Archive for October, 2007

Empathy

October 31, 2007

Caroline began showing empathy at a crazily early age. We have been waiting, therefore, for signs of it to show up in Katherine. It happened yesterday under the funniest of circumstances. Caroline is back to rising at 5:30 which is making her (and me!) particularily grumpy. At one point yesterday, I am standing in the kitchen and I hear Caroline singing a song with the following lyrics: “I am coloring on the table.” It took me a moment to realize that this was what was actually happening. I grabbed her up and put her in the time out chair. She was sitting there crying as if I had just brought on some terrible misjustice when I saw Katherine take off for the bathroom. I heard the toilet seat go down, some struggle and then I saw her emerge with a tissue. She brought a tissue to Caroline to dry her crying eyes. Pretty cute…

To stay or to go

October 28, 2007

In February, Caroline was diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder. Given my background in speech pathology, I had suspected this for a long time but we officially began treatment last winter with great improvement. Sensory processing disorder is a neurological disorder that impacts a person’s ability to integrate sensory information. It presents very differently in different people. In our case, it explains a lot of what has always made raising Caroline such a puzzle and such a challenge. At some point, I will go into greater detail but for the purpose of this post, all you need to know is that crowds, unfamiliar situations and noises are all bad.

Yesterday, we were planning on attending two Halloween parties- one as part of the Newcomers Club and one at a neighbor’s house. Our combined time at these two events was 27 minutes- that was 27 minutes combined. It certainly took more time than that to get our bumble bee and duck all dressed up twice. Interestingly, this was a good thing. In the past, at loud, crowded and unfamiliar places, Caroline would melt down, cry, do dangerous things like running away into the street (no kidding) and generally make our time pretty unpleasant. Yesterday, she came up to me at each of these functions and calmly said, “I want to go home.” As we were falling asleep last night, Rob and I debated the merits of letting her call the shots like this. Needless to say, we didn’t have the opportunity to talk with any one, to meet any new friends or to engage in conversation with anyone we had met previously. After much thought, I have decided that we made the right choice and that I am proud of us and more, proud of Caroline. She is beginning to understand her limits, to know what helps her and to speak her mind. Maybe we are all going to be ok after all.

Currently Reading Meme

October 26, 2007

15202738.jpgHere are the rules:
“Open the book you’re currently reading to page 161, and post the fifth sentence on the page, then think of 5 bloggers to tag.”

I have been trying to play the meme game and seem to let many slip by me despite the wonderful thinking and writing opportunities they often are. This one was just too fun so here goes- and thank you Caroline of Food for Thought for tagging me.

“On instinct, when we heard a siren coming down the road, we sank lower in our seats.”

Now, this sounds like a sentence from a mediocre crime novel which this book is not. I will post, in addition, the first sentence of this book. I was reading a marketing e-mail from Barnes and Noble last week and just couldn’t believe what I read. Interestingly, we were focuing, in my class (Writing Motherhood), on first lines. This is certainly one that makes an impact: “When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.”

Good luck getting that line out of your head!

Now I tag Ginny at The Gill Family and Dorothy at Playground Uprising.

p.s. I am still trying to figure out how to get people’s blogs typed in to my post- the picture was my accomplishment for today- will spend more time on links tomorrow…
 

Dilemma

October 25, 2007

Slightly before Caroline told me she was going to “be like an owl tonight and never go to sleep”, we began to read one of my childhood favorites, Mr. Popper’s Penguins. I have distinct memories of my father reading this book to me more than once. I remember loving it. What I don’t remember is just how 1950s it was- actually, I just looked, how 1938 it was. The women in the story are all refered to as housewives. At one point, Mrs. Popper’s wife is noted to say, “It will be very nice to have you at home for vacation, of course, but it is a little hard to sweep with a man sitting around reading all day.” I am torn between reading Caroline one of my all time favorites and painting her a terribly outdated (hopefully!) picture of the role of women. Any thoughts, experiences?

On Broadway

October 22, 2007

Earlier in the week, Julie, one of our new neighbors called to invite me to join her group of friends for girls night out in New York City. Months ago, the group had planned to go into the city for dinner and to see Legally Blonde on Broadway. One of their group was unable to go at the last minute so I was invited to fill the spot. It was all I thought about (mostly) for the rest of the week. I absolutely love going to the theatre and hadn’t been to Broadway since I was a child. I was also, obviously, excited to meet more new people. Following is a description of our night:

4:40pm- I meet Julie outside of our houses (we live caddy corner from each other) to walk a few blocks to Lisa’s house.

4:45- We arrive at Lisa’s house and climb into Caroline’s car- there were 9 women going, split between two cars. Julie got into the front seat- I thought about protesting as I get carsick in the backseat but figured the ride would be quick- on a good day, we can make it to the city in half an hour. I figured I was the new girl in town and shouldn’t make a scene. In a few minutes I was glad I hadn’t when Julie commented that she became terribly car sick when sitting in the back.

5:00- We start to notice pretty heavy traffic but Kristen comments that is always tough to get into the city on a Saturday night. I am beginning to feel a little yucky but figure I’ll survive.

5:15- Still driving slowly. We begin to wonder if we will make our 6:15 reservation. The company is good, though, and I am enjoying getting to know these women.

5:30- We drive slowly over the George Washington Bridge and begin to notice that the West Side Highway is backed up too.

5:45- We are driving slowly on the West Side Highway and I am feeling worse and worse. We finally talk with the car behind us. They have been smart enough to listen to the radio and to discover that there is an accident. We decide to get off the highway. Unfortunately, everyone else seems to decide the same thing.

