Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ah, Bodies

Yesterday, Mr. Swizzle, Twinkle and I went to see Body Worlds. Yes, we took our almost 6 year old to Body Worlds. After 2 friends saying they wanted to go, but didn't want to take the kids, we started wondering if we're bad parents.

But, Twinkle has been begging to go. For the last few months, she has been bringing home body books from the school library. We showed her pictures of the exhibit online and she is fascinated by everything going on inside her. And why not? How cool is it to be able to show the girl "that's what your heart looks like. That's what your lungs look like if you smoke cigarettes. That's what they look like if you don't. See the difference between the athlete's body and the obese body?" It was great. Of course, we didn't dally and read everything, because hey, she's 5. She can look and see everything and not worry about what's on the sign because we'll summarize for her.

She thought the body that only had it's nervous system was "yucky" and the display of the face from the inside was "a little scary", but other than that, she wanted to see everything.

And, hey, as a nightmares last night.

Think of me what you will. I know there are people that think such an exhibit is unsuitable for anyone, much less children. I am not one of those people.

I think it's incredible that once upon a time, doctors didn't even know what the human body was like on the inside. And, think about it, your body is the one thing that you have with you at all times. And it's such an alien thing. It's amazing what our bodies do for us everyday that we don't even think or know about.

I think that after our visit yesterday, Twinkle has a better sense that she is "fearfully and wonderfully made."

Friday, April 27, 2007

Ok, Fine

Well, MB had to go and point out that it's been more than a week since I've posted. I've been wanting to post all week, but couldn't think of a thing to say. So, I've decided to play along with MB's Friday Five:

Friday Five: What Are You...

1. Wearing...Blue V-neck T-shirt from Target, brown capris and fuchsia (though I can't believe that's really how you spell it) sandals. Also, a new hair color. Heehee. Still in the red family, but it's now RED as in fire engine. Mr. Swizzle says the Chinese are not going to give me my baby.

2. Pondering...Whether the Chinese are going to give me my baby based on hair color. Kidding. What is life going to be like here at Maison de Swizzle when there's another bambino in the house? How will I modify my behavior to be a mother of two?

3. Reading...Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew; How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life by the Dalai Lama

4. Dreaming...Going to China and bringing my daughter home.

5. Eating...Cottage Cheese! I know, I find it hard to believe, too. Who would have thought I'd ever eat such a thing.

Friday, April 20, 2007

One Week Later...

It's been a long week. I'm not sure why. It just felt like Friday a couple of days ago.

After the nosebleeds last week, and the assurance that Twinkle most likely doesn't have childhood leukemia, this week brought an ear infection. When I picked her up from school on Tuesday, she said, "Mom, my ear hurts really bad." The first thought that went through my head was, "So, no swimming lesson today?"

It became abundantly clear on the 10 minute drive to take her friend home that swimming or any other activity was way out of the picture. Twinkle is a generally happy and upbeat child. One who doesn't know how to stop. Anything. As my dad says, she's going 100 miles an hour or asleep. Those are her two settings.

We dropped off the friend and headed for the doctor's office. I was nice enough to call and say that I would be there in five minutes and would happily wait until they could work us in. Twinkle walked into the waiting room and immediately lay down on the bench seat. When we saw the doctor only 10 minutes later, Twinkle said she'd rather sit on mom's lap than on the exam table - another sure sign that she was not herself.

We came home, played some Star Wars and she zonked on the couch at 7. The next day, she was feeling fine. It was a big day at school and she insisted on going. I took her and talked to her teacher about everything. She convinced Twinkle to stay until noon then go home and rest so she could come back to open house that night.

Yesterday and today, she's her chipper, 100 mile an hour self. She never had a fever with any of it, which is the only reason I let her go anywhere near school on Wednesday.

Hopefully, this weekend she will get a little bit of extra rest and fully recover.

This afternoon she has another swimming lesson. Hopefully we'll be going to this one.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Things are Changing at Chez Swizzle

With the impending addition of a wee one, I'm starting to have nesting tendencies.

We will leave to go to China on May 10 to get our new daughter and Twinkle's little sister. (You can follow all the fun here). Mr. Swizzle, as is his wont, asked this morning what our plans for the weekend are. He got annoyed at my "I don't know" answer. So, I said, "Well, we need to get things out of the attic for the baby, put things away into the attic, put up decorations in the nursery, figure out a name...." His reply? "I meant fun stuff in the evenings, possibly with friends." Oh.

