Thursday, August 30, 2007

First Day of School

Hooray! It's finally here! School is in session!

Ok, I do know that some of you are actually TEACHERS, and that you are destined to spend your days in classrooms full of kids, but you have the advantage in this case - my children behave MUCH better for other people than they ever would for me. So I will continue to gleefully dance the "Most Wonderful Day" dance, and thank you for going into such a noble profession. Better you than me!

[Actually, I'm generally ok when I have to deal with other people's kids. It's only my own who drive me insane.]

So we all drove up and parked on the hill (observing the new Traffic rules). David came, too, which was nice.

Here is my Kindergartener (Micah) and my Third Grader (Sam) on their way to school:

Micah was so eager to get there:

Do you think Sam's backpack is too big for him?

After drop-off, several Mommies and Daddies met for coffee at our favorite Starbucks (along with Sofia and one other young lady). It was nice that 3 of the dads were there; we made the boys sit at their own table.

Then Sofia and I left to pick up the babysitter, so she could accompany me to my hair cut and keep Sofia amused, but La Principessa fell asleep before we got to E's college, so I told E not to bother. I got my hair cut, and then walked around the mall a bit (Sofia stayed asleep during the cut and both transfers into and out of the car, but woke up at the mall).

I was looking for a new medical case for Micah, to take his EpiPen, Benadryl and Albuterol. Eventually I found something (not at the mall) - a Kodak printer bag, that's just the right size. I also bought a combination lock for it. The school said that as long as the kids cannot access it, I can keep it in his backpack all the time (important for playdates).

Sofia and I rushed home thinking we had EI, but the specialist called to say we were late to meet her at the center. Drats, I messed up. And there wasn't enough time. So we skipped Development this week.

Off we went to pick up the boys, and we all stayed on the playground for an hour and a half. Micah and the other kindergarteners were soooooo tired, but the teacher said he had a lot of fun (he, of course, gave it a "thumbs down"). Sam had a good day, too, although he didn't eat his sandwich until after school (because he was afraid that his nut-allergic friend was allergic to the incredibly nut-free sunflower-seed butter on his sandwich).

Now the boys are asleep. Miss Sofia is still exploring the contents of the laundry basket in my room, and I'm trying to finish the DVD for my friend, but I'm having some technical difficulties. David is off at his friend's house for a boys' night out.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Am I too optimistic?

Frequently, I forget that my daughter has Down syndrome. I forget that most kids do not "talk" with their hands, and that at two and a half, some little girls have even finished potty training rather than not even started. I see my daughter and all I see is an amazing little girl, a girl I love fiercely and of whom I am unabashedly proud.

Is that even close to what other people see when they look at her? When she says "baaah" and signs "more - ball - please", do people just see some poor kid who can't talk, or do they recognize the amount of communication that is really taking place?

I'm not sure why I'm thinking of this. Perhaps I was watching her at the pool today. She was having a great time, aside from the fact that she was exhausted. She kept wandering into the front office (I was right behind her), and exploring everything. I was so proud of how she was "talking" to me, but I got the sense that, to most of the people watching (grownups who know us from shul, and some other little kids), she seemed awfully "slow". It was interesting. I didn't feel the need to apologize, just to explain and clarify, but it made me aware that perhaps I see her through very different glasses than does the rest of the world.

Ok, enough introspection. I'm still crazy-in-love with my daughter! (Even if she did fall asleep at 5pm on the way home from the pool, stay asleep for the transfer from car to crib, stay asleep an hour later for the transfer back to the car, stay asleep on the ride to N's house, stay asleep for the transfer up to N's room, AND stay asleep through a Shiva with more than 50 people, only to wake up on the transfer back to the car. She's watching TV with us now.)

Micah had Kindergarten Visit this morning, and in less than 10 hours, both boys start SCHOOL!!!!!! I'll be doing the Mommy Dance.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Last "full" days of summer!

Whew! We made it through the summer. Tomorrow morning is Micah's "Kindergarten Visit", and then Thursday, they will be IN SCHOOL! Yippie!

Yesterday I took all three kids down to my friend's summer house in Rhode Island. She has a boy Sam's age and a girl one year younger than Micah, and the kids all get along great. See photos below. It was a long day - we ate lunch, then went to the beach for a few hours, then dinner. Sofia had a blast on the beach; she was tired, so at one point she was just lounging on her tummy, shoveling. She was coated with s. Later, she conned my friend into giving her a ride on the scooter. She was also sound asleep by 2 miles down the road when we left.

Today was also busy. Babysitter arrived 9am. First I took Sofia to the playground for her EI (co-treat with OT and Speech). Then I dropped her home and picked up Micah to do some errands, including getting his bangs trimmed (he's decided he want to grow his hair, too). Then I dropped him off and picked up Sam to go see Ratatouille. Cute movie, although the rat images were sometimes a bit much. Sam and I made a quick stop at the Christmas Tree shop, and I bought the boys "Boogie Boards" for the beach (yes, a day too late). Then I picked up all the kids and we went to the pool for a while.

