Saturday, November 21, 2015

Blessed are We

We were walking through the airport and I knew he would see the reports of Paris. I had to discuss it with him before he saw it, he is a sensitive soul. I began telling him that something terrible happened the night before and that he may see the televisions at the airport reporting on the terrible thing. I reminded him that terrible things happen, but people always rise to the occasion, they rush into the problem to solve it. "Didn't people cause the problem?" he asked. Point taken. "Yes." I say, "But people can either be the problem or the solution. It's all about choices and habits. We have to face our problems with a helper's heart."

"Yeah," he says, much later, "we do have to have a helper's heart. Or the bad stuff will crush us. If we help, the bad stuff is the loser."

He is so simple in his words and thoughts, and profound. Bad stuff, is like weeds in a garden, relentless. But good people, fruitful people, work toward an abundant harvest.


Becket is 5.5 months. He has two teeth, he is technically mobile, though that has been the case for months. Oh golly, he's such an amazing human being. He belongs in this world by virtue of the fact that he loves being here and is interested in every single thing. His dimples make me believe in God. I mean, I already believe in God, but dimples are technically a deformity, yet give such pleasure to the viewer. Like an everyday Easter making sense of the crucifixion. Perhaps I make too much of them. I don't care. Life can be terribly taxing, so I will take the joy I find and squeeze every last ounce of it. 


She is angry at the evil that exists. The undeniable evil of those who kill, and the sneaky evil of those who would take advantage of the fears of the masses. She is afraid, and angry. "Why should we turn people away? Why can't we believe they are running too? What if they come here?" I know her fear and her frustrations. The what-ifs of the parent are different of those of a child, but I am not so far from childhood that I can't understand. 

"We just love the best we can, sweetie. And we pray for our leaders and our enemies. And we keep on feeding the hungry and clothing the naked."

"Mama, it's never been easy, has it?" I turn my watery eyes away and hold her closer. 

"Easy is a trap. When you have to use your heart and your mind, you are blessing the world." I say it to myself and to her, though neither of us understands it.

She is rebellious, a sign of intelligence. Who cares? She makes me love more. She makes me question my prejudice. She expects good from others. She loves large tattooed men and heavily made-up women.  She hugs everyone even when they are uncomfortable. "HUG!" she announces. "Patpatpat!" "I'm yo fren." she states to the high school boy. He warms up and asks her name, to which she replies, "Whass yo nem?" He says he's Brody and she's very sweet. She nods and says, "Yes. Yo my fren." as she walks to the next patient. Everyone waiting for the dentist feels warm and comfortable, fillings be damned.

"What if I am not so good? What if I'm not magic?" 

Facing her very real learning problems has made her doubt herself for the very first time. She is magic, but I can't tell her that now. She is confounding and beautiful, but she feels stupid. Arg, that word! I pull her in. I will hold her to account. I will expect her to be responsible. It will be so very hard. Because she is important to this world, she will have to face herself now. But she will not do it alone. Look at all the people who love her. Look at  us. I begin to list the names, and she adds to it. Oh yes, him too. Look at that. You are not alone. Her shoulders lower. I see her. She feels seen.

She is positive she is not great. I am a fool. I am just being nice. She is not as smart as we think and she is a fraud. Effing middle school. I thank her. 47 times a day, I thank her for the most minute things. "Thank you for showing Paul his signed sheet." "Thank you for bringing Mae to the bathroom." "Thank you for making me a mom." "Thanks for saying goodnight." "Thanks for being here with us." She treats it like a nicety, but it is not. I mean it. I'm glad she's here and I'm glad she's ours. I'm glad her siblings have her and I'm glad she still needs me to apply her antibiotic. I'm glad she's free to be pouty and I'm glad she has the sense to apologize. I'm glad I remember what middle school feels like. I'm glad it won't last forever.

Everyday there is a reason to despair. I am sad for victims, I'm angry at terrorists and opportunists. Day after day there are sad stories and bullshit artists expressing an opinion on what it all means. Meanwhile we have them. Day after day we are asked if we are done having kids, or what on earth would make us want so many. Are you kidding? Look around! The world needs hope. The world needs purpose. They offer it every moment of the day. They remind me that God exists. I didn't create their beauty, it surpasses my creative ability. My need to heap love upon them would last all my life, even if they died. This is hope. A love that lasts past expiration. 

