Monday, November 10, 2008

On The Days I Am Not My Father

I don't yell. I don't hold inside
the day's supply of frustrations.
My hands stay open all day.
I don't wake tired and sore,
dazed from senseless, panicking
dreams. On the days I am not
my father I hold my son
when he cries, let him touch my face
without flinching, lie down with him
until he falls asleep, realize
that just because he has a sharp tongue,
just because he's sometimes mean,
just because he's smarter than me
doesn't mean he'll become my father.

On the days I am not my father
holding you is enough until
holding you is no longer enough
for either of us. I listen well.
I let things go unfinished,
in an order I didn't plan.
My mouth is relaxed. My teeth
don't hurt. My face stays
a healthy shade of pink all day.
On the days I am not my father
I don't fill the silence with my own
irrational rants. I don't resent
the voices of others. I don't make fun
of you to make myself feel better.

On the days I am not my father
I don't care who wins
or loses. The news can't ruin
my day. I water plants.
I cook. I laugh at myself.
I can imagine living without
my beard, with my hair cut,
without the fear of looking
too much like my father. On the days
I am not my father I romp
and play, I don't compare myself
with everyone else, the night
is always long enough, I like
how much I am like my father.

"On The Days I Am Not My Father" by Scott Owens from The Fractured World. © Main Street Rag Publishing Company. Reprinted with permission.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Joy of Simple Things

Spencer got his first sleeping bag tonight. We're going to DC in a few weeks with Mike's family and we don't want to take two Pack-N-Plays. Alex still needs the physical boundaries the Pack-N-Play provides, but Spencer is ready to be out of his. The sleeping bag has Tow Mater on it. Spence loves Mater. I love that he likes Mater better than McQueen. Mater's my favorite character in "Cars." He's sweet and simple, and a true friend. To him, life is uncomplicated and happy. We could all learn something from him. Of course, Spencer had to sleep in the new bag tonight. He can't wait to take it to his Aunt Gali's and have a sleepover with his cousins. For him, and for Mater, it's the little things in life that bring the most happiness. As adults, we need to remember to embrace the childlike joy and wonder of the simple things. When we do, even if only for a moment, the weight of our stressful and complicated adult lives is lifted, and we can feel the tranquility that living in that moment brings.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I'm going for a job interview for subbing at Spencer's school today. If I get it it'll be the first job I've had outside the home in over three years. Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Who Is Sarah Palin?

Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:
  • She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
  • Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
  • She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
  • Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
  • She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5
  • She's solidly in line with John McCain's 'Big Oil first' energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
  • How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7
From - see full article for sources and more info

Thursday, August 28, 2008

We've Moved!

Shew! What a lot of work it has been, and the old place still has some things in it and needs to be cleaned. Thank goodness for the kind landlords who let us move in a week early. We finally ate off real dishes last night. Fortunately all the boxes are in the basement so I can't easily see how much unpacking we still have to do!

Living with a teen and a tween is a big adjustment. I'm used to having some semblance of control over the children I live with. I thought I had a good number of years before I'd have to deal with deciphering when a 14 or 10 year old is being irresponsible and when I'm just expecting too much. Is it too much to ask that they scrape their dirty dishes or hang up their wet towels? And the loud music. . .it's like being back in the dorms. I will adjust, perhaps begrudgingly sometimes, but these two kids are really amazing and I'm a better person just for having them in my life. And by the time Alex and Spencer are teens this will all be old hat.

Right now my sister's eight year old twins and five year old son are here and they're all in the living room playing Rock Band. They've had such a good time together today and have already come to the conclusion that they are "cousins." That family isn't defined by pieces of paper, but by relationships, appears to be intuitive to them.

