Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More taxing news and other happenings

OK so clearly this isn't going to be the best week of my life! Things are crazy at work, turbo tax can't efile my federal return despite going through the "let's fix it" section of their program. I have printed out the return, dug out my copy of the paper showing Lissa's tax ID number is cancelled. I will photocopy her social security card. I will mail the return and play for the best.
Sigh. I have a pretty decent return coming back this year and am hoping to use a portion of it to purchase a new pellet stove since ours croaked mid winter. X your fingers for some IRS magic guys!

I got home from the park and my mom had left a message to call. She had a physical today and wanted to let me know that her mammogram which she had last week came back showing a 5 mm mass. So they are doing another mammogram in a week or so. I tried to reassure her that lots of time these things are not cancerous. However with her husband facing a terminal cancer situation and her own mother having died of breast cancer back when I was 9, I am not sure my reassurances were really heard. I know she had one of those new digital imaging mammograms as well, so the Dr said it is even likely that this mass has been there right along and only the new equipment was sensitive enough to pick it up.

I don't know what will be the right thing, the supportive thing, to say or to do. My mom is always hard to read and has not really had the typical parent/child relationship with me. Over the years it has often felt like those roles shifted. I don't want her to think I don't care. I do. But I am also not the kind of person who worries until the facts are in. Except for now, when I am spending my time worrying that I didn't say the right thing when I called her tonight. Talking semi-distractedly while I bathed Elisabeth, until I grasped the focus of her call. Multi tasking is not always a good thing.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Of taxing taxes

Yes, it is taxing. As in the whole dang experience drives me round the bend! I will admit that i have a more complicated tax situation than a number of my friends. My wife and I both have employment income. Wife also has home based business income which means the dreaded 1099 and keeping track of the expenses associated with the aforementioned business. But I am used to that. We have had that set up for 7 or 8 years now. Maybe nine. My brain is mush at present.

Then in 2004 our state allowed us to marry. OK cool. We did. We had been married in our own minds since 1978 anyway, but making it legal afforded a few important legal benefits to my wife. Plus it was very important to my kids. It served to make the tax season even more fun for me. You see, the federal government does not of course recognize our marriage so I have to do two single returns for the feds. The problem is that turbo tax would then merge that info into your state tax return. This is not possible now because it would list the wrong classification for us--single instead of married filing either separately or jointly. Soooooo I get to take all the tax stuff and do it AGAIN as a federal married return that I don't submit to the feds but then merge over and submit to the state. Isn't that just fun and special?

So I spent the morning doing that, and sent things over to the appropriate agencies via e-file. And a few hours later got back a message that my federal return was denied but my state return was accepted. I got this right as I was about to drive middle son to a values retreat so I couldn't delve into the joyful specifics till I returned from dropping him off. The reason is that the IRS is saying that one of my children (I think my youngest) Social Security number does not match the number of the adoption tax credit form. I suspect that this somehow ties to the fact that when we first adopted her we didn't have a SSN before it was time to do taxes in 2006. So I got a tax ID number for her. I filed. Life was good. The next year I had the SSN number. I filed taxes. I used the SSN number. Life was still good. This year I received notice that the tax ID number was being cancelled unless I requested that it be renewed. I didn't renew it because I have not been using it; I have used her SSN. But I suspect that somehow this is where the glitch is occuring. Fixing this should be a thrill a minute.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Today was a busy and fun day. The morning was as always given over to errands and food shopping, with a visit to Kirsty at her job thrown in as well. Oddly enough I like doing errands with the kids and by and large they don't seem to hate it. We have each week an average of 5 stops but there are weeks when it is only 3 and weeks it is as many as 7. Just depends! After that, we came home, unloaded the car and I made lunch. Then we piled back in the van and headed to our church for the recycle art afternoon.

It was really cool. There were 4 of those long banquet tables just filled with supplies. You name it and I swear it was there. Paper towel tubes, egg cartons, picture frames with no back, empty puzzle boards, jackets from books etc. Beads, sand art, sequins and paint. Glue, ribbon, tissue paper, pipe cleaners, boxes. My kids eyes lit up.

KC got right to work. His first project was just covering a box in paper and then slapping some paint on it. Lissa decided she was all about paint today and did a lot of painting as well. She did a lot of experimenting with colors and shades. She'd try light blue and then dark blue for instance.

KC also made a lot of other stuff. He did a beautiful sand art sculpture and really got how to poke the sand with a thin stick to make patterns. He made a picture of a cat for his grandmother and something else which escapes my tired brain.

But what excited me the most was Robbie. KC is my "art" guy. He will always gravitate towards artistic expressions, both musical and art of this nature. He is never without a pad of paper, and a crayon or pencil.

Rob on the other hand, didn't get a lot of opportunities to dabble in art till he came home to us at almost 6 years old. He was 5 but on the tail end of 5 so to speak. And this is one of those areas where I can see that missing out on the art explorations of the early years stunted his creativity so to speak. On the plus side of things, KC's love to drawing and painting and creating naturally involves Rob. He wants his big brother to draw or paint with him and Rob will usually oblige. I have noticed over the past year that in some ways his art takes its cue from KC and he has begun to develop a bit more risk taking so to speak in his art.

But today, he really shone. He spent the first 15 minutes we were there just wandering. I ignored that. I know it is very hard for Robbie to make a decision. Deep down he is always afraid he will make the wrong choice. KC in the innocence of 4 years old, is pretty confident that he lives in the land of do overs. Eventually, Rob stopped pacing and started creating. And he did some really cool stuff. He created a picture frame with the cover of one of his favorite books pasted in the center as art. He made a glitter covered tube, sand art and a pom pom covered pillow. Once he got going, it was literally like watching that little trickle of water oozing through a dam, turn into a raging river. He was so into what he was doing. I was over the moon with excitement for him. I hope that it was a turning point for him and art will become more accessible to him as a form of self expression.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Weeks End

This has been a wearing sort of week. I am a pretty high energy person but my spirit energy is low tonight. Partly because work rotted this week. There has been work stress; partly from my superior and co-workers, partly from construction that is going on in the building.

There has been home stress. Ken's final illness has been much in my mind and I have worked out a day (next Thursday) for us to all visit with him. My mom consulted with the doctor and he said that at this point, Ken is not suffering any more pain than his normal arthritis and that there is no telling when that could change. I want this to be a good visit. A set of good memories for the kids to take with them into the future, and for Ken to take with him into the next phase of his journey.

Although he was never a father to me, he has been a truly wonderful grandfather to all my children. In so many quiet ways, he has been a huge part of their lives, despite the fact that his body's strength was all ready failing from the first times that he entered our lives.