While I say I'm having nesting "tendencies", I am having trouble following through on those tendencies. Especially today when it's oddly cool and overcast outside.

We've purchased airline tickets. I'm starting to go through several documents that have been sent to us by our agency that we need to complete or take with us to China. I'm getting there. I have big ideas and I'm keeping up with those ideas so I, you know, remember them. Hopefully this weekend, we'll be able to get a few more things done and feel a step or two closer to being prepared for our trip.

We'll be going to China, prepared or not. I'm ready to get my daughter. I'm ready to bring her home. We have travel visas and tickets. If I forget to pack something, I'll bet I can get it or a variation of it once we get there.

Can't wait.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Why? Why Can't I Rest?

It's been an interesting week.

The interesting part started about 11:30 Sunday night with a blood curdling cry from the top of the stairs. I was actually still awake and downstairs when this sound reached my ears. I was half way up the stairs when Twinkle cried, "My nose is bleeding!" The poor child had awakened from a dead sleep complete with a nightmare. The details are sketchy, but she ended up standing at her door with blood over the bottom half of her face. She actually kinda looked like she'd become undead and had recently been dining on fresh brain. I can joke. NOW.

We headed into the bathroom and, sparing you the gory details, got her nose to stop bleeding 15 minutes later. It was just a disturbing amount of blood coming out of my child. Being that late at night, I had all kinds of thoughts going through my head including ERs and blood transfusions. It was a lot of blood.

Anyhoo, Twinkle spent the rest of the night in our room on a chaise lounge. We're lucky she didn't have school Monday because we could "sleep in" until about 7:30. Whee. Monday afternoon, she had another gusher that only took about 5 minutes to stop. Then, she went to drama class. Cause, we need more drama. The same drama class where her nose collided with another kid's forehead 2 weeks ago resulting in....nose bleed.

I took Twinkle to the doctor yesterday morning before school and she confirmed that injuries like the one 2 weeks ago can bleed for, guess what?, 2 weeks. OK. Of course, yesterday, Twinkle started sounding like she was getting a cold, but I couldn't let her blow her nose.

After the doctor's office, she went to school and went to swimming lessons afterward. Last night? No nose bleeds. Lots of coughing though. LOTS. She again spent half the night on our chaise, and I decided at about 4am, when all decisions should be made, that she was not going to school today.

Meanwhile, I'm feeling like crap. You know that feeling when you're convinced that you have a fever because you have the chills? But you really don't have a fever? And all you want to do is sleep? But you don't sleep? Because your almost 6 year old, despite the coughs and lack of sleep, feels GREAT? Yeah. That's where I am.

And so, I'm blogging, because I can't actually go lie down and rest. I think I have a video game of PS2 Star Wars Lego whatever it's called in my near future. At least I can be Darth Vadar without too much energy expenditure.

PS... The doctor felt compelled to assure me that, even though a lot of people associate unexplained nose bleeds with childhood leukemia - because they are a warning sign, she had never personally diagnosed childhood leukemia based on a nose bleed.

Thanks. I had no idea. That I should be worried about childhood leukemia because of a nose bleed!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Twinkle's Toes

Yesterday was Maundy Thursday, as many of you are aware. At our church, that means so many different things. It's a day that I never observed or knew existed growing up in the church that I did. Now, we're Episcopalians and boy do we observe!

We have quite a meaningful and moving service. Part of the Maundy Thursday service is a foot washing. Those who wish to participate go to the front of the Nave where there are pitchers and basins set up. Each person washes the feet of the person in line ahead of him.

Some of the women in our church have also developed the tradition of the "pre-Maundy Thursday service pedicure." So, yesterday, when I picked Twinkle up from school, I told her about the foot washing service and asked if she wanted to go get her toenails painted. She was all over it. I, of course, got the full on leg massaging pedicure, and Twinkle got to sit in the big pedicure chair, stretch her legs, and get her toenails buffed and painted.

From then on, she kept asking when we were going to the foot washing and couldn't wait to go. I reminded her that she would also be washing feet not just getting hers washed, and she assured me that she knew that.

