at least the color brings out her eyes

Poor little girl. I noticed it around 5:30 on Thursday. She wouldn’t put weight on her rear foot, and it was noticeably swollen. She didn’t cry about it, though, and when I gingerly palpated it, she whimpered only once. So, I wasn’t sure, and got a second opinion from Daddy J. Yup, broken, was his verdict.

Our outstanding local vet answered Daddy J’s page and said that since Scarlett had eaten a few hours ago, he’d have to wait in order to use anesthesia. I assumed at first that that meant he’d see her in the morning, but no: he told us to bring her at 9:30 at night. Daddy J took her to the clinic, and sure enough, her little leg was broken. Dr. West said it wasn’t a bite from another dog, like, say, a huge male German shepherd. Most likely, he thinks, she was exploring and got her foot caught in a root or rocks or something in our backyard and then broke her leg when she wrenched her foot free.

She thumps along pretty well on it, although it sure looks uncomfortable. She’ll get it off in a couple of weeks.

****

Total non-sequitur: That bizarro shingles/spider bite spot apparently just comes and goes on a whim now. It was back a few weeks ago, then faded, and is back again now. Weird.

school’s out

For the big boys, anyway. Rainbow is going to keep on going to daycare; we’re actually changing it to three days a week instead of two, since Goonie’s new work schedule probably means she won’t be keeping him one day a week any more. He seems to really love it. He talks about it when he’s not there (play with friends! Miss C give apple juice! Crackers! Play with trucks! Color with crayons! Play with DINOSAURS!) and is napping well there, in general, and eating at least a little bit.

When Daddy J picked him up on Tuesday, he chirped, Bye-bye, Miss C! Good job! as he left. And then today, when I dropped him off, he clung to me for a minute and then asked to be put down. Bye-bye, Mama, a wave, and a swift turn to the toys and his friends.

Which, yeah. A fierce punch to a Mama’s heart, but I’m so very proud of him.

Also, this guy:

Won MVP of his middle school lacrosse team. It sort of astonishes me that I, who possess neither team sport skills nor an aggressive sporty competitiveness, am mother to this boy. Pretty cool, huh?

dragons and other cool stuff

Our little Rockinrolla turned fourteen on May 18 (**sniff**) and we took him and his big brother out to eat and to The Flaming Lips concert. Which was totally the coolest concert I’ve EVER SEEN.

Confetti, balloons, a giant clear hamster ball bouncing around on the audience’s heads, the Ryman Auditorium… As an added HUGE bonus, Brad and Rockinrolla worked their way up to the stage and got to see the entire concert from, like, two feet away. Brad is elated that Wayne Coyne SHOOK HIS HAND.

(If you look closely, you might see Brad bouncing up and down in ecstasy and Rockinolla with his elbows on the stage.)

I have been cleaning like a madwoman while Rainbow’s at preschool (going most excellently, btw – he warbles happily about the teacher and going to play with his friends ALL THE TIME) because our weekly cleaning person failed to show up both this week AND last and we’re having Rockinrolla’s middle school lacrosse banquet here in, like, two hours, which is awesome except that I can’t stand having anyone in the house unless it’s clean and smells nice, dammit.

(gargrarrahhhgagghh curse spit gruh grumphhhh)

(and yes, yes, I’m totally spoiled to have a cleaning helper-person once a week (downstairs only), but I do work part-time and have an energetic little sugar-monkey at home the rest of the time, so I pretty much require it)

BUT! Wanted to also share the newest article up on Like Totally 80’s about Dungeons and Dragons. My older brother LOOOOOOVED it, and his affection for the game rubbed off on me but good.

drama

So, we were all stoked for an easy, restful weekend. I took Rockinrolla to his middle school awards ceremony on Friday evening (he won book awards for both English and Spanish – way to go bub!) and then we met Daddy J at the Guitar Pull that our friends Linda and Doug had arranged. (Brad was on a movie trip with his school.)

The Guitar Pull was just awesome. We were on the front row, and four talented and extremely successful songwriters (one was singer Aaron Tippin) spoke about their songs and performed them. I’m so glad Rockinrolla was there with us (and missed Brad) because they both aren’t big fans of country, although I play it a lot in the car. It’s impossible, though, to not appreciate the poetry and earnestness and positive energy from that music when the songwriters themselves are singing their own songs for you. Loved it.

