Thursday, February 28, 2013

History makes me angry

Recently, I discovered a slew of historical documentaries on Netflix.  History Channel specials on topics ranging from Secret Societies to the life of Abraham Lincoln, from ancient wonders to WWII.  For the most part, I am loving this ability to feed my brain - positively necessary, considering that it was beginning to rot away from the sheer number of snow days combined with pregnancy forgetfulness.

However, again and again, I am incensed at the things humanity does to itself, repeatedly, throughout history.

Last night, I watched a special on the ancient city of Alexandria.  It was a city entirely dedicated to the pursuit and archival of knowledge.  The city's libraries strove to obtain a copy of every written document in existence - a major undertaking in the times of papyrus scrolls.  Lecture halls were built to share ancient knowledge, and to discuss revolutionary new ideas.  In an open-minded era that is rare throughout history, even women could rise to the elevated status of 'teacher'.  Hypatia, for instance, was a great thinker, teacher, and inventor, in a time when Europeans still considered women to be property for trading - little better than animals.  As I watched, and learned, of the wonderment of Alexandria, I couldn't help but feel a pull to be a part of that city.  A city that all too soon, was sacked and destroyed by 'Christians' who believed knowledge to be of the devil, and women like Hypatia to be witches.  The beautiful libraries were plundered, their priceless stores of knowledge burned.  Hypatia, a thinker years beyond her time, was viciously murdered in the streets, for the sin of knowing too much.

This isn't an isolated example, either.  It has happened repeatedly throughout history.  Our most brilliant minds are often persecuted, reviled, and murdered.  Many times, as in Alexandria, it is for religious reasons.  Every time, however, it is the same.  A mob of people who cannot understand rises up against those who would try.  Throughout history, the ignorant mistrust the knowledgeable, fearing them only because of their intellect.  It's infuriating, especially to one who values information and the pursuit of ideas, as I do.

And I realize the biggest reason I am so angered by it: we have not changed.  Even today, there are those who teach us to mistrust science.  To marginalize new ideas.  For every leap forward, there is a great backlash by the masses, unwilling to believe that this knowledge could benefit all of us.  Choosing, instead, to remain in the dark, merely because it is known.

I refuse to remain in the darkness.  I will continue to seek the light of understanding.  I am no great thinker like Hypatia, but perhaps I can help create a world where she would be safe.  A world that accepts genius, that strives to lift up great minds, and to protect them.  The solution is in education.  In teaching acceptance, tempered with skepticism.  And most of all, in considering new ideas, rather than simply dismissing them.

Monday, February 18, 2013


Miles is getting speech services! :)

I got a call from the private therapist this morning.  She said that based on his test scores - which were at the lowest edge of 'normal', insurance denied services as 'not medically necessary'.  Sigh.  However, she is willing to do his therapy for the same cost as our co-pay.  So, we decided to move forward with services.  I am beyond thrilled that he is finally going to get the help I know he needs.

Miles will have speech therapy once a week, and the therapist will meet with him while he's already at school.  I would have taken him anywhere he needed to go, but this little extra effort on her part makes it all so much more convenient for us.  Especially with a baby coming so soon to disrupt our routine.

I have a good feeling about this. :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Randomivity and Updates

My brain is all sorts of jumbled mess right now.

I spent last evening, and the one before, hanging out with Patrick and Miles, walking around malls, and generally just enjoying their company.  I am paying for it today.  I am sore, and tired, and have spent the entire day in my recliner.  This leads to an abundance of time to think, but none of the thoughts are organized.  Still, I have the urge to write, and the time, so the entire jumbled mess is about to tumble out onto your screen.  I'm sure it will be random. :)

Miles update: He seems to be feeling okay, but his cough is still there.  It no longer keeps him up at night, but when he's active, he suddenly sounds like he's carrying the Plague.  Perfect for all those times when we're playing in public, around other children.  I've gotten more judgmental looks from other moms over this (non-contagious, I promise!) cough than I ever have over the fact that my kid climbs anything and everything.  Including the stone walls at Granite City on Valentine's Day.  Yeah.  No one batted an eye at that one.  Except me, as I tried patiently to pretend that it wasn't happening.

