WELCOME TO MY "OTHER" 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.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I roll over, think positive thoughts, set my mind for the day, peek out the window, listen to Comedian elephant thump down the stairs...then this, said with way too much enthusiasm, especially for 5:30 am:
"Maaaaamaaaaa - Sally killed a dead bird!!!!! Aaaand - she's eating it's head off!!! Isn't that cool?"
Note: 'cool' is a relatively new word for the Comedian and evokes laughter just by her using it.
Additional Note: Using 'cool' in reference to beheading a bird - is not cool. Just saying.
My Response, bellowed down the stairs to enforce how serious it was: "DON'T.DON'T.DON'T LET THAT CAT IN!!!!"
For once, thank God - and truly - this is a rare occasion - she listened to me. I can only imagine the state of the story once she's finished telling...um...everybody she sees today!
I could have taken a picture...but - I, well - not even for you could I bring myself to do that. Sorry.
Have a wonderfully non-violent Wednesday!!!
Friday, April 24, 2009
Perhaps you caught her debut dancing video last winter - no? Well - feel free! The girl's got moves!
And, although she sure does bust a groove with just a stick on a rock as a base beat (and, lately - some seriously funky chicken arms to accompany that shakin' bootay), she has recently tried her hand a new style of music making.
You see - my father plays the guitar, really well. I grew up listening to the songs from the 30's, 40's, 50's and beyond coming at me from...the front room! (Note: he's not really that old, he just knows all those songs)
In my teenage years my father turned his song-writing ability into a neat little nitch, writing songs for kids. He recorded four albums! Here is a classic shot of me: permed - playing the flute - questionable belt - and acutually believed I was fat?? Yeah - I was a classy, self-conscious nerd at least, in a recording studio yo!
And so, my kids were born into a musical world where Papa plays for them, at every holiday, and birthday party, and random occassion when he has the guitar in the trunk.
This video was taken on Easter day. He had the guitar because he and I were practicing for our upcoming performance at Share Southern Vermont's First Annual - Walk for Hope and Rememberance!
You KNOW the Comedian had to have a go....and so, I present with great pride -
Subtitle (aka - words you may not understand): "Daddy....Stop Starting To Laugh At Me!"
What about you?? Any talents to Show and Tell??
And that means that the Parenting After Loss Weekend Group at The Stirrup Queens Ballroom is open for discussion.
What? - You've not heard of the forums? Oh, easy fix. Click on the pretty pomegranate on the sidebar.
What? - You're a forum member but not a member of our Parenting after Loss group? Easy fix there too...join!
Then - click HERE to discuss this weekend's carry-over question...
"DID YOUR PREGNANCY AFTER LOSS ANXIETY LESSON OR DISAPPEAR AFTER YOU DELIVERED THE NEXT BABY? IF NOT - WHAT WERE YOUR NEW TRIGGERS?
And...come on back tomorrow night for a Rockin' Show and Tell!!! You won't want to miss it!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
The girls absorb this, without question -but speak of it rarely. They mostly speak of Emma's death, the reality of her absence. But I have learned that just because something isn't spoken has no bearing on it's ability to delve deep inside you and live there, popping out at the most unexpected time.
This morning we had a perfect playdate - of which my definition is both parents and kids get along really well. I'm sure you know the other kind of playdate, where you really want to hang out with the mom, but for some reason known only to the compatibility gods your kids just do not click and you spend more time negotiating conflict than enjoying each other's company!
Anyway- this match works - on all levels - and it found us in The Comedian's bedroom with three girls hudled around a candyland board. There was the expected chatter about colors and spaces, and reminders of whose turn it was, and then - Bear spoke to our guest, looked directly in her eyes as she said:
"Emma - it's your turn."
My breath hitched, then I caught the other mother's eye for a shared smile. But the girls - went on, unphased, potentially unaware of the monniker slip and the moment of sheer joy it brought to my heart.
