If you are coming from Building Heavenly Bridges (BHB), WELCOME and if you are finding me for the first time and looking for support after a loss, then please check me out at my grief/loss blog!

This blog is a series of anecdotes from our life after losing our first child, a stillborn daughter, then going on to birth the two other lights of our lives!

Bear is 6: serious, organized, my cruise director and my time keeper.

The Comedian is 4: She is pure comedy always doing something unintentionaly funny that I attempt to put into words.

Enjoy our stories, conversations, and delights as we embrace the lives of our second and third daughters without ever negating our first.

Children's Widsom - Quote of the week...

Children's Widsom - Quote of the week...
"I Wish Emma Was Alive Because I Would Tell Her Where The Bathroom Is"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stiches Out!

I've always enjoyed watching sports on tv - baseball, football, basketball even. But it is an understatement of the grandest proportions when I say I am not very skilled at playing them.

Therefore after uncurling Bear's strongly locked fingers from her seatbelt, one by one - multiple times as she clung to the fabric screaming, "Noooooooooo! I woooooon't go in!", then dragging her in the office door - only to be currently playing an extended game of one-on-one... left me at a great disadvantage.

I was winded, sad - I know. But there was no time for a deep breath because my strong, determined, scared-out-of-her-mind 6 year old had nearly beaten my sweating form again. She weaved around me and darted for the door. I got to her just in the nick of time.

(BTW - The Comedian was narrating for all the spectators in the waiting room. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at our current prediciment. We put on a goooood show in waiting rooms!)

Instead - I called out to the two receptionists behind their glass protector who had been watching me for the last five minutes, occasionally smiling a little oh-that is so cute / glad-I-don't-have-to-deal-with-it smile, then pretending to be very busy, yet again.

"Hey! Sorry to bother you, but is there somewhere we could wait that doesn't have an escape route?"

The rest of the removal was fairly tame compared to the physical showdown. There was a fair amount of screaming, full body shaking, and emploring eyes breaking my heart all over again. But, it was done quickly, and - honestly - her anticipation far outweighed the reality of the situation. Once she realized it really didn't hurt, like we had been saying over and over for the last ten minutes, she became as calm as was physically possible.

That said, I was very, very, VERY unimpressed with this doctor. It's not like he blew my socks off when putting the stiches in - but he was empathetic with her. I mean - he didn't like hurting her, did he? But, knowing her history to over analyze and full-body react when given too much time to think about something (ahem - like FIVE days!), he totally dismissed her feelings.

Bear - "It hurts! It hurts!! It huuuuurrrts!"
Doc - "No it doesn't."
me - cringing as I look the other way, but silent
Bear - "Yesssss. It hurts - It hurrrrts!"
Doc - "No. I'm not doing anything to hurt you. Don't be silly. This is the easy part."

The conversation was repeated in many variations, and I became more enraged each and every time he negated my poor little girl's feelings. For crying out loud, doctors of ALL people should understand how Kindergarteners are still developing their ability to regulate social skills, and something might truly feel bad to them, when we - wise(ha!) adults, know that it isn't so bad.

But - you would have been very proud of me. I held my tongue for, even I knew, that reading him a riot act in front of my already panicked child, and my destined-to-retell-with-accuracy Comedian was not a good idea. I will, however, bring this up with him next time I see him. It is just not ok.

So - all is well. Stiches are out. The Comedian's got a new stand up routine. And - mark my words - Bear will never walk in those doors again without adult persuasion! ** Thanks for all your good thoughts and kind words. Knowing you are out there thinking of us really helps!

** - Just wait until we tell her about the tooth that's being pulled at the end of March! *sigh*

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Today's The Day!

She jumps every time I say stiches.

They are coming out today - at 2:45. Think good, non-anxiety thoughts for both of us!

The Comedian is coming this time - Ha! That should make for an amusing re-telling!!

Oh- and be sure to check out the Children's Wisdom Quote for this week above this post. It is a doosy!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Got The Call

All parents have something about parenting that scares them half to death. For some it is physical: car seat safety or abduction. For others it is social emotional, wanting to create the perfect environment so their child grows up health, happy and ready to assimilate into the social structure of our wacky world.

