testing the waters

Uhhhh…

(gripping stomach)

Rainbow and I met a friend and her little girl at the pool today.

(wipes sweat from brow)

It went pretty well.

(trying to smooth out furrowed forehead)

Apparently, it was spring break in this town, so the kiddie area that my friend S says has, like, 6 or 7 kids on an average morning, had this frothing mass of squealing children in it. It did have a play zone in the 2′ deep zone, but the slide seemed to go into deeper water, or at least it seemed deeper from where I was standing. Rainbow considered doing it, and wanted to loiter at the top of the slide and watch the other kids slide for a while. I went to the bottom of the slide and peeked up at him while S was at the top encouraging him to try, but he just wasn’t ready. Fine with me.

He was quite brave walking around in chest-deep water and playing with the water works wheels and levers and such, and I tagged along behind him with arms out, creating a buffer zone to keep all the rowdy big kids from knocking him over and wishing I’d put him in his floaty foam swimsuit.

(NOTE TO SELF: Your one piece, which you couldn’t find last summer, STILL hasn’t appeared in the dresser. Buy a new one piece for this sort of venture. You need it. Sheesh.)

S told me some about the swim lessons that she has begun with her little girl, so maybe we’ll try it. I need to talk to her more about it when I can actually hear her and the air isn’t full of the shrieks of spring break elementary school kids.

I had a moment this morning when I was looking for his swimsuit, frustrated that I couldn’t find ONE of them, when I knew that there were TWO in the drawer that were hand-me-downs from Ward. There was that blue palm tree one, which Rainbow ended up wearing, and there was the Hawaiian floral orange and red one. And then I remembered that the red and orange one was the one Ward had been wearing when it happened, and it’s gone now.

(Oh, lurching stomach, be still.)

I don’t know what happened to it. He went to the hospital in it, at any rate.

Whew.

( … )

Anyway.

Rainbow had a great time, I didn’t cry or freak out or anything, and he loved playing with little E. So it was good, I think, and will be easier next time.

I’ve been doing some anxiety baking, though, since he went down for a nap: chocolate bundt cake, a casserole for dinner, and some tuna salad for whenever hungry boys or daddy might want it.

Cooking helps.

We had it coming

For a fabulous complexion, superhero immune system, enviably plump rear end, and nicely rounded tummy, may I suggest:

THE RAINBOW DIET

Main Courses

French toast
Cheese grits
Vanilla yogurt topped with whole fruit spread and wheat germ
Grilled cheese sandwiches (cut into triangles)
Whole wheat bread with fruit spread (cut into triangles)
Sliced cheese (cut into triangles)
Lightly toasted bagels with cream cheese (cut into TRIANGLES, lady!!)
Bananas
Purple grapes
Raisins, dried cranberries, mixed dried fruit blends
Pistachios
Gerber toddler strawberry-banana fruit bars

Beverages

Diluted apple juice
Milk
Water

Occasional side dishes

Cottage cheese
Toothpick sized shreds of ham
Oatmeal with butter, brown sugar, and chopped walnuts
Gerber mac-n-cheese
Gerber cheetos
Cookies, brownies, crackers, pilfered junk food

***

And, yeah, that’s pretty much it. Veggies? Nuh-uh. He’ll put bites in his mouth gamely, then scrape them off his tongue. Same with stew meat or meatballs, chicken bits or fish. No spaghetti sauce, no V-8 fusion juice, no exotic green juices. Noodles, not so much, although I keep those Gerber mac-n-cheese cups in the pantry for rush meals; he’ll still eat those.

Rainbow has the dubious honor of being our FIRST child to be a legitimately picky eater.

Congratulations…?

golden glow

I love the way this piece on tanning turned out at Like Totally 80’s.

It’s been a roller coaster of publication activity in the past couple of days. Yesterday I was totally elated about getting a couple more articles out in the world, and feeling all confident, and today has been… less confidence-inducing.

So I am thrilled that Like Totally 80’s liked this piece and it’s fun to see it up in black and white (and neon and hot pink and purple…) I hope you like it, too.

The weather

is just stunning where we are. It’s about as perfect as it can be, I think. Rainbow and I were out this morning on a long walk and explore through downtown and the park, and the birds are just going nuts and bulbs are blooming and trees are all flowery. The sun feels heavenly, balmy and gentle.

I smile when I think about Ward loving this scene from Bambi. He loved the owl especially. You ‘member that OWL? he’d ask, and widen his big blue eyes.

He thought it was HYSTERICAL.

