Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Dogs

The girl across the street of Great-Grandma's house had three little chihuahua-daschund mixes that escaped to our yard, and good thing - Jo fell in love with the little guys, and ran with them for several hours, way past dark! Here she is playing as a dog, hamming with Grandma, and then here's Sam - alert.

The Farm: Texas Tales Part Who Knows

Josephine loves dogs. I didn't realize this, because we have a dog, and I figured her obsession with hugging, feeding, and riding him - none of which Billy takes too kindly at all - was just because he is, well, here. But next to the Texas farm is a river, deep as a wading pool, and along with She-Dog came other neighborly dogs, and Josephine was ECSTATIC. I have never seen her as excited as she was swimming and romping with the dogs in the water and sand.

She also loved the flowers and cows and riding "the mule" around the land. We all did.

But boy - dogs. She leapt with them, rolled with them, snuggled beside them, splashed with them. She became one of the pack...

He's A Happy Guy

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Boy Interrupted: Texas Trip Tale, Part 1

Most of you who read this know by now that, two days before we were to return home from our trip to visit my mom and family in Texas, Sam started screaming in pain. Following a harrowing night of constant screaming, blood, vomit, no feeding, and an ER visit with bad care, we finally found out, at Cooks Children's Hospital in Fortworth, that he had "intesuseption," a rare problem that means part of the colon telescopes in on itself. Untreated, the condition can lead to death.

Sam was given an IV - this took several tries, as his veins were flattened from dehydration - a sonogram, and a procedure to fix the problem, surgery was avoided and Sam was instantly better. I stayed with him overnight while Josephine - a real trooper - went back to the farm with my mom so they could pack our bags and we could make our flight the next day.

Sam was so brave.

Thank you to all of you who offered support and prayers while this was going on. It was so sudden and fast and all the procedures rushed (not to mention, we didn't have our cell phones!), so I was unable to call people as I would normally do.

Most of all, I have to say a big thank you to my mother. She and I tended Sam through the night together, taking turns holding him while he screamed, playing with Josephine, cleaning up the soiled diapers, floors, clothes. She stayed with him when I couldn't take watching him cry any longer as the nurses stabbed him with needles in his feet, arms, head. She calmed him down when no one else could. She was resilient, strong, amazing.

Sam is good! There is a possibility of recurrence, but at least we know what it is now. He is back to his smiling, babbling, happy self. And we are home after a wonderful trip.

More pictures of the fun parts to come!

The Girls in Pink: Texas Trip Tales Part 2

If there were ever any doubt that Josephine was not my mother's granddaughter, or my grandma's great-granddaughter, these photos should prove otherwise. Look at the last one: They all make the SAME FACE!!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Peas in a Pod

Sam wore his first pair of overalls, and Jo was in a new blue dress. We were all gussied up for church. I dropped him off in the nursery; she went to her little class. I went to the service alone, no kid, not pregnant, and actually wearing heels.

And I realized my children are getting so grown up.

(And look so much alike!)

First Kiss

The other day, Sam watches Jo give me a kiss on my cheek.

He followed suit, lurching forward and applying his dribbly, mushy mouth to my nose, slobbering a waterfall down my chin.

It was his first kiss.

(And you can check with BabyCenter.com to see that this is a typical age for such things! I'm not making it up!)

Yes, we decorated his sheer, reddish hair with bows. "Now he's a girl!" Jo gloated.

She actually took the top two photos herself. Not bad!

Mama Fence in All Her Glory

Josephine has given us all new names. She is Silla. Sam is Poxcis, or Baby Pox. I am Fence, sometimes Mama Fence. And Daddy is Et (Aet). I can't even begin to know where these names came from, or why they have been so applied; all I know is that Princess Silla is, like most two-almost-three year olds, striving to dominate our lives and, indeed, reality as a whole with her formidable will.

That is, if she says something is so, it is so. "The wading pools aren't going away, they're coming back," she tells me, hearing me talk about the city's decision to remove the wading pools in our next-door park. "He doesn't want to go to sleep," she argues, when I move to put Sam down for a nap. And then we're reading a book about Dora and her cousin, Diego. "It's not her cousin, he her friend," Jo says.

"No, Diego is her cousin," I say, gently. I run my finger over the words in the book, and read aloud, "'...and Dora saw a familiar figure in the distance, her cousin Diego.'" See? Proof! I think.

