Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Backseat Back-Up Singer

We had an eight-track player when I was a kid.  With only a few 8-track cassette tapes to play in it.  One of them was the soundtrack for The Sound of Music.

So it was with a great deal of nostalgia that I put the cd in my car player on the commute home tonight.  I found myself singing with all the wholesome gusto of my ten-year-old self those classic tunes like Do-Re-Mi and Favorite Things. 

In between songs a little voice piped up from the back, "More sawns?" Landon was with me and I could hear additions of "Do!"  and "Ray!" being sung with such sweet, unsyncopated enthusiasm, I couldn't help but get caught up in a new wave of "Man-I-love-that-little-boy" : a sentence Bill and I pass back and forth like the baton of our shared parenthood.

A few of my favorite things?

It's a long, long list and Landon sparkles throughout. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Little Monkey

Always worth investigating...


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Goin' Commando

My world shrinks when Landon is sick.  Though I know that he is not in grave danger, it still exacts a higher toll of emotional and physical energy to care for a toddler who suffers.  This week, it started with vomiting, and has carried on to dramatic exits from the other end.  For an extreme diaper rash that wasn't improving, the nurse prescribed a list of things to do to promote his recovery.

Most effective, but also perhaps most difficult to carry out, was the advice to let Landon go diaperless for as much as possible.  Now my little guy is reminding me of an untrained puppy, making little cleaning projects for us at irregular intervals.  The washing machine and dryer have been running for two days straight!

Landon was crabby, and clingy, and always uncertain about what would make him happy, but adamant that by crying and wordlessly pointing to something just beyond, relief would come.  There's only so long I can wander about my house looking for that elusive "something" that would make Landon stop crying in my ear.

In a last ditch effort for some peace, I rolled the tv out of the closet.  It is the second time we've used it this year, so I hoped its novelty would be enough for Landon.  It was.  And for me, too.  We snuggled on the couch and watched nothing in particular while pointing out nouns to each other.

But when I saw an ad for the season premiere of The Amazing Race starting Sunday, I made a plan.  I love how that show allows you to not only see all over the world, but is also an interesting study of people under tremendous pressure.  I've seen a few scattered seasons online.  I had no idea our tv could even get that channel.

We had an early dinner, I got Landon to bed on time, and had the icecream served up in bowls.  I was ready.  Bill rolled the tv out of the closet again.  At five til "showtime" I turned on the tv to begin flipping through channels since I had no idea where it would be.

I ended up seeing the last five minutes of the show.

What a goofball that I didn't even know how to translate "8/7 central" as the start time to mean 7:00.  I picked 8.

My first attempt at network television in years and I catch five minutes of the show.

I wanted to "travel" the world.  Instead, the biggest thought I ended up with was wondering if it would be worth changing Landon's diaper in the middle of the night.

Yes, my world truly does shrink when he is sick.

Oh, well....I have my own 12-hour race to run tomorrow.
No million dollar prize, but I'll have two boys very happy to see me when I check-in tomorrow evening.

And hopefully one of them will be back in diapers.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The 100 Pages Club

That's what these stacks of books on my dresser are likely to become members of.

It's new.  I just created it. I'm the president and the secret password to get in is: Uncompelling.

I mentioned that I'm working on creating a list of the best children/teen books for 2010/11.  It is a huge task (I'm actually on a large committee) and of course I'm behind schedule for how many books I would be proud to recommend.

So--new tactic.  I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner.  I'll give a chapter book 100 pages.  If, by then, I don't care enough about the story or characters to want to keep going, the book gets added to the club.


Midthought, I will abandon these books to their own company and move on to the next hopeful.
The piles of unread books are tall, and some are precarious.  For my own safety I have got to make more headway on this project.
But still, it feels so strange to be tossing them out before they get to prove that they really redeem themselves with a great ending.   

I'm grateful this is not the approach we take with people.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I Never Know What I'll Hear

Random and I go way back.  I've loved Random for so long, I stopped noticing how random, Random is, sometimes.  But if I find myself unexpectedly smiling, it's often because of Random. 

