Archive for May, 2010

The Jinx

Monday, May 31st, 2010

When I married my husband, I also married The Jinx.

The Jinx can apply to anything — the Red Sox, a speeding ticket, the weather, or in my case, illness.

It’s when my guard is down and I carelessly remark (or even think) about illness and poof! — someone is sick.

Make no mistake — it’s the work of The Jinx.  When my husband and I were dating, The Jinx applied almost exclusively to the Red Sox.  I quickly learned not to make the gravest of  errors — uttering a comment when the Sox were up,  because somehow, every time, they lost that lead.  The Jinx.  You get the idea.

After years of dating and years of marriage, I respect and fear The Jinx.  In fact, before we had children, I thought (cockily) I had mastered The Jinx.  That mere novice thought proves the power of The Jinx.  When I least expect it, she works her dark magic.

I can not count the times that I have brought her wrath down upon my children and my family.  The most recent — this afternoon.  I can’t even remember if I said this out loud or just thought it, but the gist:  I wondered how M could possibly have missed out on the fever virus that obliterated school last week.

A  mere few hours later, M went from a frolicking beach boy to a feverish  child.

Today’s gift: this blog post (the documentation — in black-and-white — reminding me to NEVER, ever forget the power of The Jinx).

I really hope The Jinx doesn’t apply to blog posts.


Red Skies at Night…

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Water and M are great together (You may remember my post about swimming and M “Just Keep Swimming…”).  The combination is a natural therapy — better than any O.T. or P.T. session.

Today’s gift is also an aquatic one:  Sailing calms M in ways I can’t describe (but I’ll try here).

M’s always a bit excited and anxious to get going on a boat day.  He anticipates his favorite boat fleece blanket.  He wants to know all the details of the day.  He’s hungry and thirsty.  But, as soon as he’s on the water, he instantly stops all his excessive motion — including his stereotypies (jumping, flapping).   His entire body is very, very calm.  Calm to the point that he usually falls asleep at some point during the sail.  In addition, he is able to focus on so many different things — steering the boat, the waves, the wake, the birds, other boats, games all without noticing that he has temporarily forgotten about his trucks, tires, and car magazines.

It’s a wonder to watch.  M seems so happy. So content.  So calm.  So cute.  So comfortable.  It’s like M morphs into the best version of himself on the water.   We all feel so connected — both as a family unit and also all of us individually with M.  And that is a true gift.

Rock Lobster

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Memorial Day weekend rocks!

It kicks off summer.

It is the weekend I met my cute husband.

It’s the beginning of the all things fun and great.

And…it’s lobster time.

I always liked lobster. But, now that my childen are into Lobster Bakes I have a whole new appreciation for this crustacean.  It’s become a summer tradition for us and the kids take part in all the steps–from buying the lobsters to selecting their favorite parts to eat (J loves the knuckles and also littlenecks; M loves the claws and chourico; I love the claws; my husband likes the tail the best).

I feel very thankful that I can share these experiences with M and J, melted butter and all.

Required: Reading

Friday, May 28th, 2010

This week Summer Reading lists continued to appear including two big ones:  The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/28/books/28beachreads.html?ref=books) and USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2010-05-26-summer-books-main_N.htm).

I have a confession:  I wait for these lists and then I devour them and hungrily mark them with highlighters, post-it notes and comments.  Then, I make a list of books to buy and books to borrow (from a friend or the library).  This ritual, among a few others like a great pedicure, signal  the official start of my summer.

Ever since I can remember, diving into a good book has been a favorite past time–especially in the summer. There are never enough hours to read everything and it’s a challenge to cross all the books off my list by Labor Day.  But I try.

My devotion to all things literary shaped my career too (book publishing) and I always smile inside that I “get” to do this for a living.

All of these musings are the wrappings on today’s gift.  The bookworm legacy lives in on J and M.   To watch J and M naturally follow in my footsteps is a thrill.  Watching them read is so beautiful.  J likes to sprawl on a towel in the sun and read.  M likes to read everywhere and anywhere — he brings his books all over.

Without any effort, my husband and I passed along our devotion to books and reading to the twins.  It’s beyond cool that their favorite gifts are books, that they seek out bookstores and local libraries whenever we travel and that they ask us about word definitions and history more than television and video games.

Now, please excuse me:  before the kids get home, I’m going to get a jumpstart on my summer reading…

A Life of One’s Own

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

In honor of Carrie and the girls (yes, I went to see Sex and the City 2 tonight, opening night), today’s gift is short and sweet:  I am thankful (more than I can express) that before marriage and motherhood and after, I have a life of my own.

Without my “Carrie” days, I could not and would not be the person (and especially the mother), I am now.  And I’m not sure I would appreciate the life experiences I had pre-marriage and pre-motherhood as deeply as I do today.

I love being a wife and mother and I also love that I am still the girl I was before I added those roles to my repertoire.  I just don’t get to wear the clothes as much.

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Temperatures in the 90s.  The Three H’s (hazy, hot, humid). A pre-summer summer day.

So, it’s fitting that today’s gift is  ice cream.  Just thinking about it cools me.

J loves the traditional ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles and tries a new flavor each time. M loves the cones and prefers a scoop of vanilla ice cream at home.   I love the ice cream and the cone and the sundae and…(like my husband).   A friend / former colleague in NYC posted on facebook that Ben & Jerry’s delivered free ice cream to offices in Manhattan today.  Imagine the smiles the delivery people witnessed.

