Monday, July 1
Joey got a piece of scotch tape stuck in his mouth. He was screaming and screaming during dinner and I thought it was because he stuffed too much watermelon in his mouth and I had to scoop some of it out. But he kept screaming even when we offered him more watermelon. Alex looked in his mouth thinking there must be a piece of food stuck in there. But no. It was tape!
I haven’t been too concerned about small things being left on the floor yet since Joey is still immobile. But I guess it’s time to be concerned. Babies will always find a way.
Tuesday, July 2
We went to Menard’s because I needed a trellis, but also because it was the afternoon and my older two don’t nap anymore and it would be a good two hours before Alex would be home and we were all feeling a bit crazy. Menard’s is the best. You can get a trellis and a hydrangea for the yard, dish soap for the kitchen, La Croix -on sale! - gummy worms to bribe children with, and window fan for the attic. And you can browse patio furniture at your leisure in the air conditioning while your kids test every swinging bench in the joint. Who needs Target when you’ve got Menard’s?
I currently have my eye on these darling chairs. They are already less than half of what the Target chair costs. Maybe I can buy a floor model for a bargain.
Wednesday, July 3
While we were at a park this morning I noticed a little boy who was wearing hearing aids. I kept my eye on him trying to figure out which of the many grownups milling around were his parents. Within a few minutes a woman with a baby strapped to her back came up to him telling him to be careful or take turns or some other parental admonishment. I introduced myself and told her that I also have a child with hearing loss. Her eyes light up, and I know exactly why. “Here is someone else who understands,” she was thinking. “Here is someone else who understands the learning curve, the packing extra batteries, the trying to keep hearing aids out of the trash and out of younger siblings’ mouths. Here is someone who understands the constant self-doubt. Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing enough? Is he falling behind? Will he ever catch up?”
I pulled Johnny off the playground to come meet this other little boy. They both smiled when they realized the other was also wearing hearing devices. Then they went back to their play and forgot all about it.
Sometimes as parents of kids with special needs we feel a little alone. Anyone who makes us feel a little less alone can make us giddy. But the kids just feel like kids, and kids just want to climb on the playground. I love that about them.
Thursday, July 4
Alex’s brother has been housing an old, red Miata that belonged to their dad. When we were dating Alex would drive me around in it with the top down. My favorite was when it was a little chilly out. We would put the top down and crank up the heat so that the cool, invigorating breeze would be in our faces but our feet would be toasty warm. Alex buckled Johnny and Trixie together into the passenger seat of the Miata and drove them around the block while our nieces and nephews rode after them on their bikes. I cannot think of more perfect memory for my children to have of their childhood.
Friday, July 5
By far my least favorite gardening task is thinning. Thinning is the process of pulling out some seedlings to give other seedlings the room they need to grow to full maturity. I understand why it needs to be done, but it breaks my heart to pull out a perfectly healthy plant. As a mother, and as a Christian, and also as a human being, the destruction of another living thing goes against my deepest instinct.
So my solution has been that I don’t thin my plants unless I’m absolutely certain I need to. And then when I do thin them I try to replant them. Everyone deserves a chance, right? So, now I have a bunch of wilted poppies and love in a mist and globe amaranth in my flower beds. I check on them often, hoping for a comeback.
Saturday, July 6
We got the inflatable pool out for the kids today. And tonight after we put them to bed we took our books outside and sat reading with our feet in the water. I leaned my head back against my lawn chair and looked up at the sky that was yellow at one end and washed out blue at the other and thanked God for giving us that beautiful evening.
Sunday, July 7
Last week the kids and I found a couple caterpillars on our dill plants. They did a unit at Johnny’s school on the life cycle of butterflies, ending with a release of a dozen or so monarchs that they had raised in the classroom. Johnny is now an enthusiastic expert on caterpillars and how they become butterflies. He wanted to catch them and so we did. Then this past Friday Alex found a third caterpillar and caught that one. Last night we had three chrysalises on our kitchen counter. This morning we had two chrysalises and one amazing black swallowtail butterfly.
I’ve always been very scarred of/grossed out by insects. This whole caterpillar thing has triggered my gag reflex many, many times. But I also kind of loved it. And the kids definitely loved it. We released him (or her?) into our backyard and he (or she) hasn’t been seen since.