Tonight our next door neighbor caught my wife outside. It seems that the director of the preschool my eldest attended has inoperable brain cancer. I haven't seen Pam in many years but she was a wonderful educator. Vibrant. Creative. Compassionate. Her preschool was pretty much the best public educational experience Chet had. I knew that she had sold her business recently but thought she had moved on to other endeavors.

In an odd twist of fate, the young man who lives next door with his fiancee and young son was also an alumni of this same pre-school. One of the former teachers of said school provides day care for his little boy. The former teachers are getting together a memory book for Pam and our neighbor had a letter for us asking for our contribution. I am a bit fuzzy on how our neighbors figured out that we were alumni of the school. But somehow the connections were made and I am grateful for that. I do remember writing Pam a thank you note when Chet moved from her preschool into kindergarten, but I firmly believe that you can never have too many opportunities to thank someone for the good they have done.

In some ways although it is sad to think of Ken's passing--my primary worry is that his passing be as painless as possible. He has had a rich and full life, as a minister, and as a beloved member of a large family. To think of Pam's passing is surreal. She is so much younger, and should have so much more life ahead of her.

I am glad to have a bit of family time to center myself a bit. Not that I spend time on mats doing yoga meditations! Saturday will be filled with family duties in the morning and in the afternoon I am taking the kids to our church to a recycled art activity/program. Lots of different artistic mediums to mess with and it should be lots of fun.

Sunday I have to take the day and do our taxes. Now there's active meditation for you! But all of this is the business of living, of family, of being that microcosm of the world. In a way that I can not describe that is healing and restorative.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Good news Bad News

In that yin/yang thing of life, yesterday was a good news, bad news kind of day. On the huge plus side, Rob's ocular pressure is holding steady and he doesn't need to return till July. I am very pleased. I joined a glaucoma list when he was first diagnosed and by and large the parents on that list are dealing with situations much much more severe than his seems to be at present. But when you read about some of the meds, the surgeries that may become necessary, well it is good fretting fodder. Also I had Kirsty ask the Dr about the use of allergy meds. Rob has seasonal allergies and there are occasions during the year when it would be helpful to give him something for the congestion. I used to with no qualms until last year when I looked at the box and it had this big honking glaucoma warning all over it. Same with cold meds. So I essentially have not given him those meds. His allergies are so sporadic that I kept forgetting to have K check with his MD and see if there was an option. What I did to help alleviate symptoms was simply saline spray and a shower right off if we had been outside. Not ideal but got us by. And unlike K and I, his allergies are only a week here and there and occasionally a grass sensitivity if we have been in a field in high summer. (hence the shower when we would get home) So that is all good.

The bad news concerned my mom's husband. Ken is 95 and we have all known that obviously his time is coming. He has been in a nursing home facility for a number of years now when his needs became too much for Mum to handle at home. Recently due to some new health concerns he had some type of testing done and it reveals a cancerous tumor on the pancreas. He is too frail for surgery and the dr said chemo would kill him so the end is likely a bit quicker than we thought.

I need to figure out getting the kids (and us of course) up to see him again asap. We planned to visit a couple of months ago and then the nursing home was filled with a stomach bug and Ken himself was ill with it. After that was done, then various ills started through our house making it impossible to visit. Who brings sickness with them when they visit the elderly?

I am also trying to figure out the best way to talk about this with the kids. Before we see Ken the last time? After we see Ken? I am leaning toward the latter--I would want their visit to be happy (both for their sakes and for Ken). I know my KC will be taking this very hard. Every since he was a tiny baby he has had a very special bond with Grampa. They share the same name (though that is a bit of a coincidence because Kenneth was my grandfathers name and the impetus for KC's name) Also the nickname of KC was Ken's when he was a child. Another thing I never knew because I met him late in life and by then he was not at the nickname stage of his life! :-)

Mostly I just want Ken's passing to be as painfree as possible and for his family and my mom to manage to get along while and after this happens. They all seem to clash rather often and I know stress can make those type of situations even more volatile.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Home with the kiddos

It always feels a bit odd to me when I am home with the kids on a work day. Not if I am on vacation but that odd--only here cause of someone having an appointment--kind of day. I can't really totally relax, partly because i know tomorrow is back to work. Partly also because I had to get Chet off to work by 7:15 or so. But don't get me wrong, feeling slightly odd and all it has still been nice.

Lissa and KC and I made a giant Easter bunny to decorate our front picture window. He is standing there painting an egg and there are a lot of tissue paper eggs and tissue paper grass underneath him. We went outside briefly and admired him; it is very brisk today. I am sick of brisk aka winter cold, but I know March is an up and down kind of month weather wise. It also wouldn't be quite so bad but the wind is whipping so much sand from winter storms around that I feel like I am in the Mojave desert or something. I worry about sand in the kids eyes too, so we are not taking a walk today or anything like that.

I had time to play with Lissa's hair a bit. We still haven't tried out all the new hair bobs we got! I also think I'll scoot over to youtube and see if I can find some info on straw sets. I read about it and it sounds like it would work for her hair but I can't quite visualize it from reading.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pressure Check

Tomorrow is a pressure check for Robbie. Ocular pressure to make sure that his glaucoma is under control. I will stay home from work and hang out with KC and Lissa so that Kirsty doesn't have to try and entertain active little people while spending considerable time at the specialists office. Or maybe not considerable time. We never really know. A lot depends on how his ocular pressure is maintaining. If the reading is good, as it was previously, then it might be a short appointment and they will be home in a few hours. If the pressure has risen then it is likely that they will do further dilation and check to see if there has been peripheral vision loss.

I always have his eyes in the back of my mind, I find. I am glad he didn't want to play baseball this year. Even though I think at one level it might have been good for him to push himself a bit, at another, he is right. There is a greater chance of getting nailed by a ball. A friend of mine has a son who played baseball and got hit in the face. There was some fairly serious injury to the orbital area. How that might play out when glaucoma is added to the mix might be trickier. I didn't share that with Rob. I tend to act rather matter of fact about things; the only thing I have said to him is that successful treatment of this illness is 99 per cent following the doctors orders precisely. If they say 2x a day 12 hours apart for the drops, that is what they mean. Since he isn't the greatest about remembering things, I tend to do the remembering for him. I hope for it being routine by the time he is on his own.

But in the dark of the night, before a pressure check, I always worry.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Super Sunday

One of the things that Ifind fascinating and exciting is that real friendships are not governed by age. When Chet was about 3, maybe 4, we met a young high school girl that we were interviewing for a child care position within our church. At the time, my wife and I co -ran the religious ed program for our small UU church community. I think she was about 16 when we met her, but maybe she was all of 17.

