Monday, January 23, 2012

That's amore

Due to the wacky winter weather, we have been spending a lot of time outdoors lately.  It's good for the kids, and it's good for the grown-ups to get some fresh air and move.

Trevor and I took Lottie and Dallas to the park yesterday to play.  At first, we were the only ones there, but soon a boy and his dad showed up at the skate park adjacent to the playground.  The boy skated for a while, then yelled to me, "Excuse me, can I play with you guys?"  He happily played with Lottie for a while, chasing and laughing like only little kids can do.  Soon, Lottie walked over to me with her head down.  When I asked what was wrong, she said her new friend, Georgie, had decided to go play with his friend.  She said, "I guess he would rather play with his friend than me."  I explained to her that Georgie had probably planned to meet his friend, who also had a board, to skate at the park, and it would be rude to ignore him.  She seemed to understand and played with Dallas for a few minutes.

Her gaze kept straying to the skate park that had filled up with quite a few tween boys.  Eventually, she shyly asked if we could go watch them.  We sat on the bench in front of the skaters and watched them do ollies and drop-ins and whatever else skater boys do.  Georgie skated past us, smiled and waved to Lottie, then did some sort of trick.  Lottie gazed up at me with stars in her eyes and said, "Oh, Mommy.  He's the best one!"

I felt my stomach drop.  No, no, no.  She isn't supposed to be having crushes yet!  She's only five years old, for Pete's sake!  This isn't supposed to happen for ten years or so!  But there she sat, smiling and blushing, watching Georgie and his friends.  We stayed for twenty minutes or so, and I told her it was time to leave.  She heaved a big sigh and stared at Georgie with her big, blue eyes shining like the sun.  I said she could go up to the fence to say goodbye to him, and she bashfully waved.  As we walked away, she turned and yelled, "You can come over to my house tomorrow!"  I'm sure he didn't hear her, but she skipped away happily.

It's hard to describe the emotions I felt as I watched her.  She's growing up, but she's still just a little girl - MY little girl.  Georgie was sweet to her, even with his friends around, but some day, some boy won't be sweet and he'll break her heart.  And in that moment when she's crying to me and I'm trying to soothe her, I'll remember when she was five and it was all pretty simple.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Empress of All Maladies

As a kid, I was pretty healthy.  I never broke a bone, I never had to go to the ER: nothing serious.  I had the usual illnesses like colds, the flu, and chicken pox, but overall, things were pretty normal.

Fast forward to my adult years.  Things were pretty status quo until I got married.  (Does that mean I get to blame Trevor for my issues?)  Since being with Trevor, my surgery quotient has definitely been on the rise.  In January of 2007, I had my first C-section.  (Trevor's fault.) That was followed by another C-section in September of 2008.  (Again, Trevor's fault.) A mere five months later, I had my gallbladder removed after months and months of lots of pain.  (The doctor said that having close pregnancies can cause gallbladder issues, so I can indirectly blame Trevor for that.) Somehow, I made it through 2010 with no real concerns other than two nutty kids.  2011 brought shoulder surgery for a torn labrum.  The first time I hurt myself, it was at the Porter County Fair on as ride.  Yep, I hurt myself on a fair ride.  I was trying to twist the steering wheel of a teacup ride while my right arm while holding Dallas steady with my left arm.  (I can blame Trevor for that because he was in Lexington working while I was in Valpo with the kids.  Sketchy, I know, but I'm going to roll with it.)  Then in late 2011, my hairdresser noticed a few bumps on my scalp and advised me to get them checked out.  I went to the dermatologist who told me that I had a staph infection.  WHAT?  How does a stay-at-home-mom get a staph infection?  I don't know, either. ( Unfortunately, I can't blame Trevor for that one.  Sigh.)

As if that hasn't been enough, it seems as though I have gotten seriously clumsy in 2012.  In the first 13 days of this year, I have burned my arm on a baking rack in the oven, fallen on the ice while taking out the garbage cans and smashing my head against one, and I burned my lips on some sort of corrosion when I was trying to change the batteries in an old flashlight.  It's like my brain has turned to some sort of fuzzy mush this year.  Maybe the Apocalypse really is coming.

Let's add one more, shall we?  While we were visiting my family in Valpo over the holidays, I had a few days of terrible headaches and nausea.  I soon started to realize that I wasn't sick to my stomach, but there was a really weird lump in my throat that was causing me to feel nauseous.  And I have never been one to have headaches, so that was a little disconcerting.  I made an appointment to see my doctor in Lexington, and she advised me to get an ultrasound of my neck.  The ultrasound results showed a multinodal enlargement of my thyroid.  In other words, I have a goiter.  Oh. Em. Gee.  A goiter???  That's totally not what I was expecting.  So next Thursday, I have to go have a Fine-Needle Aspiration of the nodules at Central Baptist Hospital.  I'm not really worried; my doctor said that 99% of multinodular goiters are benign.  I have to go by myself, though, because Trevor has to stay home with the kids.  (Speaking of Trevor, I can't blame The Goiter on him.  I'm looking for a way, though, so I'll let you know.)  For now, though, I'm using The Goiter to my advantage: "I get to choose what we watch on TV tonight; I have a goiter, you know."

