Diapers and Dragons

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm It! I'm It!

Woohoo! It's been a long time since I got tagged for a meme, and I've never been tagged by anyone I didn't really know In Real Life, so I'm ridiculously thrilled to be tagged for this meme by Brit in Bosnia. I know. I'm a little pitiful, but you gotta love me anyhow. This one's pretty random, but life gets boring when it's too structured all the time. So here goes:

1. What are your current obsessions? Blogging, NCIS (the show, not the real thing), and finishing the cross-stitch project I'm planning on giving my mother for Mother's Day. Eek! Only a week and a half left!

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear the most often? My Gap jeans. They go with everything.

3. What's for dinner? Heck if I know. I suppose I should probably plan that out. It would be nice if I actually made something tonight rather than falling back on take out again. Maybe tuna noodle casserole...

4. Last thing you bought? A cross-stitch project carry case and other useful accoutrements thereof. I'm crossing over into an official "crafter" identity. At least it isn't all flowery and lacy--it's a nice flat black case with clean lines that won't give me away too much.

5. What are you listening to? The Sidney Poitier version of A Raisin in the Sun--currently, Beneatha and Walter Lee going off on each other.

6. If you were a god / goddess what would you be? The Literature Muse, I suppose, which would have to be a tenth Muse combining Calliope (muse of epic poetry), Clio (muse of history), Erato (muse of love poetry), Melpomene (muse of tragedy), Polyhymnia (muse of sacred poetry), and Thalia (muse of comedy). Might get kind of crowded in there...

7. Favourite holiday spots? Jamaica, first and foremost--I still remember my honeymoon very fondly. The Upper Peninsula and upper Lower Peninsula (Petoskey and Traverse City areas) of Michigan are wonderful as well.

8. Reading right now? Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado, Traveling Light for Mothers by Lucado, Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott, The Wonder Worker by Susan Howatch, The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, the Psalms. It all depends on how much time I have, where I am, and what mood I'm in.

9. Four words to describe you? dramatic, passionate, literary, growing

10. Guilty pleasure? Buying shoes and books

11. Who or what makes you laugh? My kidlets, my students, Scrubs, and Big Bang Theory.

12. Favourite spring thing to do? Sitting in the sun and smelling the green and growing things. Oh, and getting the grill fired up. Planting doesn't come into it. I really wish I had garden gnomes.

13. Planning to travel next? Up to Tawas Bay this weekend for a women's retreat. I am so excited! Plus I should be able to catch a ride with a dear friend, so I won't have to drive or rack up the miles on my faithful Saturn Vue!

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately? A double chocolate muffin provided for me by a student. I loves me some bribes. And chocolate.

15. Last time you were tipsy? At a great Girls' Night Out when three other "girls" and I met up at The Melting Pot (great fondue, great service, great drinks) before going to the theatre and seeing Twilight. Good times.

16. Favourite ever film? Oooh. I have several. Is that allowed? Movies I can watch over and over again are LadyHawke, The Princess Bride, Amelie, Death to Smoochy, the Lord of the Rings trilogy...I better stop.

17. Biggest life lesson you've learned from your kids? Never expect your expectations to actually be fulfilled--buckle up, cuz you're in for a ride!

18. Song you can't get out of your head? I have several, but "You Are the Sun" by Sara Groves has been there a lot recently.

19. What book do you know you "should" read but refuse to? Ulysses by James Joyce. What absolute crap. I told Marinka she would regret it!

Rules of the meme: Respond and rework. Answer questions on your own blog. Replace one question. Add one question. Tag 8 people.

I tag Beth at BurkinaMom in France, GingerB at Gas-Food-Lodging, Heidi at Hortus Deliciarum, MommyTime at Mommy's Martini, oreneta at oreneta aground, Schmutzie at Schmutzie, Beth at so the fish said, and Eric at Property of: US Army (although he isn't a MommyBlogger, so I'm pretty sure he'll be replacing #17 unless he's crazy--which, on second thought, he is, so maybe he won't.)

Talking Philosophy, Three-Year-Old Style

Lately DramaBoy has been very into Bible stories and figuring out the whole God thing. Ever since I started taking him to church/Sunday school and his grandma started reading to him from The Big Picture Story Bible, which has been his absolutely favorite book for several months now, he has dived headlong into faith, three-year-old style. It's kind of amazing to see.

But there are some interesting questions coming up, some of which would be difficult to answer for someone with a doctorate in theology, much less a prodigal who only recently has started picking up the Bible again.

Yesterday as we drove home, he suddenly piped up from the back seat: Mama? There are two Gods, right? A big one and a little one?

Great. I get to try to explain the Trinity to a three-year-old.

No, there's just one God, I replied. But He can be three different people.

Where do I go from there? I mean, come on. This is something I barely understand.

Um, you know how I am Mommy to you and The Widget, and I'm also a teacher, and I'm also a friend to other people? It's like I'm three different people, but I'm still one person.

Oh, he said.

Sudden inspiration hit me. Someone just mentioned lately an approach she was taking with her preschool Sunday School class.

OK, so you know how water is sometimes all wet and liquid, like the rain? And then sometimes it's hard and cold, like ice and snow? And then if it gets hot, it's steam? It's still water, but it can be in three different forms, I said.

Oh! Okay, he said. He sounded a little more sure this time. All right. That would have to do for the time being.

So that took care of faith. But the philosophy bug had apparently hit us both (okay, maybe me a little more than him) because a little bit later he started singing "Rockabye Baby", only to stop and comment: Mama? Cradles rock sometimes. But why does the cradle fall?

Well, that song is really a representation of politics, I replied. Ha! If I could take on the doctrine of the Trinity, I could handle a little discussion about rebellion against government.

Sometimes cradles fall, he confirmed.

Right. What that is really talking about is what happens when the people rise up against a corrupt government, I said, with growing confidence.

Oh, he said. There was a pause.

But we don't do that! he said, as sure in his position as I was in mine.

You're right, baby, you're right. We don't really do that these days, I replied, thinking about all the decades of corruption and increasing lack of confidence in our leadership, as well as the growing apathy about really doing anything about it.

I told you I'm in trouble with these kids. If I'm not careful, he's going to be teaching ME what's what.

And not that I'm putting expectations on him or anything, but I'd rather he be a pastor or seminary professor than a politician. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This One Time, At English Class...

So today my 11th grade (male) student J.A. walked into my 4th hour and said Ms. TeacherMommy, I need you to help me with my pants!

Hmm. I was a little taken aback. I mean, that's the sort of thing that lands educators in the newspapers, if you know what I mean. The other students in the classroom goggled and giggled. Great, now I had witnesses.

Um, WHAT? I said.

I need you to fix my pants! he said, with an earnestness I don't normally hear in his voice.

I might need to stop and explain that this particular student is one half of one of the many couples I have in this particular hour. It's a bit bizarre, really. They're all attached at the hip and nearly the lip, and I even posted a poem over at Secret Spineless Whine yesterday about this particular couple. J.A. isn't normally the type to ask me for any help, if you get my meaning.

