Saturday, January 31, 2015

More Words

Pouring over a seed catalog. 
Maggie has a new phrase that she loves to say at the moment.  When she says it her eyes dance and she looks me square in the eye and breaks out in a wide smile. 

The first time she said it was when one of her favorite therapists was here.  And there's a little back story to how the new phrase came to be a favorite. 

The afternoon before her session, she was doing something that she knew she shouldn't be doing and every time I told her to stop she would stop and then look at me and say "eh, eh, eh, eh" in a little sing song voice with a giggle.  Still, I was pretty thrilled that she was actually stopping when I would ask her to. 

By the end of the day it was clear that that was the phrase of the moment was the Mae version of "no" and she was using it in that way. 

The next day she insisted on bringing her therapist over from the table that they usually do their work at to sit at the dining room table where Sadie and I do school.  They were working on something and Maggie said "eh, eh, eh, eh" (which sounds pretty similar to the way Boots says "ooo, ooo, ahh, ahh" in tone) and her therapist said "That's what a monkey says!" and Maggie very seriously said:

"Boots monkey says 'ooo, ooo, ooo, ooo!'" 

She instantly seemed almost surprised by the fact that she had said it and now it is her favorite phrase.  And it's changed a tiny bit.  She pops her head into the kitchen while I'm working to let me know "Boots monkey says ';ooo, ooo, ahh, ahh!'" 

While driving in the car a tiny voice from the far back tells everyone "Boots monkey says 'ooo, ooo, ahh, ahh!'" 

And every time she says it it's the sweetest sound and she looks so incredibly proud of herself that my heart just about bursts! 

Apparently "Boots monkey says 'ooo, ooo, ahh, ahh!'" is the new "mermaids 'wimming!'" of later January 2015. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

7 Quick Takes Friday: The Cat is Weird Edition



Looking at this picture that was snapped
when we first got him I have to say...
He has definitely packed on some weight
from all the mice.  He is a much bigger
cat now.
So I'm sitting here with Kittyfish, who I'm beginning to suspect is trying to be creepy in a way only a cat can, by following me everywhere, invading my personal space (not in a cuddly way, which would be okay, but in a here let me get really close and stare at your face, sort of way) and staring at me with his little unblinking yellow eyes. 

I've already gotten up to go check on the baby, and I've been upstairs to check on Patch too, and all seems to be well in the Wollner house, except that apparently we have a cat who has suddenly gone from spending all his time hunting mice in the basement to following me around being weird (and over the course of my lifetime I've had somewhere around 14 cats... so this isn't just a "she's not used to cats" sort of thing). 

Or maybe he's just trying to tell me with those staring yellow eyes that he just took out the last of the five hundred mice that lived here when we got him a year ago and that I never have to worry about anyone scurrying by in the kitchen ever again.

He really has done an amazing job.  I haven't seen a mouse run by in months.  And since I was literally tripping over them last year at this time, despite many different types of traps, that is a huge, huge improvement. 

I guess in light of his mousing abilities I can overlook the weirdness of tonight (like I wasn't going to anyways, even if he was a totally useless mouser)... although I think I'll go check on James one more time. 


I took the girls to their first eye appointment yesterday. 
It wasn't the easiest of appointments although the doctor and office staff were great. 
Originally Mae's OT was going to come with us, but she's on leave with an emergency at the moment and then we had an exceptionally icy night and all the schools and the therapy center were closed and so the therapist from the ABA center who was going to meet us there had been told not to go out on the roads... so it was just me and the girls. 
At least James and Patch were home with Daddy!
As a result of the trip I now have a lovely mouth shaped bruise on my arm, but we all survived and made it home in one piece.
And the doctor was actually able to look at Mae's eyes (that fact is a testament to how good he is with kids) and he said structurally everything looks good, so if there's a problem (like seeing rainbows around lights) it's a sensory problem and not a structural problem. 


So, I've been planning on making a mermaid tail tutorial... if I can ever stay awake at night long enough to actually sew something and photograph it. 
The fun that Patch had today, however, should give me the boost I need to start planning a new mermaid (make the Bubble Guppy) tail.  Because he was zooming around wearing this, all afternoon:
In case you can't tell in this light, that would be Mae's "Little Mermaid" tail, in purple and green.


