Saturday, January 06, 2007
My most humiliating and life-changing moment
No, it wasn't the regional spelling bee in the fifth grade when I sat onstage in my pretty dress with my legs wide open. That was more embarrassing for Noni and Popi than for me. I was oblivious.

It was at the end of sixth grade. I was playing softball in a girl's league. It was a fast-pitch league, but fourth to six graders don't pitch so fast, so it was a pretty lightweight league. I always considered myself a pretty good athlete, despite being chunky. I could hit the ball. I was a fair fielder. I remember practicing fielding in the back yard with Popi. I always hated those rolling pop-ups that whacked you good. I even practiced pitching. I was good when I was on, but I was inconsistent. Besides, the coach's daughter was the pitcher.

My memory of a lot of exact details is vague now, but the feelings remain. Deep shame and humiliation.

We made it to the championship. We didn't have a perfect record but we were good enough. We were up against the team that had THE pitcher. We were highly intimidated by her and had lost to this team during the season. Because it was the championship the "stands" were full. My grandparents even came. It was a big deal.

I played third base. The game was going our way, we were actually winning. We had overcome our fear of their pitcher and we had momentum. Then came the play. Here's where the details get fuzzy. I think it was a grounder right to me, and I missed it. I ran after it and recovered it and by the time I got control of the ball the runner was safe on base, and maybe someone had scored a run. For some reason I lost it, I threw the ball on the ground in a rage. The rest of the runners proceeded to round the bases and they scored two runs before my team could recover the ball and stop them. I have no idea what happened, why I did it. Frustration and rage is all I can remember. Once I realized what I had done I started bawling. I wanted the coach to take me out, but he wouldn't. You can imagine that the fans and my team were yelling at me "What the hell had I done!?!" They scored again and we lost the game. My humiliation and shame were complete.

My teammates couldn't even talk to me. It was our last game so I'm sure many of them never spoke to me again. A few offered "condolences" and a measure of forgiveness. But the whole thing was inexplicable, I had nothing to say but I was sorry.

I had already been planning to change school systems between sixth and seventh grade so I never saw most of my teammates again. Unlike your favorite sports-related feel-good movie, I had no chance for redemption. I had to live with what I had done, forever.

I lost my nerve for team sports after that. When I moved to the new school I tried softball again, in the local league. But because my birthday was after the cutoff, I was put back with mostly fourth through sixth graders. They were thrilled to have me, but I felt put down. I was the high draft pick because I was a big girl with decent skills, but I was sent to the worst team. Twelve year-olds don't understand that stuff. I was insulted. So stupid. After practicing a couple of times I quit.

The only thing I ever tried out for again was junior varsity volleyball. I love volleyball, but I didn't know how to be a committed athlete. It didn't help that my BFF decided to go out too and ended up being a distraction during tryouts. We were both cut. Looking back, she was probably there sabotaging me anyway.

After that I no longer had any illusions of myself as an athlete. I never played any school sports. I did end up being on an academic bowl team my senior year, the first year they offered the competitions. In that situation I was a good team player, I was even the captain.

After college I got into volleyball bigtime with adult groups, so I know I can be a good athlete. I just fouled it up for myself in school, way back there in sixth grade.

One thing that resulted from that moment is that I learned to fear my rage. After that I worked hard to suppress my anger and ended up internalizing most of it. I'm not a rager or a fit-thrower, I'm a seether. I believe that moment in time had far-reaching ramifications for me.
Friday, January 05, 2007
When I arrived to pick up Emma from Mary's she was turning circles in the living room floor, trying to make herself drunk. She'd turn and turn, then stagger, stagger, land hard on her knees like she didn't even feel it. She'd get up, turn some more. Then she staggered into the television, with her head. Bonk.

After that it was easier to persuade her to come along.
She's watching Dora. I move in front of her (just to be generally annoying) and kiss her cheek, three times quickly.

She backs away and swipes a hand across her cheek. "Don't eat me!"
How do you hug?
My family, we're distinctive huggers. We're back patters. You hug, and then pat the back of your huggee. Apparently this is not entirely typical. I think my SIL once commented on her initial alarm at being hugged and beaten at the same time.

If you're getting a bear hug, you get beaten, plus you get the squeeze and the grunt. You never get squeezed without the grunt. Even Emma grunts.

