December 17, 2010

People Just Don't Think #1

I was having an okay day today. Then one of my parents' friends called up. This is a woman I know, but not someone with whom I communicate frequently or anything of that nature. It has been a very long time since I have spoken to her, much less seen her. Here is our phone call, repeated as closely to the exact words as I can recall:

Me: Hello?

So and So: Hello, is this [my Mom's name]?

Me: No, this is Paige.

S&S: Hi, Paige, this is So-and-so.

Me: Hi.

S&S: What are you all up to?

Me: Not much; getting ready for nap time.

S&S: Oh. I was just calling to find out what happened.

Me: What happened? [me, totally confused...wondering if there was some thing my parents were supposed to have done/had planned/told her about...]

S&S: Yes, what happened.

Me: What happened with what?

S&S: What happened with the baby.

[Um, What?!?]

Me: She's dead, that's what happened.

S&S: Well I know that. [with a rather large implied "duh" in her tone]

Me: Okay.

S&S: I just spoke with Dave McKee.

Me: Okay. [which explains nothing to me except that I know he knows that I brought death into this world - what a fabulous contributor I am]

S&S: I didn't even know you were pregnant. [said accusatorily]

Me: Okay.

S&S: Blah blah blah. [I don't know because my Mom was asking me who it was at that point and I was telling her I did not want to be talking any further. DUH TOTALLY IMPLIED THERE.]

And the rest of the conversation was a bunch of nothing. For real, not in the sense that I don't remember it, but in the sense that really nothing else was said. Let me give all of you a little piece of advice: if someone you know delivers a dead baby, calling up out of the blue a month or two later and having the above conversation as if something is owed to you is not a good idea. I repeat: NOT A GOOD IDEA. You are only attempting to serve YOUR needs in that situation and you are NOT thinking about the effect it might have on the one person affected most horribly by the events.

Events. As if we planned such a thing. You plan events, not dead babies, but I don't know what else to call it.

My main response afterwards: a very angry "Really?!?!?!!!??"

It took a LONG time for me to stop being extremely angry. A long, long time. I yelled at my one living daughter, who granted, was not listening to me, but still didn't deserve it so yay for feeling guilty all day as well, thanks for that. I wanted to run or yell or throw something but none of those options were available to me (stupid snow) so instead I read a book to escape which only means that here I am, late at night, still angry, though not as much, and still needing to run or yell or throw things.

Awesome.

This right here would be my only outlet, really, so apologies for the venting.

But I am TOTALLY ALLOWED.


People just do not think.

.

[that would be period]

What would I just LOVE to say in response to the many "What happened?!?" questions that I receive? Let's see...

She's dead, that's what happened. On October 28, 2010, a dead, rotting carcass came out of my body. That's right. It had been decaying in there for a whole week, so it was a really pretty sight for all of us. Does my body do things up right, or what?!?! I mean, could I have had better timing? A dead, rotting carcass is a pretty fabulous way to celebrate Halloween, don't you think? I win creepiest costume award for sure.

What is it that people think they're going to hear when they ask me that? I mean really.

NOTHING HAPPENED. SHE IS DEAD. THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED.

There is no why, people. There is no explanation. No one decided that this was "supposed to" happen to me (which has been implied). No one "gave" this to me (written to me). This wasn't "for a reason" (said to me). This was not "Part of God's plan for your life." (also written to me). I have so many arguments to support WHY none of those things are true, but no one wants to listen to them and they are too long for this post.  Let me just explain it in two words: faith, love.

I have a list of blog post ideas that go under the title: People Just Don't Think. This phone call was a perfect example. I don't owe anyone an explanation. If anyone IS owed an explanation, it is I and yet I seem to be the only one aware of  and okay with the fact that there is none. But people want one. So who do they decide to call up and give the third degree...about my DEAD baby?...ME!

REALLY??!?!?!?!

THINK before you speak/act, people, if at all possible. I'm not saying it will stop you; I am definitely one to say/do what I think is best or needed, and I fail at thinking before I speak/act sometimes too. But in THIS situation and ones like it, please THINK first. The main questions to ask yourself are:

1. Who am I really asking these questions/doing these things for?
- if the answer is you, because you are upset or you need information, then don't ask/do.

2. Will I hurt anyone?
- because if you don't know that the answer is a for sure NO, then DON'T DO IT.

She called because she is upset. Yes, I know that she is upset for my Mom and for me, but also for herself...and for the situation in general. While I completely empathize with that (hello, I am the one who's body created death, thanks), I do not need to be on the receiving end of that. Not one bit. She also called for herself more than for us. She called because she was upset and because she needed information, an explanation - and that is the WRONG thing to call for.

I think this all might have been avoided if she had not called me immediately. She called after having very recently found out and while still shocked and upset. Or at least that is what it seemed when I spoke to her. And again, I get that. Believe me, I do. But she called for her and didn't even stop to think what it might do to me to have to suddenly, out of nowhere, describe to someone that isn't close to me (which is probably why she didn't know I was pregnant in the first place) what "happened".

Yes, part of grief is anger.

Um, I am totally aware that I am angry sometimes, thanks.

I have every reason to be, thanks again.

It does not mean that I don't see her position or her side, but it angers me that she didn't think of me, my position or my side beforehand. I am tired of people doing that and they do it often.

In the same token, this would be the straw that broke MY back. It sounds like I am only angry with her, but I am not. And when I say I see her point of view, I mean that I do. But I HAVE to have a way to release the anger and this is it. She is not the first nor will she be the last to anger me by doing this. My doctor (if you can believe THAT) was the FIRST person to do it. I can't wait to tell you all that story:

Welcome to anger, come on in and make yourself at home!

November 17, 2010

Hardly

Dear Addison,

Today would have been your birthday. Your Daddy had a flight booked to arrive at midnight on Friday the 12th. He would have spent that next day with your Grammie and Pop-Pop and then he would have traveled down here to see me and your "Biiiiiiiiig sister!"