Anyhow, he advanced toward me, clutching his huge black jeans (seriously, this baggy jean thing is getting awfully old) in a rather odd way.

These broke! he said, demonstrating two belt loops dangling mournfully from the top of the waistband, And I can't keep my pants up. Can you fix it?

I looked at him, nonplussed. Um, what do you want me to do? I asked, eying him askance. I mean, that's not exactly a place I normally touch students.

Can you sew them? he said, glancing at my cross stitch where it lay upon my desk.

This needle is an embroidery needle. It isn't sharp--it wouldn't do anything, I replied.

After a fruitless search for safety pins or a sewing kit or anything else along these lines, I was at a loss. I started wondering where I could get a hold of some duct tape so we could wrap him up like a broken pipe.

Finally another student came to his rescue, offering some safety pins she keeps around for making friendship bracelets.

I think you should probably have your girlfriend put those in, I remarked, unwilling to put my hands anywhere on his person.

Next thing I knew, he was standing in the back of the room with his girlfriend kneeling before him. Needless to say, the room started erupting in giggles and ribald remarks.

I can't look! I said, shielding my eyes. This just isn't something I'm used to seeing in my classroom, much less contributing to!

I'm just fixing his pants! C.C., his girlfriend, protested.

Is that what they're calling it these days? said another girl dryly.

AHHHH! J.A. yelped suddenly, leaping back a few feet. SHE POKED ME!

The classroom lost it. So did I.

Finally, when I could catch my breath, I suggested he go to the boys restroom (I'm afraid your girlfriend is not going to be able to help you this time, I said), remove the pants, fix the remaining belt loop, and return to the classroom.

We managed to calm down and get back to business (a.k.a. Macbeth) by the time he returned.

Sometimes it's just hard to stay in a bad mood around here.

Do What I Say, Not What I Do

Yesterday I went off on my honors tenth graders.

They were whining, as has become all too usual, about my daring to *gasp* MAKE THEM DO WORK. I know. I am so cruel.

You see, I just assigned them the dreaded TeacherMommy Ten-Page Paper That Requires Them To Do All Sorts of Unreasonable Things. Namely: (1) read and analyze a major piece of American literature on their own; (2) research the biographical info of the author, (3) research the historical context of the literature/author; (4) synthesize their literary analysis and research into a seven-to-ten-page paper that discusses how that author's work is the "living memory" of our nation, with proper MLA format, citations, and Works Cited page; and finally (5) prepare and deliver a ten-minute presentation, with visuals and handouts, of their findings.

It's a bitch of an assignment.

This is the project that makes students who formerly adored me start snarling at me with hatred and resentment. My response is and has been that I really don't care if they hate me right now, BUT however long it is down the road (a few months if they're bright; a few years or more if they're a little slower on the uptake) that they finally realize that I was doing a major favor by prepping them for the hard work they will face in the future, they need to thank me. E-mail, phone call, walk in my room, catch me in the hall: I don't care how they do it, they need to do it.

At any rate, I went off on a rant and preached at them from my lofty soapbox about Doing Things You Don't Like To Do and Taking Responsibility and Not Being Whiny Little Bastards. One of the examples I brought up is parenthood: as much as one may love one's children, there is a LOT of crap (literal and figurative) that comes along with the job, and one has to just get through that and deal with it and move on.

I realize that I am in danger of being labelled a hypocrite here. My own motivation at work is on par with the seniors'. My desk is overflowing with pile after pile of quizzes and papers that really need to be graded and which I have not touched in ages. I have several student evaluations to write for IEPs which may be overdue at this point: I don't even remember when they were supposed to be turned in.

As for parenting--last night and this morning I definitely slipped down the scale of parenting excellence, at least as far as patience goes. I found myself responding a little too harshly last night when DramaBoy and (especially) The Widget insisted on climbing out of bed again and again and again instead of staying put as I told them to. This morning as I struggled to get bags and a computer and kids all out to the car in the rain (I'm staying with ComputerDaddy for a couple of days, so of course I have to pack up half my life), I repeatedly lost my temper. I snarled and snapped at them as they got in the way when I was lugging things out, as The Widget wailed and followed me about because I dared leave his sight, as DramaBoy lost his shoe on the porch and simply walked away instead of putting it back on, as I discovered and had to clean up the ridiculous mess they had made with cereal while I was in the shower, as DramaBoy began whining when he heard he was going to his daycare today instead of switching over to The Widget's as he insists he wants to do...

Feeling that rage boil up inside me, I had to remind myself that these are my sons, these are the precious little people who bring me daily reminders of grace, these are the souls God has put in my care. And as I just told my students yesterday, I must take the frustrating along with the rewarding. My whining and complaining, my lack of patience and forgiveness (It was an accident! DramaBoy insisted tearfully as I growled about the cereal mess. I don't care! I snapped back) is just like that of my students yesterday.

I'm better at giving instructions than following them.

So it's time to take a big breath, pray for grace and patience, and start over again.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Grace in Small Things #4: Kidlet Edition

I need to post an extra one of these today because it's been one of those Mondays--not the kind that makes one want to smash the alarm clock and crawl back under the covers a la Garfield, but nevertheless, a Mondayish sort of Monday. So the small things matter, and I have two small boys who offer these reminders of grace:

1. DramaBoy running wildly across the daycare gym when he sees me walk in, shouting Mama! and then throwing his arms about my neck in a baby bear hug...

2. The Widget looking adorably confused as he looks for his coat (Coat! Coat! he insisted, walking from hook to hook, peering behind bags in case he missed it somehow) because he doesn't quite understand that on an 80+ degree day, this isn't part of the routine...

3. Delight and rapture on both kidlets' faces as they stand, faces pressed against the glass railing, gazing out at the wind-tossed lake, on the deck patio of the lakeside restaurant where we are meeting their grandma for an early dinner...

4. Giggles erupting from the backseat as DramaBoy does and says silly things for The Widget's amusement on our drive home...

5. Both boys singing along (nonsensically on The Widget's part; landing about 1/2 the words on DramaBoy's part since he's still learning the song) as their uncle and I sing a wonderful old British lullaby:
I gave my love a cherry that had no stone;
I gave my love a chicken that had no bone;
I gave my love a ring that had no end;
I gave my love a baby with no crying.

How can there be a cherry that has no stone?
How can there be a chicken that has no bone?
How can there be a ring that has no end?
How can there be a baby with no crying?

A cherry when it's blooming has no stone;
A chicken in the egg has no bone;
A ring when it is rolling has no end;
A baby when it's sleeping has no crying.
Grace in small things. Grace in small people.

Grace in Small Things #3

1. Creme brulee coffee at the Color Guard coffee table this morning

2. A visit from a wonderful former student during my prep hour (even if he did "distract" me from my prep work for the whole hour. I mean, someone comes and visits, it would be RUDE not to chat, right?)

