Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Bumpy Road Song

One day, when we were driving the 5 down to the beach, we suddenly heard from the back seat a peculiar sound from Sage. Since it got such a positive reaction (David and I laughing hard enough to almost need to pull over) it has become a regular thing.

So now, for your listening pleasure, Sawyer and Sage perform "The Bumpy Road Song Remix" - the remix for a couple added "CHEESE!" for the camera..

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mommy Knows Best

You never want anything to be wrong with your kid. There is something to be said for validation, however.

I've thought for the past few months that Sage is having speech issues (pause here for snarky comments about how she probably hasn't been able to get a word in edgewise at this house). I asked her pediatrician at her 18-month checkup, and he said that we'd investigate further at age 2 if she still was having issues.

Not good enough for the inner (?) neurotic in me. I had a nice conversation with my OB/GYN at my yearly about Sage. Turns out her two sons are both speech-delayed, and she encouraged me to have her evaluated.

So I did. She had an hour-and-a-half evaluation today. She is at age or advanced in motor skills and comprehension, but is definitely delayed in expressive speech. Just like I thought.

The big areas of concern were Sage's lack of parroting what we ask her to say, and also that she uses no verbs. She also incessantly says "Mommy" before pretty much any other word. The therapist guessed that it's because I'm the only one who has any clue what she's saying. One positive is that Sage is making all the sounds necessary for her to make words. She just hasn't put it all together yet.

The therapist said she'd recommend for Sage to go to private therapy twice a week. Then, when she turns 2, she would be eligible to go to their small group classes. Hopefully that won't be necessary.

We never realized how verbally advanced Sawyer was until we see how little Sage says. Then again, she is way ahead physically compared to him at the same age.

Not that I compare my children, of course. At least, not to their faces.

Monday, May 21, 2007

It's starting to sink in..

So...there are donations coming in. Talk about a great feeling! But also scary. Because I guess this really does mean that I'm going to do this race. And I really am going to have to figure out how to raise that $3,000. My good friends from high school were the first to donate. I was really touched!

I have been talking to Sawyer about the little sick boy, Demetrius, who is our Honored Teammate. I showed him the picture of Demetrius that we received in our informational folders. He saw the picture of a happy boy with floppy brown hair. Then he saw another picture, of a boy with a shaved head and a big bandage peaking out from under his shirt.

We talked about how this boy is almost Sawyer's age, and how he's really, really sick with someone bad called cancer. And how Mommy is trying to raise money to help cure him, which means that Sawyer will not be getting a new toy at Target every time we go. Maybe Sawyer can even pick out a toy of his own that the sick little boy might like. Sawyer wasn't too hot on any of these ideas, but I'm trying..

Sunday, May 20, 2007

My new adventure

I finally did it. I signed up for my first marathon (CUCKOO, CUCKOO!). I'd wanted to run one before I turned 40, and I found an opportunity I couldn't refuse. I mean, I COULD have, but it just felt right.

I signed up for Team In Training (whose acronym is TNT, not TIT, just FYI)and will train with them to run the Nike Women's Marathon on Oct. 21st in San Francisco. The big draw for me was TNT is part of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Last year, TNT raised over $100 million for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

My best friend was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma when I was pregnant with Sage. She went through chemo and radiation and is now cancer-free. My cousin, though, has been battling leukemia for a few years.

What really got me was each team (I'm on the marathon running team for my county) has an honored teammate. Ours is a little boy not much youger than Sawyer. He'd had chemo the day before the kickoff event this Saturday. I couldn't help but think about my own thankfully healthy kids. Talk about a motivator!

I have to raise $3,000 to compete in the race. If you'd like to contribute to support me and TNT, please follow the link: Racing to Save Lives. Seventy-five cents for every dollar donated goes directly toward the cause. And it's all tax-deductible.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

It's official

My tiny baby, er, I mean, sturdy 20-month old climbs up the "big kid" equipment at the park. Up, up she goes, to the very top of the twisty yellow slide. She is so high off the ground her nose should be bleeding. I wait at the bottom of the slide, my head tilted so far back to see her I have a dent in my spine.

It is all I can do not to race up the steps and grab her. She's a good 15 feet off the ground. What if she decides to lean over, loses her balance and... The imagination knows no bounds.

I stand my ground, but my heart is attempting to burst from my chest and rescue her before she ... she ... she slides down all by herself, smiling and shouting "wheeeee."