When the appointed time of the service arrived, off we went. Third in line. When it was our turn, I went first, then washed Twinkle's feet. Then, the next woman in line came and sat down for Twinkle to wash her feet. Really all this entails is pouring water out of the pitcher over the person's feet and into the basin, then drying the person's feet. I assumed that I would be doing most of the work, but Twinkle grabbed the pitcher and while I helped support the weight of it, she poured the water over the woman's feet, then picked up the towel and started drying.

She was smiling and looking up at the lady the whole time. It was actually quite touching to see her do it. I was proud of her for being so joyful about it and not making any noises or comments about feet.

At the Natural History Museum in NYC, I saw a kid's shirt that had a picture of the solar system on it and next to the sun it said, "It all revolves around me." While I'd never buy such a thing for Twinkle, it did remind me of her at times. Most times? But not the glimpse I had last night. I went to the front of the Nave thinking "I wash this kid's feet daily." I went back to my seat teary eyed at the joy I saw on my daughter's face from having participated in this church ritual and, even more so, from washing the feet of another.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Pull On Your Tights

I don't mean to wrestle in public. After all, if you wrestle in public, you never know what might be exposed.

I've never fancied myself a writer. I know, because I read them, that there are wonderful, well written blogs out there. People who should be professional writers, if they aren't already. I am not one of those people. I'm relatively new to blogging. I have tried keeping a journal in the past. Heck, I can remember, and may still have, the Holly Hobby diary that I had when I was around 10. An entry here, an entry there. Months pass between entries.

Whenever I did go months between entries, I'd always start the newest entry with something like, "wow, it's been so long since I've written in here...."

Blogging, on the other hand, keeps me coming back. Maybe not daily, but weekly at the very least. I have a place that, for some reason, I feel the need to write down my thoughts and work through things "on paper". It doesn't matter if others are reading, though I write as if someone is. I'd like there to be humor in it, but that only happens when there is actually humor in whatever daily event I may be re-living. All in all, I'd say blogging is good for me. And sometimes that means wrestling in front of anyone who may innocently wander past without averting their eyes.

And so I wrestle. Today's thoughts are a little more upbeat than yesterday's. I did manage to be conscious of my actions today. When's the last time that you were truly conscious of what you were doing? For me, it really doesn't happen that often. I go through life, day in and day out, pretty much on auto pilot. Just getting from one thing to another, whether it's housework or playing with Twinkle. Happy things or just things that must needs be done.

I did still raise my voice with Twinkle a couple of times today. But I did it on purpose!! OK, kidding. I didn't feel as guilty afterward, because sometimes you just have to speak a little louder to a 5 year old and also because it wasn't constant. I didn't feel as if I was constantly yelling or getting frustrated with her. That's a step forward.

While putting her to bed, I was ready for her to be in bed, but that's not a negative thing. That's a human mom thing. "No, honey I don't want to read you a story. You got to stay up a little later playing cards." Gotta learn skills early around the Swizzle House. "No, I can't sit with you for a while. You just need to settle and fall asleep." I haven't checked, but I'm pretty sure she was asleep within minutes of lying down.

I do feel as if most of the life has been sucked out of me, but again I think that's a normal human mom thing. Show me a mom that doesn't feel that way most of the time and I'll show you a good pharmacist. And that's ok. As I've posted before, I recognize that there are things I need to feel. When you don't feel these things, good or bad, you don't live.

That's what this is.... this is living! The high life baby!! Speaking of which, I think it's time for a beverage.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I'm Really Not a Whiner

I prefer to look at this as a time for growth. This is an opportunity to really examine the way I handle myself and to become more aware of how I react. I believe that having such a fresh glimpse of Serene Mrs. Swizzle will help with this if I can just keep that glimpse on the tip of my brain.

This may sound odd, but I truly cannot remember the last time I felt as at ease as I did over the weekend. I really will stop going on about it, but it was major. This is a major moment. In my day to day life, I had not realized how tense and on edge I'd become. Like I said, I'm having a major moment. Have I mentioned the word "major"?

I had truly forgotten what it felt like to be calm. Just calm. Not any angel choirs singing or anything, just calm.

Now that I've remembered it, I must do something about it. I can try to blame the girl, but she's just being 5. I mean really, just because she acts like a 5 year old, doesn't mean I have to.

The thing is it's easier said than done. What to do? What to do? How does one change something as basic as what one finds annoying? I think for me it may be a matter of constant, and I mean constant, attempts at being aware of whether I really need to react to Twinkle's behavior, and if I do, what that reaction should be. Try to reign in the over-reactions. Pick my battles, as it were.

