Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tired Ramblings of a Newly Verbal Toddler

This afternoon, I was driving back from "kneehab," the knee physical therapy I have been undergoing since The Kitchen Incident wherein I slipped on one of the girls water projects and badly dislocated my knee. I haven't described it here, but I should also be considering counseling for the post-traumatic stress disorder that whole incident has caused me. On kneehab days, MiMi and Granddaddy watch the girls at there house and we eat lunch there and make it back to SmallTown around 1:30 and hence go down for afternoon naps about half and hour late. I know L and E are exhausted when we get home, but I wasn't sure how in tune they were with the fact they were so very tired until today. As we were driving down the highway, I saw some cows and, like a good mom pointed them out "Look girls, cows!" And E looked out of the car window, waved and, in the most weary voice you can imagine said "Moo, cows. Night Night." I just wanted to record it for posterity. Here they are before church a couple of Sundays ago, although L is the one who looks tired here and is, as she likes to do, is avoiding the flash by squinting:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More, Part II

Like I said, we decided to use a few signs, but not make a big deal of it. So about two months ago, I was sitting at the kitchen table folding laundry. We have an open floor plan, so it's really like sitting in the living room itself some of their books. It was right after breakfast, so both girls were still moving a little slowly and were sitting on the floor reading while I worked. After a few minutes, L. brought one of our nursery rhymes books over. This particular book strikes me as odd, in the sense that besides Humpty Dumpty, I don't really consider the contents to be nursery rhymes- they are actually all children's songs, like Row, Row Row Your Boat and I'm a Little Teapot. So for the most part, I sing a lot of the book, just to avoid the unnatural feeling that comes with saying in a nursery rhyme voice, "Twinkle, twinkle, little star." I know those of you who have heard me sing are considering how much time you have later this afternoon to contact child protective services, but in my defense, you would totally do the same thing if you had to read this book eighty times a day, which I did, because it was L.'s favorite book that week. So, anyway. I assumed that L. wanted me to pick her up, set her in my lap and read the book to her. But when I tried to pick her up, she squirmed away and put the book in my lap, patting the page she had it open to. I started to sing Itsy Bitsy Spider, because it seemed like that was what she was wanting me to do. She immediately ran two feet away into the living room and started to dance. ( I may not have mentioned this before, but L. is a wonderful dancer). When I finished the song, she ran back over and said and signed "mohwwer." I sang the song again, and again, she ran back over and asked for more. After my third version of the song, she just looked up and signaled more so as not to interrupt her dancing by manually asking me to sing. She was obviously in a groove and needed the music to continue. After my sixteenth time (really!) through the song, she was done and came over and took the book out of my hands and continued on to her next activity. Hands down it was my favorite stay-at-home mommy moment to that date (more on my new favorite moment in another post). Here are some pictures of L. If I muster up the courage, I may attempt to post some video footage of her lovely dancing at some point, but as it stands, I'm always forgetting that I can even use hyperlinks, so don't be disappointed if you're her grandparent and that takes awhile.

L. having a pre-church snack.

L. helping with clean up after said snack.
L. playing with her new tea set from Grammy and Gramps at Christmas.
Rob and I wonder where she learned to down her drinks this way.
L. with her sister, riding on camel. I just think she looks beautiful here.

Friday, February 01, 2008

5 Weird Things About Me

Because I know you come here for the weirdness. I've been getting some harshness in the comments about my lack of posting. There are a few more parts to my "More" series in the works, but I interrupt that to bring you this important post. I have never before responded to being tagged by a fellow blogger, but, well, there's a first time for everything. It might be helpful to jump over to my friend Heather (of the Chris and Heathers at left) and scroll back a couple of posts to see her responses, because some of my weird things are sort of the opposite of hers. Maybe it's why we're able to be friends. So five weird things about me:

