Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Will We Get Treats?

T minus 45 minutes until Halloween trick or treating and party festivities begin.

I just called Ava to the computer to look at Jeannie. I offered to perform hair miracles to complete the ensemble. No takers. She isn't interested and only wants to wear a new stretchy headband. Come on. I even dangled the prospect of a little pink lipstick...again no takies. She needs to finish a puzzle. Obviously I have not talked up Halloween up enough around here. I have not dangled enough fun sized Snickers. We may have a Genie that has no up-do and green vampire teeth...did I mention she is interested in wearing green vampire teeth with the pink Genie costume?

Vera Wang she is not. Independent she is.

Now the little one. Verdict is still not in. I have the not so popular but adorable and handmade Panda (see last post) ready and rearing to go. As a back up we have borrowed ladybug. Pre-nap time she expressed interest in stomping on both costumes with dirty shoes. Not so much with the final decision. She must get the complex nature from her sister.

We are dangerously close to wearing orange tee shirts...all three of us and heading off to friend's house for chili. But I'm not panic'ing yet. Someone will get their skinny little butt into a costume if it is the very last thing I do as a mother...mama needs chocolate.

I'll report back later with pictures no matter how gruesome.

Monday, October 22, 2007

You Can Dress Me Up

Way back in 2004 I made a panda Halloween costume. I slaved to make sure this thing was perfectly warm for a cool October 31st evening in the Midwest. It had black and white faux fur with the best darn red sequin obnoxious bow I could muster. Every panda wears a red bowtie right? Nothing but the cutest for my little panda bear. What self respecting Chinese 2 year old would not wear a panda costume?

Well, that self respecting little 2 year old was Ava. The kid threw the biggest hissy over the thing and practically missed trick or treating due to the fact that perhaps she felt a wee bit silly in the thing. For the record I whipped out a piece of snickers bar and said if you wear panda there will be many more of these in your immediate future. Ava, being pretty damn smart with a wicked sweet tooth to boot...hopped into that panda costume toot sweet.

Then it was 75 degrees out that evening and she refused to wear the panda hat, made of cheap satin and fur. Being that Ava and I always compromise she wore the damned thing running from house to house while sweating off about 6 lbs in the fur costume. I casually explained it was never too early for a good mother to teach her daughter something about how to manage water retention. The poor little mite came home in her fur costume after running from house to house shouting Tricks and Treats not caring one iota that she was sweating on neighbors doorsteps stopping only when Skittles were offered.

Here we go...panda costume take 2.
Now who looks reluctant? And she's the perfect size for the genuine simulated panda fur imported from the nearest discount fabric house.
This costume must have some feral stink that only 2 year olds can smell.

When you are automatically smells like Downy and seems the like cutest damned thing since fancy pants on a 12 month old. She is definitely NOT wearing the hat.

It seems like she's contemplating the thought of possibly opting out of panda and going with fairy wings and a tutu.

She looks deliriously happy to be with panda. She just doesn't know about Snickers yet.

I'm calling my friend to ask if we can borrow the size 2T ladybug costume. Hmmmmgh.

More costume trials and tribulations later as I wrassle with the fact that my 5 year old is insisting on wearing a genie costume which shows huge amounts of bare midriff. And she looks pretty darn great in it. Will I be the complete prude and make her wear a white tee shirt under the costume?
These are the things that keep me up at night nowadays.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No noise

My house is completely quiet. I can hear the ticking of clocks. I didn't even know we had clocks that tick. This is how out of touch I am with quiet. I am loving it...and I'm slightly unnerved by it. I'm aimlessly walking throughout the house picking up my family's ill placed shoes and returning them to shoe trees in their rooms. I'm using this time to fantasize what life would be like if I had more time in the quiet like this. Someday I will visit an Ashram in India to give myself enough quiet time to choke a chicken.

Ava is at school, perhaps on a field trip perhaps not. Picking pumpkins in a mid-western corn/pumpkin field in the rain does not sound like a smashing good time to me...but hey, perhaps her 21 year old teacher is more energetic and saw fit to let the 15 kindergarteners hop the bus to pumpkinville. Is it evil of me to secretly pat myself on the back for declining to chaperone that one?

Liv is at mom's morning out/preschool. Yes, we continued and last week she turned a huge corner in the "preschool is not infact hell" saga. When I casually explained to the director, as we were about to quit, that if only there was a male teacher perhaps she would transition easier.

