Archive for September, 2012

And He Played On …

“What if people ask me today what I was doing 11 years ago, and I have to say that I was playing in my playroom??” Elliot asked, a little ashamed that that was the truth of his story. “What if I have to say that I don’t even remember that day??”

Listening to the radio on the way to school this morning, the DJs discussed 9/11 and where they were and what their experiences were on that horrible day eleven years ago today.

Me? I retold to Elliot what I was doing that day: I sat, 6 1/2 months pregnant, on the floor of the playroom and was glued to the TV all day. As tears streamed down my face all day long, sometimes erupting into sobs, I held tiny 4-month-old Zachary in my lap while Elliot, barely 2 years old, played unscathed around me. It was a day that I needed to hear the voice of everyone I loved. It was a day that I needed to be held and needed to hold loved ones. It was a day that was filled with pain and fear as I watched so many lives lost. It was truly a day I will never forget.

And my baby played unscathed around me.

I remember holding my two baby boys — and my yet unborn girl — and being scared to death of the world in which they were going to live. How will I protect them? What things will they see? What will they experience? What does life — the world — hold for them? And it took my breath away and caused the tears to flow uncontrollably. Contrasting their innocence with the evil and destruction on my TV was so painful for me.

And my baby played unscathed around me.

And I realized this morning that that is exactly how it should be. Elliot shouldn’t be ashamed that as a beautiful, innocent, little 2-year-old, he just played all day and was unaware of the destruction and death around him. That is one of the things that is so beautiful about living in a free country — our children are mostly unscathed. They don’t have worries or fears and are mostly unaware of how ugly life can be. They just play and have no worries. They don’t have to wonder about safety, about getting fed, about war, about death. (Don’t get me wrong; I am aware of the sadness and difficulty of children living in poverty and in abusive situations and living in hunger and pain, but for the most part, our children are unscathed by violence and war.)

A 2-year-old child doesn’t need to worry about those things — I, as his parent, take that role and take that worry and work to protect him. I plan; I protect; I shield; I censor; I pray; I hope; I worry.

But my baby can continue to play unscathed around me.

I assured Elliot that every other kid in his class was playing with toys that day, too. I told him that when you’re two, you’re too young to worry about such things — it’s your parents’ job to worry about those things for you. And he believed me.

However, now that my baby is 13 years old, he is getting a clearer picture of what happened on that day when he was 2. I don’t think his generation will ever understand September 11, 2001 like we understand it. They won’t remember it like we do. But hopefully we will do such an outstanding job of passing on those memories and those events so that they can remember for us when we are gone. Because that will be their job when we are gone — to remember for their parents and their grandparents the events of that day. The tragedy of that day. The power of that day. The strength of that day. The evil of that day. The bravery of that day. The loss of that day.

We must remember so that they can remember.

 

 

 

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Rescued … again

I’m thinking I’ve got you beat. I’ll bet my kids have been rescued by the lifeguard more times than yours have!

Zippy, especially when he was younger, would go under water at the city pool and stay there. He would just sorta sit there under water for a long time. The kid has pretty durn bad asthma, but, man, he could hold his breath under water. He would stay there. Just suspended half-way between the top and bottom. And just stay there. A long time. Long time.

When the young lifeguard(s) couldn’t stand it anymore, he/she would jump in and save him. Except the saving would nearly drown him! He would be peacefully relaxing, his little sensory-overloaded body in a very calm and relaxed state, when suddenly he was grabbed violently up out of the water! It would terrify him.

And it would always confuse the lifeguard(s) who really thought he/she was making a daringly brave rescue attempt.

This scenario played out more than a handful of times. Too bad we didn’t go to any one city pool often enough to let the lifeguards get to know Zippy and his floating-yet-not-drowning ways.

However, I don’t think Zippy was rescued even one time this summer. A first! This summer, more than any other, we really only swam at Mimi and Papa’s house and didn’t really frequent any city pool or water park. Would we make it a whole summer with no rescue?

I’m thinking so.