She had an amazing ability to work with children and to invest a lot of her emotional energies in them. I never met a kid who didn't think that being with her was fun. And my son who stumped so many people, fell in love with her. She connected with Chet and was able to handle and channel his eccentricities in ways that didn't make his differences a problem. Ironically although we hadn't been looking for a day care provider for our family, she did become this. Primarily bailing us out in the summers as Chet grew older she would devise lovely summer experiences for him. She taught him card games, planted gardens, assauged his desire to acquire milk bottle tops from recyclables by giving him a bucket on her porch for those "treasures." Both Kirsty and i were working in those years and knowing he was somewhere both safe and loved, was such a relief. By the time she did this for us, she was a young married woman. One year, she had her first child and I remember how she let Chet hold her baby when she first brought him home from the hospital. I remember the look of awe on Chet's face and still have the slightly yellowed poloroid of the moment.

Summers were the bane of our existance in Chet's younger and middle school years. There could be no summer camp. He got thrown out of the YMCA summer camp. They tried but they couldn't handle his behaviors, his lack of social skills, his--well his essential Chet-ness. He was too uncoordinated for sports camps and he was too young to be alone yet. Again and again she came to our rescue.

Through all those years a friendship really developed between us, despite a rather significant--okay--gigantic difference in our ages. Eventually she and her husband sold their house in our city and moved to the country. We saw each other much less frequently. By now Chet was not needing care, and it was at the odd moment that we would catch up with one another. However whenever we did, it was as if we had seen each other yesterday.

Recently she had a Pampered Chef party and we were invited. We couldn't make the party but we did place an order. She called and said she thanked us for the order but she was so sorry we couldn't come because what she wanted most was to just chat and catch up. So when she got her order, she called again and said she'd like to stop by with beer bread and a spinach dip and deliver our goods and visit.

And visit we did. We talked the afternoon away. Chet came down and chatted a while. She still does amazing child care for kids out of her home (how many day care providers do you know that look into music classes because the preschooler loves music) Despite being generations apart, we still have so much in common. I find it is often rare to find other parents who share my philosophies of child rearing. It was just fun to spend an afternoon with someone who did, and it was fun to keep the fires of our friendship burning strongly.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

St. Patricks Day Pic

Obviously this is rather out of order but we finally just uploaded the picture to the computer. Or rather Kirsty did as the whole techie biz about that baffles me! Anyway this is a picture of the leprecaun that i drew for our dining room for our festivities. I thought he looked cute but somehow he looks a wee bit menacing in the picture! LOL

Beaded Beauty!

I ordered a plethora of new beads and such for Elisabeth and they arrived yesterday. I couldn't wait to put beads in her hair today and try out the new beader tool so as she wiggled and jiggled and ate her breakfast, I threaded them onto her braids. She adores the clickity clack noise that they make when she shakes her head. She really wanted me to use the pink heart ones but she needs skinnier braids for those; they appear to have a slightly smaller hole than the translucent square ones. Here she is in all her beaded glory!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The chicken talk

OK all the omnivores who think I am a nut job can skip this post! Kirsty and I finally had The Chicken Talk. It has been driving me round the bend waiting to talk. I know that is from my past. When I was growing up my mom would just not talk to us when she was angry with us. She would say polite things like "please pass the butter." But not dialogue with us. And sometimes I genuinely didn't know why she was angry. I suspect that there may have been times that I assumed she was angry at me when in all reality it was someone else, but I digress. The point is, if I am upset or someone is upset with me, I want to get it out in the open, and get it resolved. I am totally cool with waiting a couple hours to cool down. Kirsty is normally the same way--in her house arguments were loud, vocal, immediate and quickly resolved. But in this case, I had to wait a number of days because K was genuinely too ill to speak.

Today was the first day she had any voice at all and I could not wait any longer. So we talked. I know she didn't get why her decision felt like a violation to me, but she got that it did make me feel that way. It hadn't occured to her that because we eat "analog" meat here at home (which means non meat based products that pretty much look like meat) that KC would think the chicken at the restaurant was like chicken we have at home. She noted that he didn't eat a lot of it and wasn't thrilled with it. I said the thing that bothered me most was being told to "shake it off." She explained what she meant and I respect the place she was coming from. And i know she was probably trying at that moment to use the fewest possible words due to how crappy she felt.

I think she is very clear that the kids will remain meat free until they are old enough to make an informed choice and if we are back on that page, I am good with that. I have a lot of faith in my kids abilities to reason out things healthfully and ethically. Robbie saw the movie Supersize Me and gave up McDonalds (even for non meat things!) voluntarily a couple years ago.

So it was in many ways a really yucky week, but it ended well. We have a diagnosis for Lissa which feels so much better than operating in the dark.

We have had a chance to talk and resolve one of the few significant differences that my wife and i have had in our 30 yrs together. Yup, 30 yrs. . . we are oooooooold! LOL Actually, we have been together since high school!

And in a totally unrelated note, I got new hair doo dads for Lissa. Gorgeous multicolored square beads that are translucent. And a set of beads in different shapes in various shades of pink--one of her favorite colors. However her hair stuff has been taking over the bathroom and finding a way to keep it together has been a challenge. K finally solved that today by finding a clearance priced ($4.00!!!!) fishing tackle box. It is perfect! We got all the things in it and they are all compartmentalized so neatly that it will be way quicker when I do her hair. No more rummaging for the rat tail comb or that one particular color of snappies. With her beads I also got these nifty gizmos that make getting the beads onto her braids so fast. I tried out a braid of beads when I was getting her ready for her tub and they went on in a flash! I had found them on line--our beauty supply place didn't have them, and until they came in I threaded them on manually. I suppose that was great for my dexterity but it was tedious!

Tomorrow Lissa wants heart shaped pink beads in her hair after breakfast so that is the plan before we sally forth to do our shopping and library run. It will be a much easier morning than usual as I did a few of the errands after work. I thought it would minimize the number of times I schlepped her in and out of her car seat and into a buggy or stroller. Too much of that might be uncomfortable right now.

Also Kirsty has the day off from work--Saturdays are usually just me and the kids--so it will be fun to have her here when we come home.

Lissa broke a bone

Our Dr. just called and Elisabeth broke the bone at the front of her left hip. It likely didn't show in the films they took the first time when we went to ER because the technician in radiology told me to leave her diaper on. The second tech had me remove it and it was clearly visible.

