Back to work :-(

I made my post-Christmas return to the office this morning.  Other things got in the way yesterday. 

While I was home yesterday I played over 2 HOURS on the Wii Fit.  Oh my goodness is Monkey ever persistant.  “Again!”  “Pens! (penguins)” “Bird!” “Again!” “Again!” “Again!” “Again!” “Again!”  Until Umma nearly collapsed.  After watching us play we even convinced Monkey to take a turn with the “Pens” and he did pretty good considering he was mostly just flapping his arms in excitement, lol.  I guess maybe we should try to get him to play the “Bird” game since the whole point is to flap your arms.  Taking negatives and turning them into positives is a way of life around here 😉

I want to do it again!

I know most people are glad to see the crazy season end but I really wish we could do Christmas morning again!  Monkey had so much fun.  He loved opening his presents.  We heard several “Wow!”s.  He loves his toys, he even enjoyed opening the clothing.  Watching him have so much fun was totally worth the 2:30 and then 5:30 wake-up calls.

We’ve spent a lot of time with family over the last few days as well and watching him interact with everyone was a ton of fun.  He seemed to enjoy being the center of attention whenever possible and more than once went out of his way to get his share of the glory.  He was amazingly social and vocal.

There are a million funny things I kept telling myself to blog about but my brain is so fried from all the excitement that I can’t think of anything at the moment, lol.   Let’s see…He was a huge fan of presents but had no interest in gifts until we explained that gifts were presents, then he was down with both and used the words interchangeably.  Not bad for two totally new vocabulary words.  He let his Grampy pick him up, dangle him upside down and tickle him…when he was done he told Grampy “Put me down!”  lol.   He sat on the couch with his Great Grampy and shared a movie on his DVD player.  He would look at the gift tags and yell “Me!” every time he read his name.   Santa left a Wii Fit under the Christmas tree and Monkey has already decided on his favorite games for Umma and Duhdee to play…he’s a slave driver…we don’t need a personal trainer!

I’m sure I’ll think of more once my brain recharges 🙂  I hope everyone has enjoyed the holidays!

A Christmas conversation.

I realized last night that, in all my eagerness to get Monkey excited about the pending visit from Santa Claus, I’ve left out the whole bit about good boys and girls getting presents from Santa.  I decided to drop that little bomb on Monkey last night.

Umma:  Is Santa going to bring you presents?

Monkey:  Yesss!

Umma:  You know only good boys and girls get presents from Santa, right? 

Monkey: … (he just looks at me out of the corner of his eye.)

Umma:  Good boys and girls get presents from Santa.  Naughty boys and girls don’t.  Have you been a good boy this year?

Monkey: …..(in a whisper) Yes?

Umma (struggling not to laugh):  Yes, you have been a good boy!  I’m sure Santa will bring you presents.  (Monkey grins)  Has Mommy been a good girl this year?

Monkey:  Yes!

Umma:  Do you think Santa will bring Mommy a present?

Monkey:  Yes!

Umma:  Was Daddy a good boy this year?

Monkey (in a low voice):  No.

Umma:  Daddy wasn’t a good boy this year??  Is Santa going to bring Daddy a present?

Monkey (still in a low voice): No?

Sorry, Duhdee!  Hopefully you make the good list next year!

What I’ve been hearing lately…

When Monkey responds positively to a question:  “Yeah.  Sure.”

When Monkey wants something:  “What.”  Umma responds:  “What?”  Monkey then tells or shows her what.

When Monkey wants to watch Toy Story or Toy Story: 2:  “Buzz? Ok!”

When Monkey wants someone to follow him:  “C’mere, c’mere” He bends over slightly and gently claps his hands together…like we do to catch the dogs’ attention.  It does work.

When Monkey wakes up every morning:  “Big!  TREEE! Dark!” He says this periodically until the Christmas lights come on (they are on a timer.)  Fun fact:  The Christmas lights come on at 6 (!) in the darn morning and we always hear at minimum 10 minutes of this, usually much longer.  So there is the sleep update.

When the Christmas lights finally come on:  “Hi ‘ta!”  (Greeting a big Santa who lives next to the tree.)  Another fun fact:  He won’t enter the dining room (where the tree is) until the lights come on.  He prefers to stand at the foot of our bed while yelling, of course.

When I first manage to peel open my eyes in the morning and make eye contact with Monkey:  “Umma, tea?  Tea?”  Too bad he can’t make me a tea and deliver it bedside.  It might make the unreasonable time on the clock feel more reasonable.

An extra special Santa.

Earlier this year, when we were cleaning out the basement, Duhdee’s grandfather gave us permission to throw out a few things he had stored down there.  Before we discarded the boxes, however, we took a look and discovered some Christmas decorations that Duhdee’s grandmother had collected. 

