Tuesday, January 25, 2011

We Are Not Dog People

I'm not one of those people who'll show up for work with my sweater covered in pet hair. For (1) my usual outfit for putting Isaiah on the bus is PJ's and a coat and (2) I don't have any furry family members.

We didn't have animals as pets growing up. (Wait - do goldfish count?) In the late 70's, my sister and I came thisclose to being surprised with our very own matching kitties. Unfortunately, they never made it home. They probably ended up unexpected pets to a State Trooper's child. The trooper to which my mother surrendered the cats on the drive home - an adventure that involved said cats running amok in Ma's lap and under her braking foot. Imagine our confusion when our big "surprise" turned out to be two boxes of Meow Mix.

So now, of course, my children want a dog. Mariah says we should get Isaiah a "therapy dog". How thoughtful, right? We were over some friends' house a few years ago and they had the most adorable Shih Tzu. Zay was sitting on the floor close to the dog when out of nowhere, he decided the dog needed to be muzzled. He grabbed the poor doggy by the face and shook it like,...well...like a dog. Thank God she didn't go all Cujo on my boy. She sat there for a moment, like "WTH?" and then avoided Zay for the remainder of the evening.

Lately I've been giving more thought to adopting a shelter dog. Even though I'd be certifiably nutso for bringing an animal into this house. The vet bills. Waiting for it to do its business out in the cold. In the rain. In the snow. During a flood. Cleaning up doggie doo. Dealing with Pet Death or worse, being left with the dog when the girls go off to college.

But their love is so unconditional. Always happy to see you at the end of the day. Don't care if you've showered or brushed your teeth. And according to Mariah, we could train one for Isaiah to ride around the house.

But we are not dog people.


Better keep a bag of Kibbles 'N Bits in the van just in case.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Let Freedom earRing

On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2011, my 11 year-old decided she wanted to get her ears pierced. I had to give it to her - she knew what she wanted and never wavered. This is the child who shuns any unnecessary pain (which, when it comes to the prospect of any future tattoos, is a really, really good thing), but who went headlong (earlobelong) into her very first (and prayerfully, ONLY) piercing. I was 30+ years-old before I had the courage to do the very same thing.

Seems like all the Brownies have had "growth spurts" of sorts. A couple of weeks ago, I bought Isaiah size 5 pants for his school uniform. Notice, I didn't say '5T'. He was hulking out of those. And now, even the regular fives don't fit. All of his PJ's that we used to have to roll up now make him look like he's ready to wade in the water. I cannot believe my baby is going on 7 and even more than that, I can't believe he's ready to wear size 6!

Savannah returned recently from a church youth convention with over 6,000 other adolescents in Ocean City, Maryland. I remember being President of my church's Youth Group back in the day. And now Savannah already has a retreat under belt. Glad Pastor Granny and Uncle K were there to keep her in line. Or was it the other way around?

Monday, January 17, 2011

This is Fishlips

If you see this face, then it's probably too late. Isaiah is already out to get you. More than likely as a result of something you did to him - any time in the past. See, he holds a grudge. But there are also times when Fishlips is seemingly, totally unprovoked. It can be followed by a swipe, a hair tug, a push, or a pull.

Even our extended family recognizes and appreciates the power and prowess of the Fishlips. It's become a part of our vernacular.

"Don't Fishlip your Granny!"

"Uh-oh, he's doing the Fishlips..."

"Mommy, he's Fishlipping me!"

My mom says it's all a part of Isaiah's trying to control his world anyway he can. For a boy who has no spoken language, sometimes all you need to do is read his Fishlips.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

City Mice

To kick off my Year of Living with No Regrets, I decided to volunteer to chaperone Mariah's upcoming class nature/camping/field trip. She really wants to go. She's typically an "indoor girl" like her mama, but she's a sucker for an epic adventure. She always participated in our family camp-outs in the backyard. J would pitch a military-grade tent, light up the fire pit, and we'd roast marshmallows for the obligatory S'mores. No chiggers or bears and our backdoor not even 10 feet away, but it was a lot more "roughing it" than some of the kids had under their belt.

