Friday, September 23, 2005

We Are Safe from Rita

We were all packed up and boarded up and ready to go as soon as the City released me (and we still are, just in case), but it looks like we will be just fine. The storm is heading east of Galveston...I just hope everyone over there will be alright.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Another YA Recommendation

I can't believe that I left Once Upon A Marigold by Jean Ferris off of the list! It is just wonderful. Also, I collect books that have the words "marigold" or "mimosa" in their titles, if you know any.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Series Reading: The Evolution of a Mother-Daughter Tradition

I read to the Lone Star Girl at bed-time (as well as other times) starting from a young age and when she was three years old, she had a very long attention span for picture books and needed quite a few read at a sitting in order to be pacified. It therefore seemed the time to introduce books with chapters and I started by trying to read to her the original Winnie The Pooh books. I loved their whimsical poetry but she did not. She found it rather dull and was not at all interested. So. A brilliant little friend of hers had listened to the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary at an even younger age and since Ramona is only four in Beezus and Ramona, I thought it might be suitable for a precocious three-year-old. It was. The Lone Star Girl was very, very taken by Ramona and insisted that we continue to read the series. I thought she would have trouble understanding the other books and grow bored, but she did not. We finished the whole series before she turned four, even the new one, Ramona's World, which came out that year. Thus began our tradition of reading one series of books, which Santa would bring, each year.

The Christmas that the Lone Star Girl was a young four, she received the set of Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura is only four in Little House In The Big Woods, so I again thought that one would be okay. She, again, was hooked. Much to my surprise, she insisted that we read every one and enjoyed them all immensely, even the ones in which Laura was married and struggling with motherhood. Weird. I do not believe in exposing kids to any media violence before the age of seven, as their minds are so absorbent up to that point, with no real filters, so I did skip a few bits here and there. I also skipped bits that would cause Santa problems and such, but, for the most part, the books were very appropriate. I only am ever really interested in the relationships of the characters in books, so I was kept on my toes by the Lone Star Girl's detailed questions about the engineering of certain pioneering technologies. Whew!

The Christmas that she was five, the Lone Star Girl received the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace. She inhaled the first four or five when Betsy, Tacy and Tib are children, but this time did lose interest at Betsy In Spite of Herself when they hit high school, so we put them away. The Christmas that the Lone Star Girl was six coincided with Kindergarten. The Lone Star Girl had found a soul-mate in the teaching assistant in the Kindergarten room who was also the school's science teacher and the early and aftercare teacher for the kindergarteners. This teacher read them beautiful literature after school and she also read them Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville, with which the child fell deeply in love. The Lone Star Girl therefore got the rest of Bruce Coville's Magic Shop books for her series that year, except for The Skull of Truth, which I put away because it was quite violent. She loved them.

The Christmas that the Lone Star Girl was seven, she was finally deemed old enough for The Chronicles of Narnia which we sped through happily. The Christmas that the Lone Star Girl was eight, she got Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet...and I was pregnant with the Lone Star Baby. Things changed quite a lot with us. I was very, very tired and did not read as long at night as we had in the past. I also started skipping nights...a lot of them. We actually stretched those four short and wonderful books out past the next Christmas by a month or so, although she still got her series for her ninth Christmas...the Harry Potter books.

I had known that the Lone Star Girl was a natural for Potter-mania, but still made her wait longer than all the other reader-children to read them. A sensitive child who has had nightmares from the movie of The Wizard of Oz, I knew the Lone Star Girl would have loved the first one so much the previous year that she would have had to read the second one...and been scared out of her wits. I made her wait until nine, but then we started reading them. Fast forward to late August a couple of weeks ago when I still hadn't finished reading her the first one due to baby duty...well, we needed a change. I finally told the Lone Star Girl to go ahead and finish the book, and then the rest of the series, herself. We are just not in a season when much bedtime reading by me is possible, but that will surely not always be the case, and we have had a good run regardless. Freed to read them independently, The Lone Star Girl finished the first book immediately, the second in less than four days and is almost done with the third now. She'll definitely finish them all by Christmas, of that I have no doubt.

I also have no doubt that I will get her another series for Christmas this year, although I haven't decided what it will be yet. Babies grow fast and change often, so I cannot say when mine will have grown enough past her current night-time needs to allow her sister and I more reading time again, but I know it will happen eventually. If it does not happen by Christmas, then I will set the Lone Star Girl loose to read "our" series on her own again after a bit, much sooner this time, and that will be fine, too. We change, we grow, we adapt. And still, we treasure the precious memories. I love our series reading tradition and will treasure it my heart, whether it is a thing past or present. It has been very good for us.

What series this Christmas for the Lone Star Girl? Suggestions are welcome.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Lone Star Baby's Vocabulary at 15 Months

Pretty (used only to modify flowers; may think it means "flower")
Wheels! Wheels! Wheels!
Ni-Night (means milk, lying down)
Wheeeee! (refers to sliding, swinging or being in swimming pool)
Puffs (the cereal kind)
Wash cloth
other-one-milk (OHM muk)
Logan (Go!)
Adam (Ad!)
Nap mat
"Veggie Booty" (vee!)
Color (verb)
Room (means Sissy's room)
Lunch (munch - she doesn't really say L's)
Uh oh

Those are the words I can think of right now and I am sure I have probably missed some. This is the last month I plan to keep track as I really cannot keep up with her vocabulary. Poop was a new one. She looked up at me at lunch today, pointed at her diaper and said "Poop!"...and sure enough...there was.

Currently Reading...

