3/21: A day in the life

This post is part of the series “A Day in the Life” that is a celebration of World Down syndrome Day – 3/21. For lots of other posts on “A Day in the Life” – or to contribute your own post, please visit Down syndrome Blogs.



Shortly after I hear one door close another one opens. I turn away from the machine, my coffee steaming as I take a sip and spy her small hand reach around the doorframe. Sleepily she creaks the door further and pads over to where I’m standing. I lean down to kiss her tousled strawberry mop, sinking onto the floor in front of the kitchen sink. As I make a lap she folds herself onto it, hiding her face from the fluorescent light she wasn’t quite ready for.  

“Morning Baby.” I lean in smelling her night’s sleep and carefully place the overflowing coffee away from us as she pushes her hair out of her eyes.

“Momma. Zuzu sleep. 6. 1. 5. me. Shannon. Me sleep done. No potty. Eat cereal.”

It’s Wednesday morning and it is early. 6:16 AM to be precise. Each day I intend to wake early enough to have a quiet cup of coffee by myself and do a little writing. Each actual day I wake a minute before the alarm sounds, turn it off, and roll on my side to listen to the soft snores of the baby before lightly stepping past her into the bathroom. Strangely, now that Sugarplum sleeps through the night, I find myself needing more and more sleep rather than less. I’m not sure if it’s the creak of my slippers down the hall, the flick of the light in the kitchen or the press of the Keurig as I snap my k-cup into place and add the cup of water, but the sounds of my morning starting have been consistently triggering the Quail’s weekday morning starts for a good while now. She seeks out a quiet moment to soak me in before her day starts and really, I don’t mind. I can write later.

“You woke up at 6:15 Quail?”

“Yes.6-1-5 me. Zuzu sleep.”

“Zuzu is still asleep?”

“Yes.” She makes the sign for sleep and grins up at me, the precision of her yes pronunciation drawing out steady and confident. She shares a bed with her sister and while the cry of “She’s on my side of the bed again!!!” and “MOOOOVVVVEEEE!!!!” sound frequently from both of them, it’s what they know. What they expect.

“What day is it?”

“Wednesday! Shannon! Jan. Bobson. Lee. Oriana. Nekaelah”

While a stranger might not know what she is saying, contextually I understand her still garbled day of the week and that she is telling me that she knows she has speech therapy with Shannon before heading in to begin her school day with first Ms. Jan, then on to Ms. Dobson and Ms. Lee. She knows that when the school day is done she will look forward to heading back to her private school for after-school care and playtime with her favorite kiddos, her friends Oriana and Nekaelah. She knows her routine and what to expect.

“Who will you play with at school today?”

“Or-ee-annn-a. Ni-KAY-la.” She carefully sounds out their names again. Names that she has taken great care to learn to pronounce so that no one can be unclear these are her friends. Who she looks forward to seeing and playing with each day. These are friends she has made on her own. Not friends of our family’s, not anyone we know outside of her introduction to them.

Shifting my weight a little she stands up and asks again. “Eat?” her sly smile telling me she already knows the answer. A year ago I would have just told her no, not yet; not expecting any further conversation on the matter, only fury at my denial of her request. Now though, it’s a good chance to engage, to talk, to practice pronouncing our every day vocabulary and thankfully, avoid a tantrum.

“You want to eat? What do you want to eat?”

“Um….” Her little finger goes up to her lips as she raises her eyes in contemplation then starts touching one finger to another as she labels out each item in turn, “cereal, rai-sin, keeee-fir, go-go squeeze! Cake?”

“We’re out of go-go squeezes and cake. We can buy more of the squeezes this weekend though. What do you do before we eat?”

“Potty. Bite-bite. Clothes. No potty. No.”

Still avoiding the fight, I ask, “Do you want me to pick out your clothes while you go potty or do you want to?”

“Me!!!! Purple. New shoes.” At this she turns and runs down the hall, stepping quickly around the tiny shopping cart overflowing with toys. She pauses briefly at the living room door, looking longingly at a neat stack of books on the side-table just waiting to be read and played with before checking back to see if I was coming with her or not before continuing into the bathroom.

“Momma! Sit!”

I lower myself on to the side of the tub finishing my coffee as she tries to undo the snap on her fuzzy, feeted pajamas before letting out a scream of frustration a few inches from my ear.

