Monday, January 25, 2010

adventures in parenting continue

I am watching Théa eat blueberries, pears, crackers and applesauce, chattering nonstop as she does. It brings huge joy to my heart, disproportionally to this ordinary - even mundane - act.

On Wednesday night, Théa woke up sick - threw up, and was sick all day Thursday with a fever of 103. That night, however, she turned the corner, rebounded, and woke up at midnight demanding food. Friday, she was fine all day though she didn't eat much, but Saturday morning, she woke up foul with a bad tummy again. By mid-day, she was throwing up again, and by evening, she couldn't keep anything down. In the morning, it was worse. Even a few teaspoons of pedialite came back up. She was very lethargic, unresponsive and so so sad. My sister came by to check on her, and said it was probably time to take her in.

There is something about walking into a hospital that makes everything seem so much worse when in fact it should seem better. It just solidifies the not-OK nature of the situation, I guess. The doctor opted to try an anti-nausea drug and see if that would keep things down enough for her to get rehydrated. By 1 p.m., we were pushing pedialite as blood test results came back saying she was severely dehydrated (duh). More and more liquid went in and she looked better and better. Popcicles went in and stayed put. Color returned to her cheeks, though she was still a total limp noodle.

So we got to go home, and she slept and slept and slept. I woke every couple hours through the night to give her a dose of pedialite. By morning, she was still tired, but better - talking, complaining about who had what hat, etc. She slept most of this morning after we got back from dropping Liam off, and woke chattering. Now, she has just polished off a plate of food. I'm sure diapers will follow, but at least it is going in.

It never ceases to amaze me how these experiences remind me how deep my soul is connected to these little people I sponsor. When they hurt, I literally hurt. When they cry, my body cannot help but move to them. It is a force greater than me and I am forever grateful to be a part of it. And grateful, so, so grateful, to see their faces return to the natural state of joy with the world.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ups & downs

Today the papers cops and courts log proclaimed my new dissolved status to the world. Luckily, Liam got sick, so I went for a fast run, and afterward had to go directly back to the school, collect him, and spend an entire day at home with a very bored and not very sick kid - thus avoiding the fun of having your private life displayed in public as only a small town can. Not that the word wasn't already out there, but there are plenty of people with whom I interact on a regular basis who do not know, and I would be more than happy to leave it that way. And knowing how it works with papers, I know it is getting read. But so it goes.

The kids, on the other hand, seem to be doing pretty well this week. Matt is in Hawaii for the next two weeks, and they both are missing him, but regular phone calls and skype sessions are helping. In general, though, our routine is pretty solid and includes lots of outside time, dancing, art, healthy food, and reading. We went skiing last weekend and both kids rocked it out - Liam on skis and Thea in her pulk, snacks in hand and singing little songs.

Last night a friend helped build a little kitchenette for Thea with parts and pieces I had left over from the kitchen remodel as a trade for some computer work I had done. The process was pretty fun - Liam got to do a lot of drilling and messing around with power tools, which was right up his ally. Thea ran around in circles skating through sawdust until I drug her into the kitchen and put her to work washing dishes (darn those gender biases sneak in, don't they) It was still coming together when Thea went to bed last night, so she got a big surprise in the a.m. I picked up a little set of pots and pans in Anchorage to complete the ensemble. There were squeals of delight and it was played with quite extensively today. Good stuff. I also found out that both kids will quite happily eat raw pasta if it is presented to them. Gross.

The daylight is finally stretching out. Today, a beautiful, 30-degree sunny day, presented twilight at 6 p.m. We are up to 7 hours of daylight now and gaining 5 minutes a day. Hurray. This afternoon I found myself out by the garden tromping rectangles in the snow. One for the 8x20 greenhouse I will build behind the raspberry patch, and another for the 60x40 garden I will till this spring to plant potatoes, peas, carrots and other "cold weather" crops this year. After a few months trying to buy organic produce, I am determined to try to improve my own capacity this season. It's going to be a huge project, but anything that puts me and the kids outside more is good. Pretty soon it will be time to start the tomatoes, so I'd better read up on all of that.

