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Showing posts from 2008

Day 5

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Today was our fifth consecutive day of family togetherness. I did have to go to work on Friday, but P stayed home with the kid and even took her sledding. Other than that, it's been the three of us together . . . a lot. We haven't come to blows yet, mostly because we still have so many baked goods to pacify us.

On Friday evening, the three of us headed to the "Garden of Lights," where we enjoyed a horse-drawn wagon ride through the woods and gardens. The light display is pretty similar every year, but it was still well worth the trip. As the horses pulled our wagon through the quiet, snowy trees, no one aboard was saying a word. That is, until the kid sitting between me and my husband said this: "I smell something stinky in the forest." Everyone on the wagon (a dozen or so people) started to laugh. I'm sure our fellow passengers had noticed the manure smell, but since all the grown-ups knew where it came from, it didn't seem worth mentioning. When yo…

All Over but the Shoutin'

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My first mistake on Christmas Day: waking her up. I was excited for the kid to get up and start creating meaningful videotaped memories, so I rousted her out of bed. Plus, we had to get the gift opening done before my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece arrived for lunch. Waking A up at 7 didn't seem to be such a bad idea until later in the day. By mid-afternoon, she had become delirious from the festivities, had two potty accidents ("Why didn't you use the potty?" "Because I'm sorry!" That's her response lately when she gets busted for something - she won't explain why she did it, but cuts right to the chase and just starts yelling, "Because I'm sorry!"), and started carrying out ideas that were just bad in general.

My second mistake: lunch. With two days to go before my weekly weigh-in at Weight Watchers, I found myself devouring stuffed shells, garlic mashed potatoes, and French bread. I just love a good piece of crunchy, ch…

Wired

We wanted to get this particular pronunciation on video before she wises up and starts saying it correctly.



Also, Little Miss Generosity agreed to leave exactly one cookie for Santa tonight. As if we aren't up to our armpits in baked goods around here . . .

Randomness

I was watching "Sunday Morning" on, well, Sunday morning, and caught an interview with actor/singer Kristin Chenoweth. I was vaguely aware of her, but apparently I don't watch the shows she is on. (Unless you show up on "Yo Gabba Gabba" or some other program on Noggin, I probably don't know who the heck you are.)

During the interview, the reporter mentioned that Chenoweth was adopted at birth. I thought to myself, "Oh no, here we go. There'll be some long diatribe about how devastated she is and how she feels lost and unfulfilled." That often seems to be the case when adoption is portrayed in the media, so I braced myself for it.

Instead, she mentioned only that she was curious simply to know which of her birthparents could sing. And that was about it. Regarding the parents who raised her, she said, "My parents should never be allowed to sing in public. Ever." It was pretty funny. The reporter replied that maybe her parents could sway …

Lesson

Yesterday morning, I was trying to hustle the kid into the van so that we could get to church. It was -4 outside (I know I am prone to exaggeration but trust me, that was the actual temperature) and I just wanted to get her in and go. I've read that there have been actual studies which prove that tailgating a car only succeeds in making the driver go more slowly. Similarly, the more you try to hustle my daughter along, the slower she moves. First, she needs to settle Teddy into the seat next to hers. Sometimes she insists on buckling him in, which adds a couple more minutes. Then she has to screw around with the overhead push lights in the back of the van. And so on it goes.

Yesterday, I was getting profoundly exasperated with the whole routine. She was wandering around the back of the van while I was shivering in the garage. Finally, she clambered into her car seat. But then, she wanted to buckle herself in. Argh! I danced from foot to foot to keep warm until I was able to confirm…

Bakin' cookies for Santa

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We went through three, yes three, full bottles of sprinkles. If Santa doesn't already have a firm diagnosis of diabetes, he will have it by the time he leaves our house on Wednesday night.


I do, in fact, rock

I went to Weight Watchers this morning and for the first time in two years or so, I didn't have to pay the meeting fee. As a Lifetime member, I don't have to pay if I'm within two pounds of my goal weight. I wasn't at my goal weight, but I was within spitting distance of it. Of course, I immediately went out to breakfast and ate a double-chocolate muffin, so it's hard to say what next week will bring. I like to live dangerously, eating those carbs and all.

