Thursday, April 29, 2010

Coming to the End of Double Life

Our double life continues for only one more day. Some of our number have made it quite clear that they are done, D-O-N-E, with this two week alteration of our normal habits.

Now, for those of you inclined to worry about this, I assure you that this does not include the Bear. He has been glad to have us around and we've had a great time with him. Have I mentioned that he is such a great kid? Because he is. I'd like to take credit for that, but considering I left home when he was four years old, I'm not sure I can. But if those 4 years count for something, and if Prince Charming's continued influence on his young brother-in-law counts for something more (which I'm inclined to think it surely does), then maybe we can take a teensy bit of credit.

Or it could just be good genetics. (Pastor Dad and Mom did a great job with me so it's no surprise that the Bear is turning out so well. I kid, I kid.)

So anyway, it isn't the Bear. And it isn't me. Although it will be nice to sleep in my own bed again. And have a working dishwasher - one that isn't my own two hands - again. Little things like that, I'm looking forward to. And it isn't really Prince Charming or two of our girls.

Lulu's dog Onyx has been living with us since January. She has been such an exemplary member of the family since that time, Prince Charming was actually reconsidering his "no dog ever for our family under any circumstances except in Lulu's dire need" stance.

But alas, no longer. This move up the High Hill has unsettled our borrowed doggy. Three specific "bad dog" behaviors come to mind from the last week or so: trying to run outside without her leash on, getting into the trash can on multiple occasions, and, ahem, "forgetting" that she's been housebroken for upwards of 5 years, also on multiple occasions. None of these things have happened at our house. We figure it's her oh so not subtle way of telling us that she does not like sharing the dog spotlight with the High Hill dog. And she prefers her spot on our couch in our living room where she can watch the street. And she doesn't like the High Hill dog trying to get her food. And so on. (Of course, due to our limited experience with dogs, we could be completely wrong about her motivations.)

We only hope she is so happy to be back at our house that all this stuff stops. If it doesn't, I forsee her spending a lot of time in the outside kennel.

As to the other member of the family? Well, that would be Tigger. She is no longer content with the High Hill House toys and the few she brought from home. She does not really want to play with the little girls next door any more. And she definitely, absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, does not want to sleep even ONE MORE NIGHT up here. She wants her own bed in her own room with her own stuff.

The meltdown occured last night. Polly was already asleep and Sweet Pea was getting close (and, I might add, it was already quite late) but Tigger informed us that she would not be sleeping here and she could not sleep here and further, if we didn't take her home RIGHT NOW she would probably not sleep ever again and also she would not speak to us again and did we realize that we are the meanest parents ever in the history of the world? This was all said at high pitch with accompanying screaming which I cannot describe unless you have seen Tigger have one of her meltdowns, which can only be described as spectacular.

After attempting, in many and various ways, to calm her down or readjust her attitude or just stop the screaming, we moved her out to the rocking chair in the living room. We turned out the lights (light shone in from the yard so don't think we were leaving her in the dark. Contrary to Tigger's opinion at the time, we are not actually the meanest parents ever) and handed her favorite blanket to her.

"Fine. You can stay up all night in the rocking chair. You don't have to sleep." We told her that we were going to bed (not strictly true, as we were not going to sleep but actually going to watch a movie with the Bear in our room) but that she was welcome to stay up as long as she pleased, as long as she stayed in the rocking chair.

The screaming stopped. We started our movie. Half way through the movie I went to check on her. She was sound asleep so I carried her to bed. This morning she told me, "I was surprised when I woke up in bed. I was so tired last night."

Yeah, no kidding. We still have tonight to look forward to, but I'm hoping for better things. They used to say lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place. They lied, of course. But I'm hoping maybe it's true for Tigger and even if it isn't, we're going home tomorrow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Double Life, Continued

Well, our week is continuing on. Today we finish the last of our babysitting obligations for the week by adding (though not necessarily at the same time) three more children to the mix.

The Bear was sweet enough to ask me if I could handle it without him (he's going to a ballgame tonight). I gave him permission to go but I was impressed that he's trying to be so helpful. Now, if Prince Charming decides to take off too, we may have a leetle bit of a problem.

