Monday, January 13, 2014

These days, I regularly find myself agreeing to unknown demands. They often start with "Momma, you-"contain a chunk of high-pitched gibberish in the middle, and end with the inflection of a question. I suspect I have talked myself into numerous corners, probably to be called on at a later date. On the other hand, it's not like saying "no" to this face is an option:

Monday, December 30, 2013

Moving into winter

We're three months out now, and it's still fascinating to see how Frannie's comprehension of death has changed since this spring. At least once a week, something will happen that reminds one of us of Gramma Paula, and Frannie will add "Gramma Paula, she died" to her side of the conversation. Sometimes, that is the end of it, and I'm fine with that. Other times, she asks questions:

Is Gramma Paula sick?
Is she at the hospital?

More often, I get little insights into how her mind processes this incomprehensible event.

When will Gramma Paula be done dying?
We can't see her.
I miss her.

I tell her: I miss her, too. We can remember her, and think about things we did with her.

I think about how my mother lost her father when I was Frannie's age, and I wonder about the questions I must have asked her then. I remember how happy it always made my mother that I had just a small memory of her father, waving to me as we drove away. I wonder what Frannie will remember when she is older.

Friday, October 4, 2013

I Remember...

One of the benefits of being in a large LGBT community chorus is that, no matter what your need, someone probably has a connection. This week, a chorus sister who works as a funeral director (!) filled a need I didn't even know existed. To the funeral, she brought stacks of "I Remember..." cards. Many of the family members and friends who came filled out a card, writing a cherished memory or moment they shared with Mom. Reading those cards has been one of my favorite pastimes this week, remembering the little moments with everyone. It's been surprising to realize how different some of my memories are when compared to those of her friends and coworkers. Mostly, this is because I tend to reflect on big events or unusual times, while others focus on what Mom did regularly, or activities they shared frequently. I've really enjoyed these reminders of the little things she did, as well as hearing stories I never experienced. One of my favorites was mentioned by many former coworkers. Mom worked for many years as a neonatologist, taking care of premature babies. Apparently, she was known around the nursery for singing to the babies as she did rounds on the weekends, and although I never saw her do this, I can see her in my mind, singing quietly as she wrote notes, humming to the babies in their incubators.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ugh, what a month. Two days before that last post, Frannie was with her Gramma while we got ready for the new school year. (Our daycare is closed in the summer, and didn't open until Labor Day) Gramma (my mom) wasn't feeling well, and was having some chest pains, and so we took her to the ER to get checked out. She looked fine, so we weren't worried about leaving her. Almost as soon as we got home, the ER called to say she was having a heart attack, and was being prepped for a procedure to increase blood flow to the blocked part.

She recovered well, and, as she did after so many illnesses and surgeries, returned to her usual routine. Just a few days after she left the hospital, we went out shopping with Frannie for Sarah's birthday.

Last Saturday, the 21st, Sarah and I were sitting in our living room, waiting for Frannie to fall asleep (a long procedure as we headed back to work), when a friend called, saying Mom had collapsed while they were coming home from a show. For the second time in weeks, we left Frannie with Sarah's parents and raced to the hospital.

There is never anything good coming when they take you to the Social Work room, instead of to a patient room. Even knowing this, it was amazing to observe my brain hoping there was some other reason we weren't ushered into a tiny ER cubicle.

Tomorrow is the memorial, and then we move on to the long process of cleaning up her 61 years. There are so many things to do, and so many memories to revisit. None of us were ready for this.

Out for ice cream in August

Mmm, Scout Mint!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Potty training continues and I feel like the dullest co-worker in the world right now. Everyone is asking how our summer was, and sharing stories of their great trips, and my big exciting story of the summer involves emptying pee out of a modern-day chamber pot.

While we can still count the number of poops-in-the-potty/toilet on one hand, peeing in the potty has become very comfortable for Frannie, and she has also become quite proficient at the toilet. At first, we felt like we needed to hold her on the toilet, so she wouldn't fall in, but she learned quickly that she could just slide right off without trying. I tried setting her on the seat and stepping back, so she would have to balance, and she got it right away. Now she asks us to leave while she is on the toilet (not the potty, though), and so we lift her on, turn around, let her do her thing, and come back to wipe and help her down. Only two accidental pees in her diaper, both in the morning before she is really awake. I think those will take some very intentional planning, so that she is able to wake up enough to think "don't pee now," while staying asleep enough that rolling over and going back to bed is an option. Right now, if she gets up to pee, she wakes up too much to go back to bed. If she wakes up before we are willing to let her rise for the day (say, 6:15?) then we try to put her back down, but those are the mornings her diaper is wet.