They have taught me to be grateful for my compassion and my grief. My heart is well ordered to long to fix things for them, but to give them space to fix things themselves. My heart is well ordered to cry with them and for them. My heart is well ordered to allow our family to sacrifice to clothe the naked and feed the hungry and pray for those who would see us dead. They spur me to have a well ordered heart, and thus, be more fully human. The world is a blessed place because they exist.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


I have a gift in my office/nightmare-of-craft-supplies room. It is for Mrs. J, Mae's Developmental Specialist through Early Steps. I wasn't ready to say goodbye in March when Mae aged out, so I kept the gift tucked away and we hired her privately to help Mae transition to the 3 yo room at school. Before long we decided to keep her "as needed". Tuesday we had a meeting with Mae's teacher to address some behavioral issues stemming from Mae not feeling well. Shortly after the meeting began I felt like all the air had been sucked out of the room as it became abundantly clear that we no longer needed Mrs. J. Thankfully Becket loudly pooped and broke my train of thought.

In May she was discharged out of PT. Miss K is our adored therapist. We've gone through speech and OTs, people to whom we said goodbye, but the need to continue therapy left little room to worry about it. Moving out of therapy, that is a whole other thing, and I was unprepared for the sadness of it. As a parent, I am getting therapy too. I am receiving the peace that a professional is keeping tabs on Mae's development, informing me what is good and what needs work, and where we really need to focus and areas we can watch from a laid-back position. I become dependant on the person who seems to adore our girl and celebrate with us her firsts, good and bad. They are the people who rub my back as I tear up because she is sick again, and we can't travel for Christmas again, and my kids won't know their grandparents because we never get to leave this hell-hole place that has no seasons. These are the people who share in my glee that Mae hit a boy who was trying to help her, who understand what a gift it is that she wants to try things until she masters it, and doesn't cling to being helped.

Mae took her first steps in PT. Two, to be exact. I looked with shock at Miss K and said, "Did she just take a step? Miss K said, "TWO! Don't you short her." We both had tears. She was 17 months old. We talked of discharge in December, which seemed like a great plan, but when Mae broke her leg in January, we had a few more months tacked on. I knew it was coming. I knew it was time. I still haven't given Miss K a gift because we go to speech and OT and still see her, and I don't want to acknowledge that we don't need Miss K. Mae doesn't need her, I'm not sure about me.

Mrs. J is in one of our favorite videos. She is having Mariana put tokens into a formula can with a slit cut into it. Mae is throwing the tokens and Mrs. J is wagging her finger saying, "No, no, no. Put them IN." Shortly into the video Mae wags her finger at Mrs. J and says, "No, no, no!" She was 10 months old. Mrs. J tried to show Mae how to crawl properly, so when Mae did it for the first time after she was 2, yes she was walking already, Mrs. J teared up with pride. It was at a potty training seminar that had babysitting and Mae crawled through a tunnel. My first thought was of telling Mrs. J. Mrs. J is the one with whom I would share my fears when Mae was sick all the time. She was the one with whom I would tie myself in knots about school, therapy choices, potty training readiness. She was the one who came into our home and talked to the kids about games they could play. Now I have her gift wrapped and a card written, and it's time to face the truth; we are ready to move forward.

Of all the warnings about how hard it is to raise a child with special needs, not one person mentioned how hard it is to move on from therapy. When someone faces the challenges of life with you, guides you, and gives you confidence when there are so many choices, you become brothers-in-arms. When people can look at your child that most dismiss as all good or all bad, see her gifts and her short comings, and love her deeply, it makes them important and needed. Moving forward is necessary. Mae has to grow more independent. She doesn't need PT to learn to pedal a trike, or to learn to walk our stairs, she needs longer legs. She doesn't need a developmental therapist, she needs a preschool teacher. As a parent, I have to teach her how to move forward even when it's scary and hard, but for now she is teaching me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


One of those clear memories that I can call up at anytime is when I was lying with Kate at her naptime. She reached her fat little hand over to my cheek and said, "Yer perfeck." It is a phrase I use often, along with "I love you." and "You're  my favorite." I tell my children they are perfect. It's both hyperbole and the truth. They are not perfectly behaved, but they are perfectly suited for our family. These are the things I do not need to say because all I want is for my kids to hear how loved and valued they are regardless of the parent-child power struggle of the moment.

Today was a day where most things out of my control were yucky, but it was a great day. It was great because our kids were helpful. It was great because I managed to be patient. It was great because we all found ways to encourage one another. I awoke feeling the anxiety that only productivity can abate. I longed to rush about doing laundry, fixing myself up, and getting Mae ready. I knew it was the only way I would be able to take my coffee to a quiet corner and be still with the Lord. Of course, it wasn't God's plan for my morning, and lo, Scott felt yucky and Mae's rash looked scary, and Becket needed to cluster feed. 

