Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Get Ready!

Tomorrow are school pictures...oh my. Ours start at 8am. Because that's the best time to ask a preschooler to smile after you've dressed him up and told him not to touch anything and slicked his hair down.

And a violin update. Our Little Prince has asked for-make that pestered us about--a violin. He talks about violins, picks out the sounds they make in the music we hear, mimics being a violin by rubbing his legs together...and of course when we took him to earxtacy in Louisville, he LOVED the listening stations and chose out of EVERYTHING he heard an instrumental CD featuring Bela Fleck (banjo), Zakir Hussain (tabla), and Edgar Myer (double bass), called "The Melody of Rhythm," recorded with who else but the Nashville Symphony. He loved visiting our friends the Dillards and listening to Jonathan and his dad play their way through the house, and he was undone at a recent fiddle competition in downtown Franklin (where, of course, he fell in love with the harmonica). In the car, he wants to hear the Bela Fleck CD or Alison Krauss and Union Station. At my sister's house, he grabbed his uncle's Rock Band drumsticks, and before I could move fast enough to avert the damage he'd make by beating the wall & furniture & cousin Reagan, he tucked one stick under his chin, rubbed it with the other, and smiled, "Look! It's a violin!"

So, we get the hint. Even now, we're trying to wedge our way into Suzuki lessons at the same church where he goes to preschool. And we've picked out the perfect violin, one sixteenth size, of course, so he can grow into it. Good grief. Just to make sure, before we start eating Ramen noodles to finance this endeavor (that's what parents do, right? I thought Ramen noodles were limited to college and first year of marriage!), I asked him again the other day, as we watched Elmo's world feature violins--"YoYo, do you still want a violin?"

"No, Mama."

Well, there you have it, I thought. It has passed. We've begun the cycle of "I must have this, it's what I've wanted to do my whole life," to be replaced 2 hours later with, "No, I never wanted that, I have thought about doing this for ever!"

"I don't want to play violin, Mama. I want to fiddle. Do you hear that there, Mama? That's fiddle music, not violin music. That's what I want to do."

It took Nashville 16 months to get to our boy, but it got him. Hard.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Talking With...

There's this really weird dichotomy to 4-year-olds. The boy who liked to mush everything together on his plate a few months ago DOES NOT! want his corn to touch his chili. And the grapes he loved last summer will not pass his lips now. Ahhh, to be four. But then, as we talk, if I can sit still long enough, he blows me away.

The other night, we were getting ready for bed, and Shane was coaxing him to finish picking up his toys. "I know you'll make a good decision and clean up," Shane said.

"How do you know I'll clean up?" asked our intrepid one.

"Because you are a smart boy, and you don't want to be punished for leaving a big mess," his father replied.

"But, didn't Jesus take the punishment for me so I don't have to?"

Clearly, he's grounded from Sunday School.

And then today, reading our book before a little nap (he has a yucky cold), he said, "How long will the moon be? As long as this world? As long as you live? Does God know the answer?"

"Well, I don't know how long the moon will last."

"What questions do you have, Mama, that you don't know the answers?"

"Well, how deep is the ocean, and how many stars are in the sky..."

"Is that the only questions? Do you have even more than those? Are there too many?"

"Yes, there are too many for right now."

"Does God know the answers?"

"I guess He does."

"Do you want to snuggle now, Mama?"

Ok, so I know he's not the only kid in the world asking questions or making his parents' little brains go *pop* ! But it is surely an amazing wondrous thing to see his awareness blossom every day and to watch him unfold. I'm so lucky to be a Mommy. I know I have to write this now, because when he's in 4th grade and his feet stink and he doesn't want my hugs and he slams his bedroom door, I'll have to look back on this and say, "It's all the same little boy." And he'll still be unfolding.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

can't deny it any longer

Baby feet are one of my favorite things in the whole world. They're shapeless, funkless, with kissable little toes. The little tootsies in this picture are my niece's baby feet, sprinkled with the cutest possible touch of sand. How sweet are those feet!

