corner view: motion

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!

Snow days have definitely become more fun since moving to South Carolina- and today’s was the first time I’ve sledded in 20 years and the first time the girls have ever sledded. Between Kite Hill sledding, hot chocolate with sprinkles, a breakfast at a local bakery of french toast made from raisin challah, bacon, a nap, a round of Candyland, a homemade pizza and movie to come, and a paid day off safe and home with my family in my flannel jammies, and a snow storm that will clean up after itself…well I’m feeling incredibly grateful, loved and safe. Perfection.

31 for 21: Day 1: It’s Down syndrome Awareness Month!

View More: http://mollyflanaganphotography.pass.us/starkey-family-2013

It’s Down syndrome Awareness Month! It’s a month where those of us in the community raise awareness and celebrate our loves that happened to be born with a little bit extra. One way I like to do this is to participate in our cyber-buddy Tricia, over at Unringing the Bell‘s creation 31 for 21. Currently this is hosted by Michelle with Big Blueberry Eyes.

Here’s the skinny- and hop over there to sign up if you would like to play along: You post every day, at least once day, for 31 days (each of them in the month of October, which is Down syndrome Awareness Month) on any topic, to raise awareness about Trisomy 21. 31 for 21! (Topics about Down syndrome are not necessary, though it’s encouraged that you mention why you are taking part in the challenge at some point during the 31 days.)

I’m taking part again for my fifth year because Disability Awareness and Acceptance has always been a part of my make-up. But in February 2009, it hit closer to my home and heart. When the Quail came to us in all her glory we learned after her birth about that little bit extra residing on her chromosomal pattern in every cell of her being. And we believe that about her with all of our hearts- she isn’t lacking a thing. She’s all there. And a little bit extra.

Just like her sisters, who very few, other than the geneticists in our lives; would describe as “typical.” She’s a wonder. We’re blessed to witness the growth of these sisters on a daily basis. That said, I don’t think I’m going to go on rants about stereotypes, or resource listings or basic Down syndrome information this year. That’s already out there. Check back in my archives to the month of October in 2009, 2010, 2011 for my versions of that. I would reckon they still hold water. Or for more up to date information go visit our cyber-pals who are also participating in 31 for 21 and get schooled by them with a personal touch. I know I plan to and Michelle will keep a list of where to find them!

Last year I did something more simple. I shared 31 ordinary things about my extraordinary girl. I had spent almost 4 years going on about what a wonder she is and decided that my contribution to Down syndrome Awareness efforts would be to show the beauty of how ordinary life continues when you have someone with a little something extra in your life. In January 2013 I changed my blog from The Tao of Tulips to Ordinary Afters. This change was significant, primarily to me. It represents a systemic shift in my heart, my mind, my focus. A shift to focus my documentation of our family life as a whole so that the other girls don’t feel diminished or unseen in my eyes or heart. Of course I’ll still note and advocate for those with disabilities and specifically Down syndrome and still talk about how it affects the Quail. Because it would be naïve to say it doesn’t. It does. What matters most to me though, is my continual search for our family’s ordinary afters. A way to show our children one day how beautiful their lives are because they are their lives. To train myself to look with gratitude on what I am blessed with rather than dwell on what others might see in our family as lacking or burdensome.

Life is what you make of it. Those happy, joy filled moments- they are just as real and authentic as the pain-riddled sad and chaotic-3-ring circus angry ones. Both pass in the blink of an eye. Some days there are more of one than of the other. Some days what we are grateful for is the fact that we get to wake up and try again.

Over the last year what I mostly want to write about is inspired by the images my camera shows me along with my addled thoughts that I nurse to in the middle of the night about the domestic scenes from earlier in the days and weeks. Most weeks on Fridays I have taken part in Lisa-Jo Baker’s five-minute Friday writing prompts. I fall in love with these writings as I often come back to them and see them as the momma diary of my heart.

These bits of prose coupled with our favorite family storytelling photographer- Ms. Molly–  coming to visit us this past year where she showed us what she sees in our life is what I want to share this month.