We're finding that cooking provides awesome practice for many of the skills that Sadie's been practicing at OT.  And because she' so interested in cooking she's even more motivated to work on those skills than she is when she's actually at the OT office:


Patch wasn't the only mer-person in the house today.  And in case you'd ever wondered how much trouble Maggie could get into in a mermaid tail... well this is a perfect example of just how capable she is of moving around in it. I managed to snap this while telling her to get down.  She actually was listening to what I'd said from across the room and was getting down (moments earlier she was actually climbing on the gate, which gave me a chance to take this picture!):
Not to be outdone Sadie got dressed up in her mermaid finery to rest on the couch.  And to zoom around the house and jump on the trampoline.  



This is a major, major victory.  After screaming over going anywhere near the bathroom because she was terrified of just about every thing in the bathroom, someone has decided that they love baths again... and that she wants to take a long bath, where she talks about being a mermaid the entire time, at least once a day. 
Since taking baths in the sink wasn't going to be an option for much longer as she's getting taller and taller, I'm thrilled with this development.  Besides, it's also a great opportunity for sensory play!


I'm considering adding a new goal to my New Year's Resolution of "get in shape" for the year. 
I want to actually run the entire 5K for the Autism Acceptance race in our area this year, instead of coming in almost last place like we did last year (we did beat a few senior citizens... but only because they stopped to look at two deer in the forest... if they hadn't stopped they totally would have crossed the finish line before we did). 
That means I have until May to get into 5K shape, which I think is a reasonable time frame. 

Now I just need to motivate myself to go work out when my phone is telling me it "feels like -4" outside! 
For more Quick Takes head over to This Ain't the Lyceum

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Looking Forward to Lent

I have Lent on my mind right now.  I'm determined not to let it sneak up on me this year.  In a few days the Christmas decorations will be coming down and I've been telling myself that when the Christmas decorations come down it will almost be Lent, so that hopefully I won't turn around one day and find that it's suddenly Ash Wednesday. 

You wouldn't think that a forty day chunk of the year could be so stealthy, but somehow it is.  Can I blame the children for this one?  Somehow I think they make time go by far more quickly than it used to before they arrived... and holidays become far more sneaky. 

Take Advent and Lent. They seem to come out of nowhere every single year, no matter how well I watch for them.

Although I can't totally say it's taking me by surprise this year (as this post demonstrates).  It's already paczki season around here and Paul already brought a delicious box of the pastries into our house, which I'm pretty sure is an extra penance for me, since he's the only one who doesn't have a diet that includes either a gluten or dairy restriction.  He may have enjoyed talking about eating them as much as he enjoyed eating them.  Anyways.  I digress.  Back to Lenten planning. 

It will be Ash Wednesday before we know it. 

I would really like to find this book... but it's with Paul's theology books, which are still in boxes down in the basement, where they eagerly await the day when we move into a house where they can once more have a bookshelf (or ten) of their own.   But I don't think that's going to happen before Lent, because there are far too many boxes of books down there. 

Today Paul asked me what I was giving up for Lent and I said I was thinking of giving up humus. 

If you don't know me, that might not sound like a huge thing, but ever since the allergy saga started a couple years ago and our diets changed drastically, I've been kind of obsessed with garlic humus, especially the giant tubs of it they sell at Meijer, in a maybe not entirely healthy way.  So humus would be way more of a sacrifice than candy or ice cream or just about any other food that I can think of (if you'd told me that two years ago I wouldn't have believed it). 

A couple of years ago we had a jar where we added a bean every time one of the kids (in this case Sadie, since she was the only one old enough to understand) did something helpful or kind or sacrificed for someone else.  On Easter morning the beans were replaced with jelly beans.

Sadie has already been hinting that she hopes that's one of Lenten activities this year and I think it will be. 

Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure will definitely be a part of our Lenten religious studies as well.  Also, if you follow that link you'll see that they have a countdown to Lent, which, if you went to it right now would tell you that Lent is some 19 days away.

