Monday, June 29, 2009

Things We Have in Common

I took Lyndsay and Conor to the zoo on Friday to pass some time in the lovely weather while Aiden and Dylan were both away at scout camps. The animals were in rare form, probably because the weather was just perfect, and we got there right as they were opening, around 10am. There were babies galore, which always does my heart good. Sometimes life in captivity can be a sad thing, but for many of the animals at the L.A. Zoo, they have been rescued, rehabilitated, or adopted. To see them multiplying and replenishing the zoo is a good thing.

We saw baby babirusas. Have you ever seen a baby babirusa? Have you ever seen a grown up babirusa? They're pretty ugly. I am familiar with babirusas because my children have a book about the weirdest animals, and babirusas are featured on a double page spread. They are weird. And ugly. But the babies? Too cute for words! They were so tiny, and bald, about the size of, ummmm. . . large guinea pigs on longer legs? But they twittered along on their little feet, the two of them, following their ugly mother wherever she went.

We saw baby peccaries too, and a baby giraffe (wouldn't want to give birth to that!), and some kind of baby mountain goat-gazelle-antelope thingy. They were also adorable. Oh, and some baby monkeys! It was a great day.

But I noticed that I have some things in common with the animals. For one, this is how I feel right now in my life:

Must. Get. Back. In. Shape. It feels impossible, doesn't it big mama? Here's looking at you.

For another, I'm sick of seeing celery too, man! Bring out something sweet for heaven's sake! Some carbs! Somethin'!

Oh, and check this guy out. He's the tallest giraffe. The proud daddy. I think he's like 18 feet tall. But still, it isn't tall enough for him. He wants to be taller! Just like I want to be skinnier (and smarter and healthier and prettier). . . it's never enough! We want more! Why didn't he just get the low leaves on the other side of the tree?

I totally get it. Lock me up and throw away the key! I feel like I live in a zoo most of the time anyway!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Out from Under the Gunk

I used to be skinny and sexy and spunky. I used to feel pretty. I used to feel terrific in my clothes--and out of them, incidentally. And I'm not talking about when I was 22. At 22 I already had 2 babies and was in full-swing Denim mu mu mommy stage. How embarrassing.

I'm talking 32. Even after 3 kids, years 30 to 32 were great me years. On top of my game. Of course, I was alone, besides my children, and in between boyfriends. But still. I felt good being me. And now? Well, in many ways I'm even more alone, but this time I'm much less me.

Where am I, anyway? I miss me. I love being a mom and doing all the mom stuff. But there is, or at least there should be, more to me! I feel out of place inside myself these days and I don't like it one bit.

I realized with shock and horror the other day that I hardly ever sing anymore. People, this is not good. In fact, this is a very bad sign. I'm not a good singer, but still, I've been known for my singing. Not the quality of it, but the tendency to be doing it constantly. Like in my kitchen. Belting out songs with great harmony parts, like I am the A+ backup singer extraordinaire, or that Celine Dion is my backup singer. Feeling the music sweep through me and feeling like a million bucks, even though I was really just a divorced mom in a kitchen making pasta. Or, like in my car. I used to be a very famous car singer. My children knew not to talk because they might interrupt me at a very good part. I would get random text messages on my phone while driving that would say, "Stop singing!", or "I can hear you singing!" My friends knew me well.

And I would laugh when I read them. Laughing and singing and driving.

Oh great, I hardly ever laugh either. Man, I'm a great laugher too. Other people used to laugh just watching me laugh. I'm not sure if life was funnier back then or not. I mean, I certainly have never had a shortage of tragedy and despair in my life, and somehow I still found time to double over in belly laughs.

I miss laughing and singing. And yet, I can't really find either of those parts of me anywhere. I hate that. They're some of my best stuff.

So now I'm out skinny, sexy, spunky, laughter, and singing. This isn't looking good.

This may be the time for me to pull a Madonna. You know, how we think she's faded into the 80's woodwork, and then BAM! There she is again, bigger, badder, buffer--calmer, softer, wiser. The queen of reinvention.

I need to reinvent me.

Or not even reinvent, necessarily, but rediscover. Get rid of all the junk that's bogging down my greatness and potential, my essence. My soul. Time is slipping by and I'm losing out on some classic years. So that means I've got to dump some insecurities, throw some caution to the wind, stop listening to the voices that tell me all the yucky stuff that makes me feel badly, and just--oh, sorry, here it goes. I know it's cliche and I didn't plan to say this, but I have no choice--

Live, Love, Laugh.