Here are some photos of Sofia at the beach and on the scooter:Sitting Pretty

Uh, mommy, is this good for my skin?

Yuch, I got a mouthfull of sand!
Never too early for your first facial, right?

Sofia and S on the scooter

Faster, lady, faster!


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Active Day

Wow. I feel so strong. So fit. So buff. So...tired. And sweaty. We took all three kids canoing this afternoon! David sits in front, to handle the "strong" rowing, but I sit in the back both to handle the steering (yes, I like to be in control) and to keep an eye on the kids.

The boys did okay, aside from the occasional extreme shifting of weight from one side to the other. Sofia was a little unhappy. Sam had to keep feeding her (grapes and chips) or she would stand up and try to climb into my lap, which was a problem when I was rowing!

So we stayed on the water only for an hour, but it was a lot of fun. After that, the boys all looked around the "viking" castle near Brandeis (I think it's really a Civil War-era structure). Then we drove the long way out towards Worcester. We stopped in Sudbury at the Wayside Inn Grist Mill. It was pretty cool. The boys and I walked all around, while Sofia continued to take all of Dada's attention.

Eventually we got to Worcester (I took a short nap in the car). The kids played at a Playground for a while, and then we went to Sole Proprietor to meet my inlaws for dinner. Food was good, but Micah was a bit bouncy and all three kids got really tired when they were done eating. Eventually I ended up in the car with Micah and Sofia while the others finished their meals.

Yesterday, David and I got to have a "date" in Boston. He'd gotten gift certificates to P.F. Chang's when he was on a business trip recently, so we went there. i think I'm too used to the simple tastes of Japanese food, because the complexities of Szecuan really don't work any more - my tummy was aching all night. And I think we're getting to old to go somewhere quite to "hip" - it was just loud and crowded. But it was nice to be out just the two of us. After dinner, we walked through the Prudential Center and Copley, and up and down Newbury Street for a while. We were going to have tea later, but everything closed by 9:30! So we were home at 11:00. Sigh. Well, at least it was early enough for our babysitter to go out!

I'm supposed to take the kids to my friend's summer house in Rhode Island tomorrow. Should be fun - her son is the same age as Sammy, and her daughter is just a year younger than Micah, and they all get along well. And last time we were there, Sofia had a blast at the beach.

We watched "The Good Shepherd" on Friday. Odd movie. At the end, I asked David when it was actually going to start, because it just didn't really seem to have a point. Then we watched the deleted scenes, and I felt as if it was a whole different movie (one that made sense now). Oh well.

Oh, and we did go to shul yesterday - my first time all summer, and it figures we were back in the main sanctuary. But the kids did well. Sam stayed in services the whole time (because his friend R was there; she's a very good influence). Micah played with G and Sofia went to babysitting after a while. It was nice to see people again.

I can't think of much else. I've been surfing more, and fine-tuning the Blogarithm stuff. It's kind'a cool - I get an email whenever any blogs I read are updated.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Funniest eBay post EVER

Ok, I just about never use the acronym ROTFLMAO, but I have to this time. I was in tears, I was laughing so hard. Check out this eBay ad, and her blog.

Better day today. My friend came over with her girls. The kids all played outside a bit, then had lunch. I ran to the grocery store while they ate (I had no bread or fruit left!). Then they all watched a movie while Sofia had EI. She signed "red", "yellow" and "blue" and SAID "apple" and "umbrella"!

Then I logged on and found out about this woman's eBay ad and blog. TOO FUNNY!

Then we packed the kids (and the bikes and skateboards and scooter) into the cars and went to the Sherbourne playground for a while. My friend took her girls home from there. I took my kids for ice cream.

Now we're home, I've already given Sofia her bath. The boys are outside somewhere. I've got a meeting tonight, so our ex-nanny is coming to babysit, which makes the boys VERY happy.

If you scroll down, you'll notice I'm experimenting with BlogRoll and Subscribe to My Blog.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Trifecta of a Bad Day

Well, today sucked. In a nutshell, the Trifecta consisted of my husband telling my I was really failing at the domestic stuff (actually, he used a worse word!), my eldest son being a complete whiny mopy baby all day, my mother getting attitudinal with me because I don't ask about their problems enough. The frosting is that my babysitter had to cancel today (because her grandfather had a stroke), so I had to re-arrange my plans.

The boys had to go to "Sib Shop", the elder sibling playgroup at EI, while Sofia went to her group. Micah had fun. Sam looked like a grumpy, shaggy rock as he sat in the corner.

