Monthly Archives: June 2008

Got Kidney?

I have logged onto my blog every day for a week now, and sat here, staring at the screen. Even wrote a few paragraphs and deleted them–I know, I know, I swore off the delete key in my first post. 

My sister has set up a blog called "Got Kidney?" (the link is there on my sidebar, by the way) because her husband's kidneys have failed. Sort of out of the blue–strong, healthy, thirty year old man, and his kidneys quit. So I write a few paragraphs. And then I delete it all, and I go read Ginger's blog. I laugh, because even in trouble, she's funny. And I cry. 

There is something about her blog–this experience that is life altering. In such a strange way. Our family is one of those families that should be really close, and hasn't been. No reason. I have seen my sister two or three times in the last fifteen years. Sure, we live really far apart. I think it takes something like 24 hours to drive it, and since 9/11 you need a passport to fly into Canada–and who can afford passports for a family of eight, let alone tickets.  

Anyway, all three times, she has come this way–once all the way, twice met us halfway.  I've never seen her flower beds, or the new deck or fence or anything else Jay has built for her. She's wanted us to come up, but how? I have always thought. How, with six kids, and yeah, this is the first year we've had a van that we could drive out of town. And it's not like I didn't want to go, but I did ever feel like I NEEDED to go. She understood what I haven't.

But now. Now I—I don't know. Even my sister here in town. We talk most days. We occasionally have a holiday dinner over there. But now, I'm thinking, why do I not even know her kids? Why are we so . . . casual in our family relationships? I NEED to be there now. I need this now. And I'm sorry. Sorry to whoever deserves this apology–that I haven't recognized that I needed you before. Sorry that I never made the effort. 

I have a present for my niece. I've carried it around in my purse, for heaven's sake, for almost a year. And every day I think, I should mail that. Just out of the blue, I should mail that for no reason whatsoever and make a thirteen year old girl's day–and then I think, nah. I should wait for her birthday in July. And now her Dad is so sick, and my gift seems ridiculous. Had I mailed it a month ago, or six months ago, it would have made her day and it would have been a jumping place for a genuine relationship with my neice. Sincere, because it was a gift without any reason at all beyond, hey, I think you're a cool kid, you know? Now it will just seem like a pathetic attempt at condolences or something. 

Why is it, again, that I don't listen to that voice that prompts me to do these things? 

 

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Mother Of The Year

After church yesterday, I came home and I fell on my face on the bed thinking just give me one  . . . minute . . . Six hours later the phone drug me out of my catatonic state. I went downstairs to see what everyone had been up to. They were all gone. Went over to grandma's house on Winslow's authority. (Because you really trust a five year old to relay messages, right? Uh-huh.)  Which was fine–they walked over together, and really, what good was I to them, right? Since I was unconscious. Frighteningly so–seeing as they also made Quinton a birthday cake, lit the candles, cut and ate the cake, without me, and I didn't hear a thing.  Who needs Mom?

The sad thing (one of them) is–I don't even know if anyone sang to him. I SLEPT THROUGH MY SON'S BIRTHDAY! The entire thing. Yup. That's me. Mother of the year. Thank you.

So now, I think, "You know, I should get him a DQ cake today, and do it right." And then I think, well, would that send my kids the message, "Hey, thanks for being so thoughtful and helpful to Quinton yesterday, but YOUR cake just really didn't cut it. Not good enough. Let me do it right."?

Sigh.

 

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Further Confessions of a Childcare Provider

All children are not created equal. It's not that I "love" one child more–but the quality of care your child recieves is directly related to the condition you bring your child to me in.

If there are two infants, and one smells sweet and clean, and the other smells like months-stale urine, guess which one I'm going to cuddle and kiss and play with more often? The clean child requires attention, food and maintenance. The filthy child needs to be disinfected so I don't gag while I hold her.  I launder her clothes and blankets and carseat cover so that my entire house doesn't reek. I'm not playing with your child if I'm doing your laundry for you.

