Sunday, July 27, 2008

Time to catch my breath...

Friday was another terrible day at camp for Belle -- she hit a child, they punished her, they didn't follow the certificate regimen that we had given them to help her...and then to top it off a pisher of a kid tried to psychoanalyze my daughter - god damn it... she roll played with her and thought that I would be so excited by this...and gave her all this attention -- why couldn't she just listen and follow through on what I asked them to do?

They were so mean to her, I watched during their show... the conselors didn't respond to her - like they did to the others, the kids shied away from her...I was so sad for my beautiful girl who has been driving everyone crazy...driving me crazy -- I love her, I love her, I love her -- I may need to repeat it over and over and over -- or even climb to the highest rooftop -- I LOVE HER! I want everyone else to also...

I called R - our ped -- crying - I'm was afraid they were either going to break her, or kick her out! He is just amazing, just amazing -- after droppng Bob off after another accident - I took her to his office and he put her on clonidine - a quarter of a .1mg pill 2x per day ....

I hate drugging my little girl - I hate drugging my little girl -- but I need to be able to love my little girl on my outside -- not just my insides, I need to show her that I love her, we all do -- she deserves it...she does.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


The dreaded question: Did he smoke?
Inquiry serves as a painful reminder of a father's death from throat cancer
By Elisabeth Egan
updated 9:39 a.m. ET, Wed., July. 23, 2008

I'm sitting between two of my friends on a bench at the neighborhood playground when one mentions her aunt recently died of lung cancer. I know what's coming next, as surely as I know my kids will boomerang back toward me from the monkey bars, begging for money, when they hear the jingle of the ice cream truck.

As if on cue, the other friend asks, "Did your aunt smoke?"

I don't stick around for the answer. The ice cream truck has arrived, and I've never been so eager to hook up my kids with an Astro Pop. Blue-lipped and sticky, they can't believe their luck. What happened to their real mother — the one who's always pushing baby carrots?

I simply can't stomach yet another conversation about smoking and cancer. I've been a reluctant witness to the tobacco inquisition ever since my father was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1999. He died four years ago, a month shy of his 60th birthday and a week after he and my mother celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary.

He smoked a pipe every day for more than half his life; he also regularly enjoyed a stiff gin and tonic (or three) and a cannoli (or two), and he never exercised a day in his life until he found out that he had a heart condition at 55.

When somebody asks if my dad smoked, I say yes. (Nobody ever asks about his other bad habits, although excessive alcohol consumption is a prime culprit in the development of throat cancer.) Once I've answered, it's as if the questioner has ticked off a box in her head. As in, "Oh. He got what was coming to him." Or, perhaps more understandably, "I don't smoke, so I'm safe."

Smoker or nonsmoker?
These people aren't malicious; in fact, before my dad died, I remember asking the same question under similar circumstances. Now that I've been on the receiving end of it, though, I think responding this way to news of a cancer death is misguided — and slightly rude. When someone dies of a heart attack, do we ask if she was overweight? Do we ask if a victim of a car accident was a good driver?

I don't understand why it is that people who have tobacco-related cancers must be summarily classified as either smokers or not. Are we to believe that death by cancer would be less tragic — would be, in fact, deserved — if the dearly departed inhaled a pack a day?

Of course, it's human to crave an explanation when awful things happen, to grasp for a sense of control when in reality we have none. I still agonize over the absence of a man who clearly meant to be here for a good long time. After all, he left behind crates of unplanted tulip bulbs and enough frequent-flier miles for a trip around the world.

