Archive for ◊ August, 2007 ◊

27 Aug 2007 I said I wouldn’t, and yet I did.
 |  Category: Knitty goodness  | Comments off

Crochet, that is.

When I first started trying to do needlework, I started with crochet. And I hated it. It seemed to me to bethe most unreasonable way to make anything at all. I had trouble counting stitches. I felt uncomfortable. it just didn’t work.

So, I switched to knitting. Tried that and failed.

Went back to crochet. Tried that and failed again.

Went back to knitting and finally had success. Tried my hand at crocheting now and then for a few projects, but found the process to be boring and unenjoyable and decided to stick to knitting.

Not long ago, thanks to Stumble Upon, I stumbled upon the idea of knitting Amigurumi. Well, knititng patterns for these darling little things are few and far between and, well, just not very CUTE. So, I was forced to crochet if I wanted to make Amigurumi.

So, crochet I did. This little one is for Cadence. You can see how small he is compared to a pop can.

And while I don’t think I’ll throw over knitting for crochet, I had a blast knitting these little guys. Stay tuned. I’m sure there are more to come.

16 Aug 2007 Cadence’s Birthday Movie
 |  Category: Cadence  | Comments off

Song: Gracie by Ben Folds
Lyrics:

You can�t fool me
I saw you when you came out
You got your momma�s taste
But you got my mouth

You will always have a part of me
Nobody else is ever gonna see
Gracie girl

With your cards to your chest
Walking on your toes
What you got in the box
Only Gracie knows

And I would never try to make you be
Anything you didn�t really wanna be
Gracie girl

Life flies by in seconds
You�re not a baby
Gracie, you�re my friend
You�ll be a lady soon
But until then
You gotta do what I say

You nodded off in my arms watching TV
I won�t move you an inch
Even though my arm�s asleep

One day you�re gonna wanna go
I hope we taught you everything
You need to know
Gracie girl

There will always be a part of me
Nobody else is ever gonna see
But you and me
A little girl
My Gracie girl

14 Aug 2007 I Had This Dream…
 |  Category: Heavy Stuff  | Comments off

I’m going out on a limb here. It’s kind of a far leap for me. I tend to be, well, not so metaphysical, but this is what it is. You see, I believe the dead can, if they choose to, communicate with us in dreams. I’m not sure why. If, during REM sleep, if our minds enter a higher plane, allowing communication or if this is a way for those who love us to communicate with us in a way that won’t overwhelm us or scare us and the interaction, though odd, may seem totally okay or normal.

When I was 12 my Grandma died. I have dreamed of her over the years. I believe this is her way of checking up and checking in. I don’t converse with her much, when she comes, but she’s there and it’s comforting. I feel as though she hasn’t missed the last eighteen years of my life.

When Ma died in 1993 I began to dream of her too, but she and I would interact some. At first, I was amazed. How could she be there? Just walking around. Doing normal things like nothing had happened? I would ask her what she was doing there (wherever THERE was) and she would always smile and just go on her way. But, again, these dreams are comforting to me.

And so, since Mom died, I’ve dreamed about her. Usually we’re somewhere and I’m asking her if she’s okay and she assures me that she’s fine. That’s usually her word: fine. I’m fine. Not long after her death I dreamed she was in bed with me. I joked that she wasn’t allowed in there. My Dad didn’t quite get the joke, but I feel like my Mom would have.

As is obvious I vented the other day about my unhappiness with the letters my Mom left behind (on purpose or not) and last night Mom was there in my dream. We were hanging out in a bed, though not mine. We were both laying on our back, just sort of staring at the ceiling. She was on my left.

“How’s your back?” I asked.
“It’s fine.”, She answers.
“It doesn’t hurt?” I ask
“Not at all.”, she answers. She sits up and moves around a bit as if to prove to me that all is well.
“It’s just, you know, a big change.”, I said.
“Oh?”, she says
“Well, you know.”, I say, “How much of a change there is from how you were to how you are.”
She sort of nods and accepts this.
“I have to ask you something.”, I say. “Those letters?”
A look of mild disappointment crosses her face
“Things changed, right? That wasn’t how you always felt, right?”
And as she opened her mouth to answer, Cadence cried out and I didn’t get the answer. I like to think I know it.