After breakfast, I did something crazy: I went to the mall. And I took my kid, which makes everything 79% harder. She wanted to pick out a gift for Father, so I told her we'd do it today. We got to the mall early enough that it wasn't horribly crowded, but parking was still an issue. You see, it snows every ten minutes here, and you can't see the lines in the parking lot. So everyone uses the "this seems close enough" method of finding a space.

We found a gift and then drove across the street …

Climbing Out

I'd like to thank everyone who sent their condolences over Karl's death. It helped to know that others understood why I was such a blubbering, mascara-streaked heap. I thought I was faring a bit better today, but then I opened the mail and found a sympathy card from my veterinarian. The card contained my boy's paw print.

When I'm at home, I keep thinking I see him out of the corner of my eye. He was black, of course, and enjoyed napping in darkened doorways. We'd trip over him and then exclaim, "Geez, Karl!" I truly think he enjoyed it.

I found something today that succeeded in cheering me up a bit. The artist is Santogold. Check it out.

(Note: if you don't like it, you can't be my friend anymore. Ha!)


Aftermath

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I miss my boy.P and I took Karl to the veterinary clinic together. We left A at school, deciding that she is far too young to watch her doggie cross over. Later, we let her know that Karl was sick and had died (I had given her some advance warning that morning also). I'm not sure how much she absorbs or understands at this point. I hope she will remember him.

Just as we were leaving the house, Karl put his head down, gagged, and left three small puddles of bile on the carpet. He had not eaten since last week, so that was all that was left in him, I suppose. He would still take a treat, but he would then deposit it on the rug within an hour. Often, there was blood in his vomit. At times we hoped we had his condition under control through dietary changes and medications, but it would always cycle back through with a vengeance.

For several months, I cleaned up the vomit and fretted. When the snow came, I realized just how bad it was, because I could see all of the vomit in the back yar…

In Memory of Karl Lee

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Oh Karl, Snarlie, Snooley, Snarlsberg, Karlington, Karlie Carleone . . . I miss you, good boy. Please look for The Goose - I know she will look after you. I hope your tummy is full and your coat is shiny and you are restored to health. I love you.

What the kids are asking for these days

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At a museum's exhibit of old department store decorations we visited yesterday.This morning, the kids at church performed a Christmas program. We're UU's, so the play wasn't the standard Jesus/Mary/Joseph manger theme. Instead, they performed "The Last Straw" based on a book of the same name. My daughter is in the Pre-K class at church, and those kids are usually given simple walk-on parts since there's not much hope of getting three-year-olds to practice/memorize anything.

A's role was to add an item to the camel's pack. The camel (played by a talented teen girl) was traveling across the desert to bring gifts to the baby Jesus. About halfway through the performance, my kid was summoned to play her pivotal role. She shoved some sort of package in the camel's pack as guided by one of the teachers standing offstage. A then started to gallop back towards me. However, for some reason she then turned on her heel and skipped back across the stage. Pe…

Thanks, Santa

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Hooray for Tooth-Rotting, Sticky, Nutrition-Free Candy Canes!We took the kid to see the man in red yesterday (per the parental contract). There was a family in line in front of us, and their daughter had clearly reached the "no way, no how" stage in relation to Santa. She shook her head vigorously and scowled at the camera lady. A had the same reaction during her second Christmas. At seven months she was happy to sit on Santa's lap, but the following year: not on your life. I had to give this young couple credit, because they were NOT giving up. The dad perched next to Santa on the velvet throne, clutching his frowning daughter in his lap, while the mom and camera lady worked on the kid. There was a lot of waving of candy canes and peek-a-boo-I-see-you and other futile endeavors. No go.By the way, have you seen this book? I understand it contains photos of screaming kids on Santa's lap through the decades. I think I need it.When it was A's turn, she hopped…

Hound for the Holidays

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I picked up a new foster Boxer on Sunday. His name is Caesar. The kid, however, persists in calling him "Susie" no matter how many times I correct her. She grabbed my camera on Sunday evening and decided to take some photos of our new guest (she took the snapshot above which, frankly, is at least as good as any picture I've ever taken). I was on the computer and could hear her in the next room, chatting with her subject.

"Sit, Susie!" I heard her say."Goober, his name is Caesar!"