And then?


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Oh, What a Night!

Last night we held Lyndsay's 15th birthday party. A much anticipated night! Lots of planning, brainstorming (thank you for your ideas!), and preparation, and it all paid off. Here's what I came up with for the invitations: (I'm not all that scrapbooky-crafty. . .sure would have been nice to have my sis-in-law Sarah live close to me so she could have made them cuter!)

It was a Pamper Party, but not in the traditional sense. Instead, we planned to have the girls make several of their very own pampering spa products. They made their own gift bags! It was so much fun, working with older, capable girls, and even though it was different than any party they had ever been to, they all had a fantastic time. Everyone really got into it. It was such a pleasure, and Lyndsay has terrific friends. I told them how grateful I was that they were smart, fun friends, instead of loud and dumb friends, which made them laugh. I also thanked them for loving my Lyns and being such good friends to her.

Here's the spread:

Spas are all about treating yourself, so that's what we did. We treated ourselves! I made little Lemon-Lime Babycakes with a Lemon-Lime drizzle, and Chocolate Ganache Babycakes. Millions of them. It took all day long on Friday, and my sanity was only saved when my friend brought me over another mini-cupcake pan so I could bake more than twelve at a time. The recipe said it made 24 mini cupcakes. It made 65, so somewhere there was a discrepancy. But good thing we had tons, because they were so, so good!

Like the river rocks? Late at night when I was going over the details, I pictured gray river rocks as part of the decor, kind of an earthy touch. I knew there was a house I pass on my walks with a yard full of them, so I sent Dylan out at 10:30 at night with a bag and a flashlight to "borrow" some rocks from their yard. They add a nice touch, don'tcha think? And don't worry, I'm putting them back! Washed and everything. (Does that count as stealing?)

Some very tasty sparkling juices.

When the girls arrived, we got to work. First, a quick Chemistry lesson, and then we dove into making Fizzy Bath Bombs. Way fun. We scented them Lavender Vanilla, and dyed them a light purple. I know my pictures aren't great, and for some reason when I transfer them to Blogger they always come out darker, but you get the general idea.

Each girl got to make two, and everyone took a turn mixing. I made them do all the work so they could really take pride in it.

In between mixing sessions, there was lots of giggling and fun girl talk. So cute!

Next on the agenda was soap making. We just made a simple glycerin soap. First the girls had to chop up the soap base. They took turns, while others finished up the last batch of bath bombs. (We did three batches, each batch made 8.)

They melted the base down and added coconut oil (for lather), purple coloring, and then lavender and vanilla essential oils. (Gotta have a fragrance theme, you know?)

Then, for some scrubby action, the girls wanted to add some oatmeal, so we blended it up and mixed it in. The soap was poured into molds, which say HANDMADE on them but it's hard to see in the picture, and the color isn't quite this intense in real life, but still, they came out great! We wrapped up each bar and the girls added them to their gift bags.

Then we started on the lip balms. We made Vanilla Lime lip balms. They were made from Mango, Avocado, and Aloe Butters, and Beeswax. We added Vanilla and Lime essential oils and vanilla flavoring too. After the butters and wax was melted and the oils added, the girls used pipettes to fill their lip balm tubes.

Aren't the finished tubes so cute? And the lip balms are awesome! They feel so great! The girls made me some too.

The last craft was to make lavender scented flaxseed eye pillows. I bought some cute girly satin at 50% off and cut out and sewed all the pillows, leaving the tops open beforehand. The girls measured the flax, filled their eye masks, and added the drops of oil.

Then they brought them to me to sew closed. Each one has about 3/4 pound of flax seed, so they have a nice weight, and the satin is soft and soothing on the face. You can put them in the freezer or the microwave and then just relax with them on your eyes!

All of that took just under three hours, and then it was time for cake and presents! Instead of a big elaborate cake this year, we continued with the cupcake theme and had one of Lyns' favorites, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. We set fifteen of them on a platter and lit them up. Fifteen. My girl is 15!

Of course, opening presents was fun, and she got many cute things, but I think she loved most having so many of her friends around her, especially after such an intense school year. There were many reasons to celebrate and pamper!

Here are all the girls before leaving, each with her own gift bag, filled with all her goodies. I also tucked candles in each bag, to help with the spa mood.

