corner view: in hind site

I hate to be misrepresented. I am sure everyone does, but for me it is up there as one of my biggest pet peeves. I am not a confrontational person, but when I catch wind that someone has said something about me that is untrue; either directly to me or to others I feel an extremely compelling need to set the record straight. I make an effort to keep to myself, to be kind and pay attention to how others want to be treated. I try to not repeat stories that aren’t true or cast a negative light on others. I assume that this is how others operate as well.

Over the last couple of years I’ve become aware that this isn’t a universal plan for others. I’ve realized that there are a couple of ways of responding to information that is wrong. That not everyone thinks it is best to defend yourself or clarify what happened. That for some people the better alternative is to not even acknowledge to others that it happened and let time wipe the slate clean. This does not come naturally to me at all. When someone doesn’t get something I try to reiterate it. The problem with that is just because I think I’m “clarifying” something it doesn’t mean I actually have. I can’t control what the other person heard. And if the issue is heated, or turns that direction, then there is an even better chance that they won’t see my point of view later. And ultimately all the clarifying did was to provide more fuel for the fire.

The first time not publically acknowledging a problem was suggested to me I was seriously bothered. They were firm in their stance and by default I had to proceed. I felt like I had been wronged by the information that was being spread about me and I wanted to clarify what had actually happened and my part in it. To set the record straight. I think because of that I had a hard time seeing the merits of this approach. Certainly, I would in no way claim that my historical attempts at clarification had been universally successful, often they damaged or even severed relationships. I think even with that though I felt like the truth- my truth was more important.

As time went on, I kept getting this advice in a variety of settings and from a variety of people that I consider pretty even keel in their manner. To just let the issue go, to not acknowledge it. Over time, I’ve been able to see some of the merits in it. That by repeatedly going back in to state what I felt I had to say again and again, there were just situations that weren’t getting any better. And in some of the original situations where this was advised, as time went on those relationships did seem to mend.

Recently we had planned the Quail’s birthday party. For once, our reservations had been made a little too early to actually hand out the formal invitations. So a few weeks passed and as I ran in to classmates and friends, I let them know when the time and date of the party was and that a formal invitation would be coming when we got closer. We had hoped include our family friends and more of the Quail’s classmates this time.

The week before I handed out the invitations I found an invitation in the Quail’s cubby inviting her to a party at the home of her classmate on the same date and starting an hour later than ours was scheduled for. I was surprised since this mother had been one of the ones I had mentioned our party too and she had not indicated at that time that she was planning her own for that date and time. When I saw her a few days later I told her we were sorry that we couldn’t join them but that we had reserved the gymnastics center a month ago and with my impending delivery we couldn’t reschedule at this point without risking having to cancel the party or my missing it altogether.

Her response, “I know, I tried to get my invitations out before yours.”

Let’s just sum it up the next few days Momma Bear was in a rage and stomped around telling the story to anyone that would listen. I was in a real quandary as I could see what was about to happen. At this point if I handed out the invitations to the Quail’s party at school, it was going to look like we were the ones rudely ignoring the other kid’s party. Lovey and I debated changing the party, not inviting the class or putting a note of explanation for this social faux paus in the invites. As I prepared the Quail’s invitations I even went so far as to make that note, cut it out and tape it in to the first few before I talked to another mom about it who once again made the suggestion that the higher road in this situation was to do nothing. Just to proceed with the original plans and not even acknowledge what this woman had done. I stewed on it for a while again. I know I would have felt vindicated spelling to the entire class what had happened, and I worried that there could be social ramifications to the Quail for this.

I think one angle I hadn’t considered in this and other situations though is that what was happening really wasn’t as obvious to the innocent bystanders as it was in my mind. I was embarrassed by the scene, but that didn’t mean that the majority of the class and their families had any idea what had happened. And really, this wouldn’t be the best introduction to new families either. The fact that this woman had stooped to stealing a birthday party time for a 3 year old was not my issue and I didn’t need to try to level the playing field.

I left the note out. In reality, we’ve been doing birthday parties for the last 5 years and really we don’t get more than one or two RSVPs from paper invitations anyway. People would have read our sorry story, but it wouldn’t have changed the predictable outcome of only one or two people showing up for the actual party out of the school crowd.  