Duhdee’s mom took the crystal nativity and Duhdee and I decided to keep a few of the Santa figurines.  The Santa figurines each represent a country.  There are 6 of them.  I didn’t pay much mind to the countries of origin or, if I did, I soon forgot.  We packed them in with the rest of our Christmas items and there they’ve sat for the last 6 months. 

On Wednesday night, I pulled a few more boxes of decorations out to continue decorating the house.  I found the box of Santas and while discussing something or other with Duhdee I grabbed one of the small boxes and unwrapped  the Santa inside.  As I placed it on the shelf I really looked at the Santa for the first time and it brought such a warm feeling to my heart.  The Santa was from Holland.

When I finished opening up the rest of the Santas I realized the Santas all represented countries from either Duhdee’s or my heritage except for Holland.  Holland represents something even more precious; our son and the journey he is leading us on.


Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

by Emily Perl Kingsley
All rights reserved.

The great Christmas tree adventure of 2009.

If I were the type of wife to tell her husband “I told you so.” Saturday would have been the day. 

Every year we go cut our own Christmas tree.  We’ve done it on days when it was unseasonably warm, we’ve done it on days when there is fresh snow (to our KNEES) on the ground and this year we did it in the icy, howling wind.  OK, maybe it wasn’t howling but it was darn close and it was icy for sure!  When we were getting ready to leave home I asked if we should wear boots (it had been raining for a couple days.)  Oh, no!  We don’t need boots!  Sneakers will be fine!  So we all put on our sneakers and headed off on our great adventure.

There is a particular tree farm we favor.  We have gone to others but we always seem to find the best trees at this one.  We had a lovely drive up and, filled with excitement, we pulled into the parking lot.  Monkey was so excited that he’d brought his very own reciprocating saw with him.  We don’t use power tools to cut our tree but that is the tool he sees Duhdee use to cut things most often so it seemed logical.  We jumped out of the truck, turned toward the area where the hayride pick up is and saw…an ocean of deep, dark, gooey MUD.  Perfect.  Despite the copious amounts of hay they had put down over the mud there was no way to get to the hayride or the trees without crossing the sea of mud.  I was feeling very smug that I had thought to at least pack extra socks and shoes for Monkey.  Of course, I didn’t bring any for myself nor did I bring any extra pants for Monkey…but still.

We rode to the very back of the farm on the tractor drawn hay wagon.  The further uphill we traveled the colder the wind got.  By the time we reached the drop off point I was very sorry indeed that there were no mittens for either Monkey or I. Duhdee was wearing his work gloves.  Duhdee and I were hat-less to boot.  Brrr.  We took a quick peek at the trees up there on the hill and then set off briskly for the lower terrain.  At least some of the wind was blocked! 

Starting the moment that we stepped off the wagon Monkey began galloping around yelling “Cut! Cut!” while brandishing his saw.  One woman stopped me and asked if I had a camera to record the excitement.  She told me it was her first year cutting a tree without her kids now that her youngest is in college.  She looked so wistful as she watched Monkey running and laughing.  I forgot all about the cold at that point and just focused on enjoying his excitement.

Some years it has taken Duhdee and I up to two hours to negotiate on the right tree.  I, invariably, want one that is too tall and spend those hours asking him repeatedly, “Are you sure it’s tall enough?”  Duhdee, invariably, wants to just “look over there quickly” before we end up cutting the tree we picked out in the first place.  This year we were done in a half hour!  We only seriously considered 3 trees and finally cut the third tree.  It was not as tall as I would have preferred but it smelled good and had a lovely shape.  Yay!  Dudhee and Monkey knelt on the wet ground, saws in hand (Duhdee was using a very dull hand saw as provided by the farm), and proudly claimed our prize. 

The farm has several quads with trailers patrolling the fields to help haul the trees down to the barn where the are wrapped and the bottom of the tree is drilled.  We wouldn’t normally bother, we just drag it down ourselves but this year we took the easy way out.  By the time we’d walked down, negotiated through the mud and chosen wreaths our tree was ready to go.  It was a record setting pace!

When we got home Duhdee set up the tree in the newly vacant corner of the dining room (Duhdee’s office has been banished!)  Monkey was wide eyed to see the tree all set up and began yelling excitedly “Big! Big! Big!”  and “Tree!”   He’s still yelling this 3 days later, in fact.  He tends to do it mostly when we first wake up or when I get home from work.  It’s as if he is just blown away by it every time he sees it again.  It’s adorable.

That first night I decided to string the lights and that’s when I made an unfortunate discovery.  None of us had actually touched the tree (without gloves) before getting it home.  I wouldn’t have thought this was a very big deal because evergreens pretty much all have the same sort of texture.  I thought.  It turns out that our slightly short (but not really, it’s just the first year the angel’s head doesn’t brush the ceiling, lol), lovely smelling, lovely shaped tree is 3/4 cactus.  I had to wear gloves to put on the lights and I put off adding the other decorations for 2 days because I was dreading it. 

Next year we’ll have to add another requirement to our “perfect” tree, I guess.