Thursday, October 15, 2009


I went to my sister's this evening to watch a recorded episode of Modern Family, eat a delicious wet burrito my brother-in-law created and play with my nephew.
I'm fortunate that I get to see my nephew as often as I do. Usually at least 1-3 times a week. I feel how lucky I am. How could I stand to be away from such a cute face?
And yet, I feel like I'm missing so much. Because just a few days ago he never would have thought to get into the cabinets. And tonight for the first time he climbed on top of his push toy by himself and his legs are almost long enough for him to start pushing himself around on that thing. And tonight, when I was coming up the stairs from the laundry room he was surrounded by my two dogs and all three of them barked at me. My nephew barked at me! And then laughed so hard at his own joke he couldn't catch his breath.
Then later, when I was crawling around on the floor with him and dancing and being all out goofy to get him to laugh he suddenly without warning flung himself into my arms and gave me a hug and my heart melted all over again. Because, seriously... I love this kid.

Who wouldn't?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thank You

I helped one of my students with their classwork today. I was a little annoyed because it was during my planning period and I had a lot to get done. I didn't really have time.

He asked me to sit with him even though he was capable of doing the work independently. I complied because I'm a sucker. And because I could tell he needed a little attention. This usually behaviorally challenged child really just wanted to do a good job and get his work done. I sat next to him and did my best not to think about the loads of work piling up on my desk. Instead I praised him on his careful writing, on his kind way of asking for help and on his smart answers to the questions on the sheet. He glowed. He ate it up.

The recess bell rang just as he was finishing. He jumped up and ran for the door but then stopped, turned around and said, "Thank you!"

Kids say those words to me all the time. Most of them are well mannered and polite. But this kid really meant it. I glowed. I ate it up.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Got Milk?

I went shopping at Target tonight with my mom, sister and nephew. B was tired and cranky so my mom got out his bottle and gave it to him. He drank a couple of sips and then handed it back. My mom took the bottle, turned it on its side and intentionally sprayed me with it, dousing the whole right arm of my new sweater. The new sweater that now smells like rotten whole milk. Confused I asked, "Why?!?!"

She stifled her giggle, tried to pretend it was an accident. "Oops! Sorry about that!" But it was no accident. My sister told her not to pretend it was an accident and we all started moving towards the registers again as I did my best to brush off the milk. But it left me wondering, why did she do this again? This makes the third time she has sprayed me with B's milk. This also makes the third time I got mad about it and the third time she tried to pretend it was an accident. What is it about her feeling the need to spray me with stuff? Granted, between milk and the household chemicals of my youth... I'll take the milk. But still... why anything at all? And why only me?

Earlier today I overheard her talking to my dad and sister while I was making dinner and she referred to me as "Em" as in "Em's making dinner." I have never heard her refer to me as anything but Emily before and was shocked to hear her use the nickname in such a casual manner.

I don't think the two incidents are related. I do think I'm surrounded by crazy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Little Pill = Big Problem

Meet Zolpidem. It's otherwise known as Ambien. This is a picture of a 10mg pill. It's tiny. On the label is says to take only one at bed time immediately following a meal and that it's not to be mixed with alcohol. It says that right on the label. Any website will tell you it shouldn't be used for more than a month and warns of very serious side effects. Extremely serious not-to-be-messed-with side effects.

But she takes it lightly. She'll swallow 8-11 of them in one go. She's found receipts in her car proving that she drove while she was sleep walking while on this stuff. She chases it with alcohol, calls me with panic in her voice, begs me to come retrieve her. Her pulse gets so low I dial the first two numbers for the paramedics and then stop because she's moving again. She had a good month or so, seemed to be on the mend. We had scoured her condo while she was away, removed all substances not prescribed by a doctor and took the rest of the Ambien which was prescribed by her doctor.

She's doing well. Then relapses. She calls, asks me to retrieve her. She calls again while I'm on the road and asks me if I have any drugs for her. I curse at her and hang up. I pick her up. She smells like the inside of a liquor cabinet. She has packed items for an overnight stay but isn't wearing any shoes. She didn't pack any either. She struggles with the seatbelt and I reach over and buckle her in. I stop on the way to buy her water. I'm careful to bring my purse with me so she won't find and swallow any of the pills I keep in my bag. She passes out on the patio and we leave her there. We let her sleep on the cold pavement. Finally she rises and stumbles into the house and asks a million questions. But answering them is fruitless. She will just ask them again. Her eyes are open but she's not awake. Or maybe she's awake but still drunk. It's hard to tell. She doesn't know why she's there, doesn't remember how she got there. She just remembers swallowing pills and wine so she wouldn't have to think.

But we're all thinking. We're all thinking we're done. She needs help and it's not the kind of help that we can give. We researched rehabilitation options for her. We found phone numbers she can call and they're not ours. I feel horrible because I love her. I want to help her. But I don't think she wants it. So I'm backing off. This will be the last batch I flush.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Reality of Fall

One of the best perks of being a teacher is that thing known as Summer. Therefore, one of the most difficult times in a teacher's life is that thing known as Fall. Because that's what it is. A giant fall. It's super exciting because it's fun to get a classroom all set up for new students and I'm just as excited and anxious for the first day of school now as I was when I was an elementary student myself. There's something awesome and magical about new beginnings. But that wears off pretty quickly. A little too quickly. By week two I was ready for summer again. Wonderful summer with his flip flops, Slurpees and random no-need-for-a-plan adventures.

This fall has been particularly stressful and it's presenting itself in the form of an eye twitch. My right eye won't stop twitching and I really can't think of a thing to do about it. Headaches can be killed with Tylenol. Sleeplessness with some time and relaxing music. Nausea with some water and saltines. But what can you do about an eye twitch? It's hard to hide something pulsating on your face. And while nobody has said anything about it yet, I'm pretty sure it's visually obvious. Hot.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Summer 2009 Part 2

Summer's over. I get that. I really, really get that. So let me recap the 2nd half of what was.

I went to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium with my parents.
We took B to KidsQuest Children's Museum in Bellevue, WA and ended up buying him a membership mostly because he loved driving this semi truck so much.
Some friends and I took B to the Olympic Game Farm. You drive around in your own car and these awesome animals come right up to your car... mostly because you're allowed to feed them and animals really like to eat.
On the way to the Olympic Game Farm we stopped at Fat Smitty's.
My sister, mom and I took B to the park. This is where we ended up having his first birthday party in September.
My parents and I took B to Woodland Park Zoo. He really liked the elephants.
Wesley, Tracy and I (and a few others) went to Northwest Trek together. There's a tram ride for the herbivores that roam free(ish) and then the carnivores are in more typical zoo enclosures.
My sister, David and I took B to the Seattle Children's Museum where David used to work. Obviously B had the best time ever.

I played with B a lot this summer. I love this kid!

Wesley and I went to the Torchlight Parade. I hate clowns. But this one I almost liked. Almost.

Wesley and I went to Experience Music Project because this Muppet exhibit was there for a while. It was totally worth the trip. Mahna Mahna!

My sister and David invited the rest of us to their friend's cabin on Panther Lake. We swam in the lake and had a picnic together.

Tracy's family, Wesley, Fran and I packed some food, tents and pups for a camping trip to Ocean Shores. I had never been before. The weather was beautiful. I love the ocean. And these people.

Fran, Tracy and I on the beach. This was day 3. Don't judge me. :)

My pups loved running in the sand! But they weren't a huge fan of waves.

Overall, summer was wonderful! Dad finished chemo by mid July so by early August he was feeling well enough to join us on some adventures. B turned 1 in September, my grandfather turned 98 and school began. But more on that later...