We toyed with the idea of inducing on Monday, but I think we would have opted for today because that way your "Biiiiiiiiig sister!" would have been in school, something consistent, during part of the labor.

Instead I delivered you on October 28th. I don't think of it as a birthday. You didn't get a birthday. They don't call it death either, because in order for there to be a date for that you have to have been born, alive, first.

You actually died sometime during the night of Thursday, October 21st and Friday, October 22nd. It was probably in the wee hours of the morning on the 22nd. I know this because I felt it happen. I won't go into it now because I'm not ready to share that with everyone. I am not saying that I felt it like a "gut feeling" type of thing, though. I mean that I actually felt you fight for your life and lose.

Inside of me.

Then I carried you, dead, for a week.

Inside of me.

In one day, you were here...only not really.

I delivered you, but you were not born.

You died, but you did not live.

I get the best and the worst of this situation. I am the only one who knew you in life. I felt you move and kick and poke and flip. I knew you, in a tiny way, before anyone else.

And yet I didn't know you. I'll never know you.

I also knew first that you were gone. You stopped moving, you fought and lost and I had to carry you that way while we waited for a "good" time to deliver you.

There really isn't a good time for that, you know.

Today would have been your birthday. We would have gone to the hospital anxious to meet you. We would have been tired but so happy when you arrived. We would have heard you cry and I would have fed you and we would have held you and smelled your new baby smells.

None of that will ever be.

Today I went to the funeral home because your certificate was ready. The one that says that you cease to exist. It doesn't say that you were born and it doesn't say that you died. It just says that you are gone.

And that you belong to me.

I am your mother;
I carried you in life and death;
I brought you into the world;
I gave you the best farewell I could manage.

Your absence belongs to me.

I have to own that. I have to make that part of me. Instead of giving birth to you and taking you home I have a piece of paper. It is hardly sufficient. I don't even really want it. And yet I desperately want it because it is one of only a very few things of yours that I will ever have. We will never make memories with you. We will not be a family together. I will never care for you or teach you.

You'll never have a birthday.

Just a piece of paper.

It is hardly sufficient.

November 12, 2010

Memorial for Addison Leigh

Hello there.  I have some information regarding a memorial for Addison.  We've had people tell us they are interested in participating.  I cannot remember exactly who told me they are interested, so I have decided to post about it here and link to it via facebook. Hopefully between this and email we can let everyone know.  Please do not feel like you have to participate; many of you have already helped us greatly and we very much appreciate all that you have done.

We met with a professor at Virginia Western Community College, located here in Roanoke, Virginia.  There is a community arboretum on the grounds and within that arboretum is a children's garden.  We plan to put an educational memorial in that garden.  At this time we are thinking of a kinetic wind sculpture (video at bottom of page) as well as a child-sized bench to match the adult ones already present in the area.  I also like the idea of wind chimes being placed somewhere in the garden and if we have the resources I think that we will do that as well.

I cannot guarantee that this is the final verdict on what will be done; I do know that we really like the idea in general and these items in particular.  When a final decision has been made we will be sure to tell everyone the outcome.

If you would like to take part in the memorial, checks made out to The Community Arboretum and designated Addison Leigh Memorial can be sent to this address:

The Community Arboretum
P.O.Box 14007
Roanoke, VA 24038-4007

Any donations made can be claimed for tax purposes under the same category as a donation made to a college or university.

I know that not everyone keeps up with us here on the blog and that there are plenty who do not have a facebook account.  If you know that I have missed someone, please feel free to forward this information along.  I don't want anyone to think that we forgot them.

Again, thank you to everyone for your prayers and support; we are stronger and capable of getting through this because of our wonderful friends and family.  Please contact me if you have any questions.

October 31, 2010

Name That Movie

Now I look like I've gone and had a really bad boob job. I'd say about three sizes too big. I mean, people, I don't even have to bend over to have some spectacular cleavage. If you know me, then you know this is far from normal.

While the added...oomph...might normally be appreciated, there is no relief in sight. Right now they are taking the physical form of rocks. And by that I mean hard as.

Painful does not even begin to describe the situation.

It definitely gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "Over-the-shoulder boulder-holder."

Surely you know what movie that one is from?

October 26, 2010

Complete One-Eighty

Last Tuesday I went to my doctor's office for a check-up and ultrasound.  I had gained four pounds in the last two weeks (ack!), but everything else was great.  I got to see the little one all crammed in there.  The heart was beating at about 145 and the weight was about 5 and a half pounds.  Also, we finally found out that we were going to have another little girl.

Then the doctor asked if I'd like her to check me and I said go ahead.  I was already dilated to a 2 and 50% effaced....at which point she told me I probably wouldn't make it past 36 or 37 weeks.

Um, hello?  I was 35 weeks and 4 days at that appointment.

Jeepers Creepers.

So, I came home, called Rocket Man over in Russia and shared the news.  Then we told Miss Thing that she would have a baby sister.  Oh, was that good, because she told us "Just like me!"

On Wednesday I took her with me to shop for some clothing.  We looked all over the store and purchased a bunch of items.  Some were for now and some for months down the line since we'd need to take about a year worth of clothing back with us.

Miss Thing kept going back to a pair of newborn pajamas with snowmen on them.  She would take them off of the hanger and bring them to me and put them on her "baby sister".  They were "Juuuuust right!"

Thursday or Friday sometime Rocket Man and I talked on the webcam and I was able to show him everything that I had purchased.  I had two sets of matching pajamas, one for winter/Christmastime and one with a polar bear, which is appropriate for Russia...whether they live there or not.  I told him that in the next few days we would need to get the portable crib out here and pack bags and do all of those things since Saturday I would be 36 weeks and the doctor thought I might not last much past then.

Friday evening I noticed that she wasn't moving around as much, but her back was most definitely facing out and when this happened earlier in the pregnancy it just meant that all of the movement was much more difficult to sense.  Saturday morning was the same, so I broke all of the rules of Gestational Diabetes dieting and drank part of a real soda (egads!) to see if that would make her move a bit more.

