And this little piggy

is about to go Wii, Wii, Wii, all the way home.

My punching muscles ache. My hula hoop muscles are strained. My obstacling muscles have over come the obstacle course, but not without cost.

Having spent my time at Pearson regaining every single one of the 30 pounds I lost last year, none of my clothes fit. The kids had the Wii out last week and I remembered my plan to Wii Fit my butt out of Plus.

So my little Mii fussed at me, but I got back to work on Sunday. I've been doing about an hour a day and it is kicking my butt.

The kids love cheering me on and especially love finding their Miis on the screen during my workout. During a particularly treacherous tightroping escapade, Melody exclaimed, "Look! It's Melody the Seventh!"

Come to find out, she had a hard time choosing a shirt color for her Mii. "I like all the colors, so I had to do something about it," she said of her creating 10 little animated Melodies. And she remembers each and every one of them.

Charlie loves it when I box and do kung fu. He stands in front of me, dodging my punches and getting in a few good swings himself. During balance games, he hangs on to one of my legs in a squeeze-hug to see just how good I am.

Dixie likes to control the Wiimote. She pushes A for me between activities and will 'accidentally' start something WAY harder than what I intended to do. Tonight she chose activity after activity for over an hour, but she also is prompt to deliver water refills, so I can't complain.

I just wish they made an extended, full-game version of both the kung fu and the step aerobics. I know they make better fitness products incorporating the balance board concept, but I'm not ready for actual fitness, just yet.

Right now I'm content to continue losing footraces to Melody the Fourth.



Dixie said last night at bedtime, "Daddy better hurry up and get to work on that before the volcano erupts." Uncertain as to what in the world she could be talking about, I looked over. She was pointing at her laundry basket.

She made a point. A good point.

Charlie has been licking things lately. You'll be getting a sweet hug around the arm or leg, then suddenly realize your backside, neck or arm is being slobbered upon. Last night I was on the laptop and I look over and he is licking my laptop cord. I told him he was going to die, but he just grinned.

With the afternoons too hot to do much, we've been playing a lot of Wii, especially the Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resorts. I awoke this morning to find that my punching muscles are very sore.

Yesterday, Charlie insisted that he needed to play 'da wadder ball game' and we couldn't figure out what that was. His communication has gotten so much better. While he used to repeat the same words over and over with increasing volume, he can now find different words to try to get his thoughts across. He added, 'da wadder ball game wit da lava you go into and oooooooooh! die and den dey roll you over flat and you say aaaaaa!'

Oooh, the obstacle course.

It almost feels like parenting cheating, having them take turns on a 5 minute run, again and again until they're too tired to drive me crazy.

As little sleep as I get these days, I need every cheat I can get. I was up really late, anxious about the job interview I had. I didn't tell you about any job interview? Oh, that's because I had 3.75 hours of notice and was at work 3.25 of them.

My Tuesday morning: I play Wii fit games with the kids until it's time to leave for Sylvan and I throw on some clothes and head out the door. It wasn't even my shift--I was picking up for someone else-- and it's pretty casual in the summer. I have on slacks and a nice shirt, but no makeup, ponytail, etc.

On my way in the door, I get a phone call from a number I don't recognize. I almost ignore it, but decide I have an extra minute and should see who it is. It's a local elementary school, wondering if I can be there at 11:30 for an interview. My work shift ends at 12:30. They have spots at 11:30, 12, 12:30 and 1. I say that I'll be there at 1, but don't expect me to look fabulous.

I got there at 12:59 in my Birkenstocks with my purple toenail polish displayed for the world.

I know that I gave good answers to their questions, but there was an excessive amount of babble in between. Hopefully, they'll see through my nervous unpreparedness. They're hiring for 4th and 5th grade and I'll know Monday.

I about have myself convinced that there is absolutely no way on Earth that they are going to hire my rambling, scatterbrained self, but one can always hope.


"A tortilla is like a paper with freckles."


Dixie started seeing a counselor today. We'd seen one during the first year or so of her adoption, but had gotten the point where further sessions weren't favored by the cost-benefit analysis. She was in a really good place and sessions were really expensive, even with help paying for them.

Lately, though, she is simply angry at everything. I know it is hard for her, it is hard for all of them, for us to flip flop so much in who is home and what is expected and how our time is spent. I'd hoped that, over time, her longing and pain from her adoption would abate and she would grow more secure, but that doesn't seem to be the case. As she gets older, she seems to have a harder time accepting things because she has a greater understanding of the world and can think about them more, deeper.

The counselor looks quite a lot like Jimmy Buffet but seems to have a good feel for how six-and-a-half-year-olds roll.


Well, today at playgroup, Charlie remained clothed. His pants stayed on, even while peeing.

Other random bits:
Dixie has a new wobbly tooth and Melody has her first adult tooth peeking out of her gums, despite all baby teeth remaining solidly intact. Miss Mel is the only child I've ever known to figure out the tooth fairy long before actually losing a tooth.

