Friday, August 21, 2009

The Miracle of Life

Over dessert last Thanksgiving, my sister announced she was pregnant with her second child. Of course I knew she was pregnant the minute I walked in the door; she had that puffy preggie look. And she was MAD (!!!) when she thought I was gonna spill the beans...but anyways, that's a different story. From that time forward we knew it was likely that she would have a repeat c-section, and then it was time to wait out the nine months.

Fast forward to July. Time to make plans, because that C-section seemed more and more like a reality. It was Renee's wish that I be in the hospital when the baby was born, and dammit, I was going to do that for her, even at the expense of my own sanity! The week finally arrived, and unfortunatley for me, I was working on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The surgery was scheduled for Wednesday in the a.m. After a lot of thought and planning, at the last minute I decided to get up at 4 am, shower and get pretty for the pictures. Then I'd wake the kids up, put them in the van and drive to my in-laws house. They would babysit the girls while I was at the hospital. The perfect plan.

The morning arrived, the alarm went off, and I was out of bed in a flash. Honestly, I wasn't sleeping so great anyways. I did everything I needed to, got the girls up and in the van. Perfecto! What this crazy morning needed was a little Starbucks Carmel Latte. As I headed over to Bucks, Nora pipped up in the backseat. " know, sometimes when I wake up in the morning I have to go pee".

Huh?? What the...oh. My perfect plan had a major flaw. I asked, "Nora, do you have to go potty now?". Need I tell you the answer? Thank goodness the Starbucks lobby is open at 5:45 am, because that's about the time we busted through the front door, Nora in her jammies, clinging to her "B". Sue, the manager, looked at us and said, "My aren't we up early!" As we made a beeline for the restrooms, I called over my shoulder, "I have another kid sleeping in the car. I'll order my coffee in the drive thru!" Because that is where I left Emmy, in her car seat, half asleep half awake. Nora needed to be fast before the cops saw her out there all by herself, screaming.

Nora was not fast. In fact, Nora got stage fright. I had to sit down and demonstrate, and this wasn't easy since I hadn't had my coffee yet! After what seemed like an eternity, Nora finally peed. I washed her hands and we flew back to the van, to find a grumpy and fully awake Emily. Well, it could have been worse. Went through the drive, got my delicious drink, and headed down I-88 towards the city. The sun was shining bright as it peaked over the horizon. Just stunning. And what a sunrise! I remembered watching the sun rise on the morning Nora was born as Ryan drove me to the hospital in my old Ford Escort, and my eyes welled up with tears. A new baby! Baby Cousin! Who wouldn't be stunned by the miracle that is life on this planet?

As I got all emotional, I heard a complaint from the backseat. "Mom?? Hey mom, the sun is in my eyes. Can you move it?" Nora completely stunned me out of my musing. "Nora, did you just ask me to move the sun?" "Yes Mom". Well, I guess I wasn't the only one with miracles on the brain! I laughed, but not enough to hurt her feelings, and explained that actually the sun stays in one spot and it can't be moved. Eventually we would move out of its way. She didn't like that answer, so I told her to put the "B" on her head. She complied. She grumped a little. I kept driving. Had to get the hospital to see the next miracle!

I made it to my in-laws by 7 am, dropped the kids off, and headed to the hospital. I stood by the doors of the O.R. waiting for my brother in law Brian to hold up the pink or the blue sign. He appeared with the blue post-it note announcing a bouncing baby boy. Welcome Alexander Ryan Bridgeman!!! Xander is named for my father, Michael Alexander, and Brian's best friend Ryan Palesh (also known as the person I sat next to in geometry class back in sophomore year). God and Buddha bless you little Xander. And please excuse Nora, who upon finding out her new baby cousin was a boy, stated, "A boy! I didn't want a boy!! I like girls!".

Monday, August 17, 2009

Nora is a SORE loser

The title of this one explains it all. Nora is a sore loser extraordinare. I've never seen anything like it, and believe me, I was a pretty sore loser as a kid. Even my parents admit that upon losing, the fury unleashed by Eleanor Grace is of a greater magnitude than I ever exhibited. It makes me want to hide High Ho Cherry-o and replace it with a jigsaw puzzle.

The biggest and baddest meltdown Nora has had of late was at Emily's Blue's Clues Birthday Party. I'll have to find the pics, because they are classic. Screaming, crying, foot stomping, and handy-dandy notebook throwing commenced when Miles found the last clue. Oh I wish we had video, because her future husband needs to see what he's getting into. But that experience, I fear, has led Nora to begin experimenting with cheating. Obviously this is not a good development. The last two or three times we have played Princess Memory, the first row of cards in front of her "magically" has two or even three sets of matches placed next to each other. "I gotta match Mom! Isn't this great?" Nora calls out excitedly. I ask her if she cheated, and she denies it. I started watching her more carefully so she wouldn't have the opportunity to cheat, in the hopes that she would stop.

Unfortunately this didn't drive the lesson home. One rainy afternoon, we were playing Candyland. I was way ahead of Nora, who wasn't too pleased. She kept telling me she wanted to win. "The point of the game is to spend time together and have fun, not win" I repeated repeatedly. I didn't think anything of getting up and answering the phone in the middle of the game. I took the call, and came back a few minutes later. It was my turn. The next card I pulled was the pink Candy Cane card. For those of you not familiar with Candyland, this is basically the same thing as having to start all the way back at the beginning. Normally I wouldn't care if I won or lost, but the thing is, Nora had already pulled the Candy Cane card and it should still have been in the discard pile. Funny enough, Nora took her turn and pulled Princess Frosty's Ice Cream card, which puts the player very close to the end of the game and thus the win. Oh yeah, and that card had already been played as well.