When I got my first glimpse of the session, I quickly wrote to Molly to tell her how with each photo, I could have written a narrative. The whole of them pulled together by Molly’s delicate eye and heart delighted me as much this time as the time she spent Saturday Morning with us a couple of years ago. Seeing these images that represent both a few moments as well as the whole of our family with all of its life and light and shadow and work and play- it makes me proud that I get to spend my days with this dear collection of people. Yesterday morning as I was uploading some pictures to the blog of the Quail from the last year I knew which one I wanted to start with. Molly took so many pictures- but one in particular, this one in particular, of the Quail shone through with the light of her spirit. As I was scrolling to it though, I kept stopping at other ones of her that I still felt that desire to tell a story about. And then it hit me. These images, the way they make me feel, this life that we have created; this is what I want to share this year for 31 for 21. So I’m going to use Lisa-Jo’s format to write for five minutes on one word that comes to mind on these individual images that dear Molly Flanagan* took.

Because this family and life- the ability to have it, to live it the way we choose- this is the gift of the advocates and families that have come before us. Because without them- if the Quail were born to another time and place- I might not have had the gift of her in my life. I might not have the privilege to both raise and be raised by her. I might not have the support and knowledge and confidence that those who have paved the way before me have gifted. I might have been forced into believing that giving her up at some stage along the way was the best thing for her, for myself, my family, my home, my community. I get to keep her though. I get to raise her where she belongs because of the hard work of those that came before her. And that, I can’t say it enough- that is an endless privilege and not one I take lightly- the gift of our family’s Ordinary Afters.

*All images categorized with 31 for 21 this month are courtesy of the talented eye of Molly Flanagan.

13 years…..

 Oh goodness me. Lovey & I were married 13 years ago. It seems like forever ago and yet just the other day. It was a wonderful wedding. Lovely with friends and family and food and fun. I still grin ear to ear when I reminisce over the pictures of our sweet day. It. was. perfect.

And now, 13 years, a sweet if slightly off-kilter two-gabled house in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 3 dear girls and many, many happy memories to feather our nest later we had a lovely celebration thanks to our Zuzu who asked a few weeks ago if they could have a babysitter sometime soon, maybe for our Anniversary. Well- what a brilliant idea! We made reservations for the weekend before the actual date at this restaurant and the meal was just as lovely as we had pictured after drooling over the menu.

We are so blessed.

News that’s a little easier to swallow….

Soooooo many things I want to say about this wonder-kid of ours. And then I get overwhelmed with trying to say it artfully or at least coherently and then someone comes and asks for a drink, someone falls down, someone gets their toy taken away, it’s time to go to bed, to work, to eat, to clean…etc…anyway.

Before I lose the general gist of today’s swallow study results, let me mark them down for posterity. We have seen so many fabulous speech therapists over the years that have helped us from a variety of perspectives understand the logistics of what goes into safely eating and drinking since the Quail was a few months old.

Shortly after the Quail was born and all the extra pokes and prods receded along with the delivery room lights; we settled into our room with the required dozen or so pillows to prop ourselves up and begin our nursing career. At the time we didn’t have any idea all that lay ahead of us. We only knew that there was a chance she had Down syndrome and that breastfeeding might be a challenge. We knew that teaching Zuzu to nurse had been difficult in the early weeks as well though and figured we’d master it with the help of our trusty Lactation Consultant. There was such a feeling of love and amazement between Lovey, her and I as this sleepy little baby rested in my arms with her dark swirls of hair and her chipmunk cheeks working the moment I lifted her to me. What a miracle a new baby nursing is to see.

In those early weeks that followed as I tried to nurse her, milk would pour out of the side of her mouth. She had difficulty pulling any milk out and I would often leave a nursing session as or more engorged as we went into it. We started with the usual help. We went back to our super-hero lactation consultant who had taught me how to nurse when Zuzu was a babe, and did a couple feed and weighs, which only quantified what we suspected- that she was barely pulling anything out of me. After 20 minutes, the most was ¾ of an ounce. We tried the nipple shield, different positions, an SNS, massage while nursing. Really, we went the distance, until the LC finally said she couldn’t really do anything else to help us, we had gone through her bag of tricks. So back we went to our EI and pediatrician for a referral to a feeding specialist. While the new SLP was kindhearted- my best guess is that the combination of the Quail’s heart-defect coupled with her inability to pull milk out of the breast overwhelmed her, and her first priority was to get milk safely into the baby. So she helped us with bottle-feeding, confirming that this act wasn’t stressing or taxing the Quail’s heart or system. Yet, still milk ran out of her mouth, she threw up multiple times a day and she fought me like the dickens most times I put her to my breast. We asked around and found another feeding expert who was trained by Sara Rosenfeld Johnson in oral-motor strengthening and placement and I called to explain our situation and ask if she thought she might have anything else to add to our repertoire. The Quail was 5 months old at this point and we still hoped to learn to nurse. We started feeding therapy to teach us to nurse and strengthen the Quail’s oral musculature twice weekly. In the meantime Zuzu, ever the wonder-nurser, gave probably the best gift she ever could to her sister, she happily continued to nurse and keep up my supply so that I could pump and we could bottle-feed the Quail with it.