Five minutes later: "Susie, you're so cuuuuuute."The new guy seems to be settling in pretty well, though he's still a bit nervous. He jumps up and follows us from room to room. He was surrendered by a family who said they were moving and couldn't have him in their new place. His birthday is 5/18/05, which makes him about two weeks younger than my daughter. Caesar came from a home with a two-year-old in it, so he's good with kids.

I was told that Caesar …

Ritual

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We bundled up and drove to a tree farm yesterday. It was very cold so our standards were accordingly low. Basically, we decided to select a tree based on its proximity to our parked car. P felled the tree while the kid made snow angels in every unmarred patch of white stuff she could find. The only problem was that she had a heck of a time trying to get back up again. She was like the snowsuited little brother from "A Christmas Story" who couldn't put his arms down and couldn't pull himself up once he was horizontal.

Before long we had a tree on the roof of the familymobile and were headed home. I am once again grateful to our ancient kissing gourami for (voluntarily) heading off to that great pond in the sky so that I could put a tree in the spot formerly occupied by our 35-gallon aquarium. We bought a smallish tree that fits in the corner and voila, no furniture re-arranging required.We decorated the tree and allowed the kid to help. Half the ornaments are hung abou…

Ammo

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You'd better watch out, you'd better not cry.I need to assure you that I am generally aware of the different parenting/discipline techniques out there. Many are similar to those used in dog training, believe it or not. Positive reinforcement. Time-out. Assertive discipline. The list goes on and on.

But here is what I find works best:

"Do it one more time and I'm calling Santa."

My daughter (and I'd venture to say that 9 out of 10 three-year-olds are inclined to agree with her) does not believe in being "good for goodness' sake." She believes in pushing boundaries until they are stretched beyond recognition. The Santa Threat is really only effective for about four weeks out of the year. You have to be careful not to pull it out of your arsenal too quickly. I waited until our Thanksgiving vacation. My little buttercup ran away from me at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport and headed for a moving sidewalk (which was moving in the opposite direction from…

Denouement

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Thanksgiving (Day 6 of Mother-Daughter Togetherness)
New bebe
The trip to Oklahoma was generally pretty subdued, but we did have a bit of drama towards the end. On Friday afternoon A and I drove my dad to the airport in Oklahoma City. I then drove to my friend Susie's house. Susie has a May 05 kid also (we knew each other from a birth club board on Babycenter). Her son was so hospitable towards my daughter, who in turn was pretty much a pill. She played with his toys and pretended like he wasn't there, while he did everything he could think of to engage her. Susie and Mark also have an adorable one-year-old daughter.

As we sat around chatting, my mother called me on my cell. My reception was bad - I had about half a bar at best. She told me she had fallen and thought she might need an ambulance. She stumbled after waking up from a nap and smacked her arm and her head on the edge of the nightstand. My mother lives in a town about five blocks wide, surrounded by cows on all sides. …

Don't Forget to Wave

Now that our vacation has reached the halfway point, I've made a couple of observations about the great state of Oklahoma.

One, there is an unwritten law that requires you to wave to drivers headed in the opposite direction on the back roads. I keep forgetting until it's too late - the benevolent, waving driver has already passed me, his hand held palm outward in the unrequited gesture. I was driving with my dad the other day so I appointed him as our official waver, since apparently I cannot handle the responsibility.

My mother informed me that there are degrees to the wave that are permissible. You can extend your whole arm and rotate your hand rapidly at the wrist, in an enthusiastic version of the greeting. Or, if you are feeling a bit peckish, you can get away with raising your index finger (no, not THAT finger) above your steering wheel.

The good news is that I'm in a rental car (with out of state plates), so whenever I forget to wave, the locals just think I'm a je…

Oklahoma's OK (or at least pretty damned decent)

The kid and I made it to Oklahoma on Saturday. Our flights were on time and we had no complaints (well, A had a few, but that's par for the course). God love the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport - we had a three-hour layover and they have a children's play area. We killed an hour there, until one member of our party loudly announced that she had to poop. I took her to a handicapped stall and stood facing the corner while my daughter yelled, "Don't look at my poop!"