I'd also like to really commit to a time each day when we start praying again as a family, and reading the Bible together.  We've done that for years at a time in the past, but during law school it was hard to have any sort of set time to do anything... and it's a habit I'd like to reintroduce. 

I guess one of the main ideas I'm considering is seriously committing to doing 40 bags in 40 days this year.  I began decluttering during Advent and have made some progress, but I still would really like to focus on simplifying our home and continuing to get rid of the things that we don't need, so I'm really hoping I can actually follow through on finding forty bags of stuff to donate/get rid of during the days leading up to Easter this year. 

Those are the main ideas I'm just beginning to kick around right now.  Have you started coming up with any ideas for Lent this year?  And are there any you'd like to share to help inspire others (like me!)? 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sadie's Salmon Noodles: A Recipe

I'm not a big salmon person.  Paul, however, is a fan (and apparently so are Patch and Sadie since they both devoured this dish).  And I liked it too, which is saying a lot!  Mae was the only one who couldn't be coaxed into trying it.

Sadie actually cooked up this recipe with a little help from me.  So, apart from the chopping involved, it's pretty straight forward and simple to make (and Sadie's becoming surprisingly skilled at slicing and dicing). 

And so here's the latest recipe that's come out of my kitchen.  It'll definitely be on the menu in the coming months on Friday nights! 

The Salmon:

14.75 oz Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon (canned)
1 onion (diced)
1 bunch green onions (diced)
3 eggs
3 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp ginger (finely chopped)
1 tbs garlic (finely chopped)
2 stalks of celery (chopped)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp chili powder

The Sauce:
1 cup mayo
1 tbs chopped garlic
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 lemon worth of lemon juice
A Dash of Salt

We began by adding the salmon to the skillet and cooking it over medium low heat.  Next we threw in the ginger and garlic, sliced the vegetables while they cooked and added them as they were chopped and then we added the spices, stirring it occasionally until the dish was combined and cooked through. 

Then in a bowl we combined the sauce ingredients, stirring it until it was completely mixed. 

We usually serve the salmon over gluten free noodles or rice with the lemon ginger sauce drizzled over it. 

And Sadie would encourage anyone trying it to try their own twist.  While flipping through on of my cookbooks she announced that it's better to be a rule breaker when cooking... so she seems to be learning that lesson from cooking with me! 

Late Night Fretting with Patch

It can be tough to be logical (read: not overly panicked) at 11 pm after spending a couple hours up with a sick toddler who has a rash on the back of his neck. 

We've already done two rounds of the flu and I managed not to think of anything more than getting through each day during that rather unpleasant time. 

But last night when I heard Patch whimpering and found him shaking and snuffy, laying on the floor next to his bedroom door I was slightly more concerned.  His cheeks were splotchy and pink and of course the rash I'd noticed on his neck at bedtime (and had thought was strange, since he has places where I battle eczema, and that's not usually one of them) immediately came to mind. 
Now after even just a few years of doing this whole mom thing, you would think that I'd have learned that late night Googling while holding a sick baby is not a good idea.  There will always be those far out unlikely horror stories, and those horror stories will all, of course crowd to the front of the google rankings, ready to assure you that whatever it is, it's horrible. 

Late Night Google when baby is sick is not your friend. 

But the temptation was too great and I googled and of course, what comes up when you go looking for possible answers for a rash on the neck and a snuffly nose? 


I thought of the headline I'd seen the other day about measles coming to Michigan and sighed. 

He's had his shots.  His MMR shot was actually at a year and a half after the refrigerator in his doctor's office stopped working right before his first birthday and they lost all of their vaccines right before his appointment and they said they'd call to make another appointment but no one ever did and, since this was right around the time of Mae's diagnosis, the vaccine was lost in the shuffle until his appointment at eighteen months.  But he's had it. 

Still, I found myself fretting as he shivered and crawled under the covers in the big bed and wrapped my necklace around his hand over and over again.

We've hardly left the house in weeks.  It's been so cold and with the flu going round and round we've been pretty cooped up.  Except for therapy appointments.  A picture of the waiting room for Sadie's OT popped into my head. Of course her OT shares a waiting room with the University's other specialty doctors and of course alongside pediatric hematology and oncology is infectious disease.  I'm sure there are many precautions against sicknesses being spread, the logical part of my brain reminded the worrying part, but still I fretted.

