Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Okay, so I'll tell you right now this entry has nothing at all to do with being a disabled mom. But please, indulge me. I think you'll find what I'm about to say very interesting....

Sweetie is named after my maternal grandmother. That is, she has my grandmother's name as one of her middle names (yes, Sweetie has 2 middle names. Her first middle name was a last-minute add-on in honor of the time of year she was born).

My mom's mom passed away some time ago - before I was married. Before I ever met my husband, in fact. But yet, my mom says that she sees hints of her mom in Sweetie in her everyday actions. For instance, my grandmother hated opened kitchen cabinets and would always make sure to close them when she went in the room. Now my mom watches Sweetie as she skips through her kitchen, non-chalantly closing the opened cabinet doors as she scampers by.

So maybe Sweetie has taken on a bit of my grandmother's persona. I had never thought much about it until sometime last week when Sweetie told me something very interesting.

It was a day last week when we were all home. Sweetie was her high-energy, silly ball-of-energy self, running around our house and singing songs. All of a sudden she says to me "Mommy, I saw Nana's Chuckpa today."

Not catching exactly what she said - checkbook?, jackpot? - she repeated herself so that I could clearly hear her say that she saw Chuckpa today. Chuckpa is what my brothers, cousins and I called my maternal grandfather. (okay, if you need to know, it's because his name is Charles and they tried to get my oldest brother to say Grampa Chuck, but it came out Chuckpa. And so that's what we all called him).

Sweetie has never met Chuckpa. He passed away before she was born.

She went on to say that she saw Chuckpa sitting on a swing.


I called my mom to ask if she'd shown Sweetie any pictures of Chuckpa recently. She said she hadn't - not since several weeks ago. And certainly none of them showed him anywhere near a swing, let alone sitting on one.


We asked Sweetie if she saw a picture of him or if she actually saw him. She said she saw him.


So, what could I say? I told her to say hi to him for me the next time she sees him and that I miss him.

Cut to just yesterday. Sweetie is now sick with a pretty bad cough and cold. My husband picked her up from my mom's house after work and I greeted them at home when they arrived. Sweetie rested her head on her Daddy's shoulder and told me that she was sick and didn't feel good. Then she said something about Nana being sick too.

"Yeah, Nana doesn't feel very well either." I agreed.

"Nana's Chuckpa doesn't feel good, either." Were the next words out of Sweetie's mouth.

I asked my husband if she had in fact said what I thought she said. He agreed, that's definitely what she said.


We have not spoken to her about her "sighting" last week. No one has. So, for her to bring him up again like this is just totally weird.

And cool.

And eerie.

But, really, very cool.

I definitely have no problem believing in ghosts. I've never seen one myself, but I believe that they exist. And I know that kids and animals are highly susceptible to seeing ghosts and interacting with them.

So maybe Sweetie has taken on a bit of my grandmother's persona - and my grandfather is just hanging out around her to be close to his "wife".

I'm very interested to see if this connection continues/lasts between Sweetie and Chuckpa. At any rate, I'm very happy that they are able to know each other, even if they never met here in the physical world.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Joy

Merry Christmas, everyone! Hope your holiday was filled with happiness and joy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

Sweetie turned 3 years old yesterday! And, yes, she saw Santa. She did great - warming up to the Big Guy after he sang "Happy Birthday" to her. The small bag of M&M's he offered her didn't hurt, either.

We were happy to be the 4th group in line, but unfortunate enough to arrive just as Santa was leaving for his dinner break. Waiting in line for over 1 hour went better than could be expected, though, as Sweetie proved better behaved than the 5-7 year olds in line behind us.

As for me, I was happily shocked to find that standing in one spot for that long of a time had no ill effects on my leg. Up until recently, walking and/or standing for even 5-10 minutes at a pop results in my left leg going numb. But not last night! Thank you, chiropractic care! And maybe even the magic of Santa helped me through the long wait.

Sweetie took a very cute picture with Mr. Claus, but unfortunately, I don't have a digital version of that. So here's a shot of her opening her presents at home once the Santa festivities were over (still wearing her Santa-go-to-meetin' dress).

Sunday, December 18, 2005

"Stimpily Happy One Two The Christmas Time"

Now, imagine this entry's title sung to the tune of a popular Christmas song performed by Paul McCartney. That's right, Sweetie was entertaining us yesterday with her own version of "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time". Very creative.

Sweetie has been able to talk very well for quite some time now. We have no problem understanding her wants and needs and she is very clear about expressing her creative ideas in words and song. In fact, she typically uses an over abundance of words to get her ideas across. "Mommy, can you come to my pretty room with me and you sleep around of me in my big girl bed?" and "Grampy, can you please pick me up so that I can see the balloons on the Christmas tree much better?" are two examples of her verbose sentence structure.