My mom says that what helped her control her temper when I was younger was lots of prayer. I'm sure the hysterectomy didn't hurt either. That sounds a bit sarcastic. I don't really mean it to be. I think I can manage some prayer about this particular issue.

My goal overall? Loosen the bone, Wilma.

Wish me luck.

Monday, April 2, 2007

How Long Could It Last?

Sigh. If only you could hear me yelling "SERENITY NOW" as I said I would.

Though not surprised, I'm a little saddened that what sends me into a tailspin is Twinkle.

I love her beyond measure. I cannot fathom a world without her.

But, after the serene weekend of no stress, annoyance or raised voice, the mom with the head that spins all the way around, who spews pea soup, is back. My shoulders have migrated back north to somewhere near my ears. I feel exhausted.

I just read this post over at Slouching Towards 40, and feel somewhat better. I guess the old grump Twinkle is channeling needs a hearing aid.

I know it is not her fault. She does not "make" me feel the way I do. I'm responsible for my own reactions. But, it's like water torture. I can only take so many drops on my skull before I break down. I am getting better at recognizing my reactions before they make their way into actions. I can leave the room before I spew the pea soup on her. But, sometimes I don't make it out the door and I get angry. And I spew. Nothing verbally abusive. No berating. No flying coffee cups. I'm understanding why I once had to duck a flying coffee cup, and then clean up the mess when I was younger. I'm not saying it's right, and I will NEVER do that to Twinkle, I'm just understanding it more.

I'm getting some serenity back. I'm coming back together. I just needed to get it out here and not on Twinkle. She recognizes my body language when I'm angry at her and she asks if I'm happy yet. She gives me kisses and hugs and asks if I'm happy yet. I tell her it isn't her job to make me happy. She tells me she loves me bigger than the sun and asks me if I'm happy yet. I get tears in my eyes and tell her thank you for helping me feel better and she looks at me as if to ask why I'm crying if I feel better. We snuggle. I assure her of how much I love her. And all is right in her world again.

I'm left loving my child. Hating that I can feel so crazy. Wanting to find a way to stay serene. To keep my voice and shoulders down. To live without that jaw clenching, shallow breathing feeling that I get sometimes. To give my daughter positive ways of dealing with stress and annoyance. To be that peaceful person I glimpsed over the weekend.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Boy, I Needed That (or I Heart NY)

We're home from our getaway. Man was it great! It was just what I needed. I didn't stress or get annoyed about anything all weekend! Can you imagine? I, Mrs. Swizzle, wasn't annoyed ALL WEEKEND. About ANYTHING! I was there, and I can't believe it.

I got into the city from the airport around 3:00 Friday afternoon, Mr. Swizzle got back to the hotel around 4:30. He had made dinner reservations AND gotten tickets for a show (Chicago with Bebe Neuwirth as Roxy). So, that was our Friday night.

Saturday, we spent all day at the Museum of Natural History. I've never been to that particular museum before. It was fantastic. I haven't seen "Night at the Museum" but I can see where the idea for the book came from. All those dioramas are too cool. The animals look almost alive - if they weren't so still. All I could think from the moment we walked through the door was that Twinkle would love it. The animals, the planets, all of it. After the museum, we walked across the street to Central Park and shared a pretzel.

Saturday night we met up with our friends from Jersey and had dinner and walked around the West Village a little bit. After we got back to the hotel, we opened the windows of the hotel room (they don't open much up on the 39th floor) and just listened to the sounds drifting up from Times Square before going to sleep.

Today our return trip was completely serene. We had plenty of time, listened to music on the plane, and came back to a beautiful day here in Texas. Mr. Swizzle went off to a band rehearsal on his way to becoming a rock star after we got home, and still I'm stess-free.

I truly hope that I can hold onto the serenity I'm currently feeling. I was actually near tears with happiness this weekend and tried to soak up every single stress free moment. I'm trying not to think about different things that are coming up this week. Being the head of the Altar Guild at our church, and this being Holy Week, things could get stressful. I'm sure all will be well. I've done this before, so it's not like I'm unprepared. AND I'll get to participate in the Maundy Thursday service this year, instead of working behind the scenes.

I guess if I start feeling stressed this week, I'll just scream "serenity now!!", and all will be well.