This is what happens when you have an over active imagination and a sick baby and too much time to think in the middle of the night. 

Then Patchy brought me back to the present by yanking on the necklace a bit too hard.  And rolling over.  And rolling back over.  If I'd done a real time post of what those hours looked like it would have been something like this:

9:07 pm- Patch comes over into the big bed, shivering and sick.  I say a silent prayer to thank God that James is actually asleep in his bassinet.  I climb in and wrap our big boy in blankets and kiss his forehead. 
9:11 pm- James wakes up.  He seems to have some sort of internal alarm that lets him know when his brother needs my attention that rouses him to need something at exactly the same time. 
9:12 pm- Apparently what he needs is a diaper.
9:13 pm- While I change James, Patch frowns and pulls the covers up to his chin.  He smiles when James returns to his bassinet.
9:15 pm- I pop the binkie into James' mouth for the fifth time while holding Patch with my left arm and rocking him.
9:21 pm- I get up and nurse James.  Patch jumps up and crawls across the bed, gets down, closes the bedroom door, and gets back into bed.  He may be attempting to prevent any more people (sisters) from coming into the room.
9:26 pm- James is fed and burped and returns to his bassinet.  Sometimes oversupply is a good thing, like when it means that a baby can have a full stomach in two minutes. 
9:34 pm- Kittyfish discovers the closed door.  He is furious.  He begins to yowl loudly.  Patch pulls the covers up over his head and cowers while I assure him that all is right in the world and that the kitty won't bother him.
9:36 pm- Kittyfish apparently throws himself at the door and it creaks loudly.  Patch is now wide awake. 
10:38 pm- Patch is rolls over for the seventy fifth time, accidentally yanking my hair, again, and giving my necklace a good hard pull.  I get up and go over to my computer and put on a Bubble Guppies, hoping that if it takes his mind off how he's feeling, he might fall asleep watching it. 
10:39 pm- Bubble Guppies begins to play.  Patch jumps up and runs across the room.
10:40 pm-  I turn Bubble Guppies off but it's too late.  Watching one and a half minutes has hyper energized him and he's now ready to play. 
10:59 pm- Paul comes home and I rush downstairs and hand Patch to him while Patch cheers for Daddy, voicing the way I feel on the inside.  Paul agrees to take a shift trying to get Patchy to sleep I his own room.
Sometime around 1 am... Patchy finally falls asleep. 

He seem to be feeling much better this morning... but wow, did it feel like a long night. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

On Facing My Fear...

One of my biggest fears these days is how to manage taking the kids out in the van while Paul is at work.  It doesn't seem like that dramatic of a problem, does it?  But I'm always worried that Mae is going to take off and I'll be slowed down by Patch and James and won't be able to catch her. 

She's fast.  I'm not fast when I'm wrangling James and Patch.  So the idea of taking the kids out in the van without Paul is something that generally makes me break out in a sweat.  It's also something I've altogether avoided doing for the last three and a half months since James was born. 

I did it today. I was out and about with the kids and the van, without Paul.

 All the kids.

When Paul announced that he had to work during Sadie's ballet class, I'll admit, I felt a little panicked.  Sadie's ballet school is all about not missing classes as they gear up for the spring performance and she'd already been asking me if I was sure she had ballet and if I was sure I wouldn't forget and how many hours, minutes, seconds it would be until we got there. 

The thing is, taking my little crew out in public isn't that big of a deal.  As long as it involves a stroller and not a car.  The loading and unloading of the car is really the weak point for me when it comes to going out.  Inevitably I will have to let go of someone's hand, or hold both Mae and Patch's hand in one of my hands and if a certain wandering four year old really wanted to yank away from me at that point, she probably could.  It makes me very, very nervous. 

Paul looked at me like I'd lost my mind when I began to discuss the distance and how it was walkable... if only it was spring and if only it wasn't get dark so early and if only there weren't several inches of ice on the ground, under the snow.  There were a lot of if onlys. 