My dad met our flight in Oklahoma City. My parents are in the process of moving to OK permanently, and my dad is still in DC, working. So, he arrived about an hour before we did, and we got a rental car and headed to the middle of nowhere. My mother lives in the middle of nowhere, and my sister lives somewhere west of nowhere. Seriously, she lives on a road that has no name. The British lady inside my GPS was completely baffled when I tried to drive over there for a visit.

As I was out and about ye…

Off to Oklahoma (Where the Wind Comes Sweepin' Down the Plain)

The kid and I are headed to Oklahoma, Land of Meemaw, tomorrow morning. I've been packing since Tuesday. I'm trying to keep it pared down to the basics, but I also feel compelled to run through a few "what if" scenarios ("what if she rolls in a pile of opened magic markers?" - don't laugh, I actually have a very strong suspicion that she has done this) and plan accordingly. The kid, for her part, is being very helpful by filling our luggage with things like Mardi Gras beads and a small painted pumpkin.

We've run into one minor snag. Now, A has been housebroken for around eight months now and seldom has an accident. But yesterday, just as we were about to head out to see "Sesame Street Live," she peed through her underwear and onto the bathroom floor. I didn't think much of it, and got her changed and then cleaned up the bathroom. Later, after we got back from the gala performance, she was laying in my bed and peed again. Suddenly…

Hey, did we end up with an opened-box floor model or something?

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Mmmm, cinnaminnamon toastA had her six-month cleaning and check-up with our dentist yesterday. Her very first visit was in May and as I mentioned in a blog entry at that time, I learned then that she is defective: she's got an underbite.

At yesterday's visit, the dental hygienist was cleaning my daughter's teeth and mentioned the underbite. She gave me a knowing look and said, "You should start putting away money now for the orthodontia." She informed me that she used to work in an oral surgeon's office and that this sort of thing gets very expensive. Expensive, as in, you'll-be-living-off-Ramen-noodles-straight-into-your-golden-years expensive. "If it gets really bad, she won't even be able to bite into a sandwich," the hygienist said ominously. I had visions of my beautiful daughter developing some freakish Bulldog jaw. (In an ironic twist, I volunteer for Boxer rescue, and one of the tests to determine if a dog is a purebred Boxer is to co…

"You don't hafta go home, but you can't stay here."

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After partying like a big dogSaturday was a long one. I attended a Weight Watchers meeting at 8 a.m. I lost a couple pounds but again, it's the same few I keep losing and gaining. Anti-climactic at best.

Then I drove my van across town to the dealership for an oil change. I was overdue by 1,000 miles, but I'm sure they've seen worse. I listened to my iPod while I waited for the plastic pager to buzz the news of my van's ready-to-go-ness. One of the mechanics (technicians?) came towards me, clipboard in hand. "Shit," I thought. It seems like every other time I'm in there, they show me some random part from my car and tell me how degraded it is. "This is your schnehoozadumper hose, Mrs. M. See how rusty it is?"

But, I got lucky this time. It turned out they had forgotten to write down my pager number and were unable to summon me. They were sending me off with just the oil change, as luck would have it.

Next, I drove to Target to buy a gift card for a…

[Insert Expletives - the More Foul the Better - Here] Airlines

The kid and I are flying to Oklahoma next Saturday for Thanksgiving. We're connecting through Minneapolis. This is the fourth year we have flown for Thanksgiving, and each year the airlines find new and unusual ways to make the entire experience as unpleasant as possible. I knew there were new baggage fees since the last time we flew, so I called Northwest Airlines this morning to ask if I'd be charged if I check a car seat. In the past, a car seat did not count towards one's luggage limit at all. After all, it's a safety item for a child, required by law when traveling in a car, and not a set of golf clubs.

Knowing that the airlines are now charging for everything from Diet Coke to oxygen, I thought I'd better just make sure they weren't planning to charge me for checking a car seat. I sent an email through the NWA website (the acronym NWA always makes me think of the gansta rap group first and the airline second, which probably means there is something very wr…

Chloe-oh-wee-oh

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I, wanna take you to my cage
Lock you up and hide the key
Chloe-oh-wee-oh

I often sing to Chloe to the tune of "Jungle Love" by The Time. This means that I am: a) lame, b) mentally unstable c) old, d) all of the above. Oh, and she's stone deaf, so there's that.