For me - it's medical. Regardless of my forehood label: "I parent after a loss" (I swear it sometimes feel like I wear one) - I think this would have been my fear. Add in a fair amount of medical intervention / action with my rainbow baby in her first few years of life and my fear of the medical (read: her dying too) is fairly consistent.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not an overeactor! I'm not - I swear. I have worked very hard to show calm with body and my words so as not to induce her anxiety to kick in any worse that typically does. "Oooooh - You got a scrape. Eh- not a biggie...let's clean it off."

And- just to show that I play fair with this approach. I can even meet some "owies" with humor. I mean, I did run for the camera as I was waiting for our neighbor to come help me pull apart the freakishly hard slats The Comedian got her hand stuck in. "Smile" I said as her hand swelled. (fun fact: coconut wood is HARD AND HEAVY!)

But - the fact is if Oh God - what happened? runs through your mind every time the phone rings then eventually, you are bound to get "the call". Mine came this morning as I was finishing my Turbo Jam workout.
Ringing phone...
Oh God

Check the caller id...register shows from the friend's house
Oh Holy God

Breathing heavily I answered, "Hello?"

She had been sledding. It was an accident. Her cheek met a shovel.

Her panic attack didn't happen until the doc tried to numb the area. Her whole body shook even as he stitched, regardless of the fact that she couldn't feel a thing. As I held her shaking hand, my calm (for I had done very well!) started to fade. It began from the inside out. I felt sick to my stomach as she screamed for me. I was a foot away from her face, talking - singing, but completely unable to help her.

My mind travelled. She was one. The birthday party was a great success, I thought as I packed our bag for the hospital. The next day I watched through the narrow window as her dad held her. She screamed hysterically as they lowered the mask to her face. I am supposed to be in there. I am supposed to be comforting my child. Oh God - why is this happening? Why can't I help her? And then - she went limp, a rag doll of a body in her father's arms. The surgery took hours, and I held that baby as she came back to life - a myrid of emotions consuming me.

The miracle is that at 6 years old, today was our first blood emergency, first stiches. I'm not sure either of us could have handled it sooner. I am quite proud of both of us.

"I think every girl who was so very brave for her stiches totally deserves a special treat, don't you?" I said. And she grinned, as well as half a numb face would allow, as we both bit into our BIG peanut butter cup.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More IS Less!

I know, I know - this is the common phrase in a swift reversal. And - with regard to sweets, plastic, mass media coverage, portion sizes and just about everything else in this crazy consumeristic world...I happily agree.

However, when the children in my home went from this,

to ...this

at 8am this morning I found the opposite phrase an absolute fact.

I no longer heard "mommy...moooooomy" hollered at the top of some wildly-shrieky lungs from a subsequent room only to find a projectile object hurdling through space to attach on my leg. Instead, like an army with invisible marching orders they divided - oldest two and yougest two - and headed straight for bedrooms.

I waited...but - nothing. They virturally ingnored me for TWO hours! I tried not to feel left out and seized the opportunity to: clean the office, re-set up the old computer to get tax files off it, do two loads of laundry, strip beds, check my email, clean the kitchen, prep a ham for dinner tonight...and then I couldn't stand in another minute.

"Hey!" I yelled up the stairs, "Do you want to go for a walk?" Our walk was lovely and upon arriving home they climbed the riduliously large snowbank, slid down on their butts, and began a chasing game all around our hard-snow covered field. Watching, I realized - THIS is exactly what I had imagined when we looked at the house for the first time.

We looked for homes in December - in Vermont. I know, genious really. It was a blustery day and the realtor was droning on and on about picturing it in the spring with grass when we could actually see the pool, the brook, and ....blah, blah, blah. But I was picturing this - four kids running in the snow covered field, throwing their head back with laughter as one got too close and nearly tagged another.

I had imagined that all four kids would be mine. But, in essence the group I marveled at this morning are as connected as siblings. They are cousins, but with each only one year younger than the next the differencial is barely noticable. They fight like siblings and they love in the same fierce way. And, of course for me, there is the missing cousin - tall, dark haired eight-year-old girl galloping around the field with her long legs.
There was no need for organized projects or well-planned lunches (both of which I had in mind) They just played, enjoying time spent together and I am sure they will remember these days for the rest of their lives. I am so blessed to have this family, and I am learning - within family more really is less - and that is a good thing!

Monday, February 16, 2009

I've got to do this...

Do you know this book? I love the llama, llama series - and this book impeticular, for the scene little llama creates in the grocery store. I mean, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all respond to a screaming, paper towel - pasta throwing - orange juice spilling child like this mama did?

