Monday, August 27, 2012


"This year we'll be in the school play, and we'll have to dance with boys!"

I was listening to Lamb and a friend chat and giggle about their 2nd grade adventure, which begins tomorrow.

"Oh!" Lamb squealed, more for dramatic effect than any real emotion. "If I have to dance with a boy in front of the teachers and the principal...! Oh, I think I might just faint." (She is so full of bologna. She LOVES being on stage and has NO issue with dancing with boys.)

"And what if I have to dance with Steve*?" her friend wailed.

"What's wrong with dancing with Steve?" I joined into the conversation.

"Are you kidding? With Autism Steve??? He's so weird!" Somewhere in her 7-year-old brain, she put some pieces together about why this might be hurtful to our family (although I don't think she could fully verbalize the hows and whys of it), and she backpedaled a bit. "I mean... not weird exactly... he's just so... autism!"

He's different. He's hard for them to understand. She wasn't exactly making fun, and I truly think she would be kind to his face... but he's different. He's weird. He's autism. And she doesn't want to dance with him.

Someday a little 7-year-old girl will tell her friend's mom that she doesn't want to dance with Roo because he's just so... Down syndrome.

My heart hurts a little.

*Not his real name, for my local friends...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Last Hurrah

Good morning, friends. I know I can't exactly call myself a "regular" poster, BUT I have been trying to be around more often lately. Soooooo I felt that I should let you know that you won't be seeing me here for a few days. Mr. Fantastic and I are taking our zoo on the road for a week of family time, relaxation (as much as is allowable when traveling with three small children AND A DOG), and fun. One last hurrah before school starts. (sniff, sniff... and YAY)

I look forward to telling you all about it!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Missed Opportunity

I saw her in my rearview mirror as I sat down. I was in the library parking lot. We had made our weekly trek to the library for Lamb to do some summer reading tests and to check out books for vacation. We had spent an hour in there, searching for books, talking to other families from school, doing puzzles, and trying to keep Roo from completely melting down. (He's been especially... well... two-ish lately.) In other words, we got around in there.

And yet, I hadn't seen her. How had I missed her?

The almond eyes, the ears set just a little bit low, the small build. It was unmistakable. She is in our club. She was blessed with an extra chromosome.

She was beautiful. And cutely dressed. Around 5 years old, I would guess. And she was obviously having a grand time with her big sister and her mom. I took it all in quickly. I watched them head straight to the truck parked next to me.

And then I did a double-take of the mom. I know her, I thought. I couldn't tell you her name to save my life... but we went to high school together. I think she was a year ahead of me. Somehow Facebook hasn't reunited us. (Maybe she's smart enough to stay away from it...?) But I know her. We are doubly connected.

And I knew what I needed to do. I needed to open the door of the van. I needed to walk over and introduce myself. I needed to explain that we are part of the same family, not by blood or even (in my case) by adoption, but by genes. Chromosomes. The 21st chromosome, to be exact.

But I didn't do it. I stayed in the van. I watched them load up from the corner of my eye. I watched the mom take out her phone and make a call.

I can't go over there now, I told myself. I'll either have to interrupt her phone call, or I'll have to sit here and wait until she's done--and hope that she doesn't drive away first--and either way I'll look like an idiot.

So I put the van in reverse, half-satisfied with my justification, and left.

But that wasn't really the reason. I didn't go over there because I was embarrassed. So far the other DS mamas I have met have been at intentional meetings--play groups, the Buddy Walk, etc. I don't know how to approach someone "cold." What on earth would I say? "Hey, I see that your daughter has Down syndrome. My son does too." Really? That's pretty lame. And even then, what do I expect her to say in return? "No way! Let's exchange phone numbers RIGHT NOW and be BFFs!" Probably not.

Yep, it might have been awkward. And it might not have turned into a life-long friendship.

But... it would have been a connection. I would have known one more person in this world--in my COMMUNITY--who shares this journey. And so would she.

I should have said something.

Apparently, I need to work on my DS-mama-friend pick-up lines.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Before Roo's nap today, I pulled out a picture book about farm animals and said, "There's the cow! What does the cow say?"

And Roo said................. (Are you ready for this?!?)................. "Moo!"

I turned the page and said, "Oh look at the sheep! What does the sheep say?"

And he said.............................................. "Baa!"

