five minute friday: home

…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.

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Go:
Sometimes I confuse house and home and I have to stop and mentally remind myself one is not the other. And in the end one matters so much more.

I find myself coveting a different….house. We chose ours a decade ago when its quirkiness felt just right to remind us who we had been- that becoming home-owners didn’t mean we were growing away from ourselves.

Its’ wood-framed windows that swell in the heat and refuse to open. The glass doorknobs that come just a bit looser with each and every turn. The peeling paint and plaster that spiders its way across the rooms. The wild and tangled yard that blocks us from the too-busy street connecting us to town. The upstairs that we assumed we would one day remodel. It all fell together in a charming gabled angle long before we had three little birds feathering our nest.

With these little ones under foot I find myself mentally rearranging and remodeling. Shoving and scraping at the windows to make sure they will open. A screwdriver stored in the green pantry hutch to tighten those pesky doorknobs over and over. A new coat of paint to cover the “old cracks” that the six-year-old cheerily points out in case we hadn’t noticed them. Adding a fence to separate little strong-willed heads from the bustling cars and roaming dogs. Dreaming of lifting the whole kit and caboodle “Up” style to a road that lets us walk and wagon and tricycle our way to a park. I feel overwhelmed some nights with the restlessness of our things as they push and stack against each other cluttering each room as we grow and grow and I click all the more feverishly through the websites that showcase better and bigger and just plain different thinking, maybe this one…

And then just when I’m at my most claustrophobic, the afternoon sun shines through the white wooden window panes and catches the red highlight of a little ponytail bouncing behind the dolly stroller around the corner. The noise of the doorknob thudding to the carpet is quickly followed by the rascaling giggles of sisters hiding and seeking. The warm yellow paint of the dining room glows around my face as I peer in to the churning bread dough that will rise steamily to become our daily bread. Their bubble and popsicle-coated feet splash in and out of the yellow plastic pool as the nearby bbq smokes the potatoes and chicken under the warm summer sun. The pile of coloring and story books topple off the tiny corner table revealing the latest sentence the six year old has written in her tentative crayoned scrawl: “I love you. Do you love me?”
And I think…home as I shut down my computer screen.

Stop

five minute friday: bare

…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:

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I take the teacher note out of the Quail’s backpack and read it to her four year old self: “The Quail was not kind to her friends today. She pulled her friend down and her friend did the same….” The Quail looks down at her shoes while bird-perching her bottom lip out at my words.

“Momma, that girl was mean to me again. She took my prize and hid it and wouldn’t tell me where it was.” Zuzu’s voice wobbles through her tears.

 “Momma I got my sticker and stamp taken away today. But I was only talking quietly. Lucy was talking loud but Mrs. Campbell didn’t hear her. She didn’t get hers taken away. It’s not fair.” Her tears flow hot at the injustice of kindergarten rulings. Her embarrassment at having gotten in trouble worn as plain as the clean back of her hand where the daily stamp is missing.

“Back away from each other and Quail go to time-out. We do not hit or spit.” I raise my voice to be heard over the wild ruckus of the girl’s disagreement and then proceed to wipe the spit off my face that was sent there flying out of the Quail’s frustration. I feel myself pause- I need to be heard, but I need to not yell and frankly- that’s hard some days.

Each day we start again. Each day I promise myself I will not yell. I will listen. I will instruct calmly. I will model what I want to see in them. Each day I feel the frustration mount as we repeat the same lessons over and over. Including the new promise to not yell *this day*.

The basic lessons:

We do not hit, pull or spit.

We ask for help when we need it.

We listen to our teacher, parents and grown-ups in charge.

We do not yell.  

The bare bones they are,  these daily repeated lessons of ours. How to get along with others in this ole’ world. How to be kind.

These basic lessons- they bare repeating each and every day as we wake up and try again.

Stop.

I am 40.

photo courtesy of Zuzu

photo courtesy of Zuzu

I am 40 today. To be honest, I think I’ve always been a little bit 40, even from way back when a very young me mostly dressed in orthopedic Doc Martins and gray woolen cardigans with Kleenex tucked up the sleeve while sipping tea from the perch of my 1940’s solid maple Ethan Allen swivel rocker listening to Prairie Home Companion. Really the only “funny” feeling I have with this technical change in decade is the discombobulation that is coming with being officially older than the age my mother perpetually resides at in my head (It’s 37 if you are curious). I’m arriving to my 40’s in a pretty happy and contented state of being. One where “I’m good” would be the answer to most questions about the state of my life, and the changes I still feel I’d like to make one day. One where my daily boiled egg, cup of yogurt and coffee leave me feeling perky. Sound in the knowledge that it’s ok that I haven’t slept more than 5 hours at a stretch in over 6 years rather than finding it insomnia inducing.  