“No, ma’am. No screaming. Ask for help if you can’t get it undone.” She quickly signs help and then pulls back away to work on the zipper once the snap has been opened. Patting the side of the tub, she signs for me to move closer and leans her head on my knees while she finishes up.

I turn on the light to their room and sing out to Zuzu that it is time to get up and get ready for school as the Quail yanks on her dresser drawers pulling out a half dozen pants looking for a pair with purple on them.

Zuzu used to be our early riser. So early that a rule of not leaving your room before 6 AM on a weekday had to be enforced the previous year solely because of her. Now, she needs to be woken each school day and urged to do the half dozen tasks it takes to get herself ready before we leave by 7:10 to get her to school and me to work on time.

The Quail slams her shirt drawer shut and dives into her sister who has crawled up on my lap. As Zuzu protests at the slight dislodging this causes, the Quail’s voice trails up with hers and I shush them both with a reminder that we want to let Sugarplum sleep.

Lovey comes in fresh from the shower and takes the reins as I sigh at the clock’s having moved too far forward for me to do any writing or manage a second cup of coffee before we need to leave in our manic out-the-door-right-this-very-second-what-did-we-forget-this-time-hurry-up-we’re-going-to-be-late-if-you-don’t-put-your shoes-on-right-now-privileges-will-be-taken-away-I-mean-it-we-have-to-go-hug-your-sister-yes-you-have-to-wear-a-coat-where-is-the-sunscreen-who-took-my-shoes-shit-we’re-late-again daily rush.

I kiss the Quail’s head as she sets down the Ipad and tries to scramble away from Lovey who has gotten out her oral-motor exercises. “HUG!!!” She bellows as I lean in to acquiesce. “Bye-bye. Momma. Work.” Turning away from her I breathe in the fading scent of her sleep and hustle to the door.

That evening I’ll pick her up from after-school care, covered in sand, sunscreen and smiles and she’ll test my tired-out-patience as she darts in and out of the little school’s rooms giggling at the freedom now that the teachers have gone home for the day. “Donald’s?” she’ll ask. I’ll tell her no, reminding her we ate McDonald’s the night before and ask how her day was. She won’t answer- she’ll be too busy chasing Sugarplum and Zuzu.

As we pull out of the parking lot, carseat buckles secured, I’ll ask if they want their windows down or the radio up. “YEAH!!!! Drive fast Momma! Turn on a girl song. Make the windows lower!”

“Yeah!!!!” the Quail will chime in mirroring Zuzu’s enthusiasm for the car ride. As the latest pop song chimes through the windows I find myself surprised to hear not just one, but two voices bubbling along now from the backseat. By the time we’re home though, she will have rested her chin on her chest and be fast asleep. Between her insistently early start to the day, a therapy session, private 4k, public 4k, after-school care and the students we bring in daily to help her practice the activities she learns in therapy, her little self is usually beat.

Getting out of the car at home, I come around to carry her into the house as she snuggles up to me whispering. “Peg. Cat. Eat. Drink” in my ear. I answer with the need for her to empty the sand out of her shoes on the porch and then go potty first and her head jerks up off my shoulder in protest. As we settle into the bathroom for the millionth time of the day I not-so-patiently contemplate how much it would cost to switch our bathroom with our living room so that we could have more space in the room we actually seem to live in.

After tubbies are done, I reach for Sugarplum for a quick nurse before heading into the kitchen to see what Lovey is getting out for dinner. All seems quiet until the Quail peels herself away from PBS to look for us. I hear her questions before I see her, “Eat? Drink?” As she pulls her grinning self up on to the bed next to us she peppers us with questions, “Bread? Kee-fir? Ba-na-na? Pizza? Cake?” as she proceeds to pounce on top of the previously quietly nursing baby. Giggling Sugarplum lets go and engages in the rascaling as I sigh, cover myself up and head back to the kitchen.

Finishing up her dinner with slight disappointment over the lack of cake and pizza. The Quail asks for more to drink and then stomps her anger out of the room as Lovey lets her know she can have another cup of kefir after we do her bite-bites. Finishing up my own dinner I let the baby out of the high-chair and holler for Zuzu to come back and practice for her math quiz while Lovey loads up the dishwasher.