I'd like to tell people who ask the dreaded question exactly how painful it is to be reminded, over and over, of how my father's bad decision — to take up pipe smoking — robbed my family of one of its poles. I wish they knew exactly how much my dad suffered and what it was like to watch. He was a lawyer who retired early without fanfare because he'd had his vocal cords removed with only two days' notice and, really, what good is a lawyer who can't talk? Stop and think for a minute about what it would be like to live without your voice: You can't make a sound when you laugh or cry. You can't whisper or yell. For three years, my dad also couldn't swallow solid food, and for the last six months of his life, he was fed through a tube in his stomach because he couldn't swallow at all. He had his teeth pulled (a casualty of radiation) and his toe amputated (a casualty of chemotherapy and diabetes). There were countless smaller indignities, including the time we took my daughter to see Santa Claus and the other kids in line cried when they caught a glimpse of the hole in my father's neck.

Cheated out of a dad
Was my dad's five-year struggle with cancer penance enough for his choice to smoke? Absolutely. Do I still resent him for that choice? I do, and never so much as when I'm placing a birthday cake in front of one of his grandchildren and he's not there to take his signature out-of-focus photos. When my third baby was born last spring, one of my first thoughts in those early exhilarating minutes of her life was, Look what you missed — which surprised me. Hadn't I already cycled through the stages of grief? How did such a joyous moment land me smack-dab in the middle of mourning him once again?

There are other times when my feelings of being cheated out of a dad border on rage: when I coax a fire into burning without the help of a Duraflame log; both times the Red Sox won the World Series; and whenever Sue Grafton publishes a new book and I have nobody to give it to. Sure, I'm angry with my father. If he hadn't smoked, he'd still be here. When a friend is diagnosed with cancer, I tell this father of three about my dad's positive experience at the same hospital where he's starting treatment.

Of course, he asks how my dad is doing. "Actually, he died," I say, wishing I hadn't gone down this road. "But he smoked," I add. "What did he expect?"

My father was the least judgmental person I've ever met — truly, ever — so when I think someone is judging him (especially when that person is me), I feel both ashamed and bereft. When my own children ask me why their grandfather died — always at some inopportune moment, such as when I'm placing a large order at Starbucks — I don't sugarcoat the answer: "Because he smoked." But then, impatient barista be damned, I remind my daughter, Louisa — at 7, the oldest of my brood and the family's inaugural grandchild — how she used to love following her grandfather around his garden, drenching the plants with her own little watering can until they were flat on the ground. I want all my children to understand that smoking is not the sum total of anyone's life, especially my dad's.

I recently moved to a new town, where I'm slowly making friends. When one of them comments on the riot of impatiens on my patio, I mention that all my flowers are planted in my dad's old potting soil. These bags of dirt, lugged from their semifinal resting place behind my old tricycle into the trunk of my new minivan, are an unlikely legacy from what we called the Garden of Egan.

"So your dad died?" my friend asks. I say he died of throat cancer. Then I launch into my spiel — anything to forestall the Question. "He was sick for a long time; he died at home in his favorite chair a few hours after the series finale of "Sex and the City"; my mom is doing well; she's the belle of her church choir, thanks for asking."

But smoking never comes up, which is how I know this friend is a keeper. Instead, she asks, "What was your dad like?" Why can't everyone ask this question? Answering it is a joy; it's the next best thing to having him back again.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Professionals are held to a higher standard...

I believe this - with all my heart and sole - professionals are only human - but because they are professionals they MUST be held to a higher is the nature of the position.

A director should not send out an e-mail to their staff insinuating, implying or announcing preferential treatment of their staff over another person's during a collaborative project.

A consultant - who tauts theme selves as a professional, should not forward another person's e-mail to anyone, without permission.

A director should not withhold information from staff because it will be tough conversation - and think they will inform them when they return from a vacation even if it means the staff person would find out from an outside party.

A clergyman should not use a congregant as a pawn in a political decision.

All in one week -- I'm disappointed! Disappointment To error is human - but professionalism comes with expectations and responsibility!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Call from pre-school...