Fortunately, we’ve learned over the last 5 years that evites are the way to go and our family friends had been invited that way and the majority showed up. One of the school mom’s that did come mentioned to me that she had spoken with the other mom and she was upset that she had only had 2 RSVPs. I felt sad for her. As far as I knew, it was their first party and I remember that feeling the first time no one responded to the paper invitations. Incredibly disheartening. Hopefully they had a set of family and friends that were able to make their little boys big day special as well.

In hind site- I’m glad I let it go. That I didn’t go out and try to rectify the situation and proceeded with our plans as they were. Ultimately, the Quail had a great party. I hope that time will work its magic here as well and eventually it will get a little less awkward each time I run in to her at pick-up.

In hind site sometimes, it’s best to just live and let live.

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday date hosted originally hosted by Jane, currently by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it in photographic or writerly in form from around the world: Jane, Dana, Bonny, Joyce, Ian, Francesca, Theresa, Cate, Kasia, Otli, Trinsch, Isabelle, Janis, Kari, jgy, Lise, Dorte, McGillicutty, Sunnymama, Ibb, Kelleyn, Ninja, Sky, RosaMaria, Juniper, Valerie, Sammi, Cole, Don, WanderChow, FlowTops, Tania, Tzivia, Kristin, Laura, Guusje, Susanna, Juana, Elsa, Nadine

Zuzuday: little by little…

Even though our Zuzu is a verbal girl, it still is difficult to get to the root of the matter from time to time. Lately we have had a series of dinnertime topics brought up by her that involve her difficulties with other pals on the playground.  She’ll talk ad nauseum about her classmates and how she asked them to play what she wants and the less then welcome reception she yields. She’ll describe less than friendly retorts on their part in gross detail. There was one day that a pair of sisters called her a robot. While I don’t find that inherently mean, our tender heart felt the cruelness of intent behind the strangely chosen descriptor thrown at her. She has also been detailing the social hierarchy on the playground and changes she has noticed in the last year. Like how now the boys won’t play with her because they just want to do “boy things”. How this or that girl has a best friend but no one is her best friend. Tears well up in her sweet eyes as she describes this and it is hard not to want to go in and try to find some way to fix it for her.

She has always seemed extremely confident in our home setting. Even back a few years, when she entered the 2-year-old classroom Lovey would report her shyness at joining in the group that was already going at full steam by the time she arrived. Back then, she wasn’t particularly “articulately” verbal about how she felt about it. There was of course the loud and clear non-verbal clinging to the leg though, which we as first time parents attributed to separation anxiety.

As parents, it is frustrating to watch. You want her to “fit in” to the best of her ability but not be completely taken over by other kids. You hope the overtly confident kid in your home translates into a kind benevolent leader type of friend with her peers. One that is confident in her own preferences, but willing to try out what the other kiddos are interested in as well. One that won’t be easily led astray by other’s choices but isn’t insistent on making others bend to her will either.

Then you go to pick up your kid after school and you watch them for a while before they notice you. You see another bigger kid tugging on her arm and your child meekly protesting but not actually able to get away from her. You see the older after-school girls practicing their dance moves and your own 4 year old, eyes wide looking down for her own God-given pair of Shakira hips. You see a slightly smaller kid sneak up behind her and take the toy she’s been playing with and her cry about it rather than take it back.  You see her trying in earnest to get the attention of the girl she claims is her best friend, while that girl chatters on to another oblivious to your own little dear. And that reminds you of the all too common scene in your home where your 2 year old decides to pull her 4 year old sister’s hair, thereby reducing her to tears rather than getting up and walking away.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad she’s not an aggressive kid. It’s a great quality in a first-born. I think I would have a much harder time dealing with a kid who thought it was ok to hit or steal from a little kid. It’s just hard to know how to help her stand up for herself, fit in and yet maintain that sense of self that you love about her so much.

This Zuzu, she’s one of a kind. And we love that about her. Since she was 18 months old she’s been the one calling the shots about what she wears, what she eats, what she watches at home. She’s never been one to bend easily to another’s will where her family is concerned. Teachers that have had her since she could put together a 3 word sentence have asked if she is always as questioning and chatty as they see her when she is around us. And yes, by God; she is. From pre-sun-up, to post-sun-down.

