Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mini break

On Wednesday, I accepted an offer join a friend for a quick one-night getaway on Saturday. One of her closest friends was in the midst a summer hibernation/cocoon/escape/unwind/sanity break at her family's 1910 rustic cabin in Fawnskin (Big Bear) and welcomed our friendly company. Now, the 'me' that I know is always the planner/organizer for such things, so to take a spontaneous trip away where I didn't have to plan much of anything is a welcome change. Don't get me wrong, I like planning trips (and I'm damn good at it if I may say so myself), but to have my biggest worry be to make sure I pack my New Moon book so I could finish it is just soooo lovely indeed. No stress.

One of the best parts about being away is that I am only responsible for myself and I relish it - every glorious minute of it. It's hard meeting the needs of demanding five year olds all day and sometimes it feels overwhelming and tedious. Some days I just want to lock myself in my room, with earplugs, and let them fend for themselves. But, then there is the traumatizing-your-kid-for-life thing, and I'm trying to avoid that (damn those peanut butter crackers!). Anyway, back to the cabin...of course, we were respectful to each other as a cohesive group, but no one is insulted if I don't want to go for a walk, and if someone felt like eating they ate. Vodka cocktail at 3:30? Go for it! I was so deeply involved with the completely engrossing story of my book to the point where I ate breakfast, appreciating the yummy popovers and conversation, but totally anxious to return to that fantasy world, and these women understood that even though I hadn't said a thing (or maybe they just noticed my twitching) and sweetly said it's okay to excuse myself and go back to my reading couch. No tantrums or hurt feelings.

Would I be able to stay in a mountain cabin for two weeks alone all by myself with only books and squirrels to keep me company? A few days? Absolutely. Two weeks? Maybe, not sure. And, do I wish I had more spontaneous time away from home talking, reading, and eating away my free time in relative peace? Of course. But, I'll take my 30.75 hours away from home and be happy. You've got to take what you can get.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Never ever

Responding to being given unwanted peanut butter crackers for afternoon snack that he suddenly decides that he doesn't like anymore after eating them for years, Quinn scrunches up his face and proclaims "I DO NOT LIKE MY LIFE AND I WILL NEVER LIKE MY LIFE EVER!" throws his hands over his face and puts his head down on the table in total exasperation.

Ummm, isn't it too early in his young life to be feeling such things??? Oh, the absolute horror of peanut butter crackers!? Noooooo!!! Seriously?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Little voice


Today was busy and very fun. I'm feeling much better and ready to get out of the house and hit some of our favorite spots before school starts. This morning it was the always popular Travel Town at Griffith Park, then this afternoon we joined our co-op buddies at the Noah's Arc exhibit at the Skirball (a must see!). On the way home and stuck in horrible 405 car fire accident traffic, Quinn said, completely out of the blue and in pure Quinn form, "I don't think we will have a kid from Africa in our class." I replied "Wouldn't that be neat? I hope you have kids from many different nationalities so you can learn new things from them." And, we went on to have a discussion about different nationalities and disabilities and how much we can learn from knowing them, etc. Good stuff.

So, we are at this back-to-school picnic at their new school, and the event is coming to a close, but the kids just want to run around and burn off dinner and pent up excitement energy. That little voice inside of me tells me to introduce myself to a very regal but a bit frazzled woman in a beautiful long and colorful flowing dress who's son and daughter are off and running with my kids. Turns out, and I kid you not, she's from the Ivory Coast, AFRICA, and has a lovely accent (speaks French to the kids at home). And, her son is going to be in their class. I said no way, that is amazing and I told her what Quinn said earlier in the day and she smiled wide. Then, Quinn comes running over, throws himself on the grass near my feet and I remind him what he said earlier about Africa and then tell him where her family is from and he did this no-way-I-can't-believe-it-beyond-happy cheer/gasp and then runs off again. We went on to talk about her background - she's a hospice care and quadriplegic care nurse (gets calls in the middle of the night to go to the bedside of someone about to die) and her husband is a CPA, and they just spent six weeks with her family in Africa because her father was elected Governor and she went to the inauguration ceremony. Wow. She's one of those people with that something special, and, as always, I'm so glad I listened to that little voice because talking to her totally made my already fabulous day.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bit by bit

The first day of kindergarten is less than a week away. What happened to the summer? Damn, that was fast. Too fast. My children are old enough to be in school!? How did that happen?? Don't get me wrong, I am happy with their charter school, the progressive teaching philosophy, their teacher, and how it has all fallen into place. It's all good. And sad, too.

