Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Prayer in the Hands of a 5 Year Old

We may have to rethink prayer over here at The Tea Party Place. It's taking a toll on my ego. Here's how Griffin's prayers have gone during this past week.

"...please bless Daddy's work. Please bless Logan that she will feel better. Please bless me that I will be good. Please bless Mommy that she won't be so stressed out..."


"...please bless Mommy that she won't kill our dog..."


"...please bless Mommy that she won't be mad at Lincoln...'

Finally I had had it. After the amen following that last one I said, "O-kay. Let's get one thing straight: I am not an angry person! When have you ever seen me get mad at Lincoln?"

"Sometimes you do when he doesn't eat from here," he retorted pointing at his chest.

"What?? What are you talking about?"

Apparently he is not picking up on subtext and intonation. When I say to a little baby, "Okay, Mister. You'd better eat or Mommy's going to be very mad at you," in a high-pitched, sing-songy voice, I do not expect anyone to take me literally.

Or when I say to Mr. Wicke that I am, quote, "going to kill our dog" I am using it as an expression. Not a statement of fact. But apparently 5 year olds don't understand sardonic humor.

And as for me being stressed out, I wonder that Griff never thought to bless himself that he would finally learn to obey. That would do wonders for my level of stress. Until then, I guess we are just going to have to avoid calling on him to pray--at least in front of strangers.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Heart's Desire

I want one of these for my dining room table!

Which do you like better?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Days Like This

Last Wednesday was one of those days. You know the ones that come along every now and again when nothing seems to go right. Like from the moment you wake up and realize that your baby is still constipated and you will, indeed, have to do a baby suppository. And you're kind of afraid.

And then, once the baby is taken care of, you notice that your dog is strangely drooling out of the side of his mouth. After further inspection it becomes clear that there is a serious problem, although it's impossible to tell exactly what it is. The only thing you know is that she can't close her mouth and dog saliva is everywhere.

So you have to call the vet, but before you can do that your son is interrupting, saying, "I accidentally broke something in your room," which is something you never want to hear.

"What did you break?" you tentatively question.

"You know the door under your sink? I was getting down and my pant leg caught on it, and I broke it."

You think for a brief moment that he possibly just pulled it out of the hinges, and funny enough, for a second, you're even kind of grateful. After all, you'll settle for as little damage as possible...but then you actually see the door. Somehow it's broken into pieces. You quickly add that to the running tally which you will charge your son for various destructions when he graduates college and finally gets a paying job. Until then, you have to figure out who made the cabinets. Hopefully they are still in business and you can get another door made. Add that to the already long list of things to do today. Things that you still have not even started.

Once said son finally gets off to preschool, you call the vet to see if he can see your sad and miserable dog, who is still drooling long strings of saliva that you must keep wiping from her chin and various surfaces of the home. The veterinarian can see her at 2:00 pm--a most inconvenient time in that it doesn't allow you to get to the grocery store as planned, nor allow you to be home when your son will be getting out of school, and it is smack-dab in the middle of baby's nap time.

What is a mom to do? You plop the baby into his carseat and pick up the son from school early. He is thirsty, so you buy him the bright red Hi-C Fruit Punch, against your better judgment, which he almost immediately spills on his brand new white t-shirt. All you can see is laundry and stain removal. Another addition to the continuing list of things to do today.

Finally you reach the vet's office, home of the most condescending people in the world. The dog nurses look down their noses at you because you are late in getting the dog's vaccinations and because you won't agree to get his teeth cleaned for a mere $400-600. Apparently they are not aware that you are a bad mom let alone a bad dog owner. However, you put up with their dirty looks because they can manage to yank out the inch long beef bone fragment that somehow got lodged in the dog's gums. You'd love to give the doggy all the attention she deserves after such an incident, but the baby begins to wake up needing to eat.

Determining that breastfeeding at the veterinarian's is not the most appealing option, you struggle to get everyone back in the car and head home. Looking at the clock you quickly calculate that it might be possible to get home, get the baby fed, still get to the grocery story, and manage to get dinner made on time. Maybe. But there are no guarantees.

After all, that's what days like these teach you. Nothing goes according to plan. Life 101.

Monday, April 20, 2009

For My Mom

When I spoke to my mom on the phone yesterday, she requested some pictures, at least of the baby. She has been gone about three weeks now, and you know how fast babies grow. Enjoy, Mom! And I miss you. A lot.

Baby Lincoln, yesterday.

Logan and Griffin on Easter

Griffin with the goat

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Snuggling Required

I've been thinking a lot lately about our first language. That of physical touch. It is the initial way we communicate with our babies. The first sign of our love and care. Baby Lincoln is happiest cuddled in my arms. Children never tire of affection.

