Saturday, February 28, 2009

What have you done for me lately?

So I took Chris to the ENT this last week because like his daddy, he has an earwax problem. His earwax is so built up that it's affected his hearing. So Kiki and I sat and watched him be lowered on a Star Trek captain's chair (circa Kirk) so the ENT could poke a telescope into his ear and prod at it with a pick, a vaccum, and God knows what else.

Kiki and I were fascinated.

Turns out that she couldn't get any of it out, so she sent us home with a prescription for ear drops and strict instructions to NOT USE Q-TIPS EVER OH MY GOD DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT ARE YOU CRAZY? As we were following her out, she motioned Chris over to a display of hard candy, suckers, and stickers. "Help yourself," she told him, "and take some for your sister, too, if you like."

Now Chris has lived with only one sister his entire life, up until two years ago, and while he knows Kiki is his sister, I don't think it's exactly sunk in like it has with Bri. I mean he loves to show her off to his friends -- not even kidding. The first thing he says to any of his friends that come over is, "Come meet Kiki! Let's play with her for a bit." -- but the exact relationship to her? Not quite cemented.

So he made a face at me when the ENT told him this and asked me, "Why should I get HER anything? What has she done for me lately?"

Which made me giggle, which I choked on when I caught the look on the ENT's face, and so I had to sober up and say, "She's not talking about Bri. She's talking about Kiki." Because I am an Uber Parent who giggles when her kids are rude to each other. Obviously.

Realization dawned on Chris's face, and he immediately back-tracked, asking me what sticker and/or candy Kiki would like because OF COURSE he would share with KIKI. Which only made me want to giggle harder. I think the ENT was ready to call DFS on my ass.

So we have Bri and Chris this weekend. On the weekends as their dad sleeps in, they usually race downstairs once they know I'm up to see who gets to play on his computer first. I'm quite used to this by now, but there are mornnings when I'm EXTREMELY GRUMPY and I tell 'em to go play in the street.

No, I don't. I tell 'em to go get breakfast. And then bathe. And then by that time I've pleasanted out a bit and can be cordial and gracious.

This morning however only Bri came down. My kitchen was a mess -- Kipp would have cleaned it before he went to bed IF I HAD ASKED HIM TO but because I didn't ask, HE DIDN'T DO IT (am I ranting a little?) and Kiki had woken up SCREAMING and soaked completely through to her bed and I was, you know, grumpy.

Bri proceeded, quietly and without being asked or instructed, to put up all the barriers in the living room. Then she took Kiki out of her playpen, set her loose, made sure she had tv and toys to occupy her, then came into the kitchen and helped me make breakfast. NO LIE!

And when breakfast was ready, Chris came down and the first words out of his mouth were, "Can I play on the computer? I know, I know after breakfast right?"

And I said, "You know what, Bri's been down here since I got up, helping me out with breakfast and Kiki, and she hasn't said one word about the computer but I bet she wants to get on it. So, for all her help and stuff, she gets to go first."

Because I am an Uber Parent.

And because Bri is an Uber Sister, she added, "I didn't ASK because I thought it would be RUDE." Which is funny because although I think Bri knows the technical definition of rude, she certainly doesn't understand the practical application of it, i.e., the girl cannot NOT be rude to save her life.

I digress from the POINT OF MY STORY.

This afternoon I had to run out and do errands, the last of which was picking a friend up from the airport. I left still grumpy with Kipp and with Chris and with being a mom in general because of all the attitude I get when I instruct someone to do something that actually helps me out and rarely RARELY does anyone just step up and do shit for me, which made me feel all glowy glowy about Bri, so I stopped and got her beef jerky, her favorite treat.


And then being Bri, she went and got herself in trouble before I got home because she stayed out later than she was supposed to without checking in for lunch. I got this update over the phone while I was coming back with my friend from a VERY GRUMPY Kipp who had the Stern Father Going To Rain Heck On His Errant Child voice going.

I immediately told him that I was giving her bag of beef jerky REGARDLESS and I was going to make a BIG production of it, and he started to argue with me until I told him WHY and then he grudgingly backed down because he knows. He KNOWS. He's just lazy. (Like I am, but this isn't about me right now.)

(Wait, it's always about me.)

So I did. I came home, I gave Bri the jerky in front of the household, with the big kudo speech as to why, and when Chris said it wasn't fair and even KIPP said, "Did you get me anything?" I responded...

WHAT have you done for ME lately?

