Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Early, then late, then just a bad Mommy.

I've trained Isabella on the importance of timeliness. Of course, this is good and bad, since she often grills me  as we are on our way to our destination: Are we going to be early? Will we be the first ones there? You mean we're going to be late? What does late mean? So, we're going to be early, then? Right on time? What is 'right on time'? Is that early? You get the idea. The government should try hiring children to conduct interrogations. She knows just which buttons to push, at exactly the right time, and knows just how to push me over the edge so that I start to believe I am insane.

On Monday, Isaac seemed like he was getting a cold, so I was very happy when it took little effort to get him down for a nap, but then I checked the clock. Story-time was going to begin in one hour. Isabella finished up her school work, and I rushed her into the car, and then went back inside and very apologetically woke up Isaac and put him in the car. We were on our way, Isaac asleep again in his car seat, when I remembered, story-time doesn't start at 12:30 p.m., it starts at 1:30 p.m. We would be an hour early. Bang head on steering wheel (not really--that would give me a headache, and I get plenty of those without banging my head against hard objects).

Tuesday was a little different. We were in the car at four o'clock, all set to be perfectly on time for the 4:30 p.m. story-time. I was even a little excited by the fact I had time to stop at Starbucks for a cup of coffee. I got a text from Sarah: Are you guys coming to story-time? Me: Yeah Sarah: It just started (at 4). Bang head on steering wheel.

-Isabella, it looks like I made a mistake, story-time is starting right now, and I thought it wasn't going to start for another half hour.
-Well, we'll get there as soon as we can, and maybe you can still do the craft.
-Yes, I understand you are very disappointed, all we can do is go for whatever part is left and then you can still play with your friends at the library.

It gets better:

I don't even remember why, but Isabella had to go to her room for a time-out. Personally, I love time-outs. I wish someone would put me in time-out. I also love that they send everyone to separate corners, where they have to be silent. I typically use it to my advantage when a time-out is going really well. Basically this means that the time-out recipient forgot they were in time-out and happily stayed in their bedroom. Isabella spent a considerable amount of time her in room on this particular occasion and it was pretty fabulous because Isaac was napping, and she was quiet, and forgot that she could come out of her room. Until she did come out of her room and had a note for me: My mommy does not lok my (My mommy does not like me). Lovely. The power of the written word.

Can you tell, I have a really good track record for parenting this week...and it's only Wednesday (and the first time I typed that, I spelled 'Wednesday' wrong)...and my daughter told me I "need to start remembering stuff better".

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mostly pictures

"This one boy kept telling me that boys are stronger than girls."
"That's crazy. Everybody knows that girls are stronger than boys."
"I tried to tell him, but he wouldn't stop saying that."
"Just tell him that girls give birth to babies, and it hurts a lot to birth a baby, so girls are stronger."
"Well, how am I supposed to remember all of that?"


Mainly just pictures today. Maybe a real post next time. Also, I'm not sure why blogger can't manage to upload my pictures in order. It's a major pain in the butt to switch them around. So, I'll help you out.

Big milestones were met this weekend: Isaac walked almost the entire time we were at the zoo, and he is now wearing his ankle/foot orthotics full-time.

Isabella can spend hours playing outside despite the cold. Stella is always near, and on guard.

We like to tell Isaac that he one of very few, nearly three year old boys, that can still sit on the kitchen counter.

Oh, look at that, we're back at the zoo...
He loved trying to chase his shadow.

Who is this child walking on mulch and leaves?

And now we're home...doing laundry...

"The truth is, I broke the bracelet so that I could use the beads to feed the duck in my play." 
"I had no idea you had a duck"
"It's not a real duck. Obviously, ducks don't eat beads."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The time I told my daughter to eat a balloon...

