Thursday, April 24, 2008

leaving on a jet plane

i fly south tonight.

if i'm not ready yet i never will be. i have been busting by butt at the gym to prepare for all the activities. apparently, my efforts were not mirrored by my sister. i will be carrying her ass as well as mine.

i am very excited. my friends at work wished me safety...but i'm not scared. i am in God's hands, after all. kisu never hesitated to let me go on this trip, but i can tell he's nervous. he keeps saying, "come back to me in one piece."

pooka was not bothered until last night. she was upset again this morning. i can only imagine what the scene at the airport is gonna be like.

i have never been away from my family for more than 1 night. pooka and i went to visit gamma for a week without daddy, and daddy and i have had the occasional day and a half without the kids, but i have never been on my own: no kids, no husband. it's a little scary; not so much for me, but i'm worried about how pooka will behave for poppa and granny. she manufactures some serious separation anxiety which conveniently disappears (usually) as soon as she gets distracted by the littlest thing. other times, she can work herself up so much she actually vomits. ahh, the talents of a six year old.

to a certain extent i will relish the separation from pooka. i love her with all my heart, but i could use a break from her behavior and to regain some perspective on how amazing she really is.

i'm really gonna miss buggy, though. i don't know how she's going to handle not seeing me for 5 days. perhaps she'll start to forget me as she seemed to forget kisu when he started his wonky schedule.

but i know that my family will be in good hands, and i will in all honestly probably be too busy to miss them. then i can truly look forward to returning to the fold next week. hopefully, they will all have realized how much i do and how little appreciation they show for me and change their behavior accordingly.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

seeing the gears turn

one of the fabulous parts about having kids is seeing them learn. i had two moments this week where i literally saw bug create new synaptic connections.

the first was in the bathtub. she finally hit the cultural milestone of 'giving 5'. she loved the sound of her wet little hand slapping my palm. the funny thing is, she would only use one hand. one of hers and one of mine. my attempts to substitute my right hand met with grunts of disapproval. she would simply use her non-slapping hand to pull my non-slappable hand out of the way.

she was content to smack away for minutes on end.

the second time was tonight at a restaurant. i had forgotten to bring a sippy cup for her, as i often do. (this differs from when pooka was a baby and i would bring our entire inventory of baby paraphernalia everywhere we went.)

i had tried to get her to use a straw earlier this week with no success. i tried again and she just spit it out. i tried to hold the cup and let her drink straight from it like she does with the measuring cup in the bath but that just resulted in lots of water pouring down her front, also like the bath version, except that this time it also ran down me since she was sitting in my lap.

then i tried to pipette the water into her mouth. that seemed to work, both for neatness and for actually teaching how a straw works. i kept my finger over the end of the straw and made her suck the water out. after a few sips, i put the straw back in the cup and let her try it big girl-style. presto! she learned how to use a straw.

it was amazing to see her adapt so quickly right before our very eyes. two little skills we take for granted, and now she's mastered them.

only 46,204 more little skills to learn.

Friday, April 18, 2008

carnivory is hereditary

one of the (few) stories of my childhood tells of the time i knocked on a neighbor's door. when they invited me in and offered some cookies, i staunchly declined. instead, i demanded meat.

pooka doesn't have a problem eating meat. she has loved chicken from an early age, and enjoys pork and steak, although she doesn't care for ground beef. but i think she may be getting a little carried away in her craving for protein.

tonight, she wanted a carrot instead of the pasta sauce i had prepared. i insisted she cut it herself.

what? if you've seen her work in the kitchen, you wouldn't be appalled at my 'parenting'.

even so, i thought my trust in her skills would come back to haunt me, when i heard her run to the bathroom. following, i saw droplets of blood. she was silent until i looked at the wound.

it looked for all the world like a slice from a sharp knife; however, she claimed that she bit herself.

i almost laughed when she said it. who does that? and how, missing two teeth?

no matter how much i assured that she wouldn't be in trouble if she had cut herself with the knife, she maintained that her teeth were the weapons.

honestly, i don't know what to think right now. there was no blood on the knife, nor any other evidence to prove that she's lying. but the cut is so straight, and her teeth are not sharp to the touch (yes, we tested them).
maybe she just wanted more meat.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

hot date

my husband and i have a date tonight.

thanks to my mother's presence at home with the girls, we are able to go out as a couple, instead of as parental units with family in tow. tonight should be a little more exciting than last week when we ended up shoe shopping--even if we did get a pair of shoes free. we are not the kind of people who find shoe shopping particularly exciting or romantic.

