Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holidays and the disrupted adoption

When the holidays come around, especially kid oriented holidays, I think of the original family that adopted Genea from Ukraine and disrupted. The first parents have divorced and had no other children and the mom at least has been alienated from her extended family although I understand they are working on repairing their relationship. In a vicious twist of irony, the original parents had decided to adopt children into their family because of the significant mental illness on the part of one of them. That parent was determined to not pass on the genetics of a psychological disorder to their potential children. I guess it is like a turn of the bingo ball cage, you never know what will pop out! There are probably not accurate statistics on what percentage of adopted children may have emotional or mental disorders, but it has to be at least what it is in the general population. In the same roll that everyone gets, they got the one thing they feared the most.

It is easy to demonize the original adopting couple and I have been tempted to join many times, but you know, they did the best they could with the ball they were handed. Their intentions were not to spend years of their lives dedicated to the care of a child and then pass her off.
So when these milestones come around, like the first day of school or Christmas or Genea's birthday I think of 3 moms. Myself of course, and I like to take lots of pictures and set aside sentimental notes or things for Genea to save, but also things that she can show others. She got her first note from a boy at school recently and I not only saved it, I took photo's of it. The second mom I think of is the original adopting mom. I try to remember little parts of our day to day lives and email her an update every few months. I also post pictures for her to follow along on a photo site that is also open to my extended family. I don't have to do this, and no one asked me to. When we were still in the process of finalizing, before their termination hearing, she was a rigid and unrelenting pain in my ass. We had all agreed to weekly phone calls until the term hearing. To me that meant at some point between Monday and Friday, I would call her and let her know how things were going. To her this meant, since we made the first call on a Tuesday at 6:00, bring on your hell and your high water but you better darn well have that call made with your lips flapping before 6:01 strikes.
The third mom is the birth mom. I wonder if she has other kids now, if she is married or not, if her circumstances have changed since she let Genea be adopted. I wonder if she has any way of knowing Genea was adopted to the United States and how she would feel about that. When I save things for Genea I think sometimes, is this something her birth mom might want to see someday? I am interested in knowing about her, but I see that as exclusively Genea's information to obtain or disregard. The birth mom is for her alone.
For all the moms, I think of these things much more around the holidays because that is when I imagine them both struggling with memories and hopes for this child.
The first adopting mom and I have kept up contact and she has been admirably respectful of us since her rights were terminated. The annoying demanding behavior on her part is gone entirely and she tells me she is grateful for the news I send. In turn, she sends cards with a little short note on big days, usually with a gift. I keep these for Genea but I do not show her the cards and do not tell her who the gift is from. I emailed her about a month ago to ask what things she would like Genea to know when Genea starts asking about them and why she does not live with them anymore. For the first time I got dead silence. She sent a card with a note for Christmas but did not answer the question. I guess it was too much for her or she was not ready for it.
The first moms parents, Genea's original adoptive grandparents, put on a huge show for everyone. The court, the agency, the therapists, us, their own psychologist, everyone. They were determined to get their grandparent rights (which do not exist). It was like being in a Broadway production. I had a lot of empathy for them, this was their granddaughter! They had lived every day of the adoption process with the parents, and had helped significantly with fundraising and planning and support and were now being shut out. They had memories and dreams for Genea too. I tried to put myself in their place and I understood they were not coming from a place of aggression and hatefulness, they were worried about their granddaughter. They managed to interfere with just about everything, costing us thousands of extra dollars. They even had their lawyer send us a letter begging to be able to give both girls Christmas gifts last year, and family heirlooms they wanted Genea to have, and dozens of photos from her first few weeks of time here, letters and cards from extended family, all of it. I was suspicious that for all their caring, these grandparents did not ask about Genea and when I introduced the subject of how she was doing, they said oh! yes! How is she? Oh! uh huh! Now back to US.....We spoke, and The Husband and I agreed that we would be happy to accept all of it, and would introduce it to Genea when she was ready. This was last Christmas by the way. Do you know it was August (AUGUST!!!) before they contacted the agency again to deliver these precious gifts. I told them, keep it. And if you insist on delivering this stuff to the agency you should know I intend to give it all to charity. They left the stuff anyway and they had waaaaaaaaaaay overblown the sentiment and value of the whole lot of it. Cards and letters? 2 cards with nothing written on them. One letter, from an aunt that was 7 pages long, handwritten, that was 100% about herself. Not a single 'hope you are well' or the like. 3 photo's. With themselves prominent. I would not have shared further with them anyway but after that, well, they shut their own door. Because I feel firmly that this is the first moms loss and she should be in full control of all information she has and who she shares what with. She lost her motherhood and she has felt it, the agonizing hurt, more than anyone else in her family, including the first dad who seemed to be along for the ride and not much else.
Genea does not ask about them, any of them. She used to for about the first 3 months. Her therapist made her a beautiful memory book that she looks at, oh, every few months probably for about 10 minutes. She has no questions, just asks me to put it back for her. It is where she can see it but where she and her mangling little sister cannot get to it. I intend to be as honest as I can be when the questions start to come, but I don't know many answers. I guess people will have to speak for themselves, and that won't be until much later.
From my perspective as Genea's mom, I see her sadness every day. I see the results of orphanage care in her, and the results of a failed adoption in her. She struggles every single day just barely hanging on sometimes. The chaotic care has annihilated the child she would have been. Who she will become will have to wait. It is as possible that she will be a better person for it, as it is she will become a damaged person.
Wow, I really had no intention of going so deep into all of this. Genea has been taking a rest, and Teena has been watching Thomas so I had the holy grail of momhood- a short period of time to think and focus!
Well, now it is over. Genea just came out to tell me she flooded the bed. Ah, oceanfront property.
Next post - the after effect of a sibling hospitalization on your attachment disordered child who needs to be in control control control! (sigh, my attempt at seeing the humor. sigh.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

