Saturday, October 29, 2005
Yeah. I don't get out much.
It has been dark the last few days when I get up. Full-on dark. "Is it still night?" Mermaid Girl mumbles confusedly in the mornings, as we hoist her out of her loft bed. All three of us stumble around with our coffee or coffee-equivalents feeling that in some fundamental way this is just not right.
I am tempted to capitalize JUST NOT RIGHT but am trying to be disciplined in my use of typographic empasizers. Shouldn't the words be doing the job? Shouldn't I be a better writer? Shouldn't I be vacuuming the living room at this very moment? Or reading my review book that's due on Thursday?
For that matter, shouldn't I still be asleep? I don't think the sun's even fully risen.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Thanks all for your injection-related comments on the last post (and welcome, Marina and ALG!). Rachel, your husband is not the only one who has to lie down to get shots and blood draws. I do also, ever since an unpleasant fainting incident about thirteen years ago involving a tetanus shot and a swivel chair.
Back when I was taking methotrextate, I had to get blood draws every few months. I dreaded my four-times-a-year follow-up appointments. It was always the same: get a lab slip, sit in the busy waiting room drinking as much water as possible, hear my name called, and watch the lab tech scurry around in consternation when I explain that I need my blood drawn lying down. This went on for years. As a patient, it always seems like there are such simple things that medical institutions could do to make things a little simpler; like have "administer lying down" somewhere check-off-able on the lab slip, you know?
But I am not in nearly such dire straits vis a vis the medical profession as is poor Badger these days. I'm hoping the gastroenterologist this morning had something to say besides "hmm, yeah, you seem fine to me..." always so helpful, when one is doubled over in pain.
I am such a needle wimp that I was barely able to sit through "Trainspotting." Not sure what I thought I was doing, going to see a movie about heroin addicts--a population notorious for their affinity for needles. I think I was swayed by the rave review in the alternative weekly. I did take the precaution of asking the kid in the ticket booth whether there were a lot of people sticking needles in their arms in the movie, and he assured me that there was "hardly any" of that kind of stuff. I shudder to think what his basis of comparison must have been.
Have to go shoot up now. Yes, I notorious fainter-at-the-sight-of-needles, now inject myself with fancy anti-psoriatic stuff twice a week. I even have my own sharps container. And I know how to use it. But I still have to lie down when other people are doing the injecting.
Maybe that would work for Mermaid Girl. Think we can get her to administer her own flu shot next winter?
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
One day these days off will end, and I'll be back at work full-time. Hope I can remember who all those children are.
Most of today was occupied with taking MG to her 5-year-old checkup, which I cleverly scheduled right smack in the middle of the day, for minimal opportunity to get anything else done. (Actually it was originally scheduled at 9 in the morning on October 5, but October 5 was Walk-to-School Day and "No, Mommy, I *can't* miss Walk-to-School Day! I just can't!" So I rescheduled it. And she doesn't even walk to school, school is 1.1 miles away uphill! I'm such a sap. I made her walk around the block before the bus got here that morning, though. So she got walking credit and could go to the party and win a pony or whatever they did.)
So, she's fine, she's a healthy 5-year-old. Goofy, though. This was her second doctor's appointment in the past week and she was totally goofy and sassy with her pediatrician as well as the special super-duper pediatric dermatologist I dragged her to last week so that we could all get a firm talking-to on the urgent necessity of smearing her eczema with cortisone twice a day. We knew about that already, but apparently we all needed to hear it again, really clearly and in words of one syllable, so that we'd make her do it and she'd stop fussing and running away long enough for us to let her.
The upshot of that was that last Thursday I set up a sticker system , made a chart, and gave a big speech at dinner about how this was important and it's all three of our responsibilities and if she gets her medicine on twice a day for a week, she gets a dollar to buy yet another *@%$&*%! polly pocket, and we get sushi. If she misses even one application, or if she has a bath that takes longer than 15 minutes, no matter whose fault it is, no dollar and no sushi.
5 days later, she cooperates with the medicine sessions and her skin's getting better. She even jumped out of the bath before the 15-minute timer went off, so eager was she to avoid a bad mark on her chart. We all get our rewards the day after tomorrow.
In the meantime, she had a flu shot this morning and I have a question for those of you with older kids:
At what age, more or less, do they stop screaming and flailing at the prospect of a shot?
It took three nurses to hold her down this time.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
MG: I don't like school so much.
Me: You don't? You don't?!? You don't like school?!?!?!? What don't you like about school?!?!?!?! [Doting, overanxious parent of an only child? Who, me?]
MG: I just don't like it.