3. Yummy cupcakes from a student who arrived late from co-op so picked up a bribe--ahem, I mean "gift of contrition"--on the way to school

4. Lots of compliments on my hair, which is awesome because I spent WAY more time on it this morning than usual--product, hair dryer, curling iron and all

5. Hitting 1000 on my site-meter!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Going Green and Gorgeous

This week has been very exciting because we have not one but TWO international celebrations of joy! Yesterday was, apparently, International Book Day (thank you for that info, orenata, even if it did come TOO LATE FOR ME TO POST ABOUT IT ON TIME!). I did happen to finish a book by a British author last night, which in my mind counts as a private celebration, even if I didn't know I was doing it. And then at some point earlier this week it was, apparently, Earth Day. I'm afraid that other than my normal efforts of turning off all electrical stuff at the end of the day and recycling the massive quantities of paper that pour through my hands on a daily basis, I didn't really do much to celebrate that one. No trees planted, no bicycling to work (HA!), no keeping the computer turned off all day, yada yada yada.

But since today is Fashion Friday (I'm getting hooked on the idea--I like being able to use Mr. Linky over at BigMama), I thought I might look more closely into that concept of "green" clothing. I'm not into the whole ugly hemp sandals and shapeless undyed cotton muumuus look, but surely in this day and age there's something decent--and perhaps more importantly, affordable--out there. It's such a rip-off that everything "green" and "organic" seems to cost so much more. It's like how you have to pay MORE for whole wheat bread, because you know, they had to LEAVE IN all that stuff instead of processing the hell out of it. Pay more for doing less and all that.

I just love capitalism.

Turns out (to my complete absence of surprise) that there are PLENTY of websites offering green clothing out there. Go ahead--just google "green clothing" and you'll get plenty. But I took the step of checking two of them out for you ( http://www.aventuraclothing.com/ and http://www.soul-flower.com/ ) and choosing some of my favorite (and more affordable) options. I'm also (because I'm just that nice) categorizing them. Your undying gratitude is, of course, absolutely welcome. There are other sites to check out as well, but these two seemed to have some great options and affordable prices.

I'm only covering tops, dresses, and skirts today. I'm also only focusing on women's clothing, although both sites have some awesome men's (and even children's) options. Now that I've been sucked into this world of eco-friendly clothing, I think I've found fodder for several weeks' worth of posts. So expect more next week.



This 3/4 sleeve organic cotton top by aventura has several really cute colors and patterns--I'm partial to the blue. It costs $49, which isn't Target price, but it's not absolutely unreasonable.

These little tank tops by life is good are on sale, which limits size and color availability, but drops the price to $14.99.

This adorable patterned stretch tank top by aventura is pricier at $37, but it's just so dang cute!


These smock tops at Soul-Flower.com are a little on the hippy-dippy side, but they're actually kind of adorable and definitely affordable at $28.

Soul-Flower.com also has a ton of very cute hoodies like the Hempy ($52) and the Revolutions and Soulshine (both $35 and which I SO want and just might order) and the Partridge (which zips up--$48).

Maybe I should just order almost everything on Soul-Flower.com. These Butterfly tunic blouses are on sale for $20; these Feelin' Groovy tie-dye tie-up blouses are really cute at $32; this Totem Tie Up tee, $32, would make me feel feminine and sassy at the same time.

Oh geez. Yeah. Just go to www.Soul-Flower.com and look at all the tops. There are way more than are listed here, and I could take up forever putting them here.


Aventura has pretty much nothing BUT cute on their dresses page, but here are a few favorites:

If you like halters and like simple, this organic cotton stretch dress goes for $52.

For a patterned version, this halter dress is $55.

And here's a sexy little nautical-inspired halter dress for $69. Get it in red and make the men's tongues roll out of their mouths.

If you aren't into halters, this ultra-light-weight cotton gauze dress goes for $57 and this patchwork-look dress ($72) would look great for either the fourth or fourteenth of July (depending on whether you'd prefer to celebrate Independence Day for the USA or France).

And finally for aventura, this gorgeous brielle chiffon dress would be PERFECT for summer date nights at $74.

Over at Soul-Flower they run more to skirts than dresses, but they have some super cute spring/summer options as well, and they're cheaper. Here are my two favorites:

This Jungle Love halter dress's name made me giggle, but it's really cute and only $34!

You'd have to be confident to pull off this much color and tie-dye, but I really like this Mudmee smocked dress, also $34.


Aventura doesn't have as many skirts that grab me, but there are a couple worth considering:

This kenzie ruffled organic cotton skirt ($57) has a lovely light, airy look.

And this destry bamboo/organic cotton stretch skirt ($62) is perfect for a soft, neutral look with intriguing details.

Soul-Flower, on the other hand, has so many options it's dizzying! These are the ones that made me salivate:

This Moon and Tree applique skirt ($42) is just so fun!

The Carly wrap skirt ($48) is made by women in Nepal and has a gorgeous look reminiscent of henna tattoo patterns; this Emerald Batik wrap skirt ($32) also has a beautiful "ethnic" look.

Again, you have to be brave about vivid colors, but this Wave wrap skirt ($30) and Mudmee Belle wrap skirt ($32) are breathtaking!

For more delicate, airy looks, check out the Butterfly Kisses cut-out skirts ($25 on sale), the Neopolitan skirts ($16 on sale), and the Blue Sky Butterfly Spinner skirt ($44, not on sale).

There you go! That's a start.

As for me--there goes my paycheck.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

In Search of Something And Where It Got Them

Someone, I forget who, did a post an eon ago (about a month in blogger time) about funny search terms that had led people, for better or worse, to her blog.

Since I now have (and obsess over) BlogPatrol and can see all that interesting info, I've been keeping track of some of the more interesting searches that have resulted in visits to my blog! Some are quite specific; others are creepy. Here are the ten I thought worth showing. I should note that there were quite a few about Thalon's death, which led them here. I also left off the one that was a little too pornographic and disturbing to put on a blog read by my mother and grandmother. Hi Mom! Hi Grandma!

I've linked to the posts the seekers [probably] found, and I've also googled a few myself to see what they MIGHT have really been looking for.

What's extra fun about this is that this post may end up bringing them back again! Mwahahahaha!

Hey, I have to get my jollies somehow. One can only torture students so much.

1. orya (I think they may have been looking for Oakland Ridge Youth Association or something like that. Apparently it's also a baby name meaning "peace," which is sort of sweet. At least they found a baby and a name, though not quite in the same way.)

2. how to make a whale out of a shoe (Um, what? Is this a reference to shoe box floats? Because instead they ended up here.)

3. do you know the muffin man screamo (Is there really a song like that? Is DramaBoy just that much ahead of his age group? Is he sneaking around listening to such music behind my back?!?)

4. two wolves within (I think they probably found what they were looking for. That's nice. They could have left an appreciative comment, though. Humph.)

5. “A better place than I had been” (I think this very specific search probably led here. I wonder if this was one of those desperation googles--you know, where you just type in a question or phrase you hope will lead to something inspiring? I hope they found what they needed, if so.)

6. élections enragé (It's not in French, but they found a version of such a concept here.)

