Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Warts and All

This past week, Pete has been complaining about the little bumps on the back of her hand and some more popped up on her face around her mouth and chin and seemed sort of inflamed. Pete is growing up, in some ways too fast but I'm not going into that because creepy people search the internet for topics like that and EW!, so Husbandguy and Pete and I looked closely at the bumps to be certain she didn't just need to wash her face better, and we all decided that they weren't pimples. I wanted to take her to the doctor yesterday, but that was Lulu's first day of real school (it went really well - more about that later) and I wanted to be available for Lulu, so I took Pete this morning.

She seemed kind of keyed up. I don't know if she was nervous or excited or relieved, but she was loud and silly and adorable on the way there and while we waited for the doctor. Turns out she's got some warts, what we suspected. Not the kind you see on Halloween witches (those are called filiform), but just some everyday flat warts. The doctor recommended we see a dermatologist about the ones on her face, but she went ahead and froze the rest of them (she had some on her knee!). The doctor brought in a steaming cup with a cotton swab poking out of it, and Pete said, "What's that hot liquid in the cup?" The doctor explained that it was actually cold (she even said, "really cold q-tip"), and I launched into an explanation of liquid nitrogen that was probably totally unnecessary. Poor Pete! Apparently liquid nitrogen really hurts when it comes in contact with your skin. Pete was very brave, though. I can say that even though she complained and cried and tried to refuse treatment because she ultimately held my hand and counted with me and let the doctor kill the warts on her fingers and hand and knee. Then she got a bunch of Bugs Bunny bandages and I took her to lunch at the salad place she likes, where she tried to eat without bending her fingers.

Then she went back to school with her battle scars and wondered if she would be able to get out of doing a lot of work since she couldn't bend her fingers well and probably couldn't hold a pencil. She did say that she thought she might be able to turn pages...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Empty Nest

I know that the usual definition of the Empty Nest involves grown children going away-away to college or whatever, but it occurs to me that perhaps there should be another use for the term: to describe the experience parents have when their youngest (or only) little monkey joins the rest of the big kids in big-kid school, all day, M - F, fall - spring. That's me. That's what has happened here today. It is very strange. And a little liberating. And a little sad.

After I kissed Lulu goodbye and told her to have fun and watched her walk away with her teacher, I swallowed hard and then found all the other parents who were hovering around coffee and muffins in the media center (we call this the boo-hoo breakfast). I didn't cry, but I did have to swallow hard a few more times.

When that was done, my mind was full of all these things I could do with the rest of my free day: write, read, clean out my car, clean the living room, clean the girls' rooms, go shopping, play on the internet. I opted to go shopping. By myself. And not even look at the toy section or the little cluster of shelves where everything costs only $1. And I bought a candy bar, just for me, that I'm not going to have to share or justify or get someone else something just because I got something. I haven't eaten it yet, but it has been added to my to-do list.

Now I'm playing on the internet and seriously thinking about adding clean the litter box to my list. I could run around and do all those other things on my list (I will probably spend an hour later working on my story), but I think today I'll goof off and do what I want and start my life as a monkey-less grown-up tomorrow. Or the next day...

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Holymoly. I'm all squishy today.

I just realized... Well, I knew all along but thought I was okay with it seeing how I've been through it before... Here I was being all, "Poor you, I know your pain!" to the moms who are going through this for the first time... And it's not like it's her first time... Except this is really the final first time...

Tomorrow is my last weekday with Lulu before she is officially part of the train of children wending their way through elementarythenmiddlethenhigh school, on their way to being all grown up.

Who's going to run my errands with me? Or meet Husbandguy for lunch on a Tuesday and then get frozen custard afterward with me? Or blow bubbles on the patio in the middle of the day with me?

It won't be the same by myself.

I'm okay with it because she's supposed to grow up and will do great things in school. But also, I'm not. Because she's my baby.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Poor Lulu. For the past few nights she has had miserable nightmares. Mostly she just writhes in her bed shrieking and crying, but sometimes she comes out of her room and climbs into HG's or my lap. She's not awake, but she will converse with you. Like you say, "What's scaring you, Lulu," and she says, "Abbert ibble wama markle!" Although sometimes it sounds like, "Abbert ibble HELP DADDY wama NO NO markle!" We just hold her and say things like, "It's okay," and "We're here," and "You're safe," until she calms down and goes fully back to sleep. The other night, though, I managed to redirect her dream so she was eating a popsicle on the front porch at the beach house we vacationed in with Moomie. It was very gratifying the way her body relaxed when I "gave" her the popsicle (in her dream) and asked if she wanted to sit outside to eat it.

Pete has a similar sleep issue. When she's stressed or anxious or excited or overtired, she walks in her sleep. It used to be nightmares but has morphed as she's matured. I'll be surprised if she doesn't pop out of bed a couple of times in the next week, with school starting on Wednesday for her.

