Sunday, August 29, 2010


I sit with Elsa at our dining table.  Her face is covered with splotchy red marks, but she is happily drinking a chocolate banana milk shake.
"Talk like this: Blender- I cried." Elsa demands.
"You wanna talk about the blender?" I ask.
"Um, ya!" she replies.  "And the blender, and I cried, and Charlotte and Ramona and Elsa in my room?"
"Yep, that's what happened. Were you scared of the blender?"
"I cried."
"I know, I'm sorry.  I thought you'd like the milk shake."
"Milk shake tastes like smoothie!" She says delightedly.

I had already planned on writing my next post about Elsa, specifically about her "auditory defensiveness" as they put it in sensory processing disorder lingo.  The blender incident happened not even fifteen minutes ago, which prompted me to write this post, already.  When I pulled the blender out, she was hysterical before I even plugged it in.  I tried holding her while I put the ingredients in the blender, but realized that wasn't going to work as she screamed in complete terror to be so near the infernal contraption.  I put her in her room with Charlotte and Ramona, got her calmed down enough, closed the door and went back to my milk shake making.  But she was still devastated by it, even through a closed door and several rooms worth of space.  She came out shaking, begging me to "put it away, mama!" And I did.  And she was very happy with her milkshake and wanted to chat about it.

Earlier this week, we went to our first library story time, which was really quite nice.  The woman who runs it, Miss Mary, is lovely, and they have two pet doves in the room. They had some stories, and some songs, and a film strip and a craft.  Unfortunately, the theme for the day was "Birthdays." Which, of course, meant they sang the Happy Birthday song.  Softly, sweetly, quietly sang the Happy Birthday song.  It still sent her into panicked tears.  And every song they sang after that, she cried. Then she cheerfully went on to make a party hat out of paper and glue.

I have just recently started to piece together these separate incidents and wonder if they are part of some larger problem.  She hates the hand dryers in public bathrooms, and by association, she hates public bathrooms even if there is no loud hand dryer. She also hates my blow dryer, and would panic even if I was just using the straightening iron (which is quiet, of course) because she associates it with the blow dryer. Obviously, she hates when a group of people all of the sudden start singing, and she frequently asks me to turn off the music while we are driving in the car. I don't know if these things actually add up to any sort of processing disorder, but I'm definitely bringing it up the the pediatrician, once we get one.

It's not all doom and gloom around here, though.  She usually recovers from these episodes very quickly (as quickly as you can shove a chocolate banana milkshake in your mouth!) And she has a sunny, happy, if extremely willful, disposition most of the time.  We are enjoying our time together now that the twins are back in school.  We go to the library and the park, or just hang out at home playing endless games "What you like?" where I have to ask her for food items that she will pretend to get for me and I pretend to eat.  Or, "Imma doggie, what I like?" where I have to think of things she as a doggie, would like, and give them to her. (Note that doggies eat and drink laying down on their bellies.)  But I think I'd better get us a pediatrician pretty darned soon.  Who knows, maybe we can add "playing with the fun occupational therapist!" as one of our weekly games.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Next New Thing

*Just a note: I plan to be very much more pithy and theme-y and funny with blog posts in the future.  Bear with me as I get my blogging legs back!  For now, it's just the news.

This has been a big week for the twins.  They had their sixth birthday on Thursday, and today is the first day of 1st grade in a new school.

Their birthday was great (except of course for the absence of all you wonderful people!)  They got presents in the morning, then we headed to the Food Pyramid (no Vons or Ralphs or Albertsons around here, people, and you know I'm not shopping at Walmart) to buy ice cream sundae ingredients.  Then off to the library and to lunch at CafeBella, which is a cute little cafe downtown that seems to have a good amount of mediterranean food on the menu.  Of course the children just had PB and J.  But there was an older couple that complimented us on how well behaved the children were, so that's always nice.  Then we came home and the neighbor Z. and her big brother D. came over for ice cream sundaes!  Then it was play time, dinner time, and time to head to Meet Your Teacher Night at the school.