So that's it! We pulled it off! It was a success and so much fun! And now we have pounds and pounds of butters and oils and waxes and fragrances. . .and know-how! Lyns and I may have to go into business! Look out come Christmas!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Things That Make Me Feel Rich

1. Taking my kids to the dentist.

2. Having my carpets shampooed.

3. When the house is clean, especially the bathrooms.

4. When I can fill up the gas tank.

5. Buying a new outfit, or a new pair of pajamas.

6. Getting a pedicure.

7. When my kids have the shoes and jeans and coats they need.

8. When I can buy the ingredients for a special meal.

9. Getting the piano tuned.

10. Feeling like I loved well, and was loved well.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Drummer Hoff Syndrome

Drummer Hoff fired it off.

Have you read this book? An oldie, published in 1968, but a goodie that has been on my bookshelf for many years. Its illustrator, Ed Emberly, won the Caldecott medal for his vivid artwork. I love books with metered rhyme, and with a building "theme" that children can memorize and chant along with. The book begins with the statement that Drummer Hoff fired it off, and then over the pages, various military characters enter and construct the cannon that Drummer Hoff fires off.

"General Border gave the order, Major Scott brought the shot, Captain Bammer brought the rammer, Sergeant Chowder brought the powder, Corporal Farrell brought the barrel, Private Parriage brought the carriage, but Drummer Hoff fired it off."

It's a fun read, and the pictures are delightful. Reviewers give the book credit for espousing an anti-war theme, or as having a pro-peace agenda. At the end of the book, the cannon is fired, a double page spread in blood red shouts out "KAHBAHBLOOOM", and then the parade of soldiers is gone. The cannon is covered over with flowers and birds, and the name on the cannon is covered over, showing only the smiling sun. It was, after all, written during the Vietnam War, so maybe all of that is true.

Something different strikes me, though.

I was reading it and it hit me that it seems that Drummer Hoff gets blamed. He didn't build the cannon. He didn't bring the powder, or load the shot. He didn't give the order. He simply pulled the string when told to. The rest, as they say, is history. He lives in infamy because he was the last one at the scene.

Reminds me of some kids I know. Some kids all drinking lemonade, but nobody wants to put the pitcher away because "they didn't get it out". Or the kids, who after playing a board game together, don't want to put it away because it "wasn't their idea to play". Or the kids who won't put the rake away because "they didn't use it last". Everybody pointing the "I didn't do it--HE did it!" finger. On and on with the mentality of escaping responsibility that drives me crazy. I have dubbed it the Drummer Hoff Syndrome, but it's really just the Blame Game, going on since the beginning of time.

I mean, couldn't the explosion be just as much General Border's fault? He did, after all, give the order. Or what about Major Scott for even bringing the shot? Sergeant Chowder's contribution is pretty vital--he brought the powder! On and on it goes.

So, how about anyone who drinks the lemonade better consider himself responsible to put the pitcher away! How about all the children who play a board game, work together to put it away! You see that rake? Good, then you know you better go pick it up.

Poor Drummer Hoff, getting stuck with everything. I know just how he feels.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Early Bird Gets the Worms

Lyndsay finished her first year of Seminary last week. On the final day of class, the parents were invited to attend a special testimony meeting. This year's course of study has been the New Testament, and each student was asked to share a favorite verse from the book of Revelation as part of his/her testimony.

I was crying as soon as the meeting started. For one, it was 6am, and my eyes are already naturally watery when they're still tired. But I just love the Seminary program, especially early morning Seminary. I really think God rewards these kids for sacrificing to be there every morning during those exhausting high school years. There's just something special about it. We opened the meeting with a hymn, all of our sleepy voices trying their best, and I just couldn't help but cry! Good tears. I am so grateful. Grateful to God, grateful to belong to His Church, grateful for these programs that help shape my children's characters and testimonies of His scriptures. I remember so vividly when it was me, getting up at 4am every single ding-dong day, and now, there I sat with my oldest daughter. One year down, three to go. And she has loved it. Her testimony was sweet and sincere and lovely. She believes that she was able to do so well in school, in Honors classes, entering public school after homeschooling, and even with a busy job, because she made the commitment to attend Seminary, read her scriptures, and never do homework on the Sabbath. That has not been an easy task, but she knows she has been blessed to earn straight A's because of it.