Just a quick tip.

And.

Size two diapers are too small for a twentyfive pound infant. It really doesn't cost that much more to bump it up a size (or three).

Change the diaper before it overflows.

If the diaper overflows, launder the clothing, blankets and carseat cover. Soon.

It's okay to launder the above items regularly–even if the diaper never overflows.

Furthermore.

Socks really cut down on foot odor. So does bathing. If the smell of your toddler and/or school aged children trigger my gag reflex, guess who I'm not holding on my lap at story time?

If your child consistently brings in a Starbucks cup and a Happy Meal, the other kids aren't going to like them very much. (Oh, and by the way, he never actually drinks that $4 cup of spiced chocolate milk. Ditto with the meal. He spreads it all out to taunt the other kids with, and licks a little ketchup off a corner here and there. Then he eats  the food I serve, with everyone else. Who knew: kids actually like real food.)  

Goldfish and Gatorade do not a meal make. And when the doctor told you fruit juice, I'm pretty sure he didn't mean koolaid. I dump it all down the drain the minute you leave. Except that bit she spilled on my new curtains and all over the floor.

I throw away all the little toys and knicknacks your child leaves at my house. And I enjoy it. It's like performing voodoo on the whole concept of "He/She took/touched/looked at my_______"

I never look for shoes. Ever. If they aren't in the bucket where they belong, I refuse to look for them. This cuts down dramatically  on the number of times in five minutes they want me to take off/put on/tie/untie said shoes. Secretly, I hope they don't find them until you arrive. Sometimes, I even hide the really smelly ones outside the door.

 

 

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Busted

Got a surprise visit from the DEL police yesterday. Something like CPS for daycare providers, I think. This small, sweet little woman, delivering the bad news that someone called in a complaint against our facility. Hey, I should have seen it coming–I've been in business for over a year without one, right?

Of course it is anonymous. Which makes me look with suspicion on every parent that comes through my door now, and all of my neighbors and everyone who drives down the street, really.

Complaint being that I'm a great provider, but I:

1) Permit my son to drive down the slope on his bike, admittedly wearing a helmet, and he stops before he gets to the street, but isn't that a little dangerous?

2) Allow the children play on the cement out front [100 ft back from the street] while I just sit in my rocking chair in the doorway, feeding a baby. I can't possibly react in the case of an emergency. Once the door [large, clear glass, not soundproof] was even closed. 

(The inspector was going to check, but she was pretty sure that cement was not a suitable material to have on the grounds of a childcare facility. Probably grass would be better. She said this as she bent over and ran her fingers across the tile in my house. She was worried about that surface, too.)

 3) Sometimes the children are on that cement pad outside the door, riding bikes or scooters, without helmets.

The third item, that's a genuine concern. I get that. I simply cannot keep all helmets on all kids at all times. Frequently, I have to call them in and revoke mobile priviledges. Right now I've just confiscated everything with wheels. Heck, if I never have to referee another argument about who has had what bike for how long, maybe it will be worth the referral process . . .

As for the second item,  I only let school-aged children out without me, and then I'm still watching. If they get too far, they know I will make them come inside for the rest of the day. Simply put: they know their boundaries, and they don't stray. Okay, okay, I'm technically operating out of compliance on that one. They are supposed to only play in the fenced back yard. But the shade, the good grass, and all the fun stuff is out front. And I can see the whole front yard from the daycare area–I can't see the backyard at all.  We haven't figured out how to fence the front yet. Meanwhile, we keep them safe. 

And that's the thing, you know. Either you trust me with your children, or you don't. If you don't, then go somewhere else. If you do, but you have a concern about helmets, then talk to me personally. As for the cement on my property, check your WAC lady–it specifies that I should have a combination of hard and soft surfaces in my outdoor play area for a variety of activities.

But now that some good Samaritan has opened this can of worms up to inspection, lets just lay it out in the open, why don't we? Let me tell you how else I'm out of complaince.

