Conversations with Abigail

Taken as verbatim as I can recall from a conversation during our early morning drive to ballet class today:

Abigail: Mommy? Someday I would like to go visit Noah and the Ark.
Tricia: Oh really? Hmmmmm.
Abigail: Yes, Mom, someday when I am bigger I want to go see Noah.
Tricia: Well, honey, we can’t actually go see Noah.
Abigail: Why not? Does he live very far away?
Tricia: No dear, because Noah lived a very long time ago and now he is in heaven with God.
Abigail: Oh.
Tricia: Yes, he lived a good long life and after he was very old God took him home to live with him in heaven.
Abigail: Ok Mommy, but when I get really really really really really big and much older and bigger and very taller then I will try to go see Noah because he listened to God and he built the ark like God told him to.
Tricia: Oh.

And to wrap up the day, as she was getting her jammies on tonight, she looked way back in her closet and discovered an old dress of mine that I wore for my ninth grade graduation in Saudi Arabia which I have set aside for her to do with as she pleases when she is older. This is what we talked about then:

Abigail: Mommy, is this my dress?
Tricia: Well, sort of. That is a dress I wore when I was younger, when I was a big girl.
Abigail: And will I wear it when Jonathan and I get married?
Tricia: What?
Abigail: Is it my dress to wear when Jonathan and I get married?
Tricia: Sweetheart, you and Jonathan aren’t going to get married.
Abigail: No Mom, I mean when we are really big and really older then I will wear this dress and we will get married.

Martha Would Frown

As I was making preparations for this evening’s supper (we were having company) it dawned upon me that while I had thought through providing a balanced meal in the sense of many food groups, types, etc, I had not taken much time to consider the colors involved. Imagine my mortification when I realized everything I was planning to serve was either yellow or orange!

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!

Martha would be horrified. Thankfully, our guests, Miss Randa and Mr. Garrett (or Mr. Carrot as Jonathan calls him!) were not quite as critical! Thanks, guys!! But just so you can picture it, here is what we had:

Chicken Enchiladas
Sweet Potatoes
Cantaloupe
Corn Chips/Salsa
(I know Mom, there’s no green vegetable, but I couldn’t think of one which went nicely with Mexican…and my kids won’t eat salad, but they love sweet potatoes and cantaloupe!!)

At any rate, can you envision this amalgamation of yellow-orange screaming with brightness all over our dining table? Which incidently happens to be covered by a yellow cloth and decorated with — oh no!! — DAISIES!!! Horrors!!

Jonathan’s First Shiner

Though I hesitate to write another entry on bodily injury, this one really does merit highlighting. First, some background:

Jonathan is in the midst of an interesting new phase of life: potty training. Though his attitude toward the whole thing does wax and wane depending on his mood, he has now proven his ability to stay dry during the better part of a week. Satisfied with that accomplishment, he is back in the “I will go to the potty when I feel like it” phase. Given he just recently turned two, I think he is doing beautifully, and we are giving him his space on this one.

Well, Monday before his nap, he felt the need to visit the potty and so off he trotted. He did quite well until it came time to climb down when he tripped on his little stepstool (Jonathan is quite short and this particular stool has two levels on it) and fell into the side of the bathtub, eye first.

IMG_1132_small.jpgPoor Jonathan!! He hit just outside the corner of his eye and the area swelled up immediately and turned a pale shade of blue, then a darker shade of blue, then purple. All in about two minutes of time. I know it hurt him terribly, for he cried much longer than he normally would over a “bump”. After comforting him as best I could I made the call to my wonderful pediatric nurse (this was the worst “owie” we’d yet encountered in our 4+ years of parenting) who gave me the ins and outs of this type of injury, what to watch for, etc. Jonathan very sweetly submitted to my ministrations to his eye: icing the injured area while he lay very still in my arms, sucking on a “sticky lollipop” as he calls them.

Three days later my baby boy looks as though someone hauled off and punched him right in the eye. It has turned all various shades of purple, green, red and yellow. We get quite a few curious looks when we are out and about as well as many questions regarding the cause of the injury.

It is hard not to kick myself over this whole thing since I was with Jonathan in the bathroom and right there as he fell (he’s navigated the potty/stool successfully many times). Perhaps this is an early example of Mom not being able to be available to prevent all falls, bumps, bruises, etc. At any rate, we are being very careful with his tender little eye and trying to give extra hugs and kisses to our sweet Jonathan.