There isn't really anything to do for her. It doesn't need casting, but it does make me feel better because I knew something was wrong with the hip area. And I think knowing is always better than not.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Good the bad and the Gimpy

Ok the good. Chet hasn't smelled in quite a few days so the re-training of shower behaviors must be working! Either that or (sigh) the cold thing I am fighting is rendering me insensitive to even the reek that he is capable of when not bathing properly. I am looking at this positively though and hoping it is door number 1!

The gimpy--Lissa is walking in a halting, unbalanced sort of fashion. I called our Drs office this a.m. Kirsty has severe laryngitis at the moment and it was easier for me to call. The funny part is though that because I never go to the doctor they didn't recognize my name, didn't know I was a patient etc. Pretty much my only physicals as an adult involved adoptions and since our youngest has been finalized for a couple years, they haven't seen me much! However they did remember Elisabeth and Kirsty and when they heard that she was not walking normally they immediately said they would order new x-rays at our local hospital and I could take her there directly. I took my lunch break immediately and brought her up.

I have to say that the radiology tech was way more with it than the one I saw two Saturdays ago. He spent considerable time lining up the machine to get the best possible films and seemed to really know what he was doing. He also had me take off her cloth diaper which the first tech told me to leave on. So maybe we will find something out and i will stop stressing. I keep agonizing over this; I think in large part because Lissa can't impart enough info to me for me to feel I am informed on what is going on . I have kept up doing the healing hands nightly and I have seen improvement from that as well. Can't tell my Dr. that though. Venturing into the land of woo-woo with a very straight western med establishment is not really a cool experience. You get the look that makes you think you have three heads for starters! But my feeling is that it is not hurting her and I have seen it benefit others so why not try it. Even my wife who is waaaay not into the land of woo woo (laughing here) let me do this when she tore all the ligaments in her ankle years ago and the doctors said they saw less bruising in the ankle than they should have given the scope of the injury.

The bad--Okay to omnivores this is going to sound stupid. But I am a vegetarian of 20+ years and so trust me to me this is not small .This is not petty ;this is not stupid. Every Tuesday after music class my family goes to Friendlys for a brunchy lunchy thing. They have waffles or pancakes or french toast. Every single week. Except this week Kirsty ordered them all chicken. In all its various fried forms. It came out at our St. Patricks day party Tuesday night. Something of a dampener to the Irish festivities. My non Irish eyes were sure not smilin! They still aren't. We haven't been able to talk this through because of her laryngitis. When she gets throat infections it is very tough on her vocal chords. This will I am sure be a lengthy conversation and presently after word #5 she has no voice. So for now it is the elephant in the room between us.

I am angry and hurt. We discussed vegetarianism years ago when we were becoming parents. We agreed mutually that the kids would be vegetarian like me and would choose if they wish to become omni when they are adults. Kirsty understands and agrees with vegetarianism in theory (and most of the time in practice). She is up on knowledge about the health bennies to living a vegetarian lifestyle. She herself typically eats meat once or twice a month but doesn't serve it here at home.

My kids have never asked for meat. Haven't acted deprived in any way. If KC did ask for chicken at the restaurant, he meant the kind of analogue we use here which looks surprisingly real. I always just tell him if a restaurant doesn't have veg chicken that they don't have the kind we eat and he is cool with it.

We rarely disagree profoundly on anything to do with our kids. I am not being smarmy; this is the honest truth. Part of that likely comes from all the homestudy work that adopting 4 kids engenders. I think way more conversations and soul searching take place in pre-adoptive couples than couples who have bio children but that is just my personal take on what I see with my own friends--definately not scientific analysis. So this has thrown me for the proverbial loop. And when I did say something to her about it the night I found out she said "oh shake it off." Which sounded so callous and like i was crabbing about unsorted laundry or something mundane. And I wasn't.

So I am left with feeling very angry with her and doing nothing about it because she is so ill at present. I hate waiting to discuss things. I hate going to bed at night feeling angry. So I hope her voice comes back and the rest of her good health so we can sort this out.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lissa is still not walking

OK so Lissa is still not walking. Our Dr was back from vacation and we called his office first thing. K brought her over to an appointment with the nurse practictioner early this afternoon. I suppose I should be gratified that the NP and our MD are as puzzled by the situation as I am. The things that she can do or allows you to do to the leg indicate a fair degree of mobility without discomfort. Now one could argue that perhaps this is from the healing hands that we do nightly and the water therapy that i have been doing. Maybe. But the things she doesn't do concern me greatly. She doesn't truly crawl. She is hitching both her legs along in the crawl position but they are not moving independently. She can stand but she can not walk. It is clear that the left leg doesn't support her somehow. This causes her to sort of drag her right leg along because she doesn't lift it totally off the floor, likely for fear of losing what little balance she has.

They checked to see if there was a back injury which might lead to this. Nada. Again no obvious sprains strains or breaks. The NP and Dr conferred (truly if you knew the usual warp speed of appts at my doctors office you would get how they must have been truly baffled.) Finally they came up with the theory that Lissa is either a) afraid to walk or b) liking being carried and that the logical cure would be to have us carry her less so that she walks more.

OK, glad K was there and I wasn't. She spends HOURS folks in the living room with her brothers. Hours to play when she is in no way carried anywhere. And does she walk during those hours? Nope. Does she stand? Yup if she can hold something for support. I think that the Dr was not glomming onto the fact that this little girl has walked since she was 9 months. So although she is only a bit over 2 she is a very experienced walker. She doesn't or I should say DIDN'T have mobility issues. She was sure and fast on her feet. Very very fast. Which leads to the second reason why I think the theory is wrong. Lissa is fiercely independent. Sure she likes to cuddle. But way less than say, KC at that age. Had this happened to him and he wasn't walking 8 days later, I would buy the loving to be carried thing. Being honest here he STILL likes being carried! :-) But Lissa likes to walk up the stairs herself at night. Except she tried the other night and couldn't.

So I am still worried. I know in my gut that something is wrong here and I feel it is in the hip area. They have told us to call Friday if there is not significant improvement. I hope they are right and there is and that i am wrong. But I have little faith in western medicine on a good day and this isn't doing anything to change my views. If she hasn't improved I am going to suggest to K that we ask for a pedi ortho specialist referral. This doesn't seem like something that we should mess with indefinately.

On the plus side, K got an antibiotic for her sinus infection and the zinc I have been eating diligently seems to be working at keeping me healthy. (shhhh don't tell the germs they are losing!!)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weary Weekend

I usually adore weekends, but this one, was really a tiring one. Saturday I had an all day retreat thing for church. It was not bad to be with these people and do this work. It is work I am passionate about (the education program for children and youth) and I like everyone I spent the day with. But I really really treasure my family time. And there was none during most of Saturday.