But Chloe nearly ruined it yesterday. She came really, really close to being rescued, and I can promise you it would’ve really surprised her.

Chloe has been loving floating on her back in her flotation suit this summer. She went to a friend’s birthday swim party at a nearby city recreation center. The center had a nice indoor pool which included a little lazy river. (But watching the rate at which the kids made it around that river, I’m thinking it’s not so lazy a river!) Chloe was floating by herself around and around and around the not-so-lazy river while I watched nearby.

I noticed one time around, she flipped up on her back and was loving the experience. How did I know she was loving it? Well, I could hear her growl over the noise of the river. Chloe has a happy growl that she uses when she is really enjoying something, and I am sure she was really loving the back-floating river experience by the intensity of her growl.

Enter in the young man on lifeguard duty. He sees, first of all, an awkwardly floating young girl making strange noises, not smiling. He goes into instant alert and concern. He takes half a step and alarmingly surveys the child’s situation. Indeed, the child must be in trouble because she’s still floating, moving in an awkward way, and making a strange, alarming sound. His neck lengthens as his alarm heightens. He takes another step toward the child.

I’m watching from the other end so I can’t communicate to the lifeguard at all. I am sure I am about to witness another of my children getting rescued from the pool.

As Chloe comes floating around the bend of the river and I see her a little more clearly, I laugh out loud at what I see as the lifeguard grabs his little red life preserver and jams his whistle in his mouth: my paler than pale little girl, floating oddly atop the water, motionless … and seriously appearing lifeless in her pale skin! I laugh, thinking of what that poor lifeguard is thinking and start swimming toward her.

I know I shouldn’t have laughed, but I couldn’t believe a Mastin was about to be rescued again!

Quickly I was on the move toward her — not to save her life but to save her mood. Being violently rescued by a stranger when your are happily in your own little peaceful space is not nice. I know this because Zippy has told me so!

As Chloe floated pale and motionless by me, I grabbed her by the arm and laughingly told her she could not float on her back at this pool — she was scaring people. She looked at me and with her eyes asked me to repeat that — it really didn’t make any sense.

I repeated, “You can not float on your back here, okay? You’re scaring people.”

She nodded okay and went on back around the river, careful not to flip up on her back again.

Later I talked to the young lifeguard and told him I had instructed her not to float on her back anymore since it was freaking him out. He genuinely thanked me, agreeing that he was very freaked out.

So there you go. I think I win! While none of my kids have been rescued by a lifeguard when their lives were in danger, my kids have been rescued — and nearly rescued — the most!

Revisiting “Delight”

As you may or may not remember, I chose DELIGHT as my word for the year for 2012. Today, I’m revisiting that word and updating you on how I’m doing with it.

The update in a word: FAIL!

Really. I’ve already leveled with you in an earlier post about the place I’ve been in. I’ve been in a yucky place of not liking very many people (of course I always liked YOU!) and not liking very many things. I’ve been in a place of wanting to just stay within the 4 walls of my house while I learn to breathe again after our experiences of the last couple of years. I think when you reach the point of having to fight really, really hard for the basic rights of someone you love deeply, it affects you deeply. And it did me. So that’s where I’ve been.

But as I tried to force myself today to think of things I’ve been delighting in, I was able to think of several! Yay!

1. Lip Stuff. I love lip balm. I’m definitely addicted to it. I use it a million times a day, over and over and over again even before my lips get dry. I love the feeling of applying my lip balm. I buy lip balm often and have lip balm available in my car, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the laundry room, in my purse … pretty much everywhere. I love it. And I certainly find delight in it. 🙂 What?? I do!

2. Zippy’s laughter. I’ve already confessed to you the number of hours we sat in front of the TV and explained to you how funny the shows are that we were watching. Zippy laughed and laughed and laughed at those shows. I MUST video his laughing for you so you can believe me when I say that his laugh is just about the funniest, most joyful sound ever in the world. In the history of the world. It is so carefree and so belly-felt. I love it!