Given Sweetie's excellent grasp of language, it still surprises me how much she takes the things she hears at face value. Meaning, for instance, her understanding of the McCartney song above. She's only heard this song a couple of times, but what she believes is being said is "Stimpily Happy One Two The Christmas Time". Doesn't she get that that just doesn't make any sense?

Or, when watching T.V. recently, Dora the Explorer was visiting various animals, some of which were quite rare and exotic. Sweetie would ask me what the different animals were and it occurred to me that I could have said they were anything, and Sweetie would have believed me. I could have said, for instance, that the umbrella bird was a pumpernickel and Sweetie would have said, "Oh, that's a pumpernickel" quite seriously.

Anyway, Sweetie does understand quite a lot. And she does occasionally tell us when things "not even make any sense." So imagine my surprise when I read in a parenting magazine recently that, by the time a child is 3 - years old, they should be able to speak in three word sentences.

Heck, we just saw my cousin yesterday with her 22- month old daughter who was already clearly speaking five word sentences!

And then there's our babysitter's daughter, who was speaking full sentences (albeit not very complex) before age one. And at age 20 months or so, declared that her favorite 2 songs were "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and "Landslide" by the Dixie Chicks! Oh yeah, and she also loved "Mary Poppins" at this age and could say "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

Is it just me, or is the magazine's study purposefully setting the standard very low so that parents don't get overly concerned about their child's development, or are my husband and I, and the other parents we know, just doing an exceptional job of raising and teaching our children?

I'd like to think we're doing an excellent job - and I do believe this. I also have been told that Sweetie is very smart for her age. But seeing the development of all the other children in our lives around her age has shown me that she's not that far better or worse than any of them.

My husband and I also sometimes feel that we don't play enough with Sweetie - or ever have. We've often supervised her as she explores her own little world and learns to entertain herself with her toys and imagination. But we don't feel that we've truly interacted with her during playtime as much as we should have.

But I'm now thinking that this is not a bad thing. Learning to entertain herself and develop her own creativity has done her a world of good in her social skills and ability to self satisfy herself. Since as young as 6 months or so she has been able to quietly look at picture books and magazines for up to 20 minutes or more at a time.

This has been a lifesaver for me as a disabled mom, I must say. Not having to constantly hold, comfort and actively run around with her to occupy her time and make her happy has really been a necessity for both her and me.

Now, though, at 2 days away from 3 years old, things are changing (as I've reported here before). Now she's looking for a lot more interaction and entertainment from her mommy and daddy, and she's especially interested in daddy comforting her and picking her up to make her happy.

But playing Candyland, Caraboo, activity books and Memory with her, and talking with her about the rules of the various games, is a lot of fun for my husband and I. So great to help her learn from the activities in which we're all engaged.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Call

I did it. I made the call today to enroll my Sweetie in organized daycare. Yah, it's only going to be for 2 mornings a week, but it's still a big deal to me.

We made the decision to enroll her in daycare, even at these reduced hours, so that she can learn more about getting along and sharing with others her age. She does pretty well around her one good friend and her cousins that she sees often, but other young family and friends whom she sees considerably less is still a challenge for her.

We'd also like peer pressure to kick in a little bit to help her learn to eat more and, hopefully, to potty train. The facility we've chosen does not require their 3 year olds to be potty trained, but they do work closely with the kids and the parents to get the practice underway.

And, as my mom, the nurse, says, it will be good for her to get exposed to germs now, instead of waiting until kindergarten, so that we can hopefully get over and done with some of her nastier sicknesses ASAP.

But it's still going to be very hard for me to leave her on that first morning. She starts in early January - soon. I think she will do just fine with her new surroundings. I, on the other hand, will probably dissolve in a pile of tears.

Why do our kids have to grow up? Can't she stay two forever? There's too much pressure to be three: potty training, sleeping through the night, going to “school” and making new friends.

It’s a lot of responsibility for my little lady. But she can handle it. Can I?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Update on Bee

Great news, everyone! Bee had her baby!

For my regular readers who have been with me awhile, you'll remember Bee from a post I wrote back in August. She's a woman who, along with her husband, was expecting a baby daughter, after many natural attempts, through donor egg fertilization (sorry if I have that phrasology wrong). Well, turns out that prenatal tests showed the baby had spina bifida. So, I've been keeping up with Bee's story to see how both she and her daughter are progressing.