None of these are terribly serious matters, but they do make me realize that I'm getting older and I need to take good care of myself.  I want to be around as long as possible so I can laugh hysterically when my kids call me for advice about their own nutty kids.  Isn't that what being a grandparent is all about?

Monday, January 9, 2012

1,825 days

My sweet Lottie,
You are five years old.  I'm not quite sure where the time has gone as it feels like only a few weeks ago that you were born.  Like I said in a blog for Dallas, the days move slowly but the years have passed quickly.  I have learned so much from you in five years, and I look forward to a lifetime of getting to know you.

The day before you came into the world, I spent the whole day shopping with Mimi and walking around.  The doctor had told me earlier in the week that you wouldn't be arriving anytime soon; you fooled everyone, though!  You arrived on your due date, January 10, 2007.  Even that day, you were stubborn and refused to meet us at first.  After quite a bit of labor and not enough action, you finally arrived via C-section.  We noticed right away that you had an amazing set of lungs on you, and you haven't stopped using them since.

You were always meant to be our baby.  I lost a pregnancy before you were born, and I was so scared to try again.  But you surprised us by making your presence known quickly; you still make sure everyone in a room knows you're there.  I was nervous throughout my pregnancy with you, and sometimes I wonder if that has made you the little worrier you are sometimes.  I think you worry because you want everyone to be happy and everything to be wonderful.

You have an extremely kind and tender heart.  You don't like to see others in pain, and you always do whatever you can to help.  Before my shoulder surgery last summer, you always brought me wet paper towels because you just knew they would help my shoulder feel better.  Whenever your brother hurts himself, you're there to kiss him, hug him, or get him a toy to distract him.  You're gentle and kind to animals, especially Judy, our cat, and Arnie, Mimi and Pop Pop's dog. I know you would love to have a dog of your own someday; we'll see.  :)  The other day, I walked into the living room where you were looking at a book.  I found you in tears, and when I asked what was wrong, you told me that you were so heartbroken that Jackie Paper had forgotten about Puff the Magic Dragon.  You can't stand the thought of someone being excluded or alone.

You were born to be a big sister. I was anxious about bringing a baby home to you because you were only twenty months old when Dallas was born; you were still just a baby yourself.  I needn't have worried, because from the moment we brought him home, you were completely in love with him.  You watch out for Dallas like he was your son instead of mine, especially when it comes to his food allergies.  I know that no taste of dairy or egg will pass his lips if you're around.  Sure, sometimes you get a little bossy with Dallas, but that's the nature of protecting the ones we love. The older you get, the better you both play together, and that makes my heart sing. A couple of weeks ago, you were playing together pretty roughly, and Dallas bit your finger.  When I put him in a time out, you defended him and told me that it was totally an accident, and you were sure he had no idea your finger was in his mouth when he bit down.  Right now, you're best friends, and I hope that will continue as you get older.  You'll make a lot of friends in your lifetime, but a sibling is a special person forever.

Speaking of friends, you have plenty!  I don't think you have ever met a stranger in your life.  Your sweet nature and friendly attitude shine through wherever we are.  You have made friends all over: the park, the mall, Disney World, Monkey Joe's, and even the museum in Cincinnati.  You don't like to be alone very often, and you have a knack for winning people over so you usually have someone around you.  When we walk into school together, everyone stops to speak to you.  I think that every teacher, every parent, and every student in that school, regardless of age, knows who you are. Other mothers have said, "Oh, you're Lottie's mom?  My son/daughter just loves Lottie!" It makes me so proud that you're a friend to everyone.  Every day is a party for you.  You want to see someone or do something exciting and new.  I truly think you would go to college tomorrow if I would let you.  :)  But I'm not ready for that quite yet.  You also love being around our family.  Grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins...the more, the merrier!  I think it's great that you love with your whole heart and never hold back.

We definitely have our moments, though.  You're stubborn and dramatic, but that goes hand-in-hand with your strong emotions.  It's hard to have the intense feelings that you have, and sometimes those feelings boil over into frustration or exhaustion; I know all this because you inherited your extreme emotions from me. In the future, you'll be able to control your feelings a little better, but until then, I'll be there to help you figure things out.  You are sort of our experiment; we're learning what to do along with you.  I know we have made some mistakes as parents, but you seem to have weathered the storm with us.

I'm so proud of you, sweetheart.  You are everything I could ever hope for in a daughter.  You are absolutely beautiful, inside and out, and best of all, you are kind.  With your intelligence, sense of humor, and your sense of empathy, the whole world is open in front of you.  Daddy and I know that no matter what you choose to do, you'll be a success.

Pixie dust, baby.  Oh, how I love you.