7. nappies at boarding school (I think this is a little ewww. I mean, seriously. Though not the worst--you should see the search term I couldn't quite bring myself to post here. Not cool. Of course, this could have come from some desperate British mother wondering if she could send off her toddler to boarding school if he/she wasn't potty trained yet. Anyhow, they probably got the overall site instead, even though I don't use the word "nappies." I don't know. I probably have mentioned boarding school somewhere, though I can't seem to find it.)

8. girls posing in diapers (Sickos. I think they just got the overall site and hoped they would find some kink here. But they also could have checked here, I suppose, and perhaps the sight of my modestly covered chest gave them a little thrill.)

9. wisdom of dogs (Very philosophical, really. Kind of sweet. They ended up with this post, which does incorporate that idea and is rather philosophical in turn.)

10. it's going to be all right oh yeah lyrics (I'm not sure they meant to find this post and song, but maybe it made them happy anyways. I know that song makes me feel better, if not precisely happy.)

Join Me On My Journey: Part Two (Because Even Though Ian McKellan Is Yummy In That Villainous Sort of Way, I Really Don't Need To Watch Macbeth Again)

I've revisited David's latest 80 Clicks Update over at It's Not a Lecture (it's up to update SEVEN! with 172 posts from bloggers in or from 36 countries and features posts in six languages!) and have discovered more well-written posts by MommyBloggers (and some GrandmommyBloggers) all over the world. Once again, I may have to add to my Blogroll, and that's just getting obnoxious. Damn you and your brilliant ideas, David and Catherine!

Here are some of my newest favorite posts:

1. Maggie over at Moppet Tales has a short but cheerful post, including a delightful description of toddler musicality that made me chuckle.

2. Kath over at Blurb from the Blurbs has amazingly descriptive memories, including one involving vomit, which is all too real for me these days. Oh, and she apparently has/had a brain tumor, which just makes me all the more amazed because seriously.

3. There's just something about Goofy Mumma's post over at A Goofy Mumma's Happy Blog that made me smile. Maybe it's the goofiness that comes through (which is always endearing) or the adorable pictures or the glimpse of Indian mummahood...

4. What is it about these brilliant British bloggers? English Mum over at English Mum in Ireland gave a wonderful, funny, and oh-so-slightly-scary view into my future when my boyish tots become boyish teens.

5. I pretty much nodded (in the agreeing sort of way, not the nodding off sort) all the way through this post by Inexplicably over at Inexplicably. Another Indian MommyBlogger, by the way.

6. Barbara over at Barbara's 365 (I think that's the title--it's a little unclear) is gently amusing in her post, and somehow I get the feeling we would really get along. Although I'm highly frustrated that her tantalizing link to Attack of the Redneck Mommy got me nowhere because Redneck Mommy apparently is considered Tasteless & Offensive by my work web filter. Which of course just makes me want to read it all the more. Damn Barracuda.

7. Choxbox at Life is a box of chocolates did a second post, this time a little more about the two eras of her life (Before Children and After Delivery) that I really enjoyed, more so than her first (Which was perfectly fine, no offense meant, but the second one was more UNIQUE. This is a truism of most memes, though, so nothing personal. Oh dear. Now I feel a little guilty).

8. Lavs at A Celebration called Life is brilliant in her post. I especially loved her statement (so TRUE!) that Motherhood tears apart all crooked, half cooked and full baked theories which one might have formed prior to motherhood. Your kid will ensure that the words you had uttered, in fury of young blood cruising your veins, would one day come back to hit you right in the face.

9. I just plain ENJOYED this post by kbpm over at musings from mumbai. She's a teacher, a bibliophile/maniac, a mommy--hmm. Sound familiar? Plus she's funny. Always a bonus.

10. Wordjunkie over at WordJunkie is just what she says--a wordjunkie--and as a result I just delighted in reading her post. She breaks the rules about listing FIVE things, but I had to go back after to check that because (1) she didn't number them, and (b) I didn't mind at all. List on, Wordjunkie, list on.

11. Parul Sharma at Bringing Up Adi is a published author and I might just have to track down her book if it's as funny and well-written as her post. Plus, I just have to agree with her when she says My question is - why does parenting have to be perfect? A beautiful experience with no ups and downs? Hell, if it was not for the other side of parenting, the one where all the flaws and darkness, not to mention the poop and throw-up exists, it would not half as interesting. Or smelly. As I already mentioned earlier today, my parenting experience is currently quite interesting and definitely smelly.

12. Baino at Baino's Banter takes us through the whole experience of motherhood (her kidlets are now adultlets) in an adrenaline rush of a post. I hope I survive as well as she apparently has!

That's enough for now. Whew! I still have a lot of reading to do. And I haven't even really gotten around to commenting at these wonderful blogs! However, Time and the hour run through the roughest day and so it is with me. I must hie me to my students and guide them in their endeavors. There shall perchance be more anon!

I Here a Tale Unfold, Whose Lightest Word Would Harrow Up Thy Soul*

I'm feeling a little harrowed. Just a little, mind you, but there it is. I'm feeling a bit whiny as a result, and I have chosen to subject you to read said whine. Because there's only so much satisfaction one can glean from posting over on Secret Spineless Whine.

So here are some recent harrowing events:
  • DramaBoy tested positive for strep (again and still) on Monday and had to be put on a higher level antibiotic, as the blessed amoxicillin had apparently done an insufficient job of killing off this particular strain.
  • The Widget had explosions from both ends for a week due to gastroenteritis. He has recovered, although he now has farts so stinky we keep checking his diaper to see if he has filled it. Even he's confused.
  • ComputerDaddy apparently caught the same bug this week and has been prostrate since Monday evening. He has the added joy of fever and cramps on top of streaming forth at both ends.
  • Last night, in a feat of heroic mommyhood, I placed my cupped hands beneath DramaBoy's mouth (for lack of a handy receptacle needed rightnow) and caught the vomit that spewed forth at the onset of what may be his own battle with the Creeping Crud.
  • My throat is sore. If this turns out to be strep rather than allergies, I will be Very Put Out. I simply do not have the time to be sick, thank you very much (or the sick days, for that matter).
  • I have gotten very little sleep the last few days and keep practically falling asleep when I'm driving. I'm not exaggerating--I have the whole eyes fluttering shut, drifting into a weird almost-dreaming state, having to slap myself in the face sort of experience going on. It's bad enough when it's just me in the car: it's terrifying when the boys are in the back seat.
  • This morning as I exited the front office and headed down the hall towards my classroom, coffee clenched hopefully in my hand, I heard a commotion from the balcony overhead and saw a backpack come flying over the side, headed directly for me. If I had not stopped, it would have slammed me in the head. The perpetrator has been found by administration and, I assume, is being flogged and keelhauled. Also perhaps suspended.
  • I have very little time this afternoon between my chiropractor appointment (ah! massage therapy! the light in my day!) to grab the kids and take them back to the house in Detroit where I will deposit them with my brother, then head all the way back up to the marriage counselor. And there's construction (as usual in the Detroit area come a hint of warmer weather) on the way home. Is it evil to sort of hope that ComputerDaddy is sick enough to cancel tonight? Probably.
  • My students actually need to be taught today, because they're done reading their play. Dammit. So I must end now.
I should probably be trying to focus on Grace in Small Things, but all that comes into my head is a handful of warm, soupy vomit and a flying backpack.