I was planning to take Sam to see "Ratatouille" this afternoon, but Micah's already seen it (with my parents) and Sofia freaks out in movie theaters, so that was off. After playgroup and some quick stops at the day school and at shul to drop off paperwork, we went home and Sam took a nap. I fixed the AT&T bill (which my husband had yelled at me about last night) and tried to find info on front doors, but no such luck.

After Sam woke up, we tried going somewhere, but Micah needed a playground and Sofia had fallen asleep in the car and Sam was still mopy so he wouldn't get out of the car. I sat on a rock between the playground and the car, trying to watch all of them and not cry.

After the park, I drove a bit and nearly fell asleep, so we came home. Sofia stayed asleep for the transfer to her crib, and I told the boys to play outside. I slept. Needed it, badly.

After my nap, the boys were better - probably because they were watching "Suite Life of Zach & Cody" and "Hannah Montana" on Disney. Oh well. I made dinner, we ate (the "we" being just me and the kids - my husband didn't get home until after 7pm).

The boys didn't fall asleep until almost 9pm, and Miss Sofia is sitting on my bed, watching "On The Town" at 10:24 pm. David had a meeting, so he was only home for about half an hour before he had to leave again, but he's home now (and on the phone, of course).

Grrrr. He did apologize (in email) to me, but I'm having trouble letting it go. Especially with the addition of Sam trying to guilt-trip me into giving him whatever he wants and my mother letting me know how selfish she thinks I am. The smart part of me is screaming that they are all wrong; the idiot part is taking them all seriously. I'm trying to ignore the idiot part.

But I'm making really excellent progress on the video I'm making for my friend's father's anniversary. I'm very proud of the work I do.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Technical Difficulties

Oy, what a day!

At 6am, David called to tell me he was starting his day in North Carolina. At 6:15, Micah came into my room asking if he could watch TV. This time I was already awake enough to not just dismiss him. I said no, but he should come cuddle with me. Uh uh. He wanted no part of that - so he went BACK TO SLEEP!

At 7:30 Sam went downstairs to watch TV (he doesn't bother to ask, and he sleeps later anyway). At 8:15 I took Miss Sofia downstairs, and was happily surprised to see that Micah was still a-bed.

At 8:30, the kid next dodor came over to spend the day with us. My boys adore him, he's 11 years old, an only child, and very sweet and fun. He was still groggy from his antihistamine, and my guys were still groggy, so I plopped them in front of a movie while I showered.

They watched about 30 minutes of "Pete's Dragon" before grabbing the "swords" and "daggers" (all plastic, of course) and having a mele. Then they went back next door to grab A's Yuh-gi-oh cards, which he nicely handed out to Sam and Micah.

Sofia's Speech Therapist was here 10:00 - 11:00. That was fun to watch, and K had a chance to see the boys in action too. Then I used borrowed paint pens to decorate Micah's cubby box for school, and touched up their TV trays. At 11:45, we decided to go do something. The plan was to eat pizza out and then head up to Westford (more on that below), so I ordered the pizza and got the kids ready to go...

...only to discover that I'd left the keys in the ignition of the mini-van last night, and the battery was dead! Ok. I've got jumper cables. I used to have to jump my "starter" cars when I was a college student. I know what to do, right? So I call my neighbor, another strong, able, capable lady (and she's almost exactly the same age as me, just a few days apart). And we try...

...but we can't seem to locate the "engine block" where we should clip the 4th clip! Argh. We try to call David - no answer. We try her hubby (same industry as David) - no answer. I try another friend - no answer. B suggests calling her father just as I start calling my dad. Dad tries to tell me where to clip it, but can't picture the inside of my minivan.

So I call AAA. And I call the pizza place and ask them to deliver it instead. And I spent some time putting Sofia's car seat back together, since I had washed the cover last night.

And AAA and the pizza guy AND the mail lady all show up at the top of my driveway at exactly the same time, much to the delight of the 3 boys and Sofia! The AAA guy showed me where the 4th clip could go (much of my car is plastic, so it was sort of tough to find a good place!). The pizza guy waited patiently. And the mail lady handed me my box of 500 photos I just printed at Winkflash!

The kids and I ate a quick lunch of pizza and bread sticks, and then finally we hit the road. We went up to Kimballs, which has excellent ice cream, along with a large mini-golf center AND bumper boats. It was mobbed, but we had fun. The boys all went into one boat together, with A driving, because my guys were so nervous (I stayed on the sidelines with Sofia to watch them). Mini-golf was long, and since I had the stroller with us, we had to get out half-way anyways.

Sam had to go to the bathroom pretty badly, so he was a nervous wreck while we ate our ice cream (he'll pee in public restrooms, but he refuses to poop!). We sat near the chicken coop, and somehow one of the chickens ended up on our side of the fence, which really freaked Sam out!