It's been an amazing five years home with them and I am so grateful beyond words. One of the hardest things for me to think about is that they will soon have new experiences without me. They are going to say funny things that I will never hear about. They will take many giant leaps without me there to cheer them on, and stumble without me there to comfort them. These years have been about giving up a big piece of myself to help them find their passions, to open their eyes to the world full of new experiences and wonders, and to teach them about being good people. And, as much as I want to keep them within my protective arms forever, I can't act out of fear and keep them home, but have to act out of love and let them go. I know that school is what they need, what they want, and what they have to do. They've been slowly pushing away from me ever since they were born (some days it's waaaay more obvious than others). But, what about me? The more I think about it, the more I have been pushing them away, too. Over these five years, I slowly regained bits of myself and am constantly in the process of discovering the new 'me'. The 'me' that I tucked away so long ago has been slowing emerging bit by bit, little by little, new and improved. It feels like I went through personal boot camp, beaten down to the raw form of 'me', digging deep to stay sane (well, most of the time) only to be rebuilt stronger, more confident, more compassionate, and wiser, but knowing that I still have a long way to go. So, when I think about kissing my precious kids goodbye on that first day and fighting back the tears, I have to tell myself that the tears are not only tears of sadness but tears of joy that this letting go of my kids means going down a new 'me' path and welcoming back a lot more of myself. What will I do for six hours and twenty minutes every day during the week? I will no doubt be busy, but it's all the little things that I will have time for now, like going to the gym , working in my garden, actually viewing the artwork at a museum, having a leisurely breakfast with girlfriends, perhaps finding a new career or passion, and maybe, just maybe taking time to breathe and not really having to do anything at all. Aaah, the possibilities...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Color

Man, this cold really kicked my ass. I don't doubt it though, as I haven't been sleeping or eating well, not getting exercise, coupled with too much worry over kindergarten starting way too soon for this very attached mommy and lots of other stuff (sick kids, mom's break-in, etc.). As much as I appreciate having two days of laying in bed, watching tons of tv, and eating soup, the feeling really awful part...uh, not so great. Oh, and the guilt that this is the last week before school and I should be taking the kids everywhere fun and amazing and living it up - had to let that one go and not think about it. So in the spirit of my blog, I'm attempting to think of a few 'little' things that I noticed during this sick time and here it goes:

- Discovered a new soup! Asked the sweet lady at the hot and sour soup Chinese food restaurant if she recommended any soup for being sick, and she suggests this Vietnamese soup. It's like this lemon sweet sour spicy concoction with tomatoes, pineapple, bean curd, and tons of contrasting flavors. Yummm!
- Caught up on new season of Project Runway. I didn't even know there was a new season going on, but I love the very quirky designers this time. Thank goodness for Tivo!
- Decided that one day I must visit and/or move to the beautiful island of Roatan (House Hunters International).
- Lifetime movies...love them...the cheesier the better. Lies, affairs, Campbell Scott - oh ya.
- My cat, Popoki love love loves it when I am sick...and she sleeps next to me all day long, with short breaks for some petting and stretching.
- Jason can really step up when he needs to and I really appreciate that.
- My room is very dusty...resisting...compulsion...to...clean...
- I think my house is dirty most of the time and it drives me crazy, but after watching How Clean is Your House? I realize that nope, not so bad.

Alas, there is so much more to write because I've had a lot of time to think. But, the good news is that when Jason came back from taking the kids out this morning, he looked at me, smiled, and said "You have color back in your face! You must be feeling better." Yep, I think I have turned the sick corner and that feels great - not quite ready to clean the whole house, but I'm on my way...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Comfort soup


I'm sick. It was inevitable. Kids sick = parents sick. You spend all your energy nursing your kids back to health which is emotionally and physically draining, and all the sneezes and snotty noses and lost sleep are impossible to avoid. Ironically, the kids are feeling great and ready to get back to their normal high energy summer fun, while I just want to curl up in bed, sleep, be pitiful, and be waited on for my few needs. I don't ask for much because I mostly want to be left alone with the occasional "do you need anything honey?" or "here's some hot tea". Unfortunately, Jason is sick, too, and seemingly more miserable than me, so he's the one curled up in bed, and I'm the one pulling myself together and taking care of the busy pent up kids. Luckily, there is a certain thing that always makes me feel better, aside from my mom offering to take the kids for the night. I called and ordered some of my favorite hot and sour soup from the only Chinese food place I will eat it from (until I ate it from this place, I never liked it), and convinced Jason that it was in both of our best interests for him to go out into the big bright world and retrieve it for us. Yes, it's so good that even though they don't have delivery it's worth the drive.