3. Chloe’s communicating more. I have loved that Chloe is using her talker more to communicate. We had a lady come to our house 4 times a week over the summer to work with Chloe and increase her communication with her iPad/ Prolouquo2go, and Chloe did so well! She is so funny and has plenty to say — it’s just tricky to find out what it is she wants to say and program her talker accordingly! If what she wants to say is on there, she says it! I loved growing in that area with her and seeing her make such progress.

4. Bean burritos. Don’t judge me. But I have so loved eating bean burritos this summer. I think it’s another addiction, actually. I keep going through the drive-thru of Taco Bueno and Taco Casa and getting bean burritos. Yummy! They are a nice comfort food for me. Not to mention, while I order a bean burrito for myself, I can order a side of beans for Chloe, which she really delights in! She loves refried beans! 🙂

5. Ok. Speaking of addictions, I may as well add Dr Pepper to this list. I have certainly delighted in great big Dr Peppers this summer. You may have heard my big, heavy sighs as I took the first big gulp out of my daily Dr Pepper. Yeah, I like it that much!

6. Last but certainly, certainly not least: Elliot’s drumming. I have delighted in the sound of Elliot’s drumming — drumming on his drum set, drumming on the tenors borrowed from the school, drumming on the bar in the kitchen, drumming on the dashboard, drumming on his lap, drumming on the wall, drumming on his sister, drumming on the table at dinner … I have loved it. He is so growing in that talent and in that skill. It’s awesome to hear your kid making music!

So there… I have been delighting even in this dark season! Yay! Probably focusing on these things in which I delight would be a great way to delight more and more …. Except several of them are issues of addiction! Ha. Well, I’ll delight and also try to find some balance. 🙂

Still delighting in 2012!

Junkies

Ty Pennington

Ty Pennington (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our family doesn’t watch much TV. We don’t have cable — just an antenna. Most mornings before school and most afternoons after school, we will have the TV on tuned to PBS for a while.

During football season, our TV is often on for the Saturday college games.

Other than that, our TV generally isn’t on.

We are never able to join in the popular conversations of this primetime show or that primetime show. We never know actor names and are never familiar with current commercials.

Well, I take that back. A couple of years ago we got hooked on Extreme Home Makeover; another time we got hooked on Wipeout; and now and then we get hooked on Funniest Home Videos. You get the idea.

But for the most part, we really aren’t TV watchers.

Now, don’t be fooled. Zippy is my I’d-watch-TV-every-second-of-my-life-until-I-die-and-the-world-disintegrates-around-me kid, but we usually keep a good handle on the hours he spends in front of the TV.

BUT!

But this summer, Netflix entered our lives!

And we. were. sucked. in.

We spent a chunk of the summer watching Disney Channel‘s Good Luck, Charlie and Suite Life of Zach and Cody.

The Suite Life of Zack & Cody

The Suite Life of Zack & Cody (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the couch. TV on. Eyes glued. Pause the show to go potty. Turn off the TV so we can eat dinner. “Ok-This-is-thelast-episode-for-the-day!” sort of sucked in.

We had it bad.

We (the boys and I) were totally sucked in and watched and watched and watched! These shows are so clever! There are a million and three episodes of both (and I seriously think we watched them all!), and they are hilarious. I mean, they are laugh-out-loud funny! I love them and the boys love them. Zippy laughed himself right into an asthma attack on many days.

And we have spent hours — hours — watching the TV.

Our subscription to Netflix is finally about to end and we will not renew! We must get our lives back!

But if you’ve never seen these 2 clever shows, you must watch a couple of episodes! Promise me you’ll tell me what you think because they happen to have become my two new favorite shows!

Good Luck Charlie

Good Luck Charlie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, yeah. Here’s hoping we get our lives back real soon! 🙂

 

Way Up High

Yet another example of why my kid requires constant supervision.

She climbed up to the top of her bed , got situated (she was lying on it like a hammock when I first discovered her!) all while wearing a dress.

Yikes.

Please, folks, don’t attempt this feat at home!

(Crossing my fingers she keeps her promise!!)

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