Which isn’t to say that I don’t see room for improvement (like maybe increase that hours of sleep a night number for starters). What exactly would I like to change in this coming decade? I’d like to yell less. I want to be more patient. I’d like to read more by myself and with my family. I’d like to increase my technical knowledge of photography. I’d like to declutter my home, my brain and my email folders. I’d like to have a seasonal, familial, daily rhythm to the food my family and I eat and the time we spend together.  I’d like to have a weekly pattern of walking, gardening and yoga. I’d like to completely rid my brain of the guilt that piles up when I don’t meet my own expectations in life so that I can move on more quickly to trying again. I’d like to write a book.   I’d like to make a yearly book of our family’s life and one of our families recipes. I’d like to use more of what I already own more regularly. I’d like to go back to seeing more live music shows and traveling regularly. I want to continue to see the magic in the ordinary of our days.
What have I learned in the last 40 years? Here are the highlights- and yes- I know there are many contradictions in here. A little secret- there are many in life as well:
  1. What other people think of me is none of my business.
  2. It is ok to feel happy, angry and sad. They are my feelings and I don’t need to apologize for them. That said I am responsible to create my own happiness, control my own anger and curb my own crying.
  3. Ruminating over things that aren’t going well only makes ME unhappy.
  4. I prefer to find the good in my day and document it. And I prefer to let the rest go at days end.
  5. I prefer my chocolates mixed, my jewelry sentimental, my coffee strong with milk and my flowers colorful.
  6. When the next day comes, I’ll try again.
  7. Not only do I need the ability to try again, but it’s good to give the people in your life another chance as well. We all make mistakes.
  8. Listen to other people’s opinions about life, but remember they are only opinions.
  9. When someone compliments you, say thank you and smile.
  10. Share what you have.
  11. It is important to say sorry when someone is hurt by you, even if you didn’t mean to.
  12. It is possible to enjoy variety- McDonald’s McRib and High Tea.
  13. Not everyone needs a detailed explanation of what you mean.
  14. Not every situation needs resolution; sometimes the best course of action is to just let it go.
  15. If I didn’t photograph or write about it, it’s hard to remember that it happened for me.
  16. Daily structure, rules and routine help me to look outside of those for inspiration.
  17. When people offer help, if it really would be helpful- say yes and thank you.
  18. I feel better when I eat my fruit and veggies, get lots of sleep, take a walk, go outside, floss my teeth and drink lots of water.
  19. When something is bothering you, try to think about how you could fix it. When something is bothering someone else, just listen.
  20. In parenting my children, I understand and appreciate my own parents so very much.
  21. When I can’t stop ruminating on something, walk on it, photograph it or write about it. There is freedom in taking control of your thoughts so you can move on.
  22. Your experience in life is yours alone.
  23. Don’t try to control other people’s actions. It doesn’t work.
  24. Everything passes in life- the good and the bad.
  25. Expectations should be in flux- lowered when you become overwhelmed and raised when you could do better.
  26. When you can’t change your situation, change your perspective and attitude.
  27. I like to be cooked for, read to and invited over.
  28. In the moment, I am much more capable than I think I am in the preparation.
  29. A daily family meal is defined as us being together for the meal. It doesn’t matter who serves it, what it is or what time of the day it happens.
  30. I enjoy the feeling of a good melt-up (think opposite of a melt-down)
  31. Trying something new is just as great as returning to our old favorites (food, vacations, friends, activities).
  32. I’d rather have an ongoing list of things I want to do than have that list neatly checked off.
  33. When people tell me they see something good in me, I start to see it in myself and I live up to that expectation.
  34. Being able to laugh about the daily awfuls helps me to get over them.
  35. It is so very important to be kind. To others and yourself. Whether deserved or not.
  36. I learn a lot in a quiet moment.
  37. I’m inspired by images, words and food others make.
  38. I’d rather ask a question than assume I’m right or understand all that I need to.
  39. You can learn just as much from those younger than you as those older than you- if you want to.
  40. I am crystal clear how lucky I am to have the family, friends, community, health and teeth that I do.