WHAT?!?!? I tried this a few times, and he got it EVERY TIME.

Hooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooray! I am one excited mama!!!!

Have I mentioned that we celebrate EVERY milestone in this house?

In fact, I think I need to go bake something sweet now.........

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Oh dear...

If you had been back-to-school shopping with Lamb and me today, here are a few of the things you would have heard her say:

"I am just SO into sequins this year!"

"This hat is just not me. But I am DYING for that purse."

"You know, Mommy, I just realized something. I LOVE shopping!"

And my personal favorite... "It seems like life was better when I was little--you know, like 3 or 4. I don't know why, exactly. Everybody was just happier. Things were simpler then."

Oh my word. This girl.

I love her so much.

And I'm in so much trouble.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


God has been chip, chip, chipping away at me lately--at my pride, mostly. It's good. It's necessary. It's actually something that I have asked Him to do.

But it is still oh. so. painful.

Have you ever read Max Lucado's book On the Anvil? It's a series of short stories that compare us all to materials in a blacksmith's shop. The first section is full of stories of those who are on the scrap pile--cold, lifeless, lonely, not useful. I'm glad I'm not there. The last section is victorious--those who have been pounded and shaped by God and are actively being used by Him. I have had moments there, and it is amazing.

But today I'm in the middle. On the anvil. Being shaped, lovingly handcrafted into a useful tool for the Lord. It's good. But the heat is uncomfortable... the molding feels unnatural at times... and the pounding of His hammer really hurts.

I am reminded of labor pains, of my midwife reminding me, "Don't fight the contractions. Relax through them. They hurt, but they are doing an important work. Let them do their work."

Don't fight the pain of the anvil. It's doing important work. Take a deep breath, and let it shape you.

Monday, August 6, 2012


How I know that Roo is officially recovered from last week's sickness: No more "sleeping in" until 6 AM. The child--whose entire nap yesterday lasted less than TWENTY MINUTES--has been up since 5:30. Sigh. I guess I should have known that he was only sleeping until 6:30 or later because he wasn't feeling well.

Don't get me wrong. I am SO glad that he is better... but I also REALLY enjoyed the extra sleep...

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fear and Golden Grahams

What are you afraid of? Yes, I know we all have Big and Important Answers, like "I'm afraid that my children will grow up to resent me" or "I'm afraid people wouldn't love me if they knew the real me" or "I'm afraid I will get to the end of my life and realize that I missed my true calling." But I'm talking about REAL fears here, people. And for me... apparently... it's mice.

I am a 30-something woman who fears something that is about 10-15 centimeters long (according to Wiki Answers).

I have long known that I am not fond of mice. But I didn't really realize that "terrified" was a better word to use until tonight. Let me set the stage for you: The children are in bed, Mr. Fantastic is helping his mom at her house, and I decide that I am done with housework for the evening. I sit down to blog for a bit, but writer's block hits. I determine that I will indulge in a nice, hot, relaxing bath. What a treat.

I sit down, armed with a sudoku book and let the hot water ease the tension in my muscles. I am thinking about closing my eyes and drifting off, when I hear movement. The dog must have come upstairs. I close my eyes and lay my head back. I hear movement again.

That sounded like it came from the linen closet, I think. I sit up and look around. No sign of the dog. Crap.

And there's that noise again. A scratching noise. Coming from our linen closet. Scratch, scratch, scuffle, scuffle, scratch.

Crap again.

I am paralyzed by this noise. Surely I am hearing things, right? I decide to be brave and scare it off... but, you know, not too brave... so I smack my book against the side of the tub and say, "Hey! Don't you know that I'm right here?!?"


Ha, I think smugly, those dumb mice are so scared of people. Silly creatures. I pick up my phone and text Mr. Fantastic I think there's a mouse in the house. Still, I'm thinking that I'm just hearing things and it's really nothing.

Scratch, scratch, scuffle, scratch, scratch, SQUEAK.

Squeak?!?!? Double-crap.

We play this game for a while, me and the mouse. I move around in the tub, talk, bang my book on the counter, etc, and he gets quiet for a minute, then starts back up his pitter-patter. This is NOT my favorite game. I finally decide that I can't take it anymore, and I pull the plug.

Why on earth is there a mouse up here? I wonder. We had a mouse issue a few months back, but at least those mice were smart enough to be in the kitchen, where there's food. Why would a mouse, I think as I stand up to dry off, be all the way upstairs?