As I made dinner and handed out sippy cups I plotted my strategy.  Here were the possible logistical challenges I worried about possibly facing while getting the kids home from Sadie's class.

Worry #1- My first worry was how to keep Mae and James apart.  Mae adores James.  She tells him she "love, love, loves" him many times a day.  She also love, love, loves his car seat. She thinks it beautiful.  And it's in the seat of the car that Sadie used to sit in, which means it's next to a window covered in Tinker Bell stickers. 

This only makes it more awesome and appealing to Mae. 

Also, in it's rear facing reclined position I'm pretty sure she thinks it's a bright red lazy boy.  Given the chance she will throw herself into it and attempt to stretch out and take a nap.  I'm not entirely sure she wouldn't try to join him in his car seat if he was already in it.  I've seen her come pretty close to doing it and while I stopped her, I'm not entirely sure what would have happened if the scene had been allowed to unfold.

Worry #2- James would be in the Moby Wrap while we were at the class.  However James couldn't be in the Moby wrap when I loaded up the car. 

In the past month I have been kicked in the face while buckling certain people in to car seats.  Either Mae or Patch may be totally on board with being buckled in, or they may act, together or separately, like it's a fate worse than death and I'm locking them in to some sort of torture device. 

So while a part of me would have liked to keep James on me until certain siblings were secured in their own seats before I put him down in his seat, this didn't seem to be an option.  Because the middle of my chest is right in the line of fire if someone going into the car seat decides to resist. 

Worry #3- This was the big one.  My fear is that somehow Patch and Mae would take off running in separate directions towards the busiest high traffic areas they could find while I run in slow motion after them... like in one of those nightmares where you feel like you're running through cement while everyone else can move about normally.  I also imagined my arms having the reach of a tyrannosaurus rex in this scenario, since James would be in the carrier and it's really hard to grab little people when you're wearing a baby on your chest. 

So it's not like I was totally irrationally panicking or anything.  Okay.  Maybe I was a little.

We went to the class.  The forty minutes Sadie spent inside were quite the workout.  Mostly it involved redirecting Mae to keep her away from this:

While standing between Mae and the alarm, Patch's little hand
shot out and he almost managed to set it off.
He'd spent most of the time pretending to be asleep (or actually being
asleep) on my back, so I totally didn't see it coming.
Walking down the hallway to look at her favorite giant mobile:

She loves the orange triangles.
In fact she loves just about anything orange right now.
It's the color of the moment.

and wondering if Paul working on Mondays is going to be a regular thing from now on.  Because usually I really enjoy sitting with James during Sadie's ballet class with my planner open and planning my week.  It's relaxing in a week that doesn't have much time for relaxing.

And this:

is not even a tiny bit relaxing.  See that stressed out look in my eyes.  It's the look of someone who's praying they can get everyone wrangled into the car in one piece... while also checking to see if Patch is up to no good.

When not turning off the lights in the hallway, or edging closer to the fire alarm, Mae spent most of her time dancing.  Which was the best part of our wait.  She really wanted to go into the class room with the girls.  She settled for dancing up and down the hallway:

When it was time to go I maneuvered our little bunch out to the car, planning on getting everyone in and pulling the door closed behind me.  Once the door was closed I'd figure out logistics, likely putting James in first and then Mae. 

And in totally unrelated news, Sadie asked me to cut her hair.
It was down to her waist and now it's just below her
That plan came to a screeching halt, however, when I found that I couldn't fit into the car and close the door with Patch on my back.  In fact I couldn't fit in the car with both carriers on at all.  So I went to plan b. 

I put Sadie and Mae in the van and closed the door and walked over to the other side of the car and put James in his seat.  I had Sadie stand next to him to make sure no one climbed into his seat with him in it and hurried back around and got Patch, who was refusing to stand up as I tried to set him down, out of the back carrier, into the car and into his seat. 

Sadie was still standing between Mae and James (and Mae was behaving perfectly) and I got Mae snapped in to her car seat and then put Sadie's chair back in place so she could get in to her booster.  Thankfully she can buckle herself.

And just like that we had survived. Mostly at least.  I still had to unload the kids at home.