I closed my eyes to the blond hair of this child, for surely I would never have produced a child so fair - and enjoyed the vision of three girls, varied heights, playing a board game. The simplicity of this basic act both embraced and enraged my heart. How could small moments like this been stolen from us? How blessed I am to be able to see - and enjoy them - as they become possible, if only for a moment.
Clearly, there will be more questions coming soon, from both Bear and I.
I hope I'm ready.
I hope you're ready.
Monday, April 20, 2009
"Jeez - that's pretty fancy. Where did you learn about that?"
Rock it out girl...create, be inspired without rules and limitations - you deserve that.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
That I am still doing my crunches.
And that my kids feel the need to add El Reesistaaance to the already daunting task of doing a proper crunch.
*sigh* Got to love 'em!
More Show and Tell ....Here
And...come on back tomorrow for the post where I expand on the injustices of spelling tests / academic focuses in Kindergarten. For archive homework reading...click here. Oh - and as requested, I'll be showing off Bear's finished scrapbook too - promise!!
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Both for me, because after six years we have FINALLY begun to make some sense of all the drama - and for her, because she doesn't need it publically hashed...I'll just say - it's been rough.
She chose and decorated backing papers
She cropped, yes cut the pictures with a 'sharp' tool. And, I let her (with supervision of course), but this was her project, a self-defining experience, and so I smiled at crookedly cropped photos and slightly torn edges.
And, oh my - did she wield a tape runner better than half the adult students I used to teach!
The project isn't quite done - and truly - this was the hardest part for her. She likes to finish what she starts, but the party isn't until 5pm so we have plenty of time. I just KNOW she'll dig putting the stickers on!
And yes - without letting the cat out of the bag I gave daddy-o a little 'she worked crazy hard on this just for you' heads up, to which his response was, "I guess I better act crazy excited about it then."
Yes - Daddy, we are doing it. We are raising this child well in spite of the challenges that have been sent our way.
She is going to be just fine...no - she is exceptional.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
In another life, or this one -if my voice was just a bit more powerful with a slightly broader range - I would have LOVED to be the one ON the stage, belting out lyrics owned by a fictional character I got to become, if just for the night.
Last Friday night Bear and I went to see Into the Woods as done by our local high school. Well, the 'approved for 6 year olds' first half, anyway.
Obviously without Bernadette Peters, et al - it wasn't quite the same. None-the-less, it was awesome - amazing - fabulous. Ok, I'm bais as ITW was my FAVORITE musical when I was a teenager. Even now, I wanted to jump up on stage and join them!!
Sondhiem's brillant idea of dismembering fairy tales, then re-arranging them so each needed the other to reach their 'happily ever after' had the ability to "wow" me over and over. And the music? Um- SITLL stuck in my head and showing no signs of leaving what with it's clever, rhyming lyrics and the fact that Bear can't stop singing it either.
Yes - that' right, my husband is in showtune H-E-doubletoothpics cause it's not just ME anymore!!
Our favorite character from the show? It was unanimous. Rapunzel's prince was the obvious choice as they cast the foreign exchange student with a kicken' accent and long flowing hair that really worked on him!
A quick shout out to the witch...she rocked too, even if she was accentless.
And so - for your viewing pleasure (read: maybe it will get stuck in your head too...)
THE OPENING SONG OF ACT ONE...
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Where is Bear you ask? Well, apparently two takes is all her contract allowed. She stormed off set on the third take.
Happy Easter and I REALLY NEED A NEW CAMERA!!!!!!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
You know - not buy that mass produced package and expend just enough energy to drop a tablet in water.
and 1/2 cup of h20 - direct from your faucet
Carefully poured by two small children (who either need haircuts desperately or a hair that all ties and clips don't slip out of)
results in this:
Hmmm...those look familiar - oh yeah - now I remember, they look identical to the result when a factory-pressed tablet is dropped into another set of unnecessary plastic cups that will just get thrown away with the equally-unnecessary scooping wand that came with it!