That is the first thing I thought when I saw this, an email with "The best commercial in Europe" in the subject line. At first glance, it made me laugh out loud. I wonder if that dad will handle this well? I thought. After all, I have been know to turn to a perfect stranger and say with a committed smile, "Parenting in public is really hard." It is.

But I have to believe that creator of this ad is A) single, B) not a parent, C) a condom maker or (most probaby) D) all of the above. For any parent, gender aside, who has lived through a loss would look at this screaming child in the sweetie section and smile wrily at the fact that they get to discipline a child - what a blessing.

Hmm....can a fictional character be a dbm? How about a llama? Because she handled that frozen isle mess with some measure of tact AND took that little llama out for ice cream afterwards.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Show and Tell - Schedules and Widsom

My show and tell for the week is my new planner! I just LOVE it and, the fact that it was $3 at the discount store makes me adore it even more!!!

It has countless features that push my organization buttons! Most obviously, the slip-your-own-kids-in-the-front window ROCKS! The fact that there are numerous other locations to slip things in, like business cards, appointment reminders or a little cashola is quite nice too.

I can plan by the month...
Or, by the week...

It has all the typical calendar and holiday features - and is complete with a "support" section in the back - defined as Family and Friends, School, and Babysitter info. This made sense to me, but then I kept flipping.
The section continues with a take out food log, loan information page, "helper contact" (housekeeper, gardener, handyman and the likes - if only!) , insurance contacts, and SIX (yes 6) pages of Gift Record Keeping. Ha! Isn't it fun to think that someone will stop me on the street and hand me a, gift! And I - always being prepared - will whip out my planner and and fancy pen, and record that gift!
Maybe that is why I love my new planner so much. It makes me feel like I live in a world where handymen, housekeepers, and random streetcorner gift givers exist!

Ah-ha! But the BEST feature of this go-here, be there at this time binder is the Children's Wisdom section. It is a weekly quote designed to give a smile - or, occasinally, an outright laugh, seeing as kids say them!

Here are a few random ones for your amusement: (with commentary - of course)

"Mushrooms always grow in damp places and so they look like umbrellas." - um ...yeah

"You should never bite your nails after dissecting a frog" - eeewwwwww

"When you put a hot dog in the microwave for five minutes, you don't want to be there when your mom sees the mess." - ha! Unless - of course - I was that mom!

"The law of gravity says no fair jumping up, without coming back down" - lesson learned

And - my favorite of the last two months!

"It gives me a headache to think about all the love stuff. I'm just a kid. I don't need that kind of trouble" - and how my wise young friend, and how!

And so - inspired by my new, cheap, well-equip, kid showing planner, I am adding a new feature to this blog. The Children's Widsom Quote of the Week will be updated each Monday morning. Some are funny, some are silly, some are touching, and (as demonstrated above) some are a little gross. But, come check them out, because one thing is for sure - you won't escape without a smile!!

Now - I'm off to record that random gift the guy on the corner gave me while you check out what others are showing and telling!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Angelic Connections

My Bear has always had a connection to the "other" world.

She was a late talker - very late. Her first real word, clear and understandable came from the backseat of the car one Spring afternoon. "Emm-ma" she said, in an uncharacteristically calm voice. She gazed out the window and said it over and over, "Emm-ma - Emma".

This summer she had a moment, where I swear she wasn't herself. It is a very personal story and I would need permission from another mother to tell it. But, succintly put, she can feel spirits - I just know it.

And then, there was the first day of Kindergarten and the red leaf.

She always delivers her world crashing statments with such a cool, poised, matter-of-fact voice. It takes me off guard every time. To be clear - I have always believed that children can see and feel angels and spirits. And so, I have no doubt that she can see and feel Emma. It disarms me because of my internal reaction, and - if I'm being honest - my desire to possess her abilities.

My most recent article in Exhale , Breaking Roadblocks, makes perfectly clear that world-connecting is not in my skill set, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to see her - my sweet girl - just one more time.

Tonight, as I was finishing a chapter in India - The Moonstone Fairy, Bear stopped me with that calm - steady voice she so very rarely uses.

"Mom, I saw Emma last night" she said. I froze, a fairy induced smile still on my face, determined not to let her see what these words do to me.