Once we finish up our oral-motor exercises, the Quail climbs back down off the couch. “Drink. Kefir. More. Backpack. 3-1.” I trail after her back into the kitchen to refill her strawcup as she unzips her backpack pulling out her book that came home from public school for us to read together. Gently she turns it over pointing out the number 31 on the back cover. She may not be able to pronounce, “The Elves and the Shoemaker”; but she knows it’s her favorite story from the collection at school and she knows its number 31. And now we do as well. Sitting back at the kitchen table we finish the story and she packs it back away as I rinse out her cup. 

“Up” her little hands reach up to me as she asks me to carry her back to her room. 7:45 pm. A little before bedtime. Lifting her up into my arms with all my good intentions to finish up the evenings chores after the girls have gone down to bed, we head back into the living room to kiss the other’s goodnight and Lovey joins us while we tuck her in alongside her duck lovies, yellow doggy blanket, cabbage-patch kid named Niles and Abby doll. Just as I start to tell her how very much I love her, my words are met with soft snores.

The day is done.

Lovey turns on her dreamlight, I set the sound machine to soft birdcalls and we back out of the room and close the door behind us.

five minute friday: story

…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here.

photographed by mollyflanagan.com

photographed by mollyflanagan.com


My story is ever-changing and yet still the same, this narrative that I live and weave and breathe. What I know, what I think, how I feel and what matters to me, it stems from the same words and thoughts that once hinted at my future long ago. That was well over 20 years ago when I sat at our oval-shaped kitchen table with its smooth wood colored surface thumbing through the class catalog for the University I was to attend in the fall.

“I’m pretty social and I’m a hard worker- how about Social Work Mom?”

I still remember those words pushing up out of my teenage-heart and into my head and the unconscious nodding my head answered in reply. At the time it felt like a whim and a lark, not the life defining moment that it was.

I’ll volunteer. I’ll wrap presents for the homeless. I’ll visit the shelters and soup kitchens. I’ll work with children who have disabilities. I’ll help others.

And so my grown-up story began to weave itself out from me. Winding itself into other people’s lives and how they lived. How they are in the world and how to clear a path for them so that I and others could walk alongside rather than leading or following them.

I couldn’t see this current chapter of my story back then. I wouldn’t have even pictured this gabled home in the foothills of the Blue Ridge that my pages would unfold into. I couldn’t imagine the lives of the people I worked for as my own. Their ordinary, extraordinary lives. Lives that required others to step out of the way so that they could do the simplest thing. Live in their home. Go to their school. Shop in their community. Work down their street. Simple, ordinary, daily moments that require the commitment and love of another in order to make that possible. Things those of us without labels are blessed to take for granted in this world that is built for us, not them. The story I was reading and writing, I had no idea how one day it would be my own.

And now, now the narrative has shifted once again. The once energetic, young social worker out to save the world or at least walk beside those in it, has a clearly visible path as a parent and an advocate to take with her family. New characters are emerging.  Slowly unveiling their roles to the plot. The sense of our community and their acceptance of us peels off in thin pages as we understand what has changed and what remains the same in this old world. Their personalities full of strong will and generally good cheer. The villains not hooded and cackling. No. They are more ordinary and reasonable sounding as they build fences trying to line my children’s own path into this world and their future.  

My path is now the one that I had read about, but hadn’t recognized as my own. It takes shape each morning when the baby cries to nurse one last time before the sun rises. The four year old with her last wisps of strawberry blonde locks falling over her softly rounded shoulders, climbs out of her sister’s bed too early, to pad through the dark and quiet hall in search of her parents asking to start her day, to eat, to drink, to play, to go to school just like Zuzu. A school that is not yet as eager to meet her as she is to attend it. A school that requires us to sit up and focus our attention and feelings and knowledge into one kind and articulate presentation so that our daughter can walk through their door the same as her sister without the weight of the world and these reasonable-sounding decision makers pulling her into self-contained corridors.

My story, that I couldn’t have written yet, as I bumped into a soon to be Lovey while walking through a farmer’s market on a bright Saturday morning.

Our story, whose future words would float through our conversations unbeknownst to us as I would ask questions like, “What would you do if our child had a disability?” while we drove through a Wisconsin countryside.

My story, that flashed visions of dark-haired girls swinging from the heavy oak branches as I pushed the mower meditatively up and back through our mossy front yard around the abelia bushes.

My story, that rattled my nerves and my bones in those first weeks with each newborn and wild tangle of hormones.

