Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Patience


Yesterday Caroline had her follow up appointment with the rheumatologist and all is good. Her blood work has returned to normal, there is no fluid remaining in her joints and she is pain free. In the next few weeks we will take her slowly off the Aleve monitoring for any returning pain but none is expected. Caroline will need to remain on penicillin for the foreseeable future as any recurrence of post strep reactive arthritis can result in cardiac complications or rheumatoid arthritis. All that being said though, all truly is good.
Caroline had been a wreak for the past few days. The rheumatologist has scared her from the start. In the beginning, the doctor took a really serious tone with us, using lots of big and worrisome medical terminology. Caroline, being so attentive, didn't miss a word of it. While few of the words meant anything to her, she knew they weren't happy phrases. With each of our follow up appointments, she's been concerned that the doctor would start talking again about new and bad things.
During the past few days I wasn't able to move far without Caroline appearing beside me. I couldn't sit down or make phone calls or read. I was constantly reassuring Caroline, "It will be fine, really." This time wasn't much different from many others I've had over the years. Raising an anxious little girl in not an easy journey. What was different this time though was what Caroline said to me when we got home from the doctor.
"Mommy, thank you for being so patient with me."
And that is really all a mom ever needs to hear.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Weather

I am going to choose to ignore the weather that we had yesterday- 6 more inches of snow- and focus on last week. Last Friday, it was 60 degrees and all our snow boots were put away in favor of rain boots as rivers grew beside the sidewalks. Caroline and Katherine went on an Adventurers Walk with a friend, collecting sticks, rocks and leaves from the giant puddles that at formed at the foot of driveways.

When we returned home, the girls set up a museum, charging $2 admission. Each girl choose a surface and artistically displayed her treasures.

The whole afternoon reminded me of why children (and the adults in their lives) love spring and summer. Children (at least mine) are truly at their best out of doors. They thrive, grow and learn all with little or no effort. The fun is organic and happens without anyone blinking an eye.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Working Mom

I went back to work a year ago... or so I thought. I began seeing private speech and reading clients. I wrote my blog. I created and gave presentations to parents and teachers. But I realized this week that while I was working, I had the luxury to be in and out of the house, to shut my mind off for a bit, to sit for a minute and rest.

Last week, I was offered a fantastic opportunity through one of our local colleges, William Paterson University, serving as a professor in residence. Fortunately, as it gave me no time to decide that it was more than I could handle, the job began this week. Two days a week I will be transitioning a faculty of elementary and middle school teachers to heterogeneous classrooms. This is a fantastic and challenging task. I've spent two days this week with my brain in overdrive. Observing in classrooms, attending team meetings, brainstorming with the administration.

I came home on my first day with my head spinning with thoughts, questions and plans. It is good to be back... And yes, it is good to be seeing other people...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In Your Mind


Today I had scheduled a hair appointment for the girls at 3:15pm in a town that is fifteen minutes away from school where I pick up at 3pm. I knew this was ambitious when I did it but I really thought it would work. Caroline's class is always the first one out and if we didn't linger long to chit chat we'd make it very close to on time. Anyone paying attention can guess what happened next. Caroline's class was later than ever before- so late that I went into the building to get her. As we were struggling along the thin sidewalks covered with puddles of melting snow, I kept nagging the girls along. The phrase, "Hurry! We're going to be late!" may have been uttered once or twice and it's possible that my voice got louder each time they lolly gagged.


When we finally got in the car with five minutes to make a fifteen minute drive none of our moods were good. I continued to vent and complain until Caroline said, "It's not my fault you know. You could have just gotten frustrated in your mind."


I remember my dad telling me time and time again to count to ten before I spoke. I think I may now remember simply to say what I need to say in my mind. Both strategies could help to avoid a lot of aggravation.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

You know you're a blogger when...




Yesterday, the girls were snuggling in Caroline's bed when they called me in to take a picture. I thought this was a little bit strange until Caroline said, "This would make a great blog wouldn't it?" And I couldn't help thinking that yes, yes it would.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day




The other day we were riding in the car when Katherine delivered the following line:


"Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday because of all the love."