Charlie was reevaluated at OT and now presents with only a 7 month delay in overall skills tested. His speech will be reevaluated in about a month. We are determining what his gymnastics placement should be in the fall--he has come so far this year, but we're not sure if he's ready to not have a parent with him in class. We'll try out the regular preschool (non-parent/tot) class in the next few weeks.

Charlie's been talking about words lately, mainly to categorize good and bad words. He'll try out a new word then say, "Is dat a gud werd?" When he already knows (and likes) a word he says, "Dat iz a gud werd."

And then there's all those pesky bad words, the most problematic of which is knucklehead. He really, really wants knucklehead 'to be a gud werd' and simply cannot accept that he can't get it into that list somehow.

Charlie: Is marshmallow a gud werd?
Mom: Yes, marshmallow is a good word.
C: Is . . . knuckle head a gud werd?
M: No, knuckle is not a good word.
C: Is . . . Hot Wheels a gud werd?
M: Yes, Hot Wheels is a good word.

C: Is . . . mon-kee a gud werd?
M: Yes, monkey is a good word.
C: Is . . . head a gud werd?
M: Yes, head is a good word.
C: Is . . . cawseet a gud werd?
M: Yes, car seat is a good word.
C: Is . . . knuckle . . . arm a gud werd?
M: Knucklearm is not a word.
C: Knucklearm is a werd. a gud werd. A gud werd like knucklehead is a gud werd.
M: Sorry, but that was an excellent try.


It's just a little service I provide

 As a parenting blogger, part of my job is to make you feel better about your own parenting skills. Anyone skilled in competitive mothering will tell you that the best place to feel superior to others is a playgroup, especially one that involves going to a public playground. This is a fantastic source for children more ill-behaved, poorly supervised and clearly inferior to your own.

Add in the fast-food playground factor and it is pure parenting gold.

So last Friday, my playgroup meets at 10:30 at the newest Chick-Fil-A in the area. By 10:30, of course, I mean that one mother and chickadees actually arrives at that time, gives up, and leaves. I arrive second, at around 11:15 to find the playground deserted. I settle in the corner with my book and enjoy the smell of rubber matting while my children play. Children dressed like cattle begin to filter into the area, as it is dress like a cow and get free stuff day.

A friend arrives. As the shrieking of the bovines is becoming a bit overwhelming in that echoing cavern of a playground, we decide to move to the table nearest the door, still in full view, but outside the enclosed glass.

The population of the cattle pen has reached nearly thirty. There are still no other parents in sight.

A wobbling not-yet-two-year-old begins to wail and we look around in vain for a maternal source. After a few minutes, a brother emerges from the back of the eating area to shepherd him to his mother. Not two minutes latter, an even-younger toddler stretches his arms in the pick-me-up pose as his head turns red and his tears fly.

After a decent pause, I go pick the kid up to help him find mama. Before I get too far, she appears to rescue him from my kidnapping arms, glaring at me for daring to touch her precious offspring.

At this point I realize that there are at least fifty more junior bovines in the feeding trough section. Friend number three comes in, mentioning that three buses daycare buses just arrived.

We decide on a relocation plan: McDonald's it is. We get our food, we feed our children, we distribute plastic toys and then herd our little rodents out to the sweltering, unsheltered over-sized hamster tubes.

Ah, that's better.

After about an hour of refilling drinks and mopping off sweaty foreheads, consistently doing the 1-2-3 head checks, an employee rushes out to ask who the mom is of the little blond boy sitting in the tree. I claim him and wonder what the fuss is until I realize that my child has lost his pants. And underpants. And, oh yeah, shoes. He is sitting bare-penised on the playground.

As we scramble to find the boy's wayward garments, some kid declares that there is poop in the slide. Superior Mothers everywhere rush their precious and perfect non-pooping children out the door, pausing only to make certain I have seen the looks they give me. My saintly friend Laura climbs into the tube to declare that it is merely a skidmark from a dark-soled shoe that has gotten a bit gooey in the heat and is definitively NOT poop.

I head out to the parking lot for alternative pants, making sure to loudly tell the friend who is leaving, "It's not poop! It was just shoe goo," well within earshot of the other mothers. Armed with pants, I return to cover that boy up.

Another hour goes by and Meltdown Boy replaces Regular Charlie. We decide that, from the looks of what is on the horizon, it is high time we high-tailed it out of there. The first sprinkles hit the windshield right as I shut PennyVann's door.

I'm doing 65 on the tollway when the torrential downpour hits. My vehicle is wobbling side to side with the winds and the hurricane-sent storm drops grey water faster than I knew possible. I can barely see the black of my wipers moving back and forth, leaving no evidence that water was moved. I can't see the road ahead of me. I'm on one of those high up roadways with no idea where the other cars are, where the lane is, where the edge is. I don't dare stop completely, but slow to about 20 miles an hour.

It slows just enough for me to make out lanes and get off the roadway. At this point, I'm a half-mile from home, so I keep on truckin'. I get out of my car and am instantly as soaked as I would have been had I hopped, fully clothed, into a swimming pool. I go inside for a towel, then return for one girl. I wish we had a garage. I take her inside and get another towel for the other girl. Dixie, wearing shorts and weighing 12 pounds more, is hard to carry in. Her wet legs are slippery and I'm too wet to get a hold of.

