Archives for September 2012
Magoo does most of his crazy while he’s asleep. I won’t get into the details, considering his closest friends and mortal enemies are all old enough to read this. But if he’s gonna do something insane, there’s a 95.3% chance it will happen while he’s asleep.
The other night I go to his room to kiss his cheek. Don’t tell him I do this because he is violently opposed to kisses in all their varieties. In fact, come to think of it, maybe the sleeping night kisses I’ve been sneaking in are driving him to madness. Hmmm… Not enough of a deterrent.
Any-who, I can’t make it to his bed that night because the trundle underneath is pulled all the way out, essentially filling the floor of his entire room. I try to step on it but it creaks and I don’t want to wake him. So I decide to close it up.
I push the trundle bed in but it only goes half way. So, I push harder. It still won’t budge. Frustrated, I put my weight into it, ramming it again and again but it only goes in a few more inches. So, I decide my lips will probably stretch far enough and I can reach over and kiss him.
It’s really dark in the room and I’m leaning over the half-out trundle, feeling around for his fluffy hair on the bed. He’s not there. Panicked, I turn on the light. Magoo is nowhere.
Then it occurs to me that something must have been blocking the trundle. I slowly pull it back out and peer under the bed. Eyes. Staring at me. Confused. Magoo is curled up under his bed, clutching his blanket and looking dazed. He probably is. From the head trauma.
We’ve all heard of shaken baby syndrome, but is there a term for that thing, where you bludgeon your 7-year-old repeatedly with the base of his trundle bed? That’s what Magoo has. I should start a non-profit in his honor.
Wanda’s been drawing squiggles and scribbles for ages and then suddenly tonight she did something amazing. Out of the nowhere, she came up with this classic:
Dan: Wanda! What did you draw?
Wanda (coyly, studying her own handwork): Well… It’s not a kid…
Me: I like your picture Wanda. Can you tell me what it is?
She stared at the drawing, like she wasn’t sure. Then she got a huge grin on her boogey-encrusted face and said, “It’s a dancing motato!”
I have to say that drawing circle people with arms sprouting out of their ears has got to be one of my favorite developmental milestones for my kids, right behind learning to not fill their pants with dookey and how to pump their own dang swing at the park.
Last night she was up several times crying and in pain, so we tried to manage it with Tylenol and fluids today. She has her well baby checkup on Monday so we were hoping she could make it through the weekend without seeing a doctor.
But by this afternoon, all around her eye was red and puffy and by the evening she was holding her face and bawling. So I rushed her to Urgent Care, hoping to score some validation and antibiotics. Did I mention that, as much as we hate them, we’re good at antibiotics too?
So the MA taking her vitals freaked out just a little when her heart rate was bouncing between 165 and 168 bpm. Concerned, he hurried from the room to get the doctor. This made me nervous. Forget about the fact that I have to be having a really intense workout to get my heart rate up that high (I know kids’ heart rates are supposed to be higher) but seeing the medical professional get worried stressed me out.
So they gave her a mega dose of Tylenol and waited. An hour later she was still at 155. Then we tried Ibuprofen and half an hour later she was still at 150. They said they’d give her half an hour, but if they couldn’t bring it down, they’d send us to Children’s Hospital for an IV. But 15 minutes later the fever subsided and her heart slowed and we got to head out to the pharmacy, where we found a couple of funny things to lighten our moods.
1. The directions on the antibiotics refer to Wanda as “Wanda” like it’s her “code name” or “nickname.”
2. The directions on the antibiotics tell us to measure 3.68 ML, using this syringe. Why round up to hundredths? I could surely measure accurately to the thousandths with this bad boy.
3. The instructions on the new thermometer say “The best place to measure temperature is the center of the heart, but this can be done only under a doctor’s supervision.”
Do you know a doctor who will supervise me while I jam a thermometer in my three-year-old’s heart? Me neither. It reminds me of the time my friend asked me to watch her daughter and left me with her EpiPen.
Friend : You know how to use an EpiPen?
Me: Yeah. I just jam it into her heart and press the button, right?
Friend: (Glares at me suspiciously and takes the EpiPen back)
So, she’s home and sleeping and soon so will I be. My favorite quote of the night was at one point when we’d been waiting for a while in the exam room and she said, “Mom. Mine eye still hurts. Is there any more doctors?” Yep. There is more doctors but hopefully we won’t have to see any of them for a while.
Mandy Hubbard spoke a couple of times to our SCBWI chapter today, her evening keynote being playfully titled “Rejection Sucks.” She makes me glad to be part of a community of writers. She was candid and shared the dirty details of what it takes to make it in this industry, even sharing actual text from rejection letters and revision requests she’s received.
What does it take to make it? It takes persistence. Insane, unswerving, willing-to-beat-your-head-against-a-brick-wall-and-beg-for-more persistence.
Sometimes that’s hard to muster. I do not like having a hobby/career that involves pouring my heart out on paper and then sending it around for people to reject or ignore. Suckage? Indeed.
But tonight I was reminded that I’m part of a collective, a sisterhood/brotherhood, a familyhood of people who are passionate about words and ideas and stories and who all experience rejection and who all hate it almost as passionately as they love writing, but they carry on anyway.
