"mommy, we don't yell at the bunnies!"

Caroline and I (with limited assistance from Connor) planted rows of sunflowers, basil and tomatoes in a tray of coned seed starters. We watered them, we put them outside on warmer sunny days, we placed them in the kitchen window to soak in the sunlight and collect heat from the baseboards below. In two weeks time things were sprouting throught the dirt and she marveled at how she had helped create LIFE. She had nurtured those seeds, she checked them every single day and she was so proud. Ah, FOUR.

The sunflowers grew taller, sprouting leaves and when their roots started to grow out of the bottom of the tray I planted them into a bigger pot together. The days grew warmer and warmer (remember back when we thought the season had switched to spring and summer seemed just a heartbeat away?) and I got gutsy. We picked out a sunny spot in the yard and planted them in a row. She watered them carefully and I was so happy that we had taken that time, all those weeks moving them in and out of the sun. I, the girl with the black thumb, had grown something FROM A SEED. Never before people, NEVER before. We stood there watching them in the breeze and told her that soon there would be flowers and they would grow taller than even Daddy.

She couldn't wait to see that.

The very next morning as I doled out Eggo waffles and cups of OJ I glanced out at the garden suddenly springing to life beyond the bay window. The dogwood, the green buds, it was going to be amazing. The previous owner had quite a garden and it was and still is fun to see what we have growing.

A rabbit!

Caroline jumped up on the bench to find "Peter" and I collected Connor from his seat to get a look before that adorable little bunny ran off to parts unknown. The bunny turned and hopped into the garden. Oh look, we marveled! Connor pointed. Caroline smiled widely. "Hey!" I half shouted as the rabbit started chopping the tops off of some yet unknown plant I couldn't identify. He was robbing me of finding out what it might be! "HEY!" I shouted. I started banging on the glass, shooing it away.

"Mommy, we don't yell at the bunnies!" Caroline parroted back the lesson I had tried to teach her earlier that week. "When we see an animal outside we want to watch and enjoy, we sit quietly. We do not clap our hands, we don't yell, we pretend to be the quietest girl in the whole world."

I checked on our sunflowers later that day. Stems. The leafy budding tops had been lopped off no doubt by "Peter" himself.

She was crushed. The look on her face of utter disappointment and despair physically pained me.

I started over myself determined to create this for her again. I got a new tray, planted new seeds, watered them and she already has 11 small sunflowers poking their way through the dirt. These precious beauties are going in containers on the screened in porch, far from that rabbit's nose. I specifically got smaller ones meant for containers. I know she will be disappointed when they don't grown taller than Daddy as I promised, but they will grow, which is far more than can be said for the poor stems over in that sunny spot where we probably stumbled upon those ticks. Even Caroline isn't too fond of those pesky rabbits now. I've got to get something to spray on these plants or we will never get to see what we have growing back there.

She's excited for sunflowers. I'm anxiously waiting for fresh basil. It's all growing! I have sustained something green TWICE in one season. It's a minor miracle.

should have

This morning when we woke up we should have been taking Connor back to school after a little sick day. We should have been sharing stories of bravery, popsicles, and flavored anethesia. We should have been breathing the sigh of relief we have wanted to sigh since November.

We scheduled Connor's tubes for Wednesday. They called me on SUNDAY to do the pre-screen health evaluation and he didn't pass muster. He had been treated for croup and the nurse on the line said we would have to wait at least 3 weeks, as many as 6. I accepted this fact at first, but later when I shared this information with Steve we questioned it.

Our kids get barky ALL the time. That stridor is ALL too common in this house. Every cold means a seal will be heard racing from her bed to ours or barking over the video monitor. Sure, Connor had been a little croupy, but I never turned on the steamy shower. I had never had a crouping baby lying on my chest. Just one little croupy cough in the night, a little stridor the next day when he coughed.

I called back. "Let me explain," I said. "I don't think you understand," I told her. She interrupted me with "he's not even on the fence." "Do you want to risk intubation?" "We cannot even consider it." Her tone was harsh, her words curt. I felt a single tear on my cheek and brushed it away, but more followed. Of course I knew this was a minor procedure, of course I knew that relatively speaking these ear infections were more a nuisance to Connor than a serious medical issue. I back pedaled, "I just wanted clarification," but was interrupted bluntly again and told that the earliest they would even consider it was three weeks and only if he was symptom free, no cough. I cannot recall a time in the past 7 months that Connor has not had a cold or cough for three full weeks. I told her this and she dared to challenge my assertion.

June 15th. He'll get his tubes on June 15th. That nurse labeled me pushy mom and I didn't like it. I didn't like it enough that I told the scheduler when she called how terrible my experience had been with the health assessment. Now I'm sure Connor's chart has a flag for his mother's reaction to him not being cleared for this procedure and I don't care. If I won't advocate for him, who will? June 15th.

2 for 2

I worked a half day today. Steve brought Caroline to school and I packed Connor up to come to work with me. He spent time charming my coworkers while I attempted to make a few phone calls, put out a few social work fires. I would never normally bring him with me, but we had an appointment about five minutes up the road from my office with the ENT this morning. Yes, the time has come for his turn at the good ol' ENT for his hearing test and a discussion about what to do about his ongoing persistent and terrible ear infections.