We spent August through November of 2009, with regular feeding therapy and a hit and miss success rate, one time we’d nurse and the feed and weigh would show she had taken in 4 ounces only to have her then throw up 3 of them and then the next time she would fight the entire session with every position, exercise and accommodation. I still remember with a huge feeling of gratitude the last nursing session with our therapist where the Quail settled in and nursed like there had never been any issue and Kathy writing the word, “Beautiful” on a note and silently passing it over to me. I had left there that day full of hope .

Then one day in November, we hit a wall. For the last week, every single nursing session had been met with tears and frustration, on both of our parts. It had become a matter of course that I would bark at Zuzu whenever she came bursting into the room while we were trying to nurse. What had started out as a sweet bonding time amongst the three of us, had devolved into anger, sadness and frustration for all of us. It was time to let the nursing go. Fortunately, Zuzu still happily kept nursing at bedtime so between her and my pump I was able to provide milk to the Quail with all it’s benefits for 15 months.

Around the time she turned one, our therapists office staffed her case and an SLP who was not actively apart of our team made the recommendation to get a swallow study and Upper GI done to see if there were any physical reason for the daily throwing up since she showed no signs of outgrowing the reflux as we would have expected by a year. So we did. And there was. She had a duodenal stenosis that involved a web covering over that portion of her intestine and left an opening the size of the writing tip of a pen for her to push her food through. Most food stayed in her esophagus, expanding it like a water balloon, until she was able to apply enough pressure and push the pureed food through the pin-prick of an opening. It also meant that any solid pieces of food mixed in her purees stayed there until she threw it up. Surgery was scheduled and the web covering removed and the throwing up reduced to plain,old run-of-the-mill reflux. She stayed on Prevacid and continued to throw up, but really, it was more positional and only a time or two a day. Since she had always continued to grow well; well- “well” that is for a child with Down syndrome  and a VSD, no one had been concerned about the frequency of her reflux since it could easily be attributed to her low tone.

The first swallow study also showed that our child who had been through RSV, the flu, pneumonia, two bouts of bronchiolitis and two hospital stays in the previous 6 months needed honey thickened liquids in order to prevent aspiration. What was found was micro aspiration, which we were told we were lucky what was aspirated was breast milk as any other substance, including water being aspirated in her lungs could have resulted in her being even more sick. While it was hard to say what the exact cause of her previous season of illness was due to, suspects included- her VSD, being in a daycare setting, just bad luck catching the flu and an unfortunate delay in receiving her RSV vaccination due to insurance paperwork snafus. And now the complication of her aspirating on thin liquids added to the puzzle as well.

In the meantime, we continued to meet with Sara Rosenfeld Johnson when she came through town with her travel clinics and work with our private speech therapist on her oral-motor exercises multiple times a day. At one point in the next year the reflux seemed to increase again so we scheduled another swallow study and Upper GI to see if perhaps scar tissue had formed or if there was a new issue. This time the Upper GI showed a congenital malformation lower in her intestines and showed a slowing of her stomach’s ability to empty. We were told that if we weren’t able to get the reflux under control we might need to go to a more serious medical management plan in order to keep her healthy, either stronger drugs to help speed up the delay of food passing through her system or the possibility of a feeding tube. The dose of Prevacid was upped but the liquids could now be thickened only to nectar consistency and the amount of food offered at one time became carefully portioned. Eventually we were able to see an improvement both in her ability to manage her liquids and food and her general health.

We did one more swallow study 6 months later, hoping for even more improvement and a reprieve from the thickened liquids altogether.  This time, the news was worse and we needed to move the thickening back up to honey consistency. It was disappointing to say the least. The SLP, Dru, who does the studies explained that each time the Quail experienced a growth spurt, it would be like getting a new set of equipment that she would have to learn to use all over again and that we couldn’t really expect to do any active exercise to remove this issue until she was at least cognitively 12 years old, due to the complexity of trying to explain what she needed to do to her. In the meantime, we needed to continue thickening and following the straw cup protocol that we had been doing and probably there was no need to come back every 6 months.