Pregnancy update: Yikes.  I'm in pain today, so it's probably not the best time to write this.  Um . . . Samantha is incredibly healthy and proves it by kicking and moving.  But only when I'm trying to sleep.  The rest of the time, I hardly feel her.  So, yeah.  Yay, pregnancy.  Less than 10 weeks to the c-section.

Me update: I'm doing okay.  Hitting a point where I have to be careful not to overdo it  Obviously, I haven't gotten that down, yet.  Thus the whining.  Good news is that otherwise, I'm feeling pretty good.  I'm tired.  But again, chalk that up to pregnancy.  The most exciting thing in my life right now is the fact that Aunt Ninell is taking Miles tomorrow, while B and I go to a consignment sale.  This is good.  I like the un-exciting life. :)

Patrick update: He's awesome.  He let me sleep in this morning, and even took Miles out of the house for much of the day, so I could rest.  He buys me chocolate, just because, and makes me hot cocoa almost every night.  I will never be able to put into words how amazing he is.  I couldn't have chosen a better husband.

Yeah.  I've run out of things to tell you all.  So, I guess that's it.  Perhaps the next post will be more coherent. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Valentine's Day sucks for a lot of people.  Facebook today is filled with an equal number of statuses declaring, "Happy V-Day to my Dearest Love of my Life!!!" and "I wish this day would burn in a fire."  And honestly, even though I have a happy relationship, I kinda understand the dislike.  Like weddings and baby showers, Valentine's Day is a bittersweet reminder to many that they still do not have something they desire - a special person to celebrate life with.

Perhaps, they once had romantic love, and it got away.  Pride, anger, or simply life got in the way.

Perhaps, they have never known romantic love, but continue to search for their match.

Perhaps, they are too frightened of rejection and pain, and have sworn off romantic love altogether.

Regardless, this day is going to be tough for them.  Telling these people to 'just deal' is simply unfair to them. They have every right and reason to dislike this day, and these words completely disregard those feelings.  Likewise, please don't tell them to "just ignore it".  The reminders are everywhere.  As I said, Facebook is rife with it.  You can't enter a grocery store without seeing hearts and roses everywhere.  Restaurants offer "2-for-1 sweetheart specials".  Ignoring Valentine's Day is just about as easy as ignoring a strong stench - you can try to shut it out, but it permeates the very air around you.

So, please, today of all days, don't judge, don't offer platitudes.  Simply offer love and kindness to all you meet.  You may never know how much they need it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Effing Ear Infections. . .

So, remember . . . what? Three weeks ago?  When Miles had a double ear infection.  And I took him to the doctor, and he took antibiotics, and all was well.

Until the meds were out of his system.  Then, his symptoms, which had never completely gone away, began to get worse again.  Still, it was just a cough and a runny nose, so I sent him to school as per normal.

At noon, I got my first "your kid is sick" call from a school. :(

His teacher said the cough and runny nose didn't worry her, but he wasn't "acting like himself".  I adore his teacher, and trust her instincts when it comes to my kid.  She is right more times than not.  So, before I even picked him up, I called the doctor, and grabbed up the first appointment they had.

When I picked him up, I had a moment of doubt.  He came running out of the classroom, all smiles and energy, and I thought, there's nothing wrong with this kid.  His behavior continued to be completely normal, but I kept the appointment.  I told you, I trust his teacher implicitly.  Besides, I thought, it won't hurt anything to check.

I'm glad I trusted her.  His left ear is still infected.  And there were no signs beyond the cough and runny nose that are so common this time of year - and usually are nothing.  His behavior was never suspect.  He had trouble sleeping off and on, but that's nothing out of the ordinary for him, either.  His energy levels never dropped.  He was a bit more clingy, in retrospect, but I honestly attributed that to the fact that there's a baby coming, and he's beginning to understand, in some ways, that things are going to change.

In any case, the doctor prescribed another round of antibiotics - something a little stronger this time - and I'm under strict orders to bring him back in two weeks, no matter what.  If his ears are better, awesome.  If not, though, we have to start discussing the very real possibility of tubes.  And that makes me all itchy with worry, thinking about my baby having surgery.  Not to mention the precautions we'll have to take to protect those tubes - ear plugs in the water, and whatnot.  A selfish part of my brain thinks, "Why now?  Could this not have waited a year, when we're not also expecting a baby in 10 weeks?!?"