this time, we're taking reinforcements: noel and nancy.

we're gonna get hibachi dinners and drink sake water all night long.

and then i'm gonna take friday off to recover because i'm old.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

a painful examination of self and soul

when things seem to be going so well for me from an individual standpoint, a broader view of my life reveals trouble. i am finally getting my health on track, and i am improving my spiritual health (and consistency), but my family is suffering despite my personal success. and if my family is suffering, how can i view myself as truly prosperous? thriving is about success in every facet of life.

i have never been a june cleaver type, but lately things seem like they're getting more out of control. i work out on my lunch break, so it's not like i'm taking time that used to be spent with the girls or cleaning. it's just coincidental, i think, but quite frustrating. it seems like my temper has gotten shorter, too. combine that with pooka's reaction to missing kisu, and we are sparkier than ever.

my heart is heavy with guilt over the way that pooka gets treated. i, of all people, should understand how she feels not seeing kisu, but i have trouble showing her compassion. (that starts with my ingrained ice-queen persona.) it would be easier to do if she articulated her feelings more, but she's still just 6 years old. even with her advanced vocabulary, it would be more mature than her years. but the fact that she manifests her fears and sadness as disobedience makes it even harder to be sympathetic; it just lights my fuse.

top it off with a nearly-toddler who wants to stick her finger into every light socket in the house, and it's abundantly clear that i have my hands full.

but pooka's disobedience is not in the same vein as bug's mischieviousness. where bug actively seeks out schemes that elicit "no-no's", pooka is blindly and resolutely contrary. bug's behavior, however trying, is completely developmentally appropriate for her age. i don't think the same can be said of pooka. whether i say, "get ready for school," "eat your dinner," or "jump on the bed," she flatly refuses. "i don't want to, "she says. i could tell her to sit down and eat a carton of ice cream and she would decline, just to be difficult.

it's maddening, partially because it highlights how little control i have of my temper. how can i expect pooka to appropriately channel her emotions when i cannot demonstrate the technique?

much prayer has gone forth regarding my ability to control my temper, to show patience and compassion, and to remember that pooka is, at this age, mainly the person she is molded to be by her parents.

so far i have determined three main steps to try and right this ship:

i need to manage my anger, period. that is my responsibility alone and my children (nor my husband) should not have to suffer my bungling of it.

prepare us for success. i created checklists for pooka so that she would know what needed to be done at significant points of the day without needing to be harped on. i need to make some for myself. prepping lunches and clothes the night before, along with getting to bed on time, is crucial for the correct launching of our day.

focus on family. i need to stop multi-tasking so much. there must be time for pooka and i to sit together without distractions, urgent or otherwise. this will most likely happen after bug goes to bed, but it needs to happen. various combinations of our family personnel need to have these 'moments' to concentrate on and connect with each other.

although there are few, they are important steps and hopefully i will be able to implement them. truly then, i will be able to call my life complete. yeah, right. but at least i might be proud of the job i'm doing both as a mother AND as an individual.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

pooka's tantrums are starting to make a comeback. she was doing really well for awhile, but lately the smallest things are setting her off. and when she's with me, we're like fire and kerosene.

i've talked to her teacher about the situation and i've talked to various members of my family about it. finally, it clicked: the return of the tantrums coincides with kisu's schedule change.

at the time, he went from mon through thu 9 am - 8 pm (where he could see pooka for a few minutes before school and a few before she went to bed and we had the weekend together) to fri thru sun and tue 10 am - 9 pm (which got him home a little too late for her to be waiting and totally hosed the weekend.) since he now works fri thru mon 3 pm - 2 am, he hardly sees her at all. he gets home way too late to wake up and see her before school but they have a couple hours on saturday. when bug gets the rare opportunity to see him, she barely recognizes him.

pooka has even started talking at school about how much she misses her father and how she doesn't get to see him much. (did i mention that i'm chopped liver to her?) the realization of it is breaking kisu's heart. right now, there's nothing we can do about the schedule, but we have to work on the areas we can. that means consistent rules and reactions (our weak point) and making the most of the time pooka and kisu can have together.

this is having an effect on our marriage, as well, moreso than pooka's treatment ever did, but we can cope with that a bit better than a 6 year old can. but there is a finite length of time to tolerate this schedule before changes and damages are done that turn out to be irreparable.

fortunately, kisu was handed the reigns for creating next month's work schedule. i see big changes coming for may. if we can only survive april.