Their story, as that once newborn kindly reaches over to grasp the hand of a new dark-haired wonder and nurse in tandem.

My story as I hold tight to Lovey after hanging up with the doctor editing the words Down syndrome into the next chapter.

Their story, as we bring home one last white-tipped, chestnut haired bundle, shifting each of their birth orders into the Sistred formation they now are.

Her story, as we sit around the  school’s table on a late spring afternoon, slicing into the cheesecake flavored peace-offering and discuss how this extra-chromosomed wonder of ours will learn the ways of the world she is so eager to be a part of.

My story, I understand now, as the Southern sun sets each evening around us. The back-to-school lists now printed and purchased for two. The legal books and memoirs I will curl up to each evening as we settle into the soft, brown couch. These books, they stack up in between fairy and coloring books. Southern Living magazines and Ipads.  Ceramic mermaids and bowls of speech articulation tubes and whistles. These pieces of our lives that cover our families’ worn wood table that creeks under the weight of the framed images of our loved ones. The girls snuggled under their fuzzy cuddle-uppets over brightly colored nightgowns that skim their summer legs with the day’s boo-boos and rainbow sparkled Band-Aids. Red clay stuck under the too-long toe nails.

These girls that accept their story as a whim and a lark without looking too far into the future tonight. These girls, they clamor at me each night to set down my computer, my phone, my legal books and memoirs for the last few lit minutes of their evening and read one more fairytale before bedtime.

My story.

My very blessed ordinary after of a story.


(PS: Yes, more than five minutes worth of words. That happens some times.)

five minute friday: afraid

…where a brave and beautiful bunch gather every week to find out what comes out when we all spend five minutes writing on the same topic and then sharing ‘em over here. Go:


Once upon a time fear was something I wore like a coat on a brisk fall day. As a young girl I was prone to anxiety to the point where it caused me to reexamine what was essential and what I could let go of each day. I stopped every extra-curricular activity my friends still enjoyed. I so wish it could have been the fear that was let go.

Over time, those feelings- the frequency, the intensity have lessened and lessoned. They are no longer a daily companion, someone who holds me back and makes me think twice. They do still rear their ugly heads.  Mostly in the night.  When I least expect it.

It started again in the last few weeks of my pregnancy with Zuzu. I was like a dog roaming our house looking for a spot to rest my weary head, heart and hips. I cried to my OB that I couldn’t breathe at night. That my allergies were preventing my sleep. I was so confounded as to why the medicine they gave me in response did nothing. After Zuzu’s birth it came on even stronger. I would try to hold her and lay down and find myself rushing out of the room in tears asking someone else to hold her while I tried to calm myself.

Then came the late months of my pregnancy with The Quail. This time I knew the feeling that woke me in the night with a start. That made my heart flutter and my breath catch. This wasn’t allergies. It was anxiety. After the Quail’s birth I let the fear have one night in my head and then I asked for help. I knew how awful post-partum anxiety could be and I didn’t want to give the Quail’s first weeks over to it as I had Zuzus’.

When the later weeks of Sugarplum’s pregnancy came I was prepared. I asked for help sleeping  in the last month and when she was here I asked for help on day one. Only one night still caught me, the night my milk came in I was certain the flu had gotten me for how horrid I felt. But it passed. As did my fear.

My fear- it isn’t conscious. It’s hormonal. It rears its head when my hormone levels surge. It always has and I would expect it always will.

The difference now- the difference is I’m no longer afraid of it.