We got home at 5:30, finding A's mom and my babysitter E waiting for us. E and I put together a quick dinner for the kids (I was still full from the ice cream, most of which is now in my freezer). E said she'd thought I had a meeting, so I went searching my email. I have no idea why I thought I had a meeting tonight - I could not find anything. I did, however, realize that I have 3 meetings on Wednesday night. Oops.

So we got the kids ready for bed, and I left E to read to them while I went out. I wanted to get Sofia a TV tray, too, since she also likes to watch TV while she eats breakfast on these lazy days. I found the perfect pink tray in the first store I went to! Then I walked around Shoppers World a bit, buying more scrapbooking paper and some pens.

I stopped at Whole Foods on the way home to get some sushi and some ketchup (the boys did not like my homemade ketchup). Had a nice quick dinner at 9:30pm, and then painted Sofia's tray. It's lovely, with her name and a princess crown and some magic wands and stars.

At 10:10, I started locking up to come upstairs...

...and discovered that the door knob was broken! The inner bolt would not open, so the door would not stay closed. I grabbed the extra knobs from the garage, but there was no full set.

I called my neighbor to come sit in my kitchen while I tried to find a new knob. The grocery store and the 24 hour drugstore do not carry door knobs. But at least I figured out what to do in the mean time, using the spare items we did have.

That took another 45 minutes to get something working. But through it all, I've been really happy. It's all just so funny, and all fixable. And I'm having such a good time doing all this creative stuff (both the art and the fix-it stuff).

But now it's midnight and I'm tired! G'night.

Later: Crap. I just took a quick peek at the T21 board, and found out another little one has died. So very sad. She was very very sick. I thought about her this morning; the news last night had not been good, and somehow I just knew this morning that this was happening, but oh, it was so so sad to see it in print. And this is the 2nd kid on the board in just the past few months. The people involved on the board are just amazing, and, for better or for worse, we've sort of developed a "kit" for when one of the kids passes away. Tulips, food, scrapbook pages and other crafts. There are a lot of very wonderful people on the board, who all immediately jump on to help organize, or just to donate.

But my heart aches for the family.
In memory of baby G, Aleha HaShalom - May peace be upon her.

Why am I awake at this hour?

It's because David isn't here to tell me to shut the computer and go to sleep! He'll be back in a few days, so I get to web-surf to my hearts content, even if it means I'm slogging during the day.

Just read a few beautiful blogs - the gorgeous Miss Elianah's mom has a terrific blogroll. A common theme on all of these blogs from parents of kids with DS is how we defend our children, our families, and our special views of the world from those who would wish away our kids without ever reading them. The scariest thing I read tonight was a 2000 report on the cost-benefit analysis of how the US and UK do (did) DS screening - and it was co-written by a team from UCONN - no doubt by people who my BIL works with.

I don't know how to say this. I know my sister and BIL love my daughter. But do they think we were somehow wrong for having her? And if they do, is it because they are "armed" with the medical knowledge, but have no idea of the joy Sofia has brought us? I hope I'm just being paranoid. But I suspect I'm not.

Ok, enough melancholy. Yes, I'm still a bit in denial about the fact that there is anything unusual about my daughter - other than that she is an amazing little girl, of course. A few weeks ago, when I was in my melancholy funk, we were all out for breakfast, and I was aware that there were a few sour people staring at our table. Normally, I'd just assume it was because Sofia was gleefully flinging crayons to the floor and the Micah was talking a mile a minute and Sam was whining and moping with his hair in his face. But that day, I got a little more of a "hit" about what they might be staring at. My daughter really is "different".

They don't know the half of it! She's different - from her brothers, because at two and a half she can already use a fork way better than Sammy can, because she has a more sharply honed sense of what clothing she wants to wear than Micah ever did in his worst days, because she can swing in the toddler swing for half an hour without getting sick (although she walks like a drunken sailor when she gets out). She's different - because her mommy adores her and encourages her to do just about everything (within safety limits - I would NOT let her climb into the fountain at miniature golf today, despite her protests).

I took her and the boys to mini-golf, along with our friends, who have 2 boys. The 4 boys were the official golfers, but the guy at the desk gave Sofia a toddler-sized plastic golf club and a ball, and she had a blast wandering around the course, either throwing the ball or hitting things with the club. She was also fascinated with the fake deer at the end of the course.

I'm rambling. We had a lovely Shabbat dinner at our friends' home in Concord on Friday, but Sam was still feeling sick and passed out on the couch. That afternoon, Sofia had also been more sick, and had a weird rash on her neck. I ended up back at the Pediatrician. They still just have a virus, but the dots under Sofia's neck might have been from rubbing against the pillow. Doc scared me by telling me that we should keep an eye on it, and if it got worse we'd do blood tests - I panicked and asked her if that was a lead-in to Leukemia, but Thank G-d she said no!