Me: Do you like the bus? [Trick question: I know she adores the bus.]
MG: I really like the bus.
Me: Do you like Mrs. LeBec? [Another trick question: I can't imagine a child who wouldn't like Mrs. LeBec. She is the epitome of all that could ever be wonderful in a Kindergarten teacher. I've been in her classroom, it's amazing, 21 children and they all just toodle around doing what she sweetly and briskly tells them to do.]
MG: I really like Mrs. LeBec!
Me: Do you like your friends?
MG: I really like my friends. [She has friends! Besides the 2 or 3 kids who she knew already, there's one kid in her class who invited her to her birthday party a couple weeks ago, and a couple girls in a completely different class who she hangs out with at recess. "Hangs out with" is literal, by the way: I was there volunteering once at recess and there they all were, on the low parallel hanging bars, swinging their legs around and shoving each other merrily. *Sigh* I don't think I need to elaborate on how dramatically that does not resemble RW's and my elementary-school experiences]
Me: Do you like gym?
MG: I love gym! [Good grief. I'm raising an alien. But a happy alien.]
Me: Do you like computer class?
MG: Yes! Computer class is great. [I'll say. When I was there last week, their assignment was to log on, draw a pumpkin in Paint, and then save it to the class folder. Good lord, I know adults who can't do that. But they all managed, with the help of us 4 or 5 adults scurrying around from one raised hand to another. Then when they were done, they got to play on the reading program.]
Me: Do you like doing science things, like all that work you're doing with fabric? [Comparing how different fabrics feel, getting fabric dirty, washing it, examining little cotton buds, weaving, making fabric collages...]
MG: I love that!
... and so on: She likes the library, she likes doing Calendar in the morning, she likes being lunchbox monitor, and I happen to know, because she doews a little jig every time she mentions it, that she loves punching in her PIN number to buy milk in the cafeteria. I didn't even ask about the two songs her class performed at the Fall Assembly, because she sang them to us over and over, complete with hand motions, all the way to and from services Friday night, and volunteered that she was scared before they went on but she still sang along with everyone else and it was evident that she was totally thrilled and proud of herself.
Me, finally: So, what don't you like about school?
MG: Um...I don't like Spanish. [Liar! She lies! I swear she lies. She's been gleefully larding her conversation with "Buenos noches" and suchlike ever since the first week of school, like some pretentious college student just back from a summer picking coffee beans in Nicaragua.]
MG: And I don't like reading.
Me: You don't like reading?! I thought you wanted to learn to read. [The first week, they all painted big pictures of themselves with speech bubbles saying what they all wanted to learn in Kindergarten, and it's up on her bedroom wall now, coming out of her own red painted mouth, with her yellow yarn hair falling over it: "I want to learn how to read. --Mermaid Girl."]
MG: I want to learn to read books. Not just one word up on the board.
Me: Ah. Right.
Hmm. Probably I should've said something smarter about the steps via which one gets to that exalted stage of Reading Books. Another great teachable moment gone by like the wind.
The truth is, I think she doesn't like getting up so early in the morning. And in that, she is far from alone in our household. Sometimes we all three just lie there in the big bed at 7:30 or so, in companionable misery, complaining in turn about how much we wish we could go back to sleep.
Or maybe she was just yanking my chain about not liking school. Ya think?
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Can't think. Head too itchy.
Some website recommends letting it cure for A WEEK OR TWO. And some other site said that if the stuff is too old it might never cure at all, no matter how long you keep it dry.
Did I mention we have only one bathroom? With only one bathtub/shower in it? And that I can't function very well without my daily shower? It takes the place of coffee in my morning routine.
So imagine me with caffeine-withdrawal-equivalent twitchiness. Plus, weird sticky-out hair.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Jewish Education Comes Home to Roost
Me *popping the Turtle Towel over her blond little head*: So, can you run into your room and get your pajamas on?
MG *hunching over slightly*: My body's all stiff. Oy!
A sample of the fascinating blogging I would do if I were home all the time
I was on the phone with a friend last night, both of us scraping away at the grout in our tubs. She read the directions on the bottle she'd bought: "Remove all old grout... they can't really mean all the old grout, can they?"
We agreed that they couldn't possibly.
The guy who owned her house had scraped some of the grout away-- not all of it-- and then put clear grout over it. So when the mildew grew between the layers of grout, she could see it, but no matter how much she scrubbed she couldn't get to it of course.