Jo is undaunted. She copies me, runs her finger over the same sentence, and rewrites the book, pretending to read, "...and Dora saw a familiar figure, her friend Diego."

She contradicts everything we say. Sean actually tried to have a talk with her about it.

"Sometimes Daddy knows what he's talking about, Jo," he said. "And remember, Daddy and Mommy are on your side."

"I'm on MY side," Jo said, defiantly.

She also has been practicing taking photographs - see above. I got draped and stuffed with toilet paper and sat for my picture. My mother will recall the story of Pammy Denis with toilet paper on her head and see that everything comes full circle...

It's a testament to my love for my child that I submit to these exercises in the complete demolition of any aspiration toward sophistication I might have entertained pre-kid.

That I actually post these pictures is another issue altogether. Perhaps I am looking for sympathy. Or figuring that, no beauty queen, I can at least invoke a chuckle!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Empress Has No Clothes...

So, Mom says something like, "You know, these days kids are just too overworked, every part of their day structured and planned - they need time to be bored, so they can go use their imagination."

I heartily agree; in fact, once I realized that large swaths of 'nothing to do' allowed Josephine the freedom to invent and imagine for hours on end, everyone was happier.

However. Jo's muscular imagination tends to trample on reality to the point of parental exasperation. As in, it's time for dinner, and we tell our naked child to put some clothes on before coming to the table.

"I DO have clothes on," she says.

We look again. "No, you don't."

"I'm wearing a pretend dress and a pretend crown," and she extends her arms in the air to show us, presumably, the imaginary finery.

"Lovely," we say, "But for dinner, you at least need a shirt. A real one."

The queen is not amused. Later, she tells me, "My crown has DIAMONDS, and it's VERY, VERY tiny, teeny tiny, and SHINY. And my dress is PINK. It's so lovely!"

Of course, I have to agree.

Meanwhile, at a playgroup yesterday, a little baby boy a couple weeks younger than Sam showed him up by crawling around and trying to wrestle toys out of Sam's hands. "Show off," I grumbled inwardly to myself. Hee hee. Sam is currently going through a phase where he wants to be held ALL THE TIME, and it is driving me insane.

The only other thing that can placate him? See photo above. If Josephine is around, he is happy.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


1 - On a family walk; Jo in 'bunny ears' - Sam 'chilling'
2 - Jo and Lily getting fancy
3 - Oh the glamour of the housewife - this is me after Sean insisted I wear a new shirt, instead of the one I'd been wearing for three days straight - oh yeah.

1) In the middle of the night, Jo called from her bedroom, "Mama! Mama!" and Sam, who was wakeful next to me in bed (he's been up all night the last three nights, sick, feverish, sweating, crying) bellowed back to her, "aahha waah waaah!!" Seriously, he was yelling back to her! (Meanwhile, the parents are groaning and piling pillows over our heads.)

2) We were playing with a baby doll, had it sitting up next to Sam, and then I - playfully - threw it up in the air and landed it on its head - you know, to be funny, like a cartoon. Sam burst into tears. He did not like watching the baby get hurt.

He turned 7 months yesterday; is over 18 pounds.

3) I have been trying to remember some of the things Jo is saying these days, but the child has turned into a major chatterbox; she talks ALL DAY LONG. Unceasingly. She tells me things like, "Flowers turn into mountains. Mountains don't turn into people; people turn into trees" as part of her "puppies turn into dogs, but babies don't turn into dogs" soliloquy... She told me a story about a duck who goes to the circus and swims in the swimming pool with all the elephants. She told me:
You (mama) were in the garden digging in the dirt. You found a worm. Then you found a bird. You cleaned off the bird and fed it.

Her memory is incredible. "I saw a man wearing a skirt," she said.
"You did? Where?"
"With daddy." Pause. "Some wear pants, some wear skirts; some wear shirts, some wear dresses!"
I asked Sean later if he had any idea what she was talking about. "We did see a man wearing a skirt," he said. "Three weeks ago!"

4) We found a preschool for Jo - she's going to start going on Wednesdays. It is a magical place - garden paths, bunnies, purple rooms... more on that later. Totally a gift from the universe - and from Lily's parents, who heard of the opening and basically got it for us on virtue of Lily and Jo's friendship!