"Nora" I asked, trying not to be totally angry. "Did you go through the cards and move them so you would win and I would lose?". "No mommy," Nora said, without looking at my face. I asked her to look into my eyes and tell me that again, but she couldn't. My heart sank. "Mommy knows you are lying, and I don't play games with little girls who lie and cheat".

The meltdown was total, utter, and complete. It woke Emily up from her nap. It shook the house. It scared the dog. But I refused to play Candyland again. I wish I could say I wasn't playing because she needed a moral lesson, but part of the reason was I was really disappointed she would stoop so low, and I really just didn't want to play anymore. Where had she learned that kind of behavior anyways? Did I teach her to be so sneaky? Is this a portent of things to come? Crap. Now what do I do?

Well, I made myself a nice cup of tea (because I really do need to watch my coffee consumption) and sat down to chill out. Eventually Nora stopped screaming and I asked her what was going on in her head. The poor thing started crying and she admitted to the card switching, adding, "I wanted to win!". She really truly meant it. She said "I wanted to win" in the same voice other kids use to ask for a puppy. Oh man. I felt really bad for her. We reached a compromise. We would play Candyland, but because of the cheating, we had to start over. We did, and I still won. She was just about to unleash hell when I suggested playing Chutes and Ladders. She could spin first, because she had lost Candyland after all, and after many trips up ladders and down slides Nora was victorious. She had her win, but really I hope we all won.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Silly Pic of the Week


Look Mom! I helped myself, and I didn't even make any dirty dishes!
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fun and Shun at the Pool

First I want to say hello! It's nice to be back after several hectic weeks. I've been keeping a list of everything I want to write about, but until now I've had no time to actually sit down and compose my thoughts. Since the last post, my sister Renee gave birth to a son, the first boy in our immediate family since our dad was born in '53. Congratulations Renee, Brian, and Layla! And welcome to the world Alexander Ryan Bridgeman. Your auntie loves you more than you can possibly imagine.

To keep this is chronological order, I'm gonna go back about three weeks (good God can I recall that far back???) to write about the wonderful Saturday afternoon Nora and I spent at the Hopkins Park Pool. For those of you who know me, you may be surprised to read that Momma Ivy, who knows not how to swim despite many years of lessons, went to a swimming pool willing. I did. And I even had fun, IN THE WATER!!! The plan was that after Ryan's morning bike ride, the family would go to the pool and spend some time together. This summer has been so busy with me teaching at night, and of course the rainiest, coldest July on record wasn't helping us in our efforts to enjoy the outdoors. This was the perfect opportunity.

Nora and I put on our bathing suits instead of clothes, and then we waited for Ryan to come home. She ran around the yard while I weeded. Emily "napped" while her Dad was out, and by napping I mean rubbed her eyes, pouted, and refused to sleep. By the time Ryan got home, I knew we would have to craft a new plan. Emily was in no mood to go anywhere, and Ryan was completely pooped from riding 50 miles. Nora and I decided to head out for a girl's afternoon. I joked with her that she would have to teach me to swim! She thought that was hilarious. She doesn't realize its funny because its true...

We got to the pool, and it was just a blissful afternoon. Just the right amount of sun, the water was the perfect temperature, Nora looked adorable in her new suit. I scored a chair under an umbrella and watched as she made friends, went down the slide, and had the time of her life. I pretended to read a magazine, but of course I kept my eyes on her the whole time. During the mandatory breaks, we drank root beer and ate popcorn and chocolate bars. Awesome. We were there for hours. This should be the end of the post. But two things happened that turned the day from lovely but unmemorable to "Oh geez!!"

First, I saw one of Nora's "friends", a girl named Katie. She is the daughter of one of Ryan's co-workers, and she has always been a wonderful older-sister type friend. I'm not sure how old Katie is now; but I'd imagine she is 11 or 12. She was at the pool with her girlfriends, all of whom were wearing bikinis and had their hair fixed up nice. They were acting like typical teenage girls, and I saw that Katie recognized Nora. I could also see she necessarily didn't want Nora to recognize her back. Every time we went for a snack, I made sure to put Nora's back towards the gaggle of girls. God, being a teenager is so hard, and I didn't want Katie to be embarrassed that she was friends with a baby (or whatever those girls might think). On the other hand, I felt kinda bad for not saying hello. So Katie, if you ever see this, I just want to let you know that you looked very cute, and that I wasn't shunning you or trying to be rude.

Second, I may not have stressed the sheer amount of junk that Nora and I ate. She was running around so much, and didn't her want to dehydrate or get low blood sugar. Plus, I never give her junk and I wanted to spoil her on the perfect afternoon! After popcorn, Nora and I headed back into the pool. I was in the water with her when she lost her balance and took in a big mouthful of water. Her eyes got really big, and just as the panic began to well up in my chest, she turned her head and threw up all over the concrete next to the pool. Oh no!!! Oh no, no you didn't...oh yes you just spewed popcorn everywhere. Talk about embarrassed, poor Nora was mortified. I got her out of the water and quickly got the life guard. She radioed for her manager, and then we stood watch over the puddle until the cleaning supplies arrived.

And the manager did arrive, the blond, bronzed, muscular, Olympian-god like life guard manager. Thank you mister for cleaning up my kids vomit. I just about died. But I did manage to snap a quick pic before we slinked away! As he swabbed the deck, I told a tearful Nora it was time to go. Mentally she wanted to stay, but physically she was finished. I promised her McDonald's ice-cream on the way home to keep her from hysterics, and of course I figured all the kaolin in the "ice-cream" would settle her tummy. It did. And you know what? We had a good time anyways.