On Sunday, we attended the Seminary Graduation and Recognition night at the Stake Center. Of course, I cried through most of it, and I only know one of the graduates. It's just the milestone of a graduation, the bright promise of youth, my own sentimentality, thoughts of my children growing up, moving on. It's too much. I'm such a baby. Lyndsay received several awards: Excellence in Seminary (100% attendance, 100% daily scripture reading, no tardies, finished the New Testament in her reading, and memorized all of the scripture masteries), Extra Miler for Scripture Reading, Extra Miler for Attendance, Extra Miler for Scripture Mastery. I'm so proud of her. All on her own.

During the closing song, she leaned forward and caught my eye and broke out in this incredible smile. I just started crying more. She shook her head, smiling at me. "What's wrong, Mom?" she mouthed. I made something up about just how proud I was of all these kids. She's used to it.

But really? It was because when she flashed that gorgeous smile of hers and her eyes lit up as she looked at me, I was consciously making an effort to freeze frame that image in my mind, because the thought hit me that in three more years that smile will be far away from me, lighting up the world outside our home. And it was more than I could take. More than I deserve. Busts my heart wide open with love and appreciation.

I'm a lucky mom. And I never want it to end.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Creative Avoidance

That's what they call it in Mary Kay when you find really great excuses to do things other than what you're supposed to be doing.

Like, I have a mountain of things I am supposed to be doing as my last two weeks of classes wrap up.

1. Write the draft of the Final Paper due on Wednesday in Humanities.
2. Re-read The Rape of Shavi for the "very tricky" quiz in Humanities on Wednesday. Great.
3. Finish reading The Reader for discussion on Wednesday.
4. Read the Metabolism chapter in Chemistry, do all the problems, and understand them.
5. Review the chapters on Proteins and Nucleic Acids before Thursday.

Here's what I did instead:

Baked homemade granola bars for breakfast for the next several days.

I first saw this recipe on The Blossoming Skillet. It got rave reviews from 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven, so I decided to give them a try. I changed it up just a bit, but you should make these for sure. They're really good. And no added fat (negligible amount in the sliced almonds), and no added sugar. Store-bought granola bars will get you with how unhealthy they really are, but not these! They're hearty and filling too, loaded with fiber!

Chewy Breakfast (or anytime!) Granola Bars
Yields 24 Bars

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 cake pan or small baking sheet

2. Combine the following ingredients in a large mixing bowl :

4 1/2 cups oats
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup raw flaxseeds, pulsed a few times in a food processor
1/3 cup coconut
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon

3. In a small sauce pan combine the following ingredients until smooth and then add to the dry ingredients and mix well.

1 TBS. molasses
2 cup honey
3 tsp. vanilla extract

4. Pour into baking sheet and pack it. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool. Cut and enjoy.

5. Wrap extra bars individually in plastic wrap or small baggies and place in an air tight container.

Just some tips: You MUST pulse/grind the flax seeds if you want any nutritional value from them. You will not digest the shells of the seeds and the valuable part of flax is the oil, which you can't get to without breaking the shell, and it's really hard to bite through the seeds. (that was a long sentence) So, pulse them up just before using them to keep the oils fresh.

You could also change up the dried fruit in these, or add other/different nuts. They are chewy and wholesome and yummy. Cut the 9 x 13 pan down the middle and then cut each half into 12 bars, like granola bars, and then wrap them up in plastic wrap. I put all of my wrapped bars into a big Ziploc and they will keep this way for 2 weeks. Or you can make a bigger batch and freeze the rest.
My kids will get one with a smoothie for breakfast, or if your kids are younger and have smaller appetites, just a glass of milk will start their day out right!

And now, no more excuses. I must get to work.

Oh, wait! Family Home Evening! Darn.

Friday, June 5, 2009

When you Wish

Earlier in the week, as I stood on the perpetually sunny porch saying goodbye to a piano student, I said to the mom, "I wish it would rain." Not understanding how anyone could wish for anything but the perfectly sunny warm-but-not-hot weather we were having, she questioned me. "Really?"