We headed up to the pumpkin patch with Miss Thing that morning (post and photos to come) and I was walking around the whole time.  I still wasn't really feeling much, so when we returned I headed to the doctor.

I got to the hospital and they took me to a room and tried to find a heartbeat.  The nurse said she was getting blips here and there but she wanted a doctor to check because she wasn't sure that it wasn't me that she was picking up.  He came in and hooked up an ultrasound machine and there she was on there.  Looking absolutely perfect with all of her body parts...

...except that one wasn't moving.

There I was, 36 weeks, with a completely formed baby who looked great and who could absolutely survive outside of the womb at that stage...

...except she couldn't.

It had been four days since I had seen her little heart working and pumping.  Less since I had felt her moving, since I had poked on my belly and she had poked right back.

Everything changed.

All of our plans to accommodate bringing this little piece of us into our lives were suddenly void.

Instead I was calling Rocket Man and waking him in the wee hours of the morning to tell him that I was at the hospital and not for the reason we all thought I would be.  Instead of telling him exciting and happy news I had to devastate him.

*********

We are doing well, all things considered.  There is no explanation; there are no answers.  I am okay with that.  This thing, this event that is now taking place is not one anyone wants to experience, but it happens.  It just...happens.

Right now I am scheduling the necessary occasions: labor, delivery, meeting our little girl, burial.  Aside from meeting her, I am really not looking forward to much of it...and even that will be a mixed bag of emotions.

We are planning to induce on Thursday morning.  We will have a viewing on Saturday morning and will go straight from there to the graveside for a short service.

*********

I am sure that I will write about this more; it will help me.  I don't know what I will say and I imagine it will run the gamut.  I'll try to remember to put a disclaimer or something up so that if anyone doesn't want to read it they don't have to.

In my opinion, this is very much about whatever someone needs, which is how I feel about all of this.  If someone feels like they need to cry, so be it.  If they need to scream, that is fine.  If they just need to be there or if they need to not be there - whatever is needed and everyone is different.  None of it will bother or upset us at all because in a situation like this, what else can you do besides react however you need to?

We've all gone from anticipating a very happy event to now anticipating something that is unthinkable.  It is definitely a complete reversal and extremely surreal.

I'll write again when I can.  Or maybe just when I need to.

September 21, 2010

Hello from Tokyo!

This is a game called "Dee Dah, Dee Dah, DAH!" that Miss Thing has been playing with her Daddy and her Tokyo Souvenir, which she named Patches.

Enjoy and I'll hopefully post soon from the states!

September 6, 2010

These Are a Few...

...of My New Favorite Things.

We've been in Sapporo, Japan (Hokkaido) this past week/weekend for a 2.5-day mini-vacation.  I have photos and more regarding the time we spent there.  For now I would like to show you some of the fabulous (to us, anyway) things we were able to purchase on our trip.

Let's begin with Day One's purchases, all made in Otaru, a coastal town northwest-ish of Sapporo.  They are very well known for their glass work and a little less well known for their music boxes.  Of course we had to check them both out.

Here is my new music box (jewelry box):

They had boxes of all shapes, sizes, colors, and intricacies.  Anyone could find something they like.  There were tiny little boxes, some that only played music, some that looked bedazzled, gold, silver, and every color under the sun.  They also had lacquer-ware ones like mine of all shapes and sizes.

 The inside of all of them is quite nice, usually featuring a mirror and the red velvet-like material.  It was very difficult to choose one as there were literally hundreds (thousands?) of boxes in one shop and everywhere you looked you would see something that caught your eye.  I chose this type because I kept coming back to them.  I figured that was a good a sign as any that I liked it more than the others.

The inlaid floral patterns (and pagoda scenes, etc.) are really beautiful.  There were many with the cherry-blossoms as one might expect.  I chose this one because the flowers are small and there are even a few petals being blown away on the front edge of the box (you can see them in the second photo).

Once the music box purchasing had been finished, we meandered back towards the center of town and checked out a few glass shops along the way.  Otaru is known for the glass artisans; they once made the gas lamps in town and glass buoys for the fishing boats.  Since neither of those items are much in use any more (well, buoys are, but they are made of different material these days methinks), the artists took to creating all sorts of glassware.

As with the music boxes, anyone could find something they like in the way of glassware in Otaru.  The color range encompassed all hues and the styles ranged from very simple to more modern and then the more typical Japanese (at least to us) looking items.

We purchased a drinking set that includes the pitcher and five of these little cups.  The photos do not do the colors justice.  The pitcher is made so that your pour the liquid into the top for serving and to keep it cold, you place ice in the side pocket which is sectioned off completely from the interior.  It would not be Japanese if not functional.

On Day Two, we managed to take a taxi out to a tiny hole-in-the-wall (under the house/in the carpark) kimono shop.  Here they work on kimonos and all of their accessories.  There were obi, kimono, shoes, bags, pins, and even stripped down kimono fabrics for sale.


We were looking for an Obi, and this is the first that caught my eye.  It is difficult to choose which one you like because once again, they come in every color imaginable.  Your house from the 60s or 70s that you've never upgraded and therefore has the original color palette?  You could absolutely find multiple options for an obi to match your decor.


The second obi we chose is covered with fans and scenes from the countryside.  I really like that it has some larger light-colored sections to really stand out.  It is a different color-scheme, but has some of the same tones as the first and we hope they can be in the same house if nothing else without clashing terribly.  Surely this is possible.

 I think we'll find places for them both regardless.  Now to find out where everyone purchased the nifty obi-hangers I've seen here in their homes...

I am very happy with these new items.  When living in Spain, I usually took tons of photos as our reminder of our travels.  It wasn't until just before we left that we finally made some decisions about what we'd like to take home.  Now that there are kids involved, I only manage to take a few photos of any quality, so having other items is very nice.  Plus, we'll have these things forever...if we can prevent the aforementioned children from ruining them all.

Only time will tell!