1. Psychologically, I really have to shower every day. I feel sort of creepy and filthy if I go to bed without having showered and shaved. On one level, I love the idea of camping, but as I overheard Rob telling my mom over Christmas when she was talking about we could take the girls camping a lot in the new tent my parents got him " Emily will probably only be a good camper when I figure out how to lug a bathtub into the wild." It's probably true, and that makes me sad for Rob, who loves camping and not showering. I encourage myself by saying that I bring other things to our marriage besides cleanliness and a natural camping disability- but I don't know., maybe I don't. For the record, though, I am willing to camp and I have gone without showering- it's just that I have to walk around skeeved out by my unclean self the whole time. While I was on bedrest and permitted only 30 minutes a day upright, which included bathroom trips and eating, I would hoard my minutes so I could spend 15 minutes of them bathing. And I was on bedrest during the winter- so it's not like I was working up a sweat or anything like that. As I write this, I know I sound like I have OCD and that I would probably benefit from some therapy, but I'm just trying to be honest.
2. I really like my feet. Like all teenage girls, I had some things about myself I was really insecure about, but I was always unnaturally confident about my feet. About once a week or so (actually much less since I had children), I give myself a mini-pedicure, because I enjoy feeling that my feet looking pretty. I can't tell about E yet, but L definitely has my feet, so that's nice for her.
3. I enjoy bacon (almost as much as Christy)! In college, Jennifer (of the Michael and Jennifers) and I would go to Subway for lunch on Monday, Wednesday and Friday before our 12:30 campus ministry meeting and I would always get my favorite, a "B" sandwich (with no "L"or "T) on wheat, toasted. Two years later, at the same Jennifer's wedding rehearsal dinner, one of the Subway employees was waiting tables at the restaurant where the event was being held. It was really quiet at our table when she yelled "Hey! I know you! You're the Bacon Girl!" Even if you like bacon a lot, I don't know of anyone who is female who would care to be known as the bacon girl. Or a lot of men who'd want to be called "Bacon Girl" either, now that I think about it.
4. I'm irrationally competitive with Robert about Arkansas versus Oklahoma (the states, not the schools). But in life, I don't care, because I can acknowledge the failings of my home state. Most recently, for "the Holidays" as we refer to my birthday week in my family, Rob drove me to "the City" as people who live in Oklahoma City call Oklahoma City (see- when I'm being rational, I can make fun of Oklahomans- it's just when Rob does it that it irks me) to see a concert. We had a wonderful time and as we were driving home, the whole debate flared up again. For those of you not blessed to come from the Sooner State, to understand the following incident you need to know that Oklahoma does, in fact, have an inordinate number of toll roads and it makes Rob crazy that you have to pay to drive there. He likes to complain about this, even when he's driving in one of my parents' cars, as we were this particular evening, where he has a PikePass. Anyway, in addition to that Oklahoma, apparently, has hired some sort of marketing firm to promote the state and there are these billboards up everywhere boasting about people from the state, things that have been invented here, etc. And we passed one that said "Oklahoma- The Parking Meter was Invented Here." I saw it coming even before he said it " it just seems natural that you guys would be proud of the fact that you'd found a way to charge people just for having their cars sit still, given that you're still trying to find a way to charge them for driving up their own driveways." So now Arkansas is up by two points in the score keeping, which makes me sad. And a little mad.
Speaking of billboards, this reminds me that there is one that drove me absolutely insane in Atlanta (forgive me if I've blogged about this before). At the intersection near our church, a local hospital had an ad that showed a middle aged man with the quote "Blank Hospital literally gave may a new lease on life. (emphasis mine)" Because they have a heck of a legal department there.