By the grace of God I was able to meet needs and even express my anxiety calmly to Scott. Being heard was enough to get me through the early part of the morning. Molly awoke to the bad news that her sleeping in had led to the great responsibility of emptying the dishwasher. Normally, Molly would feed the dog and Charlotte would empty the dishwasher, but the dog was hungry and C was awake. Molly felt crumby and weepy, and I folded on the dishwasher chore, but when I went into the kitchen it was emptied by Molly, who explained she felt compelled to "do the right thing to help our family." 

Our doctor appointment was midday, and I found Charlotte to be eager to help at every turn. Whether she was chasing Mae or holding Becket, she was ready to serve without being asked. She was alert and engaged and never interrupted with selfish questions. We discovered Mae has a viral infection and a staph infection, so I had a lot of questions and concerns which were addressed with no interruptions thanks to Charlotte. On the way home she did not ask to get lunch at the drive through though she was hungry. What a gem!

Kate also awoke feeling crumby. That coupled with the adolescence that has poked its head into our lives, I did not know what the day would bring from her. What it brought was a request to do laundry so she could "relax". It brought the desire to make her own dinner. It brought a desire to care for Becket when he was squirmy from being full, but wanting to nurse for comfort. Never mind the hail outside, life was great indoors.

Today when I was asked if we planned more children, I found myself thinking, "Have you met these wonderful people?!" I'm 3 weeks from delivery and each of these beautiful kids have made life better in every imaginable way. Life can be hard, but my young children remind me daily that we can make it better for one another. Life can be overwhelming, but my young children show that we can bear the burdens of one another. Life can be exhausting, but my young children can be an example of how to persevere. I will never take credit for these beautiful souls, but I am grateful to be a witness. They are, indeed, perfect*.

*Paul is visiting family, and Mae napped well, thus contributing to this perfection, God love them.

Friday, June 12, 2015


It is 0517. I am writing on my iPad, where there is no spell check, so God help this. Becket woke up at 0356, I have no idea when he ate last. The last two nights I have gone to bed at 9 ish and Scott has fed B a pumped bottle. It has been glorious. I wish all new mothers this amount of sleep. I have not cried for a sillly reason in like 5 days. I think my hormones like sleep. After he ate and went back to bed, I pumped a full 3oz, which makes me feel like a nursing rock star and also makes me nervous that I am going to get mastiitis from over production. This is because I just had a baby and all good things are tempered with irrational worry. However, because he is number 6, I do not spend too much time on the worry and kinda laugh about it to myself because it is a bit tedious to be your own Debbie Downer.

I wrote Becket's birth story down, but decided not to publish it. No one but Becket and I care, let us be honest about that. I mean, I got it out of my system with my family and close friends, so that should be enough until my daughters and their friends start having babies. That is when I get to whip out 6 full birth stories like every other post-menopausal woman at a baby shower is compelled to do. I get to talk about head size and labor length and false labor and DRAMA. I am so looking forward to it! I am also glad I wrote all of them down. My future daughters-in-law are going to love me as I regale them with tales of woe. Except Becket has been a really beautiful newborn, and I wish his personality for all my kids' kids.

A strange calm has come with not being pregnant anymore. So far, since his birth, the life drama has been amped up. One kid has a broken toe, or rather, we think she does because we are now those parents who take their kid to the athletic trainer next door rather than the hospital and breath a sigh of relief when he says to splint it and give it a week before we worry. (So far so good, definitely not the foot that is broken.) Another kid was truly nearly run down at Target until I smacked the back of the car and screamed for the woman to stop. Luckily, she was a human being who was freaked out instead of angry and we hugged because neither one of us really cared who was at fault as long as no one was hurt or killed. That same kid has a wicked ear infection from our negligence after swimming. Oops. Even with all of that, the thing that bothered me the most this week was the dog getting out and pooping on a neighbor's yard. That was the worst because I like my neighbors, and though I like my dog, I am infuriated by her need to roam.

Part of my serenity is from nursing Becket. He is such a beautiful specimen to gaze upon while he eats. He has the perfect head, the perfect amount of fuzz on his head, perfectly shaped ears, and he has dimples that are visible while he eats. He also has that look of intesity that prompts everyone to call him an "old soul". He gazes right back with a look of Secret Knowledge and it just sucks the anxiety right out of the room. 