Tuesday we went Downtown and hit the theatre. The Bear hadn't been to a play in a few years but he agreed that this one was pretty good. The girls have been singing the songs ever since. (Polly's favorite: "Painting a Fence is Art". Can anyone guess what the play might have been?)

After the play, we all went home to let the dogs run for a few minutes before heading off to Grandma's house. (Incidentally, it's Grandpa's house too but I've noticed we always call it "Grandma's". Go figure.) Fun was had by all. And Grandpa and Grandma took us out to eat and there was so much food the Bear actually couldn't eat it all. I am all astonishment.

Yesterday we suffered the first casualties of our occupation: Sweet Pea, being quite a bit less than Sweet, broke one of the snow globes that sits in her Gram and Grandad's bedroom. No, she was not supposed to touch it at all. Yes, she broke it on the bed. And yes, it was quite a mess.

Then, while playing outside, the Bear's dog got a little too excited about having new playmates around and knocked Polly down, thereby scratching up Polly's stomach. This necessitated yelling at the dog (who, I'm sure, had no idea why we were mad) and patching up Polly (there was no blood but the angry looking scratches were treated and a band-aid applied "just in case")

I have laundry running in two different houses, I started calling the wrong phone number the other day, and I've already been to the grocery two times since Monday.

All in all, I'd say things are going pretty well.

Monday, April 19, 2010

If Only There Were Two of Me

I'm living a double life for the next two weeks. So far all this has involved is being two places at one time, being responsible for keeping the food supply adequate for a teenage boy, coaxing two dogs into being buddies, and a level of planning last seen when Ike gathered the generals to prepare for the invasion of Fortress Europe.

Today, feeling optimistic, I ventured to the library with my crew, The Bear, and Fen in tow. The girls all hit the movies and books, The Bear found a few movies to his liking, and Fen tried to taste anything in reach. He particularly enjoyed the children's section with the low tables and chairs. Not because he wanted to sit in the chairs, but because he enjoyed beating a persistent percussive rythym while his cousins piled up books.

Tomorrow we're venturing downtown. Look out, world!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Valuable Medical Advice of the Day

I am still pregnant. I do not take that blessing lightly, I assure you. The baby's heartbeat was, and I quote, "Good."

So there's that.

As I previously mentioned, I did not see my regular doctor, by which I mean the doctor I saw at my first appointment. No, that would be too easy. Because I liked her and she actually listened to me and answered my questions.

This doctor was older. An older man, to be precise, with white hair and a twinge of a European accent. Now my primary care physician is an older man. I like him and he's a good doctor. But for my O.B. I - just to be completely honest - prefer a woman. My reasoning: I'd like someone who has either 1.) actually been pregnant herself or 2.) is biologically constructed to possibly be pregnant at some point.

The fact that the doctor today was a man didn't necessarily mean nothing good would come of the visit. As I said, I got to hear that priceless "swish swish" heartbeat again, so that was good.

But that was the only good thing about my visit. This man asked me if I had felt the baby yet. I said something along the lines of, "I'm not sure. I kind of thought I did yesterday." I find being too confident about these sorts of questions is likely to get you handed a kick count chart and I'm not ready for that yet.

"No," he said. "18-20 weeks. That's when you start feeling the baby." (Side note: I am officially 17 weeks pregnant.) Then why did he ask me in the first place? (Side note #2: this is my 4th pregnancy. I'm positive I've felt at least one of my babies by this point. Tigger, if I recall correctly - no surprise there.)

He asked if I had any questions after his perfunctory measuring of my stomach and quick listen to the heartbeat. I started to explain this horrific cold I've had for the LAST TWO WEEKS.

"Sudafed or Afrin nasal spray," he suggested. Um, yes, I've been alternating those for the LAST TWO WEEKS.

"And what about the stuff in my chest?" I asked. Predictable answer: Robitussin cough syrup. Yup, same as I'd been doing for, you guessed it, the LAST TWO WEEKS.

But the real kicker, the reason those doctors make the big bucks and are so lofty and high above us all came at the end. "Some hot tea at night would probably help," Mr. Makes More Money Than I Ever Will and Has a Fancy-Pants Medical Degree Doctor said.