I’ve only voiced the disappointment and anguish those letter caused me to Eric. And, honestly, after the initial reading, I let it drop. While he didn’t totally disagree with my opinion, he thought it was, well, an over reaction. He was right and he wasn’t. But, it gnawed at me, you know. The doubt. I wanted to believe that my Mom’s feelings towards me had changed and I really do think they had. In a book she gave me after Cadence was born she talked about the gift of daughters and I really don’t believe that was just a bunch of hooey. But, again, those weak parts of me, those yelling demons aren’t often easily quieted. No matter how much I wish they were.

But I think that dream last night, interrupted by my teething baby, was my Mom’s way of reassuring me about things. That things, that she and we, are okay.

13 Aug 2007 Enlightenment, the hard way.
 |  Category: Current Events, Heavy Stuff, Momdom  | Comments off

I’ve often stated that I’m a pollyanna sort of girl. You know, see the good, believe in the good, conveniently overlook the stuff that’s not good. I like it that way. Who doesn’t?

When I was pregnant with my girls I did some research on the point of viability. When, if I went into pre-term labor, would my babies have a chance at survival. While numbers are moving downward as far as gestational age goes, my “magic” number was 26 weeks, following closely by 28 weeks and once I hit 30 weeks, I felt as though I was in the clear. But beyond that research to ease my mind, I thought very little about prematurity in infants beyond the few “miracle” stories that I’ve come across.

Emily and I enjoy watching “John and Kate plus Eight” on Discovery Health. They have twins and sextuplets and the babies, born early with the help of fertility treatments, seem normal and lovely.

But today, I stumbled across the dirty little secret of all the happy, shiny premature stories, a blog entitled The Preemie Experiement. The author of the blog is the mother of a 24 week gestational age preemie who would, for all intents and purposes be considered a “success story”. What the media and other outlets seem to gloss over though is hundreds and hundreds of comments dealing with just HOW sick preemies are, even after a “successful” stay in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).

And it’s shocking. And I wonder, what the hell are we doing?

When Cadence was born she had jaundice which meant daily heel sticks. Because I was breastfeeding, her jaundice lingered (and my awesome Pedi. didn’t recommend I supplement or stop nursing, just to keep on keeping on and to be patient with the fact that her levels would drop more slowly). The heel sticks were pure agony. Cadence, so peaceful and small would flail her tiny arms until they were moving like a swarm of angry birds. I would bend over her on the cold examination table and sing and croon, offer her my finger to suck on, anything at all I could do to ease that pain. Nothing worked until the heel stick was over and the tiny drops of blood had managed to settle into the bottom of the tiny glass vial they used for collection.

That pain Cadence felt is just a portion of what micropreemies must tolerate with one mothering divulging that her micropreemie had over five hundred heel sticks during his/her stay in the NICU.

Five Hundred Heel sticks. Some children received them every hour. Some children’s heels have been permanently deformed. Some children have no fat pads on their heel, making walking painful. All over heel sticks and, really, heel sticks is the LEAST of what happens to these babies in a hospital setting.

There seems to be almost a syndrome that accompanies babies who are born premature, even those as successful gestational ages (32 to 36 weeks). These children are prone to sensory disorders, learning disorders, hearing problems, blindness, cerebral palsy. Autism is horribly prevalent among these children They have association disorders and many of them cannot accurately process pain. And yet, and yet …..

Earlier this year a Minnesota couple gave birth to sextuplets at 22 weeks gestation. As of June 22, all but one of these children had died, their lives likely a parade of pain and confusion. But how do you decide what to do? What is it all worth? Anything? Everything? Nothing?

I look at my girls. My amazing girls. How far would I go to save them? What is more selfish? To deprive them of Life? To end their pain? Who can make those choices?

And, it also, at least to me, begs to ask questions about the scope and scale of fertility treatments in this country. I have no doubt the preemies and micropreemies will be born to women with absolutely no indications nor fertility treatments, BUT cases like the Morrisons in Minnestoa and the McCaughy septuplets from Iowa I have to wonder if we’re playing too much hardball and tampering with too much. The McCaughey’s, of course, would be considered a “success” story with only two of their children having major health problems, but, then again, they did make it to 30 or 31 weeks gestation, an entirely different scenerio than the micropreemie Morrison babies.

We’re coming to a head where we are going to have to answer some hard questions about what we’re doing to our children, but for now, read The Preemie Experiment AND the entry comments. Education is key.

12 Aug 2007 Legacy
 |  Category: Heavy Stuff  | Comments off

I admit, I’m not very self-confident. On my good days, I realize that like all people, I have talents and weaknesses. Things I fixate on and things I overlook. On days that are worse, I feel my talents are less important and my weaknesses more glaring. That the things I fixate on are silly or pointless and the things I overlook damaging. On bad days, I feel like I don’t have any talents. That I’m all weakness and need to compensate for that.