"Oh?" was my open-ended reply. Whatever she says will be enough. I will not ask leading questions. I will not beg for information.

"Yes. I saw her right here in my blankets. She was here and over there was her crib."

I will not ask...I will not do it...oh - but I want to know.

"She smiled at me mom. I patted her belly and she smiled. I saw her in my blankets."

And then - the flick switched, as it always does - "Hey, how does the chapter end, mom? Come on - read."

My heart is bursting tonight with sadness, love and wonder. My gut is satisfied that we made every right decision when sharing Emma with her sisters.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Show and Tell - The Calmest Party of them All

My girls were due a day apart. Yup- that's right. When the doctor said, "Congratulations! You are due on February 7th!" I nearly fainted. I spent far too much time ruminating on what life would be like if my children - *@yikes*@ had the same birthday!

And then, I spent even more time worrying about Bear's 2nd birthday party. Would I be in the hospital? Would I miss the whole event? And the question that opened the door for the Comedian to play her first of countless jokes on me, Should we move the party up?
It was pure genius, right? Move the party up TWO weeks, just to be safe and all my bases will be covered. I can enjoy my two year old's party, and then, go labor and deliver a baby! Um...best laid plans and all? Can you see where this is going?

The sweet and sassy Comedian decided to make her appearance, um...TWO WEEKS EARLY and I had a three day old infant at a party for 12 (uh-yeah - you read that number right) toddlers. Thank God for my mother. The event would have been a chaotic, running, screaming, me-on-the-couch-nursing-and-completely-NOT-in-control, hullabuloo if not for her!
And so began the beginning of our totally awesome, but completely unnecessary over-the-top themed birthday parties. In my defense, slightly, is the fact that I combine them. I mean, they are so close and the idea of TWO parties in TWO weeks makes me feel like walking to the nut-house door and committing myself.
Here are the stats:

The 1 and 3 Party

Theme -Dora
Labor intensive factor - EXTREME

This exerpt from her scrapbook says it all! Look closely on the bottom right and you will see the HAND SHOVELED TRAILS my DH went out and did THAT MORNING - Dora Style! (meaning there are dead ends and trap trails, and Swiper even jumped out of one!)

Oh- and there was THE CAKE!
Kid Count: 18
After Math- INSANE

The 2 and 4 Party
Theme - Curious George

Labor Intensive Factor - Moderate (I think I was just sleep deprived and TIRED!)
Kid Count: 12
After Math- EXTREME

The 3 and 5 Party

Theme - My Little Pony
Labor Intensive Factor - EXTREME (I had to take a half-day from school to get all the preparations done in time!)

There was the banner I just, had to make:
The machine enlarged, and hand colored pony for ...pin the tail:

The Cake:
Oh - and yeah...nearly forgot about that REAL LIVE HORSE we fed as a the final ta-da!
Kid Count - 12
After Math - Lingered for WEEKS!


The 4 and 6 Party

Theme - NONE!
Labor Intensive Factor - VERY LOW!

Kid Count - 10 (including mine!)

Cake? Naw - that has gluten! How about a choice of vanilla or choc birthday pudding?
After Math - Well...just check these pics out!

I don't know why it took me so long to figure this out! Bear had her five friends and they focused with laser intensity on their project for nearly the WHOLE party! The Comedian had two friends who made playdough in the other room and were just so calm and "in their element". I commentated to everyone, multiple times, "Woah- is this the calmest party ever, or is it just me?"

So - a virtual note to myself. This worked. Do it again. (and feel free to re-direct me back to this post next year if I slip into a time warp and decided a THEMED, LABOR-INTENSIVE, EXCESSIVE NUMBER OF KIDS party is on our horizon!)

Now, be sure to see what everyone else is showing and telling! I'm off to teach Sunday School - but PROMISE to visit YOUR show and tell before day's end!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby Bear!

"It's those early years that are opportunity to teach her what she needs to know to go into the world and be a happy, healthy, compassionate person. We've only got five or six years."
DH and I have said this so many times, usually after an age-appropriate incident deeming discipline or a heartbreaking moment when she learned a life lesson through the eyes of dissapointment.

Six years ago she was born in a snow storm, after 38 weeks of worry and haunting visions of our past. The relief I felt when I heard her cry was palpable. The last six years have flown by. I can barely believe myself as I type this. I know my numbers - six comes after five, but it just feels so different this year. Five was managable, a milestone, the year you get four shots because you go to Kindergarten in the fall.