At home I put James in the wrap and managed to hold both Patch and Mae's hand in one of my hands while closing the sliding door with the other. 

Success.  And Sadie actually sang to James and got him to stop crying when I was tucking Patch and Maggie into their beds.  He's been fussy for the past two days and so I was really surprised when I came downstairs to silence and found Sadie sitting next to his bassinet and singing while he smiled up at her! 

And maybe tonight can be a confidence building lesson that disaster isn't totally inevitable if I do have to load and unload them into the van by myself.  Although I have to admit that I'm still eagerly awaiting the days when the stroller won't get stuck in the snow if I try to push it down the sidewalk!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

What I Wore Sunday

What I Wore Sunday is back!  

Our merry band was not only healthy enough to go to Mass this morning, but we also managed to snap a few pictures in the cold before hurrying back into the warmth of the car.  

Not everyone was on board with the photographs, however.  Mae was very busy looking at something on the ground.  Or trying to do a somersault out of the stroller.  It can be hard to be certain.

I wore one of my favorite dresses (Lindy Bop Classy Vintage Audrey Hepburn Style 1950's Rockabilly Swing Evening Dress (L, Peach)).  But I realized when getting dressed that what I'm wearing doesn't matter all that much these days... because more than anything I'm covered in babies.  A Moby on the front and an Ergo on the back and all that really matters is my skirt and shoes.  Today, and almost every other day, they're my favorite boots... I finally found a pair of boots that have lasted.  I've had them for almost a year and they haven't worn out.  They're water proof and they stay warm!

Patch has been desperate to get down and run around with all the other toddlers in the narthex. Since we have a no-running-around-during-Mass policy, he was pretty horrified by the unfairness of watching all the other little kids who are allowed to be down.  So we instituted a new policy, that he'd be worn on my back, and after one Mass where he was very upset to learn that he was stuck, he finally gave up and slept for most of Mass today.

This is what the dress looks like when it isn't covered in a baby wrap and Ergo:

From a WIWS sometime last winter.

Sadie wore her Christmas dress with a sweater, her fanciest jacket and a pair of bright pink tights.  She's already requested to wear the dress again next week.

Maggie wore her Christmas dress with her favorite pink elephant sleeper (it was moderately sensory day and it keeps her warm... she's not a fan of putting pants on with her dresses, or tights, but for some reason a sleeper works) and her favorite pink boots.  

Patch was stylish in his suit.  He's also a total ham whenever he sees a camera.

I love it!

However, when we got home he re-styled his outfit with green plastic clogs and his favorite hat:

James wore a ducky sleeper picked out by Daddy and his favorite blue hat (made by his Godmother!)  

He's also getting pretty smiley whenever he sees the camera!

In a line of three easy babies, he might be the most relaxed and easy going! 

For more WIWS head over to FLAP!

Friday, January 23, 2015

7 Quick Takes: Friday Night Edition


I'm supposed to be writing right now.  At least that's what I told myself that I'm supposed to be doing.  All the kids are sleeping at the same time and the house is quiet and it's the perfect time.  So what am I doing instead? 

Using Pic Monkey to photo shop mustaches onto frowning pictures of James. 

He really has mastered the firmly disapproving look, along with the confused about why the house is so loud look and the what am I doing here with all these unruly children look. 


Did you use Jennifer Fulwiler's Saint Name Generator this year?
I did and look what came up:

Do you see what I see?  It's perfect.  Look:

She's the patron saint of Family Happiness (can't lose with that), Neurological Disorders, Princesses and Runaways.  It's like she's the patron saint of all the things rolled in to one.  Now nobody in this house better start sleepwalking. 


It's January, and while not quite February (that short month that seems to stretch on, seemingly forever, in homeschooling circles), the icy days can sometimes feel long when it's just too cold to be outside.  Here's a glimpse of our day today:

We began our day with class:

Then we headed to OT.  Usually the waiting room at her appointment is full of kids and she runs around and plays, but today it was surprisingly empty:

Today the sensory room was open.  I'm pretty sure she could swing in this thing all day long:

We drove home for lunch.  Sadie took a detour through the snow.  She was disappointed when we just had spaghetti.  She wanted to cook something spectacular:

The afternoon was like a scene out of when toddlers attack (here's Patch... in need of a hair cut... after eating spaghetti for lunch... pretending to be a dinosaur/monster and refusing to talk...):

Finally after dinner Sadie headed out to her troop meeting where a nun began to teach the younger girls in the group (like Sadie) how to sew.  And that is a Friday in our house this January.