I’m glad it’s so glorious outside, because I think otherwise I’d just melt into a puddle of sad. It’s nice to see all the growing and beautiful things, fresh and perfect and full of promise. And then I think about Sharon’s little girls going to bed every night and knowing their mom isn’t alive any more, then waking up in the morning and having that blessed moment or two before they remember The Terrible Thing, where they still feel rested and fine and fresh, just with a little niggling What Was That Terrible Thing? And then they remember, and feel that dark heaviness, and the day starts all over again.

And I’m sure it’s different for little kids, “They’re resilient,” but it’s their mom.

It’s just so heartbreaking.

yesterday

I had learned about the serious nature of Sharon’s illness on Sunday evening. My immediate reaction was to want to pack up and fly to her hometown, but Daddy J was at band practice and I was on lil bun duty, so I dazedly got him ready for bed in between talking on the phone and messaging on Facebook.

He got to bed really late for him (after 9:00) which I guess isn’t so terrible considering the time change, but still. Daddy J got home soon thereafter and we started to look at flights.

And then realized that I should probably check in with her husband and/or family before I just arrived and expected to see her. I sent some more messages and went to bed, hoping there would at least be weeks or days left in her life.

I normally take Rainbow to his Discovery Center class on Mondays, but I bagged it yesterday. I was fretful and anxious, and Daddy J very correctly pointed out that I didn’t need any sort of negative experience if I could avoid it. (Last week Rainbow… did not enjoy class.) I had scheduled his doctor appointment at 10:45 so we could go after class, so we had a morning at home and then went for his 2 year checkup.

Suprisingly, As usual, I had to wait a good forty-five minutes before I got called back to the exam room, and then another good twenty minutes before I saw the doctor. Also as usual, I debated whether it’s worth it to keep driving half an hour to get there when there are probably docs closer that I would also like.

BUT, I end up sticking with it because I really like this doctor a lot, and, equally important, the big boys really like him a lot.

The waiting room’s nice, too. Rainbow had a PARTY in there. He was so dang cute, just cracking up and playing with other little kids. It was so sweet to hear other mamas commenting things like, “What a happy little boy,” and “Listen to that laugh!” What a little honey.

His tune abruptly changed when we got called back. The tears and vehement protests began even before we made it to the room. He was blowing kisses at all the nurses and doctors, trying to make them GO AWAY or else effect his own escape.

We made it, though, and I could almost hear everything Dr. Tim said over Rainbow’s wails. Rainbow is healthy as a little horse and smart as a whip.

*smile*

They did check for anemia, which I am slightly concerned about since he won’t really eat meat. He’s also not a veggie fan, at all. It’s kind of down to bananas, cut-up purple grapes, and bits of dried fruit. Also whole fruit spread on his yogurt and wheat germ.

But really, he’s just bursting with health and vigor, so I’m not worried too terribly much. I do think I’ll get some vitamins for him, though. He’s my first who’s not a veggie eater at this age, but I wonder if he’s just prioritizing his food intake for the mass building selections, like dairy stuff. Apparently there’s a lot of mass in his future.

He weighs 34 pounds and 13 ounces and is 38 inches long.

A big boy. Dr. Tim said that at this age we could double his height to estimate his adult height, so that would put him at 6’4″. Dr. Tim emphasized that he would be a BIG, tall man. Just big all around. Which is awesome.

*smile*

We left and drove to Goonie’s house. I had his essential gear in the car since he was spending the night, so Rainbow had a pleasant ride, gazing out the window with Binky in his mouth and Puppy’s ear between his fingers.

I went from Goonie’s house to the town nearest her to get some things for Sharon’s little girls. I wasn’t sure if I’d pack them to take when I visited or send them that day, but I wanted to get treat bags together for both of them. Cousin N gave me a couple of pink belly dancing scarves, which I think they will flip out over, based on how the little girls at craft fair loved them. I went to Sally Beauty and Hastings for treats to add to the scarves.

I do this thing when confronted by grief: I want to take action of some sort. I did it when I found out my dad was sick with cancer. I got up early and made spinach gnocchi from scratch to take to the waiting room at the hospital. Because everyone wants to eat spinach gnocchi in hospital waiting rooms, right?? Yesterday I wanted to assemble the most fun gift bags ever for Sharon’s daughters so that maybe they could take a break for a moment from the fact that their mom was dying.

*heart lurch*

Leaving Hasting, I eyed the Merle Norman store. I never really go in them; they’re sort of intimidatingly girly to me. But I wanted another little something for Sharon, and I thought some fancy hand cream would be nice to rub into her hands. I had had some Merle Norman lotion at one point that I really liked.

I popped in, trying to look casual, and immediately got busted. Hello there! Welcome! Have you been in a Merle Norman before? Where are you from?

Oh, sh*t, we’ve got us a talker.
I tried to hide the panic in my eyes and appear to be captivated by the springtime purse display, but it was futile. I was caught.