Expressions of Hope

Expressions of hope are starting to emerge from under the shadow of Saddam. I hope we do right for these people. I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure what “doing right” means. I’m fairly certain it means not turning the country over to the UN, but beyond that, I’m not sure.

The Apple Does Not Fall Far From the Tree!

It was lunchtime, and I’d gotten Abigail and Jonathan seated at the table when the phone rang. I answered the call, and took Nicolas into the nursery to change his diaper while I chatted briefly (I have one of those newfangled headset things which make accomplishing tasks easier while talking). I was only gone for about 3 minutes. When I returned I was shocked to see a little pile of lovely strawberry blonde hair on the floor below Abigail’s chair. There she sat with scissors in hand about to chop off another lock. “NO!!!” I managed to blurt out before I started hyperventilating.

Well, if she has a career as a hairdresser in her future, hopefully her haircutting skills will improve. She didn’t do such a swell job on this her first try. It seems she took a large chunk out of the middle of her bangs and then neatly lopped about 4 inches off either side in front on the long part of her hair. Which had finally grown long and thick enough to pull back in a ponytail. And which had actually been quite pretty, all one length except for her little fringe of bangs.

When I asked her why she was cutting her hair she answered very seriously, “Mom, it’s been a long time since I had a haircut.” This should reinforce the fact that preschoolers don’t have a real well-developed sense of time, because I had just taken her and Jonathan for cuts last month. But she really believed she needed a haircut! Furthermore, in her mind, she wasn’t breaking any rules: I’d never stipulated that we aren’t to use our little play scissors for hair-cutting!

My hairdresser managed to fix up the sides of Abigail’s hair such that they are neatly angled and look a bit more purposeful. As far as the bangs though, it’s just going to take some time. And coincidently, preschool pictures are scheduled for Tuesday. :) We may choose to have her wear a decorative hat!

But this little incident caused me to think back to my own childhood. I remember a scenario rather similar to this one. I was a little older, around 8 I think, when I heard my mom mention that she needed to trim my little sister Sandy’s bangs. “Well,” I thought to myself, “I can help Mom by doing this little job for her.” I know at the time that it never occurred to me that I might be transgressing by cutting my little sister’s hair. Well, I got out my very own pair of blunt-edged play scissors and went to town on Sandy’s coif. If I remember correctly, I trimmed those bangs almost all the way back to her scalp. What I didn’t know was, my mom had already given Sandy the bang trim before I got to her. Oops.

Little Sandy, who had a high hairline and a cute cherubic round face at the time, looked a bit strange for quite a while, thanks to her really helpful big sister. It’s probably good she didn’t know enough to be horrified at what I’d done. Sorry again, Sandy!!

But, thinking back on my own adventures in hair-cutting helped temper my reaction to my own daughter’s behavior. She is much younger than I was when I first forayed into hair-cutting and deserves a chance to learn what is appropriate and what is not. This was a fairly harmless way to do just that. In general, Abigail is quite trustworthy in many things for being only four, and on the whole, she’s very obedient. And certainly having two younger brothers so close in age behind her has caused Jay and I to expect alot of her, and maybe even more than we should. In the grand scheme of things this is really no big deal. And as she said to me yesterday, “Mom, I’ll never cut my hair again!”

Yet Another Blog!

It is with great pleasure that we introduce another blog to you. Our good friends, the Clemmons, have joined our group in Cyberspace and we are very excited! Doubtless you have heard them referenced many times on our blog: Steph is a wonderful friend and another Mommy Swap Buddy. Our kids are all very good chums (little British term there!). David is both a friend and co-worker of Jay’s. We look forward to hearing their thoughts, musings and goings-on! Welcome, Friends Clemmons!! :)

Oopsy-Daisy!!

So who knew painting could be so dangerous?? It seemed a simple enough task. There I was, diligently finishing up the last part of my little project, pleased that I would be done just before Jay arrived home, so he could witness the fruits of my labor. ladder_fall.jpgAfter debating about it for several months, I had finally removed several hangers for curtains that we left attached above our window frames in the living areas of the house when we moved in. Just in case we decided to use the rods: they were already paid for and installed, so moving them seemed silly if indeed we were going to just put curtains on them sometime “soon”. Well, after a year and a half with no curtains to speak of, I decided they must come down. And, besides, I’m hostessing a baby shower tomorrow at the house so this was a great incentive to get going on my little project.