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 

Mommaday: Dear new Momma…

The Quail

Dear New Momma,

 When I heard of your worry over the diagnosis your upcoming baby has received; that they may have Down syndrome and that you are scared,  I had a lot of things to say about the history of people with disabilities and the injustices they have endured throughout time. This morning when I woke up thinking about you again and your worries, I realized this was not the time to try to educate you on the world of disability. I say this as a person who has known and loved people with disabilities my entire life, family members, people in school, people in my jobs and fortunately now my sweet girl. The time will come when you are seeking that history on behalf of the child you know and love in order to be a strong advocate for him. But for now- now is not the time for you to gear up for that. You will know when that time comes. You have already advocated for your baby in the best way you can- by choosing to have him. It is a brave choice. You are having a sweet baby- a baby you will be a better person for having and knowing. Stand with us and let us guide you. Get to know us and the real stories of the real children who have Down syndrome that we raise every day of our lives- do not let others you don’t know fill your head with stereotypes that are born out of their sorrow, their guilt or their ignorance. Those of us in this forum, we have made the choice that you are making. Whether we had a pre-natal diagnosis or not- we’ve chosen to mother our children. No one can tell you what your child will be capable of- but I promise you- your child will know you, will love you, will want to please you, will achieve milestones. He will bring you great joy and you will be continually amazed by the tiniest and grandest things he does. You will get more out of your child by ten-fold then what you put in to him. Maybe a year from now, you will want to know the history, the culture, the great people and forces that have brought the world of disability into a strong place in our world- a place where we have the right to expect equal rights for every human being- regardless of ability. We will be here to help you with that when the time comes. The people who will stand with you and your child- they are strong and good and kind and intelligent and ready when you need them.

For now, you have a sweet baby in you who already loves you enough to make his way here. Turn your back on those naysayers. They are going to do nothing but needlessly upset you- and I promise you their information is not born out of fact and reality- it is born out of fear and a need to justify choices they made—it has nothing to do with you and your baby. They do not know what your child will be capable of. Any child presents struggles, challenges and more blessings then you deserve.


EVERY CHILD deserves someone who believes in them, and for your baby- that’s you Momma. It’s your calling- embrace it. Soon you’ll embrace him. The Down syndrome will not be his biggest struggle, other people’s ignorance will be.


another momma

PS: This letter was written for a very specific someone who was struggling with other’s scare-tactics around her decision to continue her pregnancy after having received a diagnosis that her baby has Down syndrome. If you find yourself in that same situation- know that this letter is for you as well. You can also go here and here for more support, love and information. We’re here for you too. 

Today is World Down syndrome Awareness Day. 3/21; as in 3 copies of that 21st Chromosome. Today is a day we celebrate our beloveds and shout about it from rooftops. If you or someone you love has Down syndrome- well; you are just blessed. Blessed like our sweet family.

The Girls: In our garden the Tulips** are sleeping and the Abelias* are blooming~

So….I think I might have an inklin how the average family spends their days and nights! Now I don’t want to brag, or look a gift horse in the mouth, but get this- at night…my girls…they go to sleep.

 Right around 7pm, The Quail, she does this thing- where she suddenly has had enough of us, no more good cheer, no more smiles, no- it’s fuss, fuss, “Hey someone should have known to get me a bottle two minutes ago!” fuss. We oblige; sneaking an extra ounce of milkshake in for good measure, lay her down in her practically-new- never-been-slept-in-before-by-another-child- and-no-we -didn’t-just-buy-it-in-February-2009-crib; propped just a little bit upright, for good, aspiration-prevention measure, tell her we love her, kiss her forehead, cover her feet in a snuggly blanket, start the bluebirds singing on the ceiling and walk away. That’s it- we just walk away. No crying. No fussing. No protesting. It’s crazy- she drinks her milk and then she GOES TO SLEEP! Have you ever heard of anything so crazy? And then get this- she doesn’t wake up- until between 11-12 hours later! Apparently all this time- the problem was, we were reading What to Expect- rather than letting her read the manual herself! Now this blessing in our life is new. It started upon the completion of molar number 2 making it’s full appearance. That’s toothie number 6. 5 of which have introduced themselves to her in the last 2 months poor lamb. 2 more molars to go- so I know this blessed state is only temporary. When she’s in the middle of meeting a tooth- it’s 3-5 wakings a night- and unhappy, grief wall wailing, gnawing off her fingers inspite of being dosed up on Motrin wakings. It is good to know she can do it. Kathy told her last week in feeding therapy that it was time to say good-bye to the middle of the night bottles. And so she has…for now…