Days ago, amid the tumult that accompanies any Wicke family gathering, Griffin began to wail. The next thing I knew he beelined from the backyard through the family room on his way upstairs, crying loudly the whole time. I looked to Mr. Wicke for explanation. "They were playing..."

But as any mother will tell you, she can identify the kind of cry her children emit. This one was not an attention getter. I handed the baby to Mr. Wicke and followed Griff upstairs. His bedroom door was closed. He has taken to crying in private as of late. It breaks my heart.

I quietly opened the door to find him on the second story of his fort, lying on his belly, still crying. When he saw me come in he grunted and turned his back to me. Words would not do. I could see that, so as noiselessly as possible, I climbed the ladder of his fort and without a sound lay down beside him. Griffin is too ticklish to have his back rubbed, so I ran my fingers through his hair and kissed the back of his neck until he quieted enough to tell me what happened. Then we climbed back down to clean the wound behind his ear and the scrape on his leg, and although he is getting a little too big to be carried anymore, he acquiesced to being carried as far as the stairs, where at last he had had enough of being babied and ran back out to play, healed.

Later that night, when Logan came down with a fever and, feeling miserable, made her way to our bedroom, I knew exactly what she needed. I gave her some medicine and then curled up next to her in her makeshift bed on our floor. She, unlike her brother, loves to have her back tickled, and so I ran my fingers up and down, across her shoulderblades and down her arm until her breathing evened and slowed, telling me she had, at last, fallen back asleep.

Now, when the baby cries, I move to him, lift him in my arms, kiss his face, pat his back, and soothe him. When necessary I feed him, his body close to mine, his face near my breast, his warm breath on my skin, and I am grateful that my body can be a source of life, a healer, a comforter and a cure. That it can silently say, "I am here. I am yours. You are safe. I love you." The language I never want them to forget.

Monday, April 13, 2009

An Anniversary

In addition to Easter, this weekend brought another celebration: 16 years of married bliss for Mr. Wicke and me. That's almost sounding like a long time.

Here are some things I know about marriage:

1. It requires you to grow up.
2. It can be the greatest source of joy for a human being.
3. It can be the greatest source of sorrow as well.
4. Love can fade.
5. You can fall in love with your spouse every day.
6. Generally, you get what you give.

Thank you, Mr. Wicke, for growing up with me. Thank you for hanging in there when times were tough. Thank you for all the happiness you have brought to my life, for supporting me, for always being on my side, for seeing the best in me, and most of all for being my friend. I still choose you. I like being "us."

Thoughts on Easter

Happy Easter.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

In the Weeds. Deep, Deep in the Weeds and Looking for Normalcy.

Things are not normal around here. First, I am nursing all the time. And when I am not performing my duties as the milk machine, I am running kids to school, attacking mounds of laundry, choosing at least one room in the house to clean, or making dinner, much of which I only partially accomplish. I have yet to figure out how to get my life together after adding baby #3 to the brood.

Other things that have caused me to veer way off track:
1. Both Logan and Griffin were sick over the last two weeks. Of course they tag-teamed it. Now it looks as though it's my turn. Fingers crossed that baby Lincoln doesn't catch it next.

2. I've lost/misplaced my address book again. I am/was sure it would turn up, but it has kept me from calling some friends that are probably wondering why I "have forgotten them." Be assured. You are not forgotten...just momentarily missing.

3. Roxy, our love-starved poodle, had some sort of seizure due to unknown causes. I, however, am leaning toward the double-chocolate, Giridelli brownie that she snuck from Griffin minutes before. It was super scary and even had me in tears in the garage when I asked Mr. Wicke if he thought she was dying. After a trip to the vet where, for $45, we were told that poodles "sometimes have seizures as they age" and turning down the $350 blood test to "rule anything else out," I have had the great pleasure of cleaning up at least five vomit spots. While scrubbing carpets and washing bedspreads, I have to remind myself that I, in fact, do not want the dog to die. I really, really don't. It just seems like it sometimes.

4. I had to find a place to house the goat we found tied up in our backyard for April Fool's Day. Rest assured that that particular holiday is alive and well in our corner of the world, thanks mostly to Mr. Wicke's devious efforts. Sadly, paybacks are often answered on both of our heads. And yes, you heard me right. I said goat.

5. During the last two weeks I have missed two meetings where I was expected and showed up for one that was never scheduled. If anyone finds a random brain just lying around, it very well could be mine.

That said, however, I expect to find some equilibrium shortly. It always takes me at least six months to adjust after a new baby. It's not so much a matter of getting back to things as it is making this new and crazier life normal. Whatever that means.