So life went on and we reached our new normal of always mixing, bringing or sending along thickened liquids wherever the Quail went.

Today it has been about two years since that last swallow study.  We scheduled another one realizing that some time in the last six months we had been able to entirely wean the Quail off of her Prevacid and she had only thrown up 2-3 times since then. I knew from the last couple of studies that it wasn’t wise to expect much progress and to be prepared for new precautions to be suggested.

We were, happily, no amazingly surprised! The Quail, she wasn’t so keen on doing the study this time. It took more than one suggestion of time out, offers of cake, validations of her feeling scared, multiple rotations of which parent was in charge of offering the barium-coated goodies and which needed to hold down her arms. This time we got the following results:

*Her swallow delay is now down to .5-2 seconds.

*She still has decreased tongue base retraction

*She has improved coordination in her ability to move the food and drink from one section of her mouth to the next.

* It still doesn’t look pretty when she moves it, but she is in control of it.

*The coughing that she exhibited (lucky for us she did this on film, as we often see it during meals and during water play) was not due to her aspirating or food getting stuck, it seemed to just be a response to her not liking a food or texture of the food.

*The cough was strong enough to expel said, undesirable food/drink in a way that helps her stay safe.

And here-is the cherry on the top- SHE CAN NOW DRINK THIN LIQUIDS WITHOUT PENETRATION OR ASPIRATION!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow.

We really didn’t expect to get to hear this for a number of years if ever. We had accepted the need for thickened liquids as just a part of who the Quail is. Of course we were warned, there is a chance that today’s study was just one wonderful moment in time, the best of her ability to swallow, so we need to watch for signs that she may be aspirating- which include coughing, choking and repeated illnesses. And of course that is going to be difficult to tell what the cause is. Cause you know, she goes to daycare, and she’s starting public school in the fall and will be exposed to a whole new set of germs, and each growth spurt may very well mean that she’ll experience difficulty controlling her swallow again, and she’s prone to ear infections and her tubes have come out in the last year and the ENT says we need to see if she starts getting sick again repeatedly before we’ll know if she needs a new set of tubes, but odds are she will since her eustation tubes are naturally tiny; and she has a VSD, and she has Down syndrome and all of these things are likely to lead to a weakened immune system. So it will be hard to pinpoint the exact culprit and what the plan of action should be if we do end up spending our days in the pediatrician’s office begging for antibiotics and a new nebulizer this winter. Time will tell.

In the meantime, little girl is cleared for drinking thin liquids as long as they are through a straw so she has control of them and the opening in the back of her throat when she swallows is minimaized (as opposed to the size of the opening when you tip your head back to drink), although it would be better if we transition her back down to that with cold liquids and much to our delight she is cleared for swimming!!!!!

To swim or not to swim has been a longstanding question for us that it was really hard to figure out who would help determine what was safe. I asked her pediatrician, her EI, her SLPs, her geneticist and Zuzu’s swim teacher. If a girl aspirates on thin liquids, is it a good idea to give her swimming lessons so that if she were to find herself around water she can learn to be safe, or do we need to need to work like nobody’s business to ensure that she never comes anywhere near ANY body of water. I have such a strong memory burned into my momma heart of one night’s tubby when she was under two and slipped in the bathtub and her entire head went under. Her sweet, scared eyes locked with mine for the two seconds it took for me to pull her back up to safety. Yes- water- it’s everywhere and of course she’s as drawn to it as a moth to a flame. Of course she would still be at risk, but it’s only slightly more than any other child learning to swim.

The other two pieces of information that were new were two other therapeutic options for treating what is at this point a neurogenic swallowing disorder. Essentially these are desensitization techniques. I’m not a fan of that category of treatment at all. When one of our first therapists who was repeatedly experiencing the Quail’s temper throughout her sessions with her suggested we need to try brushing the Quail and that she has a sensory processing disorder we balked. We weren’t willing to try it until we had tried another therapist first and lucky for us, it turned out the only thing that the Quail was sensitive to at that time was her dislike of that therapist. We had other explanations for the behavior that the therapist felt represented a sensory processing disorder. What she saw as over sensitivity to nursing, we feel in hindsite was the fact that our kid was aspirating on the milk I was trying to force her to nurse from me with and she was trying to stop me. What she saw as sensitivity to touch was a non-verbal toddler’s way of letting us know that she didn’t want to be doing the prescribed activity with that therapist.