So Saturday morning, we'd planned to go to shul, but both Sam and Sofia were still sniffy and slightly feverish. I sent David and Micah to shul, and Micah ended up falling asleep on David's lap for an hour, also feverish. When they came home, all 4 of them took a long nap (Micah on the living room floor, the other 3 in bed together). In the quiet, I got to clean the entire pantry, and then took a short nap myself.

The sleep was what they all needed. This morning the kids were much better. They all have stuffy noses, but we got a lot of fresh air this afternoon (I took them for a long ride and then to mini-golf), and it helped alot. Hopefully everyone is on the mend now.

Tried to take the boys rock-climbing at REI, but the wall is still under construction. We had a nice chat with A, the guy who runs the climbing wall. He's a great guy, and has really taken Sammy under his wing with the climbing. It was a bummer they couldn't climb yet, but they enjoyed talking to A, and I also bought Sam a new school backpack.

I started "working" tonight - I'm making a family video for a friend, and I had to scan in about 40 pictures first. I love making slide-show videos. It's a lot of fun.

Nothing much planned for this week - the kid next door is coming over for the day tomorrow (as long as none of us have any fever). Micah might go visit another friend. I hope the weather is warm enough and everyone is healthy enough, because I'd really like to go to the pool again!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Indoor Day

Well, Sofia has Sam's cold now, so we're just going to have a lazy in-door day today. Sofia is upstairs with me watching Signing Times vol.2, and the boys are downstairs watching...uh...I've approved of the Disney Channel and PBS, but sometimes the TV "slips" to another station. It's as if the Power Rangers are changing the channel for them!

My first night in my NEW BED was lovely (except that at one point, either a spider or a long hair from David drifted across my neck and freaked me out!). But otherwise, very comfy. Ahhhhhh.

I went across the street for a Scrapbooking evening, and I got so much done. My neighbor is a Creative Memories consultant (here's her website), and every so often she has these workshops in her basement. I never get a chance to do any scrapbooking unless I go over there. I have all my stuff in boxes, and it fits nicely on a luggage cart.

Yesterday I got bold and made a call to the NDSC about next summer's conference in Boston. D and I have been talking about organizing a Shabbat dinner and helping attendees who need Shabbat arrangements. I spoke to the Executive Director. He was very nice, and asked that we email him the details of what we are looking to do. I also put in a call to the Disabilities council at the JCC, in case they can help us too. And I had a lovely chat with the rabbi at Natick Chabad, about potential programs for Sofia when she is older, in case it doesn't work to send her to the Day School.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you: I got a 92 on my Hebrew Final!!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The End of An Era

This is it! No More WaterBed!!!!! David just emptied the bags and is in the process of dragging all the framing downstairs. Tomorrow, the nice moving people from Jordan's Furniture will bring me my NEW BED. A REAL bed, not just a bag of water!


I'm a little happy about this (can you tell?). David is so sad. He loves the waterbed (I despise it, in case you have not noticed). But after 10 years together, it's my turn. Yeah!

So while the water was draining, I made a list of Sofia's signs and verbal words. That girl has quite the vocabulary! 55 real signs (that I can remember tonight - I'm sure I'll come up with some more tomorrow). We had dinner at N&P's house, and we were trying to make up the list. I suddenly realized that she's been signing "cookie", not "key" (except sometimes she IS signing "key").

She's also wearing her first nightgown tonight, direct from N's daughter (where she gets most of her clothing). Adorable. Sofia and G were dancing around, looking quite girlie. My little one is growing up!

N&P have a dog, though, and even though it is a "hypoallergenic" dog (Portuguese Water Dog, does not shed), the boys still had to be Benadryled when we left - both their faces were puffy and they were sneezing like mad. They had the roughest time because the boys all played downstairs, where there is carpeting, while the ladies stayed upstairs in the kitchen, with wood floors.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I Love Beverly Beckham

For those of you who do not know her, Ms. Beckham is an award-winning columnist for the Boston Globe. But most specifically, she is grandma to Lucy, who happens to have that extra chromosome like Sofia.

Honestly, I've never read any of her columns that were not about Lucy, but boy, are the ones about Lucy TERRIFIC. Here's the latest.

Today I actually finished my Hebrew 3 Final Exam! I actually did most of it last night, including writing an essay about my life in 10 years (at least I hope that's what the directions said!). So to celebrate, I took the 3 kids off to the Ecotarium, a really fun little science center in Worcester. They have a real polar bear, a nice nature walk, and a choo choo train. We all had a lot of fun. The only "funky" moment was when Micah touched the peeled-off skin of the snake during the demonstration, and Sam practically exploded with nerves - "We have to go wash his hands NOW Mommy!" Nothing like a little OCD to add to the fun.

