Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Madeline Alice Spohr

I haven't been around much lately, I know. The computer crashed sometime back, and we only just recently replaced it. Besides, I'd kind of lost my momentum here, and really just needed a break from it.

So much has happened since my last post. There seemed to be so much to catch up on. But suddenly it all seems so trivial, so insignificant.

I logged on today to find out that a dear, sweet baby girl whose story I'd followed for over a year now has passed away. Madeline Alice Spohr. "Maddie" as her parents Mike and Heather have called her. She was magic. Absolutely the embodiment of magic which poured from her luscious blue eyes and toothy grin. Reading her story brought light to my world every time I visited her blog. She was a remarkable little girl who because of the devotion of her mother touched the lives of so many people. I will miss reading her story. I will miss that beautiful face. But most of all, I'll miss her magic.

Thank you sweet Maddie. Breathe easy my love. You are an angel to us all.

***please visit the March of Dimes and donate in Maddie's name if you can***

Monday, January 5, 2009

"What Happens When Two Preschoolers are Asked to Sit for a Picture" OR "Insanity"

Year in Review

There were lots of days spent dancing and laughing...

with a few homemade super powers thrown in....

to another year of discovery....

and mischief.

Some of us moved on to 'bigger' things...

and carried others.

We told lots of stories....

and did some hard work.

We played pretend...

and shared lots of cuddles...

which made for a beautiful year for our family.

Tasmanian Devil

Holy crap! Does that last post say September 3?!? Ok. So it's been awhile. I'd apologize for my absence, but to be quite honest (and those of you that know me know that I can be nothing less, sometimes to a fault), I just didn't feel like writing. I've gotten to this place where writing about the daily banalities of life just doesn't seem worth it. And while I've had some very beautiful as well as heart-wrenching moments that were noteworthy, I just didn't feel like sharing them.

Today, I do.

My youngest child starts his "big boy" preschool tomorrow. He was "promoted" (and I use the term loosely here) from his toddler program and will begin a new academic adventure with the 3-6 year old crowd tomorrow.

He's excited.
He's oblivious.
He's ready.

I am not.

I am nervous.
And anxious.
And vulnerable.

"Vulnerable?!?" you ask. Yes, feeling vulnerable.

You see, my youngest to put this....he's.....hell. on. wheels. Yes, he's a handful...or two....and the birds in the bush, but in your closed hands, trying to peck their way out. If that doesn't paint an accurate picture for you, imagine the Tasmanian Devil from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons. Now give him caffeine, sugar, and a snort of cocaine. That's Nicky.

Ok. I exaggerate just a litte. But he is a VERY rambunctious little boy.....who is going into a very orderly, quiet, concentrated Montessori classroom. You see what I'm getting at here?

I'm worried for him. I'm worried that he won't adjust. I'm worried about what his teachers will say about his behavior. And I'm worried that this somehow reflects upon me as.....a bad mom. Don't get me wrong. When he gets amped up, I redirect him. I use time-out. I model appropriate behavior. I provide him with new, more challenging activities. And all of this works to focus his attention. But in those moments, it is he and I, one on one. Not he and 18 other kids with 2 adults. I worry that he won't be able to rein himself in, and that the sheer volume of activity around him will only wind him up further, and that he won't be able to enjoy his time in school.

And so I feel very if my (and this is going to sound very vain, but bear with me) work is on work in progress. And while I may find it positively captivating in all its whirlwind glory, I worry that they won't see what I see. That all of my faults in raising this spirited little spirit will be exposed.

Raising kids is about truly wearing your heart on your sleeve.....for the world to see. And there are moments in their upbringing when you feel like it's beating there, in the great-wide open, exposed like a fair-skinned baby on a sunny day at the beach with no sunscreen. It's out there. Raw. Ready to blister at a moment's notice.

And I wonder,
have I done right by him?
Is he ready?
What mistakes have I made?
Have I given him all the tools he needs to succeed in this new adventure?
Or is there something that I have missed?
Have I held him too close?
Or not close enough?

And how will I ever let go of my baby's last vestiges of babyhood?