The other day I sat in on a briefing with the students, teachers, and parent volunteers. The camp spokesguy was kid-friendly - held their full attention. That was, until the list of forbidden items appeared during the Power Point presentation. Oh the moans and groans at the Red Slash O' Death through all their "toys": no iPods, no cell phones, no laptops...Those kids acted like they were seriously going to die. On the spot. When they were informed that there were no televisions in their sleeping quarters, you could have measured the disappointment on the Richter scale. When they found out out how far we'd be hiking everyday, I swear a few of them feigned a heart attack. And when the slide of the hayride went up and featured an actual tractor and actual wagon, one little boy raised his hand, "Wait. We won't be in Land Rovers?" Ummm...sure kid. We'll just fill the trunks with hay for a more authentic experience.

Camp Guy: No one walks alone ever during the trip. If you need to go somewhere, you'll go with a teacher, a parent, or a buddy.

At Least 3 Kids: We have to walk with BUNNIES?!

So if a tree falls in the middle of the forest while we are there, will those 3 hear it?

Hope I don't regret this.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Rogue Rody

Another "Holiday Season" has come and gone. And this past Christmas truly was, in the immortal words of my favorite carol crooner, Donnie Hathaway - a very special Christmas, indeed. My sister flew in on Christmas Eve. We haven't celebrated a major holiday as a family in years. Between her living out West and our military lifestyle keeping us overseas for so long, special holiday gatherings together have been far and in between. Something magical happens when my sister, brother, and I are all together. Besides driving our mother batty with our dry humor, wit, and pun-tastic good times, there is a sense of completeness. Like the feeling of filling a whole in your heart you don't realize is empty.

The only flaw in an otherwise perfect holiday was the disappointment that was supposed to be Isaiah's Big Gift from Santa. It was a Rody Max riding horse, the bigger one, on recommendations from other moms of kids with Special Powers like Isaiah's. It's supposed to promote strength, coordination, and balance. I ordered it in early December in plenty of time for it to get here. Once it arrived UPS, I stowed the box way back in his closet in anticipation of its grand inflation and presentation. What kid's face wouldn't light up at the sight of a pony under the tree on Christmas morning?!

On the morning of Christmas Eve, while all the kidlets were still asleep, I recovered the brown box and headed down to the basement for J to blow it up and find a place for it until the morning. He got on task while I went to work elfing the other loot.

And then he uttered the LAST words you want to hear on Christmas Eve:

Is this for Zay? This is too small for Zay.

Since the Rody is tauted as being able to "grow with your child", I asked him if he had blown it up all the way. But it didn't matter. I knew in that moment, looking over at that horse - a shoo-in for Thumbalina's rodeo - we had been delivered the WRONG pony. One look on the box confirmed my worst suspicions: it was in fact, the original Rody and not the Rody Max which, by the way, costs more than twice the original.

Waiting for their West Coast office to open was nothing short of torture. These things are made in Italy...available for purchase only online as far as I know. And it was Christmas Eve. When I finally got someone on the line, she was very sympathetic. One look at the shipping invoice and their mistake was obvious: the shipping weight in no way matched what should have been in that box, she explained. The Max is considerably heavier (and did I mention twice as expensive?)

She promised they would make it right and get the right philly out the gate and to us the next week. Little consolation on Christmas Eve considering everything was centered around Zay's shiny, new, red pony. I beat myself up for about 10 minutes. Why didn't I check the box carefully when it arrived? Isaiah deserves a big shiny Christmas just like any other kid. Just because he can't distinguish Christmas from any other day of the year doesn't mean he deserves it any less.

And then it hit me, Isaiah is a very blessed little boy. During this Christmas Season, I have been touched by the kindness and generosity of people we know and complete strangers alike. In addition to material things he has received, Isaiah is surrounded by love...every day of the year. And this Christmas he had aunties, an uncle, a granny, cousins, sisters, and parents doting on him. That is worth more than the odds-on winner of the Kentucky Derby whinnying under the tree on Christmas morning.

The Holidays are over, but my Christmas tree is still up. And it will stay up until Rody Max in Red finds his way home to my very special boy.