I have to admit, while this has been a mild winter so far, I'm already looking forward to those summer backyard pool parties:


I finally decided that it was time to move the girls to a new doctor's office.  When Patch was born I was able to get him into an office that was full and couldn't take the girls. 
When I called this week they were actually quite surprised because we're in there so often (they're in the same office as OT) that they thought the girls were already patients.  So they accepted them immediately and it's the doctor that James has been seeing, who is really great, so I think that this should be a much, much better fit, instead of just seeing whatever resident is at the clinic on any given day and having to explain Mae's entire medical history over and over and over again.  I think having one consistent doctor will be so much less stressful during appointments. 


I had this conversation with Sadie a few days ago:
Me:  "So if someday, when we move, you could have your own room, would you want your own room?  Or would you want to share a room with your sister?" 

I asked this question because Maggie's night waking episodes have started again and we never know whether she's going to sleep fifteen hours or get up at 1 am to jump on the bed for a couple (or five) hours. 
Sadie:  "What do you mean?"
Me:  "Well, I'm not saying that we'll have enough rooms for you to have your own room, someday, when we move.  But if we did, would you want to have your own room, with your bed, where you could go in and close the door?  Or would you want to share with Maggie?" 
Sadie: "I want to share with Maggie." 
I'll admit I was surprised by the answer.  Then again, the girls almost always end up cuddled up together by morning... and while sometimes she's sleepy, sometimes she's totally on board with getting up to jump on the bed in the middle of the night. 


Can you name that baby?
I was browsing through baby pictures of what our little ones looked like at around three months and this is what I came up with. 
Paul, you better get this right!

Baby A
Baby B
Baby C

Baby D


Tonight before she went to the bed, Maggie came to the kitchen door way and laughed and said "happy, happy, happy" many times.  And I have to say... that moment totally made my day! 

For more 7 Quick Takes head over to This Ain't the Lyceum

Words and Other Forms of Communication

I have a new post up over at The Mighty talking about some of the lessons we've learned about communication this past year:

Mae's is still little and while she's had what feels like a language explosion lately, she still doesn't have a large vocabulary compared to your average four and a half year old.  If you go by the words counted by her therapists she's used her little voice to say somewhere around 200 different words over the course of the last fourteen months.  Sometimes that's nearly 50 spontaneous words in a therapy session. 

Outside of therapy it's different.  Outside of therapy she might only say one word all day long.  It might be mermaid.  She might say it a fifty times, or hardly at all. 

Sometimes now she says "Help me!"  She learned the phrase from her two year old brother.  He walked around for a week saying it dramatically.  He didn't want to climb up onto the couch, even though he easily can, so he threw himself on the floor and screamed "help me!!!!!!!!!!!" in the most dramatic scream he could muster.  His oldest sister looked at a toy that he had thought about maybe playing with so it was repeated again.  Day after day we heard "help me" a hundred times in his little voice and suddenly she began to say it too. 

She doesn't say it like he does though.  When she uses words it's for something serious...

Read the rest over at The Mighty! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Time at Planned Parenthood

Today's post was first posted back in January 2010.  It seemed like an appropriate repost for today:

I wasn’t always Pro-Life. Ten years ago I really hadn’t given the issue of abortion much thought.

When I went off to a small “Catholic” liberal arts college as a political science major, it was bound to come up.

The idea of killing an unborn child made me uncomfortable if I really thought about it, so I carefully skirted the issue by saying:

“ I don’t think it’s right, and I would never have an abortion… but I don’t think I have the right to tell another woman what she can or can’t do with her body.”