I love our new family and our new home. I am so happy to be going to sleep and waking up next to the man I love, to be drinking our morning coffee and talking about what to have for dinner that night, to be watching our children get to know each other even better and to see things coming together in a beautiful routine that will be our life together.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Night

My sweetheart arrived at my house tonight with a bottle of wine. We hadn't seen each other in nearly a week, but that's the last of those long stretches. He is with me all week, and next weekend we move in together. "This is to celebrate the end of single parenthood for both of us," he said of the wine. Funny, I hadn't been thinking of it as the end of single parenthood for him. I hadn't even realized until recently that life is going to be easier for me after we move in together. The thought that life would be better for him, as a parent, hadn't even occurred to me. I'm so happy to be doing this with him.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm So Blue

I love the house we're moving into. Sure, it's a little small for a family our size, and there's only one bathroom, but it's clean and well maintained. Newly refinished hardwood floors, brand new stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, and freshly painted. That's where the problem is. Most of the interior house is painted a nice, neutral, easy-to-match tan. The master bedroom and what will be the twins bedroom are light blue. Light blue! What I call "mental health blue," because it reminds me of the paint that I've seen used in many mental health facilities. It doesn't match a damn thing I own for my bedroom. And the landlord won't let us repaint the room. Okay, he doesn't trust us yet, I understand. Why can't he just through some of the paint they used in the rest of the house up on the walls? It's not even like painting a whole room, since the bottom half of it is white wainscoting. Yes, it totally goes with the Cape Cod house, but it doesn't match the print of my favorite painting, La Belle Dame Sans Merci or my bedding. I've always hated the plain white walls of rentals, and love the tan the landlord picked for the rest of the house. Couldn't he just have stuck with that color?

Have I mentioned that for years I have sworn off decorating in this color because I dislike it so much?!!? Aargh!

Okay, done venting.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

School Days

I just got some incredibly good news today. Spencer is going to school this fall! He was on the waiting list at Head Start and they called to let me know that he's been accepted. I'm very excited, for him and for me. He needs to be away from me and with his peers, and I need to get back into the "real" world. Whether that means more grad school or back to work, or both, I don't know. I'm just looking forward to whatever may come.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sleeplessness and Moving

I worked myself into exhaustion today. By late afternoon I felt like I was dragging around giant logs for my limbs and that I could easily lay down on the floor and fall immediately into a deep sleep. Then I got a second wind...and I can't get rid of it. I'm tired, but my brain doesn't want to shut off. I tried distracting myself with my usual bedtime ritual of reading, but I got to the end of my latest Koontz book and I was still wide awake.

Maybe it's just that I have so much on my mind with getting ready to move. Oh, I've been meaning to blog about that. We're moving. Not far, just south 30 miles or so. Into a four bedroom cape cod. In three weeks and two days! I have so much to do. So many things to organize and get rid of and pack and clean. And I can't wait for the day to get here. I can't wait to move. I'm just a bit overwhelmed by it all.

I've been in this little house for over two years, on my own with my little guys. But then again not really on my own. From day one Caroline, Caitlin, and Kirsten have been here, if not in the house then just a few steps away. They've become like sisters to me, and like aunts to the boys. Caroline is like a guardian angel, and Cate and Kir, almost young enough to be my daughters, are my constant companions and friends. Leaving them is going to be hands down the worst part about moving. I'll miss them terribly.

But look what I get instead. To be with a wonderful man every day. To go to sleep and wake up next to him every night and every morning. To spend my time with this person with whom I share so many interests, passions, and philosophies. To have a partner for life. For this, that which I had all but stopped hoping for, I'll gladly suffer the temporary stress and exhaustion that comes with moving.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Recycling: Did You Know...

...that recycling actually costs municipalities less than disposing of our trash? I've always heard "Recycling is so expensive," but the truth is that municipalities can actually make a profit on recycled materials. This could potentially keep waste management costs down and save taxpayers money.