Look again:But, there was a snag. For my sweet Bear became concerned that as we were wandless she wouldn't be able to put more than one color on her egg.
We stopped and thought. Brainstormed many ideas. None of them worked. And then - the snag, part duex, "Hoooooow will I make rainbows? flowers? deeeecorations?" she wailed. "And" she continued, "IF I get them perfect, where can I put them so they don't smidge????"
In a moment of Kindergarten brillance (and a rare display of flexible thinking)- she disappeared returning with this:
"Ah -ha!" I exclaimed taking in the upside down water bottle cover. And it did turn out to be the perfect, minimalistic solution to her current crisis.
So, how did she create those perfectly parallel, yet not blended together designs, you ask? These:Yes - that's right - it is commericial, factory made, and rather ridiculous at first glance -but, in my defense it was in my pantry. And, they were the answer to all the kids fanciful make-the-egg-look-like-it-does-in-storybooks dreams.
They were able to control every line, every curve and angle as they decorated.
Even I couldn't resist trying them out. This egg had been rejected by the girls with 'duh-mom' contorted expressions. It was cracked. I knew exactly what to do.
So, the moral of this Easter tale is - Live green, be a creative problem solver, use what you have, don't over buy...but on occasion frivious and overpriced factory items can be the solution. (if - of course - they are already in your pantry =)
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I have asked myself that question a thousand - hundred - a million times. Well, if I'm being honest, in the beginning it was, "Why did my baby die?" Only recently have I been able to open my broken heart to the world and broaden the query to a woe-is-us level.
"Why do babies die?"
But this post isn't about me. It is about Bear. For this was the question she asked on the way home from a dentist appointment yesterday.
Our conversation was so surreal. The words fell from my mouth without outward emotion. Keep it simple. Keep it short. Be honest. Be age-appropriate. The sun shining pleasantly through the window seemed misplaced, as though speaking candidly and honestly about her dead sister required weather more timid, maybe stormy. Inside I was grieving the moment, the conversation for its enevitibility.
I planned for this day. I knew it would come. How could it not? Children grow and within them, their minds evolve, creating connections, asking questions. Yes, I knew there would come a day when her curiosity about the pie-in-the-sky notion I had attested to all these years of a sister she'd never met living in heaven would clash with her cognitive ability to comprehend.
I had scripts ready; non-cliche responses in my arsenol so I may be honest in an age-appropriate way while letting her lead.
It all when out the window. When push came to shove, read: she fired direct, hard to answer questions, I did the best I could -taking long pauses to make sure every word counted. It went something like this:
Bear: Why do babies die?
Me: Honestly Sweets - I don't know.
Bear: But Emma died. Why did Emma die?
Me: Something happened inside my body and it made her body not work.
Bear: But I can't see her. Why can't I see her? I saw her one time in my bed, remember? So why can't I see her again?
Me: Yes. I remember. You might or you might just feel her from now on. That's what I do. I feel her.
Bear: You held her?
Bear: But that doesn't make any sense. You said she died inside you. How did she come out of you then go back in?
Me: She didn't Bear. Emma died inside me. Then - I pushed her out. Then - I held her. She was still dead. Her body still didn't work.
Bear: (accepting this) Well, where did you put her? Did you leave her there?
Me: No Sweets. We buried her, in the earth -under the stone that we go visit all the time.
Bear: (becoming agitated) -Mom, you aren't making any sense! How could you put her in the earth when there was a stone in the way??
Me: (making the obvious clarifiying statement...then met with silence for a minute I continued) I can tell you are thinking alot about Emma today. Is there anything else you really want to know about Emma right now?
Bear: Mom, remember when I painted my nails using colors in a pattern: pink, purple, pink, purple?
And that was that. She was off to another topic that held her fasicnation equally, if not requiring the same mental energy.