Frannie is also developing quite the pitching arm from the backseat of the car. First she was removing her shoes (she likes to "be bare feet") and chucking them at the seat in front of her, then she realized she could aim for the space between the front seats, and get a good reaction out of us. Now, she has taken to lobbing anything within reach at our heads and shoulders. It makes car trips feel a bit like Whac-a-Mole. I loved that game when we were little. My sister and I used to gang up on those moles, using our four hands instead of the one mallet to cream as many of those rascals as we could.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Poop and Ice Cream

Using the potty for peeing "clicked" for Frannie about a week ago. After going consistently every morning, last Saturday we took a long car trip to the outlet mall, and while we were there, she managed to surprise us all by actually peeing on a public toilet. Luckily, we had brought the M&M's with us. We went to a piece of the candy as a reward for successfully making it to the potty after a few stubborn accidents. For the last week, she has been very successful at peeing in the potty, rarely having an accident and peeing in her underpants.

Pooping has been a different story altogether. After cleaning poop out of underpants for 3 days in a row, we decided to give Frannie the option of a bigger treat for the first time she was able to poop in the potty. It started off as going to have ice cream. Then, Boppa would come have ice cream with us. Then, Ellen and Boppa would come. Then Frannie would get to ride in Boppa's truck to get the ice cream. Then, Grammoo (great-grandma) would come. I think we're glad it didn't take too much longer, or the guest list wouldn't have fit in the ice cream parlor.

Today, after a busy morning riding a new balance bike, playing at the park with friends, and having lunch out, we came home to give Frannie a nap. Truth be told, I need the time away from her incessant energy as much as she needs to sleep. About 5 minutes into her nap (and without any actual napping occurring), Frannie announced she had to go potty. I sent her in without much fanfare, figuring it was a stalling technique (since she had just gone), but wanting her to have all the practice she could at using the potty. Plus, I hadn't taken the time to put her in a diaper, so going to the potty was in everyone's best interest.

After a minute, I went in to wipe and clean up the potty. When she announced "I poop!" I didn't really believe her, since she has been claiming that for the last few days. But, hooray! Poop in the potty, and we didn't have to sit in the bathroom for 20 minutes to make it happen! I immediately texted the whole entourage and put them on notice for later in the day. That nap never did happen, and there was a subsequent poop in underpants after she got up, but the ice cream was still earned, and quite delicious it was, too.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Our Wee(wee) Bairn...

As has become our yearly tradition, we all (Sarah, Frannie, Sarah's parents and I) all piled into the car and headed to Enumclaw for the Northwest Scottish Highland Games and Clan Gathering. Last year, the last hour or so of the drive was spent trying to get enough cell coverage to watch "Hot Dog" over and over. Figuring we had nowhere to go but up, we set off. Luckily, Frannie did pretty well for most of the drive, enjoying her hot chocolate for breakfast and making small talk with Boppa and Ellen. The last 10-15 minutes were spent watching some Daniel Tiger on the PBS kids app, but we all agreed this year's drive was a vast improvement.

Just after arriving at the fairgrounds, Frannie started shrieking that her tummy hurt. Figuring she was hungry from not eating breakfast, we fed her some fruit and nut bar and gave her a little water, then set off to look at the clan booths. She kept on crying, even when we picked her up, and nothing seemed to make her feel better. Now, whenever I (or Frannie) doesn't feel good, my brain starts running through the entire list of possible maladies that might match with the presenting symptoms. So, when Frannie was complaining of stomach pain, my brain came up with everything from food poisoning (norovirus? E. coli?) to appendicitis (does the pain come on fast like this when it's inflamed, or only when it has already ruptured?). While the rest of the family shopped, I walked Frannie around outside, hoping she would somehow feel instantly better. When one of my hands felt something warm and wet, I thought "Well, maybe she has gas, and that will make it easier for her to pass it." Then, Frannie lifted her head from sobbing on my shoulder and said "Where Boppa? Where that Boppa at?" Just like that, she was fine. 

Once I found Sarah, she pointed out that we have been working on potty training by having Frannie sit on the potty every morning until she pees, but broke that routine this morning by rushing her out the door to get on the road. Our best guess is that Frannie was trying to hold it until she sat on a potty, but then when her bladder was full, she didn't know that needing to pee was causing the pain! Poor kiddo. So, now I know: if you don't get your toddler to pee in the potty, she might hold it until it hurts!