For whatever reason, Liv is not too terribly keen on new women she meets but honestly hasn't seen too many men she doesn't instantly fall in love with. Yes, I've repeatedly asked her pediatrician and a developmental therapist about this quirk and they do not seem to think it implies an attachment disorder for which we could later regret not seeking treatment for. I hope they are right.

Ms. Director quickly perked up and said, "Well, with your permission I could bring Mr. Roger in the room." Mr. Roger is a retired police chief who works at the church doing music ministry for children. He has a special needs daughter and has a special place in his heart for little kids. I quickly said let's give it a shot. Last week when we arrived at preschool there was Mr. Roger, a white haired gentleman in a tie. He wears a tie to preschool. With her two female teachers and the director watching from behind Liv jumped out of my arms into the strange Mr. Roger's lap. I shook my head and sighed. She wimpered a bit as I left but when I picked her up there was a glowing report, everyone, including my little Olivia was all smiles. Ms. Director met me at the door and reported that Mr. Roger only stayed 20 minutes and then transitioned out of the room. Livi was happy the rest of the day complete with eating at the table and participating in playtime and crafts. Today at drop off she again leaped into Mr. Roger's arms with no crying. Ms. Director summed it by saying in all my years of doing this I have never seen anything quite like it. I turned on my heels and said, "Yes, Olivia can be a complicated woman."

Oh, and the Muffin Man is out for the day on business. So there is no chatter from his downstairs office. Despite my pleas for him to use his headset..he still insists on gracing the entire house with his booming voice while talking widgets. When Liv starts speaking in sentences I'm sure she will be selling tools to reps. from Kansas City quoting pricing increases and forecasting trends.

There you have it, that leaves me...on the cul-de-sac in my state of quiet rumbling from room to room picking up shoes. For another hour. Until I start the process of picking up little people to come home and litter my floors with shoes and crackers.

Excuse me while I go get some quiet food. I want nothing that crunches to ruin the quiet. I'll sit in a chair alone, with no one using my legs as their launching pad to sit on top of errr...I mean next to me. I think I will choose the chair that is next to the ticking clock and count my 53 more alone quiet minutes.

Friday, October 05, 2007

It's October...

and that means it is Breast Cancer Awareness month again. Shouldn't I as a 7 year breast cancer survivor be over the moon with appreciation when I open every mail circular and it is advertising their undying (sorry) support of the dreaded pink disease? I go to the grocery store and now see that EVERY other company carries their label with a pink ribbon proudly stating that they do indeed support breast cancer, and I see that many friends and acquaintances are walking in this run/walk for life? Shouldn't I be more enthusiastic about this? Didn't I perhaps possibly gain something from one of these large corporate sponsors and their research dollars as the decision was being made about which sort of chemotherapy would give me the best possible chance to live past 35?

Maybe, maybe not.

But I can't help looking downward and feeling slightly sad when the graham cracker company I buy from now is "on board" with their full support of breast cancer and they have the pink ribbon on the box to prove it. It's easy to fly a pink ribbon...

Do I sound cynical? Perhaps I feel a bit cynical about it. I am grateful that lots of money is being poured into research for this shitty disease. I wish more money was being poured into finding out WHY it occurs in the first place. I am also melancholy at the thought that it is taking the diagnosis of 140,000 new American women this year to get the Kelloggs and Johnson's & Johnson's folks on with Susan G. Komen to fight the good fight.

As I was picking up my graham crackers and smiling my "I beat IT" resigned 1/2 smile I thought "wait what about about all those other not so "pink" diseases?" Where is their $50 million dollar corporate campaign? What about every person who is really fighting it today? God, I hope I never forget what it was like to be fighting IT every day.

Then I almost ran into her scooter. I accidently stepped in front of a lovely lady in a ball cap. She had gorgeous skin and a sweet smile. She had only soft peach fuzz in spotty patches along her almost non existent hair line. I stumbled and apologized for my rudeness almost stepping on her grocery store issued scooter with the little basket on the front. She continued to smile and eagerly excused herself. She had taken the time to put on eye makeup. She's the one who October and all the ribbon flying is really about. *

I cringed when her scooter ran out of electric juice in the next aisle. Of all the damned indignity, needing a scooter at the grocery store in the first place when she probably was skipping through 6 errands in a morning a few months ago but then to have the blasted thing run out of juice in front of cereal?

The Muffin Man and I stopped and asked if we could call a grocery store attendant for her. I tried to make a light joke about the store not springing for the Mercedes Benz scooter. Not funny. She said she had a friend with her who could help. We quickly moved on not wanting to draw any unwanted attention. It made me think of the time when I couldn't walk 1 length of the local mall without stopping for a 15 minute rest because I'd just had 4 chemo treatments in 4 months and lost 20 lbs and had about 6 white blood cells to my name.