It begins. She is putting pieces together. She wants answers. I don't have them.
My questioning circle is large, nearly oval after all these years of going round and round always returning to the question of orgin: why?
Hers is tiny: just beginning, but expanding ever so slightly each time she grapples with the abstract notion of an 'older' sister that looks very much like a baby - forever.
Today our circles connected, and overlapped - like a venn diagram of grief inqusistion. We have a long way to go. There are many more conversations to be had, with deeper, harder-to-answer-questions.
Someday - far from now, our circles will eclipse. She will be grown up. She will want the whole story - bar-none.
Someday I will tell her...someday.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
So delicate, so classic with tiny embroidered roses.
*sigh* - I love knowing that they will have these for the rest of their lives...and when they leave me my mother might possible make me a compliation quilt so all three girls can come together, as they should be, in our home.
Click HERE for the rest of the class.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
There is so very much you can do there. It is a great (and safe) place to keep up with fellow LFCAers on the weekend!
And you know I started a group. JOIN the Parenting After Loss Group and be part of our discussion topic each and every weekend. Yes, that's right ladies. Every Saturday I will post a discussion topic and we can beat it around the virtual pages like a racquet ball!
The purpose is dos:
- The group is private, meaning you have to be clicked in to join, so you will never have to worry about what you say or ask.
- It is exactly what I want to do in real life - start a pregnancy / parenting after loss group I mean, BUT that isn't in the cards for Share Southern Vermont for a few years. So, this gives me a place to send all the lovely ladies in my face-to-face life that need an outlet.
SO - In a very Mel like review: Join The Stirrup-Queen's Ballroom. Find some groups to join (hint: Parenting After Loss), and join the tintalating Discussion every weekend!
THIS WEEKS TOPIC: Do you cry in front of your kids?
Friday, April 3, 2009
This is the sentence that grabbed my attention in the backseat this morning. A myriad of responses, even though the girls weren't actually talking to me - or asking for my input on the value of a dollar, went through my head.
Let's back up...the conversation that is.
BEAR - "Mom, is today library program?'
ME - "No, it's music day and just so you are aware, I don't think there will be any library program next week because the book fair is coming." (read: that evil flash-it-in-front-of-kids-all-day-long-so-as-to-tempt-them-beyond-reason-AND-guilt-parents-into-buying-something event)
BEAR - drawing in quick breath, already tempted
COMEDIAN - "Oooooooo - the boooook fair!" (I'm pretty sure she has no idea what excitement this is supposed to hold...but she felt it take over the back seat.)
BEAR - "Mom! Mom! I want to buy something at the bookfair. I really do. I really do!"
ME - "Well, you have been saving up your money so you can use that if you would like to."
BEAR - "Yeah! I have lots of dollars."
COMEDIAN - (who is a spender and a giver - not a saver) "But, it's ok, because Grampa will give me he's money and I can buy something at the bookfair."
BEAR "No Comedian. Grampa will only give you one dollar and you can't buy anything for just one dollar."
She's right you know. You really can't, with the exception of certain packs of gum that make me want to break into a twin-based song or a sl.im jim perhaps. Ok, some gas stations still offer a cup of small coffee for 99cents, but not many.
I recall as a child the wonderous ability to buy four, yes 4 candy bars for the all-mighty one dollar.
My father can trump that, I'm sure with his tales of a corner grocery store in the 1950's.
To hear me, or my dad, or anyone else with a generational history tell the 'when I was a kid' tales woeing the rising cost of living seems, appropriate - sad, but historically consistent at least.
To hear a six year old with five dollars and change saved up in a special box daddy made her and a semi-solid grasp on the names of the actual coins say, "you can't buy anything for just one dollar" with such conviction - worries me.
We have more than enough. We eat well. We play well too. We have each other. We have 'stuff' and we have experiences.
I want that to be enough for my kids. I need them to understand the value of life, not worship the green stuff.