Every single night the same annoying re-run takes place in our house. It goes something like this:

"Isabella, time to put your pajamas on."
"I'm so starving...I haven't eaten anything ALL DAY, and I can't go to be without my bedtime snack. I really really need a bedtime snack! What can I have for my bedtime snack?"
"We'll talk about a snack after you put your pajamas on."
"Well, I know you're going to say 'no', but I really want this, and you're going to say 'no', but I'm going to ask anyway..."
"Isabella! Just say it and you don't know that I am going to say 'no'!"
"Can I have treat for my bedtime snack?"

Last night, a similar scenario occurred, remember, I said this is our nightly re-run, but she finished her snack and came over to ask a question:

"I finished my snack, but I'm still hungry."
"Fine, take a balloon to bed and eat it."

We both paused for a minute, and I realized my mistake, then we burst out laughing and I almost peed my pants. I meant to say, banana. Two very easily mixed up words, right?

The very common sideways glare. This usually means, "Why are you talking to me and/or looking at me--please stop, or I will scream."

Reading her homework story to daddy...

Talking on the phone with Aunt Rosie...

My tip of the week: Don't let your kids eat balloons. You're welcome.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The McDonald's in My Life

Our property practically backs up to McDonald's. If I didn't like our house so much, and if I didn't enjoy living next door to my in-laws, this would have been a deal breaker. Who really wants to live next to McDonald's? I guess someone who likes eating at McDonald's, but that's not me.

The one exception to not eating at McDonald's, was during my pregnancy with Isaac. For some disgusting reason, I craved their french fries. Of course, Isabella thought that was the greatest thing ever, and Walter enjoyed laughing at the irony of me, eating fast food.

Several months ago, they demolished the McDonald's behind our house, and I kid you not, every single day, Isabella told me how excited she was they were going to build a new McDonald's. When we would pull out on our street to go somewhere, she would ask if we could drive by McDonald's to see if they were done building the new one. I was completely confused by her excitement because we don't even eat there. It seemed like each week I was reminding her that we don't eat at McDonald's because they don't make healthy food. And in the midst of that, she was learning how to read, and would tell me that she wanted to go to Taco Bell. Thank you fast food restaurants for making easy-to-read names for your unhealthy establishments.

Well, I lost in the battle to not eat at McDonald's. Walter took her for a father-daughter date while I was shooting a wedding. I told him he must have made her day, and he assured me that she didn't stop talking about how excited she was to be at the new McDonald's. The next morning she woke up and right off the bat, told me all about it. I listened, and was excited for her, and tried to forget the fact that their fries contain an anti-foaming agent.

Buzz Light Year is still a favorite...

We embraced the unusually warm winter weather by taking a hike on Saturday. 

Friday, January 11, 2013


If you don't watch the show Parenthood, you should. It is one of the best shows that television has to offer, in my opinion. Person of Interest is another favorite of mine. Jim Caviezel just so happens to be my virtual boyfriend--don't worry, Walter knows all about this. It's no secret that Walter has a thing for Rachel Bilson, so it's all good.

There's a story-line in Parenthood about a woman named Julia and her husband, who have adopted an older child, and things aren't going well. So, she headed over to Christina's house to ask for some parenting advice. For anyone who hasn't watched the show, Christina's son, Max, has autism, and they are used to dealing with a challenging child and angry outbursts. Julia, who was feeling at a loss with their newly adopted son, asked what Christina's trick is with Max. Bribery. And she pulled out a giant container of candy and told her, plain and simple, if he does this thing, he gets this many pieces of candy...that thing, and a few more pieces of candy.

There you have it. The secret of parenting.

When I was pregnant with Isaac, and couldn't get Isabella to take a nap, I bribed her with M&Ms. Every day I reminded her, "if you take a nap, you may have two M&Ms when you wake up!" My mom was like, "seriously, she only gets to have two?" In a house without candy, two M&Ms to a two year old was like hitting the jackpot.

Remembering that, makes me wish I could bribe Isaac with some candy. It doesn't work so well to promise to blend it up and push it through his tube. Alas.