Because I am not just an Uber Parent, I am a grown-up.

PS I got LOTS of stuff for Kiki though. Gluten free stuff. More about that in the next post.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I just don't see it

I just don't see it anymore. I don't even remember when I stopped seeing it; it's like it just happened.

I still see it in adults. I'm not sure why. But in children? I don't see it at all. I searched for it in Kiki's face today when it struck me that I couldn't see it anymore, and I didn't see it there.

I have this newsfeed to the right over there. It looks for articles on Ds. Lately so many of those articles have been about the new prenatal testing for Ds, and while I try to be positive about that, it sort of irks me. I mean the tone of them -- "Ooo! New exciting science stuff! So that all you preggers wimmin won't have ANY MORE excuses about checking to see if your fetus is broken!"

It makes me think about all the women who decide they'd rather not have a baby who has Ds. It makes me think of all the people who would choose not to have Kiki in their lives based on a cold piece of scientific result, without ever even taking the time to look at her, bask in her smile, play with her.

It breaks my heart.

Now look at this article. Look at the pictures. Do you see it?

Like I said, I just don't see it anymore. And I think as Kiki gets older, I'll stop seeing it altogether. Which makes me incredibly happy, because I'm so tired of the shallow bits of me.

Edited to add: Felt compelled to mention I'm not morally or ethically opposed to abortion in general. I feel compassion for women whose first reaction would be, "Oh my God, I won't be able to handle this!" I was one of them once -- but it turned out I was wrong, very wrong. And I'm not an exceptional person by any means.

I just feel a little queasy about the idea of the social pressure, the medical pressure out there on women to abort their "less-than-perfect" fetuses. Who gets to decide what less than perfect means? I thought Nazism was out of vogue?

And when I say it breaks my heart, I mean that personally, it breaks my heart that anyone -- not to mention an organized group, a multinational group of intellectually elite, government funded to boot -- would look at my daughter, my wonderful gorgeous brilliant daughter who every day amazes me, that something so awesome could come from my imperfect being -- would look at her and only think of her as a broken person.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

You can tell it's laundry day when...

I ran out of pajamas for Kiki last night. I resorted to putting her in one of the new sleepers Mom and JP got her when they were here in November/December. I figured, it's going to snow tonight; a blanket sleeper is appropriate (even though her bedroom upstairs is always the warmest in the house!)

It was a size 18 month. It was loosish when she first got it.

It is now tightish.

Yay!!!! I think we're officially into 24-month size territory now! And she's only 22 months old!

Things like this make me sooooooo giddy.

PS Kipp's only comment about Kiki's haircut has been: "I don't like bangs."

WhatEVER. He's said nothing since then, so I think it's growing on him and he doesn't want to admit it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

You've got some 'splaining to do!

I'm obviously trying to get my husband to divorce me.

First, I make his dog run away. But she came back, so I had to think bigger (like Pinky Dinky Doo and omg I watch too much Noggin.)

So today, I did this.

No, I didn't take her to Cookie Cutters. Dude, we're talking a 30 minute drive into town for a $16.95 haircut? When I can go around the corner and traumatize a perfectly nice stylist for only $5? Please.

Kiki? Was not obedient. She squirmed. She fussed. She cried. This was the best the woman could do.

I told her from the beginning, I just want something lower maintenance. I know it will have to be a comb-over, but I'd like the top cut so that it falls to above her eyebrow in a bang. I want the back shortened so I'm not spending so much time combing out snags.

She asked, "Oh, does she have cancer?" She said it in a very concerned, caring way, which reminded me just how freaking shallow I'm being about all this. Honestly, it could be something terrifying, like cancer. We're lucky it's not, so I need to let. It. Go.

I explained to her about alopecia, and the celiac disease, and all that, while she focused mainly on trying not to accidently cut my daughter. I could tell she was really frazzled and concentrating on Kiki instead of me, because I think she asked me like 20 times how old Kiki is. She followed us out to the car afterwards, too, telling me how cute Kiki is, and asking again what alopecia is, and how old she is. I think she just wanted a return customer 'cause I kind of tipped her big. I mean honestly -- it wasn't a cakewalk, and the cut was only $5. I felt sorry for her.