We all have our idea of comfort food for when we are sick. For most people, it's probably chicken noodle soup or mom's homemade something or another. For me, it's this specific hot and sour soup and no other substitute will do. It has shrimp and tons of other yummy stuff that I don't recognize but I don't care because it's spicy, strong, and perfectly flavored and always does wonders on my sore throat and stuffy nose. I love that the sweet ladies that take your order say "When you are sick, only order small. It's best fresh. You come back and get more later". It's just one of those little pleasures that can lift me up both physically and emotionally, a little "hey girl, you're going to feel okay soon". You just can't get that feeling from any traditional cold medicine, so I'll just stick with my soup, thank you very much.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Four eyes



I got glasses when I was five. I don't remember really caring one way or another about it. My mom says my dad picked out my first pair and she wasn't so thrilled at his choice. But, at the time, gasp, over three decades ago, there were exactly three different pairs of kid glasses to choose from - brown, ugly, or dorky. I think I had all three. Fortunately through my school years, I rarely got teased about wearing glasses, because I wasn't one to give the teaser any power (I didn't get emotional). The one time I heard "hey four eyes!" I laughed and said "oh, that's original" and walked away. Worked the same for braces. And the headgear.

Anyway, today I had an appointment for the kids to see an eye doctor that specializes in kids. It wasn't for any major reason, but their annual exam last month revealed some questionable vision results, and since I'm extremely near-sighted and Jason just got reading glasses, I know they have a 50/50 chance of inheriting my bad vision so it's better just to know what we are dealing with. But, deep down, I am worried that they will have to wear glasses. It's not any fun, can be kind of limiting, and sets them apart from the crowd thus opening them up to being teased. Even Jason said "Let's just hope glasses come after jr. high school".

Fortunately, the exam was smooth - amazing warm doctor with all the kids tricks to keep them involved and interested and explained a lot as she went along. They weren't so thrilled with having their eyes dilated (who does?), but the stickers helped and the waiting room with books and movies was an A+. The diagnosis? Talia is slightly far-sighted (excellent yea!), and Quinn is oh-so-slightly near-sighted (ok, I'll take that - yea!). He might need glasses...down the road...but not right now for sure. And, their eyes are totally healthy. When I said to the doctor "thank you for such good news - healthy is wonderful", Dr. Calvin said that as long as you can correct vision to 20/20 (or almost) then you should feel very blessed. She said she has a young patient with eyes that won't correct well and has had three retinal detachments (bad!). Now, I always tell myself this comforting fact when I'm at the eye doctor, that I should be grateful that my eyes are healthy and I can wear glasses to see fine and to not sulk about it one bit, especially when he asks "Tell me what letters you can see" and I honestly say "What letters?". But, hearing that my kids have healthy eyes made me feel blessed, like I reason with myself about my own eyes to make me feel better, but now on a much deeper and more sincere level. The fact that this common routine visit didn't turn into an scary life altering day is a big deal. I won't even get into all the bad things that can go wrong with a multiple pregnancy. I can deal with them needing glasses. No problem. Especially now that they probably have 200 really cute ones to choose from, if or when the time comes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Quotes

"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open."
Jawaharlal Nehru

and simply stated:

"People that are blind...it's really hard to see!"
- Talia

"I caught a glimpse of that. All I saw was garbage on the front lawn."
- Quinn (in response to Talia saying that she just saw a garage sale that we drove past)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dare to be brave

So, I have always been a bit on the reserved side. Or, you can call it cautious or more observant than most. I've never had a lot of friends, probably from being overly guarded, too selective, or too smelly, I'm not sure. I guess I'd rather have a few friends that I know I can trust and open up to and can really develop a close bond with than tons of casual friends that you never have deep conversations with. I like deep conversations and people that are willing to "get real". The few friends I do have, I love and appreciate them deeply. Even with dating, if the guy wasn't boyfriend material, I simply didn't bother - didn't want to waste my time. Ya, I probably have many deep rooted issues that could use a few years of therapy, but hey, don't we all? But, one thing I have noticed, is that as I get older (I'm going to be 40 some day...) and especially since I have kids, it's either talk and share and relate or suffer a horrible isolating depressing existence. Life is very hard. Parenting is the hardest thing EVER. And, if you don't reach out and ask for help, share similar stories, or simply vent you really start to lose it and are no good to you or your family or anyone.