September 2, 2010

Crazy-Pants

There is a phenomenon known as Crazy-Pants. CP, as she is known, does all sorts of random things that are most certainly loca.  For example, she likes to place a trash can on her head and walk around the house singing.  Usually the song is Row, Row, Row Your Boat with all of the words except merrily replaced by someone's name.  A favorite is Daddy; merrily comes out as mer.


If while walking around CP happens to bump into something, she'll lift her helmet and peek out at whomever or whatever it is, talk to him/her/it a bit and then replace the helmet and continue as before.


Alternatively, CP will bump into a person, check to see if it is indeed a human, and then commence playing a form of Peek-a-Boo...whether the person participates or not does not seem to matter.


Above is CP wearing her one and only Japanese outfit.  It was on for about three minutes, top.  Apparently all of the tying and strange fabric did not suit her.  While in it, she was a cheese-monster.  Feet shoulder width apart, face scrunched, and "Cheeeeeeeeeeeeese!"


Another CP production involves singing with hand motions.  As you can see here, she is showing everyone the wide part of Deep and Wide.  It is quite the performance, as noted by her Daddy in the background.


Cooking is a new thing.  Mama cooks all of the time now and CP watches from the kitchen table with commentary.  "Mama's cooooooking.  Mama's cutting.  It's not ready yet.  It's not cooked.  It makes you sick."  This has led to some pretend cooking in the playroom here at Casa CP.  We don the chef hat and jacket, oven mit and wooden spoon and go to town.  It is "just pretend" though, in case you were wondering.


CP does not just pretend to wear her hat and sunglasses.  The hat is hit or miss, but the glasses are a favorite.  They are worn when going to the restaurant, the community store, the playground, to see Buster Doggie and Bailey Doggie, in the car and would be in the house if allowed.

There are some other crazy things that occur here, the likes of which I cannot explain.  One I can describe for you however.  CP places her left hand up to her face with her pointer finger across her lips and the rest of her hand in a fist.  She then says: "Hmmmm....I know!  I've got an idea!"  I reply: "You do?  What is it?"  And she will respond with one of the following:

"I know!  Mama do it!"

or the ever popular

"I don't know!"

September 1, 2010

Birthday Party!

At the very end of July, we attended a birthday party here at Olympia.  The birthday girl, who turned three, is pictured above with one of the fabulous party favors received by all of the guests under four feet tall.


Miss Thing was a complete mess that entire day due to the non-sleep chronicles going on at our house.  We were a bit late to the party because we let her sleep longer than usual for her nap.  When we arrived, everyone was busy finishing their meal.  The kids' table was full of Hello Kitty dinner-ware.


Luckily for her, hot dogs were on the menu.  She may have been a tad hungry since she scarfed down two of them right away.  Also, note the hat.  They don't usually stay on her head for that long, so the hunger most definitely overcame the uncomfortable-ness.


It was a really lovely afternoon; we didn't have many of them in July, so it was nice for the adults to be able to sit and talk outside while the kids played everywhere.


This photo is funny on so many levels.  The kids are playing Pin the bow on the Kitty and it was interesting.  Take note of the concentration on the Mom assisting the little boy.  In the background the birthday girl is obviously unsure about the blind-folding process.  If only you could see the line of children behind them all waiting for their turn.  It was excellent.


Later the kids got to hit the pinata.  Most were gentle with it, but there were definitely a few who knew what they were doing.  Regardless we had to enlist a parent to finally break the thing open.  Miss Thing had no idea what we were doing, but she "hit" the pinanta about as forcefully as a fly and then when it finally broke open I think she collected about five pieces of candy.


The kids went into the house to watch a movie while the adults hung out in the yard.  After a while I went inside to check on them and was met with the view above.  I love how they all have balloons and they're all gaping at the television.  I think there's a reason they call it the boob-tube...because watching it turns you into one after awhile.


This is quite possibly my favorite photo of the day. Miss Thing finally ate her first piece of hard candy. It was "Mmmm, yummy." Not so yummy was the way she kept taking it out of her mouth to look at it.

Sticky.

August 31, 2010

City Mall Fun

One unique aspect of our current living situation (coupled with the newly potty-trained child) is that we are at least twenty minutes from, well, anything, thirty or more from town, and have I mentioned yet that we have to take our car seats in and out of the vehicles? What this means is that there isn't much exploring going on and therefore I don't know very many places to take Miss Thing for out-of-the-community fun.

We have ventured to City Mall, a relatively new completion only twenty minutes away. There are shops of all kinds from everywhere and two whole floors with play areas and arcade games.

We've gone to the play area twice now, the second time being our first no diapers outing. Yay for no accidents. Also, thanks to Miss Amanda and Adam for putting up with the bathroom trips. Here are some photos of our time there:


The main attraction is a blow-up bouncy house/slide combo complete with sea animals for riding and squishing.


Here she is with her friend K, whom we have missed while she's been in Australia.


Miss Thing desperately wanted to slide like her friends, but refused to go up the ladder until all other children left the area. Thankfully this did occur, and up she went. It was tough going, but once she figured it out, she was following Adam up there over and over again!


Of course, she does not go down on her tuckus; nope, we choose the tummy. It makes her happy, so it is fine with me!


On our second visit, she finally braved the trampoline area. There are four small trampolines on a raised surface. The nice thing is that they only let one child play on them at a time, so each has their own area and there is no bonking of heads.

We may have found out those were the rules after breaking them, but hey, now we know.

By the way, jumping is serious business.

Serious.


At the end of visit one, we all went to the City Market (small grocery store; big for here) to pick up a few items before we headed home. Miss Thing and I were done first, so we headed out to the lobby...

...where who did we meet, but Mortimer..erm..Mickey Mouse!

Is it really him!?! Why, yes it is!

(This is as close as she would get, but hey - she sat with him and let him touch her, so that is great.)

We took one final shot of the girls with Mickey before leaving.

At which point my child began crying.

Um, yeah.

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Indeed.

August 30, 2010

Say.....

Cheese!


Take One


Take Two


Take Three


Ta-Da!