My boy is growing up. And while I'm thrilled to see him thrive and watch his world expand exponentially, I want so desperately to hold him close to me, to tuck my heart away in a safe place next to his, and hold on tight to what remains of my last baby.

I love you Nicky. Tomorrow's going to be a great day. And I'm so proud of the "big boy" you've become, even if it hurts just a little to let you go a little more.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

There's a First Time for Everything

And this marks my first Perfect Post Award!

The Original Perfect Post Awards 08.08

Thank you to Magpie over at Magpie Musing for her readership and pat on the back. Apparently she liked what I had to say about the SAHM vs. WOHM debate. Of course, I didn't write it looking to win any awards. I just felt pretty strongly about sharing my insight from both sides of the debate and letting all the moms out there know that no matter how you do it, motherhood is hard work. And what you do matters. Woman's work is valuable, vital, and unfortunately underappreciated financially and otherwise. I worked just as hard as a SAHM as I do as a WOHM, the day just runs a little differently now.
In either case, we all deserve a pat on the back. So, for all the moms out there, I said it before and I'll say it again, your work is vital. And the perfect post award is for all of us making our way through the labyrinth that is motherhood.
By the way, Magpie is someone I came across some time ago and have been addicted to her intelligent, witty, and insightful writing since. She's politically savvy, creative, a hell of a cook, and just finished installing some incredibly cool built-in bookshelves of which I'm insanely envious. Overall, she's awesome. Go check her out.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hurricane, check!

So Hurricane Hanna is bearing down on our coast. Obviously we don't know yet when and where exactly it'll hit. But according to NOAA, it's sure to hit us somewhere, and so we're gearing up.

Batteries are bought, non-perishable food stashed, flashlights were dug out of closets, documents sealed in plastic bags, family photos contained in plastic, water was stored, hand-crank radio purchased, etc., etc., etc. I think we're ready.

But the truth is, when are you ever really ready in these situations?

I was musing with Doug just this morning about how I've lived through several of Mother Nature's most heinous attempts at upheaval:

blizzards, check
major earthquakes, check
fires, check
typhoons, check
tornados, check

and for all my preparation, you're never really ready. The best you can do is alleviate the inconvenience a bit and hope for the best.

As far as experiencing natural disasters, aside from volcanic eruption, hurricane was really the only one I hadn't experienced. And since I don't see active lava flow ocurring in the nearby trailer parks (although sometimes I'd like to), the odds for hurricane being next on the list were pretty high.

So, we're getting ready. Funny thing is, I'm not worried or anxious at all. You regular readers out there know that I'm a worrier. Yet oddly enough, when faced with natural disaster.....totally calm, cool, and collected. When faced with overly anxious pre-schooler, a total wreck.

I suppose the difference is investment. I'm invested in Emma. Not so much in Hanna. There's also a control issue at hand. Hanna preparation, totally controllable. Emma preparation, totally out of my hands.

And in the end, Hanna will come and go. Sure, there might be damage to fix and debris to clean-up. There may even be some unexpected home repairs. But Emma, she's with me forever. And any damage done to her little psyche may not be something I can "fix". And just too much to bear.

I love you my little monkey. And if I could take away all your worry and pack it away in plastic bags for storage at the back of the closet never to be seen again, I would. But I can't. So I'm hoping that my love, hugs, and encouragement will be enough to shield you from the storm that rages on in your little head.


Or as we like to call it, "Generalized Anxiety Disorder."

Emma's teen years are going to be a hoot!

We've consulted, been assessed, and begin therapy this week, barring Hanna's arrival. The modality will be cognitive behavioral therapy which I suspected in the first place.

The one reassuring aspect of all of this was having the counselor say to us, "Everything you guys have tried and done so far has been exactly what you should be doing. Keep it up!" So apparently Doug and I have common sense, if not a little bit of an above-average understanding in the area of behavior modification. Or, more likely, we were just lucky.

Nevertheless, when your kid shrieks in fear for just over a year everytime she's faced with new and unplanned situations, or planned ones for that matter, at some point you throw up your hands and say, "We can't do this alone, we need help."

We're there. And we're lucky to have found ourselves what appears to be a fabulous therapist.

Let the counseling begin!