She's Back...

Teena is back to normal. As The Husband pointed out, she is back to refusing to eat for normal reasons. Such as, a small portion of her hamburger bun slid off to the side rendering the entire burger "broken" and therefore inedible. And, she has a logical argument in an outline format if anyone needs more detail.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

aaaaaaaaaaaand, it's all good

We are all home and back to the regular routine. No one knows what Teena might have eaten that showed up in the x-rays. The doctor at the hospital said it was probably metal or rock-like based on shadows or something from the ultrasound. No one also knows if that is what caused her puking streak. We were given a potty "hat" (oh, the glory and glamour of parenting) to catch her poop and inspect it for...something that is not poop I guess. Her kidneys are good, no infection showed in her pee so it was not that. She may have eaten something that was food but bad food although I cannot imagine what because we all eat the same thing every day.
Anyway, she is drinking and eating and doing ok. She is becoming irritable and demanding, which says to me, she is just fine.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Puke-a- Lapalooza Day 2

Not so good here today. Teena is ok, I will start with that, but she is in the hospital overnight to be re hydrated. The Husband is staying with her and I am at home with Genea (who by the way has been the best big sister she could possibly be). Genea is spending the night in The Husbands spot in our bed so she doesn't flip her lid if she wakes in the night and finds her Teena not there. She really and truly despises being alone.

Back to Teena, she kept puking this morning so we called the Doctor and took her in. He pushed and poked and thought he felt a swollen gland somewhere and ordered some X- Rays. That showed she had swallowed something that was not food. (Can I please pause and just say WTF? This kid won't eat hardly anything that IS food, how the heck did she eat NON food???) They said it looks like beads or small pebbles but probably is incidental to all the puking and fever. However, she has also had on and off UTI's since early October and that could have turned into a kidney infection that could be causing all the puking and fever. Regardless, she is dehydrated and has high white blood cells and anemia. So they are pumping her back up overnight. The doctor wants to do an ultrasound in the morning and I am thinking they will discharge her tomorrow.