Last night, and this morning, I scraped and scraped. It became an obsession. It must be a fundamental human urge: the urge to pick at things. So satisfying when the stuff comes up in great shiny white peels, but so elusive. I had three tools: the scraper bought for the purpose, a screwdriver, and a funny little curvy pointy tool I found in the medicine cabinet, looks like it can be used for getting stuff out from between your teeth. Or retrieving ingrown hairs, maybe.
Well, no longer. Now it is a Grout Pick.
See, sometimes you can see a big string of the old grout, hiding back there behind the big piece of linoleum or whatever it is that we have instead of bathtub tile, but the opening's too small and it just won't come out. So what you do is, you angle the Grout Pick until you can pull a little wedge of it out. Don't pull too hard or it'll just break and you'll be in even worse shape. Then, with the other hand, grab the screwdriver and gently push at the grout string from the edge of the opening, until a whole bunch of it comes out. Then, when you have enough, you can just pull it out by hand.
Or you can slash and slash at it with the grouting knife, spraying showers of crumbs all over the tub, as I did last night while chatting with RW.
But I'm never gonna be able to get all the old grout. I'm afraid of what would happen if I did. It appears to be holding the linoleum to the wall.
Next up: sweeping and vacuuming the tub, then scrubbing everything near the grout line, then actually APPLYING THE NEW GROUT and letting it dry.
You don't think anyone will need to take a bath or shower in the next couple days, do you?
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Temple de Rugrats
So when, for various reasons, I started feeling less connected to the large, mainstream Conservative synagogue we'd belonged to since MG's birth, I went shul-shopping with a vengeance. Last spring I visited three or four different congregations, sometimes with MG and Renaissance Woman, sometimes on my own. I went to information sessions and Purim parties, toured Hebrew schools and talked earnestly with members at kiddush after services.
In the end, we joined a relatively new, fast-growing congregation on the other side of town. It bills itself as "progressive" and is affiliated with the Reform movement. I liked the Rabbi okay, liked that he's gay and politically groovy, RW liked that enough of the service was in English that it could be meaningful to her if she ever comes along with me, and I liked that they've retained enough of the traditional liturgy that the service doesn't feel all watered down, but it's still shorter than the Conservative service that leaves me exhausted and ravenous by the end of the morning. We both liked the abundance of young families and the kids everywhere--RW calls the place "Temple De Rugrats"--and the sense we got of the other congregants: smart, knowledgeable about Judaism but not annoyingly pious, politically aware but not preachy.
But to be honest, what really sold me on the place was the Hebrew-school arrangement: instead of having services on Friday night or Saturday morning and then schlepping the kids out to religious school on Sunday morning, thereby blowing the whole weekend, Temple de Rugrats holds the religious school on SATURDAY MORNING, before services start.
I don't think I can accurately convey how liberating this felt when I heard it. At a Conservative synagogue you can't have any kind of school on Saturday, because of the strictures against writing, etc. on Shabbat. When realized that Temple de Rugrats had this setup, it was like they'd said, I don't know, "Go ahead, come to work barefoot! And you can swear all you want, too!" I wanted to throw my hat in the air like Mary Tyler Moore.
Not only that, they require the accompanying parent to either help out at the kids' religious school or to go to a study session with the Rabbi. Then everyone goes to services together and it's all happy and groovy and haimish.
And it's only every other Saturday, because they're new and relatively small and the Rabbi's only part-time. My first thought was "How wimpy, not to have services every week." But it's not like I go every week anyway. Last year, when MG was going to Sunday School at the old shul, I went to Saturday morning services maybe three or four times at most in the whole year. So this way I'll be going twice a month, plus maybe learning stuff.
I actually had something to say about Yom Kippur services; this was all just background. But it's plenty long as it is, and I have to go get groceries before my volunteer gig at Smartypants Yuppie School.
How I love days off from work.
I had yesterday off, too: Power outage. Apparently the receptionist went by yesterday morning to put a sign up and EVERY OTHER BUILDING IN THE AREA had its power back, except our school. It was like a message from God: GO HOME!
Monday, October 10, 2005
Backlog Post #1: Bullies
In my defense: it's not just my Internet use; it's the hookup for our whole house. Sometime last spring, RW, fed up with both of us staying up on the net every night till our eyes glazed over, had the brilliant idea of putting our Internet router on a timer. The kind people use to turn their lights on and off automatically when they're on vacation, or if they're Orthodox Jews and don't want to manually operate lights on Shabbat.
So now our connection goes down at 10:30 every night, and I've been getting a reasonable amount of sleep and have been much saner and less grumpy in the mornings. And afternoons.
