When Amia (and her illustrious mother) came over to visit, Maya and Georgia cooed at her, sang to her, piled all the toys they could find that they deemed appropriate for babies all around her on the couch, kissed her and just generally loved her up. It was really fun to see their excitement and what fun they had with her.
Maya and I have been taking walks in Busey woods across the street in the mornings while Georgia is at school. We always stop on the bridge and watch the creek for a minute- look for fish, and occasionally feed them cracker crumbs.
This picture is a Billy creation. He took them grocery shopping and found an industrial sized can of Hershey's syrup. (they did not bring it home!) This pose is a standard one the girls made up called 'silly face'.
Here's some photo documentation of the Desitin incident:
After all this craziness- and the eight total washes it took to get all that stuff out, Maya asked me to cut her hair, so now it's much shorter and will be easier to de-desitin if the need ever arises again.
I've just had an hour and a half to myself and now I have something really great to share. I found this very fine book called "The Healing Heart- Families: Storytelling to Encourage Caring and Healthy Families" by Allison M. Cox and David H. Albert. It's one of those books that reminds me that there are great people out there who are working for the same things I hold dear and that beleive in people's inner powers and the magic of stories. The book is full of the actual experiences of health care workers who use stories and the whole idea of storytelling as a healing tool right alongside the physical part of their professions. Along with their experiences, it has these peoples' favorite stories, so you can use them yourself. It's the most fun non-fiction I've read in a while. And the topics are so diverse- helping people with allergies, hypertension, preventing teen pregnancy and drug abuse, and on and on. It seems so right.
I thought about when I'm sick and I feel like there's nothing for me to do but just bear it- an appropriate and loving story could really help put it all in perspective. Imagine if there were a resident storyteller at the hospital that came around and told Georgia stories when she was there about brave children and their strength and safety. Wow, that would really make a difference in healing, it seems to me. Tapping into your will and courage to get better. That seems to be a missing element in my experiences at the receiving end of health care. Sometimes you're lucky and get a nice nurse that tells encouraging or just plain distracting stories (which can also be very helpful), but otherwise the emotional part of dealing with people at hospitals has been very grating on my nerves instead of soothing in any way.
Reading this book reminds me of all my favorite people. I think I must collect storytellers around me- I certainly love them and love to listen to them and take in all the wisdom and new insights there. A love for anything having to do with stories has been one of the things I've 'discovered' about myself, in the sense Suzanne uses in her post 'el descubrimiento' (see Suzanne's weblog in the sidebar there) about discovering what you already knew was there. That has been an important theme for me in finding what makes me go. Self knowledge is so tricky. It's so hard to beleive that what you find inside is really the powerful thing that's going to be your own path and not something wimpy and irrelevant to 'real' life and its requirements. It's hard to follow Maya Angelou's advice and "...pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you". I want to convey this idea to my kids in a real way- so I'll have to start with my own example and really live it, I suppose. I want them to really beleive in themselves and honor the loves they find to be a part of themselves.
It's not obvious until I really think about it (but really fun) to realize that as I go through life I'm making my own story, that I will be able to retell at the end (and along the way) and that all the drama of life just makes for a more interesting, sometimes even edge-of-your-seat-gripping story. Writing it down as I go really shows to me how rich life is. I don't have a very good memory, so what I've written here in this webble is sometimes my only memory of things that happen in my life. Hopefully it will trigger the surrounding details someday when I look back at it, but at least it's here, being my memory for me. And telling my stories actually improves my memory too, so I already find it therapeutic. No wonder I like this book so much.
This is the last week(crossing my fingers, hoping it will really be true) of Billy working till midnight or so, and it's Friday! Hopefully I will have moments of reflection again, in which to have thoughts of my own that I can then record. For now, all I have are stories of the weird and fantastic things my kids are doing.
Yesterday, Maya covered herself with Desitin while she was supposedly taking a nap, and 4 washes later, I have yet to get it out of her hair. I'm hoping it will come out of her clothes; she spread it on rather thick. What was she thinking? Did her scalp feel all irritated and stingy? Did her dress have a rash? In case you don't know what Desitin is, it's a diaper rash ointment that's basicly made out of white paint (zinc oxide) and fish oil (stinky!). It's thicker than peanut butter and it's made to protect skin from moisture, like vaseline. Not the kind of stuff that comes off easily, to put it mildly.
Update: 2 more hair washes later, this time with Ultra Joy dishwashing liquid to cut the grease, and it's still not out all the way, but at least her head isn't so white anymore. Plus it has a lemony fresh scent!
Georgia is learning how to read, in her highly-motivated-because-it-was-her-idea sort of way. It's really fun for me because I'm so excited for her to be able to read all the great children's literature when and how she wants and it's something special that just the two of us do together while Maya's napping- we bond over her reading lessons. I keep thinking she's going to get frustrated by all the rules and exceptions and the arbitrary way I just say, 'oh, that gh is silent and that a is pronounced ah and ou says ow here and this one's a long e', but she just trusts me and takes my word for it and plows right on with the word.