Bless you all.

fave-O-lit friday: keep calm and mother on

Keep Calm and Mother On Teal Damask 8x10 Digital Printable Image 1006


I raised my voice again. In my defense, I had asked the two of them in my regular voice 3 times already. In their defense; between the stream of the water, the raucous giggles outlining their splashy play and the wails of their tiniest sister outside the bathroom door furious at having been set down yet again; I am certain they didn’t hear a single one of my requests to quiet down and wash their bellies next. In the flurry of the witching hour though, they rarely do. And I’m tired. And I can’t think when it’s loud. And I’m running late and behind in my laundry list of things to do. Not to mention the laundry, or dinner, or the clutter I never seem to get to clearing. It all closes in on me in that bathroom some nights. I’m overwhelmed in those loud, claustrophobic moments we have together before supper in the evening and again before breakfast and the sunrise. No one listens. No one hears. And then I raise my voice. Again. And then a lip trembles, a tear spills out, a spirit breaks and we all sit silently berating ourselves for not getting it quite right. Again. Not exactly the kind of quiet I was aiming for.

I know these days, they hurtle past me and my intentions at lightning speed. I know I’m going to miss these days. I know the day that my rooms and mind aren’t cluttered and the only laundry I have to fold or dinner I have to prepare is my own, the tears that spill from my eyes will be ones of regret instead of frustration. I know there are no perfect mothers, just perfect moments within motherhood. I know I am not the first mother in the history of mothers to wish she could do better. To spend her quiet, late night moments when she should be getting that rest she needs reviewing the guilt racked up from the earlier chaos. I know there are objective reasons why we mothers react the way we do. We are tired. We are spent. We are pulled in every direction except the one that used to be our own before we donned this sash of motherhood. We are expected to know what to do in a given moment. Instantaneously and with certainty. And then someone questions us. Or challenges us. Or goes on their merry way as if we had never spoke. With a voice filled with their own certainty and indignityat our suggestion, our direction, our pleading, they poke the bear with a straw. You know the one, the one that did in that camel?

We no longer belong solely to ourselves.  Our bodies; and our minds with the brain cells our young have feasted on in their getting and growing here, I often fear, are now familial property. Our whole selves now belong to the once tiny egg of a being that is no longer tucked neatly under our hearts. Our bodies have gone through one of the most significant changes it ever will in our lives. Our hormones are rearranging and that fact alone is culpable in our response to those around us.

But yet, for all the objective and understandable reasons for our sometimes rash behavior, our frustration, our anger, our bewilderment and disappointment, we still feel let down by ourselves. And here’s a little secret Moms: most of us, even the happiest, most insightful, competent- appearing, go-luckiest of us; we’ve all been there and felt and reacted that. same. way. Ask anyone. We’ve been tired. We’ve been angry. We’ve been frustrated. We’ve been disappointed. And yet; God willing and the creek don’t rise, we do.

The very next day. And we try again.

It’s a practice. Staying calm and just mothering on. A verse that I stitch and mend over the impulse reactions I’m prone to and hopefully with the quiet refrain of its melody I’ll learn by heart one day.

One breath at a time. One heartbeat at a time.

Keep calm and mother on.

sunday still life

Sunday Still Life is an evolving mindfulness 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 leave inspired to join in, please leave a link in Erin’s comments.

Sometimes I wonder how many times I’ll underestimate this kid before I get it right. Last week at a Halloween party she very patiently watched the big kids bob for apples tied to a tree. When they were done, she marched up and signed apple to me. Within seconds I started to say no, that it was a big kid activity as I mentally ticked off “the facts”. The apples are too high, her coordination would not allow her to bite in to the apple, the game was done…etc. But she stood her ground. In fact she did better than that. She marched over to the mom/hostess/witch and pointed to the apple tree and signed me.  This good witch leaned down, plucked her up and made her way over to the tree with a fresh apple. The Quail fixed her gaze on her target and started bobbing. She can play. It’s only those of us with preconceived notions in our heads, if not our hearts  that keep her from it sometimes.

five minute friday: look

…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.

joy

Dear Quail,

I need to say I’m sorry to you baby girl. I had a brief lapse in faith, and I started to doubt what I know of you.  Lately when I look at you, I haven’t been able to see your heart first. Instead; in front of that has been your little hands and the damage they have done to those around you. I know it is hard to be three. It is even harder, when you haven’t been able to make your voice fluid enough to tell others how hard it is to be three. When I looked, I didn’t see the you I’ve come to know, the kind heart that is full of wonder and concern for those around you.

