Goodbye November – Recap


I feel like I’m slacking in capturing the highlights from these four kids. There’s just too many of them that I fall behind – here’s a recap from last week

Thursday:

  • Big Bro helped Twin Husky get dressed when he started having some problems
  • Drop offs were fine for Big Bro and Red; on the way back home Twin Crazy, Twin Husky and I went food shopping. They love the “car cart”.
  • We drove around the neighborhood looking for a reservoir that should be close-by (I am still extremely fearful of earthquakes and I want to know where this reservoir is… it should be walkable from the house) and we saw some stunning decorations; one that caught our eye was this low, low tree with RED red leaves and HUGE ornaments. It was gorgeous. I’m noticing that Twin Crazy is using the word “gorgeous” a lot recently. She cracks me up.
  • We relaxed on the couch by the fire and read books; kids played with stickers
  • At night we did homework, and then the kids turned the living room into a “campsite”. Big Bro and Red were the mommy and daddy, and everyone had blankets and pillows out. They were teaching the little ones their numbers and the alphabet, and then they said it was time for night-night. They were going to pretend that dinner (that I was cooking) would actually be breakfast. They were having a ton of fun together. Twin Husky was a bit left out (as usual) but he did make his way into the group a bit. He was very particular about how he was positioning his “animals” for sleep on his blanket. Too cute.

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Friday:

  • RAIN RAIN RAIN; it was crazy wet outside. Big Bro was shuttling the kids from the house to the van with an umbrella.
  • After dropping off Red, the Twins wanted to stop by their classroom quickly to say Hi to their friends and show their teachers their bears and fluffy pillows
  • The three of us went to Home Depot for some gardening tools – a cheap rototiller and I found some pots on sale
  • Bathtime! Lunchtime! Naptime! While the kids napped, I tilled the entire garden area and broke the tool that I just bought.   It was actually a great activity.  It was only lightly raining and the sun was out – so it was really nice being outside and getting physical with my new project.
  • After picking up the kids we went to Home Depot to replace above rototiller. We looked at the HUGE holiday light decorations and the kids got a bit sidetracked.
  • We then went to buy rainboots for Red and Big Bro. We went to TWO STORES with NO LUCK. I wound up sitting with them on the floor using my phone with the Amazon app and bought them boots for our “farm”
  • On the way to the car we were surprised by Santa Clause! There was no one there! It was like he was just waiting for us and only us. At first the kids were apprehensive about sitting with him but then I announced that who-ever got a picture with Santa while SMILING would get an ice-cream/or dessert immediately afterwards. Suddenly Santa was rushed by the kids.
  • We went to Starbucks and split a bunch of rice-krispie treats and hot chocolate.

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I had a great end of the week with the kids. Fridays are not a bad night since we know we will see each other the next day. When I got home by myself, I went to work on some cedar gardening beds in my living room – this required drilling that I had never really done before and I worked until 11:30 PM.

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The rest of the weekend:

The next AM I put mole-wiring all over the garden area and then got showered and shopped at Trader Joes’ in enough time to have some friends over with their kids. We had a great time and I loved their visit. The kids had soooooooooooooo much fun that Twin Husky was even walking around saying how much fun he was having – and Red drew a picture of their family that she wants to send to them.

Last night during book time Red announced that someone in her old classroom was dead — ugggh I knew this was going to come but it took me by surprise; I didn’t know that her teachers had told her anything yet. I wound up sitting with her past bed-time for close to 2 hours, being with her while she thrashed around (and hid her face from me), sat quietly, then we talked, she asked a TON of questions, and then we drew pictures together for this child’s family. She happily went to sleep (thankfully) with smiles from ear to ear. I’m not sure if it was the talk that we had, the way her questions were answered, the drawings that she did for the family, or the time that I spent with her, but I’m just glad this kid went to sleep with a smile on her face and a gleam back in her eye. She is the one that worries me.  In fact, looking back at the pictures of her shows a girl who is a bit “off”.  I didn’t pick up on anything unusual, which bothers me a bit.

Today, Sunday was a rain downpour again in the AM. Our backyard was a river. It was exciting investigating the river with the kids. We had neighborhood kids over all day today and Red seemed to be back on track. Big Bro was having the time of his life with some boys in the neighborhood. Today they are finding worms (and getting soaked)… tomorrow….???!???!?! They were too cute.

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Sunday nights are harder for me since I do not see the kids until Wednesday afternoon. Twin Crazy screamed the entire way to co-parent’s. The rest of the kids were quiet. I returned home and just had to put my head down to take a breather. The weekend was more emotional than I would have liked; I’m thinking of the kids now and hoping they are OK as they go down to bed.  I’m worried about my girls.

