Saturday, December 31, 2005
I am going to post my New Year's Resolutions below and then, if you like, you may post yours in the comments!
Lone Star Ma's Resolutions for 2006:
I will provide more structure for the girls: more family meals, more routines and traditions. Things have been kind of chaotic since the Lone Star Baby joined us!
I will be more patient with the Lone Star Girl.
I will cope with Lone Star Pa's school work needs gracefully until he finishes his certification and not go nuts over the fact that I am never able to work on my own projects.
When he is certified (late spring, early summer), I will finish at least one of the several books I have been writing in tiny installments.
PO Box 741655
New Orleans, LA
or via Paypal to email@example.com
More details & images can be seen on Coleen’s blog: www.supercenter.blogspot.com
These are some great calendars!!
Friday, December 30, 2005
I always set my watch fast. It started when Lone Star Pa and I were first together. I think it was something he did and that we applied to all of our shared timepieces. Eventually, I got into the habit of setting my watch ten minutes fast. Eventually, Lone Star Pa got annoyed by fast timepieces and stopped doing it. At some point, I added a little extra-fast to my watch so that it is now somewhere between ten and fifteen minutes fast...but I do not know exactly how much. So now I never really know what time it is if I only have my watch to go by.
The Lone Star Girl owns several watches but wears none of them. She prefers to ask me what time it is constantly until I become unglued.
Anyone who knows my husband at all well knows that his most frequently used Lone Star Pa-ism is "Age and other numbers are just establishment illusions."
I enjoy a silly series of books by Jasper Fforde that center around a character named Thursday Next who is a literary detective and a Jurisfiction agent. Her father is a member of the Chronoguard, the law enforcement outfit responsible for protecting the timeline, much like the temporal agents on Star Trek. I often call the Lone Star Girl chronoguard as a perjorative. It is truly her calling and may - who knows? - end up being her life's work. She is a real fuddy-duddy about changing the timeline. Disapproves of Hermione and all.
Time slips through my fingers...runs from me like a cheetah. There is never time enough to accomplish the things I want to do...not even the things I just should do. The Lone Star Girl is ten years old...I am 34...the baby is 18 months...where does it go? If I slowed it down, even just a bit, the Lone Star Girl would probably arrest me or something but it just goes too, too fast...
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Pray for rain....
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Lone Star Pa and the Lone Star Girl had few such solitary interludes when she was a baby. When I was not at work, she was always with me. I think I saw one movie without her (one of the Star Wars re-releases) before she was four years old. Many mothers have much more time with their babies than I am allowed, but when a mother must work away from them as much as I must, I do not think there is really any room for other separations in the earliest years. There just isn't enough time. And yet...the Lone Star Baby has spent several periods of time away from me when I was not at work, many it sometimes seems.
My feelings haven't really changed. It's just that I have two daughters, now. It's difficult. While I firmly believe that the early years are the very most crucial time in a person's emotional development and while that belief of mine causes the Lone Star Baby's need for time with me to trump everything else the vast majority of the time when I am not at work...it doesn't really do to deprive a blossoming pre-teen girl of one-on-one time with her mother either, you know? So I have had to compromise, as we all have to all the time, I know...but still. It feels at those times when I carve out some alone time for my older child that while it is right and necessary for her, it is wrong and harmful for the baby. Children are resilient, of course. I am doing the best I can do, of course. It troubles me, though...it really, really does.
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Last night, we had dinner at the home of the "other-Quaker-family-with-children" in town. I just love them and it was so nice of them to invite us and we had a lovely time. Then we drove around a bit to look at Christmas lights on our way home. At home, the children opened their Christmas Eve pajamas (pink with monkeys for the Lone Star Girl, red with Spider-Man for the Lone Star Baby) and put them on. Lone Star Pa read 'Twas The Night Before Christmas and I read the nativity story from the Gospel of Luke. Then the Lone Star Girl read the story on the last book from our advent calendar, hung it on the tree and put the figure of Baby Jesus in our nativity scene. We let the girls open presents from far-flung relatives and put out milk and cookies from Santa before they went to bed.