Chloe, a purebred Boxer, has been a guest in our home for nearly seven months. A lot of people passed her by, despite the fact that she is young, healthy, smart, and housebroken. Well, I am iffy on the "smart" part. She is intelligent in that she learns new commands quickly and easily. But the other day I was emptying the vacuum canister when it sprang open prematurely, dumping a heap o'gunk on the carpet. Chloe ran straight over and started eating it. I thought she would stop when she realized she was eating dirt but, ah, no.

Anyway, because she is deaf, most people dismissed her out of hand when they saw her on the rescue's website. Finally, though, an applicant came to meet her last weekend. C…

Stuff Not to Say to Moi

"Mama, you're sooooooooo . . . large."

That's what my precious daughter said to me on Saturday. Couldn't you just eat her up?

I did take her to Weight Watchers with me that morning. She doesn't know why I go or that it has anything to do with my apparent enormousness. She entertained herself during the meeting by drawing letters on a points tracker. At one point she whispered, "Mama, somebody farted at your meeting!" After Weight Watchers, we headed to a craft fair and then out to brunch with my friend Nancy.

Later in the afternoon, I drove out of town and stayed overnight at my friend Becky's house (in case you ever spend the night at Becky's, please note that she seriously turns the heat off overnight. I assured her that this would not keep me from freeloading in the future, but that it was darned good try.) I spent most of Sunday at a dog fair with the rescue. Let me just say this about that. If you ever attend a dog festival of some sort an…

Truly, truly maddening

I know I've complained about this before, but would someone please tell the media that raising a child makes you a parent - not just the act of giving birth?

I stumbled across this article about Nicole Kidman.

The quote that made my blood boil:

"Then, last July, Kidman gave birth to her first child, daughter Sunday Rose. Suddenly the long lenses were back, behind every bush and mailbox.

The new mother has reacted intensely with "whatever that primal thing is, the need and desire to keep her very protected," Kidman says."

This baby is not her first child and she is not a new mother! Her other children, Connor and Isabella, were adopted at birth and are now teenagers. The woman has been a mom for a long time now. But according to the media, I guess those were just practice kids and she's got her real one now.

I was in the delivery room when my daughter was born. The moment I saw her, I understood why people say that a mom can muster the adrenaline to lift a car of…

And you thought you could rely on inanimate objects to be . . . well, inanimate. (Alternate title: this is where the tall tales begin.)

Yesterday morning, I sent my cherubic daughter off to school in a light blue Gymboree frock ("with a beauuuuutiful ice skater princess on it, Mama") and with a white plastic headband perched on her skull.

When I picked her up, no headband. I learned that an amazing feat of physics had occurred during the afternoon. Apparently, the headband flew off her head and spontaneously snapped in two. "It broked all by itself," my daughter assured me solemnly.

"Really?" I responded. "You weren't, you know, twisting it?"

A shook her head vigorously. She didn't break down under cross-examination when her dad asked her about it at dinner either. You gotta give her credit for sticking to her story, no matter how illogical.

Later, when I was talking to my mom, she suggested that maybe a malevolent spirit had attacked my child. A spirit that . . . really has it in for headbands. I believe it may be related to the same malevolent spirit that has been known to…

My Overwhelming Popularity

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One of my two readers sent me a little award. Woot!

Thanks, Jennifer! By the way, at one point I examined my friends list in Facebook and determined that a full 10% are named Jennifer. Apparently there was a scarcity of baby girl names from around 1970 to 1980. I noticed that the Duggar family held out as long as they could but ultimately bestowed the name upon the seventeenth of their J-themed clan. It was inevitable, really.

I should add that the Jennifer who sent me the award is, of course, my favorite.

In any case, apparently I am supposed to include the answers to a slew of questions. The caveat: you only get one word for each.

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Where is your significant other? Bed
3. Your hair color? Brown
4. Your mother? Glamorous
5. Your father? Kind
6. Your favorite thing? Daughter (if the answer was supposed to be an inanimate object, I'll go with "brownies")
7. Your dream last night? Unknown
8. Your dream/goal? Publication
9. The room you're in? Of…

When You Can't Get a Babysitter . . .