Have a great week everyone –

– Mama K

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November 13: 4 years old is too young to die


I’ve had a very unusual day.   It’s a Tuesday, so I do not have the kids but I do have work.  But today I worked from home in the morning.  And then attended a funeral for a four year old child.  And then did some shopping for a Girls night that I am hosting tonight.  And then did some more work from home, with a splitting headache, bulging eyes, and cracked nose from crying so much today.

Working mothers.  What do we do with our kids when we work?   Some of us have family members, some of us employ nannies, some of us drop our children off at daycare.  Ours has always been a “daycare family”.   And through the years you get to know the other children, know the parents, and know the teachers.   In fact, daycare does become a pseudo-family for your children when you are away at work.

*****

Let’s turn the clock back a bit.  On Halloween day, me and Big Bro attended the Halloween day parade for Red, Twin Crazy, and Twin Husky at their daycare center.   All was normal.  The kids were out and joyful in their costumes.   The very next day, a child in Red’s old classroom woke up from a nap not feeling well.   Maybe a little warm.  Not a high fever, but just “off”.  The mother was notified and she promptly picked up her four year old child.  The next day, the child was not at school.    Over the weekend, unbeknownst to us, this child was admitted to a children’s hospital.  This entire past week, unbeknownst to us, this child suffered in the hospital with the flu, a strange unidentified infection, pneumonia, and appendicitis.  An operation removed the appendix.  The family hoped  the blood pressure and kidney function would improve.    This child passed away on Friday…. days after turning four years old.

Photo source:  ecolibris.blogspot.com

*****

Our daycare center is our pseudo-family.   I went to the service to support this family and the teachers who were also Red’s teachers this past year.   This is something I never want to have to do again.   Four years old is too young to die.   It is too hard to see parents say goodbye to their child.  It is hard to see the teachers in such a different setting and under such a different set of circumstances – and see them raw, as people, as people that you want to reach out to and nurture as they have nurtured your own.

The sermon was well done and I found myself strangely at peace listening to the words.    This life is given to us.  Each of us will have our day.   In the father’s words, he had four glorious years with this child.   And what the family went through over the past week was so difficult that today actually felt like a good day for the family.   I strangely felt a bit better.   Calm.   But numb.

But when the casket wheeled by, I couldn’t help but lose myself to despair again. I cannot imagine losing a child. I cannot imagine losing a child. I CANNOT IMAGING LOSING A CHILD.    I cannot understand.  I CANNOT UNDERSTAND.   Looking at pictures of the smiling child was heartbreaking.   Seeing a casket entirely too small was heartbreaking.   Looking at the parents of this child and the strength and grace that they portrayed was heartbreaking.   How can a child be laughing in a Halloween costume one day, then a bit ill the next (same as all of our kids this time of year…) and then wind up in a hospital for one week fighting to stay alive and losing this fight?   How can a child be there one day and gone the next?   How do we tell our children?   How can this happen to our daycare family?   What can I possibly do for this family?????????

I thought of Big Bro and how this child will never reach Big Bro’s age and ride a bike and have a debate with family members.  I thought of Red.  The same age.   The same teachers.   The same size.    Do I dare say that she would fit in that casket?!?!?!?!?!?!   I thought of Twin Husky and the little brother that this child left behind.  I thought of Twin Crazy and how this child was described to be, well, “crazy energetic”… possibly just like my own crazy energetic child.

I am strangely glad that I am not with my own kids tonight.   I feel too raw and I want some separation between this feeling and them.  I don’t want them to be too close to “it”.  I need some distance from them, some time.   I will see them tomorrow and that is OK with me.  I will walk into that daycare center tomorrow and likely cry again with the staff and pick up my kids and hug them hard.

But now, in just 2 more hours, I will host a “girls night” with my new neighbors.   A first for what hopefully will become a tradition in this neighborhood.   I am thankful for having this support system but definitely do not want to bring the party “down” with this news but it is impossible for me to hide it from my face.   I will put some music on, light some candles, and warm up this little place to be inviting.   And hopefully not drive anyone away should I suddenly burst into tears.