I'm crazily planning to roast a whole turkey this weekend to bring to Feast, and to have at home. I've become unsatisfied with the prepared meat things the kids eat (like chicken nuggets, chicken soup, etc.) because they all have some soy-which they're allergic to- or hydrogenated something and I can see it wearing on their health when they eat that kind of stuff every day. These kids are so sensitive! A major part of my life right now is trying to figure out how to feed them (and get the picky little girls to agree to eat) food that will keep them healthy and growing. They have difficult allergies to get around and they get sick really easily if they start eating allergy foods, even a little bit hidden here and there will build up and pretty soon someone's got a rash or digestive problems or some wierd infection. I'm all sensitive and picky and easily allergic and sick too, so I understand the major things going on, but it's so much harder to find foods that are both really wholesome for them and that they like and will agree to eat. Plus, I'm frickin' pregnant! I don't have the energy to cook from scratch for them all the time! I don't know how they will survive when I have even less time and energy after the baby comes. God help us all.
Maya's crawling all over me, trying to turn off the computer so I'll stop, but I'll be back later.
P.S. Hi Kit! How's it going? I'm glad you found me!
I promised Aunt Elaine that I'd post pictures up here of our trip to Port Townsend, Washington from summer 2003 since we've neglected to make her a CD of them for a whole year! It was quite a pilgrimage for me because I hadn't seen my dad's side of the family since I was 13. There was some transformation that needed to happen in that whole area of relationships- on both our sides- and some good work got done. Right before we left for that trip, we discovered a tiny cocoon hanging from the side of our house. It was smaller than half my pinky and grass green with shiny gold flecks on it (I can't beleive we never took a picture of it!). It looked like an alien's earring or something. So on the day we left for the trip, the cocoon was empty and there was a newly transformed monarch butterfly drying it's wings on it. We thought that was a pretty good sign, to say the least. The rest of the trip was not so magical, but it had some really great moments. Of course, I didn't see any of the behind-the-scenes work of the butterfly when it was still a blob of goo inside that cocoon- all messy and working hard. But we got to do some of that messy, difficult, confusing recreating and reorganizing work ourselves, dealing with old bad stuff and new good and bad stuff that happens in complicated families that have broken parts. Could I be any more vague? I could, actually, but at least I've protected the innocent and brought out some general themes. Enough to give these pictures a bit more depth, and so you can appreciate the journey for what it was not, namely a vacation. I found Washington state to be beautiful, scenery-wise, but in a severe, extreme way with trees like incredibly long pikes and strange chilly weather (in August!) and freezing cold ocean water. I think I'm just more used to the gentle shapes of deciduous trees, rolling hills and farmland.
P.S. In looking over all the pictures- it looks quite idyllic, and everyone looks so happy! Click on the images to see them bigger in another window, and be sure and click on 'continue' if you want to see ALL the pictures I picked out. There are quite a few, so don't be surprised if it takes a while to download.
ok, I'm calming down and I've hit my stride as well as I can with all this. Two weeks down, two weeks to go of long hours (hopefully, but also probably). I'm saving my sanity by reading science fiction/fantasy books for teens (good writing without the sex and violence in grown up novels) and looking for maternity clothes and other baby things on ebay.
I had my second pre-natal appointment. It was much less involved than the last one and it was with Kristy, who was at Georgia's birth. Baby's fine, heartbeat's fine, and I always impress them with my low (110/64) blood pressure (they don't realize it's always low, pregnant or not). I got my date for an ultrasound- October 6, the day the great question will be answered and we'll all KNOW it's a girl. Kristy told me that a Baha'i midwife has been hired by Carle Hospital and she will probably be all licensed and pracising by my due date. Now that would be cool, but there's still the whole rotation thing where you can't know which midwife will be on call when you go into labor. Anyways, it's all good.
Well, gotta go bid on the Baby Bjorn I've been lurking on. The auction's over in a few minutes.
It's been a very heavy work week over here, and it's not done yet. Billy's hanging on to his job by working crazy long hours and all weekend, and that makes me not get any breaks or time for reflection. But actually, the girls and I have gotten to do some pretty fun stuff and hang out with great people anyways, so that helps. Even though I'm trying to be detached about our immediate future regarding the very low probability that Billy's company is going to make it through the year, I still get some underlying anxiety and shakiness going on. So far, every time I get pregnant, whatever company Billy's working for goes downhill and runs out of money, and it may be happening again here. It's almost funny, in a bad joke sort of way. It's going to be a heavy work month over here, as the pressure is not going to be off of Billy until the end of September, if then. So far, good things, in the form of visits from Layli, Lucy, Uncle Allyn and Aunt Jeanie, a great party at katie's house, Busey woods being reopened (and now its wheelchair and stroller accesible), lots of Curtis Orchard, and nice sunny days, etc. have buoyed our spirits and made it not so noticable that we are in a strange situation. It feels like that time before a storm when the air feels heavy and expectant, but you don't know if it's really going to rain or not because the sky still looks pretty clear. Maybe the company will squeak through this and Billy's job will continue existing, but maybe it won't and we'll have to look for something else, hopefully here, but maybe we'll have to sell the house and move while I'm pregnant or even worse, right after the baby's born, and maybe on and on... Right now I'm hoping for the best, with only a little bit of frantic clinging to that hope.
Here's something happy (though relatively unrelated): all of us loving up Amia.