Well, Bee just posted a new entry to her own blog and announced that Madelyn Faith is here - arriving on November 28th! Her spinal opening was smaller than expected, and she pulled through the closure surgery like a trooper. Madelyn came out kicking those little legs of her's and her hydrocephalus was so mild that it took a full week to determine that she did in fact need to have a shunt put in.

Bee, on the other hand, had a rough pregnancy, with gestational diabetes and other illnesses. I'll let you click on over to her site for the full report. But I am thrilled to let it be known that everyone is now safe and happy. And Bee, baby and hubby are all totally in love with each other and doing well.

So nice to report a happier ending to this story than the doctor's originally diagnosed.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Will The Real Sweetie Please Stand Up?

Hi All! Here's a quick mid-week post directing you to my article in the Autumn DPPi Journal, out of London, England. The article also features a few nice pictures of me, Sweetie and my husband - heck, they even made Sweetie and I their cover models! Really cool. I'm proud of this article and so excited about my international print exposure.

One thing to note about my DPPi article - I wrote it a few months back, before Sweetie decided to turn 3 before her time. My mom even commented that this article makes Sweetie seem almost too perfect. I agree, especially based on her recent behavior. It's as if Sweetie got a hold of my article, read it herself and decided "Ha! Mommy thinks I'm so great. Well, I'll show her a thing or two!".

And the juxtaposition between my DPPi article and my December article at Audacity Magazine is almost comical. One discusses "good" Sweetie, the other, well, not so much.

But seriously - it's just very interesting to see how Sweetie is growing and changing - adapting to her environment and her more complex wants and needs. It's a challenge - for her and for us. But one of these days I know the "real" Sweetie will find herself and settle into a good, healthy pattern.

Ah, kids. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I Got Nothin' - But Everything I Need

I'm racking my brains for something to write about today, but can't come up with anything.

It's been a homebody day, what with my husband and I getting over yet another round of colds (and an ear infection for me). We put the tree up last night and decorated it, and the rest of the house, today. We have a warm fire going in the woodstove, Christmas music and videos playing in the background, and hot drinks and soups to fill or bellies.

Sweetie loved hanging up the ornaments and covered one particular section of the tree very well. :)

Tomorrow I'll set out for what I hope will be my last gift-purchasing shopping trip before the Big Day.

With so much to do during the holidays, it sure is nice to have a quiet day like today to spend at home with your family, watching the snow softly fall outside. So nice to soak in the season and smile, taking stock of all the wonderful things I already have in my life.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

"It's My Birthday, And We Go See Santa!"

For several months now we've heard the above statement excitedly, yet matter of factly, come out of the mouth of our Sweetie. Her birthday is only days before Christmas, so I told her, sometime mid-summer, that we'd go see Santa on her birthday. Ever since, and almost daily, Sweetie has reminded us of this thrilling upcoming event.

We keep asking her what she wants for her birthday and Christmas. All she says is "presents". She doesn't quite get what exactly is going to happen - and this is a good thing. She's at the perfect age where she's excited for the holidays, but doesn't exactly know why. And she's also at the perfect gift-giving age because all the things she's "into" - Play-doh", children's board games, puzzles - are all pretty inexpensive. Perfect! Big fun for her, little expense for us. Yay!

We do plan to give Sweetie a train set for Christmas - set up and running around the tree when we come downstairs Christmas morning. She loves trains. Loves to go to the children's room at Barnes and Noble and play with the train there for hours. So when a commercial recently came on the T.V. advertising a similar train set to the one we've got her, I asked Sweetie if she'd like Santa to bring her one of those. She looked at me with the widest, most awe-struck eyes and said "yah". Cool. I can't wait to see her face Christmas morning.

This weekend we're going to put up the tree. We have an artificial one, so it takes a bit of work. So my husband will simply put it up and light it this weekend, then we'll decorate it next weekend - unless we just can't take having a naked tree in the house that long. I can't wait to see what Sweetie thinks of this tradition. In years past she hasn't shown all that much interest in the tree preparation. This year, I think she'll be totally enthralled.

Then there's her advent calendar. Last year she had one and it was great fun to have her open the doors every morning then go tell Nana what was behind today's door. "Teddy bear", "snowman" or "Santa" are examples of her one-word answers we prompted her to give. But now she's able to say "Guess what, Nana! I opened the door today and it was a snowman with birdies on his hat. hah!" So fun. Only problem is that she's much too interested in her calendar and it's a fight to make her understand that she can only open one door a day.

Yes, this holiday season is certainly going to be a ton of fun this year. Happy Birthday Month, Sweetie. We love you.