I took Sam to Tae Kwan Do after dropping Micah and Sofia back home with the babysitter, and then tonight I got to go to a Pampered Chef party. Nice to relax for a moment. But on the way to TKD, I was talking to Sammy about my friend and her new baby, and how they are still upset about the baby having DS. I had to explain to my son about how life with DS used to be so different, and that even now, people still have old ideas about what to expect. Sam was very curious, and I made sure to emphasize the positive changes that have happened in time for Sofia, but I did let him know that when I was a baby, kids with DS were regularly put in institutions, and even today, most people who find out ahead of time choose not to have the baby. Sammy, being the incredibly sweet soul he is, ended the conversation by asking about people who adopt kids with DS, so we were able to celebrate the many people on the DS waiting lists. (Then he asked me why WE don't adopt a kid with DS, and I had to get into the whole "I'm already outnumbered by you guys" conversation!).

On the way to the party tonight, I was thinking again about all the positive things that Sofia's extra chromosome have brought to our lives. The ability to celebrate every little milestone. The ability to meet so many other people in the extended DS family around the world. The ability to move slower, and to appreciate just how each of my kids thinks and learns in his or her own special way. I had talked with Sam about his dyslexia, and told him that, instead of being sad about it, I make sure to give him the tools he needs and then I love to just watch the different way his brain works. He can come up with so many unusual ideas, questions, creations, and comments. It's fascinating to watch his brain in action.

And every kid is fascinating. They are all different. And all so wonderful!

(Mmmmm, I'm getting a shoulder-rub from David now. That's really wonderful!)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Thank heavens for Signing Times videos!

What a day! Sam's had a low fever since Saturday morning (he also threw up on Saturday). Sofia had a teething fever over the weekend too, but not today. So this morning we all trucked over to the pediatrician. Sam's just got a virus, swollen glands, stuffy nose. No strep. Micah's been fine (jealous, 'tho - when I said we were taking his siblings to the doc, he said "What about ME?").

So now we're home. Miss Sofia is still teething, and a bit miserable, but would not nap (we drove around a while, but no luck).When we got home, there was a new Signing Times video waiting - I just ordered vol. 2 and vol. 4 - so the three are semi-cuddled on my bed now. Whew.

Otherwise it was a nice weekend. Friday night we had Shabbat dinner at M&A's house. Saturday evening we went to R&J's house - we finally got to plan the wedding ceremony (which means I spent all afternoon working on their wedding instead of doing Hebrew homework).

Sunday we slept late, relaxed a bit, then drove up and had a picnic in Lexington. Then the boys rode their bikes (yes, even Micah!) on the Minuteman Trail for a little while. Miss Sofia had to settle for a ride in the stroller (although R&J's new neighbor gave Sofia a tricycle!). Then a quick dip at the pool.

I was up late finishing my Hebrew homework, and I'm about to launch into the Final Exam! Yikes.

I took the kids to the mall for lunch, and Sofia was raging, so it was pretty interesting. I hadn't taken in the stroller, and she did NOT want to hold anyone's hand. I had the boys "flank" her while I carried the tray of food, but eventually I had to pick her up. She just kept screaming.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Some fun pictures

I love having a little camera in my purse - I can take a shot whenever something cute happens!

Last week, Sofia and I helped R pick up her wedding dress. Miss Sofia had a blast with the mirrors in the dressing room area!
When we got home that day, I put together her new Tripp Trapp Chair. She was so impatient for me to finish building it. She loves to sit in it; she asks (by sign) for "help" to "sit", and it's such fun to have her at the table with us.

Here's Sofia and Daddy at the Arlo Guthrie concert in Freeport, ME last week:
The next day we went to CT to pick up Micah, and much to Sam's chagrin, Aunt Melissa insisted on french-braiding his hair!
Here's the finished product:
Sofia and Pop Grandpa Ron thought it was pretty funny:
And yesterday, Sofia got to ride a bike for the first time!
Well, not really - her feet didn't quite reach the pedals:but she had fun borrowing our friend's bike and pretending to be like the other big kids. We picnicked with friends in Natick Center, and Sam and A. got to ride over to the library all by themselves, and Micah actually rode his bike (rather than his scooter).

You'll notice a significant lack of decent pictures of Micah. He tends to clown for the camera or refuse to have his picture taken, so it's incredibly tough to get a good picture of him. But a few weeks ago, we went to Concord for the afternoon, and I managed to get this lovely shot of my boys:

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I'm so proud of Sam

My older son, Sam, has dyslexia, and he qualifies to attend the summer school program in our town. During the school year, he goes to a our local Jewish Day School, so he's not usually with the kids from our town that much.

This summer, he is having so much fun, making lots of friends. This is his third week, and every week, he's got new friends.

