Saturday, January 24, 2009


"10:30 class! Come on in!"

As I grabbed the door's metal handle, I felt cool air rush past my feet. I tugged harder and the suction let go so I could open the door. Meghan's hand was in my left hand, and she shivered a bit as the air from the pool area rushed past her. I glanced down to see her lips trembling, and her lilac swimming suit clinging to her trim figure.

"Come on Megs! Let's go swimming!"

"Yay!" she shouted.

"Remember to walk Megs. This floor is slippery."

"Uh huh, Mama."

The familiar scent of chlorine invaded, and various parents were guiding their children toward the pool or into the locker room. As children and parents left the pool, the water that clung to them would fall off and escape toward the floor drains.

Meghan's teacher, Kristin, winked at her as we walked past, and Meghan's face lit up a bit in response. A wide grin emerged across her face, and then erupted into a toothy smile. Meghan was gleeful to be swimming today, which meant we would have a good class together. Excitement was exuding from her every pore.

I dropped our towels along the wall of the pool area, and Meghan selected a spot for us to sit with our feet dangling poolside.

"Mama! Sit here! Sit here! I like this spot."

"Okay, Megs."

The teacher began calling names for attendance. "Ella B?"

"Here," Ella meekly responded.

"Meghan B?"

Meghan's right arm shot into the air, as she said, "Here I am." Kristin smiled in response to her enthusiasm. As attendance wrapped up, Meghan had already begun making "rain drops" on herself and me.

"Okay, Moms and Dads! Get into the pool, please." an assistant teacher ordered. As I slid into the pool, I was glad to find the water very warm. I'm not fond of freezing cold swimming pools.

Then, Meghan flipped over onto her stomach on the side of the pool, and slid into the pool feet first. I caught her at the shoulders and we began to bounce around together in the water. She giggled in response to the bouncing. I couldn't help but notice her smile and ease in which her exuberance shined.

It was one of those parenting moments where you fall more and more in love with your child, and for me, the moments often catch me unprepared for the love fleeing from heart toward hers. To me, there was something glimmering from within Meghan even as her lips trembled while we played and swam.

We spun around some more in the water, and then took our instructions as the class progressed. A few rounds of If You're Happy and You Know It and The Grand Old Duke of York, and then we chased pool toys around using our "reach and pull" arms. In apropos form, Meghan selected a blue letter M with which to swim.

As the 1/2 hour session came close to ending, Meghan pulled herself out of the pool, spun around, and faced me.

"Toes over the edge, please. Okay? Ready! Set! Jump!" I instructed.

Meghan's feet left the tile poolside, and she lunged into the water toward my open arms. I could see every tiny rib coming toward me as she made a splash down.

"Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" she screeched.

Water splashed full into my face, and she giggled more in response. I blinked away the excess, and said, "Okay. Two more jumps, and then it is time go."

"Yay! I love jumps Mom. I love 'em!" Meghan sprung into the pool two more times, and then we made our way toward the ladder to get out of the pool. As she climbed out first, water fell off of her and escaped toward the drain. I followed her out of the pool, and we both began to shiver. It was a great swim session, and if it is possible, she enlarged the love I have for her every more. She may be tiny, but she is full of life.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible - the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.
- Virginia Satir

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Almost Seven Now

In my reality, you just came screaming
Out of me, annoyed to have been born
All scrunched up, blinking, and fussy
So incredibly hard to soothe

Almost seven now

My beautiful baby grows and grows
Not only in size but in depth
Danni Kitty, your faithful follower
Baby dolls tucked in carefully

Almost seven now

Schnibbles of this and that
Strewn throughout your world
Bottle caps and paper clips
All so incredibly important to you

Almost seven now

Memorizing songs
Laughing maniacally
Easily finding tears
Easily finding anger at injustice

Almost seven now

Dealing with sensory input oddly
Yet endearing yourself to those around you
Bouncing out of step clumsily
Dancing off balance, tripping wildly

Almost seven now

Improving your handwriting
Still forming letters in a way most do not
Creating your own art
Speaking precise German