She was a really lovely person, and it turned out that we know a bazillion of the same people She used to be on the Habitat board, so we knew all those ladies, and her neighbor is a new member. Her husband had died of a heart attack five years ago, and she knew about Wardie, so we talked about grief some. She said that she normally didn’t work anymore, but was filling in for her daughter, so it was a God Thing that I had walked in.

And I suppose it was, but everything is, right? I was worried and hungry and had to go to the bathroom and wanted to get home to Daddy J and watch some Heroes, so I was quite possibly not the best company. She strongly suggested this book and maybe I’ll give it a shot. It’s Christian-y, but not in a preachy or hypocritical way, more of a gritty and realistic way, she said. I dunno. It sounds like it hits on the anger at God that a lot of grievers apparently feel, and (as I awkwardly tried to explain yesterday) I was never angry at God. Angry at myself, sure, but faith was what comforted and reassured and strengthened me. And I don’t really care so much what the Bible says. I just don’t.

She did share one good nugget, which she said she heard once from a co-worker. She said that a group was sitting around eating and women were discussing eating this or that in order to prolong their lives. (Side note: I try to eat healthfully in order to look and feel better, not so much because I think it will make me live a really long time, although I guess it ups the odds.) Anyway, one woman had been quiet and chimed in at last:

What’s so bad about dying?

Which, yes, of course. It’s a good thing to get to go Home.

The bad part is for the people who get left behind.

I bought at last some fancy, subtly scented hand cream that she said a client calls her “silk pajamas in a tube.” I tried some and it was awfully nice. She gave her blessings to Sharon and I left.

I returned a call to a friend in the parking lot and learned that Sharon won’t be using the stupid hand cream.

I know she’s happy to be Home and that she is so adored there, but, oh, I am so sad for those who got left behind.

Sharon

My college roommate and friend lost her battle with cancer.

I’m so sad.

She has two beautiful little girls and a fabulous husband who are going to miss her every day.

I hate it that this has happened to her and her family.

We had sort of lost touch in the last few years, which of course I now feel terrible about. I knew she had had breast cancer, but I didn’t know that it had come back and attacked her so cruelly. I thought it had been beaten into submission.

She was Brad’s godmother.

I’m proud of her. I’ve been reading through the comments on her facebook page and it’s so amazing how many lives she has touched. While she struggled with cancer, she supported so many others. Everyone is noting, as I did, that she always had a smile on her face. I’m proud and happy, too, that she clearly had a tight and loving group of friends in her hometown. I don’t blame them for loving her one bit.

She was brave and generous during the painful roller coaster ride of her illness, I’m reading.

I’m not surprised by that, either.

I wish so much that I’d spent time with her in the last few years. Time flies so fast.

Mostly I’m hurting for her girls and her husband, though. What a cruel and difficult thing for them.

Just so sad.

more better

It’s funny how practiced I’ve become with little dips into sadness. Not ha-ha funny, I guess, but notable. It’s part of my skill set nowadays. From tons of experience I know that I just have to keep going and do what makes me feel better, and the dark feelings will wash on by. And they have.

I’m about to go top off an article I wrote for Babble with some professional insights that some folks were kind enough to give me. I am hopeful that once I get the quotes in there, it will be accepted. And another piece will come out on March 18 at Babble.com. AND, I also just got an article accepted by Adoptive Families, although that won’t be published til probably May/June. So the writing has been really rewarding.

The fun thing about sending off articles for publication is getting them accepted.

(Duh.)

I’m a big sucker for praise and approval, so it’s a great carrot for me. Plus, it’s deeply enjoyable to share our experiences and have meaningful discussions with people I don’t even know about how their own experiences compare.

We just had another playdate at our house with little S and his mom, C. Rainbow was a bit of a pill this time with the sharing and such, but they had some good moments as well. Next week we’ll play at their house, and Rainbow seems to be on better behavior there. I LOVE that he’s getting the sharing practice in. We may go to a bouncy play area on Friday with C. and another of her friends. Bounce University, maybe? Apparently it’s Toddler Time from 10-12, and it totally sounds like Rainbow’s cup of tea.

We went to Chuck E. Cheese’s yesterday since it was cold and gross outside. It’s Rainbow’s new favorite place – Chi Cheese! And then followed it up with a visit to the padded toddler play zone in the mall, so big excitement all around. That play zone rocks; they have this great foamy stuff on the floors, and the climb-on stuff is padded too, with some space-age molded soft material.

Here are some pics of a little bun from our trip to the park day before yesterday.

He’s such a funny, smart, tough little guy.

Rainbow enjoys the Night-Night game. It involves stretching out on the floor (or a bed, if that’s handy,) closing one’s eyes, and snoring loudly. I play, too. It’s a good game.





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