The big kids are amazing too. There really is nothing like having another baby to bring out how wonderful the siblings are. They love him, and they want to care for him. I have been asked to pump more so that they can feed him, and when I explain that it is good for him to nurse, they accept it well because they want what is best for him. They have made their own breakfast and lunch every day since Scott has gone back to work. Kate made the salad for dinner last night. They pick up their rooms after breakfast every single day without complaint, and even offer to put Mae on the potty when I am nursing and she has gotten up from her nap. I am bribing them, yes, but they are receptive to the bribes, and that isn't always the case.

I am also caught up on laundry. My mother-in-law made this happen while she was here, and I have kept it going. It is one of those things that takes a total of maybe 20 full minutes a day, but is so worth doing every. single. day. Now, I do have some help if we get backed up by a Mariana accident. She is potty training, and she is weird about poop now, so that can get messy. Kate, Charlotte and Molly will help fold clothes because they are good kids, and if they are not, I use folding clothes instead of time outs. Hey, if you are getting difficult you do not get a break, you get an assignment. 

So this is life with Becket so far. There will be ups and downs coming, I am sure. Getting Mae to an independent place with the bathroom is weighing on me a little thanks to the school deadline, but I need to place that in God's hands. I am practicing detachment on that front. Her speech has really taken off, and she understands that Becket is the baby that was in my belly, which is far more important than her ability to pull her pants up and down on her own. We have a lot scheduled this summer, which I am praying is a positive thing that keeps us moving through the tough days, rather than an overwhelming thing that makes me want to hunker down and eat ice cream. Then again, there are worse things than ice cream....

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mother's Day

This morning I read this post. Please read it. I want to explain my headspace when I clicked on this link.

The other day I thought I was in labor. I had regular contractions and I was convinced enough to hop into the shower. (Pro Tip: shower before the hospital because you don't know when you will be able to bathe again.) Suddenly I was hit by a wall of exhaustion, so I decided to lie down. I figured if I fell asleep labor contractions would wake me up, but if not, I wasn't really in labor. I was not in labor. Of course this has put me in that desperate-to-have-baby phase of pregnancy.

Today I read a snarky thing about how priests "have permission to preach about the Gospel instead of mothers this Sunday." Now, I get it. Really, I do. There are a lot of women who are not mothers, some of whom would LOVE to be mothers, who hate mother's day sermons. I myself am not a huge fan if only because I find these lovely men paint motherhood with a soft glowing lens. Meanwhile, I'm usually in the pew, hot, being climbed upon, acting as a barrier between two children trying to sacrifice each other in an Old Testament kind of way. So, yes, I agree that sometimes the Mother's Day homilies can fall into a "more harm than good" feeling. I may or may not have fantasized about having a Mother's Day baby in order to escape this kind of personal discomfort. (Incidentally, I do love when priests talk about Mary and/or The Church as a mother. Everyone needs a good mom, and not everyone gets one. It's nice to be reminded that, actually, we all do get a Perfect Mother.)

I went downstairs after Scott had left with the kids, and I saw Molly's book report on the counter. My blood boiled as I went stomping around the house looking for my phone to call him. The book report was something I was so very proud to have her turn into her teacher. First of all, Molly loved the book I bought her and asked for the next in the series, which was a miracle of sorts. Secondly, her picture that she drew looked perfect. If only I could describe what it is to have Molly, of all the kids, draw something well. I cannot, except to say that I was almost considered worrying that her teacher would think that I drew the picture, it was so well done. (This is because her teacher doesn't know that I cannot draw very well.) At any rate, I was angry it was left behind after all Molly's cheerful hard work and cooperation, I was so upset that she just forgot about it as though it were nothing, as though we haven't had such a hard time with tension over school work. Here was our one collaboration in which we were both excited about her results!

Thankfully, God is perfect in His love and I read the above link. A mama who will only have a stone to visit rather than a child to cuddle. A mama who still deals with all her daughter left on earth, but has no cheek to stroke or hair to brush or book reports to make her exasperated. A mama who is not fretting about how to pay for tests for her child, but a marker for her grave. Oh, I have so much to learn from this life.