Yet lately she’s much more easily rattled and it worries me. One day after a particularly tear-filled rendition of the playground scene I decided to ask her teacher if she noticed Zuzu not having any friends or anyone to play with. The teacher explained that often she wants to play with 1 kid in particular. Which ends up leaving the others who want to play with her out in the cold. This is completely the opposite of what I thought was happening. To hear Zuzu tell it, she asks a kid to play and is told no. She has tried taking turns, but no one wants to play what she wants. The teacher quantified that in a given day there is maybe only 5-10 minutes that she actually plays by herself. Generally she is seen as a leader with the other kiddos and when she does seem upset the others coming running over to see what’s wrong.

Ironically, I remember a childhood friend once crying at me of a similar crime, “You can only be friends with one person at a time!” That stuck with me. And it may be that history is repeating itself. She is a Momma’s girl- but often to the exclusion of others in the room. Stop by our house in the evening or come along in the car on an extended ride and if Zuzu and I are both there, odds are she’ll direct the majority of her banter at me only. Honestly- that’s how I thought of it though, she’s a “Momma’s girl.” Just like the Quail is a Daddy’s girl. And I want to hear what she has to say as much as she wants to tell it. It wasn’t until this habit spread outside of the home and brought her scurrying back in tears that I could actually see the problem with what she does and the need to try to redirect her attention.

So of late, we’ve been focusing on manners, confidence and inclusion. It’s a tough road right now though. This girl has a lot going on.

We’ve been contemplating a move to a new home and have taken the girls along with us when looking. She nicknames each house we visit and usually talks about it and which room will be hers up until we see the next one. She just registered for Kindergarten and went on a tour of the big kid school. That morning, she changed her tune from the previous evening when she had been looking forward to it. That morning we were peppered with questions as to how she would possibly find her room once we dropped her off. An obvious start to her growing anxiety. The report after the tour was that she was mostly cheerful while visiting and spotted a few pals, but also pretty much talked over the principals speech, completely oblivious to the need to be quiet in spite of reminders. When I talked to her about it later that evening she was crystal clear that, “Well Momma- I had stuff to say! And anyway, Daddy didn’t put me in time out for it, so it’s fine!”

The end of this spring brings along with it a dance recital, gymnastics end-of-year show and pre-school graduation where she is supposed to play a part in a Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes play. If you remember last December and the unhappiness brought on us with the Twinkle Brigade incident , I realized back then that although she is capable of pushing on through and ends up with a pocketful of pride after a public activity, her anxiety is likely to get the best of her leading up to it and the time between, “Momma, I want to go do…” and “Momma, I did it!” is long and painful for everyone around. Right now, the mere mention of Humpty Dumpty’s wall is enough to incite tears into her baby blues.

Moreover, there is the much anticipated arrival of dear Sugarplum. I would be more worried about how this specific event will affect her if we hadn’t gone through it before. Girlfriend loves being part of The Sistred. She had a crying fit a few weeks ago when she asked if I was going to have another baby and was met with a probably not. At the time I thought she was finagling how long it would be till she could start the campaign to return to our bed once my belly was a little less large, but no. She was upset that we hadn’t given her a baby brother and she would really like to have a baby brother as well. Not to mention for all the voicing of concern over if anyone at school will play with her, any mention of dear Sugarplum Chrysanthemum (as she has now dubbed her) is met with a loving pat to my belly along with a parade of kisses and hugs from her and the Quail.

It’s upsetting to watch; this struggle for independence and the need to still be a little girl. My standing joke of how she’s still bitter to this day that we induced her out of my belly get’s a little less funny with each year. While I chuckle at her questioning, “Momma, when I’m 100 years old, do I then turn 0 and become your baby again?” I also cringe at her latest proclamation of, “Momma, I’m not going to be a teacher/philosopher/pharmacist/firefighter/dance teacher/Momma/doctor anymore. When I grow up I’m not going to have a job, I’m just going to live with you. Well I’ll still be a momma, and have 10 kids.”

It drives me crazy when she chooses to not listen to the grown-ups around her and do her own thing that involves breaking set rules because she thinks she knows better.

And it’s heartbreaking to hear her cry over perceived slights from her buddies on the playground and insistence that she has no friends.