Almost seven now

Learning to read and write in English
Without instruction
Wowing me with your natural ability
Loving math and finding it easy

Almost seven now

Selling cookies
Practicing violin
Remembering your gym shoes
On days you have Sport

Almost seven now

Afraid to be alone in the house
Desperate for your sister as built-in playmate
But not inclined to share what is yours
But then inclined to share when it suits you

Almost seven now

Quick with an "I love you"
Hugging in a way that drains energy
Needing to please
While being brutally honest

Almost seven now

Worrying for Uncle Timmy's safety
Counting your loved ones
Missing best friend Zoe in Switzerland
Proud of yourself

Almost seven now

Your mom finds the time moving faster
Unbelieving she contributed to
Amazing, undeniably shining you
And needing more and more of you

Always and forever in Mama's heart

Friday, January 16, 2009

OMG (gulp...what happened in here?)

Yesterday and today, the girls did not have school due to our area's frigid temperatures. They've been cooped up with Daddy. Today, I came home to find their bedroom like this:

My reaction was "OMG, what the heck happened in here?"

I swear I just spent an entire weekend sorting, organizing, and cleaning their space, and..........................


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Not a Baby

As I was tucking Meghan in for bed, she nonchalantly said, "Mommy, Sophia says I'm not a baby."

Confused by the statement out of context, I inquired, "What do you mean Meghan? Do mean that Sophia is being a very nice friend to you? Or did you mean to say that Sophia thinks you are a baby?"

"Sophia is my friend. She doesn't think I'm a baby."

"Oh Megs! That is so nice. I'm so glad you have such a nice friend in Sophia."

I guess "not being a baby" is four-year old criteria for forming friendships. ;)

So Unfair

"Hey Mom!"

"Yes, Gracie."

"Today, Daddy told me that when you guys were little that you only had records and radio. You didn't have DVDs or CDs."

"That's right, Grace. We didn't have DVDs or CDs. We also didn't have microwaves, cell phones, laptops, DVD players, or email."

"Wow! Mom, that must have been so unfair."


Saturday, January 10, 2009


On Friday, Grace and I were hanging out in my bedroom. She was home sick with a stomach virus, and I let her climb into my bed to rest. I was surfing on my laptop while sitting against the side of my bed on the floor.

"Mom?" she said, as she sat up a bit to ask her question.

"What can I do for you, honey?" I responded.

"Mom, who is Martin again?" Grace said with a hard emphasis on the "tin" in Martin. She said his name in a way that sounded like she was pronouncing it in German.

Confused I responded, "Saint Martin, Gracie? You know for Saint Martin's Tag?"

"Nut uh. Not him. The one who died. Why did he die?" she replied.

Searching my thoughts, I sifted through my memories for important Martins. "Um, do you mean Martin Luther King?"

"Yes, Mommy. Why did he die?"

"Are you learning about him in school Gracie? His birthday is coming up soon."

"No Mama. I learned about him in K5."

"Oh. Well Gracie, that is kind of a long story. I'll try to tell you the short version. Sound good?"

"Yes, Mama, but why did he die?"

Searching for the right words, I paused for a moment.

"Well, before Mommy was born, there were many people who thought that the color of your skin was very important. A lot of people believed that having white skin was better than brown skin or any other color skin. Martin Luther King, along with some other very smart men and women, helped people to learn that we are all just people. The color of our skin doesn't matter. We all may look different, but we are still just people."

"Uh huh. I know that Mommy," she said with a hint of sarcasm, as in "Duh!" "Like I have blond hair and Rebecca has red hair? We're both still girls, but we look different."

"Exactly Grace," I replied with a heart swelling with pride.

"But why did Mar-TIN die?"

"It was very sad, Grace. A man who didn't like what Martin was teaching used a gun to shoot him. He died and went to Heaven. It was so sad, but many people still are learning from what he said then. That is the special part of Dr. King."

A look of concern showed on her face as she said, "Did he see the man who shot him?"

"No honey. He didn't see the man."

"Oh. It's okay, though. He went to Heaven and he got to see his family who died before he did. His family will see him again in Heaven when they die."