And she says it’s worth it. And I choose to believe her.
So far I’ve entered one contest, where I didn’t get past round one. I’ve sent out queries to 15 agents, been flat-out rejected or ignored 10 times, received 5 requests for full or partial manuscripts and had 4 of those rejected so far. Today I participated in a Twitter pitch frenzy and got one and a half requests from that. (One of the requests turned out to be someone who was looking for adult fiction.)
This process all makes me think of Magoo, who yesterday decided that he wanted to ride his bike with no training wheels. So after years of preparation, successes and failures, today he decided to ride and he just rode and now he’s a rider.
Wednesday he was not a rider. Today – rider.
Today I am not a published author. Tomorrow – who knows? I’ll dust off my helmet and get ready for success.
Sometimes I’m a great mom, times like yesterday morning and afternoon when I walked all over town taking Wanda to the park and the library for story time. Then every once in a while I snap and it’s not pretty. It’s not even homely. It’s bad.
We’ve been stressing out, maybe too much, about where Laylee would take ballet this year. She’s nine and she loves to dance and there are altogether too many things to consider when raising a kid. How do we encourage her passion for dance without pigeon-holing her and cutting her off from all other activities? How will she know if dance is the only activity she loves if it’s the first activity she’s ever kissed? How much is too much?
So, we decided to slow down from her dance school’s 4-hour per week class recommendation and move her to a school in the next town over that offers a slower road to pointe. It was a tough decision and I’m not sure if it’s right, but my head was exploding so I just cried Uncle and paid the registration fee.
But we’re both nervous to try a new place. Will she like it? Will they like us? Will she be challenged enough but still able to have a life outside of dance?
So yesterday, the first day at the new studio, she didn’t get off the bus at her stop. We had to search the bus and drag her out and she came off the bus late and sobbing. SOBBING. Apparently the book she was reading was way sadder than a book should ever be.
“And it just ends like that,” she sobbed, “That’s it. There’s no sequel. It can’t get happy because it’s just over. The end. This is a bad, bad book mom. It started out sad and then got as good as a book can possibly get and then got as bad as a book can possibly get.”
The characters were so real to her and she couldn’t handle the emotion and the betrayal. She was nearly inconsolable and, as an insanely easy crier, I was extremely proud. Her reaction showed compassion and sensitivity and, oh crap, we were gonna be late for our first day of ballet.
So, I drove her home, got her dressed, arranged her hair into a perfect ballet bun, (Doesn’t it feel like that should be spelled B-U-N-N-E?) and told her to grab her shoes. She’d worn her ballet shoes off and on all summer as she stretched and practiced.
“Grab them,” I said.
Blank stare, followed by grimace.
“Are they lost?”
“Look for them.”
Ten minutes later, she informed me that they were really, for real, very truly lost and… oh well.
And. Then. I. Snapped.
She lost her shoes and I lost it. It was nowhere to be found.
We had 2 minutes until we needed to be in the car driving if we wanted to be on time and I started tearing around her room, searching. And she just stared at me. As soon as I was on the case, she gave up. And I lost it a little more.
With her standing there watching, I dumped out her drawers, and her laundry basket and all the one thousand little purses full of nothing that were stashed all over her room. It turned into a full-on tantrum. The shoes! The SHOES! Where were the ever-loving SHOOOOOES! I yanked all the bedding and books and stuffed animals and reading lights and grocery items and 4th grade necessities from her bed while she bawled her eyes out.
I couldn’t stop and I couldn’t calm down.
And I was horrified with myself for acting like a bratty toddler.
But it was like I was outside myself looking in and thinking, STOP, but I couldn’t.
We left shoeless and we still can’t find them. I knew she was devestated on the drive, but still I lectured her. She went to her first class crying.
I can count on one hand the number of times in my life that I was doing something and I could tell it made someone feel small and I did it anyway. I hate those times. I want to yank them from the record and start fresh.
But my apology can’t erase this one, the time I forgot who I was because… shoes. Laylee will remember this. She may talk about it at family reunions or tell her kids. I hope that when she does, she will add in the part about how I apologized and maybe how she learned that being a grown-up doesn’t mean being perfect. It means putting the room back together better than it was before while talking about our lives and giving periodic hugs. Being a grown-up means knowing when you’re wrong, feeling utterly crappy about it, fixing it as best you can and doing better.
I was at girls’ camp this summer, talking camp shop with some of my camp homies. Inevitably camp shop talk turns to s’mores because they’re much more fun than rodents, full body rashes, and hypothermia.
For the first time this summer I tried a little bit of camp heaven in the form of a peanut-butter cup s’more. Some ladies like their s’mores on thin mint Girl Scout cookies and some eat the marshmallows straight up between two pieces of chocolate.
I lamented that we didn’t have s’mores more often during the school year because it was a pain to get a fire started and bring out all the stuff. That’s when one woman said, “Mini s’mores.”
And then they enlightened me. You take mini marshmallows, roast them over tea-light candles, and top them with a single chocolate chip, smooshed between two golden grahams.
Is there anything cuter than this?
This is a great idea if you have visiting faeries or anyone under the age of 12 or anyone over the age who is not lame.