Teena is definitely a little trooper. She looked so sad and sick and little lying there in the bed with tubes and stuff coming out. I think she is the only child on the unit tonight. They put her in some blue jammies that looked boy-ish, not that it matters. She was groggy and out of it, but had more clarity when Genea and I left for the night. Genea was great to her, we came home to get them stuff for the night and Genea made sure to go around and find Teena's favorite books and sent Teena her favorite teddy bear to sleep with.

And, might I add, that not yet has a dribble of puke gone beyond its designated receptacle while on my watch. However, that did not apply to all the adults in this house not that I am naming any names but we do not have guests.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mother Puke Warrior

I heard the girls get up this morning and go looking for their Santa gifts. They had to hunt a bit, because while our tree is upstairs, our 'fireplace' is downstairs and I thought it would be fun to put the gifts where they were not expecting them. Well they were found ASAP! But then I could hear Teena and Teena did not sound right. She did not want to open her gifts she wanted to lay on the couch and she asked Daddy to open them for her. After some time of us asking her was she ok, and did anything hurt she finally said her tummy hurt. Genea meanwhile is loving every single thing she opens. WOW! This is my Favorite! Oh WOW! Christmas really is for kids, it was so much fun to watch her be so excited. Genea has a terrible time with focus and concentration because of her hyper vigilance so I tried to get her things that she could do while she maintains her vigilance. That probably sounds weird, but it works.

About 9am, I heard The Sound. I am pretty sure the mom's of the world who might read this know The Sound. It is actually almost imperceptible when it begins, it is more a difference of breath. Ordinary civilians are not able to detect it. The breath goes into a mild guttural noise that progressively gains volume until it becomes a gag. And then....puke. My poor little Teena was sick today. Whether it is stomach flu or food poisoning, this kid is sick. She probably threw up 7-8 times. She could not keep anything down. Not water, not gatorade, not the peanut butter and jelly sandwich The Husband gave her because he could not stand to hear her be so sad because she wanted to eat (he corralled that particular incident per my instructions of don't be an idiot but if you are going to you better make sure she has somewhere for that sandwich to go when it returns). She puked when her stomach was empty and, most memorably, puked her pepto bismol.

I discovered something today about myself. Some people can play the guitar. Some folks are great with numbers. I am really good, freakishly good, at catching puke on its way out of its victims mouth. I was never any good at catching a ball for sports, or catching food in my mouth. But when it comes to puke, well, Not ONE drop of vomit went anywhere but its designated bowl. Not. One. Drop. And believe me, the opportunities were prevalent. And Teena? She is a good little puker herself. About half the incidents she gave us an early warning saying, I'm gonna explode! I'm exploding! For the other half, I would hear The Sound and I swear my feet grew wings and never even hit the floor. Flying in the air to get a bowl to puke in and then racing back to the victim. It was magical. Magical.

This poor little girl just had a rotten time all day. Since we were supposed to go to family out of town for the next couple days, we did not have much food in the house. Whatever Teena has, she is still hungry and she is still thirsty. But she cannot eat or drink, even a teaspoon of water made her blow. She was miserable. Genea and I had frozen hamburgers for dinner, we shoved them down as fast as we could because Teena just sobbed and sobbed she was so hungry! She would have little bursts of energy all day where she would hop up and start to play with her new toys and then... splat...another puke.

So on the bright side, we all avoided our yearly obligation to Cousin Uni- Bitch. We did several days of gifts with the girls, so they would not get overwhelmed with everything at one time and then go play with some old crayons (ya' know how kids do that? funny). So we opened from out of town relatives on Tuesday, then Christmas Eve we did our family gifts, then today was Santa. It would also have been my family, but we got to most of it and Teena got to be all excited and crazy for the first few days there. A last bright spot, Genea was nervous and flaky all day what with all the changes and such, which I expected. But she was a great big sister to Teena and really tried to be nice to her and make things easier for her.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