So, in my wise old age of 37, I'm finally realizing that it's good to show people that you are human, it's how we relate and bond and help each other survive. No one wants to be friends with someone who seems "perfect" on the outside - it's way too intimidating. And, when a friend gets real with me and shares their personal struggles, I am overwhelmed with love for them. I want to give this gift to my friends, too. But, honestly, it isn't always easy for me to say to a friend or mom or husband "I'm having a hard time and I just need to share", but I'm getting much much better at it. In fact, I'm so eager to do it, often the store clerks aren't really in the mood for personal conversation and give me that I'm-trying-to-be-polite-but-I-really-don't-care look, so I've got to hold back sometimes. I'm so much happier with my relationships then I have ever been in my life, and it feels pretty amazing and not so scary after all. I'm thinking that it should be mandatory to open the floodgates and cry it all out once a week, and spend alone time with your closest friends (no kids) at least once a month (weekly would be ideal). We would all be so much better for it. And, as much as I dread turning 40 (someday...), I look forward to being even less concerned about what people think and feel more free to just show everyone the real 'me' in all my imperfect glory.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Looking for the positive

After such a difficult day yesterday, I'm looking for the happy today. I have a break from the kids while at work so I'm able to breathe deeply and gain some fresh perspective.

Here is what made me smile today:

1. Listening to Kevin and Bean laugh at a popular Alan Jackson song about bologna sandwiches on white bread. Classic.

2. Seeing an excellent "face" on a the back of a big rig. Wish I had my camera!

3. Grilled veggie pesto pizza for lunch from the studio lot...yummmy!

4. Walking back from the lot and appreciating the splendid coastal breeze (got to get out of the Valley more).

5. Listening to THESOUNDLA.COM (100.3) live stream through my computer all day. Not as good as KSCA 101.9 was, but some of the same djs and music I haven't heard in years.

6. Passing on my copy of Twilight to a friend that I know will love it, too.


7. Working on the same annoying report all day long, not finishing it, but thinking 'oh well!'.

8. Having dinner with my oldest friend (since kindergarten), and getting her to totally and honestly open up and get real...finally. Next, my turn...

9. Cranking up 'Mrs. Potter' (live version) by the Counting Crows during my drive home. Again, soooo grateful that good music is back in LA (100.3). I really missed it. Come back Nicole!

10. Quiet house, kids sound asleep, happy husband, cat begging to play with her ribbon obsession, and curling up in bed with New Moon (2nd book in Twilight series)...nooo Edward don't go!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Glad I saved some cake

I am certain we made the right decision to cancel our trip this weekend. Quinn was miserable all day Friday, Talia threw up that night all over her bed and floor, nosebleeds, upset bowels, etc., so all the comforts of home (fresh sheets, cold compress, Valium) came in handy. No regrets, right...well, not until today. Today was just about the worst sibling fighting day on record. I've watched Supernanny where the out-of-control undisciplined kids are awful every single day and the parents are near divorce over it, so I know ours are generally pretty good in comparison. And, I realize that all siblings fight, especially twins, and have come to accept that fact and try my best to handle it (I am an only child so this is new for me) and the good days far outweigh the bad. Most days I'll try to be patient, talk it out, let them figure it out, distract them, or give them my warm mommy creative attention. But, damn, today was ridiculous. All morning long, they screamed and fought over every toy, whined and complained constantly, and just acted horrible to each other. Talia sang to herself while reading on the couch and Quinn asked, pleaded, and begged over and over and over and over for her to stop because "it is sooooo annoying!!!!" and she kept singing, completely ignoring his flaring nostrils and total exasperation. We had to endure the constant HE DID THIS! and SHE DID THAT! and everything was heightened way beyond any sane human level. It gets to the point where you sort of check out and forget all those good parenting techniques because you just can't look at or deal with them and have no desire to make nice with the aliens that have inhabited your children's bodies. And, they feed off of your vulnerability and it just gets worse and worse.