Give me the badge. I'm now officially a second-time mom.

Sawyer is cautious by nature - and nurture. His personality is not to charge head-first into something, but I probably didn't help by worrying over him and teaching him that some things are scary. Some things are, in fact, scary, like dashing into the street or grabbing a hot pot on the stove.

Or, to me, those big openings on top of the playground equipment where he could possibly fall and be permanently disfigured, paralyzed, or worse.

I am guilty of over-parenting him and not letting him figure out that if you stand up under the table you'll bump your head, or that bouncing on the couch can land your butt hard on the floor.

Parenting Sage has been completely different. Her personality is, when it comes to physical activities, much more daring. Plus, she's more coordinated than Sawyer was at the same age. When she falls, I avoid eye contact. She might cry for a second, and then she moves on. I want her to be tough. She has to be, with an older brother and a neighborhood filled with boys.

She has already had a fat lip, courtesy of a tumble off Sawyer's KinderZeat during which she smacked her head on the table and landed flat on her face. It is the first of what I'm guessing will be many bumps and bruises.

But today, Sage was so proud of herself as she went down that slide. Self-confident and strong. My girl.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Not-so-fast Freddy

Today we went to a regional park with my friend L and her son, J, who is three days younger than Sawyer, and her 6 month-old baby. The park has a train ride, a small zoo, a playground and, if that all wasn't enough, pony rides!

Sawyer was very diligent about eating all his lunch (after he'd gone on the train ride and played at the playground) so his reward was a pony ride.

The catch is the parent has to lead the horse around the teeny corral, which wouldn't be bad if my other arm wasn't supporting a 25-plus pound girl. Sawyer was very excited about the whole adventure and ran over to his pony.

Turns out, his name was Freddy. Sawyer had to wait his turn while J got strapped into his saddle and L led him out. This is what Sawyer had to say while waiting:

"Mommy? Freddy is sad."

"Why is Freddy sad?"

"Because he wants me to ride him."

And once Sawyer was strapped in, he announced that Freddy was, now, quite happy. Unlike Mommy, who hoped that Freddy was a burner on the horse path but found out that he is slower than the dirt on which he walked. By the end, my shoulder was two inches lower from toting Sage - who likes to Baaa like a horse (don't ask).

"Mommy, Freddy is really sweet. I'm having a great time."

That made it all worth it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Why can't it be a baby bird?

Garbo is our big, fat pit mix with a brain that would make a T Rex seem like a genius. Her (only)saving grce is that she is VERY tolerant of the children. They can sit on her, dress her up and smack her upside the head and she just sits there, looking dumb.

She does have the incredibly annoying habit of following the kids when they are eating something, as if that one crumb they might drop will save her from certain starvation. She likes to sit under Sawyer while he eats at the table, and if she's especially daring, she will stick her head in his crotch to be that much closer if a noodle or bite of carrot should fall in that direction.

Today Sawyer was playing outside while Sage napped (oh yes, he no longer does quiet time OR nap, which is why yesterday he fell asleep folded in half on the couch at about 3:30 p.m., precisely two seconds after finishing a yogurt and asking for a cheese stick).

The dogs were outside. I looked over at Garbo and she was walking across the lawn delicately carrying something in her mouth like it was her own newborn pup (she was spade so has never known the joy of motherhood).

I hoped it was a mouse. Or a baby bird. Anything but what I knew it really was.

You know you're beaten down when you wish ill on a defenseless little creature because the reality it just too icky to contemplate. Maybe I should have prefaced this whole post by mentioning that Sawyer continues to poop in his pants. Did it twice today, ruining his Lightning McQueen underwear because NO AMOUNT OF BLEACH ON THE PLANET could ever remove the memory of that particular load.

So I yelled at Garbo to drop it, and she actually did it. I slowly walked over, my throat already gagging like I had just come face-to-face with mayonnaise on a stick. And there, in the grass, resting quietly on a patch of dead grass, was Garbo's prize: no feathers, no fur. Just a lovely solid dog turd.

At least I didn't step on it.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


I kissed Sage's soft, chubby baby girl leg today. Because I could. She was there, warm and squirmy, giggling. Alive. So very alive.

She might not be tomorrow.