It's another good reason to recycle, not that anyone should need reasons beyond the state of our environment and the depletion of our natural resources. Since there are people out there that still just don't get, or don't care, maybe the fact that their wallets could be a little thicker if they recycle will motivate them. According to this NPR story some cities are actually rewarding their citizens for recycling. I'm nauseated at the thought that the only way to get some people to be responsible for our planet is to give them a kick-back. Unfortunately that's what it might take to get around people's ignorance or apathy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ally's Spelling

Alex has a number of words that he recognizes by spelling. I spell the word and he tells me what it is:


And his newest one?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spencer's Language Development

Spencer's speech therapist was here today and I said to her "I'm getting rid of the coffee table." Spencer was standing there and said "Where coffee table going?" His language has come so far, that he understands that "getting rid of" means that it's going somewhere else, and that he would ask where that is.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Springtime with Two Three-Year-Old Boys

Means more dirt in the house, more cleaning, more laundry, more baths. It means temper tantrums every time the words "time to go inside" come out of my mouth. It means bubbles, and sand, and swinging, and finding out that my boys love the outdoors as much as I do. It means they sleep like rocks at night after playing outside for hours during the day. I love spring!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I Have ADD

Attention Divided Disorder - Don't all parents have this?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Being Broke and Loving It

I'm always so worried about money, thinking "I should go back to work now. I should look for a job. But is it worth it to have to pay for child care? How will I make it without the boys' disability benefits? " Worry, worry, worry. Yesterday, after running errands all day, Spencer and I got Alex off the bus and went to the park. Playing with my boys outside in the fresh air, watching them climb and run, hearing their laughter, I thought "Being able to do this is worth being broke." I'm going to hang on for as long as I can and enjoy every minute of it!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Alex's Communication

Last night my sister walked outside with Alex in her arms and he said "I see the car," with absolutely no prompting. Today I handed him a book, "Peekaboo Zoo," and upon seeing the animals on the front cover he said "Zebra!".

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Alex and Spencer Update

Alex started school on February 11th. He loves it! He gets so excited when we pull into the parking lot in the morning and wants to run down the hallway to his classroom when we get inside. His class has eleven children. Five of them are universal pre-K students, the other six are special needs students. There's only one other child who is under the age of four. In addition to the teacher there are four full-time aides and one "lunch aide" (who is actually there for four hours). I'm very pleased the with adult-to-student ratio. In the afternoon it gets even better, because some of the children are only there for half the day. Alex gets plenty of one-on-one time. He sees his physical and occupational therapists twice a week. Right now the center is short on speech pathologists, so he doesn't have individual speech therapy sessions, but it's a language intensive program and I'm not worried.

In the few weeks that Alex has been there I have noticed that he pays a lot more attention to people coming and going, saying "hi" and "goodbye" more readily than in the past. He is also eating much better with a utensil. He is pointing to and labeling pictures in books. I've discovered that he thinks of himself as "Ally," not Alex; it's how he always refers to himself. Alex comes home in the evening very tired and usually doesn't want to interact directly with Spencer and me much, but he is still full of hugs and kisses for both of us. He shows that he misses us in his own, loving way.

Spencer is busy learning all kinds of new and fun things. His newest passion is puzzles. He is working on 12 piece jigsaw puzzles and actually doing quite well. He will focus on a puzzle for nearly half an hour without getting distracted or frustrated. I'm really amazed. Spencer continues to lag behind in his speech and language and is now receiving speech therapy twice a week. He continues to receive physical therapy once a week. He still runs like a much younger child and doesn't jump with two feet in the air (a 24 month skill). In all other respects he is pretty much caught up to his peers. At his appointment with the developmental pediatrician two weeks ago the doctor was amazed at the progress Spencer has made since his last visit six months ago. He no longer has to visit her unless a concern comes up.

Spencer gets to go to a preschool setting three times a week for four hours. I help out my sister with childcare and in return he gets to be with his peers in a creative learning environment. It is good for him; even his speech therapist has commented on how it's helped his language. He and Alex are about the same size now. Spencer has had a voracious appetite ever since he recovered from his Christmas stomach virus. Judging by the size of his belly I expect a good growth spurt this spring.

