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!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Like any respectable two-mom family, we attended our local Pride parade this weekend. Unfortunately, as soon as the Dykes on Bikes rolled up, Frannie wanted nothing to do with her stroller, and insisted on being held throughout the entire parade. So, no pictures of the parade, since my hands were full of toddler. Turns out, though, that you get a ton of stuff thrown at you (good stuff) when you have a cute kid with you - stickers, pinwheels from the local children's hospital, coffee from Starbucks, even a free t-shirt. I don't know if we'll be marching or watching next year, but it was fun to have the change of perspective, not to mention the shade.

Seattle has been having a bit of a heat wave (other parts of the country would call it "Spring"), so we've been doing our chores early in the day, mowing the lawn and hanging out all of the laundry, and playing in the sprinkler during the afternoon. Frannie wanted to help with the mowing, so she put on her boots and headphones, but got outside just in time to hang out the laundry.

What, you don't hang out the laundry in fireman boots and noise-reducing earphones?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bedtime slowly gets easier, perhaps because we have grown more immune to the 90 minutes (I wish I were exaggerating) of whimpers and cries we get each night. Her one consistent request, to which we each give in for a few minutes, is to snuggle (which she pronounces "nuggle") with her, that is, sing to her, rub her back (under the shirt, if you please!), and generally devote all attention to her for a few minutes. When she's feeling sleepy, it's a lovely way to spend part of your evening. When she feels like flailing her appendages and whacking you in the face, it's more appealing to clean up the dog poop in the backyard.

Day care finishes for the season in three days. In other words, three more days until we have to be as entertaining as 9 children, 4 adults, and a basement full of toys. I see parks and outings in our future.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

We were in the car, stuck in traffic, and Frannie asked why we weren't moving. I told her we were waiting at a stop light, and Frannie informed me it was a "go-go light." I said I liked that name for it, and she said it was because she likes "go-go-going!"

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

This weekend, we went on a bike ride around Seward Park with a friend, who has two 4 year old twin boys and a girl who just turned 3. We brought Frannie's tricycle, which mercifully has a handle, as well as the umbrella stroller, with the plan being that Frannie and the girl would share the bike around the lake while the bigger boys rode their balance bikes the whole way. Naturally, Sunday was the day the heavens opened up and the six of us made up approximately 25% of the people we encountered on the 2.5 mile loop. The kids braved the rain and cold pretty well for the first 2 miles, but around that marker, one of the boys lost it. Luckily, it didn't occur to him to lay the bike down and refuse to continue, so he just screamed his way around the path. We kept the spirits of the other kids up by promising them treats (cookies! brownies!) when we got to the shelter (dry! warm! not rainy!) By the time we got to the shelter, the kids had clearly built it up in their minds as not so much a roof and tables, but rather a sumptuous palace, probably with attendants Carson hired. The reality came crashing down on them, and all 4 lost it. The adults ate the cookies and brownies with authentic but overly dramatic enthusiasm, and then we packed the kids up and went home. Next time we want a bike ride before nap, I think we'll make sure the weather plans to cooperate. That, or we find a velodrome for toddlers in the Seattle area.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

We went to a birthday party for a friend of Frannie's who is turning 3 this week. For a gift, Sarah made the girl a "Princess" dress by embellishing a store-bought dress with ribbon, sparkly tulle, and shiny buttons. The big news on our end was that Frannie was excited to give the gift to her friend, not just to own it herself, albeit temporarily. This may have been because Sarah made a coordinating dress for Frannie to wear, but I like to think our little girl is learning to share. Not that I expect this to translate to any other areas.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Frannie has been going through a spitting phase recently. Mostly, she doesn't spit for entertainment, but to express her displeasure at something or someone, or in response to being disciplined or told something is not an option. Since she's a Two-Year-Old, spitting is becoming quite common in our household. With two special-ed teachers in the house, you'd think we'd have a handle on changing undesirable behaviors, but it turns out our daughter is as stubborn as ever. She has also started responding to our frustration with some of her less-awesome behaviors by yelling "I not bad!" which confuses the heck out of me. I figure either she is hearing from somewhere else about her or someone else being bad (could be the "bad dog" we use when Olive scratches at the kitchen wall for treats), or she is confusing "bad" and "mad," since lately I've been trying to teach her to say "I'm MAD!" as a replacement behavior for spitting. No matter which it is, it's heartbreaking to hear her insist that she is not bad, and has both of us responding with love, adoration, and assurances of her self-worth. Come to think of it, we may be strongly reinforcing that particular statement.

Friday, March 15, 2013

After months and months of ignoring ting-tings, Frannie has very recently become quite attached to her plastic chew-toys. It has coincided so completely with the end of bedtime nursing, that I suspect she is using the ting-ting as a substitute, but instead of sucking, she still chews them, as she did when she was first teething. Sadly, we had gotten rid of most of the ting-tings, and the only ones left in the house were hidden in various boxes or bags when we were clearing out baby toys for her cousin. The two we have left are pink (preferred) and green (accepted only as a last resort). Last night, both were lost (or, "on vacation," as we describe them). So, it was off for a bedtime trip to Target, to hopefully stock up on identical pink ting-tings. Total bust, though, since Target has apparently stopped carrying the preferred brand and style of ting-ting. We picked up a pair of clear/blue orthodontic style ting-tings, which have been accepted into the fold as the "new ting-tings," though still inferior to the pink one. Now, our evenings are filled with plaintive wails of "I lost my ting-ting!" followed by one mom or the other shuffling into the bedroom to retrieve the missing pacifier (never was an object more aptly named), and hand it back to her.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Oh, wow. I can tell nearly to the date when my computer died, and I'm amazed I lasted so long without one at home.

Frannie is now 2, and the number of changes since 18 months is incredible. Some fun, some miserable (for us,) all entertaining.
Today, the Catholic church chose a new pope, to be called "Francis." Naturally, this led to cracks about Frannie's promotion, but in truth, we are flattered His Holiness decided to be named after our little girl.