August 27, 2010

POW

- I've been up since 6 am.  I know.  This does not seem like any sort of so-called un-Godly hour, but 'tis.  Might not be so bad if my body would allow me to fall asleep any time before 2 am.  Alas, this is my plight.  Every night I 'go to bed' between 9 and 10:30 and then I do not sleep.  For those of you who believe that this is the baby preparing me...let's just say that I am well aware of the coming torture that is a child who never sleeps (see: my first child) and so I could really do without the 'preparation'.

- I do not normally get up at 6.  If I can help it, anyway.  If I do it is usually because of, you guessed it, child number one.  She is still asleep.  Go figure.  I had Rocket Man wake me, in the middle of some (finally) much needed shut-eye so that I could make doctor appointments with a couple of fine physicians in the states.  One of the finer points of living half-way around the world.

-  Also, yay for sentence fragments in lieu of the real thing.

- Yesterday:  home-made (bread-maker) bread; home-made (and hand-made), from scratch (just in case you didn't get that part) biscuits.  Declared yummy by all who ate them which is a good thing for my first time making them.  Also, sliced, tenderized (Mama, you're hitting!  Mama use a hammer.  Mmmm, I LIKE beef, Mama.) divided and frozen beef for stir-fry.  The same, minus the tenderizing, was done with veggies for same.

- Lately: 5 loaves of bread-maker bread, most frozen; chicken breasts cleaned, divided into single portions (12) and frozen; more than 100 meat-balls made, divided and frozen; two batches of beans soaked, slow-cooked and then (you guessed it) divided and frozen.

- I'm not done.  I've got 1 or 2 more batches of beans to cook, 8 more servings of stir-fry meat and veggies to conquer, and then I'm going to attempt some pizzas.  As in home-made crust/pizza, not the frozen ones from the store.

- We are not pizza snobs here at casa crazy-pants; please do not misunderstand.  In fact, I went shopping this week and also purchased five boxes of piccolinos (small round pizzas, 9 per box) with prosciutto and cheese on them - they are one of our favorites.

- Surely this will help Rocket Man with the 12 weeks, count 'em, that Miss Thing and I (and baby2) will be back in the states without him (longer than that, really, but he'll make an appearance or two).

- Assuming he doesn't eat it all in the first three weeks.

- Must. Exhibit. Restraint.

- Yay.

- Fragments.

August 17, 2010

Hooray for.......


Notice anything different about that picture?  Granted, it is mostly hidden.  If you take a peek beside her right foot you might notice that there is no thick padded absorbent item where one would normally be.  Oh, no my friends, those are UNDERPANTS! of a Minnie variety.

Yup, I'm going to talk about it.  If you don't want to know, then please feel free to not read.  I will tell you that there are some funnies at the end, but you could even skip to those if you like.

So...here goes.

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Last Monday I decided to start potty-training.  We'd introduced the potty before, mostly because it arrived in our air shipment and she saw it and wanted to know what it was.  She would sit on it and go, but it wasn't real so much as it was luck (I had her sit on it after naps and in the morning when she would naturally need to use it).

About a week before our sea shipment arrived I tried for real...at quite possibly the worst time ever.  We were having a few sleeping issues, for one.  Either she'd get us both up early or I would be unable to fall asleep until the wee hours and therefore I was not in a great mood for something that requires a lot of patience.  You know, like training a little one to put the proper things in the pot.  Added to this was the fact that Rocket Man was out of town for a week...and basically the worst time ever.

I only tried for a day.  It was very clear that she wasn't ready: she could not get her own pants off, for one, which can impede the process.  Also, she absolutely knew what was expected and also that she wasn't/couldn't do it and so basically she was just really upset and frustrated all day.  It was not a good thing.  I put the potty away completely and decided that I'd wait until our sea shipment arrived and we had put it all away.  I also wanted Rocket Man to be in town before we tried again.

This brings us to last Monday.  I have an Elmo video that talks all about potty-related things.  Now, my child was only exposed to the little red squeaker a very tiny bit before we came overseas...and I've only seen him on the television a few times here.  Mostly she liked Mr. Noodle.

That Mr. Noodle...he is so SILLY!

The fact that Mr. Noodle is nowhere to be found did not bother her a bit.  Oh, no, there is someone even better in this video: Elmo's Daddy.


She LOVES him.  I referred to him many times this past week and there may have been a couple of days where we watched Elmo's Potty Time...well, enough that I had the songs stuck in my head when I tried to go to sleep.

Anyway.

Monday morning we watched the video together and I explained/reiterated things taught on it.  Then we put on some training underpants and began.  After about 3 wet underpants, I decided to just take them off for a bit.  The morning was not very successful.  That afternoon, after her nap, we had some success.  Finally she stopped going  on the floor mid-stream, ran to the potty and 'finished' on there.  That was all I needed for the reward.

What, you might ask, is the reward?

Well, for my child, it is a 'teddy-bear treat' - A.K.A. Gummy Bear.

People, it is all about the reward.  It must be something they want.  A lot.  Muchissimo.  Also, it is different for each kid.  I have a friend whose son only found interest in all things potty-related once she told him he could blow bubbles in the house if he got it in the pot.
 

Moving along...later she had an actual success on the potty with no accident precluding it.  As soon as I gave her a treat she said "Let's do it again!", ran to the potty and put the rest of what she had in there.

Methinks she was ready.

Day by day we got better and by Saturday she was going to the potty all on her own, pulling her own pants down, etc. without any prodding from us.  Things have only gotten better since and we no longer get treats for liquid.  I can even report that today, finally, she went poo in the pot as well.

Obviously this does not mean that there are not any more accidents or that we are done learning.  Overall, though, she'll just announce "I need to go potty." or not, and then head off to take care of things.  Today she even impressed the nanny, who was clearly surprised that she went all day with no accidents.

Good times.