Til tomorrow

– Mama K

December 27: Grief and Goodbyes


Tuesday. Chocolate Tuesday. Tuesday after Christmas. After anticipating Santa and then saying goodbye. After my father and his wife arrived and left. There is a sense of emptiness in the house. The presents are opened. My family has left. We’re now saying goodbye to out-of-ordinary holiday festivities, to Santa for another year, and trying to get back to a normal routine.
Highlights of the Morning and Commute:
  • I showered while all kids were sleeping. After dressing and towel-drying my hair, I flipped my head over and there was Red, just standing there smiling. I was surprised that she surprised me. Without a word, I rushed to hang up the towel, sat on the floor, and motioned to her to come over to me. We have a thing together in the mornings. She sits on my lap, and I rock her while hugging her. Sometimes when she is needy during the day, this is the same approach I use with her if she responds to it. Sometimes I softly talk to her, but most of the time I do not. I just hold her gently on the floor, her in my lap, and we rock. That is how I started my day.
  • Big Bro pounced into the room, fully dressed from head to toe, all by himself. I love that and I love that he gets a charge out of doing it.
  • I carried a ton of stuff downstairs – piles of clothes, computer, iPad, chargers, phone, etc. Red wanted me to hold her hand going downstairs. Big Bro waited at the top of the stairs for me to come back up for my second round of piles – and also to hold his hand coming down the stairs.
  • Downstairs, it was Chocolate Tuesday. And now ALL the kids are converts. All kids asking for more. Twin husky loves it. Twin crazy just licks the chocolate off of the bread.
  • Twin Crazy drove me a bit crazy with her hair accessories this morning. Her hair was falling in her face and we pull her hair back. The problem this morning was that she kept pulling them out. Two clips, and then I got a band. She started to pull out the band (one that she wore all weekend, so I know she likes it), and then I told her that “No, I don’t have time to play this game with you all morning – you need to keep that band in your hair”. Because of this, she got extremely mad with me. Her eyebrows furrowed, her face turning red. Thankfully she did not burst into tears. But we did talk about how she was mad at me. And that it was OK to be mad. She got off her stool and ran to Daddy. Later, after being soaked in oatmeal, Hubby was going to change her and then she had a change of heart with me. She started squealing in a happy voice, “MOMMMMMMY!!!!” and running to me with open arms. She bounded into my lap and hugged me real hard. I asked her if she was mad at me anymore and she said “No.”. But then I was a little mad at her since she got oatmeal literally all over my shirt and sweater for the day. That looked just great along with the matching chocolate on my pants.
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  • I spent time with Big Bro helping him to dis-assemble his new Lego space shuttle and sorting the pieces of his Lego sets into different ziplock bags. He is very particular, and very organized. He was excited to be going to “camp” and bringing his new loot with him.
  • For some reason, Red starts to have tantrums over clothes, then socks, then shoes, then her jacket. At this point we are becoming very late. Twin Husky barely gets a diaper change before we’re out the door. Twin Crazy is wearing one shoe and we have the other 3 on the floor. Between all of us we have two computer bags, one clothes back, one backpack, two lunchboxes, and one bag of clothes I need tailored. It really is a bit much. Red is in the backseat sulking with her polka dot jacket. The boys are happy.
  • We do two quick drop offs together. Red is clingy. We race back to the ferry parking lot and screech into a parking lot. We barely make the boat and have to run before it shut its doors. I bought a coffee inside the boat. I am starving.
On the way to work and during the commute it was foggy, I was tired, and feeling very defeated. Suddenly an overwhelming feeling of grief struck me that is hard to describe. It just hit me all at once. I even cried for a bit. I thought back over the past year and just felt battered. This was not a good way to start my day.
I decided to treat myself to some breakfast on the way to work. The office was essentially empty. I looked and felt like crap. No amount of make up was going to make me feel right today or mask the way I was feeling.
Highlights of My Working Day:
  • Needless to say I was not that busy, although I could have been. I returned some phone calls, went through email, and started to look at benefits information (forms are due tomorrow).
  • I realized that I have tons of pictures of my kids but few at work so here is a picture of my cluttered office. I know it looks like shit everywhere but honestly I know where EVERYTHING is. Notice the piles. Notice the heater in the background. Notice the baby clothes on the back file cabinet (clothes I could not bear to give away – keepsakes for memory boxes)
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  • I decided to make it an early day and left for the earliest ferry home.
Dinner and Bedtime:
  • We picked up kids and while Hubby was getting Big Bro and Red, I talked with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky about how proud I am of them using their words. And how now we can start to have conversations and how they can also talk to Big Bro and Red. This seemed to ignite their need to talk more…. Twin Husky started talking about buses and airplanes, and Twin Crazy started to repeat the conversation that I started with her, about how she will be able to talk to everyone. She paused a lot between her words but I was patient with her and let her answer and go through all of the people….mommy, daddy, [Twin Husky], [Big Bro], [Red]…. even her day-care provider was mentioned. I love this stage and what is to come. I have a feeling we’ll be having a lot of funny conversations in the future.
  • We got home and I slammed together a dinner of salmon, carrots/peas, and also leftover pasta/spinach and a leftover yam. Kids ate well (after I did two sets of jumping jacks as a bribe) and we celebrated with dessert and chocolate milk.
  • Kids were relatively good after dinner. I spent time with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky doing “horsie back rides” which they now wait and take turns for. Big Bro was watching Dora; Red was doing puzzles. I got the Twins ready for bed and then helped with Big Bro and Red. Big Bro was beginning to master his new yo-yo. We were all exhausted.
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So, a rough morning, a slow day, a better evening. I’m not sure how I feel right now. I guess I’m looking forward to the end of 2011 but also to new beginnings for the new year. Bring me strength through cyber space please, I need it!
Til tomorrow,
– Mama K
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