My doctor, my friend

Today I called the family doctor to make an appointment for one of my children. My statement “Hi this is Sandra Tayler” was met by the receptionist brightening her voice and saying “Oh Hi!” like I’m a friend she hasn’t seen for awhile. I’m trying to decide if this is a good thing.

On one hand it is definitely nice to feel like the people at the doctor’s office actually care who you are. It is nice to know all their names and have them know yours even when they aren’t staring at the appointment screen.

On the other hand it means I’ve actually been in the office frequently enough for them to recoginize me both by name and by sight and to know the names of all of my children without having to look them up.

The gripping hand is that I’ve been going to this same doctor for more than 6 years, the staff there has been pretty constant in all that time, and I was one of the practice’s first patients. This means it makes SENSE for them to feel like I’m an old friend. In a way, I am.

While all of the foregoing thought does manage to make me feel better about knowing the people in the doctor’s office so well, it completely fails to make me happy that I’m having to take a child to the doctor AGAIN.

Buggy!

In the car enroute from swim lessons to the grocery store, Link shouted with glee “A white buggy!” All the children then craned their necks to determine that in fact there was a white volkswagen beetle right in front of us. Link then observed “but it’s not a turbo” the excitement in our car waned a little. Yes it was a beetle, but it in no way compared to Daddy’s beetle, which is infinitely cooler because it not only is a turbo, but is actually Turbo Schlock. (Schlock being Howard’s custom plate)

We spot beetles all over town and they’re always greeted with joyful cries. My kids haven’t yet been introduced to the concept of “Slug bug” and so thus far we’ve skipped the hitting and resultant crying because “She hit too hard!” I wonder if Howard ever thinks about that as he drives through town in his cool green beetle. Does he ever contemplate that everywhere he goes children are yelling and hitting each other? Good thing it’s a turbo bug so he can out run all those tired and frustrated parents.

sleep schedules

Gleek napped today at the worst possible time. 6-8 pm. This thoroughly kills any chance I have to unwind after kids are asleep because by the time I get her to go to bed it will already be past my bedtime.

Patches isn’t helping either. His sleeping schedule is all messed up and I have no idea why. My slices of re-couperation time which I snatch during the spare moments of the day are heavily dependent on my children acting predictably. They didn’t today.

So I’m tired. Tireder than I have any right to be. I actually got enough sleep last night.

No, wait. I just mentally reviewed all the stuff I did today and I’ve decided that I’ve got every right to be tired.

Then I reviewed all the stuff I didn’t do today and figured out why I feel down.

Fortunately a good night’s sleep is all I need to repair my sense of well-being. Unfortunately sleep isn’t going to happen until I convince Gleek and Patches to do the same.

A snippet of day

Howard’s out of town. This means there are more journal entries because it is a simple way for me to keep him up to date on little stuff at home. So in that spirit:

Today I was having a post crisis discussion with Gleek trying to make sure that the appropriate lessons had been learned by the experience. The answer I was reaching for was “say I’m sorry.” The conversation ran like this:

Me: “So what do you need to do to make it right?”
Gleek: “No biting.”
Me: “That’s good. Anything else?”
Gleek: “No I hate you.”
Me: “Very good. Anything else you need to do?”
Gleek: “um. . . do my homework?”

When Toys Cry

Today I’m tending my niece-to-be (My brother is in the process of adopting her)I’ll call her Belle. Belle actually spent the night last night since it was their anniversery. Gleek and Belle were both delighted, they are best friends despite a year age difference. I was exhausted. Like many kids who have been through the foster-care system Belle has behavioral issues. Nothing serious, she just requires extremely stable parenting because she’s used to a parent who moves to her every whim. Nothing I can’t handle, but it is tiring.

But there is one thing that has been driving me nuts ever since Belle arrived. Gleek and Belle spend lots of time playing pretend games, and for whatever reason the toys they play with spend a lot of time crying and calling “Mom!” I keep responding to what sounds like a major crisis only to have two cheerful little girls look at me like I’m nuts. Then they tell me “Go away, we’re playing.”

Unfortunately because of the behavioral issues, I pretty much have to check every time. With Belle, intervention is always necessary to resolve conflicts, particularly if Belle’s conflict is with Gleek. Gleek responds to attack by fortifying her position and hauling out the big guns. The big guns may be yelling or hitting or even occasionally biting. In short when they play nice it’s great, when they fight I have to get there as fast as possible before there is blood.

So I’ve been spending today in a fairly high-vigilance state. Fortunately my brother will be coming to pick Belle up this afternoon. I like Belle. I love the way that Gleek and Belle play happily together for hours on end. I love seeing how happy Gleek is to have Belle here. I’m just tired and I wish the toys would stop crying.

Swallowed

Well I’ve achieved another parental rite of passage. Gleek swallowed a toy. Okay, it was a piece of a board game, but it is still a new experience for all involved. I’ve had kids eat crayons before, but those are at least semi-digestable. Fortunately the gamepiece in question was a small round glass stone, unlikely to get stuck or to cause damage on the way down.