Enjoy that meal you were thinking about eating.

*Bonus points and maybe a little something special if you can identify the original quote and its source!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Um, Maybe I Should Clarify

Because my last post got rather confusing, I think. It was SUPPOSED to be a nice educated treatise on the problems of social concepts of beauty.

Yes, really.

So no, I don't need all sorts of reassurances that I'm beautiful (in Africa or elsewhere). I mean, not that I would be offended by that, mind you.

I guess my ultimate point is that humans manage to screw up pretty much everything. And we have definitely managed to screw up the idea of what makes someone beautiful. We are individuals, unique, each of us special in our own ways. Yet we act as though in order to be beautiful, we should all follow a generic model of appearance.

Now that's crazy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Grace In Small Things #2

1. Double chocolate macademia nut cookies provided by generous students just when I am hit by a chocolate craving

2. The Internet access finally working well enough that I can listen to Pandora while "working"

3. The rain stopping for a day, even if there might be snow tomorrow

4. Getting enough sleep last night to make it through today without acting like a zombie

5. A student (who's sweeter than he wants to admit) making my blog look pretty

Blog Beautification: No Thanks To Me!

Eric may officially be my favorite student.

At least until those two students in my fourth hour deliver some more double chocolate macademia nut cookies into my hands again.

Mmm, chocolate...

At any rate, for the moment, Eric is riding at the top because he REDESIGNED MY BLOG in the blink of an eye. I didn't have to do anything other than whine, and he secretly worked the html magic and produced the wonder that you see before you.

And he says he'll help me when that OTHER favorite student produces original art with which to grace my page.

It should be noted that Eric is one of the few students who actually knows how to find my blog, as he scammed his way here and only behaves due to threats of grade demolition.

Here's hoping he continues to behave when he graduates. Of course, he's going to be off at boot camp getting his ass kicked by sergeants, so maybe he'll disappear off the grid for a while.

Thank you, Eric! I'll even overlook the fact that you were programming during Creative Writing instead of working on your novella...

So, dear reader, what do you think? Did he do a good job? Or should I fail him?

(Or both, since I'm just that mean? Mwahahahahaha!)

This Is Just To Say: Student Versions, Part One

Being brilliant at coming up with last-minute assignments for my students (especially when I haven't been doing a good job of planning beforehand), I riffed off my post yesterday and assigned my tenth graders and my Creative Writing students their own "This Is Just To Say" spoofs. I'm quite pleased with the results that are rolling in, and thought I'd share some of my favorites (with student permission) in a few posts.

Here are three of my favorites, so far, from my upper classmen Creative Writing students:

I have eaten by the computer which was wrong
Forgive me Ms. Ross, if only you understood
The persistance of a double chocolate muffin
--Mackenzie Conn

I have not given the tests that you were ordered
which would help the doctor find out why you are ill
forgive me, texting is so distracting and fun
--Stephanie Mullins

Big Mac, Chocolate Sundae, Large Fries, Cheese Burger;
Lent is forty days too long to abstain from them;
No mortal can resist this fatty temptation.
--Victoria Harp

These are from some honors tenth graders:

I did not write or even attempt the essay,
Despite the fact that it is to be done today.
Forgive me: you see, my goat was rather hungry.
--My Tran

i do not have the money i borrowed from you
and which you probably need to make your payments.
forgive me, there was a sale at the mall today.
--Krista Niess

I have eaten all the cookies from the pantry
You have specifically made them for next week
I could have sworn that I heard them calling my name
--Jessica Johnson

Monday, April 20, 2009

Apology to my Students: A Poem

I've always liked William Carlos William's brilliant "This is Just to Say," and when GingerB at Gas-Food-Lodging posted her own very funny spoof and linked back to Schmutzie's marvelous post, I had to take on the challenge. You may see more.

This is Just to Say...
by TeacherMommy

I did not grade
your papers
or quizzes

Which you
have been
asking about
the last three weeks

Forgive me
the blogs
were seductive
and many

Widget, My Widget

My sweet Widget,

When I realized, to my utter shock, that I was pregnant with you when DramaBoy was only eight months old, I had no idea how right God was to send you to us, even though you weren't in our plans. I can no longer imagine life without you bringing your sweetness and mischief into our days, providing DramaBoy with companionship, lathering us with your hugs and snuggles. Any day I don't see your angelic blond curls and blue eyes is a little dimmer. Any day I don't have to smother my smiles at your incorrigible mischief is a little more boring.

You were my baby, always wanting Mama and snuggling into my neck, pressing your soft cheeks against mine. You are such a surprising mixture of peacefulness and business, going from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye. I love watching you bustle about, organizing things to your satisfaction, making sure that everyone has their coats and shoes and bags before heading out the door. What would we do without you urging us on, that imperious little voice demanding 'Mon! 'Mon! Go! with an impatient beckoning of your hand? You get even your father moving a little faster.

Your giggles are the most infectious I've ever heard. When you and DramaBoy submerge yourself in silliness, peals of laughter ringing in the air, my heart lightens until I think I might be able to levitate. DramaBoy does silly things just to make you laugh, you know, and then none of us can keep back our own laughter.

I love that you take such joy in small things: a doggy walking down the street, an ant crawling on the floor, a pair of shoes to put on. This morning when I put overalls on you for the first time, you took such delight in the novelty of pants that went all the way up: Pretty! you crooned as you patted your denimed chest. Never lose that ability, my Widget. It will bring you through the hard times, when large joys seem impossible to find.

It's hard for me to be stern with you sometimes, even when you really need it. That roguish twinkle in your eye as you test your boundaries makes it so difficult not to smile, even when you're driving me to distraction with your disobedience. You are the definition of Two, you know. I knew there was some Trouble in there, but I had no idea just how much until you figured out it was your birthday. And yet I find it almost impossible to attach the adjective "Terrible" to you, because as aggravating as you can be, my heart chuckles watching you zip around.

You brought change, disruption of plans, fear of failure, the unknown. And like so much else that stirs us up out of our tidy little lives, you've brought infinitely more joy than we ever could have expected. You and your brother help save my sanity every day, at the same time that you stretch it. You make me a better mother, woman, person; and God knew what he was doing when he sent you to me.

I love you, my precious two-year-old. Always and forever.

Happy Birthday! (Even if it is a week late.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Keeping Up With the Joneses--or Whoever

In the broadening of my blogging horizon, I have become very aware that my blog is sad and dull in comparison to pretty much Every Single Blog Out There. And even though we shouldn't judge the blog by the header and all that, still...I'm suffering from some seriously low blog esteem.

So one of my artistically inclined students said she'd create a drawing that hopefully can be scanned and converted into a unique header for my page, but I kinda want the whole thing to look--well--you know, PRETTY. Attractive. The kind of blog that says Hey you! Yeah, you lurking over there! Come check me out! Stay a while! Not to mention that I don't really even know how to get the header to look the way I'd like NOW, much less with a piece of scanned art involved.