And then I look up, through the door of the bathroom... into my bedroom... and I see it. A sandwich bag that I had taken to church this morning when we hurried out the door. Golden Grahams.

Crap, crap, crap, crap, CRAP.

I try to convince myself that the dog was the culprit, that she snuck upstairs and dug the baggie out of my purse. She may well have, as a matter of fact, but that doesn't erase the scratching, scuffling, and squeaking that I heard during my bath. The thought of it makes me shiver.

And suddenly I have a whole new dilemma. Directly in front of me is The Closet, the source of this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. To my left is my closet, where my pajamas lay neatly folded on a shelf. To my right, my bedroom... and my access to the rest of the house... and the Golden Grahams. In order to get away from The Closet, I have to walk right past it twice... and the second time, I would be in the direct path between the mouse... and it's FOOD.

I am trapped. I stand there, my towel pulled up over the front of me in case the mouse is watching through a crack at the bottom of a door (A girl has to protect her modesty, after all!), and try to decide what to do next. Should I refill the tub and just wait it out until Mr. Fantastic gets home, trying to ignore the mousy sounds just a few feet away? Should I yell and stomp and try to scare him off? Should I tuck the towel around me like a wrap and make a run for it? At no time does the question "Should I open the door to The Closet?" enter my mind. Some things are just too ridiculous to put into words.

Kathryn, I tell myself, you are being silly. Just put on your pajamas and walk out of this room like you have done a hundred times before. It is a teeny tiny creature that is more afraid of you than you are of it.

I'm pretty sure I lied to myself right there. I am WAY more scared of that mouse than it is of me. I realize this as I slowly and carefully stepped out of the tub. My heart rate couldn't go any higher if there had been a serial killer lurking behind that door instead of a furry little creature that some people keep as a pet. My stomach turns as I race past The Door and grab the first nightgown I could find.

Whew. Step 1 accomplished. Step 2, though, is a bit trickier. Not only do I risk seeing the creature in question, but now we might actually be traveling the same path. This is not a trip that is to be taken lightly.

I pause at the door to my closet, take a few deep breaths. This must be what those Olympians feel like... only without the fear of tiny little feet scurrying over theirs as they run, I think.

And then, I do it. I DASH across the bathroom, right past The Closet. OK, well, maybe not dash exactly. I move more quickly than normal, but it's hard to "dash" on your tiptoes. (It's important to keep as little of your feet on the ground as possible when dealing with a possible Mouse Encounter. That gives them less surface area to scurry across, and it gives you a head start on leaping straight up into the air when you scream.)

I gather the presence of mind to snatch the offending baggie on the way out of my room. Now at least I don't have to fear walking in on a mousy feast when I want to go to bed tonight.

Then again... maybe I'll sleep on the couch.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Change of plans

Today was supposed to be a hold-on-to-your-hats, get-out-of-the-house, on-the-go, soak-up-some-summer-fun kind of day. Instead, it's a wear-PJs-till-noon, watch-Phineas-&-Ferb, hang-out-at-home kind of day. Lamb and Roo are still a bit under the weather, and this week has been insanely busy, a mixture of fun (like a sleepover for all of the cousins at Nana & Papa's) and the hectic (two trips to two different hospitals in two days). The kids needed a day of rest. They didn't exactly say that, but I could see it in their eyes. So rest we shall. Right now the boys are taking naps (although I'm sure that Monkey isn't sleeping), Lamb is reading James and the Giant Peach, and I am enjoying some quiet writing time.

Today is awesome.

AND my kitchen is clean. AND my living room is clean. AND my bedroom is clean. AND I have folded three loads of laundry. Those are all things I typically try to do when I'm home for the day, but today it feels like a complete BONUS because I had planned to be gone. It is a GREAT feeling to be ahead of the game!

Maybe I'm onto something here... Maybe from now on, I just need to make elaborate plans in my head*, then cancel them at the last minute and stay home and do housework. Then I'll always get more done than I had planned, and I'll always feel good about my productivity! And if I go ahead with my plans instead of cancelling them, I'll feel good because I was out having fun! It's a win-win!

I'm testing this theory.

*Note to self: Do not verbalize these plans or share them in any way with the children. Otherwise, cancelling them could have disastrous consequences.