We do family hugs. You've perhaps seen pictures of them. Three is the minimum for a family hug, sometimes we have four. Emma loves to be in the center of those. The distinction of a family hug is that you get squeezed really good. And of course the collective "ughhhhhh."

Emma gets a family hug last thing every night before she's put in her crib.

Here's a family hug from October 2005:

Thursday, January 04, 2007
Zombie Child
Plugged into an episode of Little Einsteins. I have this to say about it:

1. At least it wasn't Dora.
2. She actually took her paci out for me to take the picture.

This is for Allie
This is what your DVR list looks like when you're the parent of a toddler. There are probably four times as many episodes of the same on the entire list. Just a note, the Higglytown Heroes listing is actually a one hour block of Little Einsteins and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I have to set a timer to get those and it caught the last minute of the previous show.

Teeth fixed
Turns out he had a second tooth with a piece missing. We were afraid he was going to lose the one we knew about, but the dentist was able to fill it. The second tooth had a smaller chip missing and he filled that too. I think that was $100.00 well spent.

I'm the last person I know to see this movie, other than Emma and M. Santa brought it to Emma for Christmas but I wanted to watch it one time through without interruption before I pulled it out for her. I got my chance this afternoon. Stupid movie made me blubber like a baby.
I can't sew
But I certainly try sometimes. Perhaps you will remember these Hello Kitty shirts from Santa...

Santa's elves must have been hitting the eggnog pretty hard when they made the shirt on the right because they made the hole for the head too small. My child can't get the shirt over her big noggin. I was determined not to waste a perfectly good shirt so I had the bright idea to rip out the seam on one shoulder and add some snaps. I don't have a sewing machine and I'm not particularly talented at sewing by hand. However, I kept plugging away at it until I got something that I wouldn't be too embarrassed for Emma to wear. It only took me two hours.

Be kind, don't laugh.

Words I hoped I'd never hear...
"Mommy! Please watch Dora, Mommy?"
Whiny post
This cold still lingers. The worst day was last Thursday, but now I've got the stuff in my head and the stuff in my chest that just lingers. To add insult to injury, today my lips started disintegrating. Which reminds me, I meant to pull out our vaporizers for the bedrooms. Gotta get on that.
No love for the broken tooth
M finally made it to January two, nursing the broken tooth all this time and taking the drugs only when it really hurt. Which ended up being every few days. This morning he called the dentist's office. The phone was busy, busy, busy. When he finally got through it was to the answering machine. The message said the dentist's mother had died and the office will not reopen until January four. Sigh.
Monday, January 01, 2007
2006 Top Ten
This is the time of year for top ten lists. I didn't watch enough movies or read enough books to give you a top ten list for those. What I will give you is a list of ten blessings I've had this year. In no particular order (for the most part):

1. Emma - It has been such a pleasure to be your mommy this year. Your development has been simply amazing to behold. Now you are jumping, counting to 15, recognizing letters and spelling your own name. You're clever and funny and a joy to know. You are my most special little Pooh Bear.

2. M - My best friend, my steadfast friend. You stand by me through thick and thin. Each year we grow in our understanding of each other and life together grows more harmonious. You make beautiful babies and you're a terrific father to Emma. We were destined for each other as we're not fit for anyone else ;)

3. Noni and Popi - Who are our friends as well as my parents. We enjoy your company. You take such good care of us and dote on our baby. Your giving hearts and unconditional love are a bedrock for my sense of well-being. You must never leave me.

4. My brother's family - You're home. For now. And we'll squeeze every moment of togetherness and fun out of it as we can. It's such a pleasure to watch the relationship grow between our children. We'd rather spend time with you all (and Noni and Popi) than anyone else. You "get" us.

5. Extended family - You keep us rooted in the present as well as the past. All our dysfunctions make us a perfectly normal American family. Our inability to communicate forthrightly seems to contradict the intense pull we feel to be together on a regular basis. But there it is. Blood is thicker than water and spans generations. We're fulfilling our part in the narrative of our family line.

6. Grandma - Through the trial of Mary's rotator cuff surgery you were our savior. It just took us a while to get around to asking. We had no idea you wanted so badly to be asked, and now we know. It's been a pleasure to watch Emma's attachment to you grow. You're our safety net and our foundation for our lives here in the mountains.