In retrospect I should have laughed at that book report. It should have tickled me and felt so perfect. After all, today is her birthday treat day at school. She sent me in search of overpriced cupcakes because Molly, who cannot eat cupcakes, appreciates the finer things in life and is always generous in sharing them with others. It is also Teacher Appreciation week and the kids decided to bring flowers, so she had a bouquet to give to a teacher that she adores with her whole heart. Why wouldn't she forget about her book report when she had so many good things to share with her class? Why wouldn't she forget about her own glorious work? She was being selfless, and I was seeing irresponsibility instead. Oh, I have so much to learn from these children!

Friday, May 1, 2015

So, it's been a while. I've gotten all manner of complaints, but let me assure you that I have spared any likely reader from months of congregating at a blog that would be, in it's essence, a Festivus Pole where upon I air all my grievances. You see, there has been lots and lots of sickness. A virus every other week, along with the usual busy life that a good sized family might encounter, will make a person a big grouchy and whiney. So I just took Thumper's dad's advice: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I had nothing.

Today I played "Here Come's the Sun" and I felt the urge to go a write how pretty freaking fantastic we are. Which is a little bit of an optimistic spin given that I am 37 weeks pregnant, grossly anemic and unable to quench my desire for a margherita - extra tequila - as big as my face. Yesterday Mariana followed classroom routine without extra prompts. Next week she starts 4-day-a-week school. She's been all but discharged from PT because she can walk up and down appropriately sized steps without help. She is speaking more, though it has been suggested that perhaps a behavioral therapist might be of some use given her sass. (Note to all: I am the behavioral therapist without the degrees or the ability to bill insurance. I also kinda like that she can defy the "They are so sweet." protocol for people with Down syndrome. I feel it makes her an ambassador of sorts.)

Here is what I love about Mae's school. The kids in her class are hyper aware she is different, but none of them can put their finger on it. They ask me all the time if she is still a baby and why she doesn't talk, though she does talk and is simply unintelligible at this point in her development. They adore her and line up to give her a hug before she leaves. They both want to be her friend and want her to like each of them. When she is mean to one of them it is a big deal and the offended party always tells me. But they are always kind to her regardless, which is such a sweet thing for a bunch of 3 year olds. (3 year olds are mostly wretched humans with adorable voices and yummy chubby arms that hug you right as you consider wringing their rotten necks.) Her teacher expects Mae to do everything the other kids do. She cleans up her own messes, washes her own hands, with the help with the soap since she is so short, walks in line, puts her hand on her heart for the pledge, holds the flag when it is her turn, and must always push in her own chair no matter how long it takes her. Miss K. is excited about seeing Mae's successes and is never fooled by her pretend incompetence. We are the luckiest family ever to have this preschool experience right now. Things aren't always easy in our world, but God is never too far for us to hear Him loud and clear.


In other news, we had a First Holy Communion for Molly. I love this day so much and I really appreciated that it was on the Feast of the Good Shepherd weekend. I love Jesus as the Good Shepherd and I often see my children as little lambs (and goats depending on the day). It's a peaceful image to sit with, especially when one of them is seemingly beyond my help. Realizing that The Good Shepherd loves them more than even I helps me relax a little and let things unfold over time rather than running on the anxiety treadmill of "What if...."

Molly's been that kid lately. I feel it's probably not appropriate to get into details on a public blog since I do care about my kids' sense of privacy, but the specifics lead to a general problem all parents face with our kids: How do we help someone when we don't really know what is actually the issue? Sometimes I think just making an effort is enough. Trying something different can jostle a kid into a new perspective. Or maybe just having Mom and Dad put a kid between them and show that this kid's problems are both important and not overwhelming is enough. I can't say that I know the exact formula for success, but somehow just shining a light on a particular child for a particular reason and saying, "We expect and we will help." is working.

Which leads to the other children, all who have become high-need all at the same time. Magically my anemic exhaustion has been fruitful. I sit in my recliner at night in my bedroom where each child comes in alone and we get 10-15 minutes of chatting. (I prefer the image of a stately queen receiving subjects, but I resemble Jabba the Hut more closely in a visual aspect. Minus the girl in a bikini and chains, of course.) It has happened naturally, and it has been nice to remind them that they belong there in my room, that I am not shut away incubating their brother. Kate is in that adolescent place of needing me and never having enough awareness to actually ask for my help. Charlotte is in a phase of finding her siblings just awful to have around her breathing space. (Incidentally I do not blame her. I find many of the things they say to one another grating, but I'm also 37 weeks pregnant and easily annoyed.) Molly is being forced to face her weaknesses and needs extra hugs and reminders of her magical qualities. Paul needs the cuddles of his mama and to exercise his ability to make me laugh even if I'm tired and the baby is literally on my nerves. Mae needs to swipe all the baby's things out of the crib and lay them on my belly because she is the boss of this belly.