While being computer literate, I am not exactly computer savvy. Coding is pretty much beyond me. I couldn't even convince Mr. Linky to work, and I had step-by-step instructions.

I know I'm married to a computer geek, but things being the way they are, I feel a little weird asking him to pretty up my blog. Maybe I should suck it up and do that anyways, but first I figured I'd ask the Interwebs and see if there's anyone out there who might take pity on a nice Mommyblogger with a slim bank account.

Ideas? Volunteers?

Covering up the Girls

This is the first year in ages that I actually attended church on Easter (I wasn't even a holiday church-goer those last few years of darkness), and so I was absolutely forced, you see, to get a new dress and shoes. Well, at least the dress. Kind of. I've lost that weight, you know, and I didn't want to wear something black or grey or otherwise somber on a day of joyous celebration. I found a lovely dress at H&M that was within my budget, and then, of course, found some shoes at Payless to go with it. It was a terrible chore, but someone had to do it.

There was one teensy tiny problem, however. H&M has a tendency towards cleavage-baring in its tops and dresses, and this dress (a wrap style, to boot) was no exception. I figured that perhaps I should figure out a way to urge the neckline towards more modesty. A hidden snap was out, since the fabric would have shown the stitches. Same for a safety pin.

The solution? A little creative thinking.

A silver tie-pin from Meijer (it looks a little golden here due to lighting)

Fastened at the front of the dress

Close up look

Here we are! (Unfortunately you can't see my adorable new turquoise wedge heels...)

My handsome, wiggly boys

And again. The Widget has limited patience for posing.

I was going to do a first and use Mr. Linky here. Except my brain is refusing to understand the technology of it all. I am NOT ComputerMommy. Oh well. Maybe another time.

Do you have little tricks and tips for handling potential fashion faux-pas? If you do, feel free to comment--and if you have a post (past or present) that addresses the topic, link it in your comment!

The Burden of the Second-Born

So remember how I said way back when that The Widget turned two on Monday? And how I was going to get around to posting about it? Because I didn't do it on time?

Yeah. It's Friday and nothing has been done.

I am feeling a bit guilty. DramaBoy got his back in November, right on time, and here poor Widget suffers the pangs and anguish of the second-born: hand-me-downs, rarely getting solo time with Mama or Daddy, huge gaps of his life NOT recorded by digital or video camera, late blogging...

I do want to do a decent job of writing about my precious Widget, and the words just aren't there at the moment. So I'm filling the gap, for the non, with a picture that captures his personality very, very well. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Join Me in My Journey: Part One (Unless I never get around to doing any more parts. One never knows.)

Ever since I read My Bad Mother's post challenging mommybloggers to journey 'round the world, and promptly posted my response, I've dipped from time to time into other mommy's posts. As a result, my blogroll is getting awfully lengthy. I'm actually finding myself a wee bit grateful that not everyone posts on a daily basis, because although I'm a crazy fast reader (seriously, people hate me), I could end up spending the majority of my day just reading blogs.


Anywho, I thought maybe I'd continue the journey a little more (because the bloggers I linked on my post didn't post, shame on them) by linking some of the posts I've read that have touched me in a particular way, or made me laugh extra hard, or whatever.

Because I'm generous, and I love to get people addicted to reading. Even if only to Mommyblogs. (By the way, I know some people don't like that term, but I really do. Because that's what we are, and that's what they are, even when our posts aren't purely about children or motherhood. Being a Mommy is a glorious title, and a complex one, and it's more than just bottle and diapers and boo boos, as the first poster I'm linking says.)

And remember, those of you who read my blog and aren't mothers (I'm thinking, in particular, of you, Eric!) not only mommies can get something out of well-written Mommyblog posts.

Have fun reading!

I'd normally want to add some sweet 'n' sour to the whiskey, but this post on Whiskey in My Sippy Cup sure went down smooth.

Brit in Bosnia has a lovely British snarkiness in her post that made me immediately want to check her out otherwise. Snarky is good.

MKM over at Expatriate Games intrigued me because she's surviving--very well--being a single mother. With my own marital future so up in the air, and already single-parenting my kids to a certain extent in separation mode, it was good to read a reminder that single parenting can be full of very good things.

The (apparently) nameless blogger at Planet Nomad wrote a post about her kids as TCKs (Third Culture Kids) which struck a note because of my own background as a TCK.

Vania at Capsula del Tiempo (who blogs in both Spanish and English--very kind of her to provide the translation!) has some highly amusing and oh-so-true observations. Plus maybe I have a chance of impressing my DramaBoy if I can pick up some Spanish from her, since he's ahead of me there due to those Spanish lessons he's been getting.

Monica at And I'll Raise You 5 has a delightful snarkiness that I imagine has helped her survive being the mother of five kids--which is three more than I can even barely handle at the moment, so bravo Monica. I lolled at her first listing: I love the sense of absolute power I have over my kids. I am she-who-must-be-obeyed. I love having this much power over other human beings so much that sometimes I make them do things just because I can. So true. So true.

Oreneta over at Oreneta Aground is just plain hilarious in that stream-of-barely-consciousness way that cracks me up. Worth a read, and I will probably be back again. She's the type of blogger that tempts me to join Twitter, just cuz I know I'd be laughing frequently.

MamaShift at Travel Shifts wrote a beautiful, poetic post that brought tears to my eyes.

Whew! I'm barely halfway through David's massive list over at It's Not a Lecture! Lots of reading still to do, and I think I'll stop this post for now because I'm already on day two of writing it. I hate that this will post as if it was yesterday when it's really today because I'd rather not live in the past, but these are the burdens we Blogger people must bear. Sigh.

And now I have to also go update my blogroll and desperately try to keep up with my reading.

Oh, and I think I'm supposed to be working. Yeah.

Too bad I can't be paid for reading blogs.

Grace in Small Things #1

By pure "chance" I came across a website called Grace in Small Things on a blog I visited momentarily. The concept of living life day to day, moment by moment, grace by grace has become very important to me lately as I've realized the necessity of living in the Present rather than the unchangeable Past or unseeable Future. The concept of grace itself has also become newly precious, and related Godtracks have sprung up all over the place. So it makes sense to practice finding grace in small things, the daily happenings and realities that are too easily overlooked: the gifts that we do not earn but are given anyway. GiST challenges its members to list five examples of grace every day; I think I might just do so as the whim takes me--but at least once a week. So here goes!

1. Not such a small thing, but nevertheless: I did not crash last night. The "smaller" piece of grace (besides the larger one of no injury to myself or others) is that just yesterday afternoon my faithful Saturn Vue ticked over its odometer to that dreaded number 100,000. As in, the remaining value of the car just dropped like a stone and it is now definitely worth less than I still owe on it. And I still have one year of payments remaining. So if it had been crunched, it's all too possible that the car would have been considered "totalled."(1)

2. A travel mug of coffee hot from the French press, brewed by my beloved mother, ready to grab on my way out the door.

3. Spare pairs of pants and underwear for DramaBoy from school to replace those he soaked with his juice box on the way in this morning. Even if the "pants" are a pair of weird sage green leggings. They look kinda cute tucked in his Spider Man rain boots (which he's wearing because his Spider Man sneakers are AWOL and I didn't want to send him in his good church loafers.)