But, as I was saying, I was close to finished: I’d unscrewed the curtain hardware, which was tricky (to me) because I had to learn about an “Allen wrench” (thank you Steph for the brief lesson, thank you Jay for having a well-stocked tool bench!); spackled neatly over all the little holes the screws left and was painting over the spackle above my last set of windows in our living room. These windows are the tallest I had to work on, so I was straddled atop our six foot ladder (which I’d been using throughout this project without any trouble), balancing my little paint can and brush. As I went to apply the paint, I suddenly felt the ladder just “go away” from underneath me. All 130 pounds of me plus my very open, very full paint can went flying through the air. In that instant as I fell all I could think was, “Hold the paint can steady, Trish, or you will make a terrible mess all over the rug!” (And that just wouldn’t do with 35-40 guests due to show up in less than 24 hours!!)

As I crashed to the floor, it occurred to me that I was in a fair amount of pain. There was a large bleeding gash on my right thigh, a welt forming on the back of my left leg, another bruised lump on my right shin, and my right big toe was throbbing, the result of gouging a hole at the base of it. Besides these quite visible injuries, I had additionally “sat down” rather hard on the ladder when I fell…ouch. However, I had successfully held the paint can steady!! Except for a teeny dribble along the side of the can, I’d kept the liquid contained.

When Jay arrived home, accompanied by our friend David as they had picked up folding chairs from the church in prep for tomorrow’s festivities, I did not get to show them quite the completed job I’d hoped for. However, they were properly sympathetic toward my wounds and duly impressed with my heroic saving of the paint. Thanks, Guys!

After inspecting the fallen ladder, we can only surmise that for whatever reason, the ladder, a six foot metal one with hinged middle and sides so as to allow it to double as a “platform”, buckled at the hinge on one of its sides, thereby causing the entire structure to essentially fold up and fall over with me on top. Though it was rather low on my list of things I wanted to do tonight, I managed to get up the courage to climb the ladder to finish painting my last few patches of spackle. Thankfully, I got to also climb back down this time instead of being dropped! I assure you that I shall hereafter maintain a greater sense of respect for all ladders!!

The Bliss of Organization

Those of you who know me very well can attest to the fact that I am what might be referred to in politically-correct terms, “highly organizationally challenged”. Don’t get me wrong: I like organization alot. I just never really learned to do it well, and once done, I’ve never worked hard enough at maintaining what was begun. This makes life difficult in some respects, but especially more so as we acquire greater numbers of children, and with them, a plethora of toys, clothing, and books, etc of many sizes and shapes.

Perhaps I have come down with some sort of spring cleaning bug, but for whatever reason, the general clutter of things has gotten to me more of late. So, over the past week I have made some serious efforts at organizing certain areas of the house which are highly used and could benefit from some attention to detail. And I must say, the sense of accomplishment from this work has been monumental.

On Friday after I took apart and redid the pantry I proudly showed the results of my work to Jay (he, by the way, is in general a very well-organized person, thank you Lord,for this grace in my life!). He was immensely pleased, to say the least. And so was I. Subsequently, I redid my system for all of our tupperware and tackled a huge project: the kids’ craft cabinet. Sadly, this storage space had become so bad that things would often come flying out at you when you opened it to get the crayons, for instance. This area took the most time and thought but tonight I am happy to report that games, crayons, stickers, playdough, etc, are neatly stowed in lovely plastic containers of various sizes and shapes. And I feel like a new person!!

There are a few basics I have come away with as I worked on these little projects. For those of you who are highly organized, this will be elementary. For others like me perhaps they will shed new light on the whole concept of becoming organized. I will note that I didn’t take these points from a book or anything; they were the fruit of thinking and working through the process, so take them with a grain of salt, if you are even interested.

Visit to the park

Here are some photos from our trip to the park yesterday. It was Nicolas’ first time in a swing, and Jonathan’s first time on a big boy swing. To top off the experience, we managed to drive away without our stroller. Thankfully, it was still there 3 hours later when we realized the mistake and returned for it.