Now that you've read through all of that...JUST what you wanted to read about today...I shall share a few of the more interesting moments:

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Day One:

I have shown her what to do, we have had a mini-sit on the pot with no...production...and we've watched the video, etc.  She is playing and gets into a little house (you know, the ones that are made of fabric and pop open?) and is playing when suddenly she shouts "I need to go potty!!!" (while already going of course) and stands up and tries to RUN to the potty.

She is moving fast...

...and so is the house.

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Day Five:

While number one is going quite well, there is no number two success.  We're talking on the webcam with Guga and Papa Jim and Miss Thing has again entered the little house.  She's talking and playing and then comes out to tell me "Pee-pee in my pants."

Except it isn't exactly a liquid.

I don't know this of course, and tell her to hurry and take her underpants off and then go sit on the potty.  She yanks and pulls and finally gets them off and PLOP.

Oh, yes.

Right there on the floor.

Just what her proud grandparents wanted to witness.

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 Today:

We've just finished dinner and are cleaning everything up.  Chica announces to the household that she needs to go and does her thing.

About five minutes later I notice that the underpants are still off.  I mention this to Rocket Man and he heads over to take care of it and takes a peek into the potty...

...where there is no receptacle for 'catching' the business.

That's right people, I forgot to replace the bucket.

Not that it stopped her, of course.

Thankfully this particular potty does not open up to the floor, so it was easy to clean.

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Throughout the week of training:


Miss Thing:  "Let's go GET that teddy-bear treat!"
 
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Rocket Man: "I don't think I've ever seen her butt-cheeks as much as I have this week."

Me:  "All that tells me is that you haven't changed nearly enough diapers."

Perhaps we can begin to remedy that with little being number two in a few months.

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Thanks for reading.  Apologies if you really didn't want to know.  I hope you could chuckle at a few of the stories at the least!  Hopefully tomorrow or the next day I'll have some new photos of Miss Thing and I can tell you some more about some of the other things she's been learning/doing.

August 12, 2010

Things

  • I've used my bread-maker a few times.  The bread is way yummy, but if I eat a bunch of it there will be problems for sure.  Hopefully I can make a bunch and start freezing it for Rocket Man so that while we are home for forever he'll have some to eat.  We'll be gone for about sixteen weeks, though and he eats a loaf a week easy...I doubt I will make that many.  Luckily it is very easy to use, so he should be able to make some on his own as well.
  • Wednesday night I made meatballs.  They were fabulous.  I am planning to make a bunch of those and freeze them as well because dude, I could eat them whenever.
  • Tonight I made Fettuccine Alfredo with shrimp for those of us over three feet tall.  Everyone loved it, even Miss Thing.  I had to tell her we would keep what was left in her bowl and she could eat it tomorrow in order for her to get down from the table.  Messy meal indeed.
  • While making said pasta, I happened to leave the baggie with the parm-regg in it on the counter...where my child got it.  I hear "Mmmmm, yummy!" about three times before I turn around to see her taking bites off of the chunk.  Awesome.
  • Soaked beans today for some slow-cooker goodness tomorrow.  Let's hope they turn out yummy since I want to freeze some of them as well.
  • What?  We are two and a quarter people; we don't eat that much.
  • Except for Rocket Man, who always eats dinner and then immediately (as in, before I can clear the table) makes himself either a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  • For reals.
  • A baby gate is up to block Miss Thing into her room for the night.
  • MUAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAAAAAAAAAAH!
  • I plan on having a backup sound machine ready for those of us who enjoy sleeping at night.  You know, just in case there is some screaming later.
  • Miss Thing has a set of alphabet cards.  One animal whose name begins with each letter.  Y is for Yak.  She is really into singing right now.  One of her daily songs is "The Wheels on the Bus",   although she is way more interested in the people/animals on that bus than the bus itself.  Did you know dogs, cats, cows and elephants ride the bus?  Apparently so.  Also, she rides the bus.  So we sing about Mama, Daddy and her.  I've told her that she goes "yakkity, yakkity, yak".  Surely you can see where this is going:  "W is for wolf."; "X is for X-Ray fish."; Y is for [Name] goes yakkity, yakkity, yak!"
  • There is no better example of the fact that learning occurs when you can attach something new to something you already know.  Thank you, Dr. Sochinski, for continually drilling that one in.
  • HAMSters, unite!
  • You will only get that if you were a music major at VT...
  • Apologies.
  • Making the implicit explicit.
  • Again, sorry.
  • We're getting closer to purchasing a ticket for our flight home.  We are weighing price versus ease of travel/travel time.  I will be even more huge and I will be taking the screamer with me, so I vote for ease and short travel time.  We'll see if I can justify that with the price...
  • Let's hope so 'cause dude, it is gonna stink no matter what!
  • My brain is turning off, which must mean that I don't have anything else to say.
  • Riiiiiight.
  • Perhaps I'm tired from all of the NOT SLEEPING.
  • I'm out!

August 11, 2010

Sleep Battles; Part Eleventy-Billion

I was able to catch a whole two hours of sleep last night.  More, if you count the umpteen 30-second intervals of sleep I garnered in-between the many "Mama" moments once my child awoke at 6.  I don't really think that they count, but some people might.  Yes, I didn't go to sleep until after 4:00 a.m.  This is because I still wasn't asleep until almost 1:00 a.m. at which time my child awoke.

To everyone who likes to say that she is preparing me for number two, I would like to inform you that that is a big fat load of hooey.  Number 2 is doing a fine time of keeping me up at night what with the kicking and the peeing and so forth.

This behavior also has nothing to do with things we are doing during the day because it doesn't matter what we do during the day.  Some days she gets up, some days she doesn't, and the same daily activities can go with either one.

How long is it now that this has been going on?  My brain is rather fuzzy and I am not sure.  I think it is a three week plus event.  Which means that I haven't slept for three weeks.

This is the same child who didn't sleep for the first year of her life; it would be nice if that were over.  Apparently not.  If this keeps up and the second one is like her I should be dead within weeks of giving birth.  Either that or the second one won't make it because of my no-sleep induced blunders.