So this week, he's been talking about this girl, C. Every day, he comes home all excited, with something new to tell me about C - something always related to him, such as "she has a brother who will be 6 in October, and a sister who is two and a half". Yesterday, it was "C is coming to my school next year, and she's going to be in my class!"

Now, I'm on the recruitment committee for our school, so I think I'd know if there were any new kids from our town ('cause I'd be expected to contact them already!). Last night we had the school Picnic, so I asked the admissions director. She had no idea who this girl could be, there are no new kids from our town coming to the school this year.

Last night, I had a little chat with Sam, telling him that this girl probably just really likes him and wants to tell him things that will make him happy. He was ok with that.

Well, this morning, I walked Sammy up to school, and I got to meet C. She's a lovely, majestic blond-haired girl of about 11 (he's 8). And she has DS!

I was so proud of Sam. He'd never even registered the fact that she had a little something "extra". To him, she is just a really nice girl in his class who he likes to play with.

I get teary-eyed with pride, just typing this!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

More on Karma

Just got back from the MWJDS Pool Party at Clearbrook. Wow, I'm tired! Watching 3 kids, talking to my friends, and making nice with new and prospective families is a lot of work (especially when one kid is a very tired and argumentative toddler!). But we had a really lovely evening. It was so nice to see everyone.

And just as the party started (I got to the pool club 2 hours early, so I'd be able to swim, since I knew I wouldn't during the party), N called me back, and we had a very lovely conversation. I hope I helped her see the adventure.

And of course, several of my friends berated me for adding another worry to my own shoulders! So I'll try to back off.

I'd like to share a few quotes that we have posted on our mirror in our bedroom:

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." (~Joseph Campbell~)

"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." (~Roald Dahl, The Minpins~)

"No doubt, the universe is unfolding exactly as it should."

And I want to send you all over the Nicole's blog, All 4 Gals, to read a most beautiful article she posted today, apropos to this topic.

What a weird world

Whew! Sometimes life just punches you in the tummy and knocks the wind out of you. Things happen - maybe they really are coincidence, or maybe there is a deeper meaning to everything. I don't know. I do know this:

For the past 2 years, I've been taking Sam to Tae Kwan Do. While watching his 45 minute class, I've made friends with a number of moms. One of the most lovely and friendly was a woman named N. Her oldest son is in Sam's TKD class, and her younger son is about a year older than Sofia. We spent a lot of time telling her younger one "suave", gentle, around Sofia and the other little ones.

I've always enjoyed talking with N. And I was delighted this spring to discover that she was expecting again.

Well, today I got an email from our Earlly Intervention service coordinator: would I mind contacting a new mom of a baby with DS. She says you might know her, she's C's mom.

Of course I called immediately (she was crowded by the kids at the time, but we spoke briefly and will speak again later). And after I hung up, I lost my breath. I'm always glad to be a parent ambassador, and I was especially happy to have a chance to call N, because I've enjoyed talking with her so much already. But I got such an overwhelming sense of, I don't know, karma? G-d? Destiny? It was really bizarre.

Whew. So I'll wait for her to call me back, or pester her again (I was pleased that someone had already given her "Gifts" and she'd already read our chapter - she was intending to track me down anyway). I just hope I can help her realize how not-scary this whole thing really can be.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Blue Funk over all

I just cannot seem to shake this sad mood. It started Thursday, when I got nervous about the spot on my back (I went to the dermatologist today; she said it didn't look cancerous but she took it off anyway). But it's not just that. There are just so many things that are pulling me down. In no particular order (but sort of sorted by subtopic, of course):

Work/School: getting ready to officiate at R&J's wedding in September, getting a plan in place and getting back to that guy I had an interview with a few weeks ago, keeping up with my Hebrew homework, prepping for High Holidays (tough when the student rabbi is away in Israel all summer), my shul committee duties (I'm co-chair of Early Childhood Education, and I'm on the Survey committee, and I've got tasks for both).

Health: well, skin is taken care of for now, I had an awful tummy ache yesterday, and I'm just so SAD.

Family: dealing with my mom, my sister, and my husband - all very strong personalities. David asked me to talk to him about what was bothering me, but then got defensive (the next topic is money) and we got in a fight instead. Sigh. And of course, the situation with David's sister is none-too-good and very stressful for me. She moved into an apartment, but not the one she was supposed to, into an older one instead, with lead paint, so then she moved out and she's back at Grandma's again. At this point, I'm starting to stress about what will happen when she finally does have the baby. I am simply not ready to have another baby in this house, and I'm terrified that we'll end up having to take it.

Money: there are a whole bunch of house renovations we either really badly need or need and have started to pursue but have decided there's just no money (new front door, redo downstairs bathroom vanity and tiles, buy a piano, get a desk/storage space for the boys, replace the carpet in the upstairs hallway where there is a huge mushy stain from laundry detergent); we also have to come up with money for Tae Kwan Do for both boys, piano lessons for Micah (even if we don't buy the piano, he can still use my electric keyboard for a while), MyGym class for Sofia, continued need for the Mother's Helper (thank heavens she was back from vacation - she was jere 6 hours today!).