I really like the idea of Meet Your Teacher Night; the kids get a chance to scope things out with their parents near by.  I just feel so out of the loop as far as information goes around here.  I want to know in advance how everything works, I hate the idea that I will be that one person that doesn't know what they are doing.  So I guess I meant that I liked the idea of Meet Your Teacher night because I got a chance to scope things out.  I had a hard time sleeping last night because I didn't know how the snack situation worked at school.  (and I know, yes, I am silly and obsessive.)  At our old school, kids brought a snack as part of their lunch, and they would eat them during morning recess. Will Charlotte and Ramona get a chance to eat the snacks I packed?  Will they eat them in the morning or in the afternoon?  How will they know?  I worry about these things way more than the girls ever do.  I try not to project my anxieties onto them; they were just plain excited about starting school, not nervous at all.

So this morning was the first day of school.  They will be able to take the bus, which stops in front of our next door neighbor's house, so once we get into the swing of things I think I will try to let go enough to send them on the bus, at least to school.  Maybe not on the way home, though.  I hear they get home really late when they take the bus, and school already ends late, at 3:45, so I think I'll pick them up.  I figured out the snack issue when I talked to their teacher this morning.  I guess our students are so "economically diverse" that if they did it the way we did it at our old school, most of the kids wouldn't have snacks and would go hungry.  So the teacher asks for donations for snacks, and then everyone gets the same snack, at 10 am.  That's fine, I suppose.  I don't really like the idea of not having control of what my girls eat everyday.  But then, I'm kind of a control freak.

Speaking of which, I predict I will end up as Room Mom for R and C 's class.  Their teacher had asked me if I was interested on Meet Your Teacher Night, and I had said that I would be willing to be very helpful, but since we just moved here, I didn't really know enough about things in the community to do the job.  But it looks like there may be no one else to do it.  And I do like having my hand in the pot, so to speak. The only real trouble is that I don't have anyone to watch Elsa here, so it would be hard to do parties and things like that.

Their teacher asked the kids to bring three small things to school to help everyone get to know them.  Here's what my girls brought. Ramona: a picture of Sam Cooke (in case you don't know who Sam Cooke is) printed on the computer and colored by her, the birthday card Aunt Caitlin sent, and a picture of the twins with Aunt Natascha and Zachiah. Charlotte: another picture of Sam Cooke (who knew he was such a cutie?) a little Pikachu figurine, and a pokemon card.  I'm sure these girls won't seem peculiar at all...

Ready for their first day!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The New and the Newer

Well, here we are in Oklahoma.  I figured I should start a new blog so that people back home can hear about the silly and/or ridiculous things my children and I say and do.  So here it is.

We are settling into our neighborhood fairly well.  Charlotte and Ramona have a new friend, Z. is a little girl that lives next door.  She's a good playmate for them because she's a year and a half older than them, so she can initiate games, and she's quite persistent in coming over to play with them, which is good because the girls can tend to have a very insular relationship with each other.  And, most importantly, Z. is not put off by the twins peculiarity.  She even joins in with the "Boyee and Girla" play (which, for those of you unfamiliar, is quite peculiar.) 

Who us?  Peculiar?
I have always felt ambivalent about their weirdness.  On the one hand, I wouldn't want normal children, god forbid!  But I want them to be able to relate to other kids.  We went to the Science Museum in Oklahoma City yesterday, and a little girl asked Ramona, "who are you?" and Ramona gave a goofy grin and said, "I'm Boyaboy!"  The other little girl just shrugged and walked away. I guess if Ramona doesn't care, why should I?

We had a great time at the Science Museum though.  Even Elsa had fun.

She's doing well, too, but is having some struggles with her new sleeping arrangements.  We have all three girls sleeping in the same room, and she is sleeping in a toddler bed instead of a crib.  She has a hard time going to sleep without making a lot of noise, and it drives Ramona and Charlotte crazy.  Then she wakes up really early and starts yelling again, and Rene or I have to run down there or else she will wake the twins up.  They already have dark circles under their eyes, poor things.  And Elsa, she has a hard time with the transition from sleep to waking.  A lot of mornings, she screams and cries for a half hour after waking up, but other mornings she's chipper and happy.  That girl is a mystery to me. 

The twins start school on Monday, and tomorrow night is Meet Your Teacher night, so we will find out more about the school then.  They will be in the same class together for one more year, probably, and then we will split them up.  And I've finally decided what gym I'm going to go to (the one with the nice equipment but less-than-enthusiastic Zumba class.) I know where to take my recycling now (no curbside recycling?!?!) Rene is doing orientation this week, so we will have health insurance soon.  Things are starting to fall into place.  And we are starting to realize that we are actually going to live here in this place, and none of you guys from out west are coming with us.  The girls already miss all of you!