"I love rainy days," I said. "Ooooh, and especially thunderstorms." She didn't seem to share my sentiment, but didn't begrudge me mine. I told her about the wonderful Arizona monsoon season, the only virtue of Arizona summers, as far as I'm concerned. I looked forward to it all year long, maybe a transferred hope from previously wished-for white Christmases. Every afternoon for several weeks, beginning in late July or August, the dark clouds roll in, the sun is blackened, and the thunder begins. Magnificent shows of lightning. And then torrential downpours of rain. It's wonderful. It's bake cookie, read a book, watch a movie, open all the doors and windows, go out and dance in the rain kind of wonderful. I lived with that joy for seven years in the Phoenix valley, and another seven in the White Mountains of northern Arizona (where, frankly, the monsoon is even cozier!).

Southern California has lots and lots of virtues. But I miss the rain. I miss the thunder.

And then, just one day--well, not even a full 24 hours--after I made that wish to my piano mom on the sunny front porch of my home, what happened?

That's right, baby. Clouds. Dark ones. Taunting me with their heaviness and thickness. Will it? Won't it? It almost didn't matter. When there's so many sunny days, even a cloudy day is a nice break from routine. (How I miss real seasons, can you tell?)

But it did! It rained! And then? Thunder!

I listened to the weatherman on the radio while I waited for Lyndsay after school. "Weird Weather," they called it. Over and over again. "Unheard of, Weird Weather for June."

I just smile and say "Thank you!" Sometimes even the littlest answered prayers make such a difference.

Now we're in our third day of "Weird Weather". Rain. Clouds. Even thunder. Apparently dangerous thunder, because several people were killed and injured by our first day of Weirdness, and for that, I am deeply saddened.

But. The earth needs rain! And Jenna did too.

This morning while Conor practiced his "l's" and "oy's" I sat in the car in the rain. I read a book, and every now and then I just stopped to listen to it falling on the metal roof, on the windshield, on the ground. Feeling so satisfied, so relieved, so content.

And I almost wondered, 'what else should I wish for?'

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Party Plans

Lyndsay was invited to a friend's 15th birthday party a few weeks ago. I was a little leery about the hours of the party (6pm-1am), but was told it was an "Armenian party", which means all the family comes, as well as the friends, and a big celebration ensues. I dropped Lyns off at 8pm, after she got off of work, and told her she needed to be home by 10:30pm. There was loud music, and boys. But no drinking. Of that, we made sure beforehand.

Her friend had invited about 50 friends. At first, the prospect of that many presents is very appealing to a 15 year old girl, but the reality of it quickly turned Lyns off. She had a decent enough time, but not so much that she wants to replicate the experience for her own upcoming birthday. The music was so loud, she said, that nobody could hear anybody, even if you were standing right next to each other. There was dancing, but not everyone danced. Those who didn't, basically just sat around by themselves. Not so much Lyndsay's kind of party. Things got a little rowdy. So much so, that this friend is not allowed to invite friends next year. "She ruined her Sweet 16!" Lyndsay lamented. (Gotta keep the boys away from girl parties! They ruin everything!)

People here in the Los Angeles area throw parties EXTREME. Even for little tiny kids, lots and lots of money is spent on birthday parties. Each year has to top the previous year, and that's got to be stressful, not to mention expensive. Fortunately, and I do mean fortunately, the budget for that kind of party has never even been an option, so on the years that I allow my kids to have a "friend party" (besides just a family party), we've done things very differently. We usually have some sort of theme (remember Dylan's 'Scary that he's a teenager' party?) and we usually have some sort of structured activity of sorts, so the kids aren't just left to 'hang out'. I'm not keen on teenagers "hanging out".

Well, this is the issue: We need to have a 15th birthday party for Lyndsay because this is the first year that she's been in school and had lots of friends that she really wants to invite over. We want to do some sort of really cool, teenage-girl approved craft as the activity. Have music playing, snack foods, some good laughs, and conversation. But we're stumped on the craft. It has to be cool. It has to be tempting. It can't be too expensive. And it should be complete-able within about 2 hours max. I've searched the web. There are some really retarded craft ideas on the web. Fo Sho.

Here are two that I've found and like, but knowing that the 50 of you that read my blog every day have heads better than mine, maybe you have some ideas too.

First, the heart necklace:

Then, the Bubblegum Slippers:

Or we could do a picture frame. Lyndsay made me a really cute one for Mother's Day that was easy and cheap. But please tell me your crafty ideas! I'm great at copying, not so good at invention. And don't say "make jewelry" or "dye a t-shirt." I need a link with a picture! :) Please help me!

Oh, and thanks a bunch.

Monday, June 1, 2009


What a difference a few days in bed can make! I'm feeling so much better.