4. More fresh-brewed coffee, flavored this time, from the Color Guard Booster Moms who set up shop inside the front door at school. I stop there every day--can't beat a lovely cuppa for a buck, especially when they know me well and will extend "credit" when I don't have cash on me, like this morning.

5. My faithful MP3 player coming to the rescue when I couldn't get Pandora (2) to stream well because our Internet access is so horrible lately. Music helps me get more done during my prep hour, even when the Internet isn't cooperating and my "work" suffers as a result.

There we go! Oh, by the way, turns out the camera uses a proprietary USB cord that is currently in ComputerDaddy's possession, so pictures will have to wait until I can get the cord to download the pictures. Patience. (For me, not just you!)

(1) I changed this word to "traveled" due to Eric's challenge, then changed it back. As Kathleen pointed out, this is the European spelling. Which is why spell check didn't catch it. And since I am, of course, cultured and travelled and all that, I'm sticking with the two l's, cuz I thinks it looks better. So there.

(2) Pandora, if you haven't found it already, is an absolutely WONDERFUL website that allows you to create your own music "stations" based around songs and/or artists you like. It's like satellite radio without commercials, but streams online. Pandora plays songs/artists on each station that match the style and genre of the ones you enter. You can then find out more about the songs and artists as well as "train" Pandora by indicating which songs you like or don't. It's a wonderful way to discover artists you've never heard before, too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Shaky but Grateful

I was going to hop on tonight and do a post about The Widget, whose second birthday was yesterday and somehow did not get his deserved paean of praise and love. However, about half an hour ago, on my way home from a date with ComputerDaddy, I hit a patch of water while braking on the VERY wet highway and spun out of control. I ended up doing a 360 all the way across three lanes of highway and back again. Miraculously, I did not hit the median, did not hit any other cars (or trucks, which were barreling down the road like the rain did not exist), and did not cause anyone else to crash or lose control. I ended up mostly on the grassy shoulder, angled back towards oncoming traffic, the car stalled out, saying Thank You! Thank You! over and over as I hunched over the wheel.

I still don't know the physics of how I didn't hit that median and instead spun back across the road. I'm not so sure there wasn't a helpful push from one of my guardian angels.

So I'll post about The Widget tomorrow. I think he would understand.

Ennui and Such

I feel like writing, but don't know what to write.

I feel like making someone laugh, but don't know where my humor has gone.

I feel like crawling into bed for about four more hours of sleep, but all my sick leave is used up (more than used up--I've been docked about two weeks pay by this point over the last several months) and I have to be here at work.

I do find myself, oddly enough, actually looking forward to summer. I think summer is a challenge I'm determined to conquer, pray God, this year. The last few have been pretty dismal.

Beck over at Frog and Toad Are Still Friends has been writing about dealing with children, oh she of the many ideas and ways to entertain herself and her children, and also the dread of summer. If she ever does come out with the book she's threatening to write, I may be first in line to buy. Because as I've mentioned before, I'm not so great at the SAHM biz. The PPD didn't help, certainly, but even without that it's difficult for me to really get into the whole thing--it requires a great deal of organization, motivation, and patience, none of which are exactly my forte when it comes to kid stuff.

But, based on Beck's wisdom that Planning is a Mom's Best Friend, perhaps I should start now. After all, it's less than two months before summer is here and the kidlets start spending most of the week at home.

(This is going to be interesting in and of itself. What with being separated and so far doing the whole who-has-the-kids-when thing in a very "organic" way--a nice euphemism for figuring it out as we go or flying by the seats of our pants; also with the whole question about how we're going to work out where I'll be once my parents leave, what with ComputerDaddy being Totally Freaked Out about me/the kids living in Detroit without them around: I have no clue what this summer will look like. Wooosaaah, as my students say. Release, let it go, trust in God. Not an easy lesson for me, folks.)

There are things I can do about planning. Actually talking about it with ComputerDaddy in the safety and mediation of marriage counseling, for one. Checking into kid-friendly lessons (like swimming) and activities that various organizations offer during the summer, for two. Seeing if my church has VBS or anything else mommy-child oriented available, for three. Talking in a more organized, planning sort of way with my friends who also will have small children at home in the summer, for four.

Good ideas. Besides, talking is my forte.

Truth? I'm terrified of what I'll be facing when my parents leave. It's true I need to take that next step to prove to myself (and ComputerDaddy) that I can continue in my new strength and openness even without them there as a daily support. I'll have a good trial period in the next couple of weeks, since they will be leaving on Saturday for a two-week trip. It's not so much that I think I can't handle it; it's just that things are so much easier and smoother with them around.

But then, I won't grow if things are too easy, will I?

Sometimes I don't like having to be the grown up.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Don't Know What Else to Say

A week ago on Palm Sunday the assistant pastor at my church spoke about the dark reality of Holy Week. The Church often skips from the joyful celebration of Palm Sunday to the Joyful Celebration of Easter, she said, without considering the week that lies between. We looked at the portrayal of Christ in Mark as he rode down the dusty road on an ungainly mule too young, too little, to really bear a full-grown man. However many people there were on that road, whether or not there were children there, whether or not they lay down palm branches or just long grasses, He was silent. They heralded an earthly King, one they believed would save them from the shackles of Roman rule, and He knew that in a matter of days they would turn snarling upon Him for the betrayal of this dream. Nowhere does any Gospel record Him facing what was to come with joy. He knew all too well what torment lay in wait. He faced it with groans of anguish, tears of blood, and heartcries to His Father.

Holy Week it is, but it is a dark week of pain.

I was out of tune this last week, out of touch with blogging and news and all that as I dove into appointments and sick kidlets and such. So when I sat to read blog after blog today, I was struck by posts like this and this. This last week has, indeed, been a dark one in many ways, one that brought tale after tale of death and sorrow all over the world. I think perhaps when we see news about groups--bombings and natural disasters and wars and rumors of wars that affect masses of faceless people--it becomes easy to distance ourselves somewhat, unless we're thrust into the middle ourselves. But when we see tragedy befall individuals, and in particular the innocents, the babes who drew breath for far too short a time, the full horror comes home.

THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN! we cry to the Heavens.

I'm distancing myself by using the pronoun "we." I cry this to the Heavens. My faith, so newly reborn, so easily drawn back into the darkness of decades, rocks with the injustice. And when Her Bad Mother asks Does faith offer the possibility of meaning in loss, does it provide relief from the fear? Or does loss in the presence of faith feel like betrayal? and declares I feel betrayed. By God. By life. By whatever force in the universe is supposed to make these things make sense; when she cries out in pain for who knows how many other unknown children of unknown parents, suffering unknown loss, untold betrayal at the hands of gods who, promising love, deliver death and pain -- how can I respond?

It's all too easy to come up with all the cliches that people come up with at times like this. They're with God now, or They're no longer in any pain or We don't know the bigger picture or, perhaps worst of all, It's God's will.