And then there's all the "shoulds": should order photos to get printed (to eventually put into scrapbooks, but at least to get last year printed!), should help D get a Shabbat component together for next year's NDSC conference in Boston (nice distraction - thanks for thinking of it, D!), should clean more of this house, should exercise, should plan our trip to Israel for November, should do more "stuff").


On the flip side, we had a nice weekend. We stayed home Friday instead of camping, and we drove out early Saturday morning for Maine. We went to the beack in York. It was mobbed, and the water was veyr cold, but Sofia and Sam both had a blast. Miss Sofia was blue and shivering, but laughing hysterically and signing "wet" over and over (it's cute - she makes a little sound like she's coughing up a fur ball when she signs "wet" or "cat", which both look similar when she does them). We stayed on the beach a bit, and then I got her changed and into the stroller, and she fell asleep almost immediately. We walked around York Beach for a while. Then we got back in the car (there was a lot of traffic all day) and headed to Freeport, for a free Arlo Guthrie concert.

We got to LLBean at about 4:30, and there were already tons of people set up for the concert. Folding chairs, beach chairs, even a giant screen. We got a nice spot just in front of the screen, where we could turn our heads to see the screen or stand on our toes to see Arlo in person.

It's Arlo's "Solo Reunion Tour", and it was terrific. He hasn't played all by himself in many years, and he played all his best songs. It was fun to watch Sammy singing along (we play Arlo in the car alot), and Sofia kept dancing.

We left Freeport at 10pm, and got home at 12:30 - amazing how much faster it it without traffic! Then Sunday, after breakfast at the local cafe, we went to CT.

We stopped to see David's grandma for a while. She's the youngest of the 3 remaining great-grandparents, but she's feeling her mortality, and she's been cleaning out her house. She and David started arguing about us taking a big box of stuff. I finally said we should just take it - it'll make her happy, and we can throw out what we would have had her throw out anyway.

After that visit, we went to my parent's house to retrieve Micah. My 8 year old twin nieces had also slept over, so the 4 kids had fun together. My sister and her husband showed up a little later and we all had dinner. It was just stressful. Nothing specific. I just get really self-conscious around them.

So now I've gotta do homework. The boys are out back in the tent, along with the kid from next door. Sofia's asleep, David's on the phone. And we have to watch the episode of the 4400 that we taped last night.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Sofia just LOVES the water! This afternoon, Sofia and Sam and I went to the pool club (I'm so glad we joined this summer, it's been terrific). My friend D and her younger daughter met us there, and her other daughter, who is in Sam's class at school, came home from camp on the bus to the pool club.

It was a great afternoon - very hot out, but the water was so comfy. And I had the added bonus of more than 45 minutes not having to hold Sofia! Mrs. G., who was Micah's first nursery school teacher, and her daughter had a blast helping Sofia "swim" and blow bubbles! Every time I looked over, all three of them had huge grins on their faces.

As I watched my daughter, I thought about how glad I am that she is so mmuch a "normal" part of our community. Granted, because she's so young, many people don't even notice that she's got Down syndrome. But I do know it, and most of our friends do, and still, there's nothing "different" about my daughter. Except that she is so incredibly outgoing (just like her brothers...and mom and dad, I guess).

The joy I felt at watching my daughter swim with other people was tempered by my current fear. I have a new "thing" on my back. David says it looks fine, but to me it feels odd, and since I can't see it, I'm starting to panic that it might be something serious again. So I tried to get an appointment at the dermatologist, but they were closed already. I'll have to try first thing in the morning.

It was emotionally draining, 'tho, and now I just don't feel great. I'm sad, a little shaky, and VERY tired. David had to go back to work for a while tonight, and the kids are asleep already, so I think I'm going to bed early, too.

Oh, and at dinner at the pool we had a very interesting conversation. My friend's daughter said that she had to sit on the bus with a girl "with mental problems". She proceeded to be much more specific, and we had a good discussion of why the particular behavior of this other girl made A uncomfortable. But then my friend and I tried to explain to the kids just why labeling the girl had made us uncomfortable. We think we were able to put it in terms the two 3rd graders could understand: we said that putting a label on someone makes a generalization, and a generalization could be something like "all &&& boys are short" or "all people from *** are ###". We managed to get in a small lesson about intolerance, Jewish history, and the wide variety of differences people can have.

Being a mommy is tough!

Oh, and no nap again for Sofia - but when David arrived at the pool (after 6pm), I apparently ceased to exist in Sofia's world; she wanted only "Dada". It was very cute.