I’m thrilled to honor this tasty dairy treat on a sweltering day. I don’t know anyone that is not an ice-cream fan (though my little sister took years to get over her childhood phobia of a dripping, melting, chocolate ice cream cones with sprinkles from Carvel).  During stressful times, a decadent and delicious ice cream cone is like a millisecond of a mini-vacation (coffee chip on a waffle cone with chocolate sprinkles triggers a spa fantasy for me).

Traveling in the surprising –and sometimes strange but always rewarding–land of motherhood,  I learned along the way that the smallest things and the tiny moments bring the purest joy.  These gems of motherhood can be a wet kiss, a tight hug, a shared ice cream cone.

Rediscovering and sharing the magic of  ice cream on a hot summer day with my children is a gift.  The cherry on top:  finding a piece of my own childhood hiding underneath the sprinkles.

Is Johnny the New Car-y?

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

M has a beloved car pillow (Car-y; a gift from Nana and Papa) that he NEVER sleeps without and has vowed never to replace.  One day, I’ll do a post to honor Car-y but for now all you need to know is that Car-y is like M’s pet/younger sibling/friend all rolled in one very well-worn stuffed object.  In fact, Car-y isn’t even a car — she’s a pick-up truck!

Recently, competition arrived in the form of Johnny the John Deere Tractor pillow.*

It’s fun to watch the two pillows (via M’s creative mind and his puppetry) fight for M’s attention, affection, and love.  It’s like watching a Nascar race and a tug-of-war.  It’s wonderful to see him practicing his social skills and imagination as this battle plays itself out.

Johnny has big advantages over Car-y including the fact that he is new.  Somehow, call it mother’s intuition, I know Car-y will always hold a special place in M’s heart and in his bed.

I am grateful for this fleeting moment of innocence when my son still entertains himself with stuffed animals and I get to watch.

*Don’t forget to place your bets ladies and gentleman — Car-y or Johnny?

Culture Club

Monday, May 24th, 2010

I spent the morning trying to convince my daughter that The Dreaded Strep Throat Culture really wasn’t all that bad.

It didn’t work.

Like me, she didn’t believe one word of it.  In fact, I still think throat cultures are the worst.  I had so many throat cultures as a child my parents stopped counting and almost paid a doctor to remove my tonsils.

Today, though, the throat culture gods smiled down on us and our (gasp!) pediatrician (instead of the rushing nurse) did the culture with such precision and skill that J did not shed a tear.  Her eyes didn’t even well up.  I practically gave Dr. R a standing ovation.

With a turquoise and green ring pop on J’s finger and a negative test result in my purse, we skipped out of the doc’s office.

Readers:   I don’t have to tell you that my daily gift often appears in the strangest places and when I least expect it– here’s hoping you all are enjoying this my adventure as much as I am.

Family Fun

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

We just returned from a very special event — the one year old birthday party for our nephew H.  H is a very, very special boy and he worked hard to get to his first birthday.  He was born early and had a lot of challenges in those first few months of life.  Thanks to a loving and dedicated Mommy and Daddy and great medical care, not to mention family support, he is doing so well now that the struggles of his first months of life seem like they never even happened.

The other thing that made the event so special was the two families marking this occasion together (my sister-in-law’s extended family traveled very far to be here for the big celebration and of course, my husband’s / brother-in-law’s family is local).

The party was held on the amazing farm where H lives with his parents, organic farmers.  It was a quiet and sweet little party without a lot of fanfare or fuss.   Instead, joy, laughter and happiness were the decorations and the party favors: smiles, love, and tractor rides for the kids.

The candle on the cake:  M did very well and enjoyed most of the day (especially the tractor rides and horsing around with his uncles — sorry couldn’t resist the farm animal pun!).

The family gathering felt like a big group hug — for H, for his parents, and for all us that are part of H’s life.  On a personal note, I also felt the strong support and love everyone has for M.

Happy 1St Birthday H!  Even if you don’t, I will remember today for a very long time.

Fleece is the Word (sing to Frank Valli’s tune ‘Grease’)

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

Other than John Deere, M’s favorite thing in the world is fleece. I am surprised and delighted by the fact that fleece was invented in 1981 (information based on google research) and is one of the centerpieces of our life. Never say never!

For M, this love affair began with a gift from our beloved nanny J.  She gave him a fleece Lightening McQueen blanket in 2006 (when the movie Cars was in theaters) and it’s been a permanent part of his life ever since.

Most children with sensory processing disorder like M (as well as children on the autism spectrum), have a love/hate relationship with textures.  Some children need tactile input and this comes in many forms.  The wrong one can irritate, aggravate and turn a day upside down (like a tag in a shirt).  The right one–for M this is fleece for others a weighted blanket, for example–can make everything right in the world.

Picture this:  my cute boy snuggled in a fleece blanket in winter, spring, summer and fall.  M finds comfort and meets his sensory needs with fleece-y. (I’m sure my dedicated blog readers aren’t surprised by name fleece-y!)  Like Linus with his blue blanket, M cuddles and curls up with his blanket whenever he needs a fix and some calming security.  He uses her in the morning, after school, in the evening and he even brings her on trips.

Today, I’m not only thankful for fleece but am also a big fan.  Get your fleece on!