The most profound lesson I've learned about motherhood came courtesy of what must have been a deafening sound of crunching steel. I wasn't there. I can only visualize what it felt like, to be in the driver's seat, with Grandma strapped in the passenger seat, the tired but happy children secure in their car seats in the back.

Maybe the conversation was about the carousel ride, or the water fountain the kids splashed in. Maybe one child dozed. Or there was a squabble over a toy. Maybe everyone was singing.

It wasn't even rush hour. But the traffic was backed up, as usual, to the exit for home. Waiting, the minivan all but parked behind a Tahoe. An ordinary day.

In an instant, it was over. A bigrig plowed through the back end until it became the back seat. Mom and Grandma turning around in horror.

The children. The children.

Emma, age 4, and Katie, age 2, died soon after being airlifted to local hospitals. Kyle, who turned 5 the day before, died later that evening in his mother's arms.

Unimaginable. Unfathomable. Unexplainable.

I have cried often about this since I saw the accident pictures in the paper Saturday morning. More so the next day, when I saw for the first time pictures of the smiling, warm-eyed beautiful children.

I studied the photos on their website. They looked so familiar. Could I have met them? They live in the next town. Or is it just that they are a version of the Everyman - in this case, the Everymom. I feel like I know her because I could be her: a mom returning in the early afternoon from an outing with her kids. I've gone to the same places they have. Driven the same highway. It could have easily been my car that was hit, my children's lives ended before they'd begun.

The pictures show a life full of birthday parties and sunny days at the park. Smears of 1st birthday cake surounding a toothy smile. Christmas. A grinning Dad. The two older kids gazing at their newborn sister. Emma kissing Kyle on the cheek.

And now...

Lori is a stay-at-home mom with no children to take care of. No pretty hair to untangle, no warm top of the head to kiss, no soccer uniforms to wash, no urgent cries of "Mommy!" to hurry and come see the lizard on the patio.

Only silence.

I'm sure she did what we all do to try to keep our children safe. We put them to sleep on their tummies from the moment we meet them. When they start to explore, we cover outlets, pad the sharp edges, gate our stairs. Carseats are safety-inspected and always buckled tight. We slather on the sunscreen. Tighten their helmets when running just isn't fast enough and they master scooters and bikes.

We do all these things and more, but the truth is, there is no way to completely protect them. There are terrible illnesses, maniacs with guns who think college students make good target practice, trucks that don't stop.

That is the risk of becoming a mother. The only emotion that can possibly match the overwhelming love you feel for your child is the equally intense sorrow of losing them.

The family has a website with a guestbook. Coble Memorial Website

Many of those who have signed are like myself, women who feel a connection because we are mothers. Many also talk about faith, often writing about the children being in a better place.

I hope the family does find comfort in the religious sentiments. They don't do much for me, though. I wonder if those who say the family should not ask "why?" because "only G-d knows" believe it simply because it's less terrfiying then the knowledge they live in a world where three precious, beautiful children are killed for absolutely no reason.

I can't imagine being Lori and Chris Coble today. Or in the days, months, years to come. What can silence the scream that must continuously eminate from the very core of their beings? How are they not reminded with every breath of those that no longer breathe? The house is full of not just toys and clothes but memories. Of the musky smell of Child. Of children.

Can they look at the kitchen and not see the first gummy mouthful of rice cereal? Be in the living room and not see the first of many steps? Finding a small hidden sock in the couch, seeing a girl who walks just like Emma or Katie - our children become our lives, how can they no longer be?

So I must become a better, more gentle, more tolerant mother. I must laugh more, scold less. Delight in the small things. To do less would be to dishonor the lives of Kyle, Emma and Katie.

To my own Sawyer and Sage, sleeping as I type, I love you more than any words can say. All the way to the moon - and back.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The body is an amazing thing..

The conversation while Sawyer was sitting on the potty..

Mommy? Can I eat my penis?

Mommy's thought bubble: If you could, you'd be the luckiest - and most flexible - man on the planet.

Mommy's response: No, honey, you may not.

Mommy? Can I pretend to eat my penis?

The conversation while Sawyer was playing outside...

Mommy, my nose is very important because it has two holes in it and that's where the boogers come out. They come out of the two little holes. That's why my nose is very important.

The conversation when Sawyer pooped in his pants - for the sixth time in one day...

Sawyer, if you can't poop in the potty, we're going to have to put you back n pullups like a baby.

Mommy, that sounds like a GREAT idea!

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