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You stay home with your three-year-old, hook up your iPod to a speaker, and take photos of each other dancing. Wait, that's not what you did last night?

Not That Kind of Father . . .

Trick-or-Treating was pretty uneventful. I dug out the kid's wagon and hauled her down the street. We have a nursing home about five blocks from our house. I don't think "nursing home" is the correct term and I know that "old folks' home" is not politically correct, but I assume you know the type of joint to which I am referring. It's the sort of place I've been threatening to put my parents for quite some time, even though they are only in their fifties.

Anyhow, the Harmony Home had a sign inviting trick-or-treaters, so we thought we'd check it out. There was a sign inside the door that read, "Follow the feet if you want a treat!" A followed the orange feet laid out on the carpet as they wound through several rooms. Kindly oldsters handed her a piece of candy as she passed by. The ladies, in particular, exclaimed over her princess gown.

"Her grandma made it," I'd say.
"What's that?"
"HER GRANDMA MADE I…

Why do they call those little candy bars "fun size?" Wouldn't the big ones be more fun?

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Halloween-related activities have kicked into high gear. We attended a community event last Saturday and another one this afternoon. Tomorrow, of course, brings the big denouement: trick-or-treating in the 'hood. One of us will stay home to dole out the goods while the other takes A down the street. Then we switch and hit up the neighbors in the other direction. Remember as kids we'd always hear that rumor that some house was giving out full-sized candy bars? I wonder if that rumor still gets around today. And, more importantly, where IS that house?

A's school is also having a "harvest party" on Friday. Some parents at the school don't want their children celebrating Halloween, so we all received a notice about the "harvest party." The party is being held ON October 31st and oh yeah, she is supposed to dress up as her favorite character. Dress up, as in, you know, a c-o-s-t-u-m-e. And we are invited to send treats along. But please note that this is …

This, That, and the Other Thing

I've been sort of preoccupied with the whole "hey, you're adopted" thing, but last week had other highlights (well, some are more like lowlights).

Wanna hear it? Here it go:
My new nephew was born on Tuesday the 21st. He arrived a day early, via cesarean section. My sister laments that with two c-sections under her belt (literally), her career as a bikini model will likely never kick into gear now. I will be meeting the new pipsqueak next month when A and I visit Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweeping down the plain) for Thanksgiving. I have been assured that the new kid does have red hair and is thereby eligible for Christmas gifts from Auntie Claudia.

My friend's husband has a lump in/on his quadriceps muscle. They've just learned that the mass is malignant. It's in a very precarious spot, frightening close to the femoral artery, so surgery is going to be a bit dicey. I have to say that Kris and Paul are, generally speaking, as upbeat as two people have …

The Deed is Done

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She cheats at Candyland, but we like her anyway.The book I ordered from Shutterfly arrived yesterday. My stomach was in knots as soon as I saw the package. I showed it to P so that he would be aware of its contents before we sat down to read it to our daughter.

We took A to yet another Halloween event (Meemaw made the costume and by gum, we're gonna make sure the general public has ample opportunity to see it) and then came home to have dinner. After dinner, we sat her between us on the couch and read the book to her.

The story begins with how her dad and I met and fell in love. I wrote about how much I wanted a baby in my tummy, but that no baby came to live in my tummy. I teared up at this point because the pain of my four lost babies is still not that far beneath the surface. I have been richly rewarded with a beautiful firecracker of a child, so it's not a matter of any sort of regret. It's just that those were dark days and at times I really felt I might go under.

Next, …

Just Waitin' for My Macaroni Art

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During my long, long struggle to become a mom, my own mother kept my spirits up by telling me, "It's only a matter of time until you'll have macaroni art on your refrigerator." You know you're a parent when the short person who lives in your house hands you a paper plate with uncooked macaroni glued to it (another variation is the macaroni necklace, strung on colorful yarn). Most schools have a long-standing tradition of using pasta as an art medium. When my youngest sister was in preschool, she brought home a macaroni frame with her smiling wallet-sized photo glued into the middle. The best part? The macaroni frame had been spray-painted gold. I sure hope it's still in a Christmas box somewhere at my parents' house.