What I have discovered though, is that the iPad, is the perfect tool for bribery. This was all very exciting for me since we're really struggling to get Isaac to wear his braces. When we put his braces on, he considers himself immobile, which doesn't help me at all. I did manage to get him to walk across the living-room while holding the iPad just out of reach. And later, he even walked from the living-room to the kitchen all of his own volition. He was quite proud of himself, until he looked down, and I watched as the pride washed from his face, and he remembered how truly terrible it is to wear braces, and started crying.

Isabella is in the process of learning many sight words. She picks up on them pretty quickly, but I thought it might be fun to have a sight word scramble. I said the word, and she erased the correct one from the board. She got it right every time.

Here she is, explaining to me how she set out buckets of water so that the tops would freeze and she would have ice plates.  

"Mommy, you have to be very careful with ice. It breaks very easily and then I would have to wait a long, long time to make more ice plates."

While in the car this week, she told me I'm a really amazing singer. Just so you know, I'm not, but all that matters is that my favorite little girl, thinks that I am.

Have a wonderful weekend.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Friendly Competition

"Mommy, when it's summer again, will I be able to ride a big bike? One without training wheels?"
"Yep, I think you will!"
"Okay. When I do that, I'll bring a box of band-aids with me, so that when I get a boo boo, I can fix it up right away!"

Be prepared, people--bring band-aids. Plain and simple, that's why I don't clean my car. You never know when I may need an empty plastic water bottle. What if we are stranded in the middle of a forest, and can only find a trickling stream? You may be unprepared, and have nothing other than your two hands to cup together for a meager drink of water. But I, I will surely find an empty water bottle under some hastily colored pictures, discarded blankets, toys, and maybe a onesie, or two.


A definite downside to homeschooling is the lack of competition, or motivation to work harder in order to keep up with your peers. I have found that due to Isabella's personality, she needs a little push, or a shove in order to ignite that motivation. I can drill it into her head that in order to be a successful citizen of society she has to learn how to read, and darn it all, she has to learn her math facts, but that's boring, and frustrating for both of us. Walter has reminded me on more than one occasion that as her preschool teacher said, "Isabella is a free spirit." She is, and I feel like I walk a fine line between dampening that spirit, and teaching her the fundamental building blocks of learning.

Frankly, motherhood runs rampant with feelings of guilt. It is so annoying. Am I doing this right? Am I a good enough mom? Are they learning everything they need to know? Am I spending enough time playing with them? Do we read enough? Am I fun? I mean, the list goes on and on. You could drive yourself crazy thinking about all of that.

All of that rambling to say that I suggested to Sarah that we get the girls together to play the "grocery game". It's simple, collect a bunch of random items, make price tags, give your child the coins they are learning, and have them practice counting money. In our case, nickels and dimes. The day before Maya was to come over, she was so worried that she would forget how to count by fives and tens. The two of us have played the grocery game many times, but now she would have someone else watching. The morning Maya was coming over, Isabella told me that while she was waiting for Isaac and I to wake up, she was laying in bed counting by fives. I was so excited--finally, she understood that her learning stretched beyond just the two of us, and practice is actually important.

She didn't forget how to count out her money. Maybe she stumbled a few times, but all in all, it was a good experience for her, and also good for her to see that she is not the only five year old who has to learn how to count dimes and nickels.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Walking With Eyes Wide Open

I was sifting through old blog posts to find something I'd written and stumbled across pictures of Isaac's belly before he had his g-tube placed. It made me so emotional to see his perfect baby belly. I really hope that one day, I'll see his belly again without a tube in place.

One time, when Walter and I were babysitting our friend's son, Milo. I changed Milo's diaper, and out of habit, carefully pulled up his onesie to check his g-tube...Milo doesn't have a g-tube. My sister recently pointed out to me that I talk with my hands more than I ever have. She said that I'm signing without even realizing it. This was after I was describing someone to her who usually wears glasses, and in this case, I wasn't even aware that to my cognitively aware and intelligent sister, I held my fingers up to my eyes like a pair of glasses, just in case she didn't understand the word, 'glasses'.