So, with much reservation, I put on a smile and drove them to a Get to Know Some Other New Families at Your New School pool party gathering at noon. They fought the whole drive there. Then, for two and a half blissful hours, they were perfect angels who loved being with each other, were cute, silly, and a pleasure to be around. The whole ride home they bickered. And, during dinner (the same spaghetti dinner that I planned for Big Bear that he personally requested), Quinn complained about EVERYTHING from the sauce to the cheese to the milk to the air. I had to remind Talia at least six times to eat the messy dinner over her plate and not over her lap or to the side. I even tucked a napkin into her white rimmed tank top to avoid any stains. So, as I'm preparing their dessert blueberries, I look over and she's facing sideways with sauce all down her front white rimmed tank top, on her folded leg and shorts, and splattered on the freshly laundered cloth chair cover, with the napkin that was supposed to be tucked into her tank top resting on the table. My eyes go blurry. I escort her out of the chair and say something like "chair cover...I told you six times...just washed...not listening to me...am so mad...you are done...I'm done...I've had it." And, next thing I know, Jason is quickly whisking them away and into the bath and I hear them crying about no dessert and something about still being hungry and I just don't care. I'm done.

So, I stand over the stink washing the dishes (aka taking out my aggression), watching the young happy family joyfully playing across the street at the park, and the tears start flowing. My children were such little f'ing a-holes today!!! WTF!?! My mind thinks back over the whole day - how unbearable it was because of how dreadful they were - and I'm totally crying now. Jason walks in and gives me a kiss on the cheek and a 'I totally understand' caring touch on the back. Tears are flowing hard now. I sit at the table with a box of tissue and the tears keep flowing. I tell myself "Get it all out girl and don't keep it all in". When it's time, I somehow gather myself together to read them a chapter, get apologies and hugs, and kisses goodnight.

I've tried to analyze these type of days before, wondering what sets them off and why. The time of month like me? The moon phases? Something I gave them to eat? Lack of sleep? Maybe something that's bugging them (worries about school, doctor, etc.)? I don't think there is always an answer. The best thing I know to do is make it through the day, regroup, and try again tomorrow. But, I will tell you this...right now I'm drinking a tall glass of Merlot, polishing off a large piece of their defrosted birthday cake, and feeling no guilt at all. Much deserved, wouldn't you say?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Not meant to be

We had a much needed family getaway planned for Big Bear this weekend. Had is the key word here.

First, it was supposed to be Thursday to Sunday, but decided to change it to Friday to Monday to accommodate a New Family Orientation at the new school Thursday night. This meant I had to regrettably cancel going to a 'Get to Know You' pool party/gathering on Sunday for some of the new families at the new school, and I'd have to cancel dinner Monday night with a beloved long-time friend that it took over a month to nail down for some time together.

Then during the week, there were just little things that made me go "humm, this isn't feeling right".

It began with Talia being sick starting last weekend, which always means that next Quinn gets it a little worse, then me, then Jason. Not good.

Then Monday my car battery died.

Then I got slammed with this huge project that HAS TO BE DONE ASAP and this whole thing rests on my shoulders to complete ASAP and I'm feeling the pressure big time. And, I cried.

Oh wait, there's more. My mom's house got violently broken into while I was out shopping for the trip yesterday. The thugs kicked in her sliding patio door, spraying glass everywhere and frightened the poodle Buddy half to death. Fortunately, my mom wasn't home and they didn't hurt the animals. But, needless to say, she's a total wreck still in shock.

So, now I'm torn here because it just feels like this trip is going against gravity or throwing off the planets or something. I stand in the hallway, close my eyes, raise up my arms, and say out loud "Okay Universe, are you trying to say something here? I'm not quite sure, so if we should not go to Big Bear, then please send me one more very obvious sign so I will know for sure. Thank you. Namaste." Then I told Jason my dilemma that if we do end up going to Big Bear and there is some major earthquake and I'm laying there trapped under rustic cabin rubble breathing my last breath, I will be thinking about the fact that I should have listened to the Universe and stayed the f!@#$% home!
So, I go to the school orientation that night by myself (my mom was supposed to child-sit), which I can handle, but then I come home to word that Quinn has a bad fever and is totally miserable. As we are sitting there talking about it, Quinn gets up to pee and stands there crying that horrible pathetic feverish cry. When Quinn cries and gets that face, it's all over for me.
I have no doubt this is the sign I was looking for. Trip cancelled.
And, if all that wasn't bad enough? Today is a full moon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New Family