Zines: Momtime #9 and the premier issue of Motherverse.

Books: Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives and
If You Can Raise Kids, You Can Manage Anything

Just finished: YA books: Vegan Virgin Valentine and Nine Days A Queen.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Small Helping

I was finally able to help a little more. I served lunch at one of the shelters our city has set up for the evacuees yesterday and worked a few hours there. Today I delivered school supplies from our center to several of the schools that evacuees started attending this morning and then spent the rest of the day at the shelter inventorying supplies. I counted, shelved and listed hundreds of jars of baby food and cans of baby formula, diapers, canned goods, etc. I also gave a sling to a woman with a baby and several more young children and showed her how to use it so she could have her hands free while carting the baby around...I felt good about that. It was so good to be there, helping in some small way. It is hard for me to do so little when I know that others are there around the clock. I am aware, and my body reminds me when I forget, that a nursing mother cannot do everything. The restrictions on my time and energy are little understood by others, though, so they are sometimes hard to feel good about myself.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Currently Reading

Summerland by Michael Chabon. It took me a long time to get into this book, but I don't know why because it really is very good. A book for people who believe in Stories.

Baby Steps

The Lone Star Baby took her first official, not-holding-on-to-anything step on the night of Friday, September me! Beam! She took another on Saturday, according to the Lone Star Girl. The Lone Star Baby is taking her sweet time, but it looks like she may be beginning to think that this walking thing has some merit after all.

Wanting to help

My South Texas city is supposed to be taking in around 3,000 refugees from the storm, but it looks like we are sharing some with the rest of the region so it may be fewer who stay. Several of my staff have already been called in to work the shelters and have worked long, grueling shifts, but I have not been called yet. As a nursing mom, I have a waiver from emergency services duty which is why I am not on one of the shelter teams that were trained for hurricane duty and are now doing refugee duty, but the waiver was designed for different conditions. I can certainly help with this between nursings! It is driving me and the other staff who have not yet been called in a little crazy not to be at the shelters helping when we know the others are getting so tired. The City knows we want to help, though, and where to reach us. I have to believe that they know what they are doing in activating only some people at a time...because it is true...there is going to be a lot to do for a very long time. I am sure we will all get plenty of turns. Still, it is frustrating. I know it would not help to just show up over there, they have told us not I wait. I have been carrying my pager and cell around all weekend. In the meantime, we have taken a donation over to the Red Cross and are scrabbling things together to take to Good Will. I have put together a care package to send to a family I know of who had to evacuate New Orleans and bunk with their relatives...that's about all I can think of to do. Except pray. We pray.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Lone Star Ma Mama Action Alert: Baby Clothes for Katrina Victims

Forwarded Message:

"Midwives Respond to Hurricane Katrina

The American College of Nurse-Midwives is activating our annual Blankets for BabiesTM Campaign to help mothers and their babies who have lost their homes due to Hurricane Katrina.

Distribution centers have been set up by nurse-midwives in Dallas
-Fort Worth and Galveston,Texas. Thousands of families are being offered shelter and support in Texas, and many midwives will be providing health care services to these families. They have graciously agreed to accept and work with local relief efforts to distribute your donations. Donors may send ready-to-use blankets and baby clothes to either of the following addresses:

Texas Health Care Nurse-Midwives
1050 South 5th Avenue, Suite F
Fort Worth, Texas 76104.
Phone (24 hour) is 817-870-3686

Carolyn Nelson Becker, CNM
Dept of Ob/Gyn UTMB
301 University Blvd
Galveston, TX 77555-0587"

Friday, September 02, 2005


My prayers are with the people of Louisiana and Mississippi. My baby brother was evacuated safely from his university the weekend before the storm hit, the only other family I have in LA were out of harm's way and I got word yesterday that the mama-zinester I was worrying about got her family out safely as well, so I am very grateful. Very grateful. I wish everyone else was also as blessed as I am.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Works of Sandra Boynton

The Lone Star Baby has decided that board books by Sandra Boynton totally rock. I have to agree that they are very good, so rhythmic and funny.

My Daughter, The Conspiracy Theorist

While a good friend of hers from Girl Scouts is in her class, most of the friends who have been the Lone Star Girl's classmates in previous years are not in her class this year and she is sort of bummed about that. Yesterday, she told me her theory about the different classroom compositions this year: she thinks it is a plot to separate her group of friends who protested the sending of stray dogs to Animal Control last year. She thinks the principal might not even know, but that the assistant principal decided it was trouble to have that group of girls together and split them up among the different fourth grade classrooms. I told her she had lost her mind, and that neither the principal or the assistant principal would do that. She said she wasn't so sure...they had caused trouble, annoyed people. The assistant principal probably wanted to be sure it did not happen again. I told her that her assistant principal was in the running for most cool and tolerant person on Earth and that he adored her and would never do such a thing. She disagrees. Nine years old and she honestly thinks The Man is trying to suppress her activism.

This just supports my own theory that children who take up their parents' values get more radical with each generation. My mother is more radical than her caring and compassionate mother was, I am more radical than my caring and compassionate mother is and the Lone Star Girl? At this rate, we'll be lucky if the FBI's not really looking into what she checks out from the library by the time she's twelve. She often asks me if I will be mad if she gets arrested for protesting...this? That? She seems to think it is a foregone conclusion that arrests are in her future. Oh my.

Good Heinlein Juveniles

Have Spacesuit, Will Travel
Tunnel In The Sky
The Star Beast
The Rolling Stones
Red Planet
Farmer In The Sky
Podkayne of Mars