1) I do not "sterilize all surfaces in the bathroom after every use with a strong bleach solution". I probably only get to that once or twice a day. And then only because some little boy, inexplicably, pees straight up in the air and hits the wall about seven feet off the ground. I have yet to catch the culprit. Maybe I should stand vigil in there with rubber gloves and a bottle of Clorox–I bet I'd finger him. 

2) I have been known to shake the crumbs off your child's toast plate and serve him with the same plate at snack. 

3) My monthly firedrill is a joke.

4) The fire extinguisher hasn't been inspected since last May. Although, I did call for an inspection this week. They couldn't figure out why I wanted another inspection this soon, until I told them it was for the DEL. Oh. Yeah, that rule. 

5) I don't wash my hands for 45 seconds three times during each diaper change. (Before beginning, after removing the dirty diaper and before touching the clean one, and then again after disposing of the dirty one).

6) Your child's coat is probably touching another child's coat when it is hanging on my coatrack.

7) Your child's nap mat has, on occasion, come into contact with another child's nap mat. As a matter of fact, they are using all of them, right now, to build forts with.  

8) I never follow the lesson plan.

9) I permit children of the opposite sex to sleep in the same room as their siblings.

10) I let your baby keep her lovey-bear during naptimes. After all, I'm not allowed to give her a pillow or a blanket. She might suffocate during the nap she's taking in the same room with me, within visual and hearing.

11) Sometimes, I don't wake up your baby the minute she falls asleep in the swing.

12) I only mop once a day. Twice tops. And that is definitely less "often than is needed." Your child's socks will be filthy when you return.

There I feel better now, having 'fessed up. (And those are just the ones I can think of, right off the top of my head. I'm sure I'm breaking even more rules, had I the time to look them all up.)  

Do you? 

 

 

 

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Answer to Mandy’s Blog question

Answer the following with only one word:

1. Where is your cell phone? Pocket
2. Your significant other? Upstairs
3. Your hair? Ewww

4. Your mother? determined

5. Your father? mellowing

6. Your favorite thing? Sleep

7. Your dream last night? terrorists
8. Your favorite drink? water

9. Your dream/goal? balance
10. The room you're in? daycare 
11. Your children? awake    
12. Your fear? failure

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? upstairs    
14. Where were you last night? Computer   
15. What you're not? asleep
16. Muffins? bran
17. One of your wish list items? garage
18. Where you grew up? motherhood
19. What you read last? Mandy
20. What are you wearing? babybarf
21. Your TV? none
22. Your pets? confiscated
23. Your computer? overused
24. Your life? relentless
25. Your mood? distracted
26. Missing someone? marbles
27. Your car? Finally!
28. Something you're not wearing? makeup
29. Favorite Store? Costco
30. Your summer? looooong
31. Like someone? sleeping
32. Your favorite color? clean
33. Last time you laughed? forgot
34. Last time you cried? Sunday
35. Someone you wish to know more? kids
36. Horrible habit? worrying
37. Future plans? sleeping
38. If money were no object? sleeping
39. Life long dream? dormant 
40. Greatest accomplishment? hope

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A Tribute (of sorts) to my Aunts and Uncles

Uncle Rex posted these pictures—old pictures—that have generated a fair amount of family Facebook commentary the last week or so. Which has got me to thinking about my aunts and uncles—people my children will probably never know.

So here goes. A tribute—in short.