When Isabella was nine months old, I started teaching her a few signs. It's what everyone was doing, and sounded like a good idea. Who wouldn't want ease up the frustration that comes with deciphering your child's grunts and screams? We really only learned a few: more, please, help, thank you. That was pretty much all we needed to get by, and she ended up being verbal at a young age, so the signs were quickly discarded and forgotten.

Every therapist who meets Isaac is instantly impressed with his ability to use sign language. Sign language for us, has been a life saver. At first, I was embarrassed to sign with him in public. I have no idea why. Probably for the same reason I was initially embarrassed for him to have a tube-feed in public. People then pick up on the fact that something about him is different. He otherwise looks like a pretty normal child, aside from his abnormally small stature, but that usually just leads people to believe he is much younger than he actually is.

I don't mind that Isaac is different, or the fact that our lives have completely changed since his birth. I am saddened with the knowledge that he may not have the opportunities that Isabella will have, and also that Isabella is experiencing a vastly different sibling situation than we'd ever imagined. Either way, we are stronger from our experiences, and Isabella is an incredibly compassionate sibling, who has an understanding of g-tubes, tube feedings, how to turn on and off his pump, OT, PT, SLT, and feeding therapy, that many five year old kids don't have. She is his greatest cheerleader, and my hope, is that she will forever embrace those with special needs, and be aware of the unique challenges people face and not be afraid of them.

It's amazing how life takes you down paths you never thought existed. Our eyes are opened, and we are better because of it.


As the finale of our two-week family stay-cation (that is seriously the dumbest word, but I'll use it anyway), we went to COSI. Isabella asked from start to finish, when we were going to Grandma's house. It didn't matter which grandma, she just wanted to know when we were leaving COSI, which cost a fair amount of money, to go to one of two grandma's houses, that were free. Lesson learned: just go to grandma's house.

Isaac playing with the iPad during a feeding.

And a few pictures of Isaac in his random sleeping positions...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The iPad has entered the building

The week of Christmas, Isaac was crabby on and off (nothing out of the ordinary) and would often hold his g-tube site and say "ow" repeatedly. This was something new, but he also says "ow" when we walk toward him with his jacket in hand, or his shoes, or a diaper, so we thought, maybe he's just being two and a half. Well, after a couple sleepless nights, I finally called his GI doctor and managed to take him in for a last minute appointment. The kid was right, something was up with his g-tube (which became more obvious to us when the site started getting red) and he's been on antibiotics for a week. We were lucky we didn't end up in the hospital on IV antibiotics, and also that since having his tube for over a year, this is his first infection. Thankfully, he is doing really well, and I haven't heard a tummy related "ow" in several days. It is a big step for him developmentally, to be aware of pain and the location of pain, so we're thankful he has reached this milestone, and also that he was able to alert us that there was a problem.

Walter has been off from work for two weeks and we have been enjoying every minute of it (except for that brief span of an afternoon where he was mad at me for letting the kids play with too many toys at one time (what?) and not organizing the toys properly. He later apologized and I said, "I accept your apology, and forgive you for being crazy." Isn't marriage grand?). We have greatly enjoyed our two-week at-home vacation, or, if I want to be trendy, our stay-cation.

We were given Isaac's iPad on Friday. I already broke my rule and put games on it. In my defense, that Talking Tom Cat somehow gets Isaac to make more sounds than he ever would otherwise. Aside from that, the whole iPad thing is stressing me out. The goal is for him to use it to expand his potential for communication. This means that I have to take a million pictures and establish folders, and record my voice for all of the objects, and then have it handy at the appropriate moment. Easy, right? I'm struggling to see how this device will fit into our every day life, for its intended use, and frankly, sign language and our deciphering of his sounds within context, seems so much easier. I really want to hear from a mom who has implemented an AAC into their long did it take for you to set the whole thing up, how do you keep it handy for your toddler, etc. Share a message or e-mail me if you are a parent and have used an iPad with your child for communication.