This morning Conor and I went to speech therapy. He has therapy every day this week, which makes it busy for me, but effective for Conor. His speech pathologist, Pat, believes that Conor is apraxic, that he has Speech Apraxia. The way it was explained to me in his case was that basically though his comprehension is fine, his brain forgets what it needs to tell his mouth to do in order to consistently make the sounds that form words. So, whereas another child could repeat a word after hearing it once or twice, Conor might need to practice it many, many times to program his brain what his mouth needed to do to say that word. He may say it fine one time, and then the third time the word is off again, and we have to re-practice it. Once he "gets it", it usually sticks, and it seems that his words are "sticking" with a lot more consistency these days, and a lot less repetition than his therapist thought he might need. This is good news. It means his apraxia is not severe, and that because we caught it early and he is having therapy, there is a very good chance that he will not need continued Speech once he's in school.

She was very encouraged today when she reported to me. Fortunately, Conor has not tired of therapy, or become bored by it. He eagerly anticipates "Pat's Office", and sits at her table and works very hard for 30 straight minutes, before they break into play therapy. He is starting to say more multi-syllabic words, and he is connecting more words together in strings to form short sentences. (Although most of them are commands like, "Stop that, Aiden! or, Get away, Dylan! or, Stop singing, Mom!) He also can repeat words more easily than before and have them sound at least in the ballpark of what they should sound like.

I get homework every day from Pat. We're practicing vowel sounds and hard vs. soft consonant sounds. She has taught me little tricks to manipulate his mouth or face to help him, and he's being taught the vocabulary of speech pathology to help him understand what he is supposed to produce. We say longer words in sing-song fashion to help him over hurdles and to encourage him to 'flow' through words. And we practice and make course-corrections throughout the day without paying it much mind, or giving in to stress. He responds very well. I read to him several times each day, and we practice just saying words. It's paying off. Pat is impressed with his progress. When he began therapy in March, I believe it was, I could make a list of all the words he could say. It was about 40 words long. Now, I couldn't even begin to list them all, and every day he surprises me with new words that I knew he could understand, but had never before said himself. Like, the other day, I held up two shirts and asked him which shirt he wanted to wear, and he replied, "Different shirt." I was surprised. "Oh, you say 'different' now, do you? Well, okay!"

We were reading Eric Carle's Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear? (one of his favorites), and upon turning the page, he blurted out "Peacock!" and the next page he said "Walrus!" Alrighty-then! It was like music to my ears.

I will not be taking a class at school this summer. We just couldn't manage the child care consistently, with my older kids gone at their dad's, but the break will do me good. My project instead will be my little boy. I have several books ordered and some therapy equipment and I will learn everything I can about apraxia and articulation, and about Conor's possible Sensory Integration issues, and he and I will have fun working and playing together. I'm looking forward to it. We've been going to the park almost every day with him, and he loves it. I've also been watching closely for the cues he's giving me about what he needs, and we'll go from there. For instance, he loves to take all the pillows from the couches, pile them up, and then hurl himself from the couch onto the pile. He loves to jump from the third or fourth step down to the floor. He loves to jump on the bed. I chalked it up to being a boy, or a daredevil, but in fact, he is giving me clues to the fact that he is craving deep pressure stimulation. We ordered a mini tramp for him to jump away on in the house, so we can give him what he needs, while still upholding the 'no jumping on the furniture' rule. I'm learning so much. Pat tells me fascinating things about how we, especially as children, seek out pleasure, and whatever it is that makes us feel good, emotionally, physically, or psychologically. The brain needs certain stimulation for proper development, and kids will seek it out to soothe themselves. Sometimes it happens like with Conor, where he's throwing himself off the couch onto a pile of pillows and I'm telling him to stop. He also likes to drag his fingers across different textures when we walk, like he wants the stroller to be close enough to the chain link fence, or the stucco wall, or the ivy, to feel the textures with his hands. That's a clue! Sometimes it exhibits like another little girl I know, where she's always chewing on her shirt sleeves or collars, and her mother tells her to stop. There are many, many ways children find what they need. I just have to learn to recognize it and then help facilitate whatever stimulation he needs, along with a good therapist, which I'm hoping he'll get also.

Anyway, that's the Conor situation. It's an adventure for both of us. And a pleasure for me, because as a mom, I have a need to see that my children get what they need and progress happily and healthily. I think we'll be okay.