Showing her where the line is between the need to listen and do what you are told and standing up for and being free to be yourself is so hard some days.

Little by little we’re getting there though I hope…

Mommaday: Sugarplum’s wonderings and fencemendings…


I can still claim Sugarplum updates under Mommaday for  a little while longer right?

Let me first say that, while I’ve kept a running tally of Sugarplum updates for myself, I hadn’t previously shared them on the blog. So we’re going to be covering a whole series of months at a time now just to get her caught up with her fans…

Beginning with this past Fall into Winter:

The week of 11/20 also brought along with it a new baby growth spurt that has the littlest one kicking and tumbling at regular intervals throughout the day. I noticed a couple of busy times on Sunday, but when I sat down at my desk on Monday morning the fun began with little kick-fests every few hours. The week before had also brought along with it a new little surge of nausea. Not bad, but every afternoon that week I was certain to find myself reaching for a quarter Zofran again. Which after a 3 week interlude from the need for it was noticeable if not troublesome.

Dear Sugarplum is quickly becoming a daily part of our conversations with the girls. Zuzu, in true Zu-form has taken to expressing her unabashed love for the sister she cannot wait to meet. I think it might be her best attribute; this kind welcoming of littles into our lives. When she was in her 2-year-old year she took to holding my hair back as I barfed on a daily basis. And if my hair was already up, she’d stand by nibbling her gummies and offer me one when I finished up! She often showed such loving kindness. In the evenings she would chatter on about the baby Quail, sing her lullabies and cover up my belly with her blankets. When her sister came home from the hospital it brought tears to my hormonally charged eyes to see her kind, cautious cuddles of the new baby. I’ve seen very little jealousy from that child in the past 3 years, her pure acceptance, and frankly- out-right requests for more siblings is such a joy. While the origins of Sugarplum’s in-utero name is a bit of a mystery, it couldn’t have been better timed. Last night we sat on the couch reading a Little Critter’s version of “The night before Christmas” and as we reached the page where visions of Sugarplum danced in those critter’s heads, Zuzu reached out for a quick snuggle of my belly. As the spring flowers have shown their floppy heads early this year she’s tacked on Chrysanthemum as her middle name, “Just like I  have a flower name!” she clarifies with her heart-filled rationale. Each morning and night she whispers sweet nothings and greetings and wishes to this dear belly and tries in earnest to feel the responsive kicks from her not-so-little sister. The Quail seems to be going along with “the game.” She’ll grin and sign baby when I point to my belly, but I’m quite sure she thinks we’ve all gone completely mad in our having named and repeated crowings over Momma’s tum. Not to be outdone though, it’s become her quick little habit to hug and kiss my belly anytime Big Sis does.

On 12/20, I sat at my desk finishing up my morning coffee when what to my wondering eye’s should appear? But a quick little jab of an elbow from my newest little dear. In all seriousness though, I grinned like a loon down at my belly as I saw the first little pokes of her limbs push up through my incapsulated abdomen. What a treat! What a gift this little plum of a girl is for all of us. The funny part for the next few days has been looking up into the hall outside my fishbowl of an office to see a passersby trying not to stare at my giggling self as I watch her roam the inside of my belly.

Another little oddity with this pregnancy is that this little one seems to be taking me full circle around to my pre-breeder days. I remember my mother telling me that her feet grew in a permanent fashion over the course of her pregnancies. At some point between the girls I noticed that my left foot became a wee bit larger than my right. Not quite a half-size up, but enough that I couldn’t count on knowing if a shoe would fit solely based on its assigned size. Well the other day the strap on my everyday shoes broke off. So at lunch time in my 23rd week I made a happy run to ROSS for a cheap replacement. I perused the row of size eights and finding none, glanced over at the eight and a halfs. There was one pair, that was not only 8 ½, but labeled as wide that looked like a suitable replacement for my everyday shoes. I pushed my left foot in and realizing it felt a little lose started to put them back on the shelf, when I stopped to make sure my known size 8 foot wouldn’t  fit the bill my jaw fell open. It fit even tighter then my left foot! I’ve a few more months to see if this is a permanent change or just temporary swelling, but I have to say it will be nice to have my feet measure the same size once again!