These feet here? I promise they were baby feet just a few months ago. They are my favorite little feet in the whole world. When we were in China, and for a while after we came home, homesickness and separation hit the little prince hard, and when he WOULD NOT let Mama or Baba hold him, the one point of contact he would allow me was to hold one little foot. I held on, hoping that one little gesture told him we loved him even if we weren't much comfort yet. He still will slide one foot into my hand when we snuggle, scrunching his little toes. And of course the funniest joke in the world is for him to trick me into smelling his "stinky" feet.

But clearly, something has changed. The picture hints at it, but even then, I could deny it was happening. No more. The shapelessness has resolved itself into an arch, the sweet little stubby toes have begun to get longer and longer, and there's clearly a ball and a heel. A heel, people! No sweet little blobby foot anymore-it's irrefutably a Little Boy Foot, not a baby foot!

Inevitable, I know. It's still the sweetest foot, but would it have been too much to just let it stay a baby foot a little longer?! I know-if this is how I take the "passage of the foot," I'm in for a world of growing pains. And let's not get started on how I'll embarrass him. "Mom, you blogged about my feet?"

I wonder if there's still some ice cream in the freezer. Guess I'll have to tough it out. I'll be accepting condolences.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wow-that was quick!

I can't believe it's September!

I spent August in a flurry of canning and freezing, with 16 pints of pepper relish, 10 pints and 4 quarts of pickles, 8 pints of peaches, 2 pints of figs, 15 quarts of green beans, 5 quarts of blackeyed peas, and 7 quarts of corn to show for my efforts. Putting up food is gratifying.

We also managed to squeeze our way down to SC and Florida for 10 days (sans Shane-poor man had to work!). The invitation to visit came from none other than Mrs. Murphey, from Cumberland College days. Mrs. Murphey and her late husband traveled to Israel in 1952 to establish a kibbutz. Instead, they wound up running a home for children of Arabic and Jewish descent, a subsistence garden, a church, and a school. After nearly thirty years, they returned to the States, where Mr. Murphey taught Hebrew, among other things, at Cumberland College, and Mrs. Murphey earned her Masters in Music. They took us under their capable wings when Shane and I first got married, and they carried us through some traumatic experiences.

While we were invited to visit Mrs. Murphey at her timeshare in Florida, the understanding was that she needed some help ordering the memories in her mind and the writings her husband compiled, so that she could begin the task of writing the history of the "Village" she and her husband poured so much of their lives into.

So we went! And I typed and typed and typed, and YoYo climbed Florida's tallest lighthouse and spent lots of time playing in the sand. We got to spend some great time on both ends of the trip with my sister Andrea, her hubby Tyson, and YoYo's beautiful cousin Reagan.

We also have been getting ready for school-YoYo's preschool starts next week, and I'll be teaching art there one day a week!

Oh, and we went to the Williamson County Fair with friends-and I learned my boy is fearless! He climbed aboard his first ride, a flying elephant, and I was sure he'd bail as soon as it started moving. Oh but no! He waved and cheered, and when the ride finally began to slow down and return to the ground, he kept asking, "Why is it stopping?" to the laughter of all within earshot. The three amigos enjoyed rides until 10 pm, when their esteemed parents decided that the best option was to let everyone share cotton candy on the way back to the cars. Oh what a night!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

And the living is easy

It's keeping up with it that's hard.  We've put on the miles this summer-a two-week trip to Oak Island, NC; two trips to Indiana for fun & birthdays; a trip to SC before the beach; a drive to Kentucky for a wedding (yeah!); and I know I'm missing something else on this list!

Then the home stuff--peach-picking, swimming, the zoo, fishing, campfires, cookouts, parades, birthday parties in a never-ending stream of cakey goodness, an AWESOME visit with Claire & her family (YoYo's "betrothed," don'tchaknow?!), too little time with Kirsten!, the vegetable garden, playdates...

Whew! We need a vacation!  

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

here fishy, fishy, fishy...

Memorial Day marked a year and a day since we landed in Nashville's BNA airport with our sweet prince.  I can't even remember what we did that first day back.  I think sleep was involved, but it seemed there was a stream of visitors and well-wishers, too.  Shane's folks were in town, and they stayed at a hotel to give our brand new family some space to recover--and then dropped in to make sure we were getting fed and rested.  Yeah, grandparents!