This morning the girls let us sleep past nine. It was nothing like when I was a child and, as the oldest, had to sleep across the door in the same room as my five siblings to prevent any of them from escaping before 6am, the time my parents deemed the absolute earliest that it was acceptable to wake them. We had a good sleep! Then the girls pillaged their stockings, oohed over their Santa-presents and unwrapped their presents from us. We had a brunch of the Lone Star Girl's special scrambled eggs, sweet orange rolls and breakfast strips, talked to out-of-town relatives on the phone and watched a movie that the Lone Star Girl had received. After naps, we went to visit my grandad and his family and now we are snug at home, cooking Christmas dinner. Lone Star Pa does have a touch of what I call the male-holiday-malaise (is it only men in my family who invariably get sick on all family holidays?), but otherwise we are having a great Christmas together. I hope you are all snug and happy with your families, too.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Gibbon's Decline and Fall by Sheri S. Tepper
The Gate To Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper
The Cradle Robbers by Ayelet Waldman
Singer From The Sea by Sheri S. Tepper
Next: Bait and Switch by Barbara Ehrenreich
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I feel so bad moving her to a different school. We have had nothing but excellent, amazing care where she is, but I think the babies are really their strong point at that school. If I could keep her with the wonderful, amazingly talented and caring teachers she has now, I would never, ever, ever move her, ever. But I can't. She was scheduled to move up to a different room this week if we had stayed; she would have had to leave her beloved teachers anyway. We don't really know the older rooms' teachers and so it is a good time for her move. Still.
It was hard.
The main thing I am looking forward to at the new Montessori school is that she will have the same teacher until she turns 3, then another teacher who she will have through her kindergarten year, ideally. I think it's better if she doesn't have to love people and then move on from them so often, and they change teachers like every six months in the toddler years at most day-cares. I think this will be better.
She will spend the rest of this week and next home with Lone Star Pa. Then I will take those first few days of January off with her and she will start her new school on the 5th! We keep talking about her visit and she seems excited about it. So much change!
Yesterday was the fourth grade's "Culture Day". The fourth grade studies Texas and they do a pilot project in which the kids are split into groups and each study one of several main cultures that immigrated to Texas and settled here. The Lone Star Girl is studying Ireland, where most of her maternal ancestors came from to escape famine. (She once asked me if there were any Celtic Queens or Princesses among our ancestresses. I told her no: just a bunch of starving people.) They move to different classrooms to study their chosen cultures, but have also learned a cultural dance in their homerooms. The Lone Star Girl's class learned a French folk dance. Yesterday, all of the children dressed up in the culture they were studying and had a parade in the morning. The Lone Star Girl wore a green and blue plaid dress with a thick sweater over it and a green hat...bit stereotypical perhaps, but she was cute. The different classes then each performed their dances for the rest of the grade and assorted parents and guests.
It was also the day for the class's senior citizen service project. I was in charge of organizing this for the Lone Star Girl's class. I am not good Room Mom material, as I have discussed in a previous post, but I did my best. I focused on activities that would allow kids and seniors to work together at something, rather than the typical kids doing-for thing, because I have learned from our City's Senior Community Services Division that it is important to break down stereotypes that seniors are helpless, etc. I wanted to have a chair volleyball game with the seniors and students, something local seniors from the senior centers do sometimes, but the teacher was really into a book group idea so we went with that. Several senior volunteers came and watched the children's dances, then came to our classroom. They broke into groups with the students and discussed a book they had read for the occasion, and books and reading in general, while having refreshments. Then they did a craft I had organized, making little beeswax ornaments together, so that each child and senior had a momento of the time they spent together. It went pretty well, I thought.
It was also the last day before Winter Break, so all the classes had their winter parties. Each child in the Lone Star Girl's class brought a food from the culture they were studying. It was fun. Busy day....
Monday, December 19, 2005
Saturday, December 17, 2005
In more progressive practices, a midwife or OB will give their home number to a woman who expresses preferences about the sort of birth she wants to have so that the attendant can attend the birth whether she or he is on call or not. Also, if they are not going to be available, they will discuss the case with their back-up to see to it that the family's wishes can be respected in their absence. It does not sound like much of this would happen with the new system.