Mostly, though, I'm just sad that my poor boy is still sickly. :(

Monday, February 4, 2013

Crafty Mama

When I was pregnant with Miles, I hit this stage around 25 weeks where all I wanted to do was nest.  I embroidered during rehearsals.  I bought tiny clothes, and diapers, and rearranged the house a zillion times, trying to predict the easiest arrangement for our upcoming addition.

This time around, it's a little different.  I still have the urge to nest, and prep for Baby, but I don't have the energy to rearrange, and I have so far restrained myself from buying out the baby girl section of every store in a ten mile radius.  Because realistically?  We don't need much.  Plus, it's a tad difficult to coo over itty bitty dresses when your 3-year-old is busy taking everything off of the shelf or whining that his "tummy is hungry".

Instead, I've been crafting up a storm.  But, only easy crafts.  Things that don't require me to run down to the basement are preferable.  And I just don't have the energy to do much sewing, or anything that takes more than an hour to complete.  And this time, I'm more worried about keeping my preschooler occupied while I pull my hair out trying to remember how to calm a newborn.

To that end, I've been putting together what I'm calling "Activity Boxes", though most of the activities, you'll recognize as "busy bag" activities.  I just happened to have a bunch of cute little boxes sitting around that were the perfect size for these.  Plus, I just like how nicely the boxes stack - a handful of plastic baggies in a tub would drive me batty.  Well, battier.

The first thing I did was to gather a ton of materials that Miles could play with independently.  Things that didn't require my attention at all.  Things like the following:

Crayons, markers, coloring book, various papers, stickers. . .
Sticker book, foam stickers (snowflakes & sports balls), and post-its.
All of those are in the bottom drawer of my desk, which he can access by himself, at any time.  They get a fair amount of play - when he remembers they exist. :)

After that, I scoured the internet for "Busy Bag" ideas, and found these at Unsolicited Advice.  I put them each in their own little box for Miles to pull out and play with whenever he likes.
Beginning letter sound matching, with capital  & lowercase letters.
Bug Number Matching.  I LOVE these!
Brown Bear Heads & Tails Matching from 1+1+1=1

Then, I ventured out on my own.  I searched for "letter coloring pages" and eventually found these lovely outlines.  I printed them on regular paper, and put them in a box with some Bingo markers.  Miles pulls them out occasionally and decorates the letters.  When they're all done, we'll laminate them with clear contact paper, and use them for other activities.

Next, I searched for "emotion cards", but everything I found wanted me to buy them.  So, I just searched Google images for photos of "sad", "happy", etc.  Then, I printed them off, put them on card stock, and laminated them.  Miles isn't terribly interested in these, yet, so I need to figure out how to make them into a game.  I'm still working on that one. . .

I was on a roll, so I made this book from an old report folder I had lying around from the college days.   

I had also found a set of foam tangrams, and several other foam shapes, so I traced them in various configurations.  Miles loves to match the shapes and name them. :)

Finally, I made this, which has been the absolute hit in our house.  I started with the templates from All Our Days, but eventually realized I'd need to make my own templates to keep him engaged.  An hour with paint, and I had made several more counting/matching cards, as well as several visual instructions for building things like a flower, a tree, a football goal post, etc.  Miles will play with this one for up to an hour at a time by himself, or longer if I play with him.

In the end, I spent less than an hour on each of these activities (except for the Duplo templates, which took a bit longer to create on my own).  Definitely worth the time investment for the amount of play they've already seen! :)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

It's Saturday?

It doesn't feel like it.

Patrick and Stacey are gone, helping B and Shelby with their new house today.*  They left at 8:30, just like they do on work days, and they will probably not be home before dinner time.  Just like a weekday.

I'm not complaining.  Miles and I are having a great, quiet time at home today.  He's currently playing cars on the kitchen table while I blog at my desk nearby.  If we get really ambitious, we may head out to McDonald's for lunch and playtime before nap.  Or I may warm up some chicken nuggets in the microwave and snuggle in for the day.  Either way, we're both in a good mood, and that alone makes it a good day.

It just doesn't feel like Saturday. :)

*Congrats, by the way!!!