I got a call Wed afternoon form Puppy's teacher, saying he has a boo boo on his side - it was warm and hard and I needed to take him to the Dr. Now my favorite ped is on vacation - so I go see the one of the other two. He tells me it is an abscess and that he needs two different antibiotics twice a day. I remind him about Puppy's allergy to penicillin and he asked what happened when he had it. I told the Dr. that Puppy had had a full body rash - and we pulled him off. Dr. J said that wasn't an allergic reaction and he wanted to give it again because it would be the best for the abscess...He sent me home to get him the meds and put him in warm bath to loosen the yuck inside.

Fast forward two doses - and it is 1:30am on Thursday - our boy walks into our room with a red face that is VERY warm - I take his temp thinking it is the infection....his body is absolutely cool, but his face red and hot. I called the Ped - the third Dr. - Dr. N in the practice called back - she - not one of my favorite people, but that is a story for another time.... she said stop the meds, bring him in first thing - and we'll change what he is getting, but also give him some benadryl.

Fast forward to 7am - his face is BRIGHT RED - HOT - and now SWOLLEN -- he was breathing fine - but looked like Unc did when he was mango boy.... No one answered at the Dr. office, unlike when Dr. R is there --

I took Bean and dropped her of - J took Bob and Belle to camp and then took Puppy right in -- Dr. J got pissy with J for not calling first -- I was he was having this reaction - it was either the office or the ER....

So home again, home again - now my poor boy is on 1 medicine - 4 times a day -- 2.5 tsp of YUCKY stuff... we are not above bribes!! Take your meds and he gets some choc chips!!

But it for sure put things in perspective -- other things were happening...but my boy was going to be ok -- quite emotional....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tacky the Penguin - life lessons

Belle asked me to read her Tacky the Penguin tonight - I don't know how this wonderful book ended up in our collection - but it made me happy to think that my Tacky picked it out to read tonight - and I learned great lessons from it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Morning from Hell

Yet again Belle sent us through a loop. Is it fair to ask Bob or Bean to change their patterns and behaviors so that Belle doesn't have a melt down?

J made sure to send me a picture of her smiling as she left his car for camp...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bringing a two year old to a movie...Lemonade saves the day!

You read correctly, we made it to see Wall.E -- it was brilliant! Just BRILLIANT!

OK - we'll backtrack. We got home from camp/school at 4:30 - I rushed to put in the salmon and make dinner..but it was too hot and took too long for us to leave at our designated time of 5:15 to make the 5:45 movie. So sandwiches it was - Tuna for Belle, 2 PBJ for Bob, melted cheese for Bean and PBJ for Puppy, throw a PBJ for me too....(no vegi, no fruit) water in the car!

We made it out, and to the movie -- using gift coupons that I had received for my birthday at least 3 years ago, if not more- the 5 of us walked in, and I got $1.50 back! (J came on his own and paid, so I don't even know what that cost!)

Bob held my purse and keys, as we proceeded down the escalator -- I held Bean as she is TERRIFIED of them and help Puppy's hand. We got a BIG bucket of popcorn, 4 small cups and 2 med (you can't tell me they were medium, they looked like a two litter bottle!) drinks, one lemonade and one diet coke -- and we were off.

Poor Puppy thought we were going to shul where they had movie night the week before, on the grass with "Cars" projected -- this was a bit different...for a sensory kid, but he was a trouper.

An hour and a bit into the movie -- Puppy starts saying Penis! Penis! VERY LOUDLY in a quiet theater...there were only about 20 people total in the theater -- but when you are paying $12 a ticket, who wants to be interrupted?!?

He continues, Penis! PENIS! PENIS BOY!! Penis BOY! I PENIS BOY!!! I PENIS BOY!!!

OMG J and I were trying so hard not to laugh, Bob was in stiches and the girls kept looking like he was nuts! Remember now - more than an hour into the movie, NO POPCORN left to paci in site, and Penis Boy yelling PENIS BOY at the top of his lungs....turn to Lemonade!

