Friday, February 29, 2008

Things My Home Invasion Has Taught Me

  • Fruit flies have red blood
  • They are easier to catch if your hands are slightly damp
  • They are wily prey
  • I am evolving as a predator

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"I Said, 'Daddy, Wook at ME!'"

Stella is at the stage in her language development where she acquires sentences instead of words. It's quite interesting. Especially after having had such a seemingly long period of stagnant word acquisition.

This morning she helped me make the oatmeal. That's another skill that has advanced. She's very good a stirring with her little wooden spoon. The first time she helped me it was more of an uncontrolled thrashing. This morning she could've been doubling for a Food Network celebrity chef.

The bonus is that she's extra willing to consume meals when she's been involved in the preparation.

This morning I told her to call for her dad to come look at her while she cooked.

She did.

And she proceeded to repeat the sentence throughout breakfast.

"I said, 'Daddy, come wook at me!'"

In addition to which, she's starting to recognize her way around town. This creates some sadness when we turn down our street to go home. She admonishes us to continue west toward her favorite park by yelping from the backseat, "No! Go THAT way! Go THAT way!"

And when she sense our proximity to Chick-fil-A she acknowledges it with a simple, "I want some!"

And, yes, everything she says does need an exclamation point.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Home Invasion

Have you ever had fruit flies?

I have them now. They are making me insane. I clean constantly. They don't go away. They multiply. They bug.

I think they're coming from my compost pile. But why hang out in the house? I have cleaned the counter and put every speck of food away for weeks now. I'm exhausted by the siege. Tomorrow my dad is coming to help me move that cursed pile. We'll see how things go.

I got an email from my doctor--"MRI is OK!" His words.

New hair in a bad* photo at the end of a long day:

*"Bad photo" in my world means poorly lit.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Even More to Say

When it was obvious she was having a bowel movement:

"Stella, where are you supposed to go poo poo?"
"On da potty."

Well, it's a start.

She also knows how to tell you that she wants a treat when she is sitting on the potty.

Had to get an MRI today. They had to put some sort of contrast dye in me. I want informed that I would have to "pump and dump" for twenty-four hours. For the uninitiated, that means Gianna cannot have my radioactive (I exaggerate) breast milk for twenty-four hours.

In breastfeeding realms there's really nothing sadder than having a tired, hungry child cry the cry of wanting to nurse and being physically unable to satiate that cry.

She did, however, take a bottle. This is good. But I will be happy to get back to nursing tomorrow morning.

Right after my first haircut since Thanksgiving.

Here's a before:

Notice the mullet happening in the back? It will be sent a-packing tomorrow.

Do you detect a glow? It's that contrast dye surging through my veins. It's "harmless." That's why I can't breastfeed my child.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Language Explosion!!!!

It's true what they say. You know They, don't you. They're fun.

Anyway, they say that kids suddenly start talking. We're experiencing this in Hansoniana Land. For the longest time Stella has said the same few things. Just this week she's started venturing out. It's almost like she wanted to be sure she knew what she was doing.

One day at lunch time she said, "I want tacos." I'm acclimated to having to decipher what she's trying to say. There's no way she actually wanted tacos, right? I'd never heard her say the word and we so rarely have tacos. I wasn't sure what she wanted.

She gestured toward the freezer and managed to dig them out from all of the frozen food in there. Tacos. She knew what she wanted and where to find them. It just made me wonder how long she'd been working on that word.

This evening she very deliberately said, "Help." It was so funny sounding. So calm and collected. She needed help getting out of her seat. "Help." That's it.

Did I mention that she said "shit" a few weeks ago? Damn. She's learning.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mistakes I've Made (So Far This Week)

I was distracted by Stella and didn't completely fasten Gianna into her car seat.

I left the house with no snacks.

I let Gianna chew on an apple all the way home because it kept her quiet.

I impatiently yanked Stella's arm and said some naughty words.

I know I'm forgetting something.

I was losing my mind so I took a walk. This is restorative for me, therapeutic. I like to look at all the plants and take note of their growth and see if there are any changes my next time around.

While I was walking I was thinking about Lent. Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. We took the girls to get ashes. It marked the beginning of Lent and the approach of Easter. I am thankful for such rhythms in the liturgical calendar.

Christ was born at Christmas and we all celebrated. But here comes Easter. A more serious holiday. A chance to contemplate all our shortcomings and make amends--or at least try to. Intend to amend. Grow more towards the Light of Jesus.

And this is what I noticed on my walk. All the plants and weeds and flowers, they are all growing toward the light. This is what they do. If you have a plant in your house growing imbalanced, turn it around and it will change course. Even the weeds grow toward the light. Sometimes I feel like a weed. I know I'm not and I know that many of my careless infractions are not a big deal, but this is the time of the year to examine my more serious infractions: being ungrateful, unforgiving, selfish, jealous, cold-hearted.

It's very easy to convince yourself that you don't deserve a certain "injustice." Or that you deserve more privileges. I think of this as Oprahatic spirituality. "Make a little time for yourself everyday. Get yourself a treat, stop sacrificing for others." To a certain extent this isn't bad. It can reach a point, especially when you're in the business of small children, where it can be damaging.

Raising children is work. It is sacrifice. It's a lot more than physical labor. It's not indulging in misery or selfishness. It's not keeping track of wrongs and annoyances--these are things that I do. However, my goal this Lent is to become more for my husband and my kids. More what? I'm not sure yet. It will be what I think about until Easter. Nay, what I pray about until Easter.

I think it's very easy to think of having children as a self-centered enterprise. They are yours and you have them to complete some sort of milestone. You stop before they take over your life. But having children is sacrifice--a sacrifice of time, money and a certain way of life. I don't always enjoy the sacrifice. Does that mean I've made a mistake? No.

This is where I think our culture is hard on parents. There is no opportunity to air your grievances without people saying, "Well, you shouldn't have had children, or not so many." And this applies to whether you only have two or as many as eight. I think this is unfair to parents. Anyone who has adult children, I assume, would not say, "It was not worth it." Children are not a dream or ambition that can be abandoned, so why would we want to make parents feel bad? Why not just say, "This too shall pass. It will get better"?

While I have and will make many mistakes with my children, they are not mistakes I've made. They are a lot of work. But they are good work. And I am thankful that Easter comes once a year so I can reflect on my mistake and become more for my family. More what? I'll keep you posted.