Monday, April 7, 2008

personal high

today is turning out to be an awesome day. there are three main reasons:

  • weight
  • running
  • fart
i'll explain these, shall I?

i recently stopped obsessing about the scale and designated mondays as weigh-in days. last week was very disappointing because the birthday party played havoc with my resolve. this morning, the scale was very friendly, despite yesterday being a 'cheat' day for me. i ate whatever i wanted (including several cookie bars and a dinner of meatballs in a full-fat sour cream sauce) and didn't exercise at all.

recently, kisu and i have been working out together on mondays after i get home from work. today he's working. i made the determination that i would work out anyway, after work AND at lunchtime (as i usually do on other weekdays). having made this decision, i further decided that i would do cardio at lunch and weights later. i wanted to test my stamina, so i did my usual random walking program for 30 minutes. then i set the level to 0, the timer for 10 minutes, and away i ran. for 12 whole minutes! straight! i couldn't believe it, i am so proud of myself. i probably could have gone another minute, maybe 90 seconds, but i don't know if i could have done much more, honestly. besides, i needed to get back to work.

okay, for the third point, i feel obliged to post a warning: do not pass this point unless you want to know TMI (too much information) about delicate, demure me. HAH!

there's a gentleman at the gym (i use the term lightly) who loves to regale everyone with his opinions, inconsiderate of whether they may be engaged in some other activity. i find him annoying and a bit foul-mouthed for someone of his apparent stature. ironically, today, from the next treadmill, over he was ranting about how the "crap on tv" with all it's negative language and f-bombs is all the fault of russell simmons (of def-jam comedy, etc.). (i don't think i would credit one man with the erosion of such a yes, he used foul language to decry the foul language that permeates our current society.

anyway, i felt a small measure of satisfaction when i ripped a silent one that actually caused him to fan the air in front of his face. i admit that, although childish, it was difficult not to laugh out loud.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

gems from a 6 year old perspective

last weekend we attended the christening of our friend mary rose. pooka was very curious about everything: the church, the ceremony, the people. she was asking a ton of questions and wanted to explore the church after the ceremony was done. i'm glad she was interested and actually paying attention, especially considering how long the ritual ran.

some of the highlights:

how do melanie and her husband kiss? i was at a loss on this one, wondering what kind of answer she was expecting, when i worked out that she was confounded by the significant height difference between the two people involved. after my face lost its blush, i laughed. later kisu reminded me that i could have just said, "the same way you kiss daddy."

i explained that aunt nancy lost her sister at a young age, and pooka couldn't understand how a kid could die (confirming our suspicions that she has NO idea of the gravity of what she's been through the last 2 years). she thought there should be an age requirement for dying: a venerable 200 years. when my mom heard this, she groaned, "i'll never make it."

the church had an enormous wall of pipes for the organ. it was impressive. we went to get a closer look and i realized that the biggest pipes could accommodate pooka's head, if not her whole body. when i verbalized that idea, pooka refused to get near them. i had a wicked vision of her getting stuck in a pipe like augustus gloop.

Friday, April 4, 2008

birthday bug

how time does fly. last weekend was bug's first birthday and it just amazes me that she is already so old.

  • she is not yet walking, although she loves to freestand.
  • it seems like she recently had a personality/developmental explosion. although she has babbled practically nonstop since she was born, it comes across more as communication now. she has a handful of recognizable phonemes:
    • uh-oh
    • ny-ny for bedtime
    • na-na when she's doing something she shouldn't
    • noooo when someone else is doing something she doesn't want
    • yay when she claps her hands
    • dat-doo when you give her something or she gives you something
    • and ma-ma has finally made it's resurgence! when she wants me to pick her up.
  • she waves more often, she tries to blow kisses, she opens and closes both hands when she wants to be picked up. a lot of these things just appeared in the last 2 weeks.
  • she now has 5 teeth: the usual front 2 on top and bottom, and then a seemingly random molar. the mirror image molar is now starting to cut through.
  • according to the checkup today, she is 17 pounds 14 ounces and 27.5 inches. she is such a pixie!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

is tooth loss contagious?

pooka lost another tooth last night. coincidentally, her friend sean lost a tooth over the weekend and another schoolmate recently lost one.

according to pooka, none of the other k-g'ers have lost any teeth yet. this is her third.

she's so precocious.