And now we wait for Daddy's reaction....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wish Fulfillment

I'm trying very hard to model calm, non-violent, yet disciplined behavior to my daughter. This is difficult on many levels:

1. I am not disciplined.
2. Every time she pulls my hair now, she immediately wags her finger at me, knowing what's coming, and it's so damned hard not to laugh. But honestly! If she knows she's going to get the finger wag, how does she not know NOT TO DO IT???? Where have I gone wrong?
3. Have I mentioned Sugar thinks her own name is NO? And that she's imbued with just way too much energy? And that she gets between me and the baby whenever I say NO, even if it bowls over the baby or means jumping on my head? Have I mentioned this?

So it was the end of a long day. I'd completely mucked up the baby's schedule such that she had lunch at 2:30, didn't fall asleep for her nap until 4, didn't wake up from said nap until 6:30, didn't get dinner until 8, and then finally got a bath at 8:30 and I thought What the hell, let's just keep her up til Daddy gets home.

At around 9:15, I'm on the floor with Kiki. She pulls my hair then we wag our fingers at each other and say NO and Sugar bounds in between us and WILL NOT GO AWAY and I just gritted my teeth trying not to beat the dog because how am I supposed to teach Kiki nice touches while at the same time squashing a dog's muzzle?

Don't call PETA. I'm not like that, honestly. I just THINK it.

Anyway, I decide it would be best for EVERYONE involved if Sugar spent some time outside on the tether. As I fastened it to her collar, I muttered to her, "Do me a favor and run away."

At 9:30 Kipp came home. I griped about Sugar and suggested HE let her in because I didn't even want to LOOK at her.

Sugar. Was. Gone.


No dog on the tether.

No dog in the yard.

No dog responding to us banging blinds or yelling for her.

Kipp got in the car and drove around looking for her. No luck. We spent the next hour or so -- an eternity! -- checking outside in the front, in the back, every 10 minutes, hoping she'd come back. I wailed in the night, tears streaming down my face, that I WAS KIDDING! YOU STUPID MUTT! COME HOME!

Okay. That was internal monologue but the tears were real.

Finally, she came home. All smug and bouncy and happy as a dog can be.

Stupid mutt.

It took Kipp 15 minutes to pry her out of my body hug.

Monday, February 16, 2009

On the outside looking in

When I first moved here, it became my obsession to fit in. (Have you noticed I have obsessions?)

One of the first things I noticed is how the natives pronounce the name of the state. My first few attempts to say the name all native-style were met with polite chuckling and patronizing pats of the head and the caution that I wasn't allowed to pronounce it that way until I lived here for a while.

So I waited.

And waited.

About two years or so.

And then I tried it again, and no one complained. Success! I am a native!

Or you know, not so much.

Anyway, another thing I learned quickly is that this is the hometown of a certain well-known individual, Mr. P. Mr. P. went to the same high school as Kipp and I think was in the same class as Kipp's oldest brother. Mr. P's brother is on the local chamber of commerce, so Kipp's dad runs into him quite a bit. He also knows Mr. P's sister, and Mr. P's parents are regulars at one of the family restaurants.

So interestingly enough, everyone around here refers to Mr. P casually in conversation by his first name, like they know him personally and/or grew up with him or something. Which, um, is technically true.

There is kind of a running joke about inviting Mr. P to this or that local event (again, referring to his first name with fond familiarity), but I don't really think anyone actually follows up on that as much as you'd think.

So I figured this would be my next step, you know? So the other day, I tested it out with Kipp. Out of the blue, I said, "You know, we should see if B wants to set up a playdate next time he's in town. One of his daughters is about the same age as Kiki."

Kipp gave me a very bland, very patient look that clearly screamed, "PRETENDER! FAKER! WANNABE!" But what he said was, "Sure. And make sure to invite his wife too, because she's hawt."

Which made me feel all smugly at home. I mean I am a big faker and pretender because I certainly have never met Mr. P, but I love it that my husband indulged me. And I have absolutely no desire to embarrass myself by dropping said name in conversation with anybody else.

Because you know, they probably went to high school with him.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More Kiki Words

Kipp had her saying "More" over and over again for her cookies the other day. Awesome! We have yet to repeat the performance though. She has resorted to signing More instead.

Today Kipp took over all day long while I slept and slept and slept. I've had a headache for like three days now and suspected it was hormone related and sure enough, Aunt Flo came in last night. About once every two years or so I get a period that lays me out, and this is it. Where is menopause for crissakes? I'm so ready.

Anywho, Kipp proudly stated to me today that Kiki knows how to ask for her Mum-Mums (rice crackers, gluten free). Evidently I had not relayed to him that mum-mum is her word for anything she can pick up with her hands.