5. I have good head theology that I am constantly having to use to correct my crazy heart theology. There was this guy in a high school English class I took who was a member of the debate team. One day, Mrs. H., our teacher, asked as part of a class discussion, if anyone had any superstitions or things they did to bring them good luck, like lucky socks or whatever. God bless him, he raised his hand and said that before he had a big debate, he would grab a stick of deodorant and make an X across his chest. I remember thinking, "even if I did something like that I would never say it out loud," but in my old age, I've come to respect the power of saying the bizarre things we believe we can do to control the universe to help us give some perspective and help us snap out of it. For a long time, I secretly believed that the reason Rob and I could not have children was my lack of spiritual discipline. From the time I was 13 years old, I had been fairly consistent about taking time to read Scripture daily and pray. When I was 22, I went on staff with a campus ministry where there was an expectation, on the part of my supervisor at least, that I would spend an hour a day in prayer and an hour in Bible study and devotional reading (which was probably fair, given that it was part of my job). He actually used to say, "No quiet time, no breakfast." I'm glad that wasn't my rule; since having the girls, I would spend a lot of time hungry (yet probably fantastically slender)- because, well- before breakfast? I'm lucky to be out of my pajamas before 9. Anyway, it was a big transition for me when I left staff to return to graduate school. I don't know about you, but even when I was just in grad school and married, I didn't have two hours to devote to that every day. And for the first time, when we moved to Atlanta, I would occasionally have a day or two where I didn't get to pray or I didn't get to read (or make time to) and I was plagued with guilt about it. When we weren't getting pregnant, part of me knew that it was because there was something actually physically wrong. But the part of me that's theologically a little off was fairly certain that it was because I was missing time with God and wouldn't be a spiritually fit mother (because as a quick look at Peopl*e magazine tells you, that's the criteria God is using to decide which people become parents) these days). Friends like Heather and Rhianna indicated that perhaps that was faulty reasoning in the sense they both conceived easily and had occasionally missed a quiet time (I may have misunderstood them- I have no concrete evidence that either has ever gone a day without deep prayer and meditation on Scripture). And the thing is, if you had come into my counseling office at this time and told me YOU believed all of this in your heart, I would have empathized with you and pointed you to Scripture to help you correct your thinking; but I just wasn't admitting it out loud yet. It was only when I was about 32 weeks pregnant that I began to give up the notion that my private devotional life had anything to do with God's long term plan. I remember clearly lying there on the couch thinking "if my babies don't survive this pregnancy, it's not because I didn't try." It was one of the most spiritually convicting moments I have ever had-I was trying to work hard enough in my relationship with God so that my children would live and that was a sad commentary on the kind of character I thought God had and my own egocentrism that I could do something that would guarantee life for my kids. Sad for me that I was working that hard rather than enjoying God's grace and probably a source of grief to the Lord that I was acting like if I made a wrong move He would take my children. Please don't send me an e-mail telling me that spiritual disciplines are just that disciplines and I will reap great benefit in my relationship with God if I'm disciplined- I know that. But I've been enjoying the new freedom that if I don't have a quiet time today God won't hear me and respond to me- that even the desire to spend time with Him is a gift and He can enable me to do what I need to do to grow spiritually without living in superstitious fear of what He will do if I don't work at it hard enough. It allows me to do super-spiritual things like I did this morning, where my quiet time consisted of pretending to be asleep on the couch while E and L climbed up on my stomach to read and praying for 7 minutes while they took turns pointing out my eyes, ears and nose to one another (don't judge me Rhianna). I had to stop, though, when they began working together to create a tower of books to use to climb high enough to open the refrigerator themselves, one of their new life goals.
As another example of my faulty thinking about who controls what, I always have to get a Coke from Son*ic on my way to teach this course I'm teaching on Thursday nights at the university where Robert works, because the night I taught my first class where I had a Son*ic Coke went really well and we all know what might happen if I don't have one. Ironically, this is a a class on methods and statistics where a big theme is "just because two things correlate, doesn't mean one causes the other." Oh, well. The bad theology thing is just a work in progress, I guess.
I hereby tag Rhianna, Christy, Brea and my sister Erin (although I'd love to tag Erin PhD, she's got a lot going on!!!).