Just 29 days until Alex and Spencer's third birthday. My how the time has flown! They're not babies anymore, they're not even toddlers. My boys are pre-schoolers!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

A New Chapter In the Life of a Mom

Alex is going to school. Five days a week, five and a half hours a day. My baby. After 30 months of doing it all myself, every therapy session, every single day, I am placing the care of my precious little Ally Bear in strangers' hands. At first when I knew this was soon going to be a reality I panicked. It's been just me for so long. The idea of letting someone else take the reins, be in control of his services, take care of him for so many hours every week, scared me. "What if they don't understand him the way I do?" I thought. "What if he gets worse because he can't communicate with them?" And then the fact that I would be with Spencer all day every day, and not Alex, hit me like a punch to the gut. That's going to feel so strange, like I'm constantly forgetting something; and a bit unfair, spending so much time with Spencer and so little with Alex. And what will it be like for the two of them; will they feel like a part of them has been left behind somewhere?

After a little time I've begun to come to terms with loosening the proverbial apron strings and letting Alex begin this new adventure without me. He will spend his days being cared for by people who are trained to help children like him. I will have a break from constantly trying to communicate with a child who is, while very sweet and loving, at times very frustrating to deal with. I will be able to turn my attention more fully to Spencer, who wants to learn and do so many things that I just haven't had the time and energy to share with him.

Most importantly, Alex will essentially be getting services all day, every day. There will be an adjustment period, but soon the effects of being in an integrated, special-education classroom will begin to show. I have no doubt that Alex will blossom as a result. He has always given us all such great hope as he progresses, sometimes by leaps and bounds, and I know that with the increased intensity at which he'll be receiving services his development will accelerate. Alex will soon be surprising us even more than he has in the past.

It is very important to me that Alex's current providers know how precious they are to us and how thankful I am for everything they have done to facilitate his development and my education as a parent. We will continue to see Terry and Lisa, as they will provide services for Spencer until he starts preschool next fall. I want Kathy to know how much we loved having her as Ally's occupational therapist, that the swinging song will always be part of our repetoire, and that we won't forget all the other wonderful things she shared with us. We will miss Christina more than anyone. She is, by far, Alex's favorite person (other than Mommy, of course). He responds to her best of all and has a wonderful bond with her. We're always happy to see her step through our front door and have enjoyed her energy and positive spirit so much. Each of these women have been a precious gift in our lives. The memories of our times with them, the knowledge they have shared with me, and the gratitude for how they have helped Alex and Spencer flourish will always be with us.

I truly do feel as though this is a new chapter in my life as a parent. We've come so far, from those days in the NICU when my babies' lives were hanging in the balance, to being two months shy of the third birthday of two healthy and very active toddlers. I have been flying solo for 34 months. Letting go, seeing one son go off to school and knowing that the other will follow before too long, working part-time with my sister, beginning to think about going back to work full-time, and welcoming an unexpected and wonderful new partner into my much is changing. It is both scary and exhilarating as I look forward to the exciting things life has in store for my family and myself as we begin this new leg of the journey.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Kids Who Are Different

copyright 1982 by Digby Wolfe,
All Rights Reserved

Here's to the kids who are different,
The kids who don't always get A's,
The kids who have ears twice the size of their peers,
And noses that go on for days...

Here's to the kids who are different,
The kids they call crazy or dumb,
The kids who don't fit, with the guts and the grit,
Who dance to a different drum...

Here's to the kids who are different,
The kids with the mischievous streak,
For when they have grown, as history's shown,
It's their difference that makes them unique.

For Jenn

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Goog 411

Thanks to Jenn for posting about this. I can't believe you can get 411 for free! Just makes me love Google even more.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Tripping Down Memory Lane

Searching iTunes for some of my old favorites...the Ramones, the Romantics, Thomas Dolby (love "Her Brain is Like a Sieve"!). Remember this one?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Window Gazers

Taken with my phone, so the quality isn't very good, but I wanted to capture the moment and didn't have my camera handy.