8/22/14

learning

I always underestimate how badly my twins cope with big changes. Especially Amelia. They have been asking me questions all week, "Why can't I keep going to the bunny school?" (Bunny school = their preschool with a bunny.) "Why can't I stay home with you?" and "It is hard learning new things, and scary."
When I asked their new kindergarten teacher how they were doing in class, she responded, "So what is their developmental delay?" I was taken aback, I did not know they had a developmental delay. I asked her to explain. "Well," she said, "they can write a few letters..." It was all I could do not to cry in front of her. I pointed to Eloise and told her just the skeleton outline of our life for the last year. It was clear to me she didn't get it, there was no way in the 30 seconds I had with her to explain what we have been through since Eloise was born. Since Eloise was conceived.

In my current emotional state, small insults and misunderstandings feel both insignificant, and unbearable. But the teacher's assessment pushed me over the edge. There was not a minute since the twins were born when I wasn't trying my hardest to be their mother. I have sacrificed so much to do it. I was all lined up with a PhD program. But when I felt like God was prompting me, in no uncertain terms, to start a family, I did it. And wham! Twins! Wow! Okay!
So to have a teacher look at me and wonder why my twins aren't 'kindergarten ready...' it brought to a head all the sadness and doubts I have been harboring. I have even been questioning why am I even doing this? Why did I bring any children into this crazy world? If it is taking everything from me, why am I doing it at all?

To my grand relief, and I'm sure answer to more prayers than just mine, the answer came to me. I was asking my Heavenly Father the same questions my children were asking me: "Why can't I stay home with you?" and "It is hard learning new things, and scary." The answer I gave to my children is the same answer I needed: Because it is the best place for you to learn. You could stay home with me, but I can promise you wouldn't learn as much. It is good to learn to do things that are scary and hard. You can only grow with me so much, and I want you to learn so much more.

This is the best place for me to learn.

Quinoa

Do you know which is the most uppity grain? Quinoa. I imagine it sits on the shelf next to ho-hum rolled oats and spelt, and boasts rather sniffily, "Mmm...I don't think any of you have seen a 150% rise in sales over the last three years. In fact, I'm the only ancient grain that could be categorized as 'trendy.' Take that - barl-ay!"

8/19/14

First day of school

Who is excited for kindergarten?! MAMA!!! Ahem, I mean, Josephine and Amelia! Jo was worried there wouldn't be enough food at kindergarten, so she had to bring an extra bag of pink pocky sticks, smarties, and cheddar cheese. Hazel was pretty sad about being left out, until I told her this...

8/18/14

out of the blue

There I was, minding my own business, perusing the apples at the grocery store. One of the sample ladies, with the hairnet and gloves behind her little sample table, nearly shouts at me: "Why?!" Startled, I replied, "Umm...why what?" She answered (rudely), "Why would you do that to your hair?"

I have been genuinely surprised at the negative attention my blue hair has attracted. I really didn't think in this day and age it would even be noticed...but then I remembered where I am living. In my mind, going blue isn't different than all the bottle-blondes in the Valley. Blue is just prettier. But wow - I have heard these remarks, to my face:
  • "Smurf"
  • "You look like a rebel"
  • "You belong at ComicCon"
  • "Its not pretty - its punk"
  • "It doesn't look like mermaid hair, more like you want attention."
For the first few days it bothered me. I was even considering changing it. But then I realized, screw them! I love it, and if they want to live in their narrow little world where yelling at the mom with the kids in the cart at the grocery store seems like a good idea, they carry their own punishments. 

Tonight I was on a jog with Samwise, and ran by that house. You know, that house around the corner. The one with not one, but several broken-down pick-ups? The one with not one, but several couches in the yard? Where I'm not sure if I've ever seen the same adults attached to the same children?
Anyway. Several of their children were riding bikes in the front yard, and asked me to stop and let them pet Samwise. Of course they can, and hey! Want to throw the ball a few times for him? They loved it, and Samwise enjoyed some shorter throws to chase. As I went trotting down the street, the oldest kid yelled to me, "HEY - your hair is awesome!" The little sister chimed in, "Yeah - your hair is cool!"

Sweet.

prepare for take-off

It would seem self evident to say Eloise takes a lot of my day. The other three girls are getting really good at keeping themselves occupied while I'm working with her. Coming down the stairs from Eloise's room this morning, I found the girls doing this:
My phone ran out of memory and cut this short, but they were going to Paris, to eat food and paint. I told them those were mighty fine aims for a visit to Paris. The rest of the day we focused on international travel. We were all taken with this YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tw5N0HSwRP0&list=PLE0470C9E25DCCC14
Later in the day I showed them my Semester at Sea passport, and all the very cool stamps from all over the world. We made passports for each girl, and we stamped it up.
We packed backpacks (pieces of cake, stuffies, and books were necessities). The girls went to Africa, the arctic, and Paris. Quite a day.

8/17/14

smattering of party photos

Yes - this is going on our wall.
Moogie and the gals!
Eloise smiling!
My sissy and me 
St. Boheme
Beautiful Hazel
Couldn't resist...hope you don't hate me for this Sally!
Only my favorite picture of the Lishes ever.
We heart St. Boheme.

8/14/14

dichotomies

My life is full of absurd dichotomies. I love solitude and academia, but I spend my day wiping snot and explaining why it is important to wash your hands after using the restroom. I got to throw a beautiful, joyful party, but it is so not my daily reality.
I like to think this blog is honest. To keep with that, here is the email I sent to Eloise's surgeon today, which is a pretty good representation of what my daily life is actually like:

"Hello, Dr. Downey! So Eloise's reflux has been so bad lately, worse than its ever been. She used to sleep from 7-7 at night, and lately she's been up at 5 am, cranky and miserable. She has what I call 'spit fits,' when she clearly has a wad of secretions stuck somewhere and she is fighting to get it out. Her whole body tenses, she breaks out in sweat, and she tries to heave it out. Sometimes it comes out her nose. For the past six-ish months, she has had maybe 3-4 spit fits a day. But since her dilation & g-tube change on August 4, she has had 1-2 an hour of her waking day. 
I've tried to catch a spit fit on my phone to send you, but I can't ever just sit there and film it while she's having one :(. I've been wracking my brain over this, and the only changes I can tell that could contribute to this is teething and the intrastar g-tube.
You mentioned that the intrastar g-tube is a polarizing thing for parents - and I hate it. I wanted to give it another week to try it out, but after looking at Eloise this morning, I want the old Mickey g-tube. I think perhaps the intrastar may be better at emptying the stomach via the pylorus, but I think the mickey is better at helping her quickly drain sucretions. If Eloise does have a hiatal hernia, its not like she will be digesting her food orally for the next year anyway. So I want to help her be more comfortable in the here and now.
Do you think we could keep our August 22 appointment? Or when do you think we could do that? Any ideas on how I can help with this horrible reflux? I'm pretty burned out with it, and its the first time since she was born I've felt that way - yikes! 
Thanks for everything, I look forward to hearing from you...
Best as always,
Shelley"