Monday, April 26, 2010

The Number of the Day

The number of the day, friends, is six.

Six, as in the number of continents Jane's story has reached. I just got a card from Brazil today. Brazil! South America represent!

Which means Jane has made it to every continent except Antarctica. How cool is that? I, shamefully, have only made it to two, and that includes North America.

And Washington, D.C., came in today. I think cards came in from the entire D.C. area, but not the capitol itself. Excellent.

I'll never make it to every single separate place a card came from, but wouldn't it be awesome to go to every country and every state or province? So that means I have five states, four provinces and, um, fourteen countries to go. I think. I'm sure about the US and Canada, but I am having the damnedest time keeping track of the other countries. Even when I look at the map. I have lost the ability to count on my fingers. Fifteen. It's fifteen. I'm not counting again; I'll just get another number.

Anyway, friends, THIS is exactly why the internet is so totally awesome. If anyone ever slags on it in my earshot, all I have to do is show them Jane's map. Internet for the win.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Peeps, I just got the mail this very minute and had to come right back inside and share the news. In our mailbox were two, count 'em, two cards from SOUTH DAKOTA.

Jane was there, with you, in all fifty states. She was there, she was there, she was there! 

Thank you, friends. These cards, each and every one, mean more to me than I can express. Thank you all.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How the Time Does Fly

Tonight at dinner, the three of us were just sitting around talking, Sarah being entertaining and weird, and Tom and I marveling at the weirdness and the alchemical ability of ketchup to turned spurned food into the Most! Delicious! Thing! Ever! to the four year old palate.

So, Sarah's gabbing away, and I notice her eyes aren't as blue as they used to be. In fact, on leaning in closely, I decide they're looking pretty grey. Making me super jealous; I've wanted grey eyes since I was a kid and read about a character in a book (I think it must have been one of Lloyd Alexander's books) described as having them. And like a shot to the gut, all I could think about were Jane's brown eyes. Her funny, wise, warm brown eyes so much like my dad's. And I missed her horribly.

I looked around our table, with its three empty seats. She should have been there. She'd be nine months old tomorrow. Her adjusted age would have been six months. She would have been trying out solid foods. She should have been strapped into Sarah's old high chair, sitting at the table with us at dinner, laughing at Sarah's funny faces and smearing pureed sweet potatoes all over everything except her mouth. And it would have been awesome and normal and a pain in the ass and just perfect.

Goddamn it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

In Case You Were Wondering

The fiftieth state, for the curious among you, is South Dakota. I have nothing against South Dakota. It's a lovely state. I've been there! Badlands National Park -- gorgeous! I missed the Corn Palace and Mount Rushmore, though.

So, I got a call from the hospital today. I'll tell you all more about it another time, but the call came while I was in the middle of painting what would have been Jane's room. Which hadn't bothered me in the least, until after the call. The amazing group of children's writers at Tom's college had put together a collection of their books to donate in Jane's memory, and each had a beautiful bookplate based on a painting one of the authors had made for Jane. Anyway, there's a committee at the hospital putting together a remembrance service this spring (oh. It looks like I'm telling you about the call now, after all), and they were hoping to use part of the image from the bookplate for the invitation. Lovely, right? I was completely touched, and of course gave permission, and of course started to cry. I was just so surprised. I mean, I can meet up with Awesome Nurse Kristy or Awesome Nurse Angela, and talk about all of this stuff and not get upset. But one unexpected phone call and I'm undone.

I was glad about it, to be honest. It's been a while since I cried. It was good. Unfortunately the cleaning lady was here, so I cranked the cheesy tunes where I was painting, and wept quietly and worked until I wasn't weeping anymore. Most of the time I'm okay, not great, but sort of dealing the way you do when you have a low-grade fever. You just kind of plow through. 

It's funny, I'm finding that I think about Jane most frequently in the car. That's when I'm turning over how things played out, wondering whether any decisions could have been made differently, if the outcome could have been different. Which they couldn't. I know.

Oh, and the room? Tragic color choice. It looks like a Miami Beach cabana in there. Sarah, of course, now wants it for her own room, so yay on not wasting a gallon of fancy-schmancy no VOC paint. But back to the paint store tomorrow. Because we have houseguests coming and nowhere to put them if I don't get this done. Sarah and her friend's birthday party is the weekend, and I'm not ready AT ALL, so clearly now is the time to take on an unnecessary painting project. Go, me.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Friends, I'm delighted to tell you that Jane was in West Virginia! That's right, as of noon today, Jane's story had reached 49 states. How 'bout that?

An aside to Mrs. West Virginia: You don't perhaps have family here in my town, do you? Because your last name is the same as the family who helped me out by taking my freezer stash. That's an extremely cool coincidence if you're not related. Thank you, regardless of the connection, for letting me know Jane was there, too.

Friday, April 9, 2010

One Word


Okay, more than one word. Malaysia! MA. LAY. SIA. Hello, Malaysia!