You see, in the past few weeks I’ve been getting calls of your unkindness. Reports that you have pulled hair, struck out, scratched and taken down other little children. I was surprised to hear this. I was so caught off guard that in those moments, I forgot who you really are, and I forgot to ask why. What had happened before you struck out. When I looked at you, I just saw an angry little girl, with dirt on her dress and sand in her hair  hair who wasn’t getting her way and was striking out.

And then,  I asked what had happened before you got angry. I heard how one little girl wouldn’t give back the toy you had been playing with. Another ignored your hug. Then one wasn’t doing what was asked of her by the teacher and you decided to intervene and “mother” the situation yourself. Because it matters to you to do what is asked. To comfort those that are upset. To follow the golden rule before the law of the jungle.

I know children have to work some of this out. But the real reason that I am apologizing is for the other week. The story that broke the storyteller’s back. I had a report that you had pulled the hair of a large 4 year old and taken her down. Once again, I forgot to ask why. When we got home, I gave you a stern talking to and put you in a very long time-out. I started to question if this was more than the “terrible threes” or you modeling younger behavior.

Then I asked why.

 Turns out you had wanted to play with the other children. You had come up to a sandbox bustling with little ones and hoped to join in the fun. This 4 year old told you that you couldn’t come in to play with them. I can almost see the fraction of an instant of sadness that would have crossed that bird-perch of a bottom lip of yours before you decided to set her straight. She looked at you. But she didn’t see you. Your response was unkind. You pulled her hair, pinned her down and then crawled on top of her. Dear Quail- that may not have been the best way to get yourself invited in to play. We will work on gentler ways to get your voice heard. But, I want you to know that I am sorry. I never want to silence you from defending yourself. I never want you to feel that we your family, don’t see you when we look at you. I never want you to worry that we won’t try to understand what you are telling us, what you need us to see, to know, to hear. We will not forget your loving heart.

Next time, we will remember to ask why. We won’t assume your disability renders you unable to understand. We know you are so very capable and that you do understand what you see, what you hear, what goes on around you. We see you.  But next time, pretty please, maybe next time, you ask the teacher for some help, rather than taking on the big kids yourself?

Love, Momma

If your eyes are blinded with your worries, you cannot see the beauty of the sunset. – Jiddu Krishnamurti Quotes.

 

 

Five Minute Friday: Enough

Joining Lisa-Jo Baker’s friday ritual of a five minute writing exercise on a topic she gives. If you care to join in come here.

Go:

“Enough!”

I look down and see a tear start in her eye and feel one start in my heart. I am tired. Tired and not able to hear Zuzu’s needs at the speed in which they zoom from her brain to her heart to her mouth.  I say it too often. I think it daily. I feel it when I need to lie down just for a few more minutes. At 6:05 am, when the chatter is next to my ear before I’ve even had time to say good-bye to my dream and caffeinate for the day ahead. At 8:19pm, when I intended for them to be in bed already snoring softly. When one child’s crying lets up just as the cascade of the other’s tremolo starts up. Before I can tell myself I have said it enough; the words hang in the air. Really, enough with my words, my thoughts. I want it to be. I want the energy needed to stay present and focused. I want my brain to stop crying from the oversort it needs to do to filter in what they really are asking for. What they really are saying to me. I know years from now; months from now, it won’t be enough. It never is. I bend down, I wipe her tear from her eye, apologize and ask Zuzu to repeat what she just said. She smiles. She hugs my neck and bounds off…

Stop.

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

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.

I like pretty, content images. No doubt about it. I know some blog readers frown on that. They find it inauthentic. I don’t. I see no point in publishing and dwelling on the moments that are hard. Once I’ve reflected on them and had a chance to learn from them then maybe. But not in the moment. Because you know what- the hard moments, the ugly, angry, frustrating ones, they are no more important to me then the good ones. Why would I want to give them any more power than they already had in that moment? They aren’t the ones I want to dwell on and remember in the years to come. They aren’t want I want to look back over when I’m in my rocking chair sharing a childhood with a new child. Fact is, those angry moments pass. Just as quickly as “fleeting happiness” if you let it. It’s the choice to ruminate that makes it last all the longer in your life.

That said, no, it’s not all roses. This is the one picture from my birthday this year. I turned 39 on a weekday. My loving family, friends and co-workers remembered me and wished me well. I received wonderful, thoughtful gifts, flowers, a tasty dinner of roast and asparagus and cake. I know I’m a lucky girl.