happy smile must have happy smile

I am already at a disadvantage here. I am already struggling with my fake happy holiday smile.
Here in Wisconsin, we get snow. So far this December we have gotten about 33 inches of snow which is a really really lot of snow. In my opinion, hell is not hot, hell is a cold icy place and it is starting to resemble my front yard.
Today we got another load. I decided I would shovel the walk and a path to my car in the driveway for the girls. It makes me cringe to see them trying to walk through this mess and the snow is higher than their boots and falls right in- oooga! So against my better judgement, which was telling me to stay safe and warm inside the house, I went out to shovel with the girls. Shoveling does kind of suck but I did the walk, and then went and did the driveway which took about 20 minutes. Fortunately we don't have a sidewalk or I would have been legally obligated to do that too.
ANYway, I finally finished the drive and I told the girls it was time to go back in the house. I turned and walked past the garage and around the corner and what did I see? SOMEone, TWO SOMEones, had pushed and scooped all the snow back onto the walkway.
You know, sometimes I wonder if people think I exaggerate, or make this stuff up. I do not.
Today, people in the next state over heard what my children did.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Return of....

It is that time of year again. That lovely time where sleigh bells jingle and chestnuts roast over open fires. Families travel far and wide to gather and share the joy of being together. Mostly they share the joy. And every family has one or two branches on the family tree that seem to be a little droopy, or even cranked in the wrong direction. On my side of the family, well lets just say there are a few sticks that are weighed down and sagging in the ground rotting in the dirt.

At Thanksgiving this year, Cousin Payola, his 2 kids and wife attended. This is significant because you have to pick, either him or his sister, big time choosing to be done on all these holidays, and for Thanksgiving he got the nod. Being as he is a crazy person, he thought it would be appropriate to tell Viagra jokes. At dinner. At dinner and to my grandmother. My 87 year old grandmother who just got remarried 3 years ago (to a Mexican man, relevance to come later). Who, I can only assume, are NOT in a position to think Viagra jokes are funny (although my brain is contracting into violent seizures with the thoughts trying to break free into my consciousness right now so I cannot take this any further). Cousin Payola also thought it might be charming of him to tell some racist jokes about the White House. Sigh. Then started in with some horrifying jokes about himself and a rabbit at which point I started screaming " FILTERRRRR!!!! FILLLLTERRRR!!!" The Husband started hollering something about "Watership Down" and things just sort of went blank after that.

ANYway, so his sister, Cousin Uni-Bitch, got the nod for Christmas. She and I used to be close, until one day she turned on me in a fit of jealous, passive, rage, and was actually successful in taking me out. As the gentle reader might imagine, terms like subtle or quietly reflective or shy and delicate are not used to describe me. So you have to know, that for her to take me out, what she said had to be really really bad. Now she and her brother, Cousin Payola do not speak. There are 3 siblings on that particular stick on our family tree, and none of them speak to each other for a variety of reasons (some of which are amazing and bizarre, but must save some stories for later). Blessedly, the 3rd sibling has the sense to live far far away. So I manage to avoid Cousin Uni-Bitch most of the year but seem to keep getting stuck with her at Christmas. And what is extra funny, is that I don't think she even realizes how vicious I find her. If you asked her what she said, she would be surprised that she even said anything, let alone remember it (which sort of screams borderline personality disorder freak show to me, but I am not an expert).

(snort snort, she gained so much weight last year, that I thought she was pregnant I honestly did, it was only because I try not to talk to her at all that I didn't say congratulations or something how would that have been snort snort) AND I will deny saying any of this if cornered!!!!

