Monday, December 31, 2012

Old footage, an exclusive for Gramma Jean

Hi, Mom- A little something for you, especially.  I can't email this because the file's too big but just ran across it and I don't know if we ever showed this one to you? It's a couple of years old. More, actually. I like Calvin's burbling commentary in the background and Audrey's "one more, one more."

Happy New Year's Eve, in which we lose our pants to the dance

Last post of 2012. I have to get ready for my incredibly exciting plans for New Year's Eve which involving sitting right here, on this couch, in my flannel pajamas, and watching a movie. Exactly what I always wanted to do on New Year's but when I was young(er) I felt more pressure to do something fun and memorable, like freeze my keester off in a long line outside a crowded club with a $20 cover charge (which would turn out to be $40 by the time I made it to the door) and inside of which I would have to stand crushed against the bar with my head in the armpit of some undergrad who didn't even see me there but was standing on my foot and making it impossible for me to flag down a bartender.  Oh, I miss my wasted youth.

Everyone thinks that videos of their own kids dancing are funnier and more adorable than videos of someone else's kid doing exactly the same thing, but we suffer from the delusion nevertheless. Feast your eyes and ears and GET DOWN with Calvin, and have a Happy New Year, from all four of us.

Christmas morning: The Big Reveal, plus tips on Lemon Meringue you did not ask for but, trust me, you need.

Scott is so annoyed with me for not posting anything for so long that I'm going to skip the text (I know: who's missing it?) and just throw on all the photos and videos that he has asked me (and asked me and asked me) to please just post already.

The kids were really rather spoiled by it all this Christmas. They loved it. It was fun to watch. And so far they have not discovered the great big bag of toys I'll be donating, in order to make room for the new. I'm on a New Year's organizing kick, but don't worry, I'm not going to blog about it. Nor am I going to share my recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie with Graham Cracker Crust, because actually, it's not mine at all, I got it here, and you should go there right now and download it because it is FOUR STAR INCREDIBLE and I've made it three times in a month already. And if I may just get a little food-bloggy for a moment, here is a tip worth following from The New Best Recipe, in their also-very-good-but-not-as-good-as-the-above recipe: don't let the lemon custard cool before you apply the meringue to the top. Put it one while it's still hot and then the underside of the meringue won't undercook and ooze that really disturbing clear liquid.

Did I say I was not adding text? I lied.

Monday, December 24, 2012

He walks, and talks. And kvetches.

Many have asked us if Calvin is walking yet, and what the walk looks like. Here it is. A bit less of a gimpy-leg lope each day. And you can see here that his general sense of being irritated with the service is still fully in tact.

Merry Christmas to all

Nativity Scene by Granny Stark (manger constructed of scraps of polyester plaid pants from Granddad)

Decorating Batch 2 of gingerbread cookies. Batch 1 incinerated. We are blaming a "tricky oven."

Thank you, Gramma Jean, for sharing all your cookie cutters.

Candy buttons are handmade candy made by our neighbor Jane from her family's recipe. We're not even close to that kind of holiday sophisticated around here, as evidenced by Mr. Gingerbread's sadly squashed head.

Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 17, 2012

What I'm writing to the NRA

I'm putting this in the mail this morning.

December 14, 2012

David Keene, President
National Rifle Association of America
11250 Waples Mill Road
Fairfax, VA 22030

R.E.: Please reconsider your support of assault weaponry and make American children safer.

Dear Mr. Keene,

I have begun many different letters to you over the last week, knowing that my letter will surely be read by an exhausted member of your staff who is putting letters into piles of “Supportive of NRA” and “Not Supportive of NRA.”

Please put my letter in the “Heartbroken and Scared” pile.

When I dropped off my children at preschool this morning it was hard to get all the way back to my car without crying, but I am terribly frightened for their safety, which is why I am writing to you.

I can’t make it any less likely that a violent or mentally ill person will enter my children’s school, or any school, with an assault rifle and an intent to kill, but YOU CAN. You and the NRA can support reasonable changes to gun laws that will make assault weapons—which no sportsman or civilian needs for any sane or humane purpose—illegal.

Mr. Keene, public opinion is changing steadily in favor of a sensible ban on assault weapons. More and more of your own members are realizing that assault weapons can be made illegal without dissolving the Second Amendment.  I know that my beliefs about gun laws will never match those of most NRA members, but I do believe that you and the members of your organization have compassion and mercy. Many of them may have sat in their cars this morning, as I did, having just left their children in a school or day care center, and wondered how they would go on living if their children were hurt or killed.