I need to work on my OWN communication skills, it appears. Maybe Kiki and I can learn to talk at the same time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kiki Discovers the Wiggles

Once upon a time, when I was a know-it-all nonparent, I once scolded my cousin for letting his toddlers sit around and watch tv all day. "You shouldn't use the tv as a babysitter!" I told him.

He responded, "My parents let me watch tv all the time when I was a kid, and I turned out just fine."

There's no way to argue gracefully with a statement like that.

Now as a parent who has a child who finally shows interest in the tv, I have to admit it's nice to be able to get away once in a while and know she's entertained in my absence. I mean I don't go for a walk or anything. I'm like no more than 8 steps away from her at any given time, but still. I can work. I can clean the kitchen. I can make meals. That kind of thing.

I'm used to having the tv on all the time; it's more like background noise for me. But I confess a probably unhealthy obsession with children's programming. It enthralls me. And some of the shows enthrall Kiki as well. Like LazyTown. And Maggie and the Ferocious Beast. And the Backyardigans.

Up til now we've watched almost exclusively Noggin. I've heard tales of children who'll watch the same Barney tape/DVD over and over and over and over and still want to see it over and over and over. I figured Kiki would be one of those, but Noggin has recently lost its thrall over her as the same episodes repeat themselves (though she still loves Moose A. Moose and will drop everything to hear him sing or play a puzzle game.)

So I switched it over to Disney this morning and discovered the Wiggles. I've heard of the Wiggles before, but this was my first exposure to them. And they enthralled us both. Anything with music and dancing grabs Kiki. She sat still for a straight 10 minutes until there was some little interlude with a dog practicing his swimming strokes, and then she busied herself with handing me her blocks until the singing and dancing started again.

I'm definitely getting her into a dance class when she finally starts walking! Umm, that should make up for turning her into a couch potato, right?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Now what do I do?

Lately Kiki has been wagging her finger at us in response to us telling her NO (after she's pulled our hair or bitten us or smacked us.) It's awful cute, but I don't want it to turn into some kind of rebelliou gesture, so I always respond by shaking my finger back at her and saying sternly, "That's right. NO."

When she smacks me or one of the dogs, I tell her NO and then I take her hand and stroke whatever she hit with it and say, "Nice touches."

Today I was lying on the couch watching her play. She dropped what she was doing, came up to the couch to check on me, and pulled my hair. "NO!" I said.

She gave me a look, then reached up and stroked my arm. To add to the apology, she laid her head on my arm, looking up at me with puppy dog eyes, then leaned forward and gave me a kiss.

You know, if she keeps schmoozing like that, it's going to be so very hard to stay stern with her.

(And yes, I praised her for her apologetic behavior. I'm trying to believe in positive reinforcement.)

She's been running around yesterday and today saying, "Hi, baby!" When Mom called, I held the phone to Kiki's ear and for the first time ever she vocalized into the phone, not once but twice! And while I was on the phone, I was feeding her cookies. Mom heard her ask for a cookie and she said, "Oh! She said Mama!"

Umm, no. She said "Mum mum" which is Kiki-speak for "Yum yum" which is any snack she can pick up without a spoon. It does still count as communication as far as I'm concerned though.

She still only says Mama when she's put to bed. Little stinker.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Holier Than Thou

Before I was a mom, I was one of those non-parents who saw kids in public and invariably thought, "For pete's sake, get your beasts under CONTROL!" I was confident that when *I* had kids, they would be well disciplined, polite, and well behaved.

Of course I didn't know one very important thing. And that is? I suck at discipline.
There were plenty of clues along the way, as in, I don't even discipline MYSELF. But no, I never caught on.

Now I have a child who bites, smacks, and pulls hair. Which is normal, I guess. But I just want her to STOP! STOP IT! STOP IT NOW!

One thing I will say, she is a DREAM at restaurants. Other than occasionally throwing some food on the floor then looking around expectantly for a couple of dogs to trot up and clean up after her, she is perfect. She doesn't scream or fuss, she flirts with everyone, and she eats whatever we give her.

Today she actually worked with her spoon at breakfast and lunch, navigating it herself from bowl to mouth, and didn't throw it once. Yay! I feel kind of guilty that she's not feeding herself yet; I think her only real block in this endeavor is me. It's like I can't seem to relinquish control enough, or the thought of her throwing her spoon or making a mess or not eating enough if left to her own devices is too much for me to overcome.

