Friday, March 27, 2009

Things Are Different Here (p. IIII)...

When you are sick...

These last two weeks I've been on my death bed. And not the nice "here's your morphine drip" kind. More like the kind when you are riding on a horse and it gets spooked and bucks you off only your foot is still stuck in the stirrup so the horse is dragging you through your mother's rock and cactus garden and your head is bouncing off the ground and you are getting a mouth full of dirt and when you do finally get free the doctor sees you and says, "well, geez, looks bad but, you can only take tylenol because. you. are. pregnant."

Only tylenol isn't tylenol in Ireland. It's not even acetaminophen. Its paracetamol. And they protect it like it's crack. I wasn't even allowed to buy two boxes at the same time. They were only ten pill packs! There is an over-the-counter medication containing paracetamol and codeine and purchase is limited to one box per person - because of the paracetamol!

Some things are better here. When you get an appointment for eleven, the doctor sees you AT ELEVEN. The doctor walks to the waiting room to call you in, takes your temperature himself and then sits there and listens to you. Crazy. But true.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

22 Month Checkup

Dear Katie,

This past Monday you turned 22 months old. All the cliches of how quickly time passes are true. Can you really be turning 2 in May? You are 30 pounds (90th percentile) and about 36 inches tall (97th %). I've only gotten your hair trimmed once in your life and that was 2 months ago and if she took half an inch even, Id be surprised. You will not let me put clips or ponytails in your hair. You don't even like it to be brushed.
This last month you have really started to talk. One thing that we have always said about you is that you definitely do things in your own time. Turning, crawling, walking and now talking- it always seems to happen right at the end of the "your child should be doing this by now" guidelines. Its just your way of keeping your neurotic, hypochondriac mother on her toes.

Katie's 22 month vocabulary list

I haven't heard any sentences yet, most everything is still a one-word statement or question but you seem to understand everything we say to you. You follow directions like "go throw that away in the garbage" or "bring mommy your blue teddy bear". The only thing you are struggling with is "no". You can say it alright and I think you know what it means, but you believe that following that instruction is optional. Once now I have smacked your hand and said No! to stop you from doing something. I felt terrible and you just looked at me, laughed and then smacked your own hand. You thought it was a game. How do I get you to learn rules when you don't even know when you are breaking them? Today you took something in your hand and said "garbage" and walked to the can. I told you, "no, that's not garbage - don't throw it in there" and you stood poised over the opening, object in hand, grinning at me. The louder or more sternly I made my objections, the more you smiled and the closer to release your hand got. In these moments my brain frantically scans all the back issues of Parenting magazine and online chat room advice sessions Ive read looking for the right, constructive way to approach the situation. I normally draw a blank or think of some of the crazy crap Ive read like I should be very specific in my praise so that you aren't desensitized to it (??!) - There are only so many times I can complement the amount of pressure you exert on the paper while you are scribbling. You are no Picasso -yet. You don't color in the lines. You don't even choose pretty color combinations. So for now, you are getting vague and possibly damaging, "Wow! That's beautiful!!, Good girl!" I'm sorry for whatever that does to your psyche in the future.

We spend just about all our time together. Sometimes I am amazed at the amount of patience I have found. Usually I am dismayed by how frayed my nerves are by the end of the day and I feel like I am so short with you by dinnertime. Perhaps if just one night you wouldn't dump all of your food out of your bowl and onto the floor.

You don't really play. You are just busy all the time. You like moving one thing from this place to that one. You like taking things out of the cabinets.

You love to be read to.
"Book!" is the first thing out of your mouth most mornings. You have no interest in tv. You shout out "Fifi!" for a British show called "Fifi and the Flowertots" but its the theme song that you like. After that it's "Book!"again. You have a great sense of rhythm and seem to like traditional Irish music the best for dancing. You have yet to figure out how to jump with both feet or even to run though. The other day you accidentally did a somersault while we were playing and I'm not sure which of us was more surprised.

You have recently taken an interest in babies. You like to change your doll's diapers and give them their milk. You hold them and pat their bottoms and rub their backs so gently. Yesterday you wanted baby Conor Marry to sit in your lap and it was so cute. We hope you still feel that way in August when a baby comes to live with you. We wonder how you will react. I don't think you will like to share us. In the last few months, you have become quite shy.
You make this face a lot. Certainly, you are expressive. You seem to startle very easily, especially around other kids. You are very gentle and timid and careful. We were in Miami a couple of weeks ago and you tripped and got your first scrapped knee.
It was at this time that you learned the word "boo boo" and that we have to kiss them to make them better.