6:00- We are now in Harlem, stopping and starting. I am feeling much worse. Long ago we had discovered that all we had among us was two bottles of water. Everyone had left gum and snacks in the diaper bags that they had happily left at home. Our fancy purses were ill equipped for the lengthy ride that none of us had anticipated.

6:15- We talk with one of the women in our group who got to the city earlier in the day. She is at the restaurant and for the moment, they are willing to hold our table. I am feeling worse and worse. Julie doesn’t seem to be feeling too great either- the stopping and starting is really hurting us- not to mention the fact that I typically eat with the girls at 5:30 and am starving.

6:30- We are on Riverside Drive now, still driving slowly and still feeling awful. I realize that I have to get out of the car- I am getting to the shaky, hot stage right before the worst possibly might happen. I say, “I am feeling sick.” No one seems to hear me. I later learn that they all did hear me but had hoped that it didn’t mean what they thought it might mean. I have to get out now so I say, “I need to get out.” Caroline pulls over and double parks. I try to open the door and discover that the child locks are on and I am stuck. In a moment, Julie gets what it is going on and lets me out. Sitting on the side of a very busy New York street with women, I barely know, I dry heave. I know the only reason I don’t vomit is because my stomach is empty. Everyone is so nice to me. They bring water and kleenex and keep checking to make sure that I am ok.

6:35- The other women decide that the most efficient way to continue is for me to drive. I am a terrible, timid, careless driver. I have never driven in New York City. Caroline is driving the nicest BMW SUV I have ever seen and it is a company car. She is easily the nicest person I have ever met and insists that I drive. She is German and with this wonderful accent tells me she just wants me to feel better. What can I do. I drive. Needless to say, I no longer believe that I will always drive a Toyota no matter how much money we have- this is a very nice car.

6:40- Behind the wheel, as always happens, I feel immediately better. Amazingly, I navigate my way through to the restaurant.

6:55- We arrive at the restaurant. Fortunately, we are able to order family style and the staff seems to be quite adept at getting late patrons to the theatre on time. We comment that half an hour to eat dinner, while not what we had expected, was still much more time than we had spent eating any other meal in a long time.

7:40- We leave for the theatre and I am in awe. I have really only spent time at my sister in law’s apartment with the girls doing kid friendly things. I am now in the big city.

7:55- We get snacks at the theatre seeing as we didn’t have time for dessert- we share Sour Patch Kids, M&Ms and Junior Mints- I really like these women- we even have common taste in candy.

8:00- The show begins. I remain entranced for the next two hours. The show is funny, silly, well done. I smile the whole time.

10:30- We leave the theatre. I am such a tourist- I can’t stop looking up at the crazy, bright, gigantic bill boards of Times Square. You really can feel the city. It is just alive with people and energy. I am hooked and can’t wait to go to another show.

10:55- After parting ways with the other half of our group, we arrive at the car. We talk on the way home about definitely coming back. We talk about taking the train the next time. I spend more time getting to know these great women. We talk about our kid’s names, our names, friendships, illness.

11:30- Thirty five minutes after pulling out of the garage, we are home.

Which Would You Rather Be?

October 17, 2007

I just finished reading the most fantastic book to Caroline- I had to share… It is called Which Would You Rather Be? written by William Steig of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble fame. A bunny sits in front of a girl and a boy and on each page he pulls two things out of a magician’s hat, asking “Which would you rather be?” The children must decide whether they would rather be a knee or an elbow, a stick or a stone, a cat or a dog… This obviously led to some thoughtful and funny conversations. You’ll be glad to know that Caroline would rather be a mouse than an elephant because she would not want to squish everyone!

Noises

October 16, 2007

We try to eat dinner with the girls every night but with Rob’s new job this is getting harder and harder. The girls just get too hungry so last night they were in the playing in the family room while Rob and I ate in the kitchen. For a moment, we foolishly thought we would be able to talk, to catch up just ourselves… 

Well,  Caroline started yesterday with a new OT (Caroline has a sensory processing disorder that I have been meaning to write about here for a long time but never seem to have the time, energy, organization to get into it but I promise I will soon…) that she loved. Denise had brought an exercise DVD that she had created- what a sweatheart by the way- it is a video of her out in her backyard doing exercises appropriate for these kids- and Caroline was doing the video. Now it is also important to know that she hates any kind of interruption, particulary of the noise variety, while she is watching anything on tv. She seemed particulary in love with this video so with this as background… We see Katherine marching into the family room, Rob says “Uh, oh” and then we hear…

Katherine: Oh!

The loud and tinny music that comes from Katherine’s favorite toy piano.

Caroline: Stop that!!!

Crash, bang, music abruptly stopping as the sound of plastic hits the floor.

Katherine: Loud sobs.

So much for our quiet meal of crock pot chicken!

Teething

October 8, 2007

So Katherine is a late teether. I always said I thought this would be a problem. She just had no teeth coming in forever. The doctor kept saying it was fine, she would just loose them later. Twice she told me the story of a dentist patient whose child did not get any teeth until she was 18 months. What she failed to tell me was that as some point, all the teeth would come in at once- I am not kidding, the child is getting six teeth at once, four of them molars. The doctor also forgot to mention that when the teeth did come in, we wouldn’t sleep for weeks. We are getting no breaks, just crying, drooling and an endless runny nose. Everyone cross their fingers that we are almost done, please!!!