Please, please reconsider your position on assault weapons and work with others toward a sensible ban. It is the right thing to do, for everyone in this country.

Hopeful that you will hear me,

Mother of Audrey (5) and Calvin (3)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bea and Audrey, and a really big tree

From last weekend. Bea lives around the corner and came by to help us decorate our first tree at Ely Rd. This tree, which brushes the ceiling, really did not look so big at Mahoney's...

The entire house smells piney. Ah. This picture of the girls is pure deliciousness, too. Bea is Audrey's friend and also her clothing benefactress, although Audrey's going to be just as tall as Bea pretty soon so the train of beautiful unstained clothes (how is Leah managing this?!) will have to end.

Secured to his chair by a cargo strap, Calvin adds a bauble or two.  Now we can just use the cargo strap for lashing him to the top of the car.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Smell ya later, spica cast! Our bizarre six weeks comes to a close.

Right now, Calvin is in the next room, snoring gently and lying on his back with his two rather spindly legs straight out in front of him, a bit toneless in muscle and flakey in the skin, but healed and whole and stable.

I feel as if I fell down a rabbit hole, six weeks ago, and just came back up.

We were just raking leaves, and the kids were peddling around the driveway, Audrey on her bike and Calvin on his scooter, when I saw him tip and then I heard him scream. The next few minutes, hours and days are a little sketchy in my memory but my main recollection is wanting to close my whole body around Calvin and prevent his pain.

How incredibly lucky we are to have medical care and treatment within a few minutes drive, and things like morphine (who ever imagined we'd be so excited to have our not-quite-3-year-old given morphine?) and pediatric orthopedic surgeons and everything else we needed-- friends. And family. And resources. And time for him to heal completely, with follow up care. Most children in the world have few of those things, or not enough of them. Many have none. I can hardly stand to contemplate this but children endure what Calvin went through without so much as an aspirin.

During the hospitalization, every doctor we spoke to, starting with the on-call pediatrician in the E.R., told us that we Calvin could have, and should have, and would have, the pain medication he needed and that we should ask for it, advocate for him, and make sure he got what he needed. About 180 degrees from what a parent would have heard in the past. (A thought that makes me feel sick for those children, and grateful on behalf of mine.)

Oh, and they've worked on bedside manner a lot in medical schools, it would appear. Example: late on the night of Calvin's accident, we have arrived at Children's Hospital Boston (transfered by ambulance from Winchester) and I've just been shown the x-ray. The break is so big, and so complete, that at first I don't even understand what I'm seeing. The doctor-- who is nine-- has to show me the line along which Calvin's one femur bone became two jagged, completely distinct pieces right below his pelvis. I am blank for a moment with horror-- and shame, and panic at how this must have hurt and still be hurting.

I blurt out that I probably made the initial break much worse by picking him up right away-- in my total ignorance-- and jostling him in my arms, trying to comfort him. I set him on the couch and put an ice pack on it, for heaven's sake and then sent Scott off to the hospital thinking we were being overly cautious. My voice may be going up a few registers. The nine-year old doctor steps very close to me, right into the space that no one ever steps into in the course of normal conversation, and says carefully, "It's very important that you understand this: you did not do anything to hurt your son." He puts his hand on my shoulder. Someone has told him to emphasize these words with warm but appropriate touch: I can tell. I want to crumple very quietly into a chair at this kindness, but I go back to Calvin, who is numbed and semi-asleep. He is tiny in the bed.


The sound of the little saw they use to remove the cast frightened him, and he cried, but he also smiled in between bouts of tears, and chatted with the nurses, before crying a little more. Last night he slept in his own bed again, instead of the beanbag he's been heaped onto each night. Every night we did a midnight "flip" from back to front and then from there until dawn, me, sleeping beside him, at his insistence, on an air mattress. (Being back in my own bed, too, is a welcome change.)

He is sore and his leg muscles are quite stiff but he was already taking some assisted steps today with the help of Judy, the lovely nurse who spent time with Calvin at home this month and stayed with him at school while he was in the cast. This morning when I left them both in his classroom he was seated on a beanbag (beanbag's are as essential, it turns out, to spica cast care as they are to dorm room decor) and he was just holding forth to his classmates about the whole thing, and pointing to his healed leg. I guess this was probably his last day of being a minor preschool celebrity and he was making the most of it.

He is already asking about his scooter.