But anyway, I try to keep my thoughts happy and pure and positive at this time of year, to celebrate the season and all. My little girls are going to spend the next few days in hyper- overdrive manners training using my favorite Bribe and Threaten Parenting method here at home, then we go to my sisters for the day. This sister (HI probably reading)is married to the Only Human to Come Close to Outlasting My Children when playing. So we are happy to see HIM! The girls will get to play with their little cousins who they loooooove. Hmmm, I have been asked not to bring anything, which is just occurring to me, seems strange. Ah well.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Turning a corner

I have had this in my mind for a few weeks. You know when you are driving on the highway in rush hour, and you think to yourself, Self, you did a great job of planning your drive for today because there is no traffic! The Traffic Grand Poo Bahs strike mightily and they strike quickly, and you may as well slam on the brakes before your brain is done with the thought because around that corner is a 10 mile back up for one car with a flat tire.
So I have been flipping and I have been flopping as to what I would write and when. I don't need to give any more material to the Grande PooBahs of Unnecessary Fits, Tantrums and Meltdowns . Anyway.
A little over a month ago I wrote about Genea being able to walk into her room when she felt a big cry coming on. She was able to shut the door, had a fit for a few minutes, then came back out. For her, this is walking up Mount Everest without any shoes. The first time it happened I actually went after her to ask her what the heck she was doing. We have spent more than a year living with this cry, telling her over and over to go ahead and let it out! Just let it out behind a closed door so the rest of us can function and come out when you are done. And she did it. And now she has done it several more times. And there are some other changes too. And even though there is a huge risk of angering the Grande Poo Bahs I more strongly feel like I should write this down, so that when there is a regression I will have my own written proof that we were at this point, therefore will get to it again. We are finally to the point of taking only 1 step back for every 2 steps forward.
The controlling and manipulating are less. The incessant demands for constant unwavering immediate attention are much less. The crying is way down and the duration is less. Disproportionate meltdowns are less. Hyper behavior is way down. Hypervigilance is the same. Coughing and drinking are the same but much better than in the past. Knockdown tantrums are less than once a day.
Genea fell apart yesterday crying. Her teacher had the kids make little gingerbread houses out of old milk cartons and graham crackers. Clearly not meant to withstand a tornado, she was carrying it and it started to come undone and she tried to save it and crushed it in the process. And she was sad, and she cried. She came to me and I met her in the kitchen and hugged. I patted her head and told her I know how much she loved that little gingerbread house. We will miss it but we will also have many more fun things to make tomorrow. And she was ok. I think, and I would be crossing my fingers but cannot type that way, we just may have turned a corner.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ah, a home cooked meal

Once in a while the subject of cooking comes up and when it does I try to change the subject. I so totally do NOT get the popularity of all those bazillion cooking shows and contests. So mind numbing I would rather watch a diaper crust over than watch some ninny get a tv show to ...s.t.i.r ...a.n.d ....h.e.a.t ...wah wah wah I fell asleep already!

I don't really care about cooking. IMO, if it makes those nice people at Wendy's so happy to make me a salad or some chicken things, well then who am I to pass on by, denying them of their bliss.

So here is what I don't get. What really makes a meal a 'home cooked meal'? Because I can open a can and a box and turn the dial on my oven and have some kind of chicken entree ala pasta cheese-o but I do not consider that a home cooked meal. I think that is more like a home- opened meal. And this is what I tell people who oddly think it is their business to ask me if I cook or not (and why people obsess about that I don't know but I think they think they will get a great story out of my answer to tell their friends and be properly horrified). Sure, I open dinner. Or, drive thru and acquire dinner. But did I slay those baked beans out of my garden and do whatever makes them so tasty? Uh, no. And by the way, does anyone know what baked beans actually are and what makes them so tasty?

Recently we were all at a relatives home and this relative made a big deal about making us a home made dinner. She was gonna COOK us dinner people, leaving little wisps of insinuation that the mom in this family is too royal of a selfish beast to do the cooking as she (I?) should. There were baked beans that she cooked, by opening the can and putting them in the oven. There were hot dogs that she cooked by heating them in a pan and putting them in buns from the bakery section of the grocery store. Needless to say, no tomato's were assaulted into ketchup, that was already in a bottle. Rolls from the Pillsbury can, also cooked in the oven. This all took about a half hour to "cook". Oh yeah, and desert was a cake ala Betty.

What I want to know is, how is this so superior? Cuz all I see here is a lot of opening food already cooked. Is the difference in the heating? I put my baked beans in the microwave, hot dogs and buns too and it is all ready in about 5 minutes.