Kirsty had arranged to have the day off from work but in a further stroke of bad luck awoke very ill. I also felt anxious leaving her home to care for the kids with no help feeling as ill as she did. Being two of the last surviving americans with no cell phones, it also meant it would be difficult though not impossible for me to be contacted if she suddenly became extremely ill and i needed to bail. So there was stress there.

Lissa was on my mind all day as well. She hasn't walked since falling last Saturday. She has made steady improvements but it has been very unclear to either of us if the improvement is sufficient or an indication of something else which should be investigated further. Hamstrung by our physician being away for vacation we have waited out this week on pins and needles. Because I am a virgo and really anal I have made notes of everything i have noted in her abilities, responses etc.

All of which made it hard to be fully present emotionally and intellectually at the retreat, but I got it done. Not the best job I ever did facilitating a retreat but not the worst I have done either.

Sunday Robbie's coming of age class was making a trip to a large city about 40 minutes away. I needed to have him at church at 8:20 in the morning to board the bus. I promised Kirsty that I would bring not just KC with me but also Elisabeth and that way she could go back to bed and rest. I expected that Chet would be along as well; he normally is, but he declined.

I got up at about 6 and made a gigantic lunch for Rob to bring on the trip with him. They would be walking around the city all day and my guy can EAT! I baked up some cookies and made a big veg chicken sandwich, added chips, candy fruit and his water bottle. Made a big breakfast so he and the rest of the troops were stoked up to start the day. Except for KC of course, who can't stand the sight or smell of food till he has been up for at least 30 minutes. Got everyone dressed. Discovered about then that Chet wasn't coming. It was a lay led service and a fully musical program. The program was Vivaldi's Gloria. Chet announced he only likes Vivaldi's Four Seasons and therefore he had no reason to attend. Ok then! Got to Dunkins and got KC breakfast and the other kids the second part of their breakfast.

Headed to church and got Rob off on the bus. KC and Lissa and i hung around till quarter of 9 when the prelude started and we entered the sanctuary. Normally there is childrens programming for KC but not this week. However, I am a firm believer in exposing children to as many varieties of music as possible. I love almost all kinds of music even though I am totally unable to read music or play a note of recognizable music. LOL

I also believe that kids can learn to behave appropriately in mostly adult venues. I think many times we sell kids short and don't give them the opportunities to learn how to conduct themselves. Most times I think our kids want to behave as we would like them to and will rise to that occasion. I do have some spectacular situations with Chet which would tend to disprove that theory but I sort of regard him as outside the normative childrearing experience.

At any rate, dispite the fact that the service ran 15 minutes over, the kids were great. I do bring crayons and drawing paper but they are able to sit quietly. They also enjoyed the music and watching the violinist and the cellists. And the soaring melodies of Vivaldi helped wash away the stress and worry of the previous day. It was truly beautiful and transportive. I left renewed, and this afternoon had the added bonus of spending much of the afternoon at the park playing. So I am not so weary as I might have been and can face Monday after all.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The B.O. Battle

Some things have always been hard for Chet to wrap his mind around. He gets scientific facts. In fact he adores squirelling away what appears to be useless minute details of things so that he can share them at the oddest moments. But then there is basic living stuff that is just so. . . hard for him to really get. One of those is proper showering or bathing.

First we have the sensory issue stuff. I spent years working with him so that he would not either scald himself or freeze himself. He has a truly hard time feeling anything other than those two extremes. Our house has old plumbing. I couldn't just mark a place on the faucet and know it would work. It took a lot of practice. Up till about 14 I was still getting the water to the right temp for him, and showing him what was too hot and what was too cold. Thankfully he really did get that eventually. So I have hope that the next level can be achieved.

What is that? Well, just getting clean! LOL Sounds easy right? But it isn't. First there is the sensation of the water going all over you. Then there is the sound that said water makes in our tiny bathroom. (and for the record a tub doesn't do it either as we tried that as well) It tends to overwhelm him after a fairly short while and what he winds up doing is gradually washing less and less. Until eventually one of us--usually Kirsty--notices that he is a bit ripe. He doesn't notice himself of course.

On the plus side, Chet is not averse to direct conversation about body odor. He is not embarassed or alarmed when one of us politely but firmly tells him he smells and not in a good way. He will first assume you should wash his PJ's more than once a week. We explain it isn't the clothing that reeks. It is him.

And the only "cure" that I have found is to have him wear swim trunks into the shower and have me stand there and verbally cue him on the washing techniques. It is always readily apparent what he has forgotten by what i need to cue. And of course the reek is gone which is another clue I guess as well.

Luckily, he doesn't mind me being there and calmly saying things like "don't forget to wash your shoulders and behind your neck." "No don't dig your nails into your skin, you are cleaning not scouring" and other parental pearls of wisdom. He tends to remain able to do this on his own for a few months at a time, but then needs the refresher course, as it were.

This is the facet of his disability that was always hard in school situations and in his work. The goal of most areas of life is to teach and have the learning internalized in a pretty permanent manner so that the person can then function at that level on their own. To others it is maddening to have to go over the same ground rules over and over. And sometimes to me it is as well.

But mostly not. I'll take our small successes and because I am mostly a positive person I truly believe that we will eventually get to a point where he does this successfully and doesn't need me to remind him.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Of Pre-teen Mating Rituals

Well, maybe not exactly mating---at least I hope not! LOL But I have been watching Robbie and noticing how interesting that 12 to nearly 13 year old time is. On the one hand, Rob truly doesn't want to leave the safety of childhood behind. He also missed a bunch of things when he was under 5 that are very much the norm in our family. Thankfully he has managed to go through many of those experiences with his younger sibs. I never remark on how unusual it is for a 12 year old to enjoy some of the things he enjoys. I am just glad he enjoys them.

But Sunday I noticed that a new side of Rob is developing. He and a girl in his church school coming of age group are I think mutually interested in one another. Kay also happens to be adopted, incidently. It was fun for me to clandestinely observe their interactions during Fellowship time. They mostly consist of sitting together on the couch. They are happy to let KC join them apparently but he has to sit on the far side of Rob. :-) Kay does silly things like ask Rob to get her sneakers for her (what is it anyway with kids taking off their shoes at the oddest times?) Rob smirking back and pretending he has no clue what she is asking, and then ultimately delegating the chore to KC. KC is thrilled at being given a "job" and Kay acts outraged that Rob used his "little brother as a slave" which makes Rob laugh even harder.

Later in the day, KC was bugging me for gum. I don't give 4 year olds gum. I reminded him of that and he pointed out that Robbie had gum. I hadn't given Rob gum either so I idly asked how Rob got it. "Well Kay of course," KC announced in that "duh parent" voice that one does not expect from a 4 year old.