So, yes, we've been active. Things have been very challenging and sometimes disheartening. Life has not been terribly kind this winter and spring has arrived quite late given that we live in Florida. Also, I have a charlie horse that just won't quit. What can we do? The answer seems to be in that image of Jesus gathering his sheep. He is not doing much, just picking them up and looking at them in the face and letting each little lamb see that His love is big enough for all of them. And magnesium...for the charlie horse, I mean. Magnesium hasn't failed me yet.

Monday, January 5, 2015

And Then There Were Six

Whoa, let's dust this old thing off a bit, shall we? I've been purposefully neglecting this place all fall. The reasons vary, but mostly come down to the fact that just living was a lot of work. We are expecting another baby in May, and he, yes he, made his presence known and felt in the most unpleasant ways. This little guy will not be ignored, I tell you. Little being a reletive term since I am measuring, and he is measuring a week ahead. My helpful OB said, "Oh, let's not do anything over 9lbs." because I'd like to avoid a c section this though this is in my control. The only thing I can do is avoid too much of the sweet stuff, which hasn't been too bad since I mostly hate food, unless I don't, which I almost alsways do soon after consuming it.

Pregnancy is my Achiles heel. I hate every bit of it, not because I have these woeful experiences, but because I have so little control over the health and wellbeing of the child. There are a million sources that will tell you that every eyeblink can control the outcome of pregnancy, but life will teach you otherwise. Yes, good nutrition and exercise are very important, unless you are throwing up so much that keeping any calories down is a win, or you are on bedrest, or both. You see? It's a crapshoot. Denise Austin is my favorite fitness guru out there because she always stresses doing the best YOU can do. Not that we should slack off, but that we should maybe be okay that we are limited. 

I did have the NIPT done, which is how we found out that this person with the hiccupping is a boy. I didn't do it because I wanted to breath easy that he will be physically perfect, but because insurance covered the test and the kids REALLY wanted to know the sex. Even with all the screens coming back favorable, there is no known outcome. There is an expectation, but nothing known. Which is astounding sometimes that we keep having babies. None of our kids are total jerks, so the odds are this guy just might be a total jerk. But hope springs eternal and we are up for the adventure, or so I think. Ask again after the many sleepless nights.

The other children are also growing. I am often astounded at their individual growth. K is cruising toward adolescence, which I am ever hopeful that I won't totally mess up. C is becoming a very interesting person. I feel she is always showing a new depth and at times am astounded that such a little girl can think so deeply. Molly marches on, having had her first Reconciliation and displaying a new level of piety that I remember from second grade. How serious those children become when they realize that Jesus gives them the chance to start new at any time! I love the sweet, purposeful sign of the cross, and how each word of prayer is pronounced just so. She wants so much to be good! Meanwhile, in the land of Paul, we are surprised that he can read so much since his interest in such things seems non existent. When I read to him, he is content to listen, but when we are out and about, he will read off labels and signs with relative ease. We practice sight words, during which he bounces, stands on his head and jokes that "when" is "will" even though I know he remembers the word. He has no interest in practice, even when I make games of it. Thankfully he has a teacher at school with the patience of a saint.

Mariana, oh Mariana. She is growing, learning and becoming--God knows what. We are in search for a new speech therapist closer to home. The poor child has so much language, but her speech, or the motor planning to articulate her language, is not up to her ability. Being in school has helped tremendously, and we hope to continue her education in a class with typical peers. We started in a class of 18-24 month old children, but quickly found that she is a kid who likes to fit in. The behaviors we had moved past came roaring back, along with some new, uncool tricks that we were more than happy to skip. At least in a class of 2 year old peers her negative behavior is age appropriate. I don't love hearing her yell, "No! Stop!" at me, but it is at least a 2 year old thing to yell.

To sum up: Scott is the last one in the family who has stayed the same relative size and shape these last months. The rest of us are growing up or out. One of the snakes went missing twice in the last few months, and I did not have a heart attack.  There was an outbreak of lice at Thanksgiving, which was a nightmare, but we survived. My friends, we are a hearty bunch, are we not? Now that 2014 is gone and we have a fresh calendar to fill with adventures for the new year, I only ask that we stay mostly healthy, the snakes stay contained, and the bugs kindly reside somewhere in the wild. Not a lot to ask from a new year, but then, we shall see.