You got to lick the beaters for the first time a week ago.

It was at this time that you learned the word "more"...

While we are admitting things, I took a picture of your first freckle too. This appeared last July and given how fair-skinned you are now, we do wonder if you will get lots of freckles. Just maybe you will be a little strange like me and be glad to know just which freckle came first.

You don't like it when we leave you at the daycare. You don't even like it when one of us leaves the room. You still drink two bottles of milk a day. If I'm in the room, no one else can give you the bottle. If no one else is around, Daddy or Grandma will do. Its my favorite time of day though. We snuggle up in a big chair and you keep on hand on the bottle and one in my hair. You have been twirling hair since day one.

Ive said it before about other times, but this age is the most fun.
Every day you do something new. Every day you have a new word. You said "shit" twice in one day after hearing me say it. You repeat anything you see or hear. Its amazing... and dangerous.

These are just a few recent pictures of you with your cousins and your friends.

The Walsh family, March 2009.

But look out Katie... there is someone else who is eager to say hello and join the party!
Love, love, love (more than words can say).

Friday, March 13, 2009

For the Record

When I was pregnant with Katie my mother gave me her old pregnancy journals. When she was looking through a box of my old baby things after Katie arrived, she came across the journals she'd kept when I was young. She wrote them as letters to me, telling me of my latest milestone or experience. They have been so much fun to read now that I am going through so much of the same 'growing up' with Katie. I admit, I am doing a little compare and contrast between Katie and the young Malinda and truth be told, I was just a lot smarter than she is. Poor thing. Anyway... while I'd considered doing the same for my children, I quickly thought of my cousin Jenny, the youngest of the brood, as we watched old 8mm film of her older siblings, asking, "where are all the movies of me when I was a kid?" Uh... ooops. And since we have planned on having three kids, I knew our youngest, too, would surely suffer from Third Kid Syndrome so I intentionally set the bar low - entering only the most minimal data into the baby books and opting out of the "Dear Katie" spiral bound notebooks.

Then this blog came along. And it sort of is our journal of milestones and experiences with Katie and with our Irish adventure. So, I'll preempt the future "TMI" complaints with this statement and apology - Im going to use this blog to share with 'future Katie' all the new and cute and entertaining and super-frustrating she does and says and vandalizes. Im sorry if no one else finds it an enjoyable read. And I'll probably just have to buy kids #2 and #3 a new car or something to make up for all the anecdotes that will never be told of them.

Twenty years from now, if you are at my house you will hear something like this:

"Mom, why are there 1600 pictures of Katie as a baby and only 3 of me?"

"Listen, you..., you... whateveryournameis.... just be happy I remembered your birthday."

"Ma, it was last week and you forgot it!"

"I meant next year's..."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sister Teresa Landy 1945-2009

Sister Teresa (right) with my mother-in-law having fun traveling around the world.

We arrived home Saturday to sad news. Sister Teresa, who I'd blogged about here, died. Though this was news we'd been expecting to hear for the last two weeks, the shock was still great. It was only last October when she first found out that she was sick. We went to her funeral on Sunday. Such a testament to the woman's life- the church was packed. It was standing room only and still others couldn't even make it into the front doors. Never have I known someone who touched so many.

The priests (23 concelebrated the funeral mass) used a bible verse in the funeral service that was so perfect for her:

Matthew 25:35-40 (New International Version)

35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Sister Teresa was so energetic and so full of life. She spent her days from morning to night helping and loving others. She fed, clothed, looked after and visited all in need. It seems like overkill to me to keep harping on how good she was; she was a nun for heaven's (wink, wink) sake-- of course she was good. But it wasn't that way around... she was a nun because she was so good and kind and loving and generous and sincere. Like I'd said before, she'd make even a heathen like me wanna join the sisters of mercy.

I can't seem to articulate the way I feel. I just keep thinking, doesn't God know that we need her here? But, as one of her nieces said in a poem she read on Sunday, (and I badly paraphrase her words to God); " had to break our hearts to show us you only take the best"