I know there are going to be times on this road that i am going to WISH for the naivety of younger child behaviors, but a big part of me is glad that he is feeling safe enough (or is that just hormonal enough?) to spread his wings a bit.
This hasn't exactly been the greatest of weeks thus far. I had a stomach bug; something I live in fear of passing on to KC who seems to have wonky digestive issues. Last year after a bug that laid us all low for 24 hours, he was the only one unable to recover well and wound up on 6 months of reflux meds because the acid balance in his stomach or something was so messed up.

So I have felt crappy and have been worrying about him. He is someone who is all over me (and everyone else!) most of the time so there is totally no doubt I have exposed him. Sigh.

Elisabeth is still not really bearing weight on her leg. She can sit unsupported. She can stand holding onto the side of the tub, but I can also see that the tub wall is bearing part of the weight. She is not taking pain meds any longer but whimpers when you change her position. She doesn't seem as uncomfortable when she has a diaper change. She can and does let me move the leg in the tub without showing any discomfort. A real mixed bag. The ER notes said to wait 3-5 days for improvement. We split it in the middle as today is day 4. We called our primary doc to find out the office is closed for vacation. Got the name of the covering Dr but that also means that he does not have her xray films--those were sent by the ER to our family physician. Also his office doesn't open till 9:30 and he is notorious for extremely long waits so this should be interesting. But I am not feeling that her recovery is moving along the way it should. When KC had a deep bruise from tripping over the cat last year he couldn't walk for a couple days but was then actively trying to walk and get back to business as usual. Lissa doesn't even want to try. She is a highly mobile child normally so this is odd and upsetting.

I definately didn't feel we got the best possible treatment at ER--but I also hate hospitals with a deep and abiding passion (fodder for another much longer post!) so I know too that I may not view any hospital experience with a clear and unbiased eye. Still. . . I want my baby tearing through the house again!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hospital Staff needs Sensitivity Training

So I have been quietly (well maybe not so quietly) obcessing over the questions I was asked when I went to ER with Elisabeth. Remember that this was an ER visit due to an injury not a situation where family history would have been germane. I was asked at intake in a very odd fashion if my daughter was adopted. This happened after I was asked if I was mom. After I had produced her health insurance card and my drivers license. Both documents clearly indicate we have the same last name. I swear, i really wanted to say I was married to a big handsome black man but I think Kirsty might have been miffed! LOL And I just feel the comment smacked of covert racism to me. If I had happened to adopt a child who was of the same racial heritage as myself, the question never would have been asked.

How do i know this? My coworker has also visited ER with her son. She was asked as i first was if she was "mom." She was never subsequently asked if she had adopted him. Her son doesn't really look like her. But he is white. She is white. Assumptions were made. And her ER visit was pretty recent so I would have to conclude that the "policy" of asking if the child was adopted (which is what i was told--that it was a field that had to be filled in--should have been in place then as well.)

Why does this bug me? Not because i am ashamed of adopting my children. Not because I want to hide the fact that I adopted my children. I am not, and even if I wanted to "hide" it, that would be pretty darn difficult. I am annoyed because we were treated differently than other patients and I feel that this was subtley racist. And I am further annoyed because I just answered the question. Well to be fair to myself i did ask why she needed to know and told her I thought it odd, but I still answered as though it was the right of the questioner to inquire.

There are times when I understand the need to know and have offered this information. When I brought Robbie to his glaucoma specialist for the first time, I explained that he was adopted and that we had no family history knowledge that would tell us if glaucoma ran in his family. That I had done my best to contact family who might know but hadn't come up with much data. That made sense to me. Glaucoma in children isn't all that common. And like heart disease and other such things, it can be something that is passed down genetically. And the info was initiated by me, not by the physician.

The second thing that happened which bugged me intensely was a comment by the doctor as we were leaving. He looked at my daughter in my arms and said "so where did you get her?" Now the rational part of me knows that this was likely intended innocently. I would like to credit the man with meaning "did you adopt domestically or internationally?" Right now we have styled Elisabeth's hair in braids with beads. It is a very ethnic look (and looks GORGEOUS, by the way!)

However this is the same dr who said he was not the best qualified person to read an x ray so perhaps I am being too forgiving! :-) What it sounded like to me was callous. Like I went to an animal shelter the way you would for a stray cat or dog. Or, as a friend said, like you looked on Craigs List! And what did I do in response to the question? I blurted out the state she was born in (which incidently was all ready on the intake) and left.

So I guess what it comes down to is I am most angry with myself. There is and always will be quiet racism. I need to be vigilent even when I am worried, frightened and stressed as I was on Saturday. Because it doesn't matter where it is, and it doesn't matter how many more degrees people have than I do. They need to be reminded with courtesy of the impact of their words and when and how questions of this nature are appropriate. Right now my daughter is only 2. I know she didn't notice. I know she didn't care. But what if she was 5? She would notice. She would care. And my responses of Saturday would have let her down.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Lissa is in bed. I don't know how well or how long she will sleep tonight. I know that when I have a migraine every time I turn my head in my sleep i wake up. I would guess it might be like that with a sore leg too, but will hope for healing restful sleep for her. My arms are tired from lugging her around all day. I didn't feel comfortable putting her in a sling or a rebozo because I wasn't sure if it would be more uncomfortable for her and the poor punkin was uncomfy enough.

On the plus side, she wanted to be held. I consider all such times with my kids to have really good side benefits of additional closeness and bonding. Lissa is my most independent of children and though I certainly wouldn't doubt that she is bonded to us, sometimes a day like today shows you how much and how deeply the bonding is.

The other plus side is that holding her a lot gives me an opportunity to do what my kids call 'healing hands.' This is nothing that can be quantitatively proven scientifically and veers scarily into the woo-woo land but I can tell you regardless of that that it works. It has lessened Robbie's headaches, eased various aches and pains for KC and today helped Lissa. In fact I could feel her body relax and still when I did the treatments. Holding her so much allowed me to feel when her body was starting to tense with the pain again and I would repeat the treatment.

It is sort of tiring though after a while. It is a lot of conscious thought and energy work and I was glad when bed time came and she was down for the night. I have had a bit of time to relax myself and have restored my own mental energies with my favorite food to eat when stressed--Saltine crackers!!!