I’ve also had a noticeable change came to my pallet where previously I had sung the praises of the hoppiest of beers with a clear mind that someday Lovey and I would tour Belgium to indulge in their finest. Then along came Zuzu, and with her release from my womb went the love of all things hoppy. It was such a strange feeling to have a flavor I had come to identify with as tasty happiness turn bitter in my mouth. I couldn’t explain it, I mourned it and then moved on to sing the praises of the nut-brown ale. During Zuzu’s pregnancy, I had very few cravings- the only memorable one was for plain, crunchy ground beef and cheese tacos. Nothing that signified the coming change to my pallet of preferences.

When I was growing the Quail I remember continuing to enjoy those tacos, but that seemed a matter of course once again. Something expected as a natural part of pregnancy. When I saw the two little pink lines this time around, I wondered how many tacos I might consume in the coming year and then noted halfway through that I hadn’t craved a single one. Then on the day I turned 23 weeks a family friend sent me home with a beer that was “too hoppy” to enjoy for Lovey. I watched him pour it and declare it, “Not bad!” While he will drink a hoppy beer, it has never been his first choice, only his indulgence to his wife. So I ambled over to smell it and couldn’t help but take a quick taste. Then one more, and once again, what to my wondering nose should appear- but a happy, hoppy heady feeling on my tongue! Not the blasted bitterness of a vinegar cursed beer as I had come to see the hoppy Belgians. I see a celebratory Chimay in my springy future!

Now comes Sugarplum’s early gifts to her Poppa, while I generally find comfort in fairly bland food, this little one somehow created a craving for spicy. Specifically Indian food. From the buffet down the street from my work. Early on in the fall of 2011, I started a regular habit of begging Lovey and a good friend to come with me for a weekly meal or two. When that friend moved, I sighed and went in alone when Lovey couldn’t come routinely. Fortunately, that isn’t often the case. He takes his duties as impending father to a new life quite seriously and is more than happy to go with my food whims at the drop of a hat.  Whether that’s a last minute call for the need for Indian food, a frantic on the way home from work call for him to find me a steak or the queasy request for all the leftover chicken in the house to be disposed of before I get home. Lovey has always loved Indian food and I’ve always said, I’d rather not to his invitations. What a little fence-mender this baby is!

sunday still life

Sunday Still Life is an evolving photography project; a weekly invitation to pause the busy of our days, to re-center and celebrate the beauty and depth of life. If you are inspired to join in, please leave a link in Erin’s comments

Remember this day? Well fortunately for me, these monkeys provide plenty of opportunities to work on that. Breathing, it’s simple right?

Last night after dinner I kept hearing Zuzu calling out for the Quail to join her on the flowers. I heard giggles, hollers and thumps. Eventually I had to get up and go see. Of course as soon as I entered the room, I started and let out my own holler.They didn’t hear it of course. They were busy climbing “Flower Mountain”. The giggles were overwhelming. The angles more than I expected. The sharp edges rising and falling in front of them. But they were having so. much. fun. I finally took a chair, set my camera on sport and started snapping.

We had spent the day cleaning out the office and cleaning off the pull-out bed for Gramma’s anticipated visit in a couple of weeks. When the mattress had been propped back on the couch in order to move on to dinner these monkeys started spying it. There was a whole host of reasons to stop them. The angle, the Quail’s reflux and recently eaten dinner, the previously picked up room.

But there were only two reason to just let them be- their love and the lesson of my stillness amidst their motion. Got it this time..

PS: for those loving relatives who are probably cringing at what would be the obvious next photo frame- no worries. No one was hurt.


1. Spring flowers in Winter

2. The azaleas planted last year mostly all blooming

3. The Paperbush happily sprouting 6 blooms- it must like it’s new home!

4. Zuzu’s poetry

5. a most excellent birthday party for the Quail

6. friends just stepping in to help as the party goes on

7. a book swap

8. tasty Strossner’s cake

9. band-aid body art

10. a doctor’s confidence in my ability

11. a scheduled induction with a beloved OB

12. a good BPP report

13. a cyber-friend’s book success

14. a hospital bag almost packed

15. a little Quail happily toddling off with her teachers

16. a happier morning with Zuzu after a stormy evening

17. reports done early

18. hurt feelings passing

19. the feeling of normalcy returning as I wake up after being certain I’m about to go in to labor every evening

20. a passing with flying colors audiology appointment and the news that the tubes, while on their way out, are still technically in

21. new pictures of Sugarplum from the visits

corner view: everyday

It’s the everyday ordinaries that are the real miracles. This little mess on my bathroom floor that first started appearing about a year ago, it was the first time I took off the Quail’s shoes after a day at school and a little pile of sand spilled out. The miracle in that is it means that she was up and on the sand filled playground at her school with little buddies. She walked, she played, she made a little mess. Just like any other little kid.

