and I'm still fighting upstream against the mess. Every day feels like one step forward, two steps...over a slippery mound of newspaper that needs to be taken out to the recycling box.

I got all the laundry washed and put away, which felt like a monumental accomplishment. But then I tried to make banana bread and dropped a container of salt in the mixing bowl, sending a flume of flour across the kitchen. I stepped back to look at it and saw a perfect outline of my foot in the white spray on the floor. I sat down and cried, because it all seemed to hard and too hopeless and too much for me to put back into place.

Now when I wear the shoes I had on that day, I see flour tracing the laces on my left foot. I put one foot in front of the other and watch it appear and disappear and reappear and I try to remember that these things take time.