Sunday, June 20, 2010

Peace to All Who Enter Sunday Bloody Sunday

I did Bikram yoga for the first time today and it was not pretty. It was 90 minutes of intense, sweaty, twisted hell. I knew what I was getting myself into, but I was still not quite prepared for what it would feel like to be in an extremely small, extremely hot room with 35 nearly naked other people twisting myself into difficult poses that I was supposed to hold for five breaths, or, an eternity. My first pose was so off that I attracted the attention of the yoga teacher. I tried to copy my hot shot neighbors for the rest of the class, but this was difficult when my head was, say between my legs, looking to the left, becoming one with a fixed point. The next time the teacher came over I apologized and said this was my first time (if I had a dollar or every time I said that…), which he announced to the class, which elicited a round of applause. I think I will say that every time I go, just for the ego boost.

The teacher talked the entire time. Boy, that sure makes the time fly. And while he did have a few good things to ruminate on during the mediation portion at the end (“We become what we resent” and “change yourself and everyone and everything around you will change” come to mind) he did have a few less than savory quotes, like “I told my dad I wanted to kill him.” Interesting…on Fathers Day, no less. Those sort of unexpected death threats kept the class from being 90 minutes of listening to fortune cookie-esque talk. It ended with a bunch of Omms and a namaste, which almost made me laugh because I felt so ridiculous saying it. Such a poser, no pun intended.

Then, after all that Ommm and good karma and yoga energy, I headed back to the country ranch in time to see Avery suffer a nasty fall and split open her chin. We decided to get on the road and head back to NYC instead of seeing a doctor in Massachusetts. Nicole said she thought it would be fine, but I thought it might need stitches. Avery slept most of the way in the car. We called our doctor when we got back to the city and sure enough, she confirmed that poor Avery needed stitches. So Nicole took her back to the hospital (where she was born) for the her very first minor surgical experience. I know that Nicole is the better mom to go because I am not as calm as I should be in situations like this. Think of Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment and that is close to how I may react in any stressful hospital setting. Yet I am sad that I am not there to hold her little hand and kiss her little face and help distract her from the pain. Thinking about it now makes me cry. Will Nicole always be the go-to mom for the Big Things? Will Avery look back and remember me as not being there for her? Even though it is because I need to stay home with Madeline? And didn’t my yoga teacher say something today about letting these sort of thoughts drift into my head and then drift right back out? Breath in, breath out.

Just got the text from Nicole: Six stitches for my poor baby girl!

Pictured above, Avery and a worm and Avery watering the herb garden with a visiting Nana (Nicole’s parents visited us up in Mass). And miss Madeline. I need to Photoshop out her diaper.

Friday, June 18, 2010

How Hope Springs Eternal in Four New Beds

Dare I say that we have turned a corner? Do I risk jinxing things by discussing the new and exciting developments going on here?

Bedtime and sleeping has been getting much better in some ways. The new big-girl beds, in both houses, have made a huge difference. These days, we aim to have them in their beds, tucked in, by 7:30. We each lay in a bed (me, usually with Madeline and Nicole with Avery) and we talk about the highlights of the day and usually repeat the story of the Three Little Pigs, their current favorite story. Then kisses and lights out and we leave. We usually have to come back one more time for an extra hug or kiss, but that’s it. They stay IN their beds, NO roaming, and they usually chat for a few minutes but simmer down within fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes! Two weeks ago, they wouldn’t fall asleep until 9:30 or so. This means that this week we had had such conversation starters as “What do you want to do tonight?” Nicole and I both started reading new books. It is quiet and stress-free. That is amazing.

Also amazing: Madeline no longer gets out of bed and walks into our room and climbs into our bed. She has stopped that completely. However, she still is waking up in the night, crying out for us. And while we have gone back and forth a couple times with letting her cry it out or running to her side, what usually happens is Nicole goes in there and sits with her or lays down with her. Sometimes Nicole falls asleep in her bed, but wakes up and evacuates before Madeline wakes up, which is key. We figured we are dealing with three challenges: Getting the girls to go to bed quickly; getting Madeline to not roam; and getting Madeline to sleep through the night without crying for us. Two out of three right now is pretty good, I’d say.

More changes: A little over two weeks till my birthday. Born on the fourth of July. Nicole took the week off so we will be up in Massachusetts. Then there will be a few changes in mid July that I guess I can talk about soon. And then the end of July one of my closets friends, the one I speak to 16 times a day, the one who talks me off cliffs and keeps me sane, the one who I can’t live without speaking to will be heading to Italy with her family for three weeks. I already feel abandoned. My brother and his family are a few steps closer moving to China, which makes me so sad because I can’t imagine being that far away from my niece and nephew. I got a haircut and it is kinda short. And Avery broke my iPad by hitting it with a toy hammer. Can’t quite talk about that yet, as it is devastating. Not a good day when that happened. Today I distract myself by taking the girls to see Toy Story at the Ziegfeld Theater.