I refuse to believe that death and pain, especially that of innocents, are God's will. That he desires this. If I am to have faith in God, a God of Love and Justice, then such a thing makes no sense.

But neither do I believe that God says that bad things, that death and pain, will not happen because of that love. We love our children, but bad things happen to them--because of their choices, because of the choices of others. And if we try to protect them from all harm or prevent them from making any choices that may have negative consequences, we stifle their growth or turn them into mindless puppets or both. I can believe that God mourns when, in the brokenness of this world and our own selves, we suffer. I can also believe that he is able to use the suffering in our lives to create beauty.

It's harder to apply this to the death of children, especially when they die so suddenly, like Thalon, from what just a few short days before seemed a simple infection, or for no apparent reason whatsoever, like Maddie. And such news strikes tremendous fear in me as a mother. DramaBoy had scarlet fever this last week. I took it in stride, even made jokes about it. I trusted in medicine and God to protect my son.

But--What If? What if he had proven to be resistant to the medication? What if his little body had been overwhelmed by the toxins? It's all too easy to imagine the frantic rush to the hospital and the hours by a bed--I was there when he was only nine weeks old. Would my faith have been rocked to its foundations? Would I have been able to forgive God? Would I have turned away, cold and empty, lost in my pain?

I don't know. What I cling to is that this is a broken world, one in which we are faced with such immense sorrow, but that God is not broken.

And Christ did not go to the tree to save a nation from the shackles of the Romans, but to save a world, throughout all time, from the earliest humans all the way to me and Her Bad Mother and Tanner and Thalon and Maddie and every other being stumbling our way through whatever length of time we have...

...to save us from the shackles of death. Because though I am not wise enough to understand why the innocent suffer, I can cling to faith that there IS a greater reality beyond what we can see in our myopic existence.

Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
--Psalm 30:5 (New Living Translation)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ramblings--Oh, and DramaBoy is Better, Too. Yay Amoxicillin!

Yeah, so you know how this is Spring Break and I'm supposed to have all this "free time"? Ha. You should see my agenda book for this last week.

You see, I don't sit at my computer as much when I'm not at work. And when I do, I'm quickly checking email or playing World of Warcraft or that sort of thing, not looking through blogs (you have NO IDEA how many blog postings I have to read in order to catch up!) or writing posts. Plus I make appointments for as many of the sorts of things I don't have time for during work weeks, or at least more of them. PLUS it's Holy Week and I've been trying to be involved in my church's Holy Week events as much as possible, since it actually means something this year.

I have a million posts rolling through my mind, though. I've even taken to jotting them down on a blank sheet of paper. Some of them will likely never make it to publishing, but others will come in time. Of course, many of my best ideas occur while I am driving and have no opportunity to write them down, at least without causing major traffic fatalities. I'm starting to understand why people carry around mini-recorders, but I don't know if I could take myself seriously talking into one of those, not to mention the pain in the ass of listening back. If I ever succumb, y'all know I have become a Serious Writer. Or something.

At any rate, today we celebrated the Widget's 2nd birthday party (the day proper is Monday, but today worked and hey, he doesn't know any better), and although I have many cute pictures, the camera is still sitting on the table back at the house. Where I glanced at it and thought, I better remember to grab that before I leave so I can download all those cute pictures.

My brain isn't a very reliable secretary, unfortunately. If it were a person, she would have been fired a while ago. Remembering minutiae from various books and articles and such I have read is all well and good when I am playing Couch Jeopardy, but it would be very nice if I could also remember things like Grab the camera before you leave and You have a staff meeting that Tuesday so don't schedule anything else or You just put a tangerine in your purse and you should take it out when you're home so it doesn't start providing its own special aroma to the purse's interior and its contents.

So you'll have to wait patiently and hope my brain does a better job when I go to the house tomorrow after church. And then brace yourself for an onslaught of pictures of Very Cute Kidlets, because I only have a backlog of, oh, six months.

May God have mercy on you.

Finally, on a more serious note, in case I don't get around to posting anything else before next week: Happy Easter, in the fullness of all that means. May you truly know the reality of God With Us.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Should Have Bought Shares in CVS

DramaBoy has scarlet fever.

It all started with, believe it or not, a fever that kept fluctuating, along with a sore throat, during the night on Monday. No coughing or sneezing though, which caught me off guard. DramaBoy is the prince of respiratory illness, and I couldn't quite believe that the customary symptoms weren't appearing. Neither could he.

I am coughing a lot! he reported over the phone, with nary a rasp.

Not that I've heard, commented my mother.

She was surprised as well. There was no need to wield the nebulizer and bring forth the almighty Albuterol. (We have not one but two nebulizers at home. Plus a friendly medical supply company that keeps calling and sending mail to make sure we don't need another shipment of several hundred vials of medication since the one we got a couple months before. Nice, but a bit zealous.)

Then yesterday he started breaking out in a weird red not-quite-rash (no measles and no pox, small- or poultry-), with strange mini-hives scattered about. A fever and hives? We were kerflummoxed, which takes some doing since my father is a medical technologist and I have about five gazillion doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals in the family. Makes for interesting family dinner conversations.

I digress.

So off we went to the doctor this morning. Ooh, that throat is very red! said our lovely doctor with the monkey stethoscope. Out came the swabs, and presto! the strep test was positive. Scarlet fever. With an interesting twist, since the "rash" does not usually produce the itchies. I think, she said thoughtfully, after a perusal of his recent diet turned up nothing odd, that it is possible in a child with such sensitivities as DramaBoy that he may be reacting to the bacteria itself. We shall see once the antibiotic starts taking effect.

So not only does my little boy have strep/scarlet fever, he's ALLERGIC to it.


I reported this to ComputerDaddy over the phone. He was unsurprised, having suspected scarlet fever already. It's been going around. He was more taken aback by the cure. Amoxicillin? he asked. You're sure that's all it takes?

I think we still retain a social memory of a once-upon-a-time when scarlet fever was, for so many, a death sentence, as it still is in some far-flung regions of the world. We conjure up images of mothers in long, sweeping skirts crouched over bedsides, sponging fevered brows; doctors in rumpled black suits and rolled-up sleeves muttering about "coming to the crisis" and "we'll know in the next few hours." In this day and age of a myriad of ever-new antibiotics with catchy, medicinal names and ever-increasing strength, it's easy to forget that for this child-killer the great nemesis remains the modern relatives of a miraculous mold. It's easy to forget that it was only 81 years ago that the spores from this mold floated, by pure "chance," into a science experiment and were actually noticed by Sir Alexander Fleming--and that it took more than a decade for his discovery to be turned to a practical medicinal use.

It's odd how the mention of these diseases that were once so rampant, so deadly, still trigger a subtle fear in us, even though we don't panic as those families must have a less than a century ago. There is a sense that our science is not infallible, that medicine does not know everything, and that sometimes it takes something as simple and humble as a few mold spores going where they shouldn't for lives to be saved.

And DramaBoy? He has itchies. The fever has abated a good bit, so the hives are his primary complaint, the brave little man. Benedryl, Aveeno cream, and oatmeal baths are our heroes, with common little amoxicillin silently working away in the background.
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