 The first option that we’ll receive a referral for is called therma-tactile-stimulation. This involves, taking large, frozen, lemon gelatin covered swabs and brushing them on either side of her tonsils three times in a set, 4-5 sets a day, for 5-6 weeks. This is meant to essentially stimulate the low toned muscles that the brain usually activates to swallow immediately in a typical person. Apparently with this procedure, once you’ve done it for a number of weeks, you should see fairly immediate improvement in her ability to swallow and that improvement should be long-lasting assuming no further neurological insults happen.  The downside, well; have you ever tried to give a small child or a cat medicine when they are aware that they don’t want it? You haven’t, well lucky you. I have- both of those scenarios. It’s not pretty, it’s not fun and no one comes out a winner. That said, the thought that we may be able to stimulate those muscles to a point that they would function typically and remove the risk of her getting sick from the daily, necessary act of drinking and eating, well I’m willing to try and see just how much she will protest. There is a small part of me that has hope it won’t be too much since she is the first kid I’ve ever met that flops her mouth open at the site of dental floss inviting you in to meet her molars.  Neighbors might prefer we wait till it’s closed window-season to start I’m sure though.

The second option is called vita-stim. This SLP started being trained in this technique a couple of years ago, essentially after the last time we saw her and she said from what she has experienced it has had great success. She did warn us though, to be careful of the experience level of the therapist administering it, because if administered wrong, it could do harm. It essentially involves taking a very low dosage current and applying to the muscles that are not functioning typically in order to stimulate them back into a regular motion. She said it would feel like buzzing on her skin and we would each do it on our own arms so we are aware of what she will experience. It would mean going to have this done about 3 times a week for a series of weeks. She said that the last two children that she has worked on involved an infant and a toddler with Ds and there was immediate and vast improvement in their ability to swallow. Typically this is something used with muscles that have atrophied.

We are to try the therma-tactile-stimulation first though to see if we get an improvement first with that and wouldn’t need the vita-stim route, which would be good because apparently there is a long waiting list to even be seen.

In the meantime, we celebrated our swallow-study results with a hospital cafeteria lunch and giggled our way back into our day.

Celebrating Sugarplum!

This and a series of upcoming posts are seriously overdue. Sugarplum turned 1 this past April and we celebrated her and this past year with friends at our favorite local park. Since her birthday coincides with Easter and Springtime we played in the park with bubbles, chalk, our outdoor toys and had an egg hunt. The eggs collected were filled with sweets and trinkets and deposited into little bags the children decorated. We also had shiny crowns to be adorned with jewels and stickers for each child and of course a big cake and pizza for all. For the children’s birthdays we generally celebrate with a wide age range of children. We enjoy having everybody share in the festivities and prefer to do a book exchange in lieu of presents. Not that we aren’t grateful for the gifts we receive, but since we enjoy having so many gather, we would rather focus on the people than a pile of gifts. We’ve been frequenting this park since Zuzu was a toddler and sadly this part was destroyed by a flash flood this month. I’m sure the city will rebuild, but we will be sad to have what we think of us our park, well just not be the same.We’re glad we could at least get one celebration in at this special place.

corner view: sites not in the guidebooks…

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar- they have that magical ability to be fully here and simultaneously somewhere else all in the same moment!

To be honest, I’m not certain if this place is well described in the guidebooks, but it is our family’s go-to quick vacation and I’m certain it isn’t up there in terms of destination bucket lists as say:The Biltmore Estates or Asheville, NC as a whole. Our go to overnight or quick get away that is so very special to us is found in the Flat Rock/Hendersonville area of North Carolina. There are lovely apple orchards, bakeries- old school and new, stellar BBQ, ice cream, a little children’s museum, a bit of literary history and a sweet little Lodge that has a lake outfitted with boats and an outdoor pool. It’s nothing fancy, but traveling with 3 small ones,  what it offers fits the bill- all set in the picturesque foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains! Which if you have ever spent a summer in the US’s southern region- you will appreciate the opportunities this community affords to cool off- and then come fall truck back up for more site-seeing!

corner view: out & about

Corner view is a weekly Wednesday gathering, originally hosted by Jane, now by Francesca. A topic is given and you can see impressions; be it photographic or writerly in form, from around the world. Come see the world’s corner view via the links on the sidebar!