Lulu doesn't start school until the next Monday (same school as Pete but new for Lulu and the pre-k kids start later and have staggered entry), but this week there has been a lot of attention paid to her starting school because this was the week we were supposed to find out who her teacher will be and what day she will start, and I've been kind of manic about it. I'm sure that's not helping her anxiety level. Hindsight blah blah blah. Poor kid with the crazy mommy. No wonder she's having nightmares.

So remind me, if I say to you "What's wrong with that kid?!" in the next month or so, that this is a big deal for that little girl and to have peace and to remind HG that she's only 4 and could probably use our patience and understanding as she deals with having to grow up a whole lot all of the sudden.

Holy moly! BIG KID SCHOOL! With reading and math and writing and science and PE! Whoa!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


The more I learn about a crucial component of my novel, the more doubtful I become that I can write it. It's not the in-the-closet-with-the-light-off kind of dark story I had in my little brain with a protagonist who is ultimately likable even though she does terrible things. Turns out it's bottom-of-a-very-deep-hole-where-the-sun-doesn't-reach kind of dark with an apparently cruel and terrible lead character. A note I made months ago, before I knew what I know now, said, "how to make her likeable?" but who knew what a big challenge that would really be!

I am not a Go-Getter. When I doubt myself, instead of trudging through and trying my hardest, I tend to hide. You know, the in-the-closet-with-the-light-off kind of hiding, where I can pretend that this thing that's troubling me isn't even something I'm interested in anyway. I realized this was happening this morning when I thought about why I hadn't done the last 2 WFMAD prompts. My thoughts when I had read them were along the lines of, "I don't need to do that," and "I don't want to write about that," and "That doesn't have to do with my story." But the truth, I think, is more along the lines of, "If I write that then I have to think about how it might relate to my story and then I have to think about my story that I don't want to think about."

But when I am a Go-Getter, I've found, great things happen. Like with the Follies last year when I signed up late and was given 3 lines and a part in the chorus and instead of being satisfied with a tiny role, I raised my hand and volunteered for everything I could and ended up with one of the biggest parts, which people still comment on (positively), almost a year later. And I didn't talk much about Lulu's school this past year, but I signed up to be the room parent for her class and met and became friends with a bunch of people I usually wouldn't have done more than talk to briefly at birthday parties.

So what I need is a plan of attack, I think. A to-do list, if you will. Like, finish the book I'm reading and explore the website of the expert who wrote the foreword for the book I'm reading and find other things to read about this stuff and build an outline including the new ideas I want to incorporate and do the WFMAD prompts I skipped these past few days and take a step back from all the Terrible by working on my short story or the Frog and Fox stories or by reading the Alcott biography I picked up at the library.

That's the right attitude, right?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Here's a Problem, but Not a Bad One

You'll see over to the right, there, next to my photo (with Pete) that I have been neglecting my writing. Apparently for more than just a few years. Because I realized the other day, as I was preparing for this big deal I'm making out of having free time every day to write starting in September, that most of my writing from when I was young and spry and creative is on floppy disks! That's right. You heard me. FLOPPY DISKS. Does your computer have a floppy drive? Because mine doesn't. Not even an imaginary one, which probably wouldn't help anyway.

Admittedly I could write without the files on these disks (diskS). My miserable little skeleton of a novel in on a flash drive, and the Frog and Fox stories are mainly in my head and the short story that I just recently realized is going to end in a particular way is in a composition book, but what if I wrote something ten years ago, fifteen years ago, that is worth exploring and editing and finishing? I have to know. Wouldn't you?

Don't worry, though (I know you were). I am not going to let this stop me from doing what I want to do. I told the Grandpa yesterday that I have to write because if I don't write then I'm going to feel like I need to find something else to do (some other job, I mean) and I don't want to do anything but write so I have to do it. Also, Poppop, who has everything computer-related that you could possibly need ever or knows where to get it cheap if he doesn't have it already, has a floppy drive and said I could bring my floppy disks next time we visit them and transfer them to CD or flash drive or something so before long I will have everything except the little book I wrote and illustrated in the OSU library when I was 8 and the poem I wrote about spring in the 4th grade.

Some of my best work, those were...

Friday, August 13, 2010


(Click here for Laurie Halse Anderson's blog)

post removed by author

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I've been getting geared up for September, when I officially start my new career as a writer. Remember I told you that Husbandguy said really focusing on my writing does count as a job (click here)? It's hard to do when the girls are around all the time, but this past week I've been sneaking a few minutes here and there for writing (click here) and discovered that writing every day is rewarding, everything I write isn't final draft quality, and I have a lot to learn before I can even think seriously about working on my novel (which will get its own tag starting today since it'll probably be coming up a lot over the next decade or 2). A lot to learn. Also I have learned that my novel is going to be much darker than what I've written so far. This scares me a little. What if I can't write dark with any depth?

Also though, I feel challenged. So it's all good.