And we had nothing lined up for the rest of the weekend.

Aaaaaahhh.

Daddy J made a quick run to the market on Saturday morning. He came in through the back glass door and surprised Rainbow, who was SO glad to see him that he threw open the heavy metal door. Onto his bare foot. Which got a deep 1″ long cut. Which split right open because his little feet are so plump.

Whew.

So, emergency room visit number one for little Rainbow. (Although it was hospital trip number two.) I’d say something witty and pithy about little boys being wild men and getting into scrapes, except it’s not funny at all, and Rainbow, both times, was just being an enthusiastic little sweetie pie and not a naughty daredevil.

Hallelujah!!! the ER was empty on Saturday morning and we had zero wait. The doctor and staff were absolutely perfect in every way – caring and attentive and professional. Go, go, go, Heritage Medical Center. I was anxious going in because we’d had a very negative experience with the old hospital, eleven or so years ago, when Rockinrolla fell on the kitchen floor and got a concussion. Which was totally unfair of me, because this is an entirely new hospital, but still. I was nervous that it would be a repeat of the awfulness, but no. GREAT medical service.

Little boy was very brave. The nurse put a numbing cream on the wound and administered some Tylenol 3, and we watched Sesame Street on Daddy’s iPhone while the cream soaked in. Rainbow got loopy and relaxed from the meds, but still cried and protested during the stitching up process. (I held him close and did NOT look.) Rainbow and I waited in the car while Daddy J filled the prescription for antibiotics at Walmart (which totally took about as long as the entire hospital process) and then took little bun home.

He had a little yogurt and a leftover pancake for lunch, along with his dose of Keflex, and then took a three and a half hour nap.

And then woke up and vomited ALL OVER THE PLACE.

AGAIN.

and

AGAIN.

and

AGAIN.

Our doctor told us to discontinue the antibiotics (which were just precautionary for possible infection at the site) since it was impossible to tell if it was the Tylenol 3, the Keflex, or the traumatic experience that was causing the misery. I kept a log of his GI troubles, and the last bout was at 4 am. Poor honey.

So, yeah. It was a wild one. He ate a little on Sunday, and then had a pretty normal day yesterday, and is very happily back at preschool today.

Stitches come out in a week.

trapper keepers = awesomeness

Here’s my latest post at Like Totally 80’s about Trapper Keepers. They were SO cool back in the day. I remember how it just wasn’t even up for debate, as far as I was concerned: I HAD to have a Trapper Keeper for school.

Check out the pics I found of some great vintage designs. Is yours pictured?
Mine is. 🙂

therapy for kids who don’t need it?

My newest article just came up at Babble. I talk about how I think even emotionally healthy kids should start a relationship with a therapist by going just a couple of times a year before they hit middle school. Then if/when emotional and social turbulence hits during puberty and beyond, the therapist relationship will already be in place and the therapist will be an invaluable parenting tool.

I hope you like the piece, and I’d love to hear what you think about this idea in the comments section.

The Joy of Sax

I had SO much fun writing this article about saxophone solos in the 1980’s for Like Totally 80’s. I have been on youtube all morning and dancing in my computer chair. The 80’s had a ton of great sax music, and I tried to pick the best examples of them for the piece. Hope you like it. 🙂

expression

We went down to Rainbow’s birth state and spent time with his birthmom, Noelle, and his birthfather three times before his birth. She invited us to her OB appointments and ultrasounds, and we all went out to dinner and talked. I was a little anxious nervous wreck at points before and during these meetings, but they were priceless. I’m so, so glad that we all got to know each other a little bit. Now I see little bits of Noelle and Eric, Rainbow’s birthfather, in our little boy every day.

Noelle did one thing that threw me for a loop at first. She smiled easily and laughed often, but when she was listening to someone else talk, she would often drop all expression from her face. Like, not an expression of amusement or interest or even sleepiness, but just ZERO expression. A totally flat affect at times.