While I was still sighing with love for this sweet, caring girl, she finished her sentence,


"And all the cookies."


Happy Valentine's Day to all!

Friday, February 11, 2011

And so it begins

Until recently, Katherine has not been all that interested in clothes. While Caroline began dictating what she wore almost from the start, as long as it was comfy, Katherine didn't have too many opinions. She also has not been all that interested in dressing herself which is getting a tad silly. After all, as she likes to remind us, she is 'four and three quarters'.

Yesterday morning, she marched down the stairs, beaming. She had dressed herself from start to finish. I will never understand how my children find clothing that is two sizes too small but never mind, she was proud. And then came the best part...

"I chose these two things because they both have flowers on them. I'm like a bouquet."

Indeed she is!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Winter Concert

Yesterday, Caroline's second grade class performed their Winter Concert. Caroline had a speaking part. The anxiety has been super high around here. Needless to say, we were thrilled when concert day finally arrived.

Below is my first posting using my great Flip Video camera that my mom gave me for Christmas- thanks Mom!

You have to watch for awhile to hear Caroline's part but in my humble opinion it is worth the wait...


video

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Family

Yesterday we presented during a family service at church. We are the only family there that spans three generations and the minister had asked us to talk about our experience. It was a great opportunity for us all to step back and think about why we rush out the door every Sunday morning instead of sipping coffee while reading the New York Times and playing endlessly with Playmobile dolls.

My in-laws talked about their nearly 40 years at the same church with many of the same people surrounding them. They talked about their confusion as Unitarian Universalism is changing- in some ways to accept people like me. I talked about the fact that while I still hold on to my Episcopalian upbringing and many of the beliefs, it is important for me that our family goes to church together and this is where we can do it. Rob talked about going to the nursery in the same church when he was only 6 weeks old and the many things he took away from this experience there including the importance of social action. The girls wrote a poem in which they talked about friends, stories and coffee hour.

Everyone looked so nice after church and the sun was actually shining yesterday so we took the picture above when we got home...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Dog and Bear


There are many reasons why I love children's books. This week, I was reminded of a big one. Sometimes, a children's book can remind us of a great truth in the way that nothing else can. We had another week of snow and ice, early dismissals and school closings. Between vacations, snow and sickness, the girls have literally not had a full, five day week of school since early December. To say that everyone is getting on each other's nerves might be an understatement.

The other day we sat on the couch reading, Dog and Bear. As we read, Caroline said, "This reminds me of us." Indeed it does and after hearing that, I worked hard to take Bear's lesson to heart. I've copied the text of this sweet but powerful story below...

Dog: "Oh, Bear. Play with me!"

Bear: "In this book, the dog and the bear are best friends."

Dog: "Come on, Bear. Play with me!"

Bear: "Although they love to be together, sometimes the bear just needs time to himself," said Bear.

Dog: "Play with me! Play with me! Play with me! Play with me!"

Bear: "The bear tired to explain with this to the dog but the dog did not understand," Bear continued.

Dog: "Play with me! Play with me!"

Bear: "After a while, the bear realized that the dog just wanted to be with his friend," said Bear.

Bear: "All right, Dog. I will play with you now. What shall we do?"

Dog: "Read to me! Read to me!"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Perspective


As I work my way through yet another day without a regular schedule (no school and inches of ice) I find myself fatigued from the too many brownies I ate to give myself a little pick me up. As much as a love a good sugar high, I really hate the inevitable sugar low... So I come here to write and find perspective. I think of my friend whose daughter celebrated her fourth birthday yesterday with a tumor growing in her brain. Two years ago, this sweet family struggled to shrink a tumor in the same wonderful girl and now it is back. I come here to write and remind myself that as much as my little girls are driving me batty with all their time off from school and cooped up feelings during this crazy winter, that I love them with all my heart. Perspective is a powerful thing...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Peace


As the world anxiously watches the upheaval in Egypt, I thought I would send forth a picture of peace. Dog and cat, sharing food and drink... It can be done.