What exactly has been going on?  Let's see.  Getting her to go to bed is hit or miss.  Sometimes she goes down fairly well (as in I only have to go back in once) and other times it can take hours.  Last night it took an hour.  I could deal with this if she was sleeping through the night.  Of course she is not.  Sometime between 1:00 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. she wakes up, turns the light on in her room, turns the sound machine off and exits her room in order to come and whine in ours.  About?  Nothing.

Once up she is either up for the day or she wants to sleep in our bed, which is not working because it is synonymous with sleeping stuck to me.  I already have to deal with two people, I absolutely do not need a third.  Plus, even if she sleeps like that I do not.  So again, not working.

Now, if she couldn't get her door open, I would be happy to leave her to her own devices in her room.  There's nothing to play with and it is rather boring in there.  She could fuss and complain and so forth and eventually she'd just give up and go back to bed.  Granted, it might take a few hours and perhaps cause lots of crying, but that's no skin off my back.

Before everyone gets all up in arms about that fact, please be aware that quite frankly I don't care what you think.  You are not me; you do not have my child; you do not know her like I do, nor do you deal with her every day.  I could go on.  Suffice it to say that what works for me might not work for you, but that is why life is so grand: we are all different.  And there is nothing wrong with that, a fact that I wish more people could comprehend.

Unfortunately, she can open the door.  Why?  Because they are not doorknobs, but handles.  She just barely has to get her weight behind it and open it comes.  Also, there are no locks.  Believe you me, if I had that option I'd use it.  The only way to keep her from opening the door is to literally stand outside of her door and hold the door shut.

Which is exactly what I did last night from 1:30 a.m. until 4:00 a.m.  This is after I spent 30 minutes helping her back into her bed, doing the night-time thing again, and saying "Five Little Monkeys" about eleventy-billion times.  None of that is working.  It hasn't been working the whole time so I haven't a clue why I keep doing it.  I'll blame the I'm -a-stupid-person induced by pregnancy.

I told her I was done saying the monkeys, we weren't reading any more books and that she had to stay in her bed.  This caused much screaming and crying.  I am fairly certain that for lack of another way to deal with the feelings she was opening her drawers and throwing things out of them.  Either that or she would throw her animals off of her bed.  Since I was holding the door shut from outside, she had to do something, right?

I finally got tired of the get up and turn everything on/off behavior, so I took the lamp out of her room and told her I had to remove it because she kept turning it on and we don't do that in the middle of the night.  This meant that the next time she got out of bed she decided to press buttons on the oscillating fan that is in her room.  She managed to turn it off, and then immediately freaked out about it.  Once she calmed a bit I went back in and told her that if she touched the buttons again I would take the fan out.

She didn't turn off her sound machine even once after I took the lamp out because she didn't want to lose that one.

Imagine that.

Anyway, it went like that for two and a half hours.  I guess she either finally accepted it or wore herself out because she finally fell asleep at 3:40 a.m. which allowed me to get in the bed and fall asleep around 4.  And then she was up at 6.

What a fine night.

I am sure that tonight we'll get to find out if she's accepted the "Don't get out of bed at night" message or if she just got tired of fighting and fell asleep.

I just can't wait.

Walking around like a zombie and feeling like crap is exactly what I was hoping to do this summer.

July 31, 2010

Unacceptable

Prior to moving, Rocket Man and I made a few electronics purchases. He eats toast every single morning as part of a balanced breakfast. Therefore, we (and by we I mean mostly me) perused the internets in search of a 220V toaster. Why? Um, because we'd really rather not have to use a transformer with our own toaster.

Obviously we would not do this with everything. The fact that he uses it every morning weighed heavily in the pro buy-a-toaster column. We would have purchased it at the local (ish...it was almost an hour from our house, but still in "Houston") East/West store, where all sorts of 220V things are sold, but the prices there are through the roof.

One thing that can be said about the local store is that everything we've purchased there actually works as it should...

...as long as the slow-cooker we bought there works...haven't tried it yet.

ANYWAY.

We're unpacking boxes last week and we open the toaster - you know, the one that we paid more than normal for and had shipped to our house, etc. etc., and the Nanny frowns and shows me the cord.

Um, yeah. It's not 220V. Not even close. Our families back home could make use of it, sure, but not us.


     Dear toaster,
          Your plug us unacceptable to me.


Today we open up our 220V vacuum. The one that says 240V on the box, but says 220V-240V on the appliance itself. We have to use an adapter plug so that it will fit into the outlet, but that is no big thing.

Right?

It does say 220V-240V.

Um...yeah.

It turns on for about two seconds, makes a little pop (and there might have been a spark) and that is it.


     Dear vacuum,
          Your behavior is unacceptable to me.


At least the vacuum was not pricey. Then again, perhaps that is the problem.

Our plans for the morning? Go to a local appliance store to get a bread-maker and toaster and to at least take a look at the options for vacuums. The only concerning part is that usually vacuums over this-a-way aren't all that great, as evidenced by the one currently in our abode.

Ugh.

My child went to bed a little after 8:30.

Rocket Man and I unpacked and put away all of the bathroom items after that.

At 10:15 we participated in the general get-ready-for-bed routine.

He fell asleep by 10:30.

I did not do so until well after midnight.

Miss Thing woke up at 3:20.

Now?  She is crying incessantly about everything.

I am so sure this is going to be a great day.

July 30, 2010

Basketballs!!

When we first arrived here on Sakhalin, most of the families with children were M.I.A.  We had a few toys for Miss Thing, but only those that would fit into a tiny carry-on, so not that many really.  Boredom was a pretty major factor in casa crazypants.  Add to that the fact that we were fairly loopy due to the jet-lag and, well, it was a bit rough.

Thankfully, there is a playroom up at the community center that we could head off to whenever we just needed to get out of the house.  Right beside it is the gymnasium.  One Saturday after eating brunch in the restaurant, we headed to the gym to play basketball.