Out & About is a pretty good description of our family activity level. We’re not really the sit home and read by the fire sort. We work hard during the week at our respective schools and jobs and come the weekend we play hard in turn. Our girls like to be on the go be it to a friends house, the local park, a birthday party or even just to market and dinner. This past holiday weekend we had a birthday party, a BBQ and a cartrip for fresh strawberries and ice cream and we were all happily exhausted come Monday evening.

Momma tried: The Day

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There were flowers. There were pancakes. There was brunch with local fare.

And yet- there was not a single hour where I didn’t haul out my stern momma voice. There were tears, bleeding, complaining, whining, arguing and naps that were too short. There were chores undone and big deals made of the chores that were done on the heals of much too much nagging. There was a portrait drawn of me with a note that the six year old wishes she could give me time to myself. And there is the cringing mother wishing the kindergarten teacher hadn’t had the frown of reading that. Then there is the six year old in all her exuberance bursting into teary flames after she manages to rip my card clear in half in her desire to “help” me open it. The next morning that same six year old informed me that I wasn’t lame because I didn’t get to market to buy more of her breakfast cereal- after all- we had had a busy mother’s day where she “had to clean the entire house by 7:30pm”. Ahem. So yes, it could have gone better. I could have been kinder. I could have lowered what I already thought were pretty low expectations. God willing we’ll get a chance to do it all again next year. After all- that day right there- that’s the stuff isn’t it? That’s the stuff of motherhood.

Practical magic- Happy St. Patricks Day!

482216_10200885832847053_1845291624_nThe baby’s been sick. High fever. It hadn’t really occurred to me to do anything in particular to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day outside of the typical corned beef and cabbage dinner and some pesto eggs and sodabread. Kindergarten, on the other hand  had made their leprechaun traps last week and when Zuzu came home Friday she zoomed through the house excitedly chattering about the naughty leprechauns who had messed up their classroom each and every time they had left it. It crossed my mind that childhood disappointment was looming judging by her eager story and my lack of pinteresting. After all we have TJ the Elf on the Shelf that lives in our world during the winter season- why wouldn’t a mischievous leprechaun have made his way to our home in the spring? It’s not something we had thought of before this year, but clearly others had. We had managed to procure some little green hat clips during grocery shopping earlier in the week but they suddenly didn’t seem adequate.

The baby woke us frequently and angrily many times on Saturday though. Her fever had dissipated earlier in the day, but since she had spent most of it napping rather than eating I’m fairly certain she wasn’t up for yet one more long sleep.  And by two in the morning her constitution and my lack of spirit were weighing heavily on me. So I started pinteresting and found an easy how-to for leaving leprechaun feet around. With some green food coloring, a cup of  kefir, green cookie sprinkles and leftover Christmas gold coins we were in business. With the luck of the Irish behind us, we all managed to get a few hours rest after that.

Come 8 am, I heard a little 4 year old surprisingly chant “money” outside of the bedroom door, followed by the happy pitch of our practical six year old commenting that a leprechaun was trying to trick her with chocolate coins rather than gold as she followed the trail outside of their room to the kitchen. When I got up for my coffee she explained to me how the leprechaun had painted his feet green, gotten into our cookie sprinkles and left us each a green hat to wear so we wouldn’t get pinched on St. Patricks. Hmm.

488141_10200886918234187_378169461_nZuzu’s always had a funny little mix of winding practical into her play and this was no exception. Years ago when we were playing at a friends, the other little girl was into being a Disney princess as Zuzu trailed her dolls one by one to sit on the potty. Her willingness to believe in leprechauns delights me and her ability to ferret out that those weren’t their natural footprints but the paint from her painting the day before leaves me chuckling. Six years old is indeed a funny blend of practical magic.

I did realize I missed a golden opportunity though. She was expecting the naughty leprechaun to have messed something up. And while I wasn’t willing to go the way of one of the uber-mommies and completely take apart a room soley for 30 seconds of my children’s delight, I’m fairly certain next year he will have rampaged through her candy bag we keep on a high shelf and all that will be left is a few wrappers. If only I hadn’t been so tired the night before.