Jason has a half sister McKenzie who didn't exactly grow up in a supportive touchy feely family, in fact, it was rather difficult. But, you would never know it if you met her. She is sweet, beautiful, genuine, compassionate, and just has that special glow. She is like a sister to me. And, this summer she has found her calling - helping greatly disadvantaged international children. She is volunteering at an orphanage in Nepal (the poorest country in the world) and despite a complete lack of her "normal" luxuries (a hot shower, washing machine, Starbucks, etc.), she is thriving and making a difference...and never wants to leave. This a major life changing summer for her, to say the least.

So, I decided to send the children some basic supplies, crafts, games, hair things, and of course, some yummy treats. I had a lot of fun getting the packages together and looked forward to hearing how the kids liked everything. Well, yesterday I got a package in the mail from Nepal. It was full of beautifully drawn 'thank you' notes and handmade gifts. You would think that I sent them each an Xbox or iPod! Their words (in almost perfect English) and drawings brought tears to my eyes. I am now Daria Auntie, Daria Sister, they told me they love me, we are now family, when am I coming to Nepal, how grateful they are for everything, a little bit about them, and to please write back.

I'm generally a little guarded, so it takes me a long time to consider someone a good friend and even finding someone be friends with is very hard, and these sweet children from the other side of the world who have never met me consider me family now, all because I sent them some what I consider basic things. No wonder McKenzie never wants to leave and plans to save her money to go back again next summer! I just can't get over how much overflowing love comes from these orphaned children in this poor country without any of the luxuries that children here take for granted. They have so few things and expect so little and are grateful for everything. It warms my heart to no end and makes me want to get on a plane to Kathmandu and hug them all. And, now that I am Auntie (and I LOVE being an auntie), I have to continue to send more things and 'thank you' cards for the 'thank you' cards to my new family. I can't wait. Namaste.





Monday, August 11, 2008

That little thing you are supposed to do at night

I haven’t had a decent night of sleep in a week, at least. This is a relative term, though, because decent to me means taking about twenty minutes to fall asleep and maybe only waking up three or four times, and getting about six hours total. In the past, oh, six years or so (starting with my pregnancy), the number of times I’ve had a fabulous eight hours of solid blissful sleep is about six times. That’s one night a year. I’m talking about the type of sleep where your head hits the pillow and you drift off to sleep in less than a minute and don’t wake up all night until you naturally wake up feeling refreshed or a bit groggy and stiff from sleeping so hard. No tossing and turning, no having to pee, no child coughing or having a bad dream, no taking forever to fall asleep, no laying there at 2 a.m. staring at the blurry ceiling, and no waking up because you are dreaming that your children are running around your room (yes, this happens about once a month). How did this happen? I know I’m not alone here, but it feels like it, like there is something wrong with me. According to my husband, who can fall asleep mid-sentence, you close your eyes and…fall asleep. That’s it. Don’t think about the day or worry about tomorrow – just sleep. Simple, huh? Uh, not so much.

Well, I’ve tried meditation, yoga, sleeping pills, valerian pills, eating turkey, earplugs, shots of tequila, etc. Sometimes these things do help. But right now I’m in that dangerous zone of too many nights with restless am-I-even-sleeping-at-all feeling sleep. Where, it is not only a physical sleep deprived issue, but a mental one - the dread of ‘how long will it take me to fall asleep tonight?’ and being so over-tired that I’m way too wired and can’t settle myself. Isn’t this a form of torture?

For the most part I’m generally used to it and have mostly come to accept the fact that something changed in my DNA when I had kids that will never be the same. Maybe it’s a tribal thing – a sort of protection of the family, where if you slept too soundly you wouldn’t be able to protect the offspring from dangerous predators? That has to be it. Or, maybe it’s simply because I have to be “ON” all day, constantly being there for the kids, my work, my husband, myself, the bills, the ‘to-do’ list, the playdates, etc., and to suddenly turn that off at night is difficult…and in my tired eyes, nearly impossible.