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday date hosted originally hosted by Jane, currently by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it in photographic or writerly in form from around the world: Jane, Dana, Bonny, Joyce, Ian, Francesca, Theresa, Cate, Kasia, Otli, Trinsch, Isabelle, Janis, Kari, jgy, Lise, Dorte, McGillicutty, Sunnymama, Ibb, Kelleyn, Ninja, Sky, RosaMaria, Juniper, Valerie, Sammi, Cole, Don, WanderChow, FlowTops, Tania, Tzivia, Kristin, Laura, Guusje, Susanna, Juana, Elsa, Nadine


1. sleep

2. being able to go back to sleep

3. weather passing

4. kind comments

5. weekly BPP

6. whisperings of a momma coming

7. E-mer-gen-cee packets

8. book recommendations

9. lunch with friends

10. Lovey returning

11. mole chicken burritos

12. children sleeping

13. perspective

14. naps

15. feeling Sugarplum

16. no barfing

17. Amazon packages

18. Dreamfield Pasta

19. piles of clean laundry

20. lunch at Zoe’s

21. the end of the week

Quailday: Potty Prowess

The Quail took up status as a resident Captain Underpants in her classroom this past February and we couldn’t be prouder! We had started a potty chart at home when she was about 18 months old and she has enjoyed stickering them up. Before the holidays she had filled up her school potty chart, signifying her taking a place in line to start coming to school in underpants!

She had been managing her pull-ups during the day fairly well and keeping them dry. She also has the world’s strongest 2 year old bladder apparantly as she generally is dry each morning.

So starting February 6, 2012 it was her turn for the insightful training of the Potty Queen- Miss Christal! We packed her little sack of extra “just in cases”. And sent her off to school in big-girl underpants. Which surprisingly our “little” 2 year old turned out to need a bump up to size 4 within a couple of weeks. Whether this was a ploy for new Dora underwear we’ll never know, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Beyonce’s got nothing on this little round booty!

Last week Lovey came home after me and I heard a quiet stilling and then he asked, “Is there something heartbreaking you want to tell me?” I know that could mean any number of things considering all that is going on, but estimating his location I quickly responded. “It wasn’t her fault. Her pants weren’t pulled down far enough. She was dry all day.” Sure enough, he had spotted the tell-tale black garbage bag of school that means clothes have come home with inards on the outards. Fortunately the only accidents she’s had at school so far have been the “pants not down far enough” kind.

She’s trying to put herself up on the potty and she’s got a pretty good balancing act that keeps her upright. The main issue is her ability to pull up and down her pants- under and over. She tries and we’ve realized part of the issues is them being a little too tight with a recent growth spurt I mentioned above. Of course our upsizing of the clothes has led to some rather awkward company-in-the-house moments as girlfriend decides to share her newfound skill with anyone in the house as she marches into a room stark naked or with a new adornment of marker body art or a piece of someone else’s clothing strung over her. In lieu of this new hobby I’ve asked Pudge’s mom to please have Pudge stop texing the Quail step-by-step instructions as I can only assume this hobby came from one of her role models.

Interestingly, whenever I show up at school and try to have her go before we head out (the looming fear of having to tear that carseat apart for a washing is all the motivation I need to get with the program) Miss Thing immediately flops down on the floor and hollers her refusal. And even more interestingly, both of her teachers watch in surprise. “She doesn’t do that during the day.” And that my friends is why I don’t homeschool in a nutshell.