I guess I'm a little overbearing after all. Just not in a good way.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Counting Hairs

Okay. I obsess yet again. Please indulge. But I mean, dude. Look.

I didn't take photos of the spots lurking under her hair because I figure they're hidden, right, and that's a blessing. Right?

She don't care.

The upside is this: after her bath last night, there was only one strand of hair left in the tub instead of a pinchful! So maybe she's stopped losing it? I hope!

Despite the good news in the tub, I was feeling kind of dejected and discouraged and sorry for myself last night -- hey, it's all about me, after all. I've dreamed of having a daughter so I can play with her hair, make french braids, pig tails, Swiss girl braids, all that. Sniffle. Poor me.

Okay. Anyway. I went out and re-looked up the article that clued me into celiac disease. Turns out it was an Italian study and something like 3 people out of 100 who had alopecia tested positive for celiac disease. I'm not good at math, so I'll take it on faith that the staticians claim that's too many to be a coincidence.

Anywho, also one of the boys in the study had alopecia totalis. He lost all of his body hair. But he regrew it all when he went on a gluten-free diet, which is amazing because what I've read is that alopecia totalis has the utmost lowest possibility of hair regrowth.

But alopecia is unpredictable. So you know. Grasping at straws and still feeling sorry for myself.

Kipp scolded me last night for the pity party, pointing out to me that Kiki is still and always will be beautiful, and that I need to stop focussing on the hair or she's going to pick up on it and focus on it too. Gah. I hate when he's right.

I wish there was a hair saint I could pray to.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ice and Snow

Well, we did get snowed in last week. I wanted to get a pic of Kiki playing in the snow once it all stopped being nasty, but we have a wicked nasty slope in our front yard (and the backyard is the domain of the dogs, if you know what I mean.) I could just imagine myself trying to take a picture of her and trying to catch her as she rolled into the street. On the ice. That I would slip on. And probably crush her.

All therapies were cancelled last week. They didn't even plow our street until Thursday around 1 pm. And also, the wicked slope. I didn't think it was prudent to endanger the nice women that Kiki plays works with so often.

So I decided to put it off until Bri and Chris were here over the weekend, so they could play WITH her in the snow, and then I'd have pics of ALL of them! Ah, such plans. It didn't happen. The older kids went off sledding, and by Sunday the snow had melted enough that it just didn't look pretty enough anymore.

Oh, and I'm lazy. Because 3 layers of clothes on a child who screams when she gets dressed? Not fun.

Not much to update, but it feels like there's always changes. Bri's all into Kiki's new diet, and is all big sister about it. She called yesterday to invite us to her Student Leadership dinner next week. She pointed out that there would probably be no gluten-free choices, except maybe salad, so I should bring food for Kiki.

And that she would also be waiting on our table, so we should be nice to her. Heh! Her intent, she says, is to so impress her Papaw with her waitressing skills that he'll hire her at the restaurant in a couple of years.

Papaw was tickled to hear that.

Kiki's palate is changing or something. She used to love green beans, and now? Not so much. She's beginning to get picky about what I feed her, and she is very VERY adamant about what she will NOT eat. As well as what she WILL eat. Things she loves, like cottage cheese with applesauce, she cries when it's all gone. And it's not like she's still hungry. I mean, come on, she's not even 2. I think a half cup of cottage cheese with a quarter cup of applesauce is pretty much a full tummy, and that's not even counting the crackers and the juice or milk that go along with it.

Honestly, you should see people's eyes bug out when I bring out her meal if it's cottage cheese with applesauce. "She'll never eat all that!" they say. Ha! She gobbles it up. She fusses if you're slow with it. And then she cries when it's gone. So, you know, she loves her cottage cheese with applesauce.

(So does her daddy, who ends up eating the "chunks that are too big for her" when he's feeding her.)

She's begun to resist naptime, and I'd toy with the notion of letting her skip it if a) I didn't also need a nap and b) she wasn't hitting, biting, scratching, and head butting everything in sight (the dogs, me, the walls, the floor, the couch) when she starts getting tired.

I think she's a goat. Her head butts hurt. And how do you stop an almost 2-year-old from banging her head on things? Do I need to put a helmet on her? I mean she's not doing it exceptionally hard, and she only does it when she's grumpy/tired.

I don't know. I'm at a loss. This child is going to be an interesting teenager.

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