I was giving a library tour to little cub scouts the other night, and they had the opportunity to earn one of their badges by raising and lowering our flag.

The troop leader earnestly asks, "Why are there 13 stripes on the flag?"
And little guy pipes up, "For the 13 countries that were here before Columbus discovered the rest of them."


 I can't help but smile because Random has popped his funny head up again, this time with a bit of convoluted non-history.  I'd want to talk to that kid all night, seeing as he and Random are probably pretty good friends, too.

Instead, they properly fold the flag.  They unfold the flag.  They raise it on the pole.  They sing a song.  And shivering, they all tumble back into the library.

 One thing I know and love about Random: his unpredictability is one of his best charms.  And he's been charming me my whole life. 

So chances are, I'll be smiling this way again soon.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

More Than Just Donuts

She brought donuts for all of us at work.  Four big boxes of fresh, Krispy Creme donuts, still warm enough to weaken our resolve. 

The day ticked by, and I meant to thank her for the donuts, but kept forgetting. 
I fogot even after I decided to go ahead and have one.
I fogot after I figured I had spoiled one of my New Year's resolutions, so I might as well have a second.

And then it was too late.
A colleague came and told me that as the donut-giver had walked out the door midday, she said, "Well, today is my last day.  I put my notice in weeks ago, but asked our boss not to say anything."

I never got to say goodbye.  I was out on the floor when she left, probably helping someone find a book for their report. 

Worse, I never did say thanks. 
For the donuts.  For her work.  For being a great coworker with a consistent attitude and a great work ethic.
I'm sure I reasoned that I would have plenty of time when I saw her next.
But that was her last day and I didn't show even a little gratitude for her generosity.

Just another reminder to seize the day-- no seize the moment, because sometimes we don't get a second chance to get it right.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bill's Poem

Well, I can't very well mention the poem and not share it, can I?  (Especially when it is about my favorite little boy) 

One Small Step for Landon

It was one small step for a boy—
one playful stride off the shoveled path,
a toddler’s shoe pressed in, pulled back,
a shoe’s imprint in light gray snow,
left to melt in the cold day’s sunshine.

He stared at it.
I stared at him staring at it.
He stepped again.

unmarred surfaces call to his feet?
snow is fun to scrunch?
shoe bottoms leave intriguing patterns?
his legs have untried powers?
he loves to learn about  the world around him?
he could leave his mark?

It was one small step for a man—
one calculated hop off the ladder’s last rung,
a man’s footfall made far from home,
a boot’s gridiron in light gray lunar powder,
left to linger in the airless solar radiation.

We all stared at it.
We stared at him staring at the black and white vista.
Eleven others took that one small step.  

we could finally grab the carrot from the stick?
moon dust might be as fun as snow to scrunch?
flying machines and dune buggies are a kick?
one country proved quicker than another?
we love to learn about the worlds around us?
we could leave our mark?

A little boy took a step today, close by.
A daring man took a step decades ago, far away.
I’ve stepped in snow countless times.
I’ve only dreamed of stepping in moon dust.

I wonder
Where else will Landon’s feet step?
Where will they leave their mark?
What, besides snow and moon dust, is fun to scrunch?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Creativity Sparks

Bill and I have recently wanted to allow room for creativity in our lives again.  For me, that translated to this blog.  For Bill, writing a poem.  I continue to write here; Bill is working on a short story.  Both of us notice that we really enjoy spending time on these endeavors.  Not that we have much to spare, but if we spend even a few minutes at the end of the day, we are happier. 

They say good writers must first be good readers.  I have always loved to read.  I like to read in bed, and before I was married, usually stayed up way too late reading.  Now, time to read feels like a luxury.  Or it feels a bit like homework because I am required to read so much for my job.  

If reading is like a fur coat and a glittering tiara, writing is like old-friend blue jeans and sneakers made for going somewhere.  Reading is rather passive.  I sit back and soak up a story someone else poured their heart and soul into.  Writing is more active.  It is a chance to pour a little of my own heart and soul into something.