Later on turning the corner on aisle 16 the grocery store attendant had rounded up a new scooter for the lady in the ball cap. He was gracious and did nothing to draw attention to her needing the scooter he quickly moved her groceries to the new basket. Thank heavens for small favors.

The muffin man and I pushed Olivia to the check out lane, just as we always do. I put the mound of groceries on belt and he took 3 pennies for her pony ride. Just like normal.

That is what I wish the corporate sponsors of the world could do...give each survivor back their normal.

* I completely acknowledge that I have no idea whether this lady is a cancer survivor or not...she appeared that way to me.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Home girls

Since we've had our panties all in a twist over preschool and separation anxiety and sensory integration overload (for both of us) we, ok I, decided that today we would eat nachos and slink around the house in our jammies. La la la...we have no issues and we just want to watch too much tv and perhaps toss in a load of laundry while waiting for Ava to come home, who is off galavanting saving the world and creating peace in the middle east while at kindergarten. But then Liv got yogurt all over her jammies and she had to upgrade to tee shirt and shorts. I however am holding strong and wearing piggie jammies. Loves me my piggie jammies.

Here is what is happening at this very minute on the cul-de-sac. More specifically the nursery on the cul-de-sac.
Toys have been overturned. Home girl has decided that there will be no fun without large mess en masse. She's doing everyone a favor since now we can't see the dirty carpet very well. Good thinking.

Oh, that face.

I occurred to me at the fabric store yesterday that I have become one of those parents who thinks that everything her baby does is just the cutest damned thing ever. Even when she is pulling down large boxes of lighting equipment that goes crash when hitting linoleum. She laughed, I laughed and the sales lady did not. She said something to the tune of "It might help if he was in a cart." He? Um...the pink pebbles hairdo and pink shoes did not throw off an estrogen radar? When did this happen? I was not this parent with my first. It must have happened some time around the first child going off to school and realizing that child number 2 will eventually fly the nest as well. Although, if you are following recent school developments that remains up for debate. Regardless, I am officially annoying and have an equally annoying but awfully darn sweet natured albeit rambunctious child.

What time are nachos served? Ring the bell.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Remember this? Those were the good ole' days. We are in preschool hell or maybe just preschool purgatory.

Does this look like the face of a little child who will sit at the door crying her little eyes out for a few hours waiting for Mommy to get off her fat butt and drive the family truckster back to preschool to spring the little jail bird?
No, but then again she is enjoying some sort of bonus apple juice cocktail which is normally against regulation beverage rules but since it was Moon Festival and all.....

She hates it, preschool that is...she's digs apple juice. I hate the hand off where she screams. I hate the pick up where all the other relaxed looking mothers happily collect their protegee's craft and tired but happy little person. I especially hate the little report card that has Miss Stacy's neat printing which clearly states she ate nothing, participated in no crafts, would not play on the playground and produced a multitude of crocodile tears for effect. Weep, sob, sniff. I have to give the little mite some credit in the tenacity department...she simply will not adjust to preschool. It has been the most tenacious I have ever seen her. The most dramatic, and the most wigged out. For the record she immediately calms down and starts giggling and cooing at passersby the minute she hits my hip. (This does mean I'm not doing permanent damage right?) I just tell my kids I'll pay for therapy later.

I so want to quit. But then I so want her to prove to herself she can do it. Overcome a big fear and learn to adapt, and then realize that the big sunny room filled with toys and crafts and yummy snacks is not in fact POW camp. I've been thinking about why this is so darn important to me. I guess I'm getting older and I'm interested in the stretch, the emotional stretch that is. The one where I try to start my own business, hang out with Chinese parents at Chinese school rather than my normal adoptive parent cronies, etcetera. Hey we all want to be a better person, build character, it gives you more crap to brag about to your grandkids.

But then why should she be interested in that? She's only a bit shy of two. Shouldn't she just get to hang out at the grocery store while pulling cheerios down off the shelf in aisle nine each and every Tuesday morning? Shouldn't she just get to swing the bathroom door open grinning every single time mommy needs a minute alone in there?

We are quitting, I don't care what the overly experienced preschool director thinks of me and Livi.

No, we can't quit after only 5 times. Give it 2 months, that would be the rational thing to do.

No, we are quitting. Gosh, I want to be in 9th grade again when I gave not one extra thought to quitting the flute and the orchestra.

To quit or not to quit that is the question.