Tomorrow I have a meeting at church and I am supposed to help plan a retreat for the religious education committee. I have not really a shred of an idea at this point and not any firing brain cells at the moment to do anything about it. We will hope for divine inspiration while I sleep! LOL

We go to ER

I know I should not complain. 4 kids and I have only been to ER once with a child before this. But I WANT to complain. Lissa tried to step off the couch this morning. From standing on the couch to stepping out into space--which of course resulted in landing resoundingly on the floor. Much screaming ensued, my Lissa is a drama queen. I can find no blood, no gore. The leg looks normal. There is no swelling or bruising. I am inclined to believe that she has a deep bone bruise. However I can tell my wife is not so sanguine about things and of course the fact that my daughter will not put weight on the leg after icing and tylenol is troubling to both of us. KC is anxious as I know he feels responsible. He was I suppose indirectly as he did the antic first. Being 4 he could do it and not injure himself. Being 2, Lissa couldn't.

Robbie had to be 20 minutes away for an all day youth rally so Kirsty took him there and took KC along for the ride. I explained to Chet that I was heading to ER with Elisabeth and we took off. The hospital is about a tenth of a mile from my home. It was about 8 when we got there. There was one person ahead of me and she promptly was whisked away to OB/GYN. I am hoping for a speedy visit. I am wrong.

There was a serious assault at our hospital recently and now entering it is very much like going to jail to get medical treatment. When you walk into the ER there is a policeman on duty 24/7 I actually thought he was there to bring in a patient but was informed nope, just to keep the peace ma'am. Gotta love it. I suggested to the nurses that the staff get some non violent martial arts training. There is a lot you can do to protect yourself without actually attacking someone. The hospital big wigs are looking into that.

When you finally get put into one of the little rooms there are not just privacy curtains but sliding glass doors, presumably to contain a patient who becomes violent. and there are pass keys and security codes to every part of the hospital now. So when you go to X ray you must be escorted because you can't get there without the code. It is sad. And sort of scary. It just has bad mojo.

We were there till 11:30 because more pressing situations came in. People who needed stitching up and such. The Dr when he finally saw us told me to make Elisabeth walk for him. I laughed. Here is someone who is not a parent! You tell me how you make a child walk. I said I can put her down but she won't bear weight on it and she sure as heck won't walk. She didn't either.

After an x ray to be sure he determined there was nothing seriously wrong. But of course he added there was no radiologist on duty on the weekend so if he was wrong they'd let me know Monday! Uh huh. One popsicle and a pinwheel later we were out of there.

The other weird thing was that when they did intake the nurse asked if I was her mother and I said yes. She did more questions health insurance stuff etc and then said "forgive me but I need to ask if she is adopted." I said she was but why the need to ask. She said she didn't know but it was on her form. Weird and I was not thrilled. She is my daughter. Period. And unless you are asking family history, which was never asked, the question seems superfluous to me.

But we are now home and after a short nap, Lissa is awake and very fussy. So I am off the computer and off to cuddle a hurting baby.

Friday, March 6, 2009


I hate weeks when technology causes more stress than any human being could on their own. I am so glad this week is over. 1/2 of my computer issues at work are resolved but the other half are not and it is going to be a long haul getting that fixed. I am so not techie. Nor, do I want to be. And the whole situation makes me feel anxious and sort of cranky. Lots of times when I feel stressed I get a bit hyper. I want to fix the things I can fix and fix em good and quick. So I am really really glad, that this time I didn't follow that path.

What happened is this. At the tail end of this crappy week, my boss sends my assistant to me with a form. A really stupid form that he is under the erroneous impression will make him fully cognizant of all that goes on in the office. He has spent all day creating the form. He loves the form. He mistakenly thinks my assistant can complete the form. She can't. She doesn't work with the data required on the form. I look at the form and want to cry. My boss is an older guy, easily threatened by anyone who seems to know what they are doing. He and I like one another but our working relationship is sometimes rocky. He assumes I am "out" for his job and has told this to many people. I am not. I have been offered the equivilent of his position and have turned it down. Right now the benefits to my family in time I can spend with them are far greater than the benefits of cash if I had to take on the added responsibilities. To me, the form is a sign that he doesn't want to talk with me. I would rather someone just ask me when they have a question. How freaking hard is it to ask a question? I spend the night having serious angst over the stupid form. My boss chats with others on the staff, seldom with me. A big part of this is that he is a chain smoker. Not only do I not smoke but for health reasons I prefer not to inhale all his second hand smoke. My boss genuinely disbelieves the dangers of second hand smoke. This also makes it difficult for he and I. He can't stop smoking and there is only so long I can make myself sit there in the haze. Our building is supposed to be smoke free but our company allows him to smoke in his office. I think they know he literally couldn't function if he didn't have a cigarette in his hand.

The next day when he comes in to work I go to his office with Stupid Form. I tell him that i want to be sure that I am giving him the data he needs and that I am not sure how to best do that with this form. He manages in the course of conversation to reveal that he thought this would make my life easier. He didn't remember that my assistant has other duties that don't cover this aspect of the paperwork and didn't understand that it would all fall on me. I managed to work in the fact that I would always be open to being asked a question if he felt there was something he needed to know. He said that he had seen how buried i was in paperwork and thought that this would make things easier. It won't. I will still have a form to fill out that I didn't before. Though at least I was able to help him craft it so it will hopefully know be representative of the real information he was looking for. And more importantly, I didn't damage a long standing work relationship by acting on my assumption that he was doing this because he was upset with me.

And now, time to clear my head of work junk and look ahead to the weekend. Time with the kids--well most of them. Robbie has a youth conference to go to tomorrow so I won't see much of him. But the littles and Chet and I will be here. And other than visiting www.sproutonline.com there won't be much in the way of high tech in my weekend! And that, as Martha Stewart would say, is a very good thing!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Take Two

OK so yesterday was the day from h*ll. I spent most of the day dealing with tech support (kind of a misnomer in my opinion as they were not supportive or helpful.) What kind of company sends out a mandatory upgrade to their system and at the same time you install it you have to down load a patch to FIX it? Why wouldn't your techie geniouses have done it right the first time? But I digress. I went home last night feeling like my head was permanently kinked to the right from holding the phone there while I typed on the computer w/ the various techies impatiently giving me instructions. I filled a whole page with service call log numbers. The problem still exists and nothing has been resolved.

I decided I needed self medication. I had a bowl of ice cream after the kids were all bathed and ready for bed. I usually avoid icecream because of the migraine connection. I figure I am screwed for a headache after this anyway. So much face time on the computer and so much time kinking my neck, might as well enjoy the ice cream! LOL

I was going to watch a movie we had taped but KC showed up in the work room so he and I watched a segment of America's Best Dance Crew together. I love dance shows and he does too. He spent his time deciding which of the moves he thought he could all ready do, which he would have to work on and which he would never be able to do.

