Wednesday, November 27, 2013


It's been just about a year since I started doing this regularly, and I thought a little reflection might be good.  The coincidence of it occurring around Thanksgiving is a happy and welcome thing.

First of all, I am grateful to my husband, Lee.  He's given me this enormous gift of our life and our family together, and he's stuck with us through every moment.  I would find it easy to disassociate myself if he had done so, but as we learned at our wedding, this is FOR-EV-ER (Thanks, Father Kevin!) and every day, he stands shoulder to shoulder with me.  Sometimes, it's a metaphoric shoulder-to-shoulder because we're all over the place, but of all the teams I participate on, this is my core team.  Us against it all.

I am grateful for my children, and for their health.  All my boys bring me different kinds of joy, each day.  Seeing lights in their eyes, and smiles on their faces - it just makes me feel right.  I know that the "health" part sounds strange, given the original purpose of this blog, but honestly, my sons are actually quite healthy.  I don't know how long Connor would have made it had he not been to otherwise healthy.  Even on days like the past week when he's congested and his only recourse to remove the congestion from his body is a violent upchucking, he's still solid in the germ department.  And his brothers fight on those lines with him.  They've never had anything more serious than a cold, except when Drew had walking pneumonia and even that didn't seem to do much except exhaust him.  He slept that off - not a lot of coughing or other complications.

I am grateful to my family.  It's likely that most of you know that I am a part of a large family, but for those of you who don't, well, I am.  We are now 11 strong (14 if you count the boyos) and each and any of them pick up the phone when I call.  Last week, when I had a stomach virus and Lee was away, my sister contacted me and offered to come cover me between when our nanny left and when they boys had to be in bed.  No hesitation, even though the last time she was around us and there was a stomach virus it walloped her.  My siblings and my parents accept my foibles and pigheadedness and remind me that inside is a good person working hard to get out.

I am grateful to my friends who let me vent about my ridiculous first world problems.  If I didn't have anyone to talk to, this would be a much more schizophrenic blog.

I am grateful to you online who read this.  Most of you I say I know, but there are people I've known for 75% of my life who read this, and with whom I am friends on facebook, and who I haven't seen or spoken to since 1991.  Really?  Why is that?  Why am I waiting for something electronic to connect me when the audience is there?  For the people who knew me when I was 9, 13, 16 - and FAR more pigheaded than I am now, and who didn't dismiss me as that annoying girl from school, I am truly grateful.  Your support here has reminded me that the world is not as cruel as we make it out to be.  You remind me that my community goes much further back than I ever imagined it would. 

So tomorrow, I will sit with most of my family, and break bread, and be happy, and give thanks.  I hope that each of you has a similarly warm and wonderful holiday. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

To get attention...

I understand that this writing here - everything on the blog and most of the things I post on Facebook and Twitter are, at the core, about getting attention.  It's one of the reasons I don't post more.  I don't want to be viewed as someone who requests or requires too much of your attention.

Tucker, though, is not as refined.  Of course, he's 4 (4 and a HALF when you ask him), and like his brother Drew, excellent with language.  However, Tucker is also the bruiser in the family, and it's starting to burst out of him like solar flares.  They are happening with a great deal of unpredictability: they strike out and then back in, and they are white hot anger.

Lately he's been frustrated at school.  Seriously, seriously frustrated.  But, instead of using language to tell someone, he decided that the best option is to lash out.  Slapping.  Kicking toys.  Kicking people.  Throwing chairs.

People, I am not trying to raise Bobby Knight.

So we've addressed this, but the anger keeps flaring, and anyone in his path is a potential target.  I fear that he is getting filled with jealousy because his brothers get more attention - Connor needs the care, and Drew needs the supervision for his homework time.  I wish they didn't, but they do.  And we have to uncover ways to give equal attention to Tucker.  10 minutes in the car after I've dropped off Drew in the mornings is not enough "Mommy-Tucker Time" as he calls it.