The problem is that sometimes inspiration strikes after lights-out, and I'm compelled to record the latest cute thing that Mermaid Girl said, or my deathless thoughts on the true meaning of life, but am unable to immediately share my brilliance with the online universe.
When this happens, my only recourse is to write it in a Word document, fully intending to post it up on Blogger the next evening. By which time whatever I wrote doesn't seem nearly as amazing as it did at midnight the night before, and sometimes even faintly embarrassing, and so I have this backlog of blog posts that have never seen the light of day.
Here's one, from last week:
MG will sometimes talk about school at bedtime, after lights-out. It’s a simple transaction, really: she wants our presence, we want information. She feeds us kindergarten stories, we stay. A straightforward Scheherezadian business proposition.
Here’s how it went tonight:
MG: Ginger’s not at the bottom of the bottom.
MG: The bottom of the bottom. I have a list of people I like and a list of people I don’t like.
Me: Well, I guess it’s good Ginger’s not at the bottom of the bottom, since you guys spend so much time together these days -[on the bus; at after-school care; at Ginger’s house on Wednesdays because aftercare’s full that day. We owe Ginger’s mom big time. We’re having Ginger over for a sleepover next week.]…So, who is at the bottom of the bottom?
MG, firmly: Bullies! All bullies. I don’t like bullies.
Me: Oh! So…are there any bullies at your school?
MG, shrugging: Some. A few. Some big kids.
Me: Hmm. So, what happens if a kid bullies another kid?
MG: All the kids get together and yell at them, and say, “You bad bully! You’re going to the principal’s office!” And one kid goes to get a teacher.
Me: Oh! Have you ever seen that happen?
MG: Lots of times. I’ve been part of it, even!
Me: Huh. No kidding. So, what do you think happens in the principal’s office?
MG: They get a BIIIIIIIIG SCOLDING.
I seriously doubt that any of this has ever happened. She’s been at school for a total of three weeks, and they keep the kindergarteners pretty sheltered from the bigger kids. My guess is she got it all from RW’s and my anti-bullying lectures (“Don’t pick on people, and if you see someone bullying another kid, get together with a bunch of kids and stand up to them…”). It’s nice she imagines really doing it. Like she’s a superhero in her mind.
When she said "biiiiig scolding" she made this wild mugging face, like a child sitcom star.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Yesterday I pulled MG out of school so we could go to Rosh Hashanah services at the Groovy New Shul. Since I hadn't signed up for childcare far enough ahead of time, I wasn't allowed to leave her alone, so I ended up doing what I spent so much time doing at the old synagogue: watching my kid play and ignore me in the childcare room while toddlers and preschoolers fell over each other and cried.
On the way home, I suggested we have our own taschlich by the water (this synagogue is right near the beach). I'd brought some old challah for the purpose. She got it right away, as soon as I tossed a piece of challah into Puget Sound and called, "I'm throwing away the sin of being impatient!"
"Me too!" said MG, tossing her own piece of challah, which was quickly snapped up by a seagull. All its friends and relations came over to see what was up.
"I'm throwing away the sin of saying mean things!" I said, throwing some more bread in. The seagulls moved in closer.
"I'm throwing away the sin of hurting people's feelings!" MG said, hurling a crumb-sized piece of bread onto the wet sand. Now the seagulls were nearly upon us. We could feel their hot hungry seagull breath on our sandy feet.
We took a break to run back and forth on the beach and shoo the seagulls away. Then we threw away the sins of stalling and procrastinating, not doing chores, wasting time, not enjoying every moment, not feeding Shy Kitty his wet food, staying up too late, not listening to our bodies, and hurting our friends. (She mentioned that one a few times. Hmm.)
There were more, too. I wish I could remember them all. MG came up with some good ones. Most of our sins went right into the seagulls' beaks (does that make them scapegulls?), but a few made it out onto the waves.
On the way home, I thought of another one: being scared to do things. So I took invisible bread and threw it out the window in the direction of the water. When we were almost home, MG wanted to throw out the sin of "not singing and clapping when everyone else is." She tossed hers out the window, too.
I haven't done tashlich very many times in my life, but now I want to do it every year. With a five-year-old, if possible. She really got it. It was inspirational.
My New-Years' resolve was only slightly dampened by the evening's events. I was harrying MG to get her pajamas on, stop playing when she was supposed to be getting ready for bed, bla de bla bla. "Remember, you threw away being impatient with me," she huffed.
"Well, you threw away stalling and not going to bed on time, remember?" She looked busted. I gave a little lecture on how it's hard to change, for grownups too, and if it was as easy as just throwing bread in the water we wouldn't have to do it every year.