See that little girl screaming over to the side of me? Yeah, well her sister had been sobbing minutes earlier. Lovey, had taken them to the bakery to pick up my cake that morning and she somehow took it to heart that the cake was to be a surprise for me. She had been disappointed earlier in the morning when I hadn’t jumped out of bed at 5:30 am to have N shaped pancakes and plow through my wrapped gifts. I knew it was sad for her. It was sad for me too. I had just failed my 1 hour glucose test and was scheduled to have my 3 hour that morning. I had oh, so carefully scheduled it for the morning of my birthday knowing full well that there was a chance I might not pass, but odds were I wouldn’t get the results before indulging in a slice of the yummy, chocolatey, fondanty, cake I knew was coming. I thought I was sooooo clever.

Two months earlier my high-risk OB had said I had jumped through all his hoops with flying colors and there was no real need for me to come back, but if it would reassure me we could do a growth scan in February. I scheduled that the day before my birthday because it was supposed to be a joyful, ordinary 3D ultrasound where Lovey and I could just sit back and enjoy Sugarplum’s miraculous in-utero image without worry. A birthday treat for myself if you will. And then came the regular OB appointment in January. Where both I and Sugarplum appeared to be growing about 3-5 weeks faster than anticipated and the worry returned. So even though my glucose tests weren’t back, the high-risk OB warned me to cut down carbs dramatically, that even if I “happened” to pass the 3 hour glucose test I was to eat like I was diabetic for the remainder of my pregnancy. The standards had changed in terms of what is considered gestationally diabetic and in review of my last two pregnancies, in hindsite, I most likely had GD during them. I cried a tear or two after that talk. There went my carefully planned cake.

The next day, when Zuzu heard Lovey utter the word “cake” in front of me after an ENTIRE day of her not having said anything about it she lost it. Birthday ruined. No pancakes, no grown-ups rushing to open gifts, no party hats, school and work as usual and now no surprise cake. Her upset tipped the apple cart of imagined calm amidst the chaos of our weekdays and the Quail lost it as well. She lost it to the point of no return and the need to be removed from the table to calm down, which unfortunately seemed to have the opposite effect of calming and seemed to convince her there was not going to be any cake for her either. Over the course of that day, I think I heard the refrain, ” It’s Mommie’s birthday, Mommie’s, you need to be nice to her and calm down.” dozens of times.

So no, life isn’t all roses. But there are some frosting roses to enjoy in there if you care to think back hard enough and look for them in the picture.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go wipe up the pee-pee puddle the almost-3 year old left in the living room after one week of being completely dry at school, put away the pile of stuffed animals that the 5 year old pulled out for a third time after being told to put them away after she was done playng with them, find the Resolve to wash the stain of cat vomit off the hall carpet, try to stretch in a way that will hopefully convince Sugarplum to stop bouncing on my bladder and hopefully locate the pile of gifts I thoughtlessly left in the living room after I finally opened them late that night that seem to have disappeared.

And incidentally, the beautiful cake molded before I could get to it after receiving word that I did miraculously pass the 3 hour glucose test. But Lovey promised me a “push cake” once Sugarplum safely arrives. It’s the little things, no?

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.

See her over there? The littlest gymnast? Eyeing that rope right alongside the big kids? Yeah, that’s our little daredevil. A couple of weeks ago she passed her neck X-ray looking for atlanto-axial instability which is common in little ones with Down syndrome with flying colors. To celebrate Lovey signed her up for the parent/tot gymnastics class at the school her sister goes to. Apparantly she dug it. Other than a little perplexed look crossing her face at the closing “wiggle” dance the others perfomed. But I’m sure that’s coming.

This weekend we brought her along to a birthday party for some bigger kids that her sister was looking forward to. We assumed she wouldn’t actually participate but figured she could bounce on the littler trampolines while her sister joined in the festivities. Girlfriend was not to be left out. We grown-ups got swiped at when we tried to prevent her from cutting in line for her turn and run away from when we tried to keep this squirt out of the way of the bigger gymnasts.

This rope though? Clearly she was too small for that. But no, she wiggled her way out of Lovey’s arms to plant herself firmly next. And when Lovey and the teacher lifted her up to it she hung on for dear life and giggled her way across the mat, proud as anything!

She’s a constant reminder, this little firecracker of ours to not make ANY assumptions of what another human being is capable of. Give em a chance for pete’s sake!

And I’m pretty sure she just earned herself her very own gymnastics party to celebrate all 3 years of her yummy self!