Friday, March 18, 2016


Its been a crazy couple of months at our house.  Mom hobbling around makes the whole house run a bit less smoothly.  Dad putting in whole days at work and then another 4-6 hours at his second job makes things even more bumpy. Keilana got pneumonia (and a particularly awful case of it--both lungs sounded like garbage, top to bottom and all the way across) and strep throat, and missed two full weeks of school.  Kylie also got strep throat and missed an entire week of school.  Dylan developed a persistent, mysterious and severe cough as soon as his sisters got better, and ended up missing an entire week of school, as the cough was difficult to keep under control even with cough syrup. Thankfully, Keira never got sick.

I'm back on both feet now, with only a brace.  All the kids are healthy.  This week has been Spring Break, and I have organized and cleaned the house top to bottom.  There are 8 weeks of clinical hours and online classes between me and graduation.  Doug has submitted his resignation and will no longer be working for the county as of June 24th.  Life is changing quickly.  Its all a little crazy.

And in the middle of all of it, the kids just keep growing up.  I wish somehow we could hurry Doug and I through all of this, while pushing pause on the kids.  Alas, time marches on, indifferent to my mommy impulses.

Dylan turned 10 last month.  I always hesitate over how much to share about my kids online, for their sake. Suffice it to say, Dylan is a unique kid.  That is often delightful and has many advantages, but it also has its challenges.  The first half of the school year was very difficult for him. A few months ago, I saw a significant shift.  Instead of "nobody likes me" I started to hear, "I don't fit in" or "I have different interests than a lot of the boys in my class".  He recognized that those weren't the same thing, and it was huge.  He made friends a lot easier after that.  For his birthday, he invited four other boys over.  They played Minecraft, ate pizza, and watched Star Wars on the big screen.  As he was taking friends home with his dad, he said over and over again, "This was the best day ever".  Its hard to express how much that meant to me.

He loves Star Wars, Minecraft, Pokemon, Bakugan, and wild animals.  Especially birds.  He knows and can classify many, many species of wild birds.  He obsesses over them, and loves to learn facts about and categorize wild animals.  He often talks about being a wildlife biologist when he grows up.  We discovered today that he may have some hurdles to jump there.  His class had the opportunity to dissect fish today.  He came home looking green, and told me he ended up having to sit across the room away from everyone else, and still almost threw up.  He said, "I thought it was going to be fun, but it wasn't."  As he started to talk about it, he began gagging again and thought he was going to vomit.

His teacher texted me a picture of him during the beginning of the dissection.  His whole body is tense and he's holding his stomach.  When his dad asked him if he felt bad for the fish he said, "Yeah. One had eggs in it--that means they're never going to hatch.  And they were only 2 years old.  It was sad."  He is a tremendously sensitive child, both physically and emotionally.  The combination of assaults on his senses was just a bit too much for him.  He's very bright, and generally kind.  He has some challenges ahead of him, but many tools for overcoming them.

And Keira turned 5 yesterday.  She is a fun little monkey. She is still incredibly smiley: she looks for reasons to be happy most of the time. She can be very friendly and outgoing, the most confident of our girls at this age, but also far and away the most introverted.  She has gotten quite bold in her social interactions, happily talking freely with adults when they engage her.  But if you leave her alone with her toys, her coloring supplies, or an iPad or TV, she can contentedly go hours without talking to another person.  She handles having to go to school everyday really well, but would happily stay home 90% of the time if I let her. 

I took her shopping on Monday for a new birthday outfit (last year's shamrock shirt and tutu were getting pretty small).  She was thrilled to be in the car with me, but wanted to listen to music, not talk.  She has a very specific play list: The Sweet Escape (Gwen Stefani), Vindicated (Dashboard Confessional), Stuck Like Glue (Sugarland), Little Wonders (Rob Thomas), Radioactive (Imagine Dragons), Apologize (One Republic), and Curious (Barenaked Ladies).  It makes her a pretty pleasant traveling companion.  She still sleeps in our bed too often, and even refers to it as "our bed".  She is quick-witted, and loves to tease and joke.  She's very precocious and precise in her language--she loves to explain things to people.

When she gets hurt or angry, she will scream if its me or her siblings, but with anyone else, she shuts down to total silence and runs away to hide.  If she's upset but mostly controlling herself, she won't disappear, but will absolutely refuse to speak. This makes her dad bonkers, but is so familiar to me that I can't even muster irritation.  Our other girls are fit-throwing shriekers, which was totally foreign to me when I became a parent.  Keira reacts like me.  Though its unfair, this makes it easy for me to be patient with her.  Keilana will shriek, throw herself about (she is the child who has broken doors and put holes in drywall), and Kylie will hit and scream that she hates you.  I have learned to be patient (neither of them loses it very often and they are both very sweet and quick to apologize when they have regained control), but its hard for me to understand.  Keira's disappearing act, or stubborn refusal to engage, makes perfect sense to me.  More often than not, she's a peacemaker: if someone starts to get upset, she will do what she can to quickly smooth things over.  She doesn't like conflict, and happily does what she can to make people happy.

Its a joy to watch them grow, mature, and learn.  Its also torture. *Sigh* The nature of being a parent.

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