Though I have not yet received any macaroni art, I think I am getting close. I received this:
Ain't she a beaut? There is at least half a pound of glue holding those goldfish crackers in place. My refrigerator (or fridgelator, as the artist…

My Kid's Meemaw is Better Than Your Kid's Meemaw

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The crown kept falling off her head so we gave up after a while.Like 94.7% of all three-year-olds girls, A decided to be a princess for Halloween this year. It's the first time I let her choose, because it was really the first time she had a grasp of what was going on. Last year, when I took her trick-or-treating, she tried to enter every neighbor's house when they opened the door. The whole concept wasn't quite coming together in her mind yet. But now, she knows what's what.

I feared that if I asked my mom to make a costume, she might hem and haw a bit (Get it? Hem? Oooh, I kill myself). I knew that if I put her adorable granddaughter on the phone, however, a costume would be in the works as soon as Meemaw could beat a path to the fabric store.

"Meemaw, would you make me a purple princess costume so that I can get some candy at the YMCA?"

I have no idea why she mentioned the YMCA. She goes there for swim classes and, as far as I know, they are in the business o…

A Sudden Fit of Modesty

Perhaps someone can explain this to me. My daughter is not at all shy. She chats with strangers and waves at passersby. Proud of her body and all that it can do, she announces every fart and every burp loudly and with great enthusiasm. At home, she can often be found in her birthday suit. The other night I came upon her standing in front of the open refrigerator, sucking apple juice out of her Little Mermaid cup, wearing nary a stitch. She also thinks it's hilarious to put her hands and feet flat on the floor, throw her hinder into the air and yell, "Butty-butt-butt-butt-butt-butt!"

Why is it then, that when I find her sitting buck naked on the potty (with the bathroom door wide open), she yells, "DON'T LOOK AT MY POOP!" and attempts to cover the open bowl with her hands? Does she really think there is anything left that I haven't seen? I've been tending to her bodily output since she was born. I've caught every cold she's ever had. I've …

Revelation

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For months I've been been trying to figure out the best way to tell my daughter that she was adopted at birth. It's exactly as hard as you'd imagine it would be. We have children's books on the topic. Jamie Lee Curtis wrote a great book called Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born. We also have one called A Blessing from Above and another called My Family is Forever. We read them to her, but we haven't come out and said, "Oh, by the way . . . " She recently became aware of where babies come from (well, she knows that a baby grows in a woman's tummy - she doesn't know the mechanics of how such a thing happens). So, we have known for a while now that the day draws nigh (you like the way I went all Victorian on you there?).

In preparation, a while back I started telling her the story of how her dad and I met and how much we wanted a baby. I always say, "They wanted a baby girl and they wondered: 'where is our baby girl?'" And my d…

Alrighty Then

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A's school was closed for a teacher in-service day yesterday ("In order to serve you better . . . we're gonna close the joint down for a day so that you have no childcare . . . you know, the service for which you're paying us? Oh, and we'll still need you to pay us for the day. In fact, we require it.") so I took the day off.

I had a coupon for Build-a-Bear so I decided to indulge the kid. We headed over to the mall and she ran straight into the store. I showed her all of the different empty carcasses and let her choose one. She selected a pink bear with hearts on it. We were going to pass on adding a sound to the bear, but the nice lady had sold my kid a sound before I knew what hit me.

A got to step on the foot pedal and fill the bear up with fluff. She chatted with the lady as she did so, and I listened carefully to make sure she wasn't sold anything else we didn't need. We were not leaving there with a bear on rollerskates and that's all there i…

In Memory of Griffin

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When you serve as a foster parent to homeless dogs, people often say things like, "Oh, I could never do that. I'd want to keep all of them." Well, once you do it for a while, you really don't think in those terms. You simply can't keep the dogs. For starters, your neighbors would be pretty pissed. Plus, for each dog in rescue, there is generally another one on a waiting list who also needs a foster spot (and a shot at a "forever" home). You need to place the current one so that you can help the next one. Rescue work is a perpetual exercise in "one step forward, two steps back." All we can really do is to try our damnedest to keep up with the flow.

In 8 1/2 years of fostering, I've lost count of how many dogs have passed through my door. I have to imagine that it is well over 50 dogs. Some have been adopted quickly, while others have lingered for months. Most have peed on my carpet at least once. Most have been thin. All have been beautiful.