Six feels murky, undefinable. She's taller and made a full transition to girly girl, complete with stick on earrings, princess rings and varied length necklaces every day. She love peanut butter and fluff sanwiches. She made the transition to gluten free eating last summer and with only a moddecum of frustration. She's exploring the world in her own way, independent of me for a great majority of each and every day. It is a year of exciting transition for her - it is scary for me.

So, for my own sake I need to go back. I need to see that baby who used to rely on me for mostly everything.

Please enjoy these annual shots of my middle child - my rainbow baby. My sweet and salty girl, my cruise director, my time keeper, the generational image of a mini-me.








Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Game of Cat and Mouse!

No - I'm not being figurative, deep or my otherwise metaphorical self.
Tom and Jerry hi-jacked my first floor this morning and had a very literal game of cat and mouse. Or - it might be more accurate to call it a game of mouse and cat.

Let me back up. Do you remember this cat?

Right - That's Tigger. The king of the castle for years. He would have caught and killed this mouse in record time. Doesn't he just look like a hunter?

How about this little one?

Right. Ms. Sally. She is the sweet girl that put such a ruffle in Tiggers whiskers that he chose to find a new family. But, before he left, Sally followed him everywhere - picking up a few tricks and rodent catching pointers. (notice I said catching, not killing)

And so - this morning - as I groggily shuffled through the kitchen, in the pitch blackness, and heard a rustle in the pantry, I started. Turning on the light revealed Ms. Sally on the TOP SHELF of our pantry. If you recall - it's pretty high.

She turned - I screamed (everyone was still asleep) and she jumped down with A MOUSE in her mouth, suspended by it's thin little tail.

After I partially recovered, visions of my 10 year old self screaming in panic as a snake fell out of the top shelf of the closet in our downstairs bathroom still swimming around me, the kids came down. (remember - I screamed)

Bear's reaction was much like mine, although far less high-pitched. "Eewwww, I don't like mice. I'm going in the other room. Ick - Sally, you're gross."

The Comedian's reaction? Well - I'm guessing you already know - it was HYSTERICAL. Even I, still shaking couldn't contain my laughter. "Oooooo - Mama, there's a mouse! Do you see it? A mouse." Then in a tone with which most use to speak to babies, "Oh Sally, are you playing with a little mouse? She's soooo cute. I want to pet it." And just when I was about to yell out a reason why petting mice isn't reccomended, she exclaimed - "Eeeeee- it just ran across my toes!!!! It is soooo cute!"

The mouse's reaction to all this, just in case you were wondering, was much like The Comedian's analysis. She (how do you tell mice gender apart?) thought it was a big game! And why wouldn't she, for Sally must have missed the final lesson where you KILL the mouse. They were Tom and Jerry in every way. That damned little mouse was smart too!

It looked much like this.

Sally bats at the mouse.

The mouse moves a bit - then stops - dead still.

Sally stares at the mouse.

The mouse stays still.

The mouse moves, twitches really - to bait Sally.

Sally pounces again.

The mouse scurries, then flips onto her back, paws in the air - playing dead.

Sally stares, then paws at the mouse once, twice...

The mouse holds her ground.

On the third time - she finally plays along.

Sally pounces.

And this went on, through breakfast - through teeth brushing, through hair ties and barretts, through backpack packing and boots and coats.

In fact, as we walked out the door. I yelled to DH who had an appointment later in the morning so was enjoying a rare sleep in, "Hooooney - when you get up Sally might need your help. Bear said, "Eeew." The Comedian yelled back towards the door too, "Bye Sally. Bye Mouse. Have a fun day playing.

Oh- do I love my farmhouse built in 1868!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Dancing Show and Tell

A few weeks ago, I showed and telled (at the other blog) about the best $5 I ever spent on ebay.

Of the many comments, my friend Lori said, "So cool you got such a deal!...Next week, show a video of you dancing, girlfriend."

Well - it has been a couple weeks, and this video isn't of ME dancing (although I am grooving a bit behind the camera - but not too much as to remain steady).

So sit back, relax and enjoy...The Comedian's First Dance Video! (with a cameo appearance from big sister Bear)

Birthday Show and Tell will be next week, when I have sifted through ALL the pictures! But, just to hold you over...here is the Birthday Pudding, with whipped cream and a cherry - naturally!