So, what is the answer to my borderline dangerous week long sleep deprivation right now? Sadly, it eventually happens when my body can’t take it anymore and gives up the fight, finally allowing me a much deserved decent night of sleep. As far as today, I just have to make it through my one day at work, try to keep to myself so I don’t say anything I will regret or that makes me cry, drive home safely, and pray that the sleep gods will be good to me. Pleeeaase….ZZZzzzzz….

Update 8/13: Two nights ago, while I was brushing my teeth, I glanced up at my iron pills (SlowFE) in the cabinet and remembered how they have helped me with sleep in the past, something about more oxygen or blood flow? So, I took a pill and what do you know? I got a decent night sleep. Yea!! So, last night I took another iron pill and actually got a great night sleep, not in the top 10 best night sleeps ever, but pretty damn good - yea! yea! yea! whoo hoo! I think those pills will be my nighty night friend for many nights to come...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Something Special



So, the idea of a preschool type co-op started over a year and a half ago. Myself and a fellow mom of twins, Emiko, decided that preschool wasn't for us or our kids. We are home with them and provide plenty of quality time and social outings, among many other reasons. Then it started after a little bit of planning, simply enough - Friday mornings for three hours, alternating our two homes, craft/activity, storytelling/books, and indoor/outdoor instructed play, etc. Our goal was expose the kids to a sort of a traditional pre-school environment and to give us well deserving moms a break for a few hours. The first day at my house, her identical horrified girls screamed at the top of their lungs and clawed desperately at the door for their mommy for over twenty minutes (twenty of the most excruciating and emotionally draining minutes of my life thank you very much). My kids at Emiko's house the first time? I had to ask for a hug goodbye! Uh, hello, a tear or something? This was a good thing, right? So anyway, every other week at my house the girls cried a bit less and had more fun, eventually being excited to come and barely noticing their mommy leave (now she had to ask for a hug goodbye).
I could write a novel about this co-op of ours, and how much of an impact it had on our lives. It was all the little things, the sweet moments. I remember the feeling of euphoria and accomplishment when I got the girls to finally stop crying that first day - it was my silly puppet show that worked. It was the beginning of learning to be brave, for the girls and me. I smiled wide when the kids giggled from stepping into paint and making little footprints on the paper. I learned many German words (and please excuse my spelling) like "katsa"(cat), and "ah ah" (poo-poo). And, holding back the tears while watching them all hug and kiss good-bye and say "I love you". This simple three hours a week brought immeasurable blessings, rewards, and love. Those memories and that deep loving bond will forever impact our lives. It took a trusting leap of faith and courage to be a bit different from the crowd. And, when I looked into Emiko's eyes during our celebratory sushi lunch that marked the end of our co-op, I said with absolute certainty (and with slightly misty eyes), "We had something very special and just because the co-op has ended, it doesn't mean that we will never have something special again. It means that we are capable of having that, of creating that, and it will happen again, just in another form, you'll see." I have no doubt and I smile when I think about all the future possibilities.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Perfect pancakes


Kids tucked in for the night, I sit down to catch up on the lives of my few Facebook friends. I hear some crying or calling, not sure, but either way I have to get up to check. It's Talia. I kneel beside her bed and ask "Why are you crying", to which she replies "I'm sad that I made my bed so perfect today and now it's all messed up and I'll never be able to make it like that ever ever again". Ugh. Deep breath. I go through the "you should turn that frown into a smile and be proud of yourself" and "beds are meant to be slept in" and all my usual pep-talk-trying-to-get-her-to-stop-crying rolodex, but every time I say the word 'bed', she starts crying again. And making more snot. Then it comes to me. Me: "Talia, what if I make my wonderful pancakes, and use chocolate chips or blueberries to make a silly face and the pancake turns out sooooo perfect and I am sooooo proud and I put it on your plate and you smile and then eat it all up? Should I cry and be upset? Or happy that you loved it? If I only make perfect pancakes never to be eaten then you would starve! Pancakes are meant to be eaten just like beds are meant to be messed up." She laughed. Ding ding ding ding. Five tissues later, two hugs, three tickles, and a kiss 'goodnight' I leave her alone to sleep and feel rather proud of myself, I must say. About three minutes later I hear laughing ??? so I walk back to her room and find her laughing a silly belly laugh and she says "I'm thinking funny things". Ahhhh, sometimes all it takes is those 'light bulb moments' that save you from feeling sooooo defeated to thinking yah, sometimes I got it.