If I’d given it much more thought I would have had to ask myself why a woman’s right not to be inconvenienced trumped a child’s right to live and I very quickly would have realized the fallacy in the logic behind the argument that it’s a “woman’s right to do whatever she wants with her body.” After all, none of us have the right to do whatever we want. Our rights end when they begin to encroach on someone else’s rights and that becomes especially clear when we plan on physically harming another human being.

But it was much easier to give my quickly thought out answer and say that I was “pro-choice,” (an answer that pleased my very liberal poli sci professors to no end).

During the second semester of my freshman year we were assigned a “community service project” for my Social Justice class. I had to squeeze in forty hours of community service alongside my twenty five hours a week at Starbucks, karate, rugby practice, hundreds of pages each night in reading for collegiate seminar (Roman, Christian Mid-Evil Thought), my second semester of Japanese and my American Government class (I seriously began to wonder if my professors remembered what it was like to be a student).

We were given a list of places that would be suitable for volunteer work and I called the local battered woman’s shelter and rape crisis centers right away. After a week they finally informed me that they didn’t need any volunteers. I finally landed a volunteer position from one of the approved organizations (and by the time I did I was getting desperate and starting to worry about my grade): I went to work for Planned Parenthood.

My job was easy. I brought patients back to the exam room and went over their medical history, took their blood pressure and asked them if there was anything they wanted to talk with the doctor about. I did pregnancy tests and UTI tests in the little lab and cleaned up the rooms after they’d been used.

I passed by the protestors once in a while and I thought it was kind of odd, because I’d been assured over and over again that this particular Planned Parenthood did not perform abortions. They sent women over to a larger facility, since our office was very small and we weren’t allowed to perform them there. The young women I worked with brought up the fact that we didn’t do abortions frequently, which I had thought was odd. I wasn’t sure why they were so preoccupied with it. At the time I really didn’t even realize the relationship between Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry, although I probably would have simply brushed the information away with a “I’m Pro-Choice” answer if I had been told.

However I was bothered by the responsibilities taken on by workers with no medical training. I knew that I wouldn’t want someone who had taken an afternoon class implanting or removing anything in my body. It just didn’t seem very safe.

I was also very bothered by the ages of the girls whose pregnancy tests I was running. I would only have a urine sample and a birthday, and I couldn’t help but notice that I was giving positive results for girls who were twelve years old. They didn’t come in with their parents and I knew that they would be offered abortions without their parents’ knowledge (or consent). How would I feel if that was my tiny beautiful ballerina cousin who was almost the same age?

One day I arrived at work to find an empty waiting room. The receptionist buzzed me in and I wandered back to see what needed to be done. Since there were no patients there would be no samples to test, so I wandered back to the exam rooms to see if everything was ready for the start of the second half of the day (I came in after lunch). There were people towards the back, one of the doctors was even there, and I walked up to the door of the room before I was hurried back to the front by an angry coworker.

But it was impossible to erase the image of what I had seen. There was blood everywhere. White sheets of paper had been ripped off to cover the counters and other surfaces and there was blood spattered across them (I was actually reminded of the examples we’d been given during my lifeguarding first aid classes of arterial spray, but it could have been from anything, taking unborn life is apparently very bloody work).

It was very clear, by the panicked reaction of everyone who was there, that I had seen something I shouldn’t have seen.

And there was only one reason that they would be panicked. There was only one thing that we most certainly weren’t supposed to be doing in that office: abortions.

The more I learn about abortion providers the more I come to realize that breaking the rules to provide abortions isn’t all that uncommon. I guess once you cross the line that keeps most of us from ending a human life, other lines, like legal rules, are easier to break.

I didn’t instantly become pro-life, but the idea that taking a life was wrong was reinforced. My own insecurities kept me from taking the next step though, that would have enabled me to say the simple truth that abortion is wrong. After all, I could ignore the entire problem by simply adding “…but who am I to say.”

I first had to free myself from the absurd chains of moral relativism that my poli-sci professors had been reinforcing and that our secular culture embraces. I had to realize that there is right and wrong, good and evil in this world and as a human it’s my responsibility to speak out when I see the rights of those who are weaker than me violated.

Every child has the right to life and it’s our responsibility to speak out and to defend that right. That is the most basic right that exists in this world and it’s a truth that we simply can’t forget or ignore.