Yes, that's right. Hot Tea. You heard it here first, folks.

Maybe if I hadn't been drinking hot green tea, hot red tea, hot chai tea, and generally all the forms of hot decaf tea I can get my hands on for the LAST TWO WEEKS I wouldn't feel so sarcastic right now.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In Which I Whine A Bit

I have the cold from you know where. It will not go away. Generally speaking, I tend to be leery of medicine under normal circumstances but that's especially true when I'm harboring a helpless little soul inside me. I've had to break down and take what my O.B. recommends a few times but (le sigh) it's not really helping.

So I have an O.B. appointment tomorrow, though not with my regular doctor, and I'm hoping I can convince him / her that the rudolph look is not my usual face and this stuff coming out of my lungs and sinuses is not normal and for heaven's sake (OK, really for my sake) please give me something to get. rid.of. it. yesterday.

And in further whining news, Prince Charming is away for a few days. For a good reason and with good people but still, he's away. From us. From me.

You can probably tell that I don't like it. Not one little bit.

I try to tell myself to be thankful he isn't, oh, I don't know, deployed to the big sandy spot or something but that only works during the day. At night my self-motivational speaker goes on break.

So for the first time in four pregnancies I will be marching myself to a doctor's appointment on my own. Due to the, ahem, clientele at the clinic I visit, I will most likely be oh so casually waving my ring finger around tomorrow morning, if that can be done casually. (Let's just say married folks having babies after the vows are a rarity at this office and leave it at that)

Now to get back to single parenting. Sweet Pea and Tigger may stage a coup before the day is out. Constant vigilance is required but I'd really rather take a nap.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Books of 2010 - March

1. A Pale Horse. Series fiction by Charles Todd. I do not remember anything about this book. That can't be a great sign. However, I don't remember anything exactly bad about it either.

2. The Unbearable Lightness of Scones. Fiction by Alexander McCall Smith. The latest in the Scotland Street Series, which I do not enjoy as much as some of his others, but it was still a quick, fun read.

3. The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher. Non-fiction by Kate Summerscale. A thorough and compelling look at a Victorian Era murder.

4. Story of Rosabelle Shaw. Fiction by D.E. Stevenson. I usually enjoy these old books but this one was not one I'd ever read again.

5. 101 Things You Didn't Know About Jane Austen. Non-fiction by Patrice Hannon. This title is only accurate if you've never read anything else about Jane Austen. Which, as we all know, is not the case with yours truly.

6. The Bomber Boys: Heroes Who Flew the B-17s in World War Two. Non-fiction by Travis Ayres. Read as research. Very interesting life stories.

7. The Rose of Martinique: A Life of Napoleon's Josephine. Non-fiction by Andrea Stuart. Very well done biography. History writers almost always allow Josephine to be overshadowed by her famous husband in their works but this book does not.

8. The Wehrmacht: History, Myth, Reality. Non-fiction by Wolfram Wette (translated). Read as research. Attempts to dispel the myth that the Wehrmacht fought a "good" or "clean" war. If you're interested in the history of that time period, this book is worth your time.

9. The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thugs, & the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. Non-fiction by Robert Edsel. Read as research but this is no dry, boring tome. Well worth the time. I was thoroughly engrossed by this book. (Also see a related documentary,The Rape of Europa, if you're so inclined)

Totals for March:
Fiction: 3
Non-fiction: 6
Dickens completed: none (I'm still working my way through David Copperfield. Slowly. Mostly because all these non-fiction books keep jumping to the top of my reading stack.)

I'm linking this post to Fish Mama's Booking It. Want to see what other folks are reading? Check out her blog (& link to your lists)! If you want to see what else I've read this year, just push that tiny little label "books" under this post

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He Is Risen!

The highest act of love is the giving of the best gift, and, if necessary, at the greatest cost, to the least deserving. That’s what God did. At the loss of His Son’s life to the totally undeserving, God gave the best gift – the display of the glory of Christ who is the image of God. - John Piper
The resurrection proclamation could not have been maintained in Jerusalem for a single day, for a single hour, if the emptiness of the tomb had not been established as a fact." - Paul Althus
Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.  [Mark 16:6]

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. [1 Corinthians 15:3, 4]