So all this momentum - gardening plans, fiddle lessons, working on a huge painting, focusing on what we are putting into our bodies, mandatory outsideness - is great and fine, and I'm doing good, but the truth is, it is also so intimidating. A huge part of me is terrified I'm going to screw up and forget something. There's so much to do, freelance work coming in from all over, barely able to keep up with it and my "day job," balancing the kids increased needs, especially during these solo weeks and those to come as fire season and trainings come in, maintaining an old and often crochity house (on my list is replacing the 210 electric outlet for the drier - now which fuse is that??) My nose is still above water, but there are days....

I wonder how long it will feel like this before, like this morning's amazing, smooth-as-silk 6-mile sprint, it all starts to come together and I gain confidence in my ability to not only maintain but excel in this new life. I can taste it, but I'm not there yet.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


The further I get into 2010, the more change seems to be prevailing over every part of life. It is the heart of winter - dark from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 a.m. That's a lot of time for thinking about priorities, the importance of things like the environment, quality of life, the things children value, like time vs. the things that don't mean anything, like stuff.
Today, Thea and Liam and I went for a walk on the snowmachine trail along Crossman Ridge. Weeks of warm weather have left the trail hard as cement, and the stroller rolled along with ease. Around us, the sky was lit with honey-colored clouds against a light blue sky. Flocks of birds swept through the trees. Space was all around. Liam flew imaginary Star Wars planes along the trail, and Thea fell asleep. Once again, out saved us. Inside, everything was sad and yucky. Outside, it was space, and the free exchange of feelings and emotions - letting them go with every breath.
Liam explained how he was starting not to like the two house deal - how he wished Matt and I would live together. We talked a lot about families and feelings and how people change over time. I told him I understood how he felt, but that it didn't change the way things were.
We ran into a couple friends of Liam's on the trail riding on a snowmachine with one of the kid's dad. Liam was very impressed, and invited himself on a playdate soon, provided he could ride on the snowmachine. I found myself wishing we lived out there - where outside was a required part of everyday life, and priorities were aligned more correctly to what I see as those of value. I spent the rest of the walk daydreaming about giving my children a life like the one I had - filled with hard work, personal accomplishment and above all else, complete self-sufficiency.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Théa's Birthday Party

Thea turns two tomorrow morning sometime around 10 or 11 - I'd have to pull out the baby books to figure out when, but I do know that my water broke around 5 a.m. two years ago and the rest is history. Today's events were a lot less dramatic - we had a gaggle of friends over to Matt's house, cake and ice cream, and a whole lot of children playing relatively peacefully together. Pretty successful by my standards.

Perhaps the funniest part of the day was when we sang Thea happy birthday - she was visibly upset by it - I have one picture of her with the biggest poopy lip right in front of the cake. I don't know what was going through her mind - maybe she thought everyone was yelling at her???

The best part, though, was when Frida, who goes to Nikki's with Théa and is as far as I can tell the single biggest friend influence she has, came up and gave her a big kiss. It was so cute - and I love the look on Théa's face. Priceless.

new year miracles

Among the many miracles that have occurred following the return of the kids and the turning of the year, the one I am most impressed with presently is the fact that somehow, my kids are now playing with each other.

When I climbed out of the shower today, Liam had gone upstairs and got the playdough, brought it down, set Thea up with some, and started serving her "pies." "Tank Choou" Thea was saying for each one. "You're Welcome" says the Big Brother.

It is almost as if it happened overnight - but I'm sure it was more gradual than that. All of a sudden, Liam is appearing to enjoy his role as a big brother. He spent several hours playing babies with Thea last night, and also let her into his room, saying, "I think I'm starting to rethink the whole gate thing, Mom."

I don't know if it is him, or Thea's emerging verbal skills that make her more interesting. And for sure, it can't be said that they don't still fight. But at least there are some positive interactions to balance out the negative. I'm pretty excited about it. It's been a long 2 years.

Thea's 2-year-old birthday is today at Matt's house. I need to make a cake and then go in search of some dairy-free icing. But I thought I'd document this amazing development while it was occurring.