Miss Thing was OH SO EXCITED!  She threw the ball and she kicked the ball and she chased the ball.  Then, after she finally got the ball ("I get it!  I get it!"), she would run and shoot the ball.  This is an activity she still enjoys (although now if Daddy is there she tells him that she needs help to shoot so that he will pick her up) and we play from time to time.

This video was taken the second time we ever went to play basketball, one day after her second birthday.  She is much better at catching the ball on the roll these days, but she enjoys herself just as much now as she did then.


Pop-Pop Giggles

Just before the final race-to-the-finish of moving, Pop-Pop and Grammie came down to visit us in Houston. They came over Easter weekend. We had plenty of fun and they assisted us with some outdoor-type cleaning as well. The cars were washed...a little early, since we didn't sell them until the first week of May, but at least the insides were super clean. Grammie and I cleaned up some outdoor play things that had been lent to us by some friends. Note to all: we miss everyone!

That afternoon, once all cleaning had been accomplished and Miss Thing had taken her nap (and I had successfully not let anyone know I was pregnant, cause boy howdy did I feel awful by that point), Miss Thing and her Pop-Pop had some fun.

Why is my child naked? I have not a clue. I believe it is just because she wanted to be and therefore: naked. Anyway, the following is a fabulous video of the two of them playing:



As you can see, it doesn't take much to get her going!

July 23, 2010

Snippets

I just logged into the email associated with this blog and saw that my one unread message was "Your friends think you need a vacation."

Oh really?

Who am I to argue with that one? I'd love to go see somewhere new. Of course there is that small thing of needing to plan something...

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Thanks to a friend and my nanny the kitchen is about 95% unpacked and put away. The other 5%? In a box somewhere...probably one labeled "Bedding; Master Bedroom" or something equally silly.

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We have found and unpacked a large number of the chica's toys and this means that for the first time in a looooooooooooong time she came downstairs and wanted to play instead of immediately attempting to turn on the television.

Small improvements, people.

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I have already had a request this morning to "Open boxes, Mama?"

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Rocket Man didn't come home last night until 10pm.

I am assuming it was just a great day at work.

In addition, he left his badge here yesterday morning, so he called me at 9-something (I was in bed) to ask how to get into our neighborhood without it. [There is an entry gate and you show your badge to get in quickly and easily.]

He called back about seven minutes later to tell me his keys are on his badge, so please leave the door unlocked.

So yeah, I didn't go to bed until he got home.

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While the kitchen is mostly done the rest of my house is a disaster.

Great.

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Miss Thing enjoys playing with the rolls of tape, small level and assorted screwdrivers lying (for now) on the table beside me:

"I do it."

"This one's better."

"I fix it."

"Try again."

"Mama? I working, Mama"

"You working, Mama - onna computer."

"Bracelets! I wear them! I got all the bracelets, Mama" [tape rolls]

"This one makes one bracelet, this one makes two bracelets, this one makes three bracelets, this one makes four bracelets, this one makes five bracelets!"

[Followed immediately by counting the SAME items over again:]

One, two, five, six, SEVEN BRACELETS!!!"

[She likes to keep us guessing.]

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Now apparently there is a Mama screwdriver and a bunch of kid screwdrivers. The babies are looking for their Mama; she is giving the babies kisses and so forth.

Screwdrivers; who knew?

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That is it for this morning. To recap, my child is entertained by the stuff from boxes; our house is a disaster. Oh, and she apparently has an imagination.

July 22, 2010

Welcome...

...to my own little corner of Hades.*

The temps are down and the hinges won't singe you, but man oh man is it a torturous place to be.**











*Please do not misunderstand; we will eventually be glad to have our things...I'd say about a week or two after we've finally unpacked and found a place for it all. Until then, it is a rather unpleasant experience as any of you who have recently packed up your entire house and then unpacked it a few months later are well aware.

Unless of course you are a two-year-old. Then it is mighty exciting. And causes you to exclaim about boxes to everyone you see. Also, it may cause you to demand that boxes be opened right before bed as if we should continue doing so throughout the night. You might also deem it necessary to peer out the window in search of more "peoples" on a "big truck, Mama" to bring in more boxes...as if it will now happen every day just to entertain you. Let's not forget the fact that it is exceptionally overwhelming to open boxes with your own toys and things in them and this makes for a grumpy little kid.

So, yeah. The stuff is here. Whenever we get it all sorted, I'll finally post some photos of what our place really looks like. You know, now that it will feel more like our own.

**For those of you who feel inclined to declare that it is our own fault that we have to unpack again, since it is we who chose this life, please note that there is a bit of sarcasm in this post. Also of note is the fact that we are well aware of our choices because contrary to popular belief we do think them through and yes this is one of the things we deal with. It is absolutely worth it. It does not mean that we have to love this part.

July 20, 2010

Ready, Set, Go!

Our Saturdays are usually pretty routine. We wake up and lounge around for a little while. Miss Thing watches some Pooh Bear (bae-ah) or Mickey (never woulda guessed, eh?) while I check things out online and attempt to wake myself up. This is especially true of late since our somewhat good sleeper has become a not-so-great one and it is kinda killing me.

Rocket Man usually wakes and does his morning routine, which consists of reading, tea and work email. Again, imagine that.

We usually try to talk to my parents on the webcam for a little bit (man does that thing suck away the internets...we pay by usage here) and then anytime after 11:00 we head up to the community center for brunch.

Rocket Man and I eat breakfast and Miss Thing almost always chooses "Peanut Butter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" for her meal.

Then? Oh, then. We do what Miss Thing has termed: Play Basketballs.

At first this actually meant going into the gym to shoot some hoops...Rocket Man and I for reals and Miss Thing for pretend. She's pretty good for a two-year-old.

Nowadays "Play basketballs" just means go to the playroom and RUN with Daddy.

Below are two videos. The first is the two of them running around the ping-pong tables (hello, corner, please take my eyes out) while Miss Thing squeals. Usually she yells "Let's run!" the whole way.

Video two is one of my favorite because she tells Daddy to "Ready, set, go!" and then enjoys his running before she realizes that she should run too, and her facial expressions are priceless.

Enjoy!