Then, when she was finally all ready for bed and I was about to turn the lights out, she suddenly had to go to the bathroom. She was in there for a loooooong time, and finally I knocked on the door. "MG, aren't you done yet?"
She was sitting on the toilet, looking at a magazine. "I needed help! I was waiting for you!" she whined accusingly.
"First of all, you didn't tell me you needed help, so how was I supposed to know? Second of all, even if you need some help wiping, there's nothing to stop you from getting up from the toilet by yourself and getting started. You can't just sit on the toilet and wait for me and not wipe yourself and not even say anything!"
"Well," she countered, "I didn't throw that sin away!"
It's true: she did not specifically throw away the sin of sitting on the toilet with a magazine and expecting me to psychically know she was done and needed help wiping her butt.
I can see that our tashlich was not all-inclusive. Maybe I should've brought more bread.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Happpy New Year!
We had some tonight in the special Apple-and-Honey-Dish from my mom. Mmm. I guess I can see what she means. Apples! Honey! What else does a person need? Ben & Jerry's should make an apple & honey flavor, I think. They can name it some play on words based on Shanah Tovah.
Wishing everyone a sweet, safe, joyous and peaceful New Year.
***Update: I've got it! the flavor name! It's...wait for it...
Shofar, So Good!
Look, they've got Cherry Garcia and Chubby Hubby. And some silly Mafia-based name that I forget, for some new flavor. How much worse could this be?
Okay. Going off to synagogue now, to atone for my sins. Of which making bad puns is apparently one.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
The joys of nepotism
Sometime this afternoon, after things had calmed down and MG and I had cleaned up the sixty gazillion Polly Pocket dolls and accessories that the girls had dumped on her floor, I checked my stats and noticed this huge spike of first-time readers, all coming from LiveJournal. Huh. LiveJournal, who do I know who has a LiveJournal?...Aha! My cousin Ellen, who kindly featured this blog on hers, which gets checked daily by zillions of people 'cause she's famous and also has lots of just plain old friends.
So, thanks, Ellen! And welcome, Ellen's friends and fans! Nice to see ya. Enjoy. Feel free to poke around the place. If you hear a crunch underfoot, it's probably just a stray piece of popcorn. Or a Polly Pocket. But don't worry; MG has fifty-nine gazillion, nine hundred and ninety-nine others.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
Kindergarten cocktail conversation
"Oh," I said, "You must be in Ginger's class! MG and Ginger went to preschool together!"
"Ginger?" Other Little Girl looked quizzical. "Is that the Ginger who sits next to Ryan?"
"Um," I said, trying to keep a straight face even though Kim was cracking up. "I'm sure that must be her."
Kim said she knows dozens of Smartypants Yuppie School kids. I'd never thought of it before but of course she does, since SYS is just a few blocks away from the supermarket. Kim nannies for a couple of them, and she says she's been taken to show and tell a couple times, and all the kids in the class just about fall over in excitement to see her outside her natural habitat of the supermarket playroom.
I told her about the conversation we had with MG a couple days ago (in the car, of course, where else? We're always in the car these days. The only other time she talks to us is bedtime.):
We were talking about how MG's going to try out the Chess Club (yes!) after school on Monday. "There's a boy in my class who's going to go to Chess Club too!" she said. "Guess who?"
We were stymied, since so far she says almost nothing about school besides "It was okay." She almost never mentions any kids, except for one girl from another class who she says is her best best friend, but she doesn't know her name.
So I asked for a hint.
"He has blond hair like me," she offered, "and he's friends with Nick."
Well, that was no help, so I tried the name of the one boy she's mentioned so far (she complained about him not following the rules): "Is it Sam?"
*Exasperated sigh* "Sam!? How could it be Sam? Now, is Sam friends with Nick?"
Apparently, both MG and Other Little Girl figure that we adults know all about their class seating placement and social dynamics. It's just one of those things that grownups know, along with twenty plus twenty.
"Get ready," Kim advised. "It's a whoooole new world."
More deep literary thoughts
Thought of the moment:
MG insists that Miss Clavel owns the school Madeline goes to. But if she's a nun, I don't think that can be possible. And if she's not, what's with the habit? But if she is, why do they call her MISS Clavel, not SISTER Clavel?
My Online Wife Strikes Again!
"Look at these boys running. Now fix in your brain the concept that these boys were awake all night. They are running. Do you feel your own age, now? Do you realize just how old you are? You are horribly, wretchedly old. Your joints are worn down and you're just lucky that these boys still imagine that they need you. Hoard money, so they'll remain respectful as you continue your crippling decline."Indeed.