Reading asks me to enjoy. 
Writing asks me to risk.
Reading is a guaranteed pleasure.
Writing is an uncertain venture.
Reading is a familiar escape.
Writing is a road untaken.
Reading is meeting new friends.
Writing is giving birth to them.

And so it is the comforts of reading and the challenges of writing that spark a desire for more creativity in my life. 

Thanks for being around to fan the flame with your interest and encouragement!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sleep and Caffeine: A Surprise and a Smile

I woke up this morning in a hospital.
It wasn't a surprise, really.  But it was.
Because it was 8:00 am and I was waking up for the first time after shutting down the laptop and signing off from my last post.

The post in which I shared how I was dreading the long night.

I woke up disoriented because the "long night" passed me by while I slept sounder than I would have thought possible.

They came and blew vapors in Landon's face, pounded on his chest, administered drugs, and did all the things that kept me up the first night, without my ever knowing. 

Sleep is a gift.  It can add a lot to my reserves of patience.  With it, I can keep on truckin' down the road for a few more miles.  Bumpy miles, though they are.

There was another surprise waiting for me when I woke up.  A chai latte from Bill who said, "I thought you might like this. I thought about getting you a muffin, but wasn't sure."

"Oh, you read my blog. How sweet. Thanks."

The amazing thing is, he hadn't read either post (this or this one.)  He didn't know what I was talking about.

A good night's sleep.  A best friend who still does things just to make me happy.  A hot chai as soon as I opened my eyes this morning.  I have a lot to be grateful for.

But the gift I'm most grateful for is that none of us are going to bed in a hospital.  I'm grateful that this post isn't titled "Day 3."  We are home again.  Landon still has a ways to go to recover, but we are home.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 2

Everyone has been kind.  Everyone has been professional.  And everyone has come bearing drugs.

Landon may hate the stethoscope; get shrill with the nebulizer treatments, act tortured with the cpt (chest pounding) exercises,

but he loves the drugs.  Every nurse remarks on it.  In an effort to find something nice to say about my crusty-nosed, whiny, crabby, crying, clinging cherub, one even said, "Wow. I've never met a toddler take to the meds like he does."

What a talent.  Note for the baby book: you really loved prescription drugs.

Nobody said anything about the side effects. 

I came back from the dinner run to find my toddler running around this small hospital room with a crazed energy that at first relieved me, but quickly wore me out. With unprecedented frenzy, he was running around, trying to climb the outside of the crib, the back of the rocker, up the wall (literally) on the couch, and then on to something else.  He would play with a toy for five seconds, try to tell me something for ten, then move on. 

The doctor kept talking to us as though his behavior was not an annoying topper to end his already very long day. (He said he had been in NICU all day)

"What's wrong with him?" I asked.
The doctor didn't even ask what I meant.
"Oh, that's just the steroids.  They can make them a little hyper."

Understatement.  But the doctor was classy.  And kind.  And not praising what a good little steroid-induced tornado my child was, so I had to be grateful.

We have such high hopes that we won't have any chance to  write a "Day 3" post. 

I wouldn't mind another chai latte from their onsite coffee cart, though.  Surprisingly good; it seemed out of place.

But then, aren't we all? 
Out of place, I mean.  Probably not surprisingly good. 
At least, I haven't surprised myself here yet.  I'm working on a functional goodness that doesn't get too sharp with the man whose sleep was as interrupted as mine, whose eardrums have been equally pained, and whose nerves are undoubtedly as frayed as mine.

Actually, I better go to sleep now (since both my boys already are) or I might let myself off the hook with it tomorrow. I can just hear me now: "I got even less sleep than you so please don't mess with me!"

Yeah, less sleep because I was up blogging about how little sleep I got.  That's classic.

Then again, spending a few minutes to process this day on paper does more to relax me than  if I simply replayed it over and over in my head.