And on the other side of the room, sleeps Zuzu, in her own-big-girl-bed, surrounded by snuggly blankets, animal friends, a ball or two, a half dozen assorted pillows, a few Little People, Fabulous the Baby Doll, Big and Lil Mermaid, Mo-Mo and O-Mo-Mo,  Zoey, Elmo and Abby-Kadabby, her night-night headband, her jammies of her own choosing- typically 3 sizes larger- but otherwise the same as sissies, BIG GIRL UNDERROOS, a pair of slippers, the 3 books of her choice for the night,  a little flashlight and a parent. The roos- now that’s new. She’s been asking to wear them to bed and be done with her nighttime pull-ups for a few months now. She desperately wanted to be considered big-enough to wear underwear to bed like Momma and Daddy. And really, she’s been dry at night for a few months and she’s been getting herself up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night if she has to for the last month. We, having more dollars for pullups than hours for soiled laundrymaintenance have been hesitant to embrace her big-girl status. So a deal was struck- as summer arrived, nursing was coming to an end. The pump was cancelled to quote her, neh-neh (also to quote her) was down to 2 times a day. We informed her of The New Deal 2 weeks ago. We would have one more week of 2 times a day nursing, with the understanding that the second was no longer at bedtime and Momma & Daddy would begin alternating the nighttime putting down of small ones, in the girls very-own-room. That’s right folks- no more official co-sleepers status. Well sort of- she inevitably negotiates one of us into lieing down next to her, for “just 5 minutes”, then snuggles up after lights out- and is almost certainly guaranteed an overtired parent as a companion until the end of that REM cycle. Once the spell has dissipated and the said parent wakes up covered in Little People and Sesame Street cast-offs, the military maneuvers  begin to serpentine our way out of the bed and room without waking either pip-squeak. The funniest night by far was the one when Lovey managed to maneuver out of bed without appearing to have woken them, went to the kitchen to undo the dishwasher, returned to the darkened parents room, crawled into bed only to find Zuzu already snoring again on his pillow.

Last Thursday was the official last nursing. Honestly I couldn’t decide whether to make a big deal out of it at the time for her and me or to just let it go by naturally so as not to ruffle her feathers. I compromised. I didn’t bring up the finality of it. The next day we made a HUGE production of her picking out which undies would christian the first night in bed. Pink won out of course. And put her to bed just like it was no big deal. The next morning I woke to a certain 3 year old sitting up over me, enacting her best Snoopy-vulture imitation, yet patiently waiting for me to wake up, since Daddy had told her to let Momma sleep, to let me know that she did it, she slept in her big-girl underwear just like I had! So I gave her our little memento of the occasion- a book about The Midnight Fairies that came with it’s own silver fairy necklace she could wear. She was soooooo proud! So happy- so ecstatic she ended up somehow breaking it off her own neck within the first 45 minutes of wearing it. Well- she is still only 3.

Big changes for us all this summer- I see lots of sleep on all of our horizons. And better rested parents can only mean one thing for everyone they meet- a much more pleasant encounter. Thank heavens for sleeping cherubs.

Oh, but just to be clear, do still ask if we would “like” another cup of coffee- it’ll be a while before we are that rested that we might actually say no thank you.

* It’s her middle name.

**It’s a reference. And it’s lovely there- and here.

Gratitude: For Lovey on Father’s Day

1. your patience

2. your tenacity

3. your ability to remain non-judgmental and get the feel of people, places & experiences for what they are, not what someone tells you they are, or what one might pre-judge without really knowing

4. your thoughtful soul

5. your creativity

6.  your wackiness & deep appreciation for humor

7.  your renaissance spirit

8. your sentimentality

9. your genes

10. the pure trueness in you

11. your way with yeast: pie-crust, home-brew, donuts, beignets, fried pickles and bread alike,

12. your willingness to try anything and keep an open mind

13. your ability to read a manual and then do what it says

14. your kindness to all things living- be it a hop or geranium leaf, a kitty-cat, a firefly or our children

15. your love & earnest interest of all things that came before you be it a newspaper clipping, a wool shirt, a longboard, a deep fryer or 3, the Fairlane, your ancestors, your specs, a flour sifter or the Magic Chef

16. your thrill &  dive-into-I’m-researching-it-right-now attitude with all things that come into advance in our lives, the world and our future

17. your ability to predict where we are going in our lives with your appetite

18. your mechanical mind

11. your family

12. our family

13. your interest and perspective on the community, culture & world around us

14. your trueness to your friends & self

15. your ability to bend with what is needed at a given time, but still not break or lose yourself in the process

16. your culinary sensibility

17. your gentle, tender nature that nurtures our home, heart and family

18. the way music moves your soul

19.your strawberry locks that now don the heads of our little ones

20. your day-to-day, as well as future-minded sense of  and follow-through with responsibility to yourself and your family

21. my luckiness in getting to love and go through life with you.

Thank you- truely…I love you so…