This year was different, though.  We dug worms out of the compost pile and headed off to the Jones' ranch for a fancy steaks-from-the-grill lunch and finished it off with an afternoon of fishing.  YoYo's first time fishing was GREAT!  He caught about 8 of the smallest bluegill we've ever seen, but he was so tickled and he loved handling the worms.  

He paused midway through the excursion to wax philosophical on us.  I had to cath him while his buddy Cole was present, and he asked, "Why do I have a stoma?"  Thinking on it now, I realize that was THE OhmygoshwhatamIgonnasaywhenheasksthat moment, but at the time we were just zipping right along, so I said, "That's what God helped the doctors give you-everybody has to potty, and there's lots of different ways to do it."  So he turns to Cole and says, "God made all things, Cole.  Did you know that?  I can teach you that."  Cole laughed and said, "Of course He did, silly poophead."  I alone was present to see the tale unfold--and it was funny.

As the shadows got longer and the prince tired, we piled into the car and drove away, our tiny fish happy and safe back in their home pond.  What a great day to spend with friends!  

Of course, the evening ended with us gingerly removing ticks as secretively as possible inside the ER of Vandy Children's Hospital while awaiting labs, but that's what keeps us humble 'round these parts.  Looking like Ma and Pa Kettle at the ER.

Of course tonight, my Dad called to ask YoYo about the fishing trip.  "Can you take me fishing, YoYo?" he asked after YoYo boasted loudly, "I caught EIGHT FISH, Papa!"  

YoYo replied somberly, "Well, I guess you'll have to take us--I'm not allowed to drive yet."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Something tells me it's all happening...

We went to the zoo last week with friends.  What a great idea to take three boys & their little sisters to the zoo together & have a picnic lunch!  Of course, only one of the two sisters wanted to be in the photo-when the other one burst into tears & screaming mid-shoot, YoYo looked at her & declared, "That's pitiful."

Sunday nights, the same three boys, parents, & sisters get together with Susan at the home of "pitiful" to enjoy potluck dinner & a few hours of train table time (or TV, or the swingset, whatever).  We needed to leave early this past Sunday to make a quick appearance at a high school graduation party nearby.  YoYo protested, "I just want to play!" & our sweet friends insisted we leave him with them while we made our grownup jaunt.  We joked on the way down the road that it would be funny to "talk someone down from the ledge" if YoYo filled his colostomy pouch to bursting.  It was whistling in the dark--worst-case scenario.

You know what happened next.  Within 20 minutes of arrival at the fete, a call came on my cell with Ken (pitiful's Dad) saying, "Anna, what happens if..." & the call was dropped.    

Oh, no.  So the host gave me a land line & I called to find out that the worst-case scenario happened, & it was time to tell my dear sweet Susan via phone how to change my son's pouch. These are better friends than we deserve.  A fellow partygoer (a health-care pro) told us, "Take your time, finish your cake.  He's fine."  We did, & when we got back to YoYo, he had new clothes & still wasn't ready to leave-"WordWorld" was on TV.  By the time we got home, we had to change him again.

Monday night, he complained of a bellyache, & then strange things happened with his pouch that raised alarm.  We called the right folks & ended up in the Vandy Children's Hospital ER. Until 5 this morning.

Two x-rays, two vials of blood, many tests, & a worn-out YoYo later, we learned he's fine, just a little backed up.  The possibilities ranged from that to stoma blockage to liver problems to anemia to scary.  Our boy hollered proper when his blood was drawn, & the observation room we had was the size of a Chicago bus stop shelter, but it's all ok.  He's ok.

I don't know how long it will be, though, before we're brave enough to leave him & go on a date again.  This was the 1st time that we left him with someone other than kinfolk for a date-like moment.  As another fellow partygoer declared, "I guess sh*t really does happen!"  I shouldn't laugh, but I did.

I do still.  I guess it is a light & tumble journey from the Eastside to the park, just to find a fancy ramble at the zoo.