I'm staggered. Malaysia. I'm just going to walk around the house saying "Malaysia" to myself for awhile. Carry on, everyone. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


You guys. Exactly four years ago, DH was driving approximately 100 miles an hour down a darkened Vermont highway, hyperventilating and asking repeatedly "Are you okay? Are you okay???". Because I was finally in labor, 36 hours before a scheduled induction. FOUR YEARS. Dudes, that's beyond wild.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Hawai'i is on the map! Jane was there in 48 states now, and 16 countries (I think; I can't seem to count any longer). Unbelievable. Thank you, to all of you, to everyone who sent notes and encouragement and support. The pile of love has been a beautiful thing to watch grow -- and amazingly, notes keep coming. You guys rock.

Four Sucks... I Mean, Happy Easter!

Oh my GOD, people. What is it with four-year-olds?

Seriously. What is the matter with these proto-people? One moment, life is full of rainbows and unicorns and sweetness. Moments later: NOOOOO! DON'T SAY THAT! I DON'T WANT MY GLASS ON THAT SIDE OF THE PLATE! Ka-plooie! (That would be my head exploding.)

It's exhausting.

If there were a way to quantify the good versus bad moments of the day, I'm sure the total good time would outnumber the bad by a considerable bit. But the bad packs such an emotional wallop that I think I may have whiplash.

I frankly admit that parenting has given me more insight into my character and personality than I'd ever expected. It's not pretty. I have more patience for the daily tedium than I would have guessed, but I have no tolerance for deliberate chaos. None. And (actual shameful confession here) I get angry much more easily than I'm happy about. Pouring water out of the tub, making a mess of food, or (CARDINAL SIN) ruining books... I just can't deal. My composure and patience fly out the window.

The screaming, though. Oh, man. What biological purpose does it serve for offspring to scream at their source of protection? If I were a mama bear, that kid would be sleeping outside the den tonight, let me tell you.

I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable developmental explanation for what Sarah's going through right now. Maybe something hormonal, because she's acting like a teenager with PMS. I just... someone tell me it won't always be like this. That I won't have to wait until she's in her twenties before she can start acting like a reasonable human being for more than five minutes at a time.

On the plus side, she LOVED her doll, who has been named Ella (after one of Sarah's classmates).

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I spent Thursday night packing, planning, doing last-minute laundry, gathering life-saving distractions and new toys and books. ROAD TRIP! Easter with my Grandma Dot (93 and fabulous) and my mom and my sister's family and it was gonna be great.

And then I woke up on Friday. Hmm, it's 8 am. That's an entire hour later than usual, kid. Whassup?

Oh, I'll tell you whassup:

That would be my kid's foot. Her entire body was covered in a rash. What the wha? A kid in her school had had scarlet fever (I KNOW), she'd just finished a course of amoxicillin for an ear infection, it kinda looked like Fifth's minus the slapped cheek rash... So much for the road trip.

Off to the doctor's, where Sarah stumped the doctors with her unusual presentation. No one was overly concerned after she tested negative for strep, the best guess is that she had a late reaction to the antibiotics, so yay but... This couldn't have happened a day earlier? No? Fine.

Fortunately the weather has been gorgeous these last two days, so Sarah and I got some spring maintenance done.

Did I tell you we tried starting seeds? Behold, baby broccoli! And a good five days earlier than expected! The tomatoes, peppers and peas are all taking their time, but this is encouraging for a seed-starting newbie.

Sorry about the fuzzy focus. My phone does not always see what I think I see.

The silver lining of not getting to see Grandma Dot? The Easter egg hunt up at the park, where Sarah ran into half the kids from the neighborhood and school, and her bestie Maggie. After a heated chocolate hunt, cooling off in the (hopefully not too toxic) pond was the obvious next step.

After lunch and a nap (oh, you better believe my very nearly four year old is still napping), Sarah pulled out the sidewalk chalk to recap the morning's Main Event:

(Yes, she's using a stick as a pointer. That would be the German in her, I suspect.) Her recap: "This is where the Easter egg hunt was. These are the branches on the tree. This is where the children all were. All these dots are the eggs..."

The Easter basket, including the slightly-less wonky doll, has been EXTREMELY WELL HIDDEN behind a wicker chair on the porch with a trail of treat-laden plastic eggs showing the way. Let the games begin!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter Prep

Sarah had a few requests for Easter this year: chocolate eggs, two quarters ("For my piggy bank!") and a doll. Check, check, and very-nearly check!

I just happened to have some scraps of fleece lying around (that's the kind of gal I am), so after I took a quick looksee at what the internets had to say about rag dolls, I started on this cutie a couple days ago. Next time (assuming there is a next time) I'll try making an actual pattern first so that I don't have to decide that the arms actually look more like legs and vice versa, and the head could be, like, symmetrical and stuff.

I have to finish her hair, and that wonky left arm is going to bug me until I rip the seam and redo it, but I'm pretty happy with her. Now she just needs a name. She looks like a Violet to me, but that's because a certain other Violet has been on my mind. Sarah's been coming up with some good ones lately (her horses are currently named Hobby, Katie, Harold and Rita); maybe I'll just leave it up to her.

Working on this doll has been giving me some ideas, though. Like, if I got better at it, making them to donate to other NICU kids. Maybe naming them after Jane, or sticking a little "Our Girl Jane" tag on them. Or something. I don't know. It's just an idea kicking around.