Wish me luck. And get ready to hear all about my new adventures because I'm not going to be able to do this and not share it with you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WFMAD Day 10

(Read what I wrote about WFMAD here, and please click the links in my post to Ms. Anderson's site.)

Learning to Ride

My heart stops beating when he lets go of the seat and she takes off on her own, coming down the street toward me. She doesn’t realize he has let go, and I swear that everything goes into slow motion, the kind without any sound. The birds in the sky soar unhurriedly, silently, the leaves wave but the rustling stops, her hair blows and she’s wide-eyed, mouth open a little, tongue moving like it does when she’s thinking about something. But there’s no sound. I try my hardest not to let her see on my face that he let go 8 feet ago. She is riding, gliding, all on her own.

The world turns back to real-time and the sound returns. “How am I doing, Daddy?” she asks in a voice clearly designed to be heard by someone right behind her. He doesn’t hear; he’s watching her from the spot where he let go. “Daddy?” she says, a little panic in her voice. “How am I doing?” I try to signal to him that she’s talking to him, but what should that look like? She glances at me, and I know she knows she’s all on her own. “Daddy?!” she says again, clearly frightened now.

“You’re doing great, honey!” I say. She knows he’s not there, right? “You’re all on your own! Way to go! You’re doing it!” She’s going really fast. I realize I shouldn’t have said it out loud. Of course she knew he wasn’t there, but not really, until I said it.

She falls, her tires slip and whoosh across the sidewalk as her pedal clatters and scratches on the pavement. “Oh no!” she cries out, sliding to a stop and pulling her fists to her chest protectively. Her dad and I both run toward her. She slowly opens her hands and looks at her palms. I see her wince. They must be bloody. She pulls her legs up and checks her knees. Now she cries.

Her dad and I reach her at the same time. She looks first at me and I see anger in her tears. She turns to her dad next and almost screams, “I told you not to let go. You let me fall! Now I’m all bloody!” I can’t believe he is trying not to laugh! Our child is mangled and irate and he’s stifling a chuckle? She glares at him as he struggles to not hurt her feelings more. “Jerk,” I mouth at him over her head. He shrugs, embarrassed, and offering his hand, says to her, “Let’s get those cleaned up. I’m sorry, Sweetie. I thought you had it.”

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Tooth Monster

At the dentist yesterday, Pete had a panoramic x-ray made. Her first, actually. Guess what it showed... Go on, guess...

She has 16 adult teeth just below the surface waiting their turns to come through. Twelve of them are in the front of her mouth (off to the side - you know). I can't wait until the baby teeth above them all fall out. I'm hoping it'll happen all at once.

And that she will see humor in that happening if it does.

SIXTEEN teeth. For real!

Monday, August 9, 2010


While I was at the beach, I read Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. It is a great book for the beach if you don't mind your 8 year-old looking at you sideways when she asks you for a Popsicle and you are weeping openly. I'm not much of a book reviewer so I'll just say that I have yet to read anything by Ms. Anderson that I didn't really enjoy, and I was relieved to see that the story will be continued in another book due out in October (which I have pre-ordered).

In the acknowledgments, I found out she has a blog, which I seeked once I got home (oh, jeez! "seeked" is not a word. I'm leaving it in, though, because it's such a ridiculous mistake and you should laugh at me). For the month of August she has challenged us to write 15 minutes each day. You should check it out.

I started a week late (because I was at the beach last week, remember?), but it turns out it's not really all that hard to spend 15 minutes at a minimum on the prompt she gives each day. The one today about research made me realize how much I need to learn about one of the main themes of my book, which has been getting dusty, seeing how it had fallen behind the back of the to-do bookshelf in my brain. I dusted it off, gave it about 25 minutes of consideration (way more than it's gotten in the past zillion months), and now am totally terrified. But also excited. In a terrified way. Like when you go over the top of that first hill on a roller coaster and realize you've made a mistake and should never have gotten on in the first place but it's too late and you have to keep going until it's done.

WFMAD is a great thing. Here I was, tooling along, shopping for thesauruses and rhyming dictionaries and counting down the days until school starts and I can officially start "being a writer." Sure, it's hard to find time during summer vacation to write every day when you are (apparently) the sole, non-TV source of entertainment (to hear them tell it), but even I, with my kiddos and their big personalities can find 15 minutes! Right?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Last Day at the Beach

We watched this storm roll in from the west and then we sat on the porch while it raged. It was beautiful.

So You Know...

My girls went a whole week without watching TV at all.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

LL Says:

Sorry I've been absent - we were at the beach. More about that later. But first, this:

Husbandguy is colorblind. Lulu wanted him to help her color today. She was very insistent that he follow the pattern she had already started. He didn't want t0 so he told her that he couldn't help because he couldn't tell the colors.

Lulu was unfazed by this. She said, holding each crayon up one by one, "This one is green, which is the color of leafs (sic). This one is red, which is the color of sunburn. And this one is blue, which is the color of my lips when I'm cold."

HG had to help her color after that thorough explanation.
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