Gleek was very concerned about the turn of events. Her eyes were about twice their normal size and she kept touching her throat as if she couldn’t quite believe it happened. Toys aren’t supposed to do that kind of thing. So now I have a lap-Gleek who needs reassurance that All Will Be Well.

What amazes me when I think about it is that I’ve been a parent for over nine years without once having a child swallow a toy. To read the warnings on toy boxes it seems as if toys are just lying in wait to jump down small throats. But if I’m inclined to feel smug about my former record I only have to remember that there are many many parents in the world who’ve never been to the emergency room to have objects removed from a child’s nose.

Strawberry Kids

Today we went to a relative’s house to pick strawberries. All the kids were thrilled to go. And once they got there Patches stayed interested long enough to eat a strawberry and tromple plants. Gleek picked a dozen strawberries and wandered off to play. Link did the same thing, only he picked about 20 berries. Kiki loved it. She picked baskets full. And then she was really excited that we had enough to make strawberry jam. I could tell that the jam-making would have to begin the moment we got home or I’d be pestered unceasingly. This necessitated a trip to the grocery store for a few supplies.

Taking all four kids to the grocery store is not on my favorite-things-to-do list. I usually have to plan ahead and get myself in a journey-not-destination frame of mind. I also try to cultivate a spirit of calmness for when the fail to do what they said they would (I’ll stay right by the cart.) This frame of mind was not going to happen today. I needed to grab the groceries and get home so Patches could go down for his nap. We got in and out in 30 minutes, not to bad for a 10 item shopping trip with four kids. While we were buckling back up in the car Kiki said “Mom why are you mad?”

I explained to her that I wasn’t mad. I was just wearing my Business Mommy Face because Things Needed Done.
“Oh. I don’t like your Business Mommy Face.” She thought a moment more and added. “I made a promise to my (future) kids that I would always be a nice mom. But mom’s sometimes HAVE to be mean, don’t they?” Hallelujah! She gets it!

We arrived home and hauled kids, groceries, baskets, and strawberries all inside. Then Kiki and Link ran off to a neighbor’s lured by the promise of swimming. So much for strawberry jam.

Real Life Nature Programs

This evening I was out in my backyard doing my usual tour to see if anything was suffering or dying after the heat of the day, when I heard a strange noise. My first thought was that it was a frog. Since I live in a desert state, a frog is really really unlikely so I tried to locate the source of the sound. It was a hummingbird. He was hovering a foot over our wisteria vine and making little dips along with a chirping noise.

Then as I watched he flew 20 feet upwards and then in a long swooping glide passed only a few feet above my head and back to his high altitude. He dopplered me this way several times while I just watched in amazement. This was obviously some sort of mating display. At the end he perched on my wisteria seeming very pleased with himself indeed. It was like a nature video in my own backyard. If Mr. Hummingbird manages to convince a female of his prowess, then maybe I’ll get a nest in my yard too.

Another amazing feat of nature I got to witness recently was while I was hiking during my recent vacation. Howard and I kept passing branches which had large webbed clumps stuck to them. We both associate webs with spiders and so we steered really clear of the clumps figuring that we didn’t want to meet any spider who could make a clump the size of an orange. But later on there was a clump right next to the path and I leaned closer to take a look. It was full of caterpillars! Lots of them, they were all wiggling back and forth to spin this little community home. As I watched, a wasp flew up, bit one of the caterpillars, and flew off with it. Again, something out of a nature video.

Really amazing stuff nature. I think we should have more of it.

Patches

Patches has recently gone through one of those developmental leaps. The ones where suddenly your kids is doing a bunch of stuff he wasn’t even capable of yesterday. The fascination with the garbage can seems to have waned (Yay!) to be replaced by a fascination with climbing on top of the table to forage. He’s started luring me to the pantry to point at the cheerios. He’ll hand me a cup and shove me toward the fridge. No chance of this kid starving, if I haven’t fed him recently enough he lets me know.

He’s also begun carrying cars with him wherever he goes. They roll on just about any available surface and go “vrrrrrrr” Where did he learn that? Perhaps is observational, he certainly lights up for any kind of engine noise. We live in a cul-de-sac with no less than three deisel trucks and any time he hears one of those things arrive or leave he runs to the front window to watch. We watch helicopters and planes too. In fact, he’ll hear them and start looking for them before I even notice that there is a noise.

He can point to 6 or 7 body parts, he knows how to say night night, blow kisses, give kisses, and hugs all on command. He can follow one step commands. He loves shoes. If he finds shoes they have to go on his feet even if they don’t belong to him. Watching him try to walk in Daddy’s boots is hilarious. Mostly he falls over.

He loves snuggles and has the biggest happiest grin in the world. Now I’ve made myself all teary and I want to go hug him. But I won’t cause he’s sleeping. Plenty of hugging time in the morning.