It is a demon I fight. Daily. It affects a lot of things that I do. I admit that. It can make a day or ruin it.

Before my Mom died, my Dad called upset. He was cleaning and found a journal of sorts written by my Mom about a dozen (or really almost 20) years ago. He was feeling pretty bad because the journal wasn’t very flattering about him or how he contributed to their marriage. My Mom was already to the point that she couldn’t be asked about the journal itself and my Dad was feeling horrible. He told me thought he wasn’t a very good man, a good husband or a good Dad. I explained to him that I felt that journal wasn’t a fair portrait of their marriage, life or him. That it was probably just a place to vent and that he shouldn’t take it too personally. The fact that it was keep very sparingly and sporadically meant, at least to me, that my Mom only journaled when she was feeling particularly stressed and that she SKIPPED the average days or the GOOD times because she didn’t NEED to vent.

At the time, my Dad said that there were some letters to us kids. Not many. Just a few that she wrote here and there and that he would give them to me. I didn’t think much about it, but after Mom died and Eric, the kids and I went back to MI, Dad gave me the letters.

Now, I’ll enter the caveat that they WERE written during my most tumultuous teenage years and that I fully admit that there were times when I was an asshole on purpose to my parents. I don’t have a ton of guilt over that because I think it’s pretty much what happens and, at the end of the day, I think I’m a good daughter to my parents, but those letters? They were not flattering. At all. Not in any way.

Now, logically things go back to what I told my Dad, right? That these letters were probably written at a time when I was being particularly unkind. Probably on purpose. Logically I understand this, but I was and still am wounded by those letters.

I don’t even know where those letters are. I think I threw them away, on accident oddly enough, but they’re not missed. One of the letters said, and I quote “My New Years resolution is to look for the best in people and I’m starting with you.”

With me? You have to work to find the best in me? Yeah, that kind of hurt. It still does hurt.

I don’t know. I guess I see my kids, Emily more particularly, and even when she’s horrible, I can still see the best of her. Good things. Her talents and abilities. Her gifts. Things that make her wonderful despite what she’s doing. I can’t imagine anything she would ever do that would make me forgot those qualities to the point of having to SEARCH for her good. That doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t understand that.

And the part of me that is so unconfident, that thinks the worst about myself folds her arms across her chest and says “See? All those things I said? They’re TRUE. Even your MOTHER thinks they’re true.”

The logical, more confident part of me tries to argue, but it’s still so hard to read that and even worse, kind of, to not be able to ask if my Mom, after reflection, still felt that way about me? Was it really that hard to find the good part of me? Was that just a bad moment? what’s really true? I don’t know and that’s really hard.

01 Aug 2007 It’s the second most wonderful time of the year
 |  Category: Holidays and events, me, in a nutshell  | Comments off

School time is drawing near here in lovely IL. Now, I’m not one of those moms who rejoice because their offspring are finally heading back to school, ending days of tedium and tantrums. Emily’s a pretty good kid and I’ll miss her for the hours she’s gone.

No, the reason why I like late summer is simple.

School supplies.

Aisles and aisles of gleaming, beautiful, sale priced school supplies. On our forray to target (for, like a handful of vacation supplies) I was drawn in the moment we hit the front door and saw piles of beautiful school supplies all over the place. Multi-colored ink pens (oh how I coveted one of these in grade school), pencils, yummy smelling mini erasers (I skipped those because they’re totally unusable, but I still love to smell them).

10 one subject notebooks for a dollar? How could I resist. Into my cart they hopped. Binder dividers? Folders? Cute pencil cases? I am smitten. A box of 120 sharpened crayolas? Ecstasy. Really it is.

I remember with great fondness the odor of a brand, new trapper keeper. I remember the way a sheaf of papers, newly loosed from their plastic wrap smells. School supply shopping is a trip down memory lane, full of smells and sights and sounds. The lumpy white paste we used in first grade, the crisp swish of newly sharpened safety scissors. The click and clack of three ring binders snapping shut.

Yes, it’s love. I admit it. Even as a college student my school supply lust wasn’t quenched AND I had a job and could buy my own. Erasers and gel pens. Mechanical pencils in wild colors and colored paper clips. Recycled notebook papers in pastel colors.

School supplies make me positively giddy. :O)