Aunt Bonnie. You were the rodeo queen. I always had the feeling there was something special about Bonnie that had a lot to do with the fact that she could apparently handle a horse just as good as Grandpa. I mean really—Grandpa! I remember Christmas morning, sitting on the stairs in the old house, really early, with Bonnie. I don’t know if she got us up, or if it was the other way around. I’m pretty sure we weren’t supposed to be up yet, though.  Also, we stayed with her once, and she showed me how she did laundry—everything, every day. (You have to realize that at our house things were sorted by shades of colors. We had the red/brown load; the dark blues, the light blues, etc.) I asked her what if she had a ten pair of jeans and three white socks—in they went. Big deal, she said. I was so impressed. Imagine—having all your laundry clean, every day. No mountains to fold.  I learned from her that sometimes it is better to have it done, than to have it perfect.  It was probably that same visit, I was watching Braden quite a bit, and I think that’s when I decided—all I really, REALLY want, is this—I want to get married and rock my babies and watch them sleep.  It was so overwhelming, this feeling—the realization that motherhood was exactly what I wanted someday.

Uncle Rex. When I was, I don’t know. Little. There were a bunch of us cousins at Rex and Bett’s house.  I don’t know who all I was trailing, a group of cousins thundering down the hall, and we went past the bathroom. I remember Aunt Betty Lou was sitting there, crying, and Rex was kneeling on the floor in front of her, holding her hands. Of course he asked us to move along, but not before I caught this glimpse—of a man that loved his wife; a man that was going to fix things.  My world felt infinitely more secure in that moment.  I don’t know how many times I thought back on that scene over the years. It touched me then, and still does.

Scott and Terri. I was never sure if Terri was happy because she was inherently happy, or if it was because she married a man like Scott. I always admired him—we all love our seminary teachers, and he was one of those guys; He and Uncle Rex always had that look—I don’t know, that countenance—they were men who held the priesthood with respect and authority, and treated us and women in general with respect and kindness. They embodied the type of man I wanted to marry. And can I really not mention the waterfights? Terri was always good for a waterfight—did any other grown woman ever join in the general melee as happily as she? And I have to mention. The first time I ever saw an adult brushing teeth (sorry Mom, the secret’s out, your’s were in a cup in the bathroom, so were Grandma and Grandpa’s) we were up at a Campbell reunion, and these two were brushing their teeth in the bushes, and it surprised me. People really do brush their teeth, for their entire lives.  Did I think I only had to do it until I reached the age of eight or something???

Becky.  You know, the clearest memory I have of Becky is at Woolworths. I must have been little—I was standing in the shopping cart. She talked my Mom into buying me this ridiculous, duck-bill brimmed hat. Or she bought it herself, I don’t know. I just remember that Aunt Becky had this mysterious effect on my mother, insomuch that we walked out of a store with something we didn’t absolutely HAVE to have. That and her crazy denim cutoffs.  Becky could always make me laugh—and she made Mom laugh too.

Necia. Went to France. Spoke real French! I was feeling short and ugly one day—Mandy was tall and had beautiful hair. Nena was pretty and everyone liked Ginger better, you know those days when you felt like the ugly duckling. And Grandpa told me that Aunt Necia always felt like the ugly duckling, and look what happened to her, Kimber—she grew up to be a beautiful missionary, and married a great guy, etc. And you know, his little speech worked. I would always go back to that—that Necia had felt this way, and look how great things turned out for her. I really thought she was one of the most beautiful people I knew.  And now that I’m older, and I realize that her life isn’t as perfect as I imagined it, I still look up to her, maybe moreso, because I see that the struggle to find peace with your own life is ongoing, and she’s always miles ahead of me, and still going.

Gene, I never really knew. We went to visit him once in Grande Prairie, and had dinner with his family. Randy was a little the same—Kathy, now Kathy made me laugh, too. She made us all laugh. And I admired that, because when I was little, I didn’t know anyone else who had lost a baby.  I thought she must be pretty special to be so happy, even after her baby died.

Tim and Karen were like parents to us for a while there. We lived with them after the fire. I remember Tim keeping us in line out on the farm, and Karen in the house.  I remember once when Scotty got Tina to drink dish soap and Karen gave him this look, but didn’t freak out like I thought she would. She was probably the calmest mom I knew.  Firm, for sure, but calm about things. I always thought I wanted to be that way, too.

Wilfred. Watching him do his makeup in the bathroom before a rodeo.  And always freaking us out at dinner with his lighter under the table, or putting his hands in a flame, or driving down  in the ditch.