If I make chicken noodle soup by adding the flavor package to the ramen noodles to a pot on the stove, has it lost value? Am I to believe that my chicken noodle soup is inferior? Ok, I will grant that ramen noodles are actually inferior. But that leads to my last point which is, that in my house, living with my people, it does not matter if I spend the day cooking dinner or if I warm up dinner in the microwave because unless it has a clown next to it or a dancing rat, the kids are not going to want to try it anyway. The Husband does not so much eat, he more snorts sharply and then the food on his plate has vanished and I would bet a box of little debbies that he never tasted it at all.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Ya' know, when the whining hits an all time high and the sound has pierced your brain for days and days, until you want to stuff a lazy boy recliner in your ears or die trying, this is not a good thing.
In the interest of helping, of bonding, of generously assisting a tired child in getting on jammies, of caring and care taking, The Husband and I have sprouted 2 little buttheads, where our children should be.
There are plenty of things both Teena and Genea can do for themselves and many, many things they can mostly do for themselves. The occasional inside- out shirt or lost sock, those things they need help with and we take those opportunities to nurture our children. To demonstrate, to model, the reward of working with a person, helping the person learn to help themselves. Feel the love flowing from my righting of your twisted sock and let the love wash your brain in happiness, contentedness and security knowing you are not on this journey called life alone.
This works for people. I have seen it happen, and it can actually work. So I don't know if it is my particular children, or if I am just doing it all wrong. Because what I have as a result is two entitled complaining whiners.
In the average day, Teena probably spends about an hour getting dressed in the morning and putting on jammies on at night. She does not want to be alone in her room. But if you go in there to help her, she then wants to play. If you threaten to leave, then she whines and cries. And my split second reaction is OH MY UNHOLY HELL MAKE THAT NOISE STOP and I get irritated and shove jammies over her head. Because she is still a little kid, and she does need help. HUH! But you know what? An amazing transformation takes place IF you happen to be dangling a Tinkerbell costume in her line of sight. Then Teena becomes a clothes- changing savant. Like Rain Man counting toothpicks, her abilities and fine motor control escalate to the proficiency of a teenager and Teena rips and whips through her required duties of changing her stinky underwear and other gross things to become the Tinkerbell Fairy Butterfly Princess With a Wand.
Now Genea, she has a habit of letting loose with all her muscles when she sleeps resulting in the um, dampening, of all fabric around her. Whether she has full control of this or not, I really cannot say. But, part of her responsibility in this is to take off her bedding and put it downstairs. I recently started having her help me make her bed up again. And, I have even started having her try to do the sheets on her own. They don't have to be perfect, I don't have to sleep on them, so as long as they are close, that works. But of course, she is not strong enough to do the fitted sheet herself. I hate that stupid fitted sheet. I tell ya, if you want to see me tortured into giving up spy secrets, just stick me in a room with a small fitted sheet to deal with. In particular for some reason the sheets we have for Genea's bed are extra tight and the bed is extra inflexible so the damn thing really takes two big people.
Unless all you have is one small five year old who is missing out on freshly delivered pizza. Then Genea can put her own fitted sheet on. Herself. Alone. The whole thing. And the rest of the bed too. And, by the way, we have not had an oceanfront bed since this discovery was made and tested.
"Just say 'no' to" Supermoms! Generally Adequate Mom's Rule!

Friday, December 12, 2008


I was going to take Teena out, so I went into the bathroom to get ready and told her to get dressed also. When I came out she was waiting for me. She took one look and said-
"Mommaaaaaaaaaaa, you are not all beautiful yet!"

Well who knew there would be a dress requirement at the store? And who guessed it would be my 3 year old who pointed it out? I normally would make a tiny effort. Unwrinkled clean clothes, hair up in a clip, a little make up. But this time I decided not to bother.