It was a new one on me; I’m used to people constantly emoting with their faces, even when they are just listening to someone else. I worried that I was boring her to tears, or that she was seething at some unintentionally offensive thing I’d said, or that she was just zoned out and not hearing a thing I was saying. But after it happened a few times, I learned that it was just a special thing about her. Which is really nice, upon reflection: when she’s listening and taking in what someone else says, her attention is entirely on the other person’s intent and not on her own facial expressions, so they sometimes just drop away entirely.

Which fits with what we learned and continue to admire about her: she’s extraordinarily unself-conscious and unpretentious, confident and emotionally unguarded.

And now I’ve seen it in more than one instance: RAINBOW DOES IT TOO!!

I recognized that blank-looking expression immediately; it popped up when he was intently watching me teach him how to use a toy. I saw this lovable quirk of Noelle in him, and it was just so cool. I keep wanting to tell her, but feel like it’s likely that Hey, you know that blank, zoned-out expression you get sometimes when you’re paying attention? Rainbow gets it TOO! might be misinterpreted.

So wanted to record it here for posterity: some behaviors are indeed genetic.

Mother’s Day

Sure, it’s a bit of a Hallmark holiday, but it’s nice to actually set aside a single day to think just about mothers. So, thanks, Hallmark.

It’s a peaceful morning so far. Daddy J gave me my beautiful mother’s day present – a series of three tree paintings that will go in my office – and we had coffee in the quiet house. The big boys are asleep upstairs with their cousins. I’m feeling pretty good, but also kind of gently sad. I’m so sad for cousin Katie, who is in town, and for Henry’s immediate family (please go sign the petition to seek justice for Henry if you haven’t already done so). I’m thinking about our three little babies who were miscarried. And about Wardie, of course.

And mostly I’m thinking about Rainbow’s birthmother, whom I’ve christened Noelle in some upcoming online writing. I failed again to get a mother’s day card to her – I’m SO BAD about remembering to send cards for special dates – but, like last year and the year before, I will write her a letter to let her know she was in my thoughts on mother’s day. I hope it’s an easy day for her, and that she feels pride and happiness knowing that Rainbow is in the world and is happy and thriving. I know she has grieved for him, and that it’s harder than I can imagine to carry a baby while planning to choose adoption, but she made it so that this amazing little boy is in the world today. She brought him here. A gift beyond measure.

I read this essay by Erma Bombeck this morning for the first time. I thought it would be another tongue in cheek, Erma Bombeck sort of thing, but it’s actually very poignant and perfect. Soon Goonie will bring Rainbow home from his overnight at her house, and I’ll get to love on that sweet boy. And then we will bury the ashes of Daddy J’s grandparents at the local cemetery. And then we’ll let the cousins play and visit with family on this beautiful summery day. And I’ll talk to my mom on the phone and make sure she knows how much I love her, and I’ll hug Rockinrolla and Brad tight. Delicious ambiguity, indeed.

If you are looking for an answer this Mother’s Day on why God reclaimed your child, I don’t know. I only know that thousands of mothers out there today desperately need an answer as to why they were permitted to go through the elation of carrying a child, and then to lose him or her to miscarriage, stillbirth, accident, violence, disease or drugs.

Motherhood isn’t just a series of contractions; it is a state of mind. From the moment we know life is inside us, we feel a responsibility to protect and defend that human being. It’s a promise we can’t keep. We beat ourselves to death over that pledge. “If I hadn’t worked through the eighth month….” “If I had only……”

The longer I live, the more convinced I become that surviving changes us. After the bitterness, the anger, the guilt, and despair are tempered by time, we look @ life differently.

This may seems like a strange Mother’s day column, on a day when joy and life abound for millions of mothers throughout the country. But it’s also a day of appreciation and respect. I can think of no other mothers who deserve it more than those who had to give a child back.

In the face of adversity, we are not permitted to ask “Why me?” You can ask, but you won’t get an answer. Maybe you are the instrument who is left behind to perpetuate the life that was lost and appreciate the time you had with them to do it.

The late Gilda Radner summed it up pretty well. “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned the hard way that some poems don’t rhyme and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. LIFE is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what is going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.”

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