Shane and Sharon. Sharon showed me, one day, how the notes on a piano followed the notes on a staff. With the hymn “Sweet hour of Prayer”.  For some reason that hymn, that day, made music click for me. I started from there and learned how to play more and more hymns. I’m no concert pianist, but I can fill in when the only other option is acapella on Sunday.

As I sit here, this list doesn’t say what I meant it to. Because there is this feeling—this overall sense I had as a kid that I was safe—that I had a refuge in the Forsyth family. I’m sure I was just another knothead, running around to all these big people. But  to me, I was safe there, at Grandmas, and in the world in general. If I had been ripped out of my home, and set adrift in some strange place, the first thing I’d have done was call any one of these people, and at the time, I had no doubt that they would have moved the moon and the stars to help me.  Now I understand that they all had families and lives and were infinitely busy and worried about so many things, but as a child, I didn’t see that. I thought of the aunts and uncles as a bulwark surrounding us, just there like gravity and atmosphere. There for nothing more than to protect and serve, I guess.

I look at my own nieces and nephews and I know that I haven’t been anything like that for them—not like my aunts and uncles were for me.  The difference isn’t in specific acts—I wasn’t showered with birthday greetings, or Christmas gifts, or anything like that—it was just the togetherness, regularly enough for us to see them interacting in positive ways. Being cheerful.  Do I smile at the children in my life enough? Do I laugh with them? Do I defend them when someone says something unkind?

Hmmmm.


Dominoes Breached

Met up (electronically) with my best friend from eighth grade today. Haven't seen her, pretty much since, I think. Thought of her often. Mostly the thing that I remember, was in eighth grade PE class. Locker room. I couldn't find my shoe. And I swore. Deliberately–I remember consciously choosing to say that word–I hadn't sworn before, and "all my friends did" in my mind, anyway. And the look on her face was enough to cure me. Her and a few other girls. I was so ashamed. They just froze, then kind of teased me about it, but that initial look said it all. I have thought of that many times. I swore at my little sister once, too. I was sixteen. I remember that one because it was horrible. The blackest, thickest darkness welling up beneath my ribs, jammed up between my collarbones, but powerful, that anger. And I deliberately chose that word, too. 

But anyway. Fourteen years go by and that's not a choice I had to make again. I knew how it made me feel.  Now that I'm thirty  . . . how old am I? 2008-1976=32 Thirty two, yes. Now that I'm thirty-two, I'm starting to think these words, and I don't know why.  Why now? Because I'm stressed? I've been stressed before. Because I'm old? Getting senile? Marty's honorable grandfather became quite a potty mouth in his last days. Maybe my brain has just heard these words so many times, and there is this mental threshold at thirty-something that breaks, and the fabric of your brain can no longer screen them out.

I remember a few years ago, my mother swore at Lowe's–in the kitchen section. I remember it clearly, because although I have heard her rant and rave many, many times, I have never heard her actually swear. She snagged a nail, or stubbed her toe maybe, something simple, and out comes this word.  I'm not talking vocabulary of the biblical variety here. I just kind of pretended not to notice, although she was absolutely mortified, and knew that I had. You know me, just change the subject. Suddenly I notice something fascinating about this stovetop, what do you think this is for, Mom?

Is that where I'm headed? AM I LOSING MY MIND?????

Sigh. But thanks, Christie, for giving me that look in the locker room. I had a good few years of unpolluted thought, anyway.

Maybe . . . you know one of the bishopric talked on Fast Sunday about how we need to structure our spiritual lives like dominoes. So that every spiritual experience is close enough to the one before it that there are no gaps that will interupt the grand scheme of things–you want them one right after another, all through your days, weeks, years. Maybe it isn't that there is a mental threshold that's been breached–maybe my dominoes are just too far apart. Maybe I should be reading my conference Ensign right now instead of checking my email, you know?  

  

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