I am starting to get it, how women get into a pattern of doing the minimum necessary to be presentable and in-offensive. I am saving so much money on make up and hair supplies since I stopped working! Of course, I try to swab at the teeth and get a comb through most of my hair these days. And, I do make the effort to not smell funky. But for the rest of it? If I didn't have to get Genea from the bus stop, I might not get dressed for days! How much could I save on laundry soap that way?

Seriously though, I am saving boatloads of money on little things I would not have thought of. The obvious, lunches out, gas for the car, those things I knew. I wear a dumpy sweatshirt most days, comfortable pants and my beloved Birkenstocks. I have not bought new make up since I stopped working. I have not needed it because I have not run out of anything. I have purchased a few new clothing items but again, not near as much as I used to. I don't have anywhere to be where I must look presentable. Since I don't have to, why should I?

Ugh. This is an easy, easy rut to get into. Why should I take the time to look decent. No one is looking and no one cares anyway. My standards of presentableness have plummeted like the stock market. My eyebrows have grown to where they are obstructing my vision. Forget my legs, the hair there could be braided. I have not quite taken to calling my gray hairs "highlights" but I am close. I have 3 layers of chipped nail polish on my toes. I think it is only 3. I wore jewelry on Thanksgiving, but before that? Dunno.

I feel like I am in one of those experiments like on the Tyra Banks Show. Where they make you look as shitty as possible then send you out in public and watch people recoil, catch it on tape, then broadcast it all to the world. OF course people should not be judged by their appearance. OF course a persons appearance is not a measure of their value as a human. But truth is, people like the pretty and people like the sparkly. Whether it is rational or not.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snow DAY!

School was cancelled yesterday, already, for a snow day! We got just over 6 inches, on top of about 6 inches so there was a great amount of snow on the ground.
I think a snow day is about my favorite thing in the world. An unexpected day off! Nothing planned! Free time! Now that I am staying at home and not working or in school, the snow day might have lost its charm except for the fact that this was a perfect snow day. What had landed was light and fluffy, and had stopped by the afternoon. On the side of our house you could not feel the wind blowing and though it was cold, well, as a kid in Alaska once told us there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear!
In between our house and the neighbors house is a decline. Not quite enough to call it a ditch but definitely not level either. I built the girls a sled hill from our yard into the ditch and they absolutely loved it! Despite the fact that I by no means have a degree in luge track construction it worked out pretty well. I piled snow up to about 3 feet tall. I tried to build in some stairs or foot holds but they kept collapsing. But the hill held and I curved it around a bit and the whole track went about 20 feet. What a blast!
We all had snow pants and boots and all the other stuff to sled but Teena managed to get her hands and feet wet and icy anyway. I don't know if it is the Ukrainian blood or what but when Genea came in her hands and feet were room temp. Crazy! My ass had completely frozen off (ha, wouldn't that be great if that actually worked) but I stayed dry somehow. The kids had so much fun it was hilarious and a great time!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Nature vs Nurture

When a child is born, do they come out with a brain already printed upon with their personalities? Are their characteristics pre-determined?

I wonder.

I always thought some of the nastier traits were learned. The ability to tap dance on another persons nerves for example. I understand that the response to the persons reactions is learned, but the drive to harass, the desire to reach out and torment another human as a way to occupy and enjoy yourself, that I always understood was inate. You are born with a mean gene that you can act on, or not. But you learn the ways to maximize the other persons discomfort.

Come to find out, a certain level of obnoxious-ness comes from within. And oddly, some children appear to have the natural ability to get right in there. Things I was positive had to be learned, may not! My world order is all smashed up!

How does one child know, KNOW, that to copy her sister, will drive her crazy. To repeat word for word, inflection for inflection, what the other has said, will allow the first child the opportunity to watch the second child blow up her own head. It is something I always thought was passed down through the generations on school playgrounds wherein the mean kids huddled together discussing the best torments and filling in the newbies. Or learned by watching bad tv shows. Or reading about it. Or hearing their evil cousins do it. Thousand of years worth of one sibling repeating what the other has said, thousands of years of the other saying 'stop copying me', thousands of years of the first child refusing to quit, and thousands of years of parents yelling out, "STOP COPYING YOUR SISTER".