"You are so smart, Grace."

Grace placed her head back down on my pillow, and let her thoughts drift to another subject.

The profoundness of Grace's belief system astounds me. She is destined for great things, and I'm so glad that she doesn't allow color or any other physical feature define the goodness or badness of a person.

I suppose that is the bias of her proud Mama, though. ;)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Bonding Time with Grandma

Mornings do not come easy to me or you

Today, you awoke complaining

Which you do most days

Except today, my mommy radar alarmed

At first, I went about morning business as usual

Encouraging you to sit up and drink something

Reminding Meghan to put her school clothes on

Wondering if this was you needing a mental health day

Brushing hair

Finding shoes

Folding up snow pants

Digging up unwet mittens

Scurrying around

Then, I found you curled up on the floor

In the hallway

Clutching your tummy and moaning

All dressed for school

Yet on the floor in the hallway in the fetal position

I feel your forehead

And find a fever

As well as the realization that you are sick

So my plans change

And you get a day at home in bed with your "friends" on TV

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Mommy and Me

Head Wound Holidays

Last Saturday as we were opening Christmas gifts at my in-laws home, Grace was particularly excited about the festivities. She was hopping and bouncing and just generally not paying close attention to what she was doing. I was seated on the sofa and she approached hopping up and down, up and down. Suddenly, she lunged to my left and landed on the edge of the sofa cushion on her knees. She slid backwards and plunged onto the floor. On her way down, she gashed her right cheek bone on the corner of the coffee table.

I yelped out loud, "She needs ice. Get some ice!"

As I scooped her up off the floor, she began shrieking in pain. I inspected the spot where she hit the table, and it was already purple.

"She needs ice," I yelled again as I carried her into my in-laws kitchen. As I placed Grace in a chair, someone handed me a zip-lock bag of ice cubes. I placed it on her face, but could still see the purple bruise through the bag.

"Mommy! That is too cool. Too cold!"

My thoughts raced a bit. "Would I need to take her in to the ER? Did she break the bone? Oh man! This is going to be a huge bruise." I finally decided to just keep ice on it for ten minutes and then re-assess the injury. After the tears subsided, Grace told me that her face was now numb so we removed the ice. She seemed okay so we didn't take her to the ER.

The bruise on her face is now amazingly in technicolor with shades of yellow, purple, green, and blue, but it has improved over the last 7 days. The blood also pooled underneath her eye so she appears to have a "black" eye. I'm hoping it will be a little better on Monday when she returns to school.

Now for Meghan's story............................................

Meghan awoke early, as she usually does. Charlie took her downstairs for her breakfast, and I stayed in bed to sleep a while longer. I could hear their muffled conversation as I tried to sleep. Meghan was playing with her Moon Sand at the kitchen table, and Charlie was doing his best to remind her not to get it all over the kitchen.

I was drifting off to sleep as I heard a thud, and I wondered what had happened to Meghan. At first, I heard some crying but it didn't get increasingly louder so I figured she was getting over her latest bump. The thud had awakened me so I decided to blog a little bit and had just grabbed my laptop as Charlie opened our bedroom door. It was dark in our room, but I could still see the concern on his face as he said, "Jen! Meghan fell and hit her head. There is blood." I knew what that meant for Charlie. He needed me to help.

I jolted out of bed and nearly hovered down the stairs seeking out Meghan. When I got to her, she had a red face and tears streaming down her cheeks. Charlie pointed out that there was blood at the tip of some of her long blond hair. I looked at the blood and noticed that there was also some blood splattered on the chair as well as down the back of her pajamas. I couldn't see where she had hurt herself though. Her mop of hair was blocking my view so I asked her to point to the spot on her head where it hurt.

"Mama, it huurrrts right here." She pointed to a spot on the back of her head about the same level as her ears. I searched through her hair carefully, and finally found the source of the blood. It was clearly gashed open, and I immediately decided we had to take her to the urgent care.