I had been through this all before with Caroline, but it doesn't make it any easier to sit through a hearing test watching your sweet baby not respond to several of the test's stimuli. He was more challenged in his left ear and mid exam they put on a special instrument to test his hearing behind where they suspected the fluid might be pooling.  I think the audiologist could tell I was feeling a bit overwhelmed after the test. She confimed my worries labeling his hearing loss as "mild." The pressure tests they conducted confirmed that he did have some fluid present, which if you know the whole saga of Connor's ears is not at all surprising.

A Coop student from Northeastern led us back to meet with the ENT. I couldn't help but ask him about Northeastern and I loved hearing that he is applying to PA school this summer, something he said he "couldn't have done if he wasn't at NU." We watched a big crane outside the window while we waited for the doctor. He really seemed to like that, but I think I actually liked it more because he was still and calm for me to talk with the doctor when she came in. Does he ever stop moving?

She asked me about words, babbling, noises, things I don't think he can hear. If I am being honest with myself, Connor has very few words, limited babbling and I think there are many things he cannot hear. He only recently started saying words to represent "ball," "book," "woof" (for dog). He says mama, but only when in distress. He says dada so infrequently that we make a big deal out of it when he does say it. He points and understands things. He can point to his toes. He can follow a direction like, "bring this to mommy" or "get your coat." In the same breath though I have to add that on the ride home he learned "Go" and when I say "stop" he now replies "go." So while I have concerns about his language development, I know that these things could easily be corrected and he is likely to catch up as soon as he can hear like he isn't swimming under water.

She told me what I knew in my heart she would say. For Connor, she recommends tubes. I nodded my head in agreement. If he had been 3 or 4 she would have said wait it out, see if this resolves over the summer. If he had been 2 she would have said come back with x number of additional infections. At 16 months, she thinks it is unlikely that this fluid issue will resolve on its own and we would end up putting the tubes in come fall or winter after several more infections, more antibiotics, months more of this under water hearing.  I agreed, if that is the conclusion we will likely come to - let's just do it now. Let's give him the gift of a language explosion.

Poor Connor. He won't have any restrictions with water, no ear plugs for tubs or the beach. He just needs the quick but hard for mommy and daddy surgical procedure. Poor bubba.

We're two for two. Two parents who had tubes apparently equals two children with tubes.

Now to schedule it as soon as humanly possible because Steve's medical insurance will change as of June 1 from an HMO to a HSA that we are still trying to understand. The timing could not be worse, but we've had this appointment since the beginning of March. I am just hoping we can get him in soon and move forward.

In the meantime, I'm home for the rest of the afternoon enjoying him, watching him sleep in his crib with his butt up in the air, playing games and "reading" books.


Caroline looked at these photos tonight before bed. After we read Chapter Four in the Pippi Longstocking book, the one where Pippi goes to school and draws her horse on the classroom florr, Caroline asked me about the Vineyard again. She started in with, "Mommy, I missed you when you were at the Vineyard."

"Mommy, when I get bigger can I go to the Vineyard?"

"and, we can run and yell and eat ice cream?"

"and build a sandcastle?"

"where will we sleep when we go to the Vineyard?" "in a house we will borrow."

"will I have a bed?" "Of course! You and Connor and Mommy and Daddy will all have beds."

"and we will eat lobsters?"

"and then we will put the lobsters in the water?"

"and the birds will go under the sea (yes, she said THE SEA?!) because they are hungry for lobster"

"and then the lobsters will go back into the water."

We sat nose to nose, my arm under her, hers over me.

I looked into those gorgeous brown smiling eyes, smiling about a place she's been to but cannot remember.

I imagined looking into those same eyes again next summer the night before we leave for our getaway from it all trip to this perfect place. I could almost see her excitement, her happiness for this place she will surely grow to love.

beaches, sun, gentle rolling hills of post fence lined streets, bike trails, sand castles, fudge, picnics, photo shoots, lily pulitzer, ice cream, lots and lots of ice cream, and those lobsters of course.

I ask her everyday when I say goodnight what the best part of her day was. Her answers sometimes make me smile and sometimes make me laugh out loud. I cannot wait to see what she has to say on the last day of her first week on this magical island.

that island will be ours, if only for a little while on borrowed land, in borrowed house, with borrowed lobster pot, and borrowed landscape 

but it will ours in memory, spirit and love... to look back on and orward to all the year through.

Can't wait for Caroline to get home so I can open this


It's all ball all the time.

Connor walks around pointing at balls of all shapes and sizes, "ball." That canteloupe waiting to get sliced on the kitchen counter? "Ball." The ball hiding under the kitchen table from post breakfast, "ball" as he crouches low to get a better look at his most favorite object.

He throws them, rolls them, kicks them. He kicks right footed and left. He throws righty and lefty. He holds them over his head and lets them roll down his back. He doesn't like to share them, but he will occasionally play a short game of catch. This is infuiating for his sister who tosses it to him only to have him walk away with it. Tonight we watched him bat at one with a spatula from the play kitchen. Steve's response to this, "HOCKEY."

He saw the opening of the Celtics game tonight and starting trying to parrot basketball, though it was more like, "bah, ball." Could it be, his favorite thing, ON TV??

Connor is such a rough and tumble boy, enamored of course with every little boys favorite thing. His favorite book right now is Hippos Go Berserk, but it's only a matter of time before some sort sports book with pages and pages of balls takes its place.