I am coming to realize that for some, seeing a behavior is not necessary. It is inherent. The question, ''where did she learn to do that?" has no answer. She didn't learn it. She just knows. And since I have contributed to the genetics of one of my children, and I know what she has been exposed to, I can officially say I haved resolved the issue that has tangled through the brains of some of the most brilliant minds in history.
Nature vs Nurture solved.

Friday, December 5, 2008

37 lids

This staying- at- home- with kids deal has left me with small bits of time here and there for the little things that no one ever really had time for, and never was any one's priority but would be nice to do someday. I needed to free up some cabinet space, rearrange some things and decided to take a run at the mystery o' plastic storage cupboard. I am a fan of the inexpensive type of food container that is meant to be re-used but can be let go if need be but I also own some of the nicer stuff designed to last longer (and by nicer stuff I mean from clearance at big lots that once came from a pricier store). I sorted in to 3 piles, stuff that matched, stuff that didn't and stuff I wasn't sure of.

Everyone knows where this is going right? I wound up with 4 bowls without lid, 8 containers that had a matching lid that fit, and 37 lids to nothing.

So I was laughing at myself, good crap, the amount of time I spent over the years looking for matched up food containers and I never even had a chance!!! So I was still laughing, thinking this would make for a funny blog entry, what could I compare it to? Impulse control? Organization? Focus? 37 solutions for problems that don't fit/ work/ apply? Whoa!

Man, I tell you, this explains a LOT.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A few of my stray opinions

Is it just me, or has Christina Aquilara gotten a new face? There is something significantly different about her appearance. I really hope she did not do an Ashley Simpson by taking her unique and stunning appearance and homogenize it into "The Britney Face".

Why is it that Rachael Ray looks SO different on the bazillion products she markets? On her show she is attractive, really quite pretty (mind you, I only see her on the way to something else because I cannot handle her level of perkiness at any time of the day but especially in the morning!!!) On the boxes and packaging, her cheeks have been removed. I don't know where they went, if it is heavy make up, or if it is computer technology or what. But that is not how she looks.

Lastly, the answer has been revealed. YES! Yes you CAN over-whiten your teeth! What is going on with this? When it looks like you drank a bottle of white out, and your teeth are whiter than your toilet paper, time to quit!

Now, stop it people!

Ok, now here are 2 tips for general information. I better not find out later that everyone already knew this.
When your kitchen sink gets a few layers of gunk and needs a good abrasive scrubbing with some smelly Comet on the sides and in the drain and such, and you have to put on those funky smelling vinyl gloves try this. Spray it with a generic bleach spray. Sit and take a rest. Rinse. Done!!! You have no idea how huge this is ! I hate hate hate the sink. We don't have a garbage disposal so instead we have those disgusting strainers. Ugh. VILE. Ever since those uncooperative Scrubbing Bubbles turned out to be such a bitter disappointment sitting there, just sitting STILL and not cleaning or dancing or singing, ever since then, I have held back on cleaning products. Just stopped feeling the love. So this is great news! Because I am fond of things that can take care of themselves!

My other great tip is a gross one so read at your own risk. Last night, both Genea and Teena had a vomit party. And once we cleaned up after this little event, I had an epiphany. Once in a while I save larger plastic containers for random stuff like crayons, or for paint or whatever. The kind that big yogurt comes in for example. You know where I am going here don't you? Right, give the girls re-used puke bowls. And this is so 'green' I can call it a 'green offset' and practically even buy water in a plastic bottle! I am not just recycling the container for a second use, but now I can put the lid back on to cover the puke and toss it! So I don't waste water washing a puke bowl! And won't flood the world with carcinogenic toxins from cleaning out a puke bowl!
Go Green!
(The above is meant to be sarcastic and funny. My humor is not for everyone, this is a known fact. But the idea worked great!)


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