Our not-so-normal normal summer days

Jul 18

Our not-so-normal normal summer days

A few days ago I decided to bring the girls with me to chemo this week.  It is such a regular part of my routine: weekly for the vast majority of the last sixty-three months.  Both of my beautiful girls have been there many times before but usually for pop-in visits, blood draws, shots, or some other shortish appointment.  Little children in the hallowed ground of the Chemo Room is always a wonderful thing for the atmosphere.  They are so beloved!  This is the first time in a year either of them has come for a full treatment, and I’m glad for them to share the experience with me. Before we left I told both girls to look nice, which in our house is not a super high standard of dress code, but dress codes are also rare.  I asked them to pack a bag of things that could keep them quietly occupied while we were there.  I instructed them to talk to my friends and look them in the eye, and, you know, demonstrate some basic level of polite conversation and manners.  Please, Lord!  And I told them they could each have one (and only one) snack from the plentiful snack offerings while we were there. Greta, adorably, tucked in her shirt to her skirt and requested a fancy braid for today’s outing.  She also accessorized with jewelry and requested “sparkles on her eyes”, wherein I dab some of my gold shimmer powder from my makeup on her eyelids on rare special occasions.  In her bag she packed Blue Baby (don’t ask about our doll names, LOL) and a myriad of things to keep Blue Baby entertained.  She also packed her audiobook PlayAway that we got from the library on Saturday.  Basically they are single book MP3 players; they require a single AAA battery and headphones and you use the little buttons on the pack of gum-sized device to listen to a story.  I got her one that has three Louis Sachar books, including Sideways Stories from Wayside School (nine hours of content).  She is LOVING it, and has spent several hours each of the last three days listening to it.  A major non-screen win, and great for her auditory processing.  I listen...

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The mattering kind

Jul 03

Today my house reverberates with the sounds of children at play.  This is summer. My two are ten and six, but the thundering stampede of feet in and out and up and down reveal that there is a full herd of small people thumping around our property today.  The faces change as they finish swim practice and dance camp and leave for baseball and cookouts.  I love the impromptu doorbell rings and back door knocks, and that when I look up out my kitchen window there is a full volleyball game going on with all the neighborhood kids.  I bring them popsicles because this is summer. They made their own breakfast this morning, which is not new; they have long been capable in that arena.  (Hunger is a great motivator.)  However, the novelty that they also now clean up their own breakfast has not worn off. I measure my energy and intent for the day and put my Fun Mom hat on.  My lists were checked off in the days prior (thanks to helpful friends), so I’m primed for this. I help Greta and her friends get out all of the art supplies they want and smile to myself as I listen to them chatter.  And where is even one of the twenty pairs of scissors we own?  And they find the box of beads from the basement.  And they raid the recycle bin.  And why are we out of aluminum foil? I ask Maren and her friends if they want to plan lunch and dessert: find a recipe, get dropped off that the store to shop for ingredients, prepare it, and clean up.  Their faces beam with enthusiasm, and I give them snippets of advice about recipe-choosing (add “easy” to the search bar) and leave them to it. I sit down, and note again that we’re in a new stage.  Because, I’m sitting.  I’m not trying to keep a toddler from painting the walls, I’m not talking to anyone about the potty, and no one puts non-food items in their mouths.  Pinch me.  The ten-year-olds make a grocery list, take inventory of the pantry, and run it by me with a swell of responsibility and pride.  The six-year-olds have taken their craft...

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