After all of us put our clothes on, we headed to the urgent care center. It is familiar place to me as I've been there twice myself, and once with Gracie when she fell and cut her forehead open last year. When we got there, there were three other patients ahead of us. We sat down in the waiting area and I encouraged Meghan to focus on the TV to distract her. Periodically, she would ask me questions about the That's So Raven characters or about when they would finally call her name.

Blood had finally soaked through her hair and was now clearly marking the spot of her cut. It wasn't bleeding badly though...more like seeping a bit. For about 45 minutes, we waited and waited. I kept telling her that she was so brave and that I was proud of her. I placed my hand on her chest, and noticed her heart was racing still. It made me tear up a bit to know she hurt and I couldn't fix it. Charlie rubbed her back a bit, but she seemed to be in too much pain to accept his soothing as she pushed his hand away.

They finally called her name, and a triage nurse assessed her. The nurse suddenly said, "Oh, I didn't know she had a cut on her head. I thought it was just a nasty bump. Oh. Yep, she'll need some stitches for this. Meghan, we'll give you some medicine so it won't hurt in just a little while. Please look at this smiley face chart and tell me which one looks like how you feel right now."

Meghan pointed at the chart, which seemed to be somewhere between a 2 and 3 on a scale of 10. I thought, "Wow, she has a pretty high tolerance for pain."

"Meggie, you are so brave. Mommy is so proud of you."

Charlie said, "Meghan, did you hear Mommy? You are so brave."

"Uh huh," she replied as she inspected her surroundings.

The nurse escorted us to our room, and several people came along to ask us various questions about what had happened. I think there were a total of five people asking us or Meghan how she hurt herself. I kept wondering if they were trying to determine if we had abused her. Charlie found a Barney book and sat down to read it to Meghan.

A physician's assistant appeared and checked Meghan's head. She also told us that it was good we brought her to the urgent care as she needed to have a few staples in her scalp.

"Staples or stitches?" Charlie inquired.

"Staples because stitches would get tangled in her hair." The PA then explained what she'd do to Meghan. "Meghan, I'm going to give you some medicine to make your head go to sleep. When I give you that medicine, it will sting, but only for a little while. Then, we'll wash your hair where your owie is, and then I'll fix your owie with some staples."

I was pleased when she decided not to use the papoose board because Megs was being very cooperative. Meghan got onto her tummy on the examination bed, and put her head to one side. I got down on my knees to look into her eyes and hold her hand.

"Meghan, I want you to be very still while they work on your owie. Okay?"

"Uh huh."

Meghan cried as the PA injected the numbing medicine, but quickly relaxed as it took effect. Charlie was holding Meghan's other hand, and quickly noted, "I'm on the wrong side of the table." He doesn't like blood and was looking squarely into her gash. He moved around the table and appeared behind me.

As the nurse and PA prepared their materials, Meghan turned her wound toward me and revealed a wide open gash. Honestly, it startled me a bit, but I tried not to show her my concern. It still makes me shiver a bit to think about it. It had to hurt badly.

"Mama, when will they wash my hair?"

I giggled as I replied, "Megs, they are washing it right now. You just can't feel it. See. Isn't it good that they gave you that numbing medicine."

"Oh. Mama, I just heard a click sound. What was that?"

"Megs, that was the stapler. They are stapling your owie back together so it gets better fast."

"I don't like staples Mommy."

Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.

"That hurts really bad. Owie. Owie."

The PA noticed her pain, and decided to remove one of the staples since it seemed to be pulling her skin too tightly.

"Does that feel better now?" the PA inquired.

"Uh huh."

"Okay Meghan. You are all done. You did a great job," the PA complimented.

Meghan sat up and the hair around the wound was standing on end and matted with blood and antibiotic cream. It looked like a fake Halloween wound to me except it wasn't fake at all. ;) Ouch!

I paid the copay on the way out, and on the way home, we went through the drive-through at McDonald's. It was an eventful morning, but we were home about two and half hours after she hurt herself. Whew!

Fun times in the urgent care!

I'm hoping the "head wound holidays" are over for now, and geez, I really hope that these things don't really come in 3s. I don't think I can handle another one for a few weeks. Yikes. ;)

Warning: Here comes a picture. If you don't like visuals, close the web page.