7. My friends - This includes my mommy board friends and the regular readers of this blog. All of you contribute to my perception of myself as a mommy, both good and bad. I appreciate your comments, contributions and feedback on everything from serious problems to the most mundane minutiae. You all keep me sane and make me feel loved. You are a blessing to me.

8. Freedom from debt - The credit cards are paid off. No car payments. No house payments. No one is holding our chain. (Except maybe Uncle Sam...taxes and death, you know)

9. Travel to Europe - Seeing Germany and Ireland was a wonderful opportunity which we'd have never had if it weren't for my brother being stationed in Germany. They were terrific hosts and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. I particularly enjoyed being immersed in a different culture and seeing things so foreign to my own experiences. The people we met were a lot of fun and the whole experience will be remembered fondly.

10. Christmas - We've been blessed with some tremendously generous gifts this season. Starting with a big fat Christmas bonus at work. Family members have been so generous and we are humbled. I'm a big kid who loves Christmas from start to finish and this year was an extraordinarily fun one.

2006 was an excellent year for us. Let us pray that 2007 is even better!
My wild New Years Eve
It started with a pot roast supper with mashed potatoes and green beans. Next came the Diet Coke and Mentos foamy fun. That was followed by fireworks, real live festival balls. After that we retired indoors for a round of Sequence. After my team got tired of getting our asses kicked we played Mexican Train. Eventually it was time to run downstairs and watch Dick Clark ring in the New Year. We drank a toast, kissed our significant others and ran back upstairs for more Mexican Train. We're a wild and crazy bunch, my family.

Lest you be worried, there was lots of food and drink too. We had beers brewed by Trappist monks, Jack and Ginger, Sangria, Red Bull and vodka, mudslides and Asti Spumante. We went for highbrow snacks like chips and dip, fritos, popcorn and cocktail shrimp. :)
Emma hums a lot. She doesn't hum songs; it's more of a monotone noise. She did it for fifteen or twenty minutes while opening packages on Christmas morning. She does it while wrestling the cousins. She does it while putting together puzzles. I think maybe it's something she does when under stress. I'm not sure what purpose it serves. Maybe I just need to teach her more songs.
Impromptu project
The pieces of this play structure have been bungeed to our fence since Popi brought them to us, about a month ago. This is another wonderful hand-me-down from Emma's cousins. Conditions have not been favorable for setting it up, i.e., no time, bad weather, etc.

Today when we got home from Noni and Popi's I found that our house was not quite as warm as it should have been. Our friend who stoked the fire for us didn't quite finish the job. The fire had burned out before the logs really caught. It was 55 degrees outside and 52 degrees in the house. The chill in the house inspired us to spend some playtime with Emma outside.

She finally took notice of all the pieces strapped to the fence and her Daddy immediately started pulling them out and putting them together. We had been worried that it would be challenging to put together since we didn't have the instructions. It turned out that it was very easy to put together. Between the two of us we had it together in less than half an hour. We did have to use some serious elbow grease in places, but it went together nicely. Emma sure did like it.

She's sending kitty down first.

Sunday, December 31, 2006
Happy New Years!
We're at Noni and Popi's, if you hadn't guessed. Yesterday was fairly quiet during the day. We went to my aunt's for dinner and then came home for a big football night. We cheered on as the Redskins lost their final game of the year and Virginia Tech lost to Georgia in the Chik-fil-a Bowl. Oh well. There's always next year. We also played the game of "find-Uncle B.-and-Aunt K.-in-the-FedEx-Stadium game. We never did see them. They were in the end zone only three rows up so it's not like it was an impossible task. Luck was not with us and we missed them.

Today we did a Costco/Walmart run and now we're biding our time until supper. After dinner Aunt Patty and Uncle D. are due to come over to play some games. We'll do a little drinking and much eating and try to stay up to see the ball fall in Times Square. We may even do a toast.

I hope you all have a great New Year's, whether you cash in early, or party hearty! Cheers!
Creates small, stinging zaps at a mere touch!

This is what the static would do to her hair on the short trip down the plastic slide when the girls were playing last night.

No man can resist...
Playing air guitar. Especially when he can use a righteous Barbie guitar!

Emma kinda dug it too.

She floats through the air...
Emma loves, loves, loves to be tossed around. It's such a thrill for her and she'll beg more, more, more!