Most U.S. births today occur in ways that stress convenience and lack of legal liability for physicians and hospitals. They do not, unfortunately, stress safety for mothers and babies. Study after study has shown that midwife attended births, which usually are more personalized and occur in the context of a relationship between family and birth attendant and which emphasize natural methods of pain relief and labor progression, rather than over-reliance on less safe chemical and surgical methods, are actually safer births, with better outcomes for mothers and babies alike. Innovations that move mothers more into the hands of hospitals, which specialize in drugs and surgery, are not true progress. We are all glad that hospitals are there with their medicines and surgeries for emergencies, but natural methods, employed by attendants who know a laboring woman and her needs, should be the norm. This trend would just move the norm even further from that ideal.
The Lone Star Girl is really a wonderful big sister who spends lots of time with the baby, but not everything a ten-year-old does is conducive to including a baby, of course. Poor little sweetheart. She wants to be big, too!
In an ironic twist of fate, many of the Lone Star Baby's possessions will not be allowed due to the school's policy prohibiting "violent characters", and specifically naming Spider-Man and Hulk, among others. This is ironic because I am the most strict mother I know when it comes to violent media of any kind, including books. I do not allow my children exposure to any violent media before the age of 7, even very high-quality literature like The Chronicles of Narnia books, because I believe children's minds are very absorbent before that time and that they have no filters to prevent them from becoming what they are exposed to in those early years. I do not know anyone else who is as careful about this as I am, so it seems really weird that such a policy, which I fully agree with in principle, would be so inconvenient for us. The Spider-Man and Wonder-Woman that the Lone Star Baby knows are not violent, though. They come from Spider-Man & Friends books about playing frisbee and cuddly dolls and songs that do not show any fighting. Since the Lone Star Baby has never experienced them in a violent context at all and does not know that they are ever portrayed with such a context, I have no problem with them. I will have to comply, though. We'll just have to play dancing super heroes at home!
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
School choirs come to sing (and even play recorders!) at City Hall this time of year. It is such a gift to hear their little voices brightening up the halls where public servants work so hard on things that often take so long to come to fruition. Music is one of the nicest things about the holidays, I think.
Monday, December 12, 2005
The Lone Star Baby started talking about shapes at about a year, but colors have thus far eluded her. Just this week, though, she seems to have figured out pink and blue and likes to go around pointing at things saying "Pink!" or "Bueoooo..."
The Lone Star Girl was a very verbal baby, as well, but it is hard to remember clearly. I really don't think she talked as much as this one does by a long shot. It was fun to keep up with the baby's vocabulary for a few months, but now, I couldn't possibly. It seems to have grown geometrically and I would have to guess it at around 300 words, but I really have no idea. She says "Hestia" (our cat's name), "dinosaur", the names of everyone she knows and their pets if she has met them, she knows that "cold" and "frio" mean the same thing, as well as "wind" and "viento" and uses them correctly. She says not only "tree", but also "bark" and "leaf". She labels shapes, animals, animal sounds, body parts, just about everything she sees or ("airplane!") hears. She employs simple commands like "hold you!","walk!", "outside!", "down!", "all done!", "other one!", "cup!", "milk!", etc. and sometimes softens them with "please" and the occasional "thank you". I'm not being boastful, just...a little dazed, I guess. Life with these small ones is always such an amazement a minute and she is amazing me more than I expected. I thought I was an old hand, already, so she has to teach me different!
Thursday, December 08, 2005
I get Christmas cards from the psychiatric hospitals.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Monday, December 05, 2005
Three Wise Women
by Mary Hoffman
by Barbara Barrie
A Dozen Silk Diapers
by Melissa Kajpust
Too Many Tamales
by Gary Soto
The Winter Solstice
by Ellen Jackson
A Full House
by Madeleine L’Engle
The Gifts of Kwanzaa
by Synthia St. James
What Child Is This?
by Caroline B. Cooney
The Winter Gift
by Deborah Turney Zagwyn
Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas
by Madeleine L’Engle