Of course she doesn’t. They never do. Doesn’t matter the issue: sleeping, eating, potty training, staying close to the grown-up. Somehow it’s rarely an issue at school. And yet a full-on soap opera at home. A friend was once commisserating over her child’s picky appetite. “So he eats the beans at school and I bought some to have at home and he refused. I asked the teacher how they prepared them. Initially she just said, well they’re canned. No, no, no…start from the beginning, what store are they from, so you open the can, you heat them on the stove or in the microwave? You serve them in a bowl or a plate…”

When it comes to serving toddlers you can’t be too specific. In terms of our potty tantrums I did learn that they give the Quail more latitude then I do. They approach her every 20-30 minutes (depending if she had actually peed or pooped the previous time) and ask, “Do you need to go potty?” She either toddles off to the potty or says no. Now at home when she says no, I’m a bit more insistent. We’re um, not real great with mess here. But they allow her to say no and then just ask again a minute or two later. If she still says no, they’ll suggest she try and like the conundrum that she is, off she goes. At home she falls on the floor screaming like I suggested we take her duck lovey to the thrift store for a more appreciative child or something. And I carry her flailing self off to the potty. The thing is, more often then not once she cools her jets she does pee.

No matter what grade the tantrum is though, once she’s on the potty you can always count on a toot to bring back her good humor.

corner view: monument

Per Merriam-Webster’s third definition of “monument” we find:  “a lasting evidence, reminder, or example of someone or something notable or great”

And this week I found exactly that evidence, those words that stayed with me. Today I am 35 weeks, 1 day pregnant with my third child. At that exact same stage with the Quail in-utero, we received the first hint of the magic hiding deep inside her and of a transformation of our lives to come.

At the time, it did not feel like the revealing of a magical surprise. It felt scary. I had not had any inkling that anything might be amiss and so I had gone to the appointment alone. I remember sitting in my car afterwards and calling Lovey and my mom in tears. I came home and slowly started letting people know what our latest pregnancy update suggested.

There were words from a friend that stuck in my mind and heart of all the responses I received to our news. Unknowingly kind words. These words are my monument. Most people do not know how to respond to the news of a potential flaw in your pregnancy, your child, your heart. Inevitably, but without malice, people end up saying things that are hurtful. Words can sting when people don’t know what to say and haven’t had cause to think of their impact before. As a parent to a child with special needs you eventually get to a place where you stop judging people’s words and look at the intent behind them. If they did not mean them unkindly, you do not take them unkindly. Really, what’s the point? Why hold on to things people didn’t mean to harm you with? They would have done better if they could.

For the last 3 years, I have gone back periodically to my email and tried to locate this response from my friend whose kind words stuck in my mind and heart. The words that were intended to show confidence in us as parents and beauty in every child. I have not been able to find it until this past week. Finding that letter again is a real gift.  I guess parts of the process of a new life-long diagnosis never really go away. You do move on. You see past it eventually. You see your actual child first again; as you envisioned before the diagnosis tried to take that vision away.

I am glad what I am left with three years later as that little girl starts public preschool is the kindness of those around me. A monumental kindness…a lasting evidence that everything is all right.

Thank you dear friend for saying these words that helped us to see through our tears and into the heart of our home.

“Just let me know when you need me to be a driver, a cook, a babysitter, grocery shopper….whatever you need. I hope that everything goes as smooth as silk for you and your baby girl. Whoever your daughter is, she is coming into a very nurturing and loving family. She and Zuzu have good taste in parents.”

Those words meant the world to me when she sent them. When I found and read them again this week Sugarplum gave a little thump. You see today I go in again for an ultrasound and ironically, today Sugarplum is 35 weeks 1 day. The difference that today holds from our today of three years ago is I go in stronger, wiser, armed with Lovey by my side and hope born out of our familial history to show me that things will be ok no matter what they try to tell us. That our future, no matter how uncertain will be filled with happy little ordinary afters, whoever our newest little daughter is…

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday date hosted originally hosted by Jane, currently by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it in photographic or poetic in form from around the world: Jane, Dana, Bonny, Joyce, Ian, Francesca, Theresa, Cate, Kasia, Otli, Trinsch, Isabelle, Janis, Kari, jgy, Lise, Dorte, McGillicutty, Sunnymama, Ibb, Kelleyn, Ninja, Sky, RosaMaria, Juniper, Valerie, Sammi, Cole, Don, WanderChow, FlowTops, Tania, Tzivia, Kristin, Laura, Guusje, Susanna, Juana, Elsa, Nadine