Board games and puzzles with him seem to be working.  Solo baths or showers (ie - not sharing the parent with his brothers) is helping.  Sitting with him when he eats lunch or dinner even when it takes him an hour.  Helping him make his Lego How To Build videos (he actually NEEDS a parent for that...)  Other ideas?

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Annual Civics Lesson

I love Election Day - I have since I was little and my mother worked for a member of Congress (he holds a higher office today...and is from Delaware...).  When I was in high school, the 1988 Presidential Election was held, and my Social Studies class held a mock debate between the candidates, Vice President George H.W. Bush and Governor Michael Dukakis.

I was 15.  So of course, I had to be sophomoric.  I was on Team Dukakis, and I made fake eyebrows for everyone on the team to wear.  Mrs. McKinley, my teacher, was not amused.  Then again, little seemed to amuse her.  She was a dedicated educator.  When I look back at the teachers I had in high school, I don't have any "good" stories about her (beyond this one, which isn't much of a story) but I do think of her as the one I learned the most from.  And really, that was the point, wasn't it?  Anyway, I made my teammates wear these.  They were made of a piece of paper about 1 inch high by about 5 inches long, and to the "front" I glues small pieces of black yarn to create a unibrow.

God, I was so funny.  I turned the Debate into a Marx Brothers event.

Anyway, I love being a part of an Electorate.  I took Drew with me last year, and he asked if he could go again tomorrow to see me vote.  Tucker also wants to go, but he has preschool in the morning, so I told him that he can go with me next year when I vote.  I hope I am able to show them how important it is to make informed and education choices, and to participate in the government.

And that leads back to the government shutdown a month ago.  A good friend, a long term friend, has asked me if the Affordable Care Act is the best way.  She's a doctor, and knows FAR more about the business side of health than I do.  I know that I need to know to advocate for Connor, but I don't know the breadth and depth of health care.

I don't think the the Affordable Care Act is the best way.  I do think it's better than nothing.  I do think that everyone deserves to have coverage.  I do not think that companies should be permitted to reduce everyone's status to part-time to avoid the financial costs of health care, but that's my liberal showing.  I know it.  I'm ready for your commentary.

When it comes to the shutdown, though, I do think that the current members of Congress are wasting valuable time and energy trying to force their will over something already encoded in LAW.  Sure, they may not have been voting members when the Affordable Care Act passed from Bill to Law, but surely any person of reason can see that the electoral equivalent of holding your breath to get your way is childish and ineffective.  The more appropriate, and certain more lawful, way to handle this would be to methodically chip away at the encoded law with updated versions.  Change this.  Move that.  REMOVE ALL THE FAT.  I may be a liberal, but a 1000+ page bill might be going too far.  No, wait, it's beyond too far.  It's farce.

I want people to be able to get care, and I want them to be able to get it without negatively impacting the costs for everyone else (aka, uninsured people's emergency visits).  And I want that care to not be restricted.  If a woman needs certain types of care in her child-bearing years, so be it.  Cover it.  We are humans, which means we are all different, and have different needs, and placing us in boxes is ridiculous and demeans any dignity we may have.  We are also an enormous population.  You can point to other countries with nationalized health care, but have you compared their populations?

UK.  Canada.  Brazil.  Rwanda.  Thailand.  South Korea.  Moldova.  Kuwait.  Chile.  China.

We are larger in population than many of these, and are First World where many of them are emerging economies or, in the case of Rwanda, still Third World.

Basically, I don't have the answer.  But last night, hearing that one of the candidates for Governor of Virginia was pinning his election on the government shutdown and reversing Obamacare.  REALLY?  I stopped what I was doing and put my head in my hands.  It was your party, asshat, who shut down the government to bully the rest of the government to reverse a law.  Not a perfect law.  But it's a law. It went on down to Capitol Hill, went to Committee, went to a vote, went to the Senate and started all over again, then stood in line to BE A LAW SOMEDAY.

So.  I hope you voted today.  And let's get fixing.