Then we went to bed. He woke up in the night with his ear ache bothering him again so I got him meds for htat. Then he woke up with a bad dream. Apparently he has the same dream over and over about a "bad guy" stomping our house down. Amazingly at 3 a.m. I was able to have a conversation about this. I told him that he could take charge of the dream cause it was his dream. He knew mom and i would keep him safe and he could change the dream so that we were with him and we stomped the bad guy instead of letting him stomp our house down. He cuddled and listened and went back to sleep . . . and woke me at 4 a.m. to tell me it worked! LOL

Ah if only solving my computer problem was so easy. Back to the computer woes. Lights camera action. take 2!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Don't Talk to Social Workers on a bad day

Especially when they aren't really "my" social worker. I called Fiona's social worker to try and get more details. Fi said she was moving but was vague as to details. She is sort of vague about that kind of thing anyway. She can't read a calendar so I thought a call was in order. Of course my first chance to call was after 4 hours of h**l with my computer program for federal paperwork here at work. And after dealing with uncooperative federal beaurocrats about another work related matter. So needless to say, I was in fine fetter.

To the social workers credit she answered her phone. You don't know how huge that is. The previous social worker would NEVER answer her phone. I would leave at least 14 voice mails before I would get a call back. If I was lucky. Usually after 14 voice mails I would give up and try and get the info another way. So the poor woman answered. I explained who I was. Why I was calling. Was Fiona moving. Well yes she was but she (sw) and Fi's therapist had now decided to stop talking about it with her. The unspoken reason for that is they have now made Fiona start to freak out over moving.

I said it would be helpful to know when she moves as I write to her every week to ten days and I wanted to be sure she didn't stop receiving mail. SW agreed to take my name and number down again so she could let me know. And then, I don't know, aliens took over my tongue or something. Because the next thing I said was "so let me guess, you are going to put her in a group home with less supervision so she can destabalilze all over the place again." Silence on the phone. Finally I say "so what kind of placement are you putting her in???" Answer, "less restrictive group home environment." Yippee. This has happened twice all ready. Both times she fails. Hugely. Has tried self harm. Has tried to harm others. Has acted out sexually. Can not succeed with out a high level of structure and supervision. I wish I could really believe that it would be different this time around. But I have a hard time believing that. And the last time she was in a really crappy hospital environment for months and months before this placement came up. Sigh.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A-Ha moment!

Some insurance company has an ad that uses that phrase. Today was that kind of day for us. It was a busy day at church. I woke with a migraine. The same stubborn one that has been in my life since Friday. Uck. The good news is it is not as debilitating as the last one so being good about giving up ice cream works. I could function. But still, I would like to not have migraines monthly. Guess I have to wait for my croning to happen though and that appears to be a "fur piece off" as my grandparents would jokingly say.

KC's church school class was scheduled to light the chalice at our church. I had told KC about this earlier in the week. He was a mix of excited and scared. Or deciding if he should be scared. I wasn't quite sure which. I reminded him how proud he has been watching his big brother light the chalice on different occasions and how excited I was that it was finally his turn. I promised to bring the digital camera to duly record the moment.

I could tell he still wasn't sure this a.m. when he cuddled with me, cried over nothing, and decided on comfy vs spiffy clothes for church. He is big on dressing up for church. Wearing something that felt like PJ's and looked only slightly more dressed up was a sure sign he was feeling insecure.

I always get to church early when the kids need to do something in the service. Gives a chance to chat with people and just take the nerves off a bit. So we did that. He chatted with his teacher and helped get his room ready for class. Then we went into the sanctuary. He had brought with him the headband with shamrocks attached via springs that he got at Big Lots yesterday. During the prelude he sat and colored quietly and just before his teacher (who was now sitting in the pew in front of us) turned around to tap him to go up with her to light the chalice. . . he slipped on the headband. ROFL The poor teacher was trying so hard to hold it togetehr and not crack up as he proudly got up, took her hand and went up to the front of the church. Little luridly green shamrocks bobbing merrily the whole time. In case someone is reading this who doesn't know me in real life, we are Unitarian Universalists so there was nothing disrespectful in what he did. It was just so very KC and so very cute. Meanwhile, there is Ooma in the pew trying to get a picture. I am so tech challenged I can't make the flash work on the stupid camera. So my son starts dwadling up there hoping I can get the promised picture! LOL Yup, this kid is going to wind up in performing arts, I just know it in my bones. One of the other kids in his class stepped in front of him to go down the steps of the altar right as the flash finally kicked in so I have a great picture of someone else's kid!

Then as if that wasn't a huge enough achievement for my usually clingy guy, but he walked right into his class room himself. I could just wave goodbye like all the other parents and he was off. Sniff. I was equal parts elated and a bit melancoly. My baby is growing up.

After church I had a meeting and KC and Rob played together w/ Robbies Nintendo DS while i was in the meeting. When I came out KC told me that he had "made a new pal" as he put it. He told me his name and that the little boy told him he needed a dream catcher because then it would hold all his bad dreams. Now I know about dream catchers and have made them with classes and with 2 of my other kids. Why did I not think of that? But I am thankful that the new friend mentioned it as we will now make one and thankful that KC was open enough to share in a safe environment so that resolution could be found.

And Rob had a great day as well. His class was making reverse masks. They did plaster castings a few weeks back of their faces. This week they were to decorate the outsides with symbols, art or sayings that would show the facets of their personalities that might ordinarily be hidden. Robbie made a list of things he felt strongly about and I went to a craft store and got some supplies he could choose from that might lend themselves to those types of interests or concerns. I tried to be fairly open ended in what i chose so that he would have to decide what the best representation was from a fairly wide source of media. For instance, he wrote nature, and i got artificial leaves, a thing that looked like a cut out of dune grass and a phrase about earth keeping. Any of them would work, but that way it was his vision. He doesn't like to try and choose in the stores; that gets overwhelming so it was sort of "shopping' from a smaller store the way I did it!

Anyway, his leader said that he came into the project with the clearest vision of anyone in the class and the most varied and interesting supplies. Supplies that he shared happily with friends so it was joy shared as well. I am just so glad that it went well for him. He doesn't really love art the way KC does. He didn't get enough chances as a young child to really nurture an imagination. And now at 12 there is lots of worry that his "art" doesn't look like real "art" whatever that is. LOL Having different mediums available so that drawing or painting didn't need to be part of the project made him really enjoy and own the experience which was hugely important to me.

So migraine notwithstanding, this was a standout day. And KC's steps toward independence help Lissa become closer to coming to church. I hope to start bringing her in April at the latest!