Pictured above, that guy on the roof is spraying it silver. It was kind of fascinating to watch for 15 seconds. I wonder what happens when he finishes? How does he get off? But then the light turned green and I had to drive off, so I will never know I guess. Also pictured, the girls have discovered the joys of riding on the cart. Ad finally, riding in the cart at Target. Madeline was alone in the back there with nothing in there and while I talked with Aunt Mina, Avery and Skye managed to PACK it up with toys.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Nothing Like Ending Vacation With an Emergency Landing

I was going to write all about of week in Florida, but our zoo adventures and elephant encounter and lake tales and gator sightings have been trumped by an emergency landing. Anyone who knows me knows that I have recently become a white knuckle flyer. I used to be the kind that didn’t like turbulence, but tolerated the rest. Now, well, pretty much start to finish is one giant stress event unless I take prescription meds to calm me. And, no, flying with the girls doesn’t make it easier, as some people said. (Yes, Jenni, I’m talking to you!) What can I say? I am not sure why this happened, this giant fear. My therapist has theories, I have a few, but that all doesn’t matter. Bottom line: I don’t like flying and I especially don’t like emergency landings.

It a rather large nutshell, it happened like this: Nicole and the girls were sitting in three seats and I was across the aisle, alone. We took off, and of course I think about how most crashes happen in the first two minutes of flight and the last two minutes. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So the first few minutes, critical for the plane and also my well being. I tried to keep calm as the little TV in front of me flickered in and out of reception. I usually counter this stress by squeezing the life out of Nicole’s hand across the aisle. I also rely heavily on the numbing effects of a little pill. Xanax, atavan, ambien, whatever. Nicole’s job is to dole out my pill before we board, and today of all days, she packed the pills in checked luggage so for the first time in, oh, six years, I was flying med-less. Yes, I know it may be unusual that Nicole I in control of the pill, but it is a dynamic that makes me feel better.

Take off was fine, but about 15 seconds after take off, lots of vibration and a weird noise started happening. A noise I never heard before. I asked Nicole is that was normal and she tried to play it off that it was the wing flaps. It wasn’t. So a few more minutes of LOTS of noise and no announcements. Then a man with a laptop walks importantly up to the cockpit and goes in. This of course set off the rest of my panic alarms. Are they goggling in there? “Plane weird news vibration fix” and search?

Then an attendant gets on with this not so helpful message: “Just so you know we are returning to Orlando.” What the eff??? That’s it. Nothing else. By this point I eschewed air safety rules and regs and jumped out of my seat and bounced across the aisle into the three seats where Nicole and girls sat. Then the pilot gets on: The landing gear is stuck. Lucky for us, it is in the down position, so we are returning to Orlando. We circled for a ridiculous amount of time and the prepared for what the pilot called “most likely a normal landing.”

Needless to say, I cried. A lot. Kept repeating things like “I want to land now. I want to land now.” I prayed. I searched my memories for plane crashes with shared characteristics. I tried to reason with myself. There were lots of people on board with Jesus tee shirts on. Certainly they have enough God love stored up to keep the plane safe. I wondered if the landing gear out for so long and circling for an hour compromised the strength of the gear. Nicole was my human xanax. She kept me relatively calm as I cried on her shoulder. She said we could rent a car and drive up 95 instead of getting on a new flight. She took care of the girls while I fell apart a little.

And then, the ground slowly got closer and we landed, amid a full parade of emergency vehicles. No bumps, no crash, no compromised wheel hubs. I was so grateful to be there. And I got on the next flight. My reasoning was simple statistics: What are the chances of being on two flights in a row with issues? If you know the answer and it isn’t good, don’t tell me. I am not sure how this will affect my next flying experience. I guess time will tell. I am grateful that the landing gear was stuck down, I can say that much. I realize the other way could have had a very different ending (though one that still ends in life). But this emergency landing, this was a stressful event for me.

I have a ton of pictures but many of them are un-postable, as Avery is going through a clothing optional stage. She has decided that skinny dipping is better than wearing a bathing suit and that being naked, in general, rocks. Anyone else have kids that go through a clothing optional stage? Does it end? So pictured above are some of the wild animals we encountered, including my favorite bird with attitude, the grackle. And a profile shot of Avery, just to give an idea of what I am dealing with. Meanwhile, I am shocked that I have three-year-olds. I have a feeling this is going to be a year of many changes. This is going to be a post-a-day kinda week.