After I half-carry, half-drag her in, I shut the door and begin to soak up the bucket of water that made it in the door with us. I change while the shivering girl children huddle under blankets on the couch. Since Charlie is asleep and exhausted, I leave him out until a pause in the storm allows me to go get him without having him wake up to a face full of spray.

All this to get back to my original point: whatever you did last Friday was better than this. However you spent those hours from 11 am to 2:30 pm, at least your child was not naked on a public playground. It almost makes this morning in the gymnastics waiting area when Dixie held up her middle finger and said, "Mama, does this really mean the same as 'f*ck'?" seem positively endearing.


Last night, Dixie sighed and then said, "I love Target."
I have no context for this, but I certainly agree.


I'd forgotten

it is to sleep with two adults, three kids and two cats all snuggled up in the same bed, but after having a few days with just me and the cats, I was glad to be reminded. It was so nice to wake up to snuggling, even if I had to hop out of bed first and disappear.

I only have 3 days of this Pearson project left and the extra Census project Dowlan was hoping for didn't pan out. We're down to just Sylvan for a few weeks, but I'm hoping we can both get in more job hunting time during those weeks.

But what I'm really hoping for is snuggling in the morning, followed by green waffles and silly games on the living room carpet between trips to the park and the splash pad. I'm looking forward to homeschooling and Pianto Lessons (yes, that's Pianto, clarte?)

It also gives me a chance to get started on Charlie's independent evaluation and continue my hunt for an acceptable preschool environment for him, since the last one only lasted four days before we got the daycare version of the, 'It's not you, it's me' speech.

Oh, well. She's documenting what all went wrong and we'll add it to his files.

Right now, Charlie's asleep--after a day at the splash pad, he couldn't make it til bedtime--and a little stream of light is turning his Lellow Hair into a golden halo. His cowlick is waving in the breeze of the fan and he's clutching his green sippy cup. Sweet boy.

The girls are on the other end of the couch, watching Snow White because I wasn't paying enough attention to the length of the movie when they picked it not-too-long-before-bedtime. Oh, well. It's fun to hear them laugh at Grumpy and it isn't like they have to get up for school. Melody doesn't like Snow White, but is tolerating it for her sister. And Dixie is eating fresh cherries, annoyed that they have pits.

I told her, "Instead of being unhappy that some roses have thorns, you should be happy that some thorns have roses." She told me, "Mom, these are plums, not roses."


He sings!

Charlie has never liked music, especially not being sung to. Now, being mama to a baby who doesn't want to be held, rocked or sung to is pretty devastating, especially when this mama is also a singer and music teacher. That's your first instinct when they're sad or tired or hurt, isn't it? To pick them up, sway them back and sing to them?

Instrumentation overwhelms his senses. It's like he doesn't know what he's supposed to be listening to and the rapid succession of sounds overloads his sensory processors. He does okay in our church, where singing is a capella, but that has taken a long, long time and still doesn't go so well some days. I spend a lot of time in church with his little grubby sticky boy hands clamped over my mouth.

(Did I ever tell you that our fabulous church put video monitors in the lobbies? Now we can still know what is going on when we're sitting out with him.)

Another thing we've had to change is singing in the car. Dowlan and I used to sing on road trips, even before the kids. Can't do it any more, as it antagonizes him. We now listen to a lot of NPR and talk radio.

It's hard on the girls, too. Dixie and Melody would love nothing more than to take turns singing in the car, especially if it means arguing about whose turn it is. Melody used to have this alphabet toy with a button for each lettter. In one mode, it would say the letter name when it was pushed. In another mode, it gave you a word that begins with that letter. In the best mode, in her opinion, it plays a different song for each letter. Melody, at about 3.5 years old, had made up her own little song to go with the melody played, based on whatever word it said in word mode. She'd take this on road trips and be happy the whole way.

She also had her rocking horse song, that she would sing every time she was on her rocking horse. I think she got that horse for her second birthday.  Charlie has insisted that, "Horses do NOT sing."

On with the story . . .

Charlie and music had been doing incrementally better, but he still didn't like it. The fits where he'd be prostrate and screaming have abated. He'd jump and run in circles when other kids danced to music, happy to finally have the chance to be wild, but with no interest in the music itself.

A few weeks ago, he started singing a song in the car on the way home from Vacation Bible School. Dowlan and I looked at each other in amazement, awe.

Last weekend, on the way home from Abilene, he made up a song (about things that are green, of course) and it had a decent melody, rhythm and phrasing pattern.

Dowlan took the kids to Oklahoma this weekend while I stayed to work. He called last night to say they were coming home a day later than expected. Apparently, while driving from town to town in Oklahoma, he kept requesting the CD of music from VBS.

I miss music in my daily life and hope that, bit by bit, it can come back now. Perhaps this is a sign that he's better able to handle auditory input and that this processing ability will continue to improve. Maybe, someday, I can sing to my baby boy.