Sticky, sweet, sticky - ice cold -- did I say sticky? But it distracted good'ol penis boy for enough time to get him to forget! I dont' think the rest of us ever will.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Game called on a count of rain

We had a nice day planned today - J-h to do yard work, Y-d, A-d, and A-s in the pool out back, J-s watching sports as usual...and 4pm we were to go off for a minor league baseball game! We were quite excited....but as soon as we got their the skies opened up and the rain came pouring down...

Disappointed...but we all kept it together -- even J-s who got his glove and ball signed by two players...he took it hard, but came home and watched a bit of a Mets game. A-d fell asleep on the way home - A-s and Y-d got to watch a show and then off to bed...

Maybe we'll get in a movie tomorrow -- that is the plan....but we know what happens when we plan.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

2 Years -- sadness is still too much to bare

2 years ago today a lovely little boy ERS died in a horrible accident at the local JCC -- he drown in the pool there, during a swim lesson at camp. ERS wasn't our son, we knew his sister S since Bob and she were in school as two year olds, they were supposed to come over for Shabbat the week after he had passed. A funeral like this I have never before seen - I remember it and all the raw emotions. My heart still goes out to the entire family.... I dreamt last night that G-B was with him, reading to him...the perpetual 1st grader with the perpetual 1st grade teacher....

Easy morning x2 days...

OK, make that "easier"! Belle was able to get her stuff together enough to get out both thursday and friday am. That isn't to say we didn't have our moments, but Jeven sent a picture of her smiling in the car on the way to camp.

BTW - we didn't make it to ZeroCNS -- we'll try again for next week

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Zero CSN

J's new motto -- Zero CSN (zero csn sunday night) -- We are part of a CSA *- below is a copy from the groupy's e-mail about what it is. The problem is I thought this would replace our produce visits. I thought we would spend less on groceries -- boy was I wrong! We layed out the money for the CSA and have basically the same shopping list...though add the extra stuff that J needs to prepare the things like collared greens and rubarb and garlic scapes....

It is a lot of pressure! I just love my peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, grapes -- the real stuff you can get at a super market -- I know, I'm a party pooper!

*Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a mutually beneficial partnership where urbanconsumers receive fresh, nutritious vegetables while helping to sustain the livelihoods andstewardship of regional farmers. In a CSA arrangement the farmer pre-sells “shares” in his or herfarm’s upcoming harvest to individuals, families, and institutions in the city.Tuv Ha’Aretz, a program of Hazon, means both “good for the land” and “the best of the land.” Ultimately, it also means the best for you and your family. As a Tuv Ha’Aretz member at TI, you’ll know where your food is coming from, and enjoy:
• a variety of fresh, organic vegetables at competitive prices from Calvert Farm.
• weekly produce delivery to TI, on Monday afternoons
• supporting local farms, a healthy environment, and strong community
• connecting in new ways to Jewish values and tradition
• a weekly newsletter, Tuv Ha’Shavua with recipes from the farm, divrei Torah and more!
• farm trips and inspiring education classes

Better Start...

Today Belle got it together and had a good morning - don't know why, but it worked. I have to keep reminding myself that she is not doing this to us. That she doesn't set out to upset us and make us mad. In the anger of a being late for work, for not running smoothly through our "routine' -- I tend to forget.
She is not doing this to me/us.
She wouldn't do it if she could stop herself.

Not such a great mommy today...

I don't know what was up. I have some better days then other...but today I realized that all these volunteer things, and work, that I am doing for my kids to have a better experience at X Y or Z place -- is taking me away from spending time with my kids.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Auntie Lolo -- 23rd!

I know Lolo doesn't read this blog -- she would if she knew it existed...but she doesn't yet. I remember that day, when my life as an only child was no more. When she screamed her way into our lives....we all thought she was a boy - I even convinced Grandma A that we KNEW she was a boy -- LOL

I was 3 weeks shy of 10, what a special day it was. I became a sister, something I waited a VERY long time for....though now, I'm waiting even longer to be an Auntie myself:)

Love you Lolo -- we all do.

Monday, July 7, 2008

One person's lie is another person's fiction

Belle did it again today. She got up, she got dressed, she even came down and ate breakfast so nicely. Getting ready to leave and she says she is bringing her dog - we say, no, toys are not allowed in camp or school -- party line - though we compromised to let her take him in the car on the ride.

As we pull up to drop off Cookoo and Puppy -- Belle says, "you know what mommy and abba, you were right, I shouldn't take my dog to camp, I'm glad I left him at home!"

Boy were we upset -- a straight out fabricated lie.

(Fast forward 7 hours and she left the car without permission and crossed the parking lot at the pre-school without a grownup -- almost full meltdown over dessert, but we were able to cut it off at the pass...this time.)

When talking to my friend and doula tonight - B - I recounted my day with among other issues, Belle -- and I gotta love B -- she said:

"wow! she is going to be a great writer when she is older!" A refreshing and creative ending.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Well -- the perfect end to the perfect day -- a meltdown -- just like the Justin Roberts song Meltdown - Belle ended today in a meltdown - this time over not getting more cookies. We went to a friends house for dinner tonight (H and I), everyone else had the 1.5 -- Bob, Belle, Puppy, the friends children M and L -- but Belle decided she need more, needless to say it was a car ride of piercing screeching and crying for more cookies...

I found my niche - life of the impromptu!

We just got back from our impromptu picnic/bicycle ride! It was great -- but had we planned it and thought about it -- again, wouldn't have happened. J went and got a new pump, and came home and said he wanted to take the kids to ride -- but it was lunchtime....

So I pulled out salami, bread, ketchup, mustard (2 kinds), carrots, peppers, ice water & blueberries -- add the picnic blanket, camera -- 4 bikes, 4 helmets, wipes - plates, napkins, utencils AND BUG SPRAY -- and we were off within 14 minutes flat ...nope, could not have planned it.

We took two cars, and with gas prices at $4.22 per gallon, we drove the mile to a local elementary school parking lot -- put out our spread, and had the entire lot to ourselves for riding.

Amid the raindrops, and sunshower...Bob took of riding as usual, Belle rode for the first time without training wheeles!! Though did take a spill -- Bean didn't love getting wet, but rode for a bit and Puppy was too funny in his three wheeler -- and helmet.

I survived, though I HATE the outside, bugs and all -- but I feel proud of myself, I think that I did ok...I did it for my kids. Had I had to think about it, and plan it and worry about it, I don't think I could have pulled it off... I'm so glad we did.

Happy 4th of July!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Shabbat Playdates O-My!

So it started out as a simple - Bob was going to have a playdate with his best bud form birth JM - well JM has a sister EM who is Bean's age - so they wanted to play...ok god who will we have for Belle? We call AP and she can come, thank god! So now you are thinking that I am leaving out no! That is when it got crazy...

BSP, my oldest and dearest friend from kindergarten gas been telling me about her friend BR and her husband RR, who have a daughter SR who is going to be at school with Puppy...but they also have a son JR who is 18 months old...BSP herself has SPa who is Puppy age and SPb who is 4 months old (yes, both their names start with S -- I'm not the only one to mess this up!) so I invited both families....J was aware of this, but what I forgot to tell that when I thought of who was coming -- I invited TG -- with her three kids - SG who is Bean's age, LG who is Puppy's age and NG who is JR's age so they could meet too....

Needless to say, the 4 year olds were the loudest - the 2 almost 3 year olds cried the most...and some parents handled the noise better than others...

All in all I had a great time, lovely people -- and J chose not to divorce me yet!

My cleaner upper...

I have one! ONE -- I guess one out of5 (including J) isn't bad. I don't know if she does it for praise, or for